To celebrate National Adoption Month, a dear friend of mine graciously accepted my request to interview her about her adoption journey for Austin Moms Blog. It was an honor to sit down with her over coffee and hear her story. She first led us in prayer and then I listened as this fiercely private, deeply loving and strong soul shared her beautiful adoption experience.
Here is her adoption story:
After the physical and emotional pain of miscarrying, we decided to explore adoption. We found an agency¹ we trusted, and created the required profile. It’s like a resume that is given to birth mothers to help them decide which family they believe will be best for their child. It includes pictures and information about us, our home, friends, interests, upbringing and values (we made 20 copies of our profile).
With our adoption agency, we discussed three options: international adoption², domestic open adoption (birth parents and adoptive parents know one another’s identities with the potential of ongoing contact. Note, there is semi-open adoption as well) and domestic closed adoption. We chose an open adoption as our agency really recommended it and for our family, we supported the idea of exchanging letters, pictures and occasional meetings. We hoped to help shift the perception of adoption, especially for birth parents, as truly positive, brave and safe.
We began at number 25 on the list, and overall waited 9 months for our first child. This experience could be described as “waiting and dating.” The birth mother³ goes through the profiles that match her requests and then chooses to interview the prospective parents she thinks would be a good fit. We met and interviewed several birth mothers. I even helped one birth mother paint a room in her house. It’s painful when these potential relationships fall through. It’s heart breaking when an adoption falls through, beyond words. However, we held fast to our faith, knowing that God had a plan for us and our child.
To prepare for this life changing adventure, our agency guided us, provided us with access to social workers and we attended a 2-day workshop that led us through the key components of adoption from planning to parenting. I read Adoption Magazine as well. I learned a potential risk in the adoption process is a birth mother’s alcohol and drug abuse. Sadly, I found it was relatively common. I consulted many trusted resources and educated myself on this risk.
We then met the woman who would become the birth mother of our son. We went with her to doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds and began establishing a relationship. I was able to be in the room and witnessed our son being born via Cesarean section. There is a required 2-day waiting period and then he was legally our child (but he already had my heart).
A few years later, the experience was completely different with our second child. There was no “waiting and dating.” We received a call that a baby girl had been born! We immediately drove to meet her and her birth family. Our family of 4 was absolutely complete.
When each of our kids were 6 months old, we begin reading them their “adoption stories.” It is a lovingly made hard cover book starting with their first days on earth, with pictures of their birth families including captions with their moms’ names and how loved and wanted they are. It follows our journey from their first day at home, to settling into our forever family.
When our kids are ready to tell their friends about their adoption (which they have), they are completely prepared. If your child wants to know more about a friend whom they know is adopted, I recommend they ask, “I heard you’re adopted, can I ask you about this?” Prepare them for a “no” (just in case) and let them know they can try again another time.
Over the years, we have shared photos and had visits with our birth families. Both relationships with the birth mothers have been unique and sacred. Open adoption hasn’t always been easy, but we know we made the right decision for our family.
In reflecting on my experience, if I had to choose one word, it would be complex. Adoption is complex, but it has provided us the family God created for us.
I am continuously touched and awed by my friend’s bravery and love. She exemplifies making the world a better place for many.
Sending love and gratitude to all birth parents and families, adoptive parents and families, and the precious children in their care.
¹The agency my friend chose places 30-35 children per year, which is considered high.
²International adoption can be open as well.
³While birth fathers can absolutely (and are) involved, my friend’s experience only included birth mothers.
Another good resource is a book called You Can Adopt by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.