Three years ago tomorrow, I rolled the dice unsure how it would all turn out. For Turkey-man’s first birthday, I invited Mama-A to the party alongside the rest of our friends and family. I remember being so unsure how it would all work out, worried that it would be awkward. It turned out more amazing than I could have guessed as our family met the woman that completely changed all of our lives with the decision she made.
One thing that I have not yet addressed on this blog is the special place I have in my hearts for teen moms as I am the daughter of one. It is something that I explained to both Mama-A and Mama-D. I wanted them to know that I did not judge them because I know that one can be perfectly capable of parenting even at a young age.
In getting our family together, I was not prepared for the beautiful exchange that occurred. It still makes me tear up remembering watching my mom, a teen mom, hugging and thanking Mama-A, another teen mom that changed our life. Her Facebook status after the party read:
“At 17, I received a gift from God [Me] that I didn’t have to make a decision to give up, thanks to two loving supportive families and wonderful man named [My dad]. Thanking [Turkey-man]’s birthmom for giving her gift to my gift was an event that I was completely, unemotionally prepared for today, but I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to do so. Please pray for [Mama-A] to have a life blessed by God, because she has certainly provided a great blessing to all of us in her mature, selfless decision that she had to make at 17. Thank-you [Mama-A].”
I am not sure that either Mama-A or Mama-D can fully appreciate how profound of an impact they made by making the decision to go forward with an adoption plan. Although hubby and I’s life was changed the most, their choice also had a tremendous effect on everyone that loves us.
Having an opportunity to mix the families gave our loved ones an opportunity to meet the woman that changed their life. On the flip side, it gave Mama-A the chance to see how much love surrounds Turkey-man.
Given the diversity of families that fall under the umbrella of open adoption, there is certainly no guide on how to mix the families together. I found myself feeling protective of Mama-A. Our family had each other to talk with, but she was alone.
She seemed content just to be able to spend time with Turkey-man on his birthday, but I wanted to make sure she felt included. Given that she is also his mother, I wanted her to have an active part in his first birthday. She sat with me and helped him open gifts. We both tried and failed to convince Turkey-man that cake was not poisonous! Then, after everyone had left, we enjoyed some private time with her alone.
The definition of open adoption is broad. Certainly, mixing biological and adoptive families together is not for each situation. We are fortunate that everyone is so welcoming of the other. When we were in the process of adopting Little-Flower, her family seemed more interested in fully envisioning her life with us so they took the opportunity to meet our parents, who would become her grandparents.
It is always a little stressful, but the reality is that these children have more people who love them unconditionally than most. For us, the reason that mixing the families has worked is that all sides recognize that. All sides are working together to provide these kids the best life possible. I try not to perpetuate the “so lucky to have been adopted!” line of thinking because there is a lot of trauma that comes with adoption. What I do hope though is that they are able to recognize how much love they are surrounded by. In my opinion, a child never can have too much of that and in that sense, lucky they are!