Our Family

Our Family

Monday, July 3, 2017

Opening Up to Love

Has it really been over a year since I’ve updated the blog? I read something once about the people who are happy and content with their lives are off living it and don't take time to write about it.  I guess that's true because I haven't done a very good job of keeping my blog updated.  We have recently had a major change in our adoption story, and I thought it was time to update.

Open adoption is a new subject to many people.  It's a scary topic to most people outside of the adoption world, but is becoming part of life for many within that world.  You see, most in that world have researched and read (and researched and read) and have discovered that many times, when safe, it's in the child's best interest.

Our adoption was semi open for about the first two years.  We sent updates and pictures to the agency, who would then forward them to Sarah's birthmom, T.  Late last year, Jon and I began talking about the possibility of opening up our adoption.  We decided in February that we would offer to open up the adoption if T wanted.  She did and within a few weeks, we were texting each other.  In April, we met face to face for the first time and again on Mother's Day.  We have continued to text each other, usually at least weekly or more. This past Saturday, we were blessed to be able to meet more of Sarah's birth family at a birthday party for her cousin. 

Let's pause for a minute.  I don't consider myself exactly a social butterfly.  If I know the people around me, yes, I can talk nonstop and it may seem like there's no shy bone in my body.  However, put me in a room full of people I don't know or even people I'm acquaintances with, but don't know well, and I very well may clam up.  Even around some (not all) of Jon's family, I feel so uncomfortable sometimes that I will stay to myself and not say much. I'm not great at "starting" the conversation with people I don't know well, but once I know you, it's difficult to get me to shut up sometimes. Unpause.

I can't really explain it to anyone outside the adoption world, but I feel a connection to Sarah's birth family that I can't describe.  The immense love we feel for T and her family is beyond explanation.  I want to share those feelings with others, but I have found that almost no one understands.  You would think going into a room where you barely know anyone would be extremely uncomfortable - but it wasn't.  It felt like sitting around with family.  Now, don't get me wrong - my stomach was in knots and I was very nervous before we got there - I mean, what if they don't like us?  But once we walked in, everything settled and we felt at ease.  Family is the best way to describe it, at least for us.

One of the toughest things for me to get used to is reactions from others. I'm a pretty open book with our lives, especially when something exciting is going on.  I want to share it with others.  However, I'm having to learn that most of our friends and family don't share the excitement of open adoption with us.  Most of them haven't "researched and read" enough to understand why we chose to open our adoption and, if they're honest, they probably think we're crazy.  It actually caught me off guard at first hearing unsupportive comments; however, after doing a bit more research, I found that almost all families in open adoptions hear the exact same thing.  I've come to realize it is mostly coming from a lack of knowledge and understanding.  I've just had to learn to not be offended when someone else isn't as excited about it as we are. 

I know that we are still new at all of this, but I can't speak highly enough of open adoption at this point.  If you're in the process of trying to adopt (especially domestic infant adoption), please keep an open mind and do your research.  If you have family or friends who are in an open adoption or pursuing one, please keep an open mind.  While you may not have done research, please remember the family you know likely has and isn't going into their decision(s) blind.

I started this blog as a way to keep record of our adoption journey.  If you read back through some of my previous posts, you'll see a glimpse of the emotions that come along with adoption, from a hopeful adoptive parent's viewpoint.  I can honestly say now that every single day of that wait was worth it.  I now know it was necessary to wait those three years because we didn't just need a child - we needed THIS child.  We weren't just waiting for a baby - we were waiting for our Sarah.