I remember the first time that Greg and I attended an adoption orientation meeting at the American Fork LDSFS agency. We had kind of been working on our adoption papers for over 4 years at that point. Policies had changed, we'd been assigned about 7 case workers, and now it was time to get serious. I walked into that meeting excited and apprehensive and a little overwhelmed. There is a lot of information presented fairly quickly, and it was a lot to take in. I was taking notes (cause that's what I do) and thinking I could absorb it all later.
And then they got to the slide on Open Adoption.
It was a time of transition in thinking and practice. It was a time of recognizing that birth moms never (and shouldn't) move on, but that they can heal and move forward. A time of recognizing that it is best for the child and the child's sense of identity to know their birth parents and know where they come from.
My first thought was, "this sounds a little scary, but if that's what we need to do to have an adoption, then we better get on board."
Greg's first thought was, "really? I don't know if I'm comfortable with this."
Luckily, we had many more trainings and really caught the vision of the beauty that can exist in open adoptions. It can be difficult, but it is not about any of the adults. Open adoption is about our children--about their needs and what is best for them to develop healthy identities and healthy sense of self.
I have had a lot of fun over the last year being on the Families Supporting Adoption board. I have attended many orientation meetings as the FSA representative, and could probably recite the presentation to you now. (Let me know if you want me to!) And every month, the couples are there with varied emotions. It takes me back to our first meeting.
I want to tell them -- I get it. It feels surreal right now. It feels hard. It feels overwhelming.
I remember watching the couples who presented classes, who had adopted, and feeling like it would never happen for us. Greg and I liked the trainings and chat nights so much that we voluntarily did the training course three times before Ellie joined our family. That was a lot of time to size up the competition, and then berate myself for feeling like the other couples were competition. That was a lot of time to learn from the case workers and the birth parent presenters and the adoptive couples. That was a lot of time to feel like it would never happen for us.
And now we are on the other side.
We have three miraculous adoptions and three amazing daughters and three wonderful birth mothers.
It is magical.
It is better than I ever imagined.