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Adoption

Open Adoption Was the Right Choice for My Family—But Sometimes I Wish I Were the Only Mom

Lovely little girl and her friends looking at burning birthday candles

My daughter will be 4 years old at the end of this month. We are in the midst of planning her party and deciding what gifts she needs versus what gifts she simply wants. It’s an exciting time and I can’t believe that my baby girl is really not a baby anymore.

There is someone else who probably feels the same way: my daughter’s birth mother.

When my husband and I decided to grow our family through adoption, we knew that an open adoption was what we wanted. Is there a bigger choice to make in one’s life? I think not. Although at times difficult for us, it really is in the best interest of the child to know the woman who carried her and loved her so much so that she chose us to be her daughter’s parents.

We agreed to monthly emails and bi-annual visits until our daughter turns 18. Or until they stop being in her best interest. So far, all communication has been pretty great for our daughter — and for her birth mother, too.

In my emails to the birth mother, I usually like to take my time and think about what has happened over the last month before I start writing. I review the mail I have sent her in the past and try to build on it so she has a narrative of our daughter’s life.

We have a separate email account that we just use for these communications. When our daughter is all grown up, I will hand her the user name and password, and it will be hers. In it will be a living timeline of her life, along with photos. What an extraordinary gift!

But it’s not all easy, of course The hardest element of this arrangement is that I am not someone who really likes to share. Sure, I will lend books out when I am done reading them. I will let somebody borrow a formal dress for a wedding or bat mitzvah. I will tell someone where to purchase something that I have, but I am not always the fastest to offer up something I love that I cherish in the here and now.

Which makes open adoption particularly difficult. It’s hard for me to watch the bond that my daughter and her birth mother have, even though I know how important it is for them both. My heart squeezes when I see my daughter’s reflection in her birth mother’s eyes.

The truth is, I want to be the only mom in my daughter’s world. I want to be the image in her head when she thinks about motherhood. I want to be it all.

I know, though, that we are doing the right thing for our daughter by having her birth mother in her life. Her birth mother can offer her things that I simply cannot – like an explanation of where her hair and eye color come from and a history of her genetic family tree.

We are raising this amazing girl. She is so much my husband and me and yet she is such a part of her birth mother, too. It’s a joy and a rush to be reminded that our daughter’s biology matches what we are giving her and with the combination ofthe nature part from her birth mother and the nurture part from us, I really think this little girl is going to be someone terrific one day.

Oh wait. She already is.

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