So, I have been thinking a lot lately about openness in adoption. Probably because I feel like this is one the biggest ways we have failed our daughter on this journey. When we entered the domestic infant process six years ago we had a lot of fear and concerns about ongoing contact. We were afraid she would want to come and get her child (which I am sure she did because of the love she had for her) and we were afraid for reasons that had more to do with US then they did with our daughter or her birth mom. After many experiences working in adoption over the past four years, and many conversations with our daughter I have come to the realization that openness is not something to be feared. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of situations where it would not be healthy for the child. There are many situations where the brokenness is too much and it would be detrimental … but really, many situations would not bring harm to the child to have knowledge and ability to have contact with birth family.
Like many of you I am sure, I have some tough family situations within my immediate family and my husband’s family. We have had to navigate and forge through things that we wished we didn’t have to. But you know what? We forge through because it is family and when you have family you set boundaries and you do your best to love. I am convinced after having our daughter home for five years now, having openness with her birth mom would have been much easier than some of the family interactions we are somewhat continually forced to have … because they are family. We have had to navigate and protect our children from some of the decisions of those very close to us. And we do that because it is family and Christ calls us to love. We long to have contact with her now, and are trying to get that established but have yet to be successful. You see, we closed the door on it to her when she asked for it after placement. We locked up, went into FEAR mode and decided not to allow direct ongoing contact. We made a decision that likely will affect our daughter for her whole life. I am grateful that we have been able to gain the perspective that we have, but wow, I wish we could return to that day over five years ago when we opened that card from her realizing her wish. Oh how we failed …
If you are in the adoption process and have the opportunity for openness … please consider fully the benefits of this. Please don’t do as we did and think in the moment, reacting in fear. Realize that someday (for us it was about age 2 ½ to 3) your child will likely ask about his/her birth parents, and may ask to see them. Please don’t have yourselves in the situation we do where we will have to fully share with her someday that we were afraid to have contact. So silly, afraid of what? Afraid of another person to love on her? Afraid that she might want to be a part of our lives? As Christ followers why wouldn’t we want to have that? Why wouldn’t we want to help in our daughter’s birth mother’s healing? Why couldn’t we see that it actually may also benefit our daughter in her healing of grief and loss on the adoption journey? As we are now in the international adoption process, we may not have the opportunity to meet any of her birth family …. I so hope and pray that is not the case. My prayer is that we can see beyond ourselves this time and realize that the fear we experienced was not from Christ, it was from the one who seeks to destroy.
This Christmas I hope our daughter’s sweet birth momma has achieved more healing than she had last Christmas. My prayer is that she will respond to our desire to see her and have our daughter meet her. Most of all, I hope that whatever God wants us to do in this scenario … we obey Him!
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16 ~