This article gave me insight into what it is like to have an Open Adoption plan with a birth mother—through her eyes. It is a seldom voiced truth that adoption is built on pain. The greatest joy I will receive, the birth of the child I will raise as my own, comes only after the birth mother experiences both the physical pain of childbirth and the emotional pain that can be expected when someone makes the decision to choose another person to raise their child. A child they loved enough to carry for 40 weeks.
How will I not cry when our precious baby is (finally) handed to us—when I know what it is like to carry a child in your body? When I know exactly what it is that she is giving me as a woman (and a mother) and giving up for herself?
We often talk about what the child receives by being placed for adoption. Birth parents typically choose adoptive parents who can offer them what they cannot, but want their child to have. Often it is two parents in a committed and stable relationship, financial security, and an education. But what about what they sacrifice in the process? It’s seldom acknowledged and I feel it should be respected.
That is not to say that I don’t believe in adoption. I certainly do. But in order to truly respect adoption, I have to look at it for what it is. It requires an incredible sacrifice from the birth mother and a tremendous leap of faith from the adoptive parent(s).
Just as people are each uniquely different I understand that the adoption experience can be uniquely different as well. There are some couples who enter into an Open Adoption plan only to discover that the birth parent after a time has moved on, whether through healing or a need to distance themselves. Other times there is a unique choreography that just works perfectly. Some test the waters through semi-open adoption plans and then find themselves having an Open Adoption plan later.
I have to admit that right now an Open Adoption plan scares me to death, though I am trying to be open minded to the thought of one. Big Daddy and I have much to discuss because I believe that through the gift of adoption we must also think of our child’s birth mother and how we can minister to her heart through this adoption. I believe we owe our future child’s birth parent that much. I want her to have closure and comfort in her decision even if it means some discomfort on my end. It is, after all, the other unspoken truth: adoptive mothers are fearful of the birth mother coming back and taking their child from them.
In speaking to a friend who adopted 34 years ago she shuddered and asked, “Do you have to meet the birth mother? I would never want to do that!”
I can understand her point. In some ways I’m very nervous about meeting our child’s birth mother. What if she decides she suddenly doesn’t like me? What if I say something she doesn’t like and then she changes her mind? What if she thinks I’m too quiet or too talkative; that I asked too many questions, or not enough. What if I look at her and start crying? What if I hold in my tears and she thinks I’m cold and heartless?
What if she looks me in the face one day and says, “I want X to start calling me Mama and you can be Mom because I’m his/her Mama too.”
And there it is. My greatest fear: That my child will not recognize me as their parent when they have access to their biological mother. I believe motherhood truly begins after the child is born. It is the daily parenting and care taking of a child that makes you their parent. I say this as a woman who gave birth to four children. I felt this truth after giving birth to our twin boys. Yes, I took excellent care of myself during my pregnancies and I believe it was important—but what truly defines me as their mother is everything I’ve done since that day. Isn’t it?
The very definition of faith is to trust in what you cannot see, rather than what you can.
I cannot see the entirety of God’s plan for our family through this adoption. At this moment I have no idea what our child’s birth parents are like or what circumstances surrounds this precious child’s conception or placement for adoption. I have no idea what they will require of me emotionally. Or what our child will require of them, if anything, at age 18.
But I am walking in faith and I am trusting that the One who knows all things has a plan that is perfect and all I have to do is believe.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Well, that and complete our mountain of paperwork and home study.
Please keep us in your prayers.