Colin, a senior in High School, shares his experiences growing up as child who was adopted through open adoption.
Dolores: We are Dolores and Gary, Colin’s adoptive parents.
Colin: The first time I remember talking about adoption was with my parents when I was like 6 or 7 when I actually started to understand what it was and who the people in my life, who they were.
Patti: When I found out I was pregnant, I was 17, and immediately I knew that I was going to make an open adoption plan. I knew that I was definitely not ready to parent, definitely not ready to say goodbye, and it seemed like the perfect option. I prayed and hoped that Colin would know that it was based in love.
Shane: I would have fought as hard as I could to try and provide for him but I think my best parenting choice was making sure that he had the best place to be and Gary and Dolores, you couldn’t ask for better people.
Gary: Open adoption, unfortunately, can’t happen in every circumstance, but we were very very fortunate in the two amazing people that were placed in our lives.
C: When I was younger, I used to play Frisbee with Patty a lot, and Shane’s taught me a lot of things like how to fish. That was a little bit before like, I understood who Patty and Shane were.
D: We started talking about adoption before he started asking questions, when he was a baby, so that it wouldn’t be this big scary thing. He knew he was adopted right from the beginning but what that meant to him changed.
C: Open adoption, there’s a lot more trust and a lot more transparency. I have gone through a lot of like, pain and a lot of confusion and being able to talk to my birth parents has been really like, really helpful to me.
P: There have been times when Colin had specific questions surrounding his placement.
C: I’d always ask them, like, why did you do it, why did you put me up for adoption?
P: And we were able to talk on the phone, and I thought, it’s time for us to delve into some of the more complex parts of adoption.
C: It was hard for me at first, but now I understand, like, I’m the same age pretty much that my birth parents were when I was born and I couldn’t possibly take care of a baby right now.
C: I am overjoyed to see my birth parents. We could talk for hours. Being comfortable with talking to my birth parents is a huge thing.
P: I always feel nervous when I haven’t seen Colin in a while, but within a few minutes it feels natural again and you remember, oh, we love each other, and we’re family.
D: It’s really interesting having them both at his graduation party. If you had asked me at the beginning, “Well, would you like to have Colin’s birth parents at his high school graduation?”, I would have said, “That’s gonna be weird!” But it was great. It was really, great.
G: It’s like when you get married and you love somebody and you marry them and you have a new family. And now we have two other families that are now part of our family.
S: All Colin’s little brothers look up to him.
C: I don’t say half brothers or half-sisters just because it’s like saying it’s only half the amount of love or whatever and I consider them my brothers and sisters.
P: If closed adoption were the only option, I don’t think I would have chosen that because I would not have been able to reinforce to him how much I loved him. I would have worried that he was out there in the world feeling rejected. He’s proud of it, he’s happy with it. He’s not ashamed.
C: My family is twice as big and twice the amount of love, and it’s just amazing. I love it.