We've been asked about our adoption journey.
In a multi-part series, I will share our experiences. I hope our story helps you, someone you know, or helps you to understand the experiences and emotional journey of someone you love.
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We tried for 2 years to get pregnant before learning we were infertile.
Our Adoption Story - Part 2: Open to Adoption
J was 200% adamant that he did NOT want to adopt. I had wanted to adopt since I was in my very early 20's. There was one boy in particular, Jesse, my then boyfriend and I wanted to adopt. I never forgot that boy and pray for him often. That put the adoption buzz in my heart.
With J not wanting to adopt, I had to resign myself to never being a mother. We went so far as to look at a 2-seater sports car because if we weren't going to have children, we should at least have some fun!!
J and I both worked for our church. The church had a private school. The new school receptionist, C-Mom6, had 6 children, one of whom was adopted in an open adoption. I thought she was insane for having 4 biological children and wanting to adopt a 5th when she was pregnant with her 6th. C-Mom6 was even more curious because of that whole open adoption thing. Every chance I got, I would ask C-Mom6 about adoption and open adoption. I remember stealing glances at her son's birth mother, who came with them to our church's Halloween party. They were strange people. Odd. Peculiar at best.
One morning, I did my usual questioning of C-Mom6 about her peculiar family. J was there this time. We were in his office. While she was talking, all of a sudden, I literally saw a lightbulb go on in J. He was finally open to adoption. At the start of that 15-minute conversation, he was closed like Fort Knox. By the end, he was wide open to adoption.
I jumped on the adoption bandwagon immediately. That night, I officially interviewed C-Mom6 and her husband, P-Dad6. I searched the Internet, talked to people, made phone calls. I was shocked to find out so many of our church friends were adopted, had adopted, or knew of someone that was adopted.
We were signed up with the state agency, with the tribal adoption program, and I was investigating every possible agency in town and in state. There were no stones I planned to leave unturned.
There was this one agency in town that was insane! They required a FULLY open adoption. Like, you not only exchanged names and pictures, but you met regularly, and maybe even had the birth mom to your home! I wasn't closing any doors. I signed us up thinking I would 'say' we wanted open adoption then after it was finalized, we'd be like, 'see ya'! (Don't be a hater, I'm not the only one that thinks that way).
That agency required us to read a book called 'Children of Open Adoption' by Silber and Dorner. Well, I did. It was through this book, that I learned how important an on-going relationship with the birth parent(s) is for the adoptee. My child would be better off emotionally as an adult if we maintained a relationship with the birth parent(s). Well, if it's good for my child, I'm there. J not so much.
In late February 2003, I dragged J to a workshop presented by this renegade adoption agency. We fell in love with the organization. We were all about volunteering, which was the basis of the organization. They required their adoptive parents to volunteer a minimum of 100 hours before the adoption was finalized.
J even changed his mind on open adoption. By the end of the workshop, J was 'let her sleep over' where I was 'she can come to my house, but I don't talk to my mother every week, do I have to talk to her every week?' Once we grasped the concept and benefits of open adoption for our child, for us, and for the birth mother, we no longer felt the need to kick the girl to the curb after finalization.
That weekend, the agency director told us she needed our Dear Birthmother letter and lifebook to show to 2 girls who were pregnant. Yikes!! We hurried up and got it finished. J did it on the computer, so we were able to print off 2 copies.
A Dear Birthmother letter is basically your adoption resume. It is a brief synopsis of your lives growing up, in your family, and about your wedding and current life. The lifebook is a pictorial and minor editorial on how wonderful you are and why you would be the perfect parents for this girl's child. No pressure. Just get it right, or you don't get to be parents!
A little over a week later, we got a phone call from the agency director.