We get asked lots of questions about open adoption, so I wanted to share some of my thoughts and experiences regarding it. Please know my heart and don't take this as me saying this is what everyone is called to do or should do, or that I'm condemning any other type of adoption. This is just what we've personally been blessed to experience...
I get lots of interesting responses (both verbal and non-verbal) when I tell people that we have an "open" adoption. I was thinking about the term this morning and wanted to share some thoughts with y'all about it...
Here's some of the ways Merriam-Webster defines the word "open":
*Having no enclosing or confining barrier : accessible on all or nearly all sides
*Being in a position or adjustment to permit passage : not shut or locked*Completely free from concealment : exposed to general view or knowledge
*Exposed or vulnerable to attack or question
I found the above examples pretty interesting. An open adoption involves a an accessibility between both parties; it involves both parties being in a position to allow passage into the others' life; it involves a level of exposure, which is many times where people on the outside of the equation begin to get uncomfortable. I mean, when something is out in the open, it's vulnerable, and our society often views vulnerability as a weakness. It means you may not be completely in charge of something, and that scares people. But if we allow our fears to consume us and totally shut us in, we will miss the beauty that is found in openess...
My mother has a wonderfully green thumb...which she did NOT pass on to me (I managed to kill the most hearty plants ever last summer that we had planted in my flowerbeds, being told that, "These things can take anything--they won't die!" They obviously hadn't met me though...) Her front and back yards are filled with beautiful flowers, plants, bushes, etc. Last year, I took some photos of her garden, but I never got any pictures of the rose bushes. The times that I was in visiting were not times that they were fully bloomed. Of course, a rose is pretty no matter what, really--there's beauty from any angle--but there's something about a rose when it blooms. It opens itself up fully, and you're able to see its beauty in its entirety.
Isn't that true to how we are, too? When we close ourselves off, it doesn't change who we are inside, but it keeps it all to ourselves and doesn't allow others to experience it. That's how I feel about open adoption. I'm not saying at ALL that semi-open adoptions or closed adoptions are bad things or are wrong, and in many circumstances it is the best situation for all involved. But in our personal journey, we have been blessed by how beautiful an open adoption can be and truly is.
Now, keep in mind, this is coming from someone who has a SERIOUS struggle with fear. I have to be in constant prayer that God would help me live in faith and not fear in all of life's what-if's regarding many different areas of my life, especially when it comes to my children. And before we were actually educated on open adoption, those fears carried into that area, too. But I am so thankful for an agency who truly took the time to educate us on what open adoption is really about, and what incredible beauty can come from it.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Rebecca St. James who says this:
Where there are no secrets, there are no lies.
When we allow ourselves to be transparent with the world, they get to see our heart, and I pray that what is seen in my heart is a very clear picture of Jesus Christ. Rather than closing myself off to the world, I pray I will embrace the world openly, with the ultimate hope that my life can bring God glory.
The point I'm trying to get at is this:
*I am who I am because of who Christ has made me, so I can't keep that to myself, because I can't help but share all He has done and all of the ways He has brought beauty from the ashes of my life.
*I am the mom that I am because of the decision that Gabriel's birthmom made.
I get to be this (Gabriel's mom)...
...because Rachel was this (Gabriel's birthmom)
She had to allow herself to be OPEN to making the decision to place him with us; we had to be OPEN to accept that kind of position; and the result is something so very beautiful...