Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Our Open Adoption Interview

As you may have already discovered, I'm the proud <adoptive> mother to my sweet little Finley.  I know, she looks just like us.  What you may not know is that we are in a very open-adoption with her Birth Family and super close with her incredible Birthmother Lex, whom we endearingly call "Leelee." I've written all about how our adoption came about in previous posts, should you find yourself curious there's quite a few that will answer some of the more adoptive-mom related questions.  Over the years I've had so many people ask me the same questions about her, so I thought it would be nice to have one blog to reference all the Birthmom topics pertaining to our adoption.  It was so interesting for me to discuss our Adoption story from Lex's  perspective.  I love that we can be so open with eachother, I love that we are both healthy enough to do so.

Without further ado... here is the chat I had with my baby mama. 

Walk me through what it was like discovering you were pregnant at 19.
At first I didn't believe it, I was way in denial!  I was taking birth control so I never got a period.  One morning my mom said it looked like I was pregnant, which I said, "no no.. I just gained some weight." Then enough people were suggesting I might be pregnant, so I finally took a test (or two) and they came out instantly positive.  I was 4 months along when I found out.  I don't remember being upset, I was happy, but I was scared to tell my parents.  I wanted to tell my boyfriend in person, and coincidently the next time I saw him was on April 1st. I had to tell him, "this is not an April fools joke." He was upset. He stuck by my side through the rest of my pregnancy and even a little while after until my grief was better. 

Did you feel as if you had a choice to keep the baby or not? 
  I felt Iike I had no choice at all. My mom just kept saying, "you need to get your life together first you can't raise a baby right now."  I remember thinking, "even if i wanted to keep her, I couldn't."

I know there was talk about your older brother possibly raising her? How did that go? 
I remember we were thinking of letting my brother keep her and everyone seemed to all loved the idea. He wasn't going to adopt her, he was just going to be her legal guardian and then potentially when her Birthfather and I were more stable we would take care of her. My mom strongly suggested that we meet with an attorney and discuss what this would look like, so we did. The attorney referred us to a family therapist. At one of the meetings, both of our families came. We discussed that my brother was working all the time and that he would have no time to raise her. He is a single guy, and even though he has a great job, it just wouldn't have been the best thing for my baby. I knew that I didn't want a nanny to raise her, because her birthfather and I both wanted her to have a mother and father raising her. That was what she deserved.

So, then what happened?
 The attorney showed us several books of hopeful adoptive parents.  I remember going through all of them and yours caught my eye.  You just looked like a fun-loving woman and to be honest, I thought everyone's booklets were either boring or I just didn't like what they had to say about themselves. I kept getting drawn back to yours.  You were my first choice, and her Birthfather picked a different couple for his first choice.  I'm actually not sure why his choice couple was called first.  I was relieved when we were told that they weren't available to adopt our baby, because I don't think I was all that happy about that pick.  I know that I wouldn't have had a relationship like you and I have. I love our relationship.

What were your fears before you signed the papers? Did you get to choose if the adoption was open or not? 
 I think I can remember telling the lady that I specifically wanted an open adoption. I knew I wanted to be able to  see her grow up.  I feel like as a Birth parent, if I chose to have it closed then my child might feel like I wanted nothing to do with her and deep down inside she might feel unloved. I never wanted Finley to feel like that- EVER- that was definitely a fear of mine. I wanted her to know I was still there for her if she ever needs a favor or anything. I'm always going to be there for her. I had a little bit of worry before signing the papers, but I had trust in you guys.  I believed your promise to me, that you would openly communicate with me and allow me visits.

What were your feelings right after the baby went home with us? 
The day she went home with you was a really hard day. Really hard. There was lots of crying, but I knew Finley would have a better life with you.  I just kept focusing on the positive and looked forward to visits. 

Was it hard waiting for updates and visits in the beginning? 
I LOVED getting text updates! I remember getting really excited every time you sent me a picture, if I was at her birth-father's house I would run to {her birth-grandmother} Kathy's room yelling, "we got pictures!" It was the highlight of our day. Waiting for a visit was really hard. It really was, but you learn to move forward. I do remember there were times where you said you were coming, but then you had to cancel. I would get really angry, upset, and end up crying my eyes out on an off for a couple days, it was like my heart broke all over again. But like I said, you move forward and it gets easier as the days go by. You just sort of become used to it and knowing that she was getting the life she deserved, honestly helped.

How did you feel during those first few visits?
I remember my heart being just... happy. I was really excited at visits. Of course it was sad when they were over, and it was really hard the very first time you left- because I knew she wasnt coming home with me. That was the hardest thing I've ever gone through. I remember though, that I was happy that I even got to see her at all, I know some birth moms aren't that fortunate. It was like an emotional rollercoaster, but watching you with her and her being so loved made it all worth it.

How did you feel when you first learned of Finley's Cerebral Palsy diagnosis?
I remember you telling me that she had CP, I'll never forget that moment. I just started crying because I thought it was my fault. Honestly, even to this day I still blame myself - I think its a feeling I will always struggle with. I feel like it's my fault, I get teary eyed whenever I talk about it. I always wonder if there was something I could have done better when I was pregnant. Like, "could I have prevented it?" Even though you reassure me often that it's not my fault, I still feel like it is.

Did you ever have regrets about your decision to place?
I have never regretted my decision. I'm happy she has the life she has now the life I couldn't give her, the one she deserves.  

I remember one day when you were visiting the NICU, you were crying and quietly saying, "I can't do this," and Kathy hugged you and said, "you can and you will." What were you referring to?
I said that? Umm? I don't remember saying that at all. I remember one of the things I wanted most was to see her and that's why I chose to have an open-adoption, but I was probably just really emotional that day. I was never going to back out of my decision to place. I had no choice. My mom said, "that's what you're doing." So thats what I did. 
What brings you peace in your decision?
I think what's brought me the most peace is being able to watch Finley grow up.  Experiencing her hit every milestone... even if it's from behind the screen, seeing her happy is what gives me peace.  Also, just knowing that she is so loved by everyone.

How do you feel about my choice to be so open with our journey?
I think it's great! I love that you're public because I get to see all of the love and support Finley gets! It is so wonderful to see how many people genuinely care about her, it's amazing.

Do you feel support from others about your decision to place?
Everyone has always been super supportive. I've never gotten a negative response. I always have friends asking to see pictures of Fin and they always ask how she's doing. When the whole adoption first took place it was really hard to talk about her, I would start crying for the fear of a negative response. I never got one, so it's much easier now to talk about her. I'm a proud birthmother.

How do you feel about your open adoption? 
I love my open adoption.  I think it's great for anyone who can handle it, you just have to be positive and have trust in the parents you choose to place your baby with. I think it's great for the child, they have a few more parents to love them. They'll never have to think, "Why am I not wanted? Why didn't she want to keep me or ever visit me?" She will know I love her, because I will get to tell her. 

What do you want people to know about Birthmoms? 
I want people to know that we LOVE our child.  That we will love the child we've placed the same as the future children we raise.

Are you proud of yourself for choosing to place Fin?
I am. I think she has the best life possible, it's only getting better from here on out. If she was with me, her life would be totally different. I know you made it so that she could have this surgery and the best therapies possible, and I know she'll walk independently because of you guys.

Do you plan to have more children?
I do plan to have more children, but I want to wait until I'm married and have stable income and home life.  I want to give my kids the best life possible. I hope to have a loving husband, a roof over my head, career, and ultimately a family.


  1. This is like, the gold standard of what an open adoption should be!! <3 Thank you for sharing!

  2. Have y'all discussed how you will talk to Finely about this when she gets older? Will you tell her or will her birth mother always just stay as a close friend or relative?
    I'm so inspired by your story and think it is amazing the relationship you have with each other. My husband and I are currently going through a custody battle for more time with my step daughter and even we don't have that good of a relationship with her mother which kills me inside because we try and try and her mom just makes it very difficult which we know is only hurting my stepdaughter in the end. I wish we could have something like this.

  3. We already tell her that she was in Leelee's belly. We will explain it to her as open as possible from the get go. Lots of adoption children's books will help. Other families we know say that the child becomes aware of the concept around 4/5 l, so I imagine we will wait and see what works best for us. But we plan on terming her "belly mom" so she knows I'm her mom but she was in Leelee's belly. We have lots of friends that said open as can be from the get go. I've had a chance to talk with a lot of young adults who were raised by this method and they are in full understanding and feel very loved, whether it's open or not)

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  5. You are amaizing,beautifull and strong family! Thank you for sharing. God bless you!

  6. I came across your instagram recently and tonight ive literally looked at every post and video. Her journey is amazing <3 I came across the post of "Our open adoption" and googled this article. Really heart warming!

  7. Nice article. I think it is useful and unique article. I really love this kind of article and this kind of blog. I liked it and enjoyed reading it. Keep sharing such

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  8. We have not been matched yet so we will continue to share any progress we get and ways you can pray for us until we bring our baby home! tip for adopting a child

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