National Adoption Month is a month to celebrate adoption and learn more about it from all angles. This week we learn about what adoption looks like for one adoptee in a true open adoption. This is her experience, and while it may be different from other adoptee’s this is what she experienced living in a very open adoption.
Eliza Eastman-Jepson is a college student majoring in Early Childhood Education. Eliza was adopted when she was two months old by Jennifer through Adoptions From The Heart. Eliza’s birth mother, Tammy, met Jennifer during her pregnancy and they both decided that they wanted to keep Eliza’s adoption as open as possible. Jennifer was a single woman ready to start her family when she was blessed with Eliza, she has since married and Eliza was officially adopted by Jennifer’s husband when she was 14.
Eliza has three birth siblings: 24-year old Jillian, 17-year old Nicholas, and 8-year old Caylee. None of her birth siblings were placed for adoption. At the time of Eliza’s birth, Tammy was in a situation that did not allow her to raise Eliza the way that she hoped she would be raised. Because of the openness of her adoption, Eliza was able to grow up having a great relationship with her birth siblings and her birth mother. Eliza has been able to see from her birth mother’s perspective why she had been placed and how much Tammy loves her.
Eliza considers herself lucky because she grew up knowing her birth mother and having her in her life as well as having her mother and father love and support her every decision. She believes that she was blessed with the opportunity of having two wonderful families, both of whom she “loves with all her heart.” Eliza cannot imagine ever having a closed adoption. Thanks to Tammy, AFTH, Jennifer, and the commitment to keep the adoption open, Eliza does not have to wonder where her roots are, what her birth mother is like or looks like, etc. When Eliza has a medical question, she is lucky enough to only be a phone call or a short hour drive away from Tammy who is able to answer any questions Eliza may have.
A few years ago Eliza had some problems with addiction that her parents Jennifer and Chris had no experience with. Jennifer, Chris and Tammy all came together to support Eliza and since Tammy had an understanding of what Eliza was experiencing they all felt that living with Tammy for a time might be in her best interest. Jennifer and Chris visited Eliza several times a week and the communication between Tammy and Jennifer flowed freely in the best interest of Eliza. Eliza feels that this experience really helped to strengthen the bond between her families and she benefited from the love and strength of both.
Eliza recently celebrated her 19th birthday with both of her amazing families. Eliza is so grateful for Adoptions From The Heart, her parents, and her birth mother for making the decisions that they did to allow Eliza to enjoy this beautiful life and family that she is surrounded by. “Just wanted to share my success story so that other women who are considering adoption will consider Adoptions From The Heart. Thank you so much for the opportunity to have my mother and my birth mother. I am so happy to have both of these amazing, loving, and fantastic moms in my life.”
See the second part of this story, The Adoption Triad: The Adoptive Parent Perspective 1 week from now on December 4, 2013