Consider the Blessings of an Open Adoption
My name is Laura Savel and I wanted to share with you our positive experience with open adoption. Before I begin, I must be truthful… three years ago when my husband and I first looked into adoption, anonymity seemed best, at least superficially.
After attending an adoption support group and reading a lot about open adoption, our views soon changed. I hope our story will help to dispel any fears you may be feeling. Here’s our story:
The phone rang Monday night a little after 10pm and the voice on the other end said, “Hi Frank and Laura, can you hear your son crying? He’s getting his first bath.” We both began to cry. The voice on the other end was Adam’s maternal grandma and she was calling us from the hospital delivery room. His birth mother, Nancy, then got on the phone. She sounded tired but was strong. We told her we loved her and would see her tomorrow. That night was definitely sleepless.
When we arrived at the airport, we were cheerfully greeted by Nancy’s parents and 2 ½ year-old son Anthony. We seemed to get comfortable with each other almost instantly, despite all our anxiousness. During the joint drive to the hospital, we discovered many uncanny coincidences between ourselves and our families. It was neat!
The moment was upon us, we were now to meet our son, Adam and his birth mom, Nancy. Looking back it was a bittersweet moment. Our dream of parenthood came true but at the expense of someone else’s loss. Nancy looked so beautiful with this child in arms, how could we take him away from her?
I struggled with these emotions and later discussed them with Nancy’s mom. She hugged me as I began to cry and said, “Don’t cry, we’re very grateful to have you and Frank as part of our family and you’ll make wonderful parents for Adam.” At this point, I felt truly bonded with Adam’s birth family. Even after all I’d read on open adoption, I didn’t expect it to be this grand.
That evening, after taking Adam back to the hotel, Nancy’s parents invited us over for dinner. We accepted and had a wonderful evening together while looking through and comparing photographs of the family to Adam. He bore a striking resemblance to his brother Anthony. We shared photos of our family with them as well.
The 12 days I spent in California was a Godsend (Frank 6 days). It allowed Nancy and I some “one on one” time to go shopping, out to lunch and just chum around together. Although I was excited to get home to my family, I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to my new extended family. So we said “See you in 6 weeks for the Christening.” Unfortunately, Nancy’s parents were unable to attend, but we had 5 very enjoyable yet seemingly short days with Nancy and Anthony at our home.
Immediately following the Christening we had an Adoption Thanksgiving Ceremony. The ceremony itself was to symbolize the unique bond we all shared. Frank wrote and recited a special prayer; Nancy picked out the beautiful poem, Mizpah, which she read; and our musical selections by John Denver, For Baby, and Let It Be, were sung by a friend who also played guitar; we also had a handprint of Adam on a piece of paper… we then each traced our hands around his handprint to symbolize our unique unity with one another. There weren’t many dry eyes that day, but we all have a very special memory to look back on.
God willing, we hope to see Nancy and her family soon. Until then, we will continue to send lots of pictures, occasional videos and monthly phone calls. God holds our futures in His hands and we pray that it includes a long and healthy relationship between all involved in this adoption triangle. Remember, there are varying degrees of openness and you must follow your heart and comfort level.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the endless and wonderful possibilities an open adoption can hold in store for you.
May God bless you all,
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
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