A Birth Family Perspective on Adoption Part 4 – Living in an Open Adoption
By Grandma Elaine
Placing her baby for adoption, and especially those first few days after coming home from the hospital, proved to be much more difficult emotionally for my daughter than she thought it would be. Even the promise of ongoing contact did not take away the emptiness and sadness of the first few days without the baby. The law in our province stipulates that the consents to an adoption can be signed when the baby is 8 days old and then there are 21 days during which a birth parent can revoke her consent. So, an appointment had been made for my daughter to have independent legal advice and to sign her consent to adoption exactly a week after we came home from the hospital. It was only a day after coming home from the hospital and I thought that she was already changing her mind and would end up cancelling the appointment.
Only four days after the placement we had our first visit in the adoptive home. For our daughter, this made all the difference. When she saw that her baby was well settled into his new home, she felt so much better and, surprisingly (to me at least), she was convinced that she had made the right decision. It was very reassuring to her to see how well he was doing and how happy his new parents were to have him. From that point on, she remained steadfast in the adoption plan.
At the end of the 21-day revocation period, the adoptive family invited us and our daughter to a family celebration at their home. We were warmly welcomed by all the extended family. It was then that we got to meet the other grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They are like another branch of our extended family.
At the time of the adoption, the professionals involved helped us to come up with an agreement for our open adoption relationship. The plan was we would generally get together on a monthly basis. This was a written plan, but, truthfully, we didn’t need to have such a prescribed arrangement. In the early weeks and months, we met almost monthly. Later on, with work schedules, school and homework, extracurricular activities, and the busy-ness of life, our visits have rarely fit into such a regular pattern. When visits are not possible, emails, phone calls, Instagram, and sharing of photographs have kept us up to date on what is happening.
This year, 2018, our grandson will soon be a teenager. We feel very privileged to be part of his life……his baptism, his adoption finalization, his birthdays, Christmases, hockey games, other sports activities, family gatherings at our home or theirs, going out for dinner, etc. We always have a fun time when we are with him and his family.
Being in an open adoption means a lot to us. We can know our grandson, we can see how he is doing, and watch him grow up. More than that, he can know his birth mother, birth father and grandparents first hand, get his questions answered, know more about who he is and who he looks like, why his adoption happened, and, above all, that he was not abandoned by us but, in fact, he is loved by us all.
Thank you for reading about our adoption experience as a birth family. Thank you also to Betty Ann Streeter, Michaele-Sue Goldblatt, and Patricia Fenton of Milestones & Transitions for the opportunity to share our story as part of Adoption Awareness Month, November 2018. For more on open adoption, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. – Grandma Elaine