“So which one is the mother?” the questioner was most persistent. There we sat, my husband, my daughter, and her birth mom. We were eating lunch together during one of the pre-arranged meetings we’d agreed upon as we worked together to create an adoption plan before my daughter was even born. “I am,” I answered, wondering if any hurt feelings would result. “Then who’s she?” the waitress persisted, pointing at my daughters birth mother. “She looks just like your baby.”
At a loss for words, my daughters birth mother looked uncomfortable around the table. “Why, she’s a very, very special person in my daughters life.” I finally answered the inquisitive woman, who then left us in peace. As I looked around the table, I realized that not only was my daughters birth mother smiling, but she was grateful to me for so accurately defining her role in my daughters life.
This anecdote, courtesy of a mother of three, all adopted through open adoption, is a wonderful description of how open adoption is working for so many families. Though it’s almost impossible to imagine this busy, nuturing and fulfilled woman as anything but a mother, it is not that long ago that she and her husband were beginning their adoption journey.
They were unsure if open adoption could work for them. They had reservations- would the birth mother be able to “let go” or would she and her extended family expect to be adopted too? Would the birth parents have all the control in this equation? Would they wait forever? Three kids later, they know that open adoption works.
Their relationship with their children’s birth mothers have been exactly what they decided upon as they worked with each birth mother to create an adoption plan. It is a level of contact that is comfortable with all parties and were that ever to change, the adoptive parents would be very comfortable making any needed adjustments.
They adopted their first child within one year of their profile being placed in the agency’s books and the longest they have waited for a placement is just two years. For this family , like countless others, open adoption is working just fine.