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Archive for what is open adoption like?

“Our son is a gift, made of miracles and divine love!”

Anthony and Sara with their son ElijahLast year, adoptive couple Anthony and Sara were blessed to adopt a baby boy through Lifetime. In this family’s story, we hear from Sara about her life-long call to adoption, getting “the call” that a birth mother was interested in them, and their experience with becoming parents together through an open adoption.
 
Now a forever family, adoptive mom Sara shares their beautiful story in this special guest blog post!

 
On February 28, 2018, we got the call that would change our lives forever. For some reason, I didn’t have my phone on vibrate that day, and I heard the ringing from the next room as I was unloading the dishwasher. I set the plastic plate in my hand down on the counter and made my way to the desk where my phone was perched. Grass Valley, California was on the caller ID.
 
Newly-born Elijah“We have a birth mother who’s interested in you.”
 
Fast forward exactly four weeks. This time, the caller ID was flashing our birth mom’s name. Not the first time she had ever called, but this call was unscheduled, after 10 pm, and less than a week out from her due date.
 
“My water just broke.”
 
Fast forward about forty hours. We had just driven cross-country to a tiny town in upstate New York. There was another name, but it wasn’t on a caller ID, it was on a hospital crib. “That’s him. As soon as you sent her his name, she had us write it on the crib card.”
 
Fast forward nine months. Here we are. At the time that I’m writing this, it’s been nine months to the day since we left the hospital. As I sit here and reflect on this adoption journey that led us to the most beautiful and perfect baby boy I could have ever dreamed into existence, I realize that adopting our son has taught me some things – not the least of which is my fresh perspective of the gospel message.
 
Worth the adoption wait!I first felt the call to adopt as a very young teenager. It started with one of those controversial “Feed the Children” commercials. Then learning about the unwanted baby girls in China. Then hearing a missionary speak about the orphans they help care for in Uganda, and working with poverty-stricken American children on various missions trips throughout high school. And so on. Each experience was like kindling to my little spark, and God continued to breathe on it.
 
I wanted to adopt because there are so many children in the world who need parents. I wanted to adopt because I want women to choose adoption over abortion when faced with a choice between the two. I wanted to adopt because not everyone has the emotional make-up for it, but for some reason, God gave that to me. I wanted to adopt for reasons that can’t be articulated but only felt with the heart. I felt so strongly about adopting that it would have kept me from marrying someone who didn’t share that desire. So, God sent me a man who had been adopted himself and understood my heart for it. And the flame continued to grow. It was like “a fire, shut up in my bones (Jeremiah 20:9, NIV)”. I was weary of holding it in, and indeed, I could not.
 
On November 1, 2016, the first day of Adoption Awareness Month, Anthony and I officially announced our plans to begin an adoption process. Exactly two years later, to the day, we finalized Elijah’s adoption. It was a beautiful full circle moment, and the moments in between were wrought with God’s goodness.
 
Anthony and Sara's adoption profileWe had to postpone our home study for a while, due to an upcoming move for my husband’s job. So, once our application with Lifetime was approved, we set aside a handful of months to save some money and work on our digital and print profiles. We officially contracted with Lifetime in July 2017 and were home study-ready that October. Then, the real wait began.
 
It was daunting. Looking through page after page of the digital profiles for so many wonderful waiting families on Lifetime’s website made me feel overwhelmingly…small. How could we possibly stand out to someone in that ocean that was teeming with such life? But I kept reminding myself that God had called us to do this and that He would make the right thing stand out to the right birth mother at the right time.
 
Elijah as Max from Where the Wild Things AreAnd He did. Just four months after completing our home study, we were selected by an amazing young woman who had contacted Lifetime late in her pregnancy. She was initially drawn to the fact that Anthony and the birth father have the same college degree, and once she read the rest of our profile, according to her, “it just felt right.” After speaking with her, it felt right to us too.
 
We’ve been blessed with an incredible birth family for our son that we look forward to remaining connected with throughout the years. The coming together of our families is undoubtedly something to celebrate.
 
There are thousands of babies born in the world each day, and the vast majority of these births are insignificant to most of us. Certainly, we rejoice when pregnant women choose life. Certainly, we acknowledge that each life is special. But, we don’t necessarily take a particular interest in all of those lives.
 
Anthony, Elijah, and Sara todayAn example of such a life is the baby boy born in a tiny town in upstate New York at 8:22 am on March 29, 2018, to a woman none of our family and friends have ever met. But, the moment he took on our name, he became part of the family. Elijah has become such a source of excitement and joy in our family. He was automatically accepted and loved. Because he took on our name. That’s the gospel, and watching it play out in front of me these past months has been too beautiful for words.
 
Some people wonder if having an adopted baby could possibly feel the same as having a child that you helped create, but I can say with absolute certainty that we couldn’t love this precious little soul any more in this moment. He is made of dream dust and miracles and divine love, and he is better than we ever imagined. He is a gift. As he grows, we’ll tell him his story – about the God who created him, his birth parents, and the string of holy moments that brought us all together.
 
There are parts of Elijah’s tale I’ll never share publicly, out of respect for him and his birth mother’s privacy. Those sacred details are tucked away in my heart, convincing me even more that he was meant to walk this earth and meant to do it as part of our family. That the God who paid the ultimate price for him has set the stage for His great and marvelous plans for my son’s life to unfold.
 
I can’t wait to find out the rest of the story!
 

Lifetime would love to help you adopt a baby, too!
 
Start your open adoption journey today by completing Lifetime’s free application to adopt.

4 Ways to Build a Quality Relationship With Your Child’s Adoptive Family

Learn about building a relationship With your child’s adoptive familyWhen you decide to make an open adoption plan, it doesn’t just mean having a relationship with your child. It also means having a relationship with your child’s adoptive family. And creating a bond with them can be a wonderful experience!
 
Today, we’re giving you 4 tips to help get you to begin the path towards a quality relationship with the adoptive family:
 

1. Get to Know Them

Getting to know your child’s adoptive parents before and after placement is important! So, ask them questions about things like their lives, jobs, church, vacations, and traditions. You could try chatting with them like you would to a friend.
 
“When I go to California to visit my daughter and her adoptive parents, I always update them on my life – school, dating, work, and stuff like that,” says Taylor, a birth mother. “I think that when we show interest in each other’s lives, it makes us all feel more comfortable.” Who knows, the adoptive couple may even become some of your closest friends!
 

2. Honor Boundaries

It’s crucial to respect their roles as parents, and yours as the birth mom. These roles are equally important but different. When you honor their boundaries and parenting decisions, the adoptive parents will feel respected and secure in their role. This security will make them feel more comfortable with you.
 

3. Notice Your Child’s Siblings

If your child has siblings, you’re important in their lives too. “My son’s brother is one of my favorite kids. When I visit, we all play together. He knows that I love him and his brother,” says Hailey, a birth mother. So if you get your child a gift, think about getting a gift for their brother or sister, as well. They need to know they are important to you too.
 

4. Don’t Worry

Adoptive parents are only humans, so they might act awkward and make mistakes. They might be worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, just like you. So try not to feel intimidated as you start your relationship. What’s helped some birth moms is to think of them like extended family members.
 
 
The bottom line is that any relationship requires work. We recommend that you find what works best for you, since every open adoption relationship is different. Your relationship with the adoptive couple will naturally change as time passes. It’s possible to have an incredible open adoption relationship if you put the child first and remember that adoption is about love!

Why is Open Adoption So Wonderful?

“Hi, my husband and I are hoping to adopt a baby after enduring several failed attempts to conceive. As I do research online, I’ve been seeing the term ‘open adoption’ a lot. But we are worried that the birth mother would just be dropping by our house unannounced all the time. Does this really happen? I guess I’m really asking, what makes open adoption so great?”
 

Peter and Helen were blessed by open adoption!

Lifetime adoptive couple Peter and Helen were
blessed by open adoption!

Great question! Often, when you’re new to adoption, the idea of an open adoption can seem daunting. Open adoption gives your child security as they grow and start to ask questions about their heritage and origins. If you have an open adoption relationship with your child’s birth mother, you’ll be better equipped to answer their questions. It will help you maintain and celebrate your child’s connections with all the important people in his or her life.
 
It also serves as a comfort to your child’s birth family, with the knowledge that they chose a family for their baby. They’re able to know and see their child grow up, through the emails, letters, videos, and photos that you send them. Some adoption relationships even include in-person visits once or twice a year. The birth family can have peace of mind in knowing that their child is happy and thriving, and enjoying the life they hoped and prayed for.
 
Open, modern adoption empowers you, the adoptive parents, as you raise your child. It equips you with knowledge about your child’s birth family and their family’s medical history. When you have your home study, your social worker will educate you on the many positive features of open adoption. You can also discuss which type of contact arrangement you’re most comfortable with. It’s important to be honest and open with your adoption professional about the type of relationship you envision with the birth family. Then, you’ll be able to build a relationship with your child’s birth mother that’s authentic and truthful!

Here are some recommended resources to check out:

7 of the Most Frequently-Asked Questions About Open Adoption

Adoptive Couple Jesse and Alicia’s Adoption Story

How to Build a Relationship With Your Baby’s Birth Mom

Adoption Webinar: An Adoptive Mom and Birth Mom’s Stories

Adoption Webinar: Questions Most Asked About Open Adoption

Start your adoption journey today, by filling out Lifetime Adoption Agency’s free online application!

“I’m So Thankful for Open Adoption!”

"I am so thankful for open adoption!" shares one birth motherToday, Lifetime Adoption Agency is sharing one birth mother’s story. While every open adoption is different, it can help to hear from others who have been where you are now. Here’s one birth mother’s experience with coming to adoption:

“I was 16 years old when I became pregnant. Even at such a young age, I knew that there would be no way I could make parenting work. I didn’t even have my driver’s license yet! My baby’s father, Matt, and I knew we couldn’t give our beautiful baby everything she needed or wanted. Adoption was a hard decision for us to make, but we have all been blessed abundantly. Today, I feel like we have one of the best situations in open adoption history.

Hailey was born at 6:02 p.m. after an exceptionally smooth labor. She was loved and visited by my family and friends as well as Matt’s. The adoptive parents we chose, Kirk and Gwen, arrived later that night. As soon as they took their first look at her, I knew this was right. It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but I know it was the right decision.

I will always have a deep love for Matt, Hailey, and the adoptive parents, Kirk and Gwen. We are all so happy and very close. We talk a few times a month and meet up twice a year. I am so thankful for open adoption. I thank God every day that He showed me this option because it eases me to know that Hailey will know I love her, and she’ll know me as a person—as her birth mother.”

You can learn about making an open adoption plan for your baby by calling
Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.

Get the Inside Scoop on Modern Adoption

What is modern adoption?Modern adoption has changed so much from how adoptions used to go. In a modern adoption, you have the power to choose your baby’s adoptive parents, how much you’d like to stay in contact in the future, and how things go down in the hospital. “Modern adoption” is also called “open adoption.”
 
We’re showing you the inside scoop on what modern adoption looks like nowadays! Here are what women who made a modern adoption plan have to say about it!
 
For privacy, we’ve removed everyone’s names.
 
“I’m so grateful that with open adoption, I’m able to know how my baby is doing and see updates on her.”
 
“My son knows that I’m his birth mother (he calls me his “tummy mommy”). We visit once a year, and his adoptive parents share photos and videos of him on Instagram all the time so I can see him grow up! Once he gets older and starts asking about his birth mom and why I placed him, his parents will have that info to share with him.”
 
“Choosing modern adoption for my three-year-old daughter sure wasn’t easy. I did it because knew I couldn’t give her the life I wanted to. It helped that I could hand-pick her adoptive parents, and stay in touch. I wanted her to be with an active and outgoing couple who could keep up with her! Being able to put her through college was a must for me. Even though this was such a hard decision, I feel peace knowing she’s with the perfect couple, that I was able to pick out for her!”
 
“I took a long time picking out the adoptive parents for my baby boy. This was such a big decision, so I needed to be picky about it! At eight and a half months pregnant, I chose a couple who followed the same religion as me and had strong Christian values. It’s important to me that my son’s brought up with morals and values, so I was so relieved to find them!”
 
 

Would you like to talk with someone who’s made a modern adoption plan? To get connected with one of Lifetime’s peer counselors, just text or call us at 1-800-923-6784.
 
Our peer counselors have been where you’re at now, and are here for you!