Open Adoption: A birthmother’s real story
Watch a 7-minute movie of a real adoption story — Adoptive mom Lisa and birth mother Jessica have something in common: David, their son. In this touching video, both women share their experiences of going through the adoption process from different perspectives.
J: It was very emotional in the beginning having that amount of openness, um, because it’s like you, you’re informed but at the same time removed. So, finding that happy medium where everyone…
L: Where everybody’s feeling comfortable.
J: Yes. Where everyone’s comfortable with the levels and the conversations are easy.
L: We are David’s moms. David’s adopted mom and birth mom.
J: We are here today because we just love to hang out at this beach together. This is a great way for us to catch up and to see David as he’s growing up and what an awesome young man he’s turning out to be.
L: We’re here for the annual FIA picnic. We come up every July. No matter where we are we all find a way to get here in July so that we can spend some time together. So, Jess can see how David is growing and David can see Jess and keep building his relationship with her… and us too. We enjoy his visit too.
J: Yeah. Lots of catching up. Right now, this is the only time per year that we get to see each other because I’m all the way in Colorado and it’s quite the haul. So, we really, we bank a lot on this day because it is really the one day we all get to spend together and have fun and enjoy each other’s company… So, the first year of openness was tricky to navigate but then after that and after the first couple picnics and the first birthday, it was like we had it down pat.
L: Having a different experience going in you know, it was very similar for both of us where I wasn’t sure who to talk to, you weren’t sure how to talk to me or how open we could be and it just took time and lots of conversations… emails. You know, it just took the passage of time for us to figure out what was okay and how much openness was okay with each other.
J: When I originally thought about the concept of adoption, I did not consider openness to be a factor at all. I had no issue with it being closed. I didn’t think there was any other option for me and then the information through FIA told me there was another option and I was happily convinced otherwise that there was another way to do it and I’m so glad that I chose that route, chose the open route because there’s so much that can happen from there. So much family that can grow from that.
L: The key to making openness work is
J: Absolutely. To be completely honest with the other people involved and to figure out together what works and what doesn’t and it’s going to be different for everyone but we figured out what works for us.
L: And when one of us is going through a rough patch and needs something from the other, then just being honest with that person… yeah. You just said the same thing.
J: Mhm… It was a really easy decision actually to place David for adoption. It was really the only solution for my situation at the time. I found out very late that I was pregnant and FIA was there with open arms and it was great. I had all the support I needed and um, it made a very tough decision very thoughtful and easy and kind of intuitive.
L: For David, I think the best part about this relationship is that for him there are no mysteries. Um, he knows exactly who his birth mom is. He knows that Jessica is here, that she loves him unconditionally and that if ever he has questions for her or just needs her in any way she’s here. She is a phone call away and he knows that. He’s only five and he very much knows who he is.
J: He could educate others on open adoption because he knows every facet of it.
L: He does! And he does educate people.
J: I was truly looking for a family that I felt most closely resembled my own and so that when I chose them I would see him grow up with the same values that I grew up with…. The biggest message I could give to specifically birth mothers trying to come to this decision about openness in an adoption is to be as honest as you possibly can be with yourself and be honest with the agency and everyone involved about what your desires are for your child and um, things will work out in the best way they can. As long as you’re honest.
L: For adoptive parents, the advice I would give them is also the same, honesty. You have to- and patience and trust, to go into things with an open mind and an open heart because maybe openness might look scary from the outside going in but once you’re there and you’ve navigated that territory, there’s nothing scary about it and the rewards that come from openness are just so huge and just worth it that you have to take that leap of faith and go with it.
L: For David, I hope very simply happiness with his life and with himself. That he’s comfortable with who he is and how he came into the world and into our lives.
J: I hope for David that he will have every opportunity afforded to him.