For those of you that have been following this parade of great guest bloggers I thought I might surprise you today. It’ me! I actually wrote a post! Actually its less of a post and more of publication. That’s right, I had an article published in a national magazine. And this one has more than 100 readers!
That’s right, I’ve been published. If any of you remember my Dying Day post you may know the story behind my family. Its an amazing story I think. Well the following article was written for a magazine published by our adoption agency, Bethany Christian and their publication, Lifelines. They were looking for actual stories (reality TV goes paper) on Open Adoptions from a Dad’s Perspective. So, never shy behind a key board and feeling completely blessed about our own experience, I wanted to share our story with others.
Open adoptions seem to be the adoption of the future. Really, there is no better way. If you have ever heard stories of adoptions gone bad I think most of them revolve around hiding the truth from the kids. When the kids find out later in life or from someone other than their parents, feelings get hurt, confusion sets in and then anger.
But I’ll get off my soap box before I really get started. If you are interested in learning about how open adoptions operate and our story specifically read on. And thanks! This is really a big deal to me because of the two wonderful families that have allowed us to have our own family.
A Dad’s Perspective: Our Journey Though Open Adoption
My wife, Sabrina, and I got married in 1996. About eight years later, we wondered why she had never gotten pregnant, so we went to a gynecologist and found out it was impossible for us to conceive naturally. Undaunted, we went down the uncertain road of IVF procedures. Anyone who has been down this road knows how emotional the trip can be—with extremely happy highs and tearful lows, not to mention the agony of giving your wife shots a few times a day.
Feeling frustrated amid our third IVF attempt, we attended a local adoption information meeting. Sabrina felt we were meant to adopt; I wasn’t so sure. Call me crazy, but as we left that meeting, I saw a rainbow in my rearview mirror. That was my sign, and so our adoption journey began.
We researched adoption programs and agencies and chose Bethany. We went to meetings, paid the fees, got our physicals, and completed the paperwork. We were ready to start our family!
Probably the best advice we got along this journey was not to paint the new baby’s room just yet. It was a year later when we got our first call that some birthparents wanted to meet us.
Sabrina and I were nervous before our first meeting, but it left us more worried than excited. One of the birthparents had some emotional disorders that we knew could emerge as their son got older. With no training about or prior exposure to these disorders, we reluctantly decided this was not the adoption for us. We wondered, Was this part of God’s plan or did we just sabotage it? We had waited so long!
Our First Adoption
A month later, we received another phone call. We met a quiet, pretty young lady. The meeting went smoothly with the help of the adoption specialist. We really liked the expectant mom but felt like we had botched the interview.
A few days later, we received a second phone call saying that the expectant mom wanted to meet us again. That meeting went fine, and we laughed and cried together. Her reason for getting together was to establish ground rules for an open adoption.
The expectant mom wanted us to send her photos frequently. She was a sweet, Christian young lady, and she needed to be sure that she was making the right decision. If all it took to realize our dream was to e-mail some pictures, it was an easy decision for us. What ever it takes, we thought.
Some people ask us why we said yes to an open adoption. We say, “Why not?” Try to put yourself in the shoes of the birthmother. To say this is a “life-altering” decision is an understatement. As I see it, adoption is an act of love and selflessness for these women. They love their children more than they love themselves. That’s what great mothers do. If we were to ruin that equation by being selfish as adoptive parents, what message would that send to our kids?
Have I told you how wonderful our two daughters are? We adopted our second child through open adoption in 2010 from another special young lady.
All that waiting. All those tears. It all was worth it. What a wonderful plan God had for us. Our daughters are awesome! Each day we tell them how much we love them and thank God for his gifts.
The More Love, the Better
Our journey continues to evolve. We feel like we expanded our family twofold, and the girls are the benefactors. Can you imagine growing up with four grandmothers? What could be better to a child at Christmas?
Our relationship with each birthfamily is unique. One family calls and visits more often. The other e-mails and sends gifts in the mail. But when they send gifts, both families send packages for both girls! These families have embraced us as parents. They do not intrude. They do not preach to us about how to raise our kids. They are simply happy to be included in the process.
Both birthgrandmothers are wonderful ladies, and we feel blessed to have them in our lives too. They love our children so much. One of the grandmothers caught us off guard when she said, “You are like family to us now.” Wow! The more love the better!
When our daughters receive gifts and cards in the mail, we try to explain who they are from. We save and date the cards to show them at a later time. We tell them that the ladies who sent them love them very much.
We will explain open adoption to our daughters at the right time. To us it is not a moment but an ongoing conversation. You answer the questions as they come up and at a level they understand. The adoptions are not to be seen as dark or dramatic moments. Its more about how God put our family together. We actually have a “Family” cheer we do at the dinner table! We speak openly to friends about adoption in front of the girls, so when the subject comes up the girls will not be unfamiliar with it.
We are not sure what the future holds. It comes on so fast and can change in many ways. We do hope to stay in touch with our birthfamilies. We want to share birthdays and milestones with them. My personal hope is that, as we get older / they get older, our girls will know and be close to each birthmom. They can be a source of “family”, moms and siblings, after we are gone. The more love the better!
We will always be indebted to our two birthmothers for entrusting their children to us. And we thank God for our wonderful journey, and we will be sure that our daughters know that He brought us all together.
~ So that’s our story. The original article was over 1500 words and they asked me to edit down to 900 for the page size. Most of the edit part dealt with the future for our girls. If you would like to see the actual version of this article click on this link and turn to pages 32 and 33. I loved the illustrations they did! That’s right, they still shoved my article in the back of the magazine. But its a start!
PS: Our story continues to evolve. We have been blessed with two wonderful birthmoms and families in our lives.
This past Sunday my wife and I were joined by one of our daughter’s birth grandmothers and grandfathers. We shared a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant. Our youngest was held and hugged so much. She smiled and smiled. It was so great to see her so happy. She continues to glow today. And as we tried to pack our clan in the car, after we said our ‘good-byes’, these two wonderful people came walking over with life size bags of gifts for both our girls. See for yourself. The more love the better…