“Our relationship is very near and dear to my heart, and I sincerely love these women.
Their sacrifice allowed me to grow my family!”
Adoption relationships can be easily misunderstood, until you see them through the lives of actual adoptive families and birth parents who came together for a child’s adoption.
Today, we hear from Lifetime adoptive mother-in-waiting Emily; she shares about her relationships with their sons’ birth mothers. You’ll discover how open adoption allows for a flexible and respectful relationship between adoptive families and birth mothers!
“We’ve adopted two of our three children, so we have the joy of two additional relationships—with their birth mothers! While our relationship with each woman is quite different, I am forever thankful to both of them. The relationship that we have with the birth mothers of our two sons is very near and dear to my heart, as I sincerely love these women. Their sacrifice allowed me to grow my family! The Lord chose those two women to help grow our family, and as a result, we now have extended family through our children.
Our relationship with the birth mother of our first adopted son, William, began upon meeting her a few days after his delivery. It was a simple first meeting that included the agency, and after speaking with her a short while and praying for her, we promised to send updates and photos via the agency. However, this promise mutually and quickly evolved into communicating directly through private e-mail accounts. As we both reached out, on average every few months, we were able to stay connected, share, learn so much, and build a joyful relationship! Her emails were never filled with regret or remorse over her adoption decision, just love and genuine interest of the one thing that we had in common—a precious little boy that was now a part of both of our families.
Emailing eventually gave way to visiting in person and honestly, we were all quite nervous and emotional the first time. While we do not live near one another, we planned a visit while traveling and upon seeing and talking in person, it was such a memorable and exciting experience for all of us. Our family also met William’s half-siblings (twins, the same age as our oldest) during our first visit and it has continued to be a joy seeing all five of our children playing together!
We continue to communicate with William’s birth mom via e-mail on a regular basis, and try to visit in person approximately once a year. It is a joy sending photos to celebrate the milestones of William while in return reading about and seeing the life of his half-siblings. One of my favorite e-mails was when she told me “Happy Mother’s Day” and let us know that she was baptized and got married!
It is in sending the happy e-mails and photos to William’s birth mom that we are saddened in not having a relationship with the birth mother of our youngest son, Samuel. He was adopted through a last-minute situation, and even his birth mother was unaware of her pregnancy; we received a phone call about him a few hours after he was born and without hesitation, immediately welcomed him into our family.
Our sweet babe is close to 18 months now, and while we have attempted to reach out to his birth mother through the agency, the response has been minimal. We have sent her several photos and updates (just in case she does want them) to the agency, and in return, she did send her baby photo to share with Samuel. The photo is something we treasure; we can’t wait until Samuel is old enough to understand that photo is his birth mother’s baby picture—they look identical!
While we are saddened we haven’t been able to connect with Samuel’s birth mother and share milestones as we have done with William’s birth mother, we do not take her lack of interest personally. We understand and sincerely respect her ongoing decision to have space. Our agency recently heard from her, and she is very happy with the adoption placement. We regularly pray for her and despite whether or not the adoption remains closed, she will forever hold a close and special place in our lives.
The difference in our relationships with our sons’ birth mothers has prepared us for whatever the Lord has in store for our next adoption relationship and birth mother. We are thankful for all of the wonderful counseling and support that Lifetime offers birth mothers, as well as the opportunity to begin a relationship before our next child is born. We are certainly looking forward to our next child!”
You can learn more about Ryan and Emily’s current adoption journey on
their Lifetime Adoption website: bit.ly/RyanEmilyAdopt.
Let Lifetime help you explore open adoption! Learn more by contacting us, and get started by applying for free online.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.