We had considered openness in an adoption, but never had we thought we would have gone as open as we did. I tried to research possible outcomes with having an open adoption, and there just isn’t a lot of information to find.
When B was just 1 week old, we were encouraged to meet her birth mom for her first birth family visit. We were told that the birth mom was quite nice, and that there were no issues to be concerned with. No matter what anyone said, we were so scared to meet any of the birth family. Wouldn’t they automatically hate us? We went that day and dropped off little B and we met her birth mom. We didn’t say a lot, but just kept friendly and made nice out of an extremely awkward situation.
I didn’t take parental leave right away, so we both kept working full time and caring for a newborn thinking that the paternity test would happen and she’d be gone anytime. After 2 weeks went by, I had to go off, as I couldn’t physically and mentally have a full time job and care for little B. We were exhausted.
I wondered, since the birth mom was friendly, maybe we should keep driving B to her visits and that way when the birth family sees us, they know that we aren’t bad people. I know B was too young to notice our interactions, but having a positive relationship with everyone involved would be a huge positive outcome for all. We did this pretty much from the start. We would take 5 minutes to discuss what she was eating, or things that she was doing. Just small chatter so that birth mom was involved in knowing what was going on in B’s life. For all we know, little B could go back. You had to live life basically thinking that she was going back to the birth family.
We had some issues with the courts changing our visit times, and it really threw a wrench in our daily lives of still getting our son to and from school. When you are driving a child 45 minutes each way to their visits, it makes for a long day. I would drop her off and then wait around in a city where I didn’t know anyone and had to waste 3 hours a day, 4 days a week. We did Sundays-Wednesdays so that we could have 3 days of normal living, but the courts really disrupted things. We ended up working a deal out which included having one hour with myself and the birth mom at the CAS agency, but with no CAS worker. It just made the situation a little more natural. The birth mom and I would sit on the carpet and play with little B and just talk about B. Was she rolling over? Was she crawling? It was a great time to get to know each other and realize that both parties were not “bad” people. I remember the birth mom talking to me about that first day we met. I was scared she would hate us, when in fact, she had just said that she was worried about the stranger that had her daughter. I honestly had never really thought that she would think of us being a stranger. It was interesting.
By having one hour together really made the situation better. Was there awkward moments? Of course! Were there comments about birth mom trying to find a kinship home for little B? Yes! Did it deep down hurt our feelings? Yes! We were attached to this little girl now. She was attached to us. We were at a point of no return.