Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Open Adoption Surprises You

To say openness in adoption is a hot topic is an understatement. There are many opinions about the topic: adoption professionals, researchers, and social workers. But the perspectives I esteem the most are adoptive families who are walking the journey of open adoption themselves. Chris and Shelley adopted through Christian Adoption Consultants an have since adopted again. They have an open relationship with both of their daughter's birth mamas.

Chris is a social worker. We know firsthand the benefits of children knowing and understanding their first families. We wanted an open adoption. So selfishly, I almost begged God for an open adoption. 

When Susan sent us information about Olivia's birth mom (due to give birth the next day), we made a decision quickly. The only reservation in my heart was that we didn't know what type of an adoption we'd have -- open, closed, semi-open... 

We prayed about it and my heart accepted the belief that this woman was deserving of whatever contact she desires. 

The next day when we heard she chose our family for her daughter, it was a whirlwind. 

And in that whirlwind I thought my heart was going to physically explode the moment we met Olivia's birth mom. It was the most beautiful, touching moment in my life. 

She wrapped one arm around me and one arm around my husband. Tears streaming down her face, she said, "I'm not crying because I'm sad. I'm crying because she gets to have the perfect family." 

In that moment, God erased YEARS of brokenness we felt from infertility. 

During our time together, I tried to memorize every feature about her. Everything she said. What she loved to do.  And as we parted ways with this beautiful woman, I hugged her. I said, "I hope Olivia turns out just like you," and I meant it. Every single word.

Then, as if God knew my heart's deepest desire, Olivia's birth mom told me this while we hugged goodbye: "I'd really like to stay in touch."

My. Heart. Melted.

Over the past 19-months, we have rejoiced in having an open adoption. Though we live hundreds of miles away, we have formed an amazing, loving relationship with this woman, and I am so grateful. Not just for my sake, but for my daughter's sake. She will know she's extra-loved. So deeply. By so many.

I love open adoption. It's not always easy, but man, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

You can follow more of Chris and Shelley's story on Shelley's blog, This Family's Journey.

For further reading on the topic of birth families and open adoption, check out these helpful posts:

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