An OBG birth parent and her second child on an everyday parenting adventure. Both are now living open adoption. (photo credit: Ohio Birthparent Group)
For the last several months, much of our energy has been focused on helping folks impacted by Ohio’s records access law navigate their journeys of search and reunion. We’ve treasured this opportunity to help people get answers to their long-held questions and make new decisions for themselves with more knowledge and perspective than they had before. While much public conversation on adoption has centered on these adoption stories, we also want to acknowledge some of the other ways that our members are ‘living’ adoption.
Within 15 months of each other, FOUR of our open adoption birth mothers had their second children and, for the first time, stepped into the role of ‘everyday parent’. We initially met them shortly after the births of their first children, in those raw and strange months after open adoption placement. One by one, they faced the indescribable experience of discovering what it feels like to be a mother in the same moment as they lost that which opened their heart to this understanding. Since then, these women have helped each other navigate the uncertainties of open adoption, both inside the circles of OBG’s birthparent support groups and through the friendships that grew from this uncommon bond.
What has peer support looked like for these women? Proofreading a 3-sentence email to their child’s adoptive parents that they’ve been drafting…for the last 6 weeks. Encouraging them to press ‘send’. Assuring them that the holiday card they picked out to send to the adoptive family is SIMPLY PERFECT. Confirming that the 1st birthday gift they choose says everything they wanted it to say about their love for their child (and nothing they didn’t intend). Sitting breathless as you listen to their play-by-play account of every visit, email exchange and letter opening. Reveling in any new information about their child’s growth and development as if it were about your own kid. Rejoicing in their happiness. Sitting with them in grief. Reminding them that they are important in this world, especially to their children.
It’s been an incredible honor to witness our friends’ amazing journeys. We celebrate with them as only another birth parent can- joyfully and completely – and always with a deep reverence for indescribable loss that is interwoven through every real joy after adoption placement. We recognize the enormous challenges ahead for these women as they work to re-configure their understanding of themselves as women and mothers. We support them as they help their partners and spouses understand their own role as everyday parents to children who are separated from their siblings. Most importantly, we hold them close as ALL of their children uncover how deeply and irretrievably adoption shapes their lives.
Four women. Eight children.
One love, beautiful mamas. You can do this.