Becky and her husband, Tony, have been blessed to welcome two sons to their family through adoption, their youngest, coordinated by Good Shepherd. Here, she shares some insights and knowledge she gained on the way to parenthood.
How has your understanding about openness in adoption changed through working with Good Shepherd? Initially, I didn’t know what to expect with an open adoption. I was thinking maybe it meant a visit once a year and sending some pictures, but I learned that birth moms can create an openness agreement that states their desires in terms of visits, the kind of relationship, photos, and frequency. Prospective adoptive parents can think ahead about the type of openness they want. Adoption counselors can help birth moms and prospective adoptive parents navigate this openness agreement, so the birth mom’s wishes are honored.
What has creating an openness agreement looked like in your experience? Our adoption worker discussed the openness plan with us and the expectant parent separately, before the baby was born. We then came up with an agreement we both could keep, which included one visit a month for the first year and then quarterly after that. In the 18 months since, we’ve had the challenge of Covid and still have been able to hold regular, in-person visits and share photos via text almost weekly.
What was it like when you were matched and when the birth mom ultimately made her decision? There are so many feelings for us as prospective adoptive parents. When we were matched, we were just so excited and interested in becoming parents, but we didn’t want to come across as greedy or pushy. It’s fully a birth mom’s decision to make, and so we didn’t know for sure what her decision would be. She had two days in the hospital to be with her baby. She gave us time to hold him, too, but not until the day after he was born. She ended up signing the papers to terminate her parental rights. We met in the hospital lobby after she was discharged, and she placed her baby into our arms to take home and parent.
What would you like expectant parents to know as they consider making an adoption plan? Birth parents may be asking if adoptive parents can really love their baby as much as they would their own biological child. The answer is, “Yes! Your baby will be LOVED!” I know the love I have for my baby through adoption. I went through my own journey of loss because I couldn’t have a biological child. I have longed for a child. I waited years for this child. I believe I am more patient and more grateful as a parent because of my journey to becoming a mother. Our son’s birth mom has shared with us when she visits that she can see how happy he is. She’s glad she made this decision and comments every time she sees him that, “He’s so happy!”