Adoption: Semi-Open

I rarely get “serious” on my HMMC blog. This is a serious post. If you are in the mood for the usual lighthearted wit, just skip this week’s post. 

Adoption is UGLY! There I said it. Before you gasp in horror just know that I LOVE adoption. I am in awe of adoption. I am aware of the beauty of adoption. I am aware of the dark sides of adoption. I know how hard it is to be a waiting family. I also know firsthand how hard it is to be an adoptive family. One would think that once you get your child into your home & the adoption becomes legally finalized that the roller coaster of emotions would stop and you’d be on the downhill slope.

WRONG.

Our adoption journey was more than just finding our son. Our journey has and continues to push us to our limits. Our journey has given Jimmy and I a bond like no other. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  Our adoption journey hasn’t ended and never will. While our adoption was a little a-typical for domestic adoption, (We didn’t adopt a newborn/infant, we didn’t adopt from foster care, and we didn’t adopt from a family member. Yet, we adopted a 2 year old little boy.) one thing that is more typical is that we agreed to a semi-open adoption. This means that we agree to send pictures and updates on a set schedule. We agreed that if Q was emotionally and psychologically up to visits, we would do those as well.

Nobody’s adoption journey is the same. Nobody’s semi-open adoption is the same. Everyone has a different agreement, relationship, and expectations.  Closed is pretty cut and dry. Open is exactly what it sounds like (Though I imagine there is grey area and a lot of boundaries being set in that world too). You make this agreement and define on paper what your semi-open adoption is going to look like and its pretty cut and dry for legal purposes. The problem is that paper is just that…a dead tree…emotionless, flat, and stark white. Adoption involves people…people with emotions. Adoption is ever changing….feelings change, time passes, maturing takes place, situations change. Semi-open adoption isn’t stark white….there is so much grey area.

I’ve never been faced with the decision to place my child for adoption. I’ve never experienced that pain and grief. While I can imagine what it must feel like, I can’t say I know what birth parents go through because I don’t. I can imagine they want to know their child is happy, safe, healthy, and loved. I can imagine that they look forward to the updates and visits, if those are part of the agreement. I can imagine they NEED these updates and visits to feel a connection to their child and to get tangible proof that they made the right decision.

So why do I think adoption is ugly? Because I really don’t deal with stress and anxiety well. I hate the flood of emotions, stress, and anxiety I feel when I get a random-out-of-the-blue email from our attorney letting us know that Q’s birth parents would like an update before the next scheduled one. On one hand, I can only imagine their grief and heartache. As a mom, I can understand the need to know he is okay. On the other hand, I have to protect my family, our feelings, and our future. We can’t promise to give them more than we know we can. We made the agreement and promised to uphold it because we knew that was what we could 100% commit to. We are not bad or mean people, we are real parents who are trying to navigate this adoption journey to the best of our ability. We are parents who love our child wholeheartedly and just want what is best for him. There isn’t a clear cut right and wrong way of doing things. There are so many “what ifs” and “is this the right thing in the here and now?” and “are we going to regret this decision in the future?” type questions that it just gets me in a ball of ugly emotions. I want so badly to do what is best for Quin and our family and his future. I want so badly to honor his birth parents. I wish I had a crystal ball and could see the future and know how our decisions today will impact tomorrow. Unfortunately, that isn’t how life works. So instead, I am left with the questioning, the hard decisions, and the ugly “what ifs” that will keep me up at night.

I know that everyone involved, in our situation specifically, want 100% what is best for the blonde haired blue eyed boy in the middle of all this. I know that we all put aside our personal thoughts, feelings, emotions and focus on the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and well being of our baby. I know that we will continue to navigate this journey. I know this journey will continue to have ups and downs. Adoption is one of the most awe inspiring things I have ever been apart of. I am so thankful for adoption. I am a huge adoption advocate. I LOVE adoption. So please, when I say I adoption is ugly, just know I don’t really think that. Adoption is beautiful.

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