Adoption journey

Over the past year, the Lord has been growing, teaching, and challenging our family in so many ways! We are responding to the Lord's leading and are expanding our family through the adoption of a precious baby!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Open Adoption

Many people that know us and know about our adoption have asked or said to us, 
  • "Did you really want an open adoption?" 
  • "What is the difference between and open and closed adoption"
  • "I think if I ever adopted, I would want a closed adoption."
  • "What exactly does an open adoption look like?" 

To those who have asked... 
I am so glad you did because I enjoy getting to share about the blessing of our open adoption!

Closed adoption is history
Decades ago, closed adoptions were the norm. Adoption agencies encouraged closed adoptions and many people used to hide the fact that children were adopted. In closed adoptions, there was no shared information or history much less contact or relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents. This perspective did not take into account the possibility that birth parents still love their child, or that the child may one day want or need to know their birth parents, biological history and heritage. 
Why Open Adoption?
Thankfully adoption specialists saw the error in this thinking, and open adoption is more of the norm today. There are exceptions, where open adoption is not safe or possible (see disclaimer). Also, sometimes birth mothers choose to have a closed adoption, and then adoptive parents have no choice in the matter (except to pray for her and ask God to grow that relationship in His time). There are also some adoptive parents who think that they want a closed adoption, because they don't want to deal with uncomfortable relationships/conversations or they truly don't understand what an open adoption can mean (for all parties involved). 
Do Your Own Research
As we read many adoption books (Dear Birth Mother, The Connected Child, Whole Life Adoption Book) and had conversations about adoption, the more we realized that an open adoption is the most selfless and beneficial type of adoption for all parties (our child, the birth mother, and us). It is important for the child's well being and we want our son to know where he came from, his biological heritage, as well as our family's heritage. We want him to see who he looks like (because he looks a lot like his birth mother:), to know where he got his love for drawing and art, and to ultimately know his roots. We want him to feel free to ask questions, have correspondence with and someday meet his birth mother, while feeling our full support and encouragement in these endeavors. 
Every open adoption looks different
Many people have questions about open adoption and what that means... keep asking! We'd love to dialogue with you!! Every open adoption is different, and there are several different levels of openness which are determined by adoptive and birth parents in each situation. In open adoptions, some share only first names, some meet only once or twice before birth, others email/text back and forth, and some have ongoing person to person visits. Some open adoptions, where physical contact with a birth parent would be detrimental to child's well being (see disclaimer), may just mean sharing the story and history of their birth parents with the child in an age appropriate manner. One of the beauties of open adoption is that it can be designed to fit each family's specific desires, as well as change and grow as adoptive and birth parents get to know each other. 

Our little sweetie
Our Adoption
We are blessed with an open adoption, and have a great relationship and ministry with our son's birth mother. Our open adoption began with a lunch meeting one month before he was born. We began our emailing relationship and have continued to email and share pictures and stories back and forth. We've even created a special blog for his birth mother to follow along with his growth. His birth mother loves him very much and looks forward to seeing him someday and we hope to have a face-to-face visit with her in the future. As Timothy grows up, I'm so thankful to have a relationship with his birth mother. She is a huge part of his identity, and he looks a lot like her too! I'm thankful that we'll be able to connect him to that part of his history and heritage in the years to come.

*Disclaimer: The majority of this conversation is aimed at private adoption, where birth parents choose an adoption plan. In other adoption cases, where parental rights may have been terminated by the state for the safety of the child, open adoption is either not possible or it takes on a completely different meaning. In instances where birth parents are in prison, no longer living, reside in a foreign country, or are a threat to the child, open adoption may simply mean sharing as much as possible about the child's biological family history and adoption story in an age appropriate manner. 

I LOVE to hear adoption stories!! We are still learning and would love to hear how other adoptive parents relate to and communicate with their child's birth parent(s).

Monday, November 11, 2013

What November 11th means to me

While I am enormously thankful for our Veterans and for all that they sacrificed for our freedom, November 11th has a different meaning for me. In 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918 (95 years ago), my Maw Maw was born. This is my first November 11th without Maw Maw here on this earth. I want to remember and honor her on this day, her birthday.

Due to the historical significance of the time and day she was born, she was named Liberia (for Liberty). She was the youngest and only girl who long outlived her 6 older brothers. I always enjoyed hearing her stories from when she was young and about her brothers and Mother. She more recently compared me to her mother, because I have a house full of boys like her mother.

Maw Maw and Paw Paw were always the most incredible examples of love for the Lord, love for each other, and love for others. I remember hearing them call each other the sweetest names and seeing them serve each other so well. They were our prayer warriors; we could trust that every morning Maw Maw was reading God's Word and praying for her little chick-a-dees:) I'm sure her and Paw Paw's prayers are much of the reason we are where we are today! She prayed for our boys and our adoption... I wish she could have met our sweet Timothy, whom she prayed for over many months.

They also loved their families and others so well! I'm thankful for all the Sunday lunches that we shared together at her house when I was a kid, as well as the many other everyday occasions we shared at her house. Whenever we went to their home, we knew we would get a sweet treat or bowl of ice cream:) My memory of Sept, 11, 01, was finding out about the twin towers, seminary classes getting cancelled, then going to pick up salad's from Mr. Ed's and having lunch with my sweet Maw Maw.

Maw Maw supported and served Paw Paw so well and set an example for all of her children and grandchildren. I'm so thankful for my family history and the legacy they left. While we enjoyed hearing stories of our strong Paw Paw once lifting a New Orleans street car back onto its tracks, we also heard numerous stories of Paw Paw sharing the love of Christ with so many while being a city bus driver and street car driver. He loved all people, no matter race/ethnicity. When public transportation began the process of desegregation, unfortunately many people did not comply and agree to work or train people of other races. Paw Paw stood firm in his faith and love for others and was the only one who stepped across racial lines to openly welcome and train people, from other races, in public transportation. What a legacy of love!

Maw Maw and Paw Paw were both incredible grandparents who loved the Lord with all their heart. I'm thankful for their love and example. I miss them dearly, but look forward to worshiping our Lord and King along side them one day!

Happy birthday Maw Maw!! I'm sure you're having a great one this year in heaven!!