Sunday, May 19, 2013

(birth) family tree...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  (And again and again...)

Open adoption is BEAUTIFUL.

And as my daughter grows older each year, it becomes all the more beautiful to me.


Caroline has an extended family beyond Marc's or my genetics.

No, that doesn't threaten me.  It doesn't freak me out.  It's not confusing to Caroline.  It's not something I want to sweep under the rug and hope she doesn't ask about.  Sure, it might be considered a little "out of the box" from the average family, but so what?

Even God himself builds his own family through adoption!

I know every adoption is so very different, and a few adoptions need the protection that a closed or mediated adoption provides for various reasons.  Even Jameson's adoption is currently mediated through our adoption agency, (his birth parents receive our monthly pictures and updates in the mail through our adoption case worker) but it is our hope that our communication levels with them might open more in the future.  I want that for my son.

But I know that open adoption (just like transracial adoption) isn't that well-understood by the average onlooker.  Or by the couple who, maybe like us, is thinking about adopting, but "OPEN adoption" feels... well, so open.

Initially, when Marc and I first considered adoption after we reached our end with infertility treatments, the thought of open adoption and birthparents scared this gal, the lover of all things safe and comfortable. What if they want to take their child back?  Will my child love his/her birthparents more than me?  Can I trust them?  How will I explain it all to my child? were common fears to the topic of open adoption that I carried.

And then, as God was writing my story, I met a woman with four adopted children, three of whom have open adoptions with their birthmothers.  It was through our conversations that I began to get a clearer reality of open adoption, and discovered that much of my fear was rooted in my inexperience with and ignorance of adoption and from stereotypes/false portrayals of adoption in movies and tv.

What's true in open adoption is that the role of birthmother and adoptive mother are very distinct from one another.

Both incredibly important.
But yet very different.
And there's no confusion to sweet Caroline.

Just as you jump into any relationship in your life with trust,
that's how you enter into the world of open adoption.

Birthparents are not to be feared.  Or judged.
Unplanned pregnancies are not a political problem.
Birthmothers are PEOPLE.
People that need to be loved.
And supported.
And surrounded.

They are the ones in the grand story of adoption that must endure the pain of loss and rejection, lovingly entrusting their child to another family, placing their child's well-being above their own.  

Actually, "hero" might be a more fitting word for birthparents in my vocabulary,
because without them?
I would never know the joys and struggles of motherhood.

And now I can't imagine NOT having Caroline's loving birthfamily in my life.

Not only are they Caroline's extended family,
but they feel as though they are mine, too.

While most adoptees only dream of knowing and being loved by their birthparents,
God has given my daughter such a GIFT to know and love her family of origin.

Her family tree extends from great grandparents all the way down to cousins.

What a blessing for Caroline to know her birthmother and her full-sibling birth-brother. (2 years older)

She doesn't have to wonder where she came from.

What a blessing for Megan to watch her baby grow up.

She doesn't have to wonder what her daughter is like.

What a blessing for US to join our families together through open adoption.

We don't have to wonder why our daughter has traits.

By knowing Caroline's family, we know Caroline better.

What a blessing that brother and sister can keep in touch.

I know it's hard for many people to fathom this type of relationship.

To us?

It's normal.

And wonderful!

Megan and I said we'd go on Oprah to tell the world about it if she were still on tv...  :)  I suppose this blog will have to do instead.

So as you can see from the pictures, we were able to visit Caroline's birth family in Texas a few weeks ago.

Brayden and Caroline ran around the house playing as usual.  

New to the bunch this time was this little guy.

And we couldn't so much crack a smile out of him.

We tried.

Really, everybody tried.

With little luck.  (At least when the cameras were on.)

But what has EXCEEDED my expectations and blown me away(!) is how Caroline's birthfamily has taken our Jameson in as their own.  Caroline's great-grandmother said to me, "Any child of yours is a great-grandchild of mine."

I am FLOORED at this kind of love.

(Especially since I'm not sure what relationships we will have with Jameson's birthparents, it is beyond wonderful that they are so including of him.)

Grandma with her babies.

Great-grandma with her babies.

The two babies of the family.

Doing Mommy Megan's hair.  :)  

(By the way, many people have asked me what Megan thinks of the wig:  She thinks Caroline is beautiful with or without it, and she is just happy that Caroline is happy.  When she heard about the rough first day at preschool with the wig, her mama's heart was so mad at the kid that was hurtful.  Her mama bear claws were coming out!)

Two mama bears.  One special little gal.
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  1. Sooo happy we got to see you all! Patiently waiting for next time!

    Love you guys!

  2. Nanny & PapaMay 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    As adoptive grandparents we are so thankful for Caroline's extended family. She is such a blessed little girl to have such families that love her so much.