Friday, April 22, 2011


The one thing that really kept me grounded through this whole adoption process was that this is an open adoption. While relatively new, I think open adoption is gaining huge strides in being a preferred method of raising adopted children.

I know more about Caden's mom and dad than I would have 20 years ago. We see each other often, many times including my own family (mother, grandmother, aunt, cousins, etc.) so Caden has this enormous extended family.

People ask questions about confusing the child by having so many people who love him. (Huh? Really?) My dad, for instance, did not want to be an active part of my son's life because he thought "he'll have enough grandparents".  Oh well, I think that's my dad's loss, not Caden's.

Or am I co-parenting Caden? Definitely NOT, I allow Sally and Dan all the joys of parenting! I just get to hang out and be the cool birthmom!  It is not my job to parent, those were rights I gave up in court.  It is my job to let this little boy know how much I love him, and how I am forever grateful that I can still be a part of his life.

Semantics cause issues sometimes.  I've fielded questions and comments from people that blow my mind.  One lady, super nice but obviously ignorant, was asking about Caden when I referred to him as "my son."  (I get this a lot.)   She said "Oh, you gave him up for adoption?  Then he isn't really your son."  I calmly explained that until the day I die, he will always be my son.  I may not be his "mom", but I will always be his "birthmom". 

A particularly nasty lady I used to work with, who, coincidentally, was going through the process of adopting a child, would say the most hurtful things to me about being a birthmom.  Surprisingly, my mind must have cleansed itself between then and now because I can't recall any specific thing she said, just that she was hateful.  So, you'll just have to trust me on that one.

I wrote my master's thesis about openness in adoption.  Language that we use is a huge issue in adoption.  Examples are saying "Placed for adoption" instead of saying "Gave up for adoption."  This is because I didn't "give up" anything but my right to be Caden's parent.  I "placed" him in a loving home with wonderful parents who would give him the life I know I could not. 

Or "birthparent" instead of "biological" or worse, "real".  Yes, biology plays an

I encourage you to email me if you have any questions about my experience with open adoption. I think we are a success story. I've been on a lot of message boards and in a lot of online communities where people haven't had such warm, wonderful experiences. Talk about it! We can all learn from each other!

No comments: