Open adoption bloggers met at the virtual roundtable to ponder these questions:
Imagine your child as an adult describing their open adoption experience. What do you hope they will be able to say about you? How did you view their other parents? In what ways did you support their relationship with them?
June 1, 2031
See? I waited until I was all grown up — 28! — to get married, have sex, and start a family. In that order.
But first I became self-sufficient in my chosen career. I married only because I wanted to (and because my partner is a wonderful person), not because I needed someone to take care of me.
Anyway, now that I’m a mom, I understand a little bit more about what it took to raise me. I want to tell you that I thank you for keeping Crystal and Joe in my life. Being with them always felt good, and I’m glad you didn’t feel threatened by the bond I have with them. It means the world to me that you love them, because that freed me to love them and to love myself.
Also, I appreciate that you let me talk about adoption stuff when I wanted to, but didn’t bring it up all the time. Even though you wrote about it ALL.THE.TIME.
If the sleepovers I had with Crystal and Tyler [birth brother] or with Joe and his family were hard for you, you never showed it. I have always felt fully connected to my birth family and, of course, fully connected to you and Daddy and Reed.
It hasn’t always been easy, having two sets of parents, but you made it as easy for me as you could. I love you so much for that. And for grounding me for only a week that time I took your car without permission on my way to work at the soup kitchen.
June 1, 2031
I suspect that you often wondered if you were handling all this adoption stuff well. My sister’s birth parents were around in the early years and mine weren’t, and you worried if this was hurting me.
Sometimes it did.
But I never felt slighted. Crystal and Tyler and Joe and his family always included me. And then you found AJ and brought him into my life. Later, Michele resurfaced and told me my adoption story herself. It helped me to understand, even though sometimes it was hard.
Do you remember that day in the car? I told you I didn’t want to talk about my birth parents any more because it made me sad. I remember you told me that you wouldn’t bring it up again for awhile, but that if I ever wanted to talk about it with you I could. I appreciated that.
So even though it sometimes hurt, I am thankful that you sat with me during the times I was hurting. You didn’t minimize my feelings or gloss over them. And somehow I didn’t get stuck in the hurt.
It means a lot to me that you always spoke respectfully of Michele and AJ and that you provided contact with them when they were ready.
I love you, Mama. Thank you for always loving me so completely. I’ll be over on Sunday to mow your lawn.
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.