The reasons why women turn to adoption for their child: some are very young and know they can’t be a mom right now. Others are struggling to care for the child they’re currently parenting and just couldn’t give the care they want to give to another child. She may not have the resources or support in her life to parent, or maybe an unplanned pregnancy goes against her culture, religion, or morals. Today, Lifetime is sharing two women’s stories of how they came to choose open adoption for their babies.
Hailee is a birth mother who shares, “I gave my baby up for adoption when I was 22 years old. My pregnancy was unplanned, and I wasn’t able to support a child financially…plus, I didn’t think I was ready for the responsibility. It was a hard decision to make, but when my adoption worker explained open adoption, all of a sudden it seemed more possible and gentler. I learned that I could pick my baby’s adoptive parents, and know my child growing up.”
With open adoption, you keep in contact with the adoptive family and your child. There are different levels to open adoption: it could be very open, meaning you have face-to-face visits with the family. Or, maybe you have indirect contact through email, letters, photos, and social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. For the child in an open adoption, there are many benefits. They’re able to know you: where they came from. Because of that, they’re better able to understand and build their identity.
Ashley is 32 and chose adoption for her baby girl when she was 26 years old. “Between the lack of a support system because my family lives far away and the lack of support of my baby’s father, I didn’t have the kind of help that a single parent needs,” she explains. She’s kept in touch with her birth daughter, who’s now six years old, and the adoptive family.
“I’m part of my daughter’s life, and my role is respected by her adoptive family,” says Ashley. “They’ve given me a lot of say in our open adoption relationship. It’s changed over the years…in the beginning, it was lots of emails with pictures and updates to me, as well as visits every two or three months. As she grew up (and started to know me and who I was) we’ve had more and more face-to-face visits. I love that she will have the chance to ask me any questions she has, to know about her larger family, and most of all, to know I love her!”
“The openness of our adoption means that I know my daughter. My extended family knows her, too, and her adoptive parents have come to visit my family a few times. There is no confusion about who my daughter’s parents are, and that means we’re all free to love her. Her adoptive family’s happy to have love and care directed towards her from all these people.”
Are you considering adoption for your baby or child? Have questions? Email us at Lifetime Adoption or call us at 1-800-923-6784. That number is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week…contact us anytime.
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.