Open adoption is something many families hold close to their hearts. For every family it looks just a little bit different. It also ebbs and flows with time and circumstances. It is my desire to share with you stories of families who wade through the hard to find the beauty that is found in open adoption.
Today Nikki shares her story. I’m so glad Nikki agreed to share her story. I’ve found her to be the BEST example of how open adoption works. I’ve found her heart for JOY and for family persecution amazingly inspiring! Read part one of her story today and next week you can read part two.
22 months later and still I am at a loss for words. I am often (by often I mean every minute of every day) envious of women that find the time to blog (and blog so well) and I am over here in yoga pants for the 3rd day in a row, eating soggy cheerios, drinking cold coffee, and tripping over words like I do the piles of laundry sprawled throughout each room in my home. Life, like my house, is a mess! A beautifully blessed, abundantly chaotic, and LOUD mess! However, I do not ever want to miss an opportunity to share the story of how my home and heart was both wrecked and rebuilt by open adoption.
That’s what it’s like, you know. You will be wrecked. If you are doing it right, it will flip you upside down, inside out. On any given day you will find your heart in your feet, stomach, and on your sleeve. Never again will your life be yours. When you choose to say yes to an open adoption what you are really saying is that your life is no longer JUST yours. It’s still your life, but like all paths to parenthood, all decisions are made for the well being of your child. But, in an open adoption it will now includes two different families that have walked two very different paths, the one that got them here and the one that led them to you.
The adoption journey to our daughter, like many others, was not an easy one. There was loss, attempted scam, failed adoption, learning of possible secondary infertility, and an overwhelming sense of defeat and desire to quit. I leaned hard into Isaiah 66:9 knowing that our God will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. This was my anthem. My morning chant and nightly prayer. In almost every minute of my relationship with my Husband I have been the gas and he has been the brakes but in the end it was he that was dragging me to the finish line.
To say I began with a heart for open adoption would be the greatest of lies. I, along with my amazing Husband, were parenting two biological children, and had always been allowed the freedom to parent MY children MY way. Open adoption sounded like a politically correct way of saying “co-parenting” and there was no way I was voluntarily signing up for that. Who would?! It took 17 months of one hit after another, what felt like God knocking us down was Him redirecting us to our daughter. With each devastating blow I can now see how it was intimately and intricately connecting the dots of our story of forever. I had to meet MANY amazing women, expectant mothers making a placement plan & birth mothers that had, that were just like me but in the same breath nothing like me. I learned of their amazing hearts, unending love and the daily struggle of placement. I began to see what open adoption was and what it wasn’t. My heart was being molded for what had been meant for me from the very beginning. Let me be clear, I do not believe I was meant for my daughter. Her story was never meant to read “adopted” but we serve a mighty God that is in the business of redemption. Her story continues on because of her birth mother that first chose life and then chose love.
22 months ago, today, I learned about our daughter. I had just returned from the Choose Joy Conference (game changer) in Laguna Hills, California where I had texted my husband the exact words “I am done. This is too big for me!” to which he responded, “You are right” (because he is such a good and smart husband) but then followed it with “But it’s not too big for HIM!” I had said “no” 3 times to my daughters placement plan, knowing no details but knowing we did not have the funds to make it happen. I agreed to call the agency for details to share on my social media pages, because I can do that in the least! We can all do that, right?! Be a connecting dot in someone’s happily forever after? The agency director shared a few details with me. Baby girl, just turned 1 year old, African American, her mother has come into the agency and is ready to make a placement plan and place immediately. She is not race specific, prefers a Christian family, would like a family with siblings, and adamant about wanting an open adoption. Not once did any bells or alarms go off for me. I pushed for more information but only so I could share. Nothing was shouting at me, “THIS IS YOUR DAUGHTER!” Until….The director said, “The only other thing I have at this time is her name is Joy.” JOY!!! I had spent MONTHS upon MONTHS finding joy in every day, seeking joy in the dark moments, and rejoicing in the light. I had hashtagged #choosejoy #joyinthejourney #joyalways and here I am trying to say no to a woman named JOY! For the first time in my life I physically had to find a place to sit down. I will never forget it, it was an old rickety chair in my backyard that should have been put on the curb months prior. I sat down and heard it crack and remember laughing out loud at the idea of face planting on the concrete patio.
I can feel myself getting derailed as I am supposed to be talking about open adoption but I do not feel I can do you justice without telling you how it came to be. Guys, I had to walk out the path that had already been laid for me. I couldn’t see the end of our story because I wasn’t supposed to. I needed each and every step along the way so that when Joy got on that phone for the very first time, me on the other end scared out of my mind, she would be what I needed just as much as I was what she needed. In that instant we became two mothers that loved the same child. We were forever connected. Just as I am linked with my Husband for creating our three biological children, it isn’t the genetics that connect us…it’s the love. Open adoption is acknowledging where your child came from and where they are capable of going. It’s knowing and being okay with the truth that you won’t and can’t be everything they will need but you can be everything they deserve. Open adoption is hard, messy, complicated, and each relationship is different. But, so is marriage and every other relationship in life and we choose those and succeed at those every single day. Why would the relationship between you and the woman that grew, birthed, and chose YOU to parent her child be any different?
You can follow along as we continue to navigate parenthood, open adoption, and this crazy thing we call our life over on Instagram @Heartgrownbabylove or on Facebook @ Searching For Our Starfish. You can also email me any time to chat about your favorite book, wine, or anything adoption related @ HeartGrownBabyLove@yahoo.com
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