If I call her “my daughter’s other mother” it may seem different from what it is.
I met Crystal because we each had a problem. Mine had nooks with crannies, and hers had crannies with nooks. Our oddly- shaped problems fit together, and we became each other’s solution.
Seven years ago, I was experiencing the famine that is infertility; Crystal was dealing with the feast that is an unintended pregnancy, while living in an untenable situation.
In a way, we share a daughter.
It might seem normal for the story to have ended back where it began — with a tiny, squalling baby. One of us leaving the hospital with Tessa, and the other going home empty-armed. A winner and a loser.
But nothing about our situation has been “normal.” We have forged an unlikely friendship over the years as we continually create our open adoption. We do this for Tessa, but also for ourselves. While there is not really word to describe our relationship — sister is not accurate, friend is insufficient — we continue to define the previously undefined. I love my daughter’s birth mom. It’s that simple, yet there are layers of complexity.
How did open adoption happen so effortlessly for us? We are often asked that question. We have examined our history to find the markers of success. We find that one word captures the nature of our relationship: open. We have an open-hearted open adoption.
Now we teach people some keys to having a successful open adoption. On the morning of October 11, Crystal and I will offer a 2-hour class for pre-adoptive parents at Colorado Free University. We talk about choosing an agency, from both the adoptive- and the birth-parent perspective. We cover ethics in adoption, and why they matter so much to hopeful parents. We talk about the dos and don’ts of an adoption profile. We alert hopeful adoptive parents to the pitfalls that can happen in an open situation, as well as how to avoid them.
[November, 2008 update — content for this class is now offered by phone or as a 2-on-2 consultation in the metro-Denver area. More info.]
And we show what an open adoption can look like. We de-freakify it, if you will.
Registration is open through October 10. The class is priced for singles ($24 or $36) and for couples ($46 or $68), with the lower tuition available to CFU members. The class takes place on CFU’s Lowry campus.
Anyone who has ever been told “just adopt” is encouraged to join us. And to open to the possibilities that await.