It was a Mother’s Day that will never be forgotten for two adoptive couples! Each has been eagerly waiting to adopt a new baby and become parents. Each had said “Yes” to have their profile shown to a certain birthmother. And, each had their wish come true with a call on Mother’s Day!
The first couple thought the birthmother who was looking at profiles had some questions she wanted to ask them. After talking for a few moments, the question the birthmom asked to the adoptive mom was, “Are you ready to be a mother?” The adoptive mom responded “Yes,” not realizing that the birthmother was actually telling her that she had selected them to be the parents of her child, due in just a few short weeks! Once the birthmother told her she was asking them to be the parents of her unborn child, the adoptive couple was shocked and thrilled! They could hardly believe they had been selected! It was the best Mother’s Day ever!
In another situation, birthparents wanted the adoption agency to make the call and tell the adoptive couple they were selected. The birthparents selected them on Friday, but wanted them to be told on Mother’s Day. Again, it was like the adoptive parents had won 5 million dollars! Their joy was uncontainable! And, of course this gift was priceless!
Both birthparents had made their decision a day or two before, but felt it would be more special to tell the adoptive parents on Mother’s Day. It made both birthmothers so happy to know that they had made someone else so happy. It was a really great day for all!
This is the beginning of an adoption journey for birthparents, adoptive parents and child. This is the start of a relationship that will last forever and can be the most wonderful type of “extended family.” When an open adoption is done with respect, love and understanding, all parties benefit. The one who benefits the most is the child. The child knows that both sets of parents love him/her. The child learns from an early age about adoption and that his birthparents wanted the very best life for him/her.
As the child grows, having an open dialogue with birthparents becomes very important. When the child has a question, the answer can be found by contacting the birthparents. When the child wonders why he/she was placed for adoption, the birthparents can explain the situation going on in their lives at the time. It can be done in person, through letters, emails, Skype or on the phone. There are thousands of ways an open adoption can work and are working.
In most cases, birthparents set the plan. They put together a plan of openness and post-adoption contact that feels right to them. With most agencies, this is then put on paper and presented to adoptive parents waiting to adopt. If adoptive parents agree to the openness and post-adoption contact plan, and feel the situation is one that they feel good about, they approve for their profile to be shown to the birthparents. They also sign that they agree to honor and abide by the openness plan as outlined. In many states, post-adoption contact is a “good faith” agreement. In fewer states, it is law. In those states, failure to comply with the post-adoption contact as agreed upon could end up in a court case. The best advice is to decline a situation if you do not feel comfortable with the openness and post-adoption contact agreement. It is only fair to the birthparents but more importantly, the child.
For those who are waiting to adopt, be patient, be strong, open minded and loving. There will be a call, and no matter what the calendar says, that will be your Mother’s Day!