Friday, April 2, 2010

Open Adoption

My family has always had some biological and some adopted members; one brother, several cousins, and then when I married- my husband's Mom and both her siblings were also adopted as children. It made perfect sense then, that when I could not get pregnant after 10 years, adoption became the option of choice. We walked into a store and saw a little tri-fold next to the cash register that said, "November is adoption Month." We looked at each other and knew the time had arrived, so that day we called the agency, Adoption Horizon's and arranged to go to our first meeting.

We were both teachers and had a lot of experience with special needs kids and we knew that newborns were hard to get, so we were confident that being willing to take a sibling group or kids with handicaps would increase our chances but there were other plans for us.

We did look at several groups of siblings but the opportunity always fell through, and we tried to buy a house in the next State, our dream house on a Sea Cliff, and that fell through as well. Life felt pretty frustrating. How could we prepare if we didn't know if we were getting a school aged adolescent in three weeks, or three pre-school girls in 5 days? But we never gave up hope, and indeed, decided to act as if the future was assured, and it felt like it was. We always believed it was a matter of "when" and not a matter of "if." My husband and I would take long walks on the beach and pray that our child, wherever he or she was, would be safe and loved until we could keep him safe and loved ourselves.

Then I was at work and the call came, "We know you said older kids, but would you consider a newborn - because a mom in our birthparent center accidentally got your file, and she picked you." (Her 15 month old had picked it off a desk and handed it to her.)

My heart was pounding as I asked, "When is she due?" and the answer was TWO WEEKS AGO!! Three days later she was placing a perfect, 14 hour old boy into our arms. A baby who could only be placed within the two-counties where we lived. Then we forgot to "turn off the prayer faucet" and within 6 months I was pregnant with his younger brother.

Now, on my oldest son's 17th birthday, I put him on an airplane to fly 1400 miles and spend spring break with his birth sister, their mom, the mom's new husband and his 3 younger half sisters. After 17 years of cards and letters from them, he is calling me, sending me texts and photos and loving every minute. The fact that one sister looks like is twin is amazing to him. It reminds me again that my own brother had to wait until he was a Dad to see a face that resembled his.

Our open adoption was probably helped by the distance between our families for those years, but I believe it was planned for all along and the jobs we were offered, the home we got all put us where we needed to be to be there where he would be born.

The relationship he has with both families who love him, has made him a warm, wonderful and loving young man who can make two Moms proud. Both Mom's listen to the song, "From God's arms, to My arms, to yours" and tear up.

Edit: The pictures above are of my family, my husband, both boys and me - then My baby and his big sister in his birthmom's and birth grandmother's arms - and then my baby with his birthmom and his four sisters this spring break.

Now he is back home - but happier and more complete for having had the time in the roots of his family tree.


  1. Great story Dixie and surely just the beginning of many more memories.

  2. Thanks Bob. It is strange how much their family and our family just kind of stretched to become OUR family, all because we all love one special boy/man child.

  3. Dixie- thank you for sharing! When we adopted our daughter through open adoption so many people advised against it; driven by fear, I believe. It can be a wonderful experience! Janelle's birth family is part of our extended family and as Janelle told someone when she was 5 and they asked her if she knew what "adopted" meant, she replied "it means I'm special and have lots of people who love me!"
    Take care,