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I am not afraid of my son's birth family

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I am anything but afraid of my son’s birth family.

I haven’t always been in this place of non-fear surrounding birth families and adoption. Before we were officially and genuinely pursuing adoption as a means to grow our family, I was afraid. I, like many others, had heard horror stories about birth families “coming back to take their child.” I never knew anyone with this actual story, but people shared them as though they were the norm.

A year before we began the process of adoption, we agreed we only wanted closed adoptions. What if our future children are confused? What if they try to take advantage of us? What if they are weird and crazy and on drugs?

The stigmas are never-ending.

It wasn’t long into our adoption process, even before we were home-study ready, when we began intentionally listening to adoptees and birth families. I read and heard real people share their experiences with closed adoptions.

The only people who seemed to be happy about these closed adoptions were the adoptive families. How backwards, I thought.

We became home study ready, active with agencies, and receiving "available situations" - expectant mothers making an adoption plan for their unborn child.

As we read through the bits of information about mom's and their unplanned pregnancies, my heart cracked open wider, making more room than I knew possible for our future child’s birth family to join ours as an extension.

I began to crave openness in our adoption.

When we met our son’s first mama, I loved her instantly. When we heard about our son’s birth father, I wanted to meet him.

Sure, there was a chance his first mom would decide to parent her child. Sure, there was opportunity for his birth father to contest the adoption. Absolutely, these possibilities made my heart anxious. Yes, these things happen often. Undoubtedly, I would have been heartbroken and a mess. It would have been a tragic loss, a life-altering experience demanding a voice to grieve.

I recognize not all stories are like ours. I recognize not all situations are the same. I recognize there are reasons to not have contact with birth families, but I also believe too often we withhold contact when we shouldn't.

Adoption is messy. Adoption is infused with unknowns. Adoption is born out of loss, tragedy, brokenness. Too often, adoptions are unethical. But adoption can be beautiful.

In our experience, having contact with our son’s birth family has been nothing short of a gift and privilege.

Our hope is to create safe spaces for our son to grow, knowing who he is and where he came from, knowing we are all in this together: us, his birth family, him.

Our hope is that our son will grow knowing he is completely loved by countless people.

It would be tragic for my son to feel his heart is unsafe in his own home, unwelcome to ask questions about his identity and story, unsure if he would hurt our feelings.

I never want my son to withhold questions, comments, or expressing a desire for relationship out of fear of our reaction or out of an attempt to protect us. I want to be opening up dialogue consistently so he feels free to when he needs to.

Never is our child's job to protect our hearts.

As a mom by adoption, it is my sacrifice of love to set aside jealousy for the sake of my son.

As a mom by adoption, it is a constant journey of choosing love instead of fear.

As a mom by adoption, it is my privilege to view birth families as they are: human beings doing the best they can in their situation, for their children, the children they love.

As a mom by adoption, I am not afraid of my son’s birth family.


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Image: Natalie Brenner Photography || Chicken romper + chicken wire leggings: Hazel and Holly

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