Openness

Recently we were invited to speak on an adoption panel at Lutheran Social Services, our agency for Wes’ adoption.  It was a full circle experience for me, as it was just 18 months ago that we sat scared in our seats at an informational meeting at LSS.  Talking to couples at the beginning stages of their adoption journey brought me back to the place I was just a short time ago.  Scared, hopeful, nervous, excited, anxious…terrified.

But now, just 18 long short months later (the 10 months waiting for Wes felt like f o r e v e r and the last 8 months have flow by), I am on the other side.  And this side is good.  So good.  So much better than I ever could have imagined it would be.

.

While talking to these couples and hearing their fears and apprehension about domestic infant adoption and answering their questions about our experience with open adoption, I realized that we come so far mentally and emotionally when it comes to open adoption.  Craig and I had so many fears about openness when we started the adoption process.  In the beginning, openness felt like something we needed to be okay to in order to get what we wanted (a baby), but if I’m being honest, at the time I would have been perfectly content if a baby had dropped on our door step and we never heard from or saw our child’s birth parents again.  Openness is a strange concept.

.

It’s their child, but it’s our child.

.

Whose child is it?!

.

I don’t want to share my child.

.

These are the thoughts that went through my head when I thought about openness, all while I was saying out loud that I was open to openness…simply because I thought that was my only way to getting a baby.  My heart wasn’t really in it.  So when we were talking to couples who were sharing their fears, it took me back.  I get it.  It’s terrifying.  But I also realized that today my heart is different than it was 18 months ago.

.

When we met Wes’ birthparents, we instantly bonded over him.  All four of us wanted the same thing….the best for him.  That alone opened my heart to loving them, because they loved him, my son. And we loved him, their son. When I would tell his birthmom how thankful we were that they chose us, she would tell me that they were just as thankful that they found us to be his parents.  I never expected to hear those words.  Throughout the two months we spent getting to know them before he was born, our relationship grew, and while there were uncomfortable and awkward moments, they became real people to us.  Not some statistics, not a page of facts, but real people with complicated lives just like us.  Their journey and our journey to Wes was not easy.  It was hard for all of us.  But once we all found each other, what was hard became worth it.  Because two people who waited years to become parents were having their dream come true.  Because two people who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant in a difficult place in life were having their fears relieved in doing the best they could for their child by finding people who could care for him in the way that they wished that they could.  No one that we knew really understood this.  In wanting to protect us, our friends and family had an attitude that it was us verses them.  But it wasn’t.  It was the four of us together, going through a crazy experience with a common goal….loving Wes in the best way we could.

.

Even though our relationship with Wes’ birthparents is better than I could have ever hoped for, getting to this place was hard.  Scary.  Awkward.  Strange.  And I’m sure it was for them too.  This is not a natural path to building families or relationships.  But the four of us have a bond that no one else ever will.  The four of us love him more than anyone else ever will.  The four of us went through one of the most difficult and beautiful things that this life will bring.  They took a risk on us.  We took a risk on them.  And because of that, all of it, every tear, every moment spent in fear, in what ifs, in putting my whole heart on the line with the risk of it breaking was worth it.  Because I get to be Wes’ mom.  And because I get to tell Wes that he is so loved by his birthparents because I have witnessed their love for him with my own eyes.

.

Today I am so thankful because being open has given me so much more than I could have hoped for.  It’s given me the gift of his birth, his stay in the hospital, and answers to questions about his family medical history whenever they arise.  It’s given me the gift of knowing the people who gave me the greatest gift I could ever receive.  And I hope that as Wes grows, having a relationship with his birth family will be a blessing and not an unanswered mystery to him.

.

Don’t get me wrong.  There were moments in the weeks after he was born that I wasn’t sure I could do it again.  Without a doubt I knew that he had been worth it, but I didn’t know that I could go through it again.  For me (I can only assume since I have never done it), adopting was like giving birth.  In the moments after you think you can never go through that again, but over time, your heart and love for your child grows and grows and the pain of labor fades away.  It’s hard.  But it was worth it.

 

One Response to “Openness”

  1. Heather Ham says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart so openly. It’s wonderful to hear about this journey that God has brought you on. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you guys!! And your sentiment at the end is so true. After the pain & recovery of labor & thought if never want to go through that again. But the pain is temporary, and the love for a child will last a lifetime!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>