The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
How do you feel after a visit?
Excerpts from the responses:
Cindy (first mom) @ Another Crazy Christian: “It has only been through writing that I have finally come to the conclusion to that question ‘How do I feel’ because, usually, I feel like it was all a dream, a beautiful dream, and it’s only pictures(and the bruises on my body cause Parker plays rough, he’s a boy!) that prove it was really really real. Like a miracle come true.”
Jay (adoptive mom) @ Two Women Blogging: “Proud….that we are building this family on a blueprint none of us have ever seen. So far we have a solid foundation and some framing in place. In a few weeks, Laura and her family will come for Eve’s dance recital, and as we sit over dinner that night with my mother and brother and sister-in-law, we’ll add the roof.”
Racilous (first mom) @ Adoption in the City: “To this day it is the hardest visit I’ve ever had. It was emotional, it was overwhelming, there were so many people there and many were just figuring out the whole openness thing so were saying incredibly awkward things. Yet I wouldn’t have traded anything in the world for being able to be there for that day.”
Erica Johnson (first mom) @ I’m Still a Good Mother: “I know someday I will look back on these painful years separated from Hannah, and these joyful times with my adopted family, well Ashley’s adopted family (it’s mine too!) and I will smile, because the contrast between the two won’t matter anymore. I am confident all my children will come find me, whether they already know where I am, or they have to come looking, we’ll be together. How I felt after the visit, will just be a a part of the past, a short stop on my journey through open-adoption, a journey that has reshaped my life in so many ways, no matter what the cost may have been, I’m grateful to be on this road.”
Sarah (adoptive mom) @ My Life–With Bugs, Brat, and Monster: “Normally, I am relieved when the two weeks are over, and Bugs can go back to being who he truly is- and feeling whatever he needs to feel. And I have such high hopes for the visit this year. Especially now that Bugs knows he can be angry if he needs to be- and that he can be himself no matter where he is. That no matter how angry he is, we love him just the way he is.”
Venessa (adoptive mom) @ A Journey of Love: “I feel silly for worrying about what was going to happen. Most visits are fine so the worry is just me being me.”
MommySquared (adoptive mom) @ Our Journey to Parenthood and the Years That Follow: “I used this prompt as a way to start a conversation and to speak with our girls (almost 6 and 4 years old) today about our family and their birth families. I asked each of them how they feel after we have seen Cristina (Ally’s birthmom) and Stefanie (Jess’s birthmom). Each of them enthusiastically said they are VERY HAPPY! and I can tell you they each look forward to their visits as well as Skype calls between visits…”
Rebecca Hawkes (adoptive mom, adult adoptee) @ Love Is Not a Pie: “My feelings after a visit are mainly a response to whatever is going on for Ashley. They are secondary to hers, which is as it should be, because it’s not really about me. My role, post visit, is one of support.”
Amber (adoptive mom) @ Bumber’s Bumblings: “Writing about the positive aspects of open adoption come easy to me. I want others to know how wonderful it is. Writing about the hard stuff is more difficult, because it mean sharing my heart and the pain. Adoption, for any person involved in the relationship, has much loss and much pain. The “after a visit” can be one of those really painful parts of open adoption.”
Barb Sobel (first mom) @ Sideshow Barb: “Many times I wanted to be left alone to think about things, to process. To process the things that I was too afraid to say or show against the activities of the day. Because I never knew if it was right to tell The Kid that I love him. I never knew if it was right to hug him. I never knew if he liked me or even wanted to be there (in the last few). I never knew whether it was right to say ‘hey, I do that too!’ or ‘I was good at that too!'”
Jenna Hatfield (first mom) @ The Chronicles of Munchkin Land: “The truth is that I miss my daughter all the time. I miss when she’s not here, doing the everyday things that we do every single day. But after a visit, it’s very much so in my face. I am face-to-face with the lack of her presence in our home. I am forced to acknowledge some of those feelings that I otherwise am afforded the right to ignore.”
Cathy (adoptive mom) @ Cat’s Litterbox: “After each visit with his birth family, I am so overjoyed. I feel like God placed us all together for a reason and I see them as an extension of my family. They’re all wonderful, and I feel like we’re as close to them as some of our own biological family members. I love seeing them with Gus, and I love that I have pictures of them all together. These are memories that he probably won’t remember, but I want him to never not know them. They’re who he is, and are as essential as we are in his life.”
Lisa (adoptive mom) @ Throwaway Pancake: “I think before every meeting, you work up in your head a list of all the worst things that could happen. From a bad hair day or an awkward conversation to a full-on meltdown or…who knows, random kidnapping attempt. Seriously, your head can get a little crazy. And when it all goes well, and you’ve added another brick to the foundation of trust you’re building together, it feels good. And right. And you’re relieved.”
KatjaMichelle (first mom) @ Therapy is Expensive: “However, due to the intensity and the me being in Kidlet’s presence for a long time I spend a lot of time trying to control myself and my emotions. Do you know how much energy it takes to be at an open adoption visit and regulate your emotions for a week to ten days?”
Monika (first mom) @ Monika’s Musings: “I think that’s allowed me after visits to spend more time wondering at the person Mack is becoming and less worried about what’s going to be next with me. I still worry too much. That will probably always be the case. There’s always increased missing of Mack after visits, but I’ve truly come to appreciate the feeling of family’.
Danielle (first mom) @ Another Version of Mother: “My emotions are harder to deal with post-visit because I don’t see The Kiddo often. I see him in pictures, I see him in my mind, but with each visit, he’s grown more. It’s a harsh reminder of everything that I have lost, and everything I can never get back. It’s a reminder of how little access I have to him, and how little of a role I play in his life.”
Kelly (adoptive mom) @ From empty womb to overflowing heart: “I realize now that some of the sadness I had when we left the first time was a feeling of guilt that we were driving away with our sweet girl and they weren’t. Maybe because we hadn’t experienced that in person when Lovebug was born and it took that visit to bring that to the surface and finally deal with it. This time, I did not feel that way. I felt solidified as Mommy. Confident in my role in Lovebug’s life as well as C’s role in Lovebug’s life. It was sad to say goodbye just because I’m not sure how long it will be until we see them again, but as I looked in our back seat and watched our sweet baby girl snuggling into her car seat, my heart couldn’t feel anything, but to feel grateful and whole. ”
Maggie (adoptive mom) @ Pink Shoes: “So now–after a visit I don’t worry so much. I don’t make it all about me and what I should or shouldn’t be doing differently. I’m thankful. Thankful that I have these people in my life to ask questions of, laugh with, kick my shoes off at their house and jump in their pool, invite to birthday parties, send piles of pictures to, go to the circus with, eat way too much Greek food, and most importantly……..Visit with. For them, for me, for my daughter.”
Debbie (first mom) @ Marginally a Mother: “I wanted them to know how I was hurting, to see my obvious love for him, but I did not what them to see my pain. After all, he was [is] still legally my child, and I did not want them to think I would do the unfathomable and rip Monkey from his life.”
Jenna (adoptive mom) @ sparklejenna: “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be my son’s mother and for now to be the guardian of the special relationships he will develop with his birth family as he grows older. I look forward to the day when he can tell me his answer to this question and we can talk about how lucky he is to have so many people who love him.”
Lynne (adoptive mom) @ Open Hearts, Open Minds: “But most importantly, I feel proud: proud that we’re doing the right thing for Elliot. Even though the visits may at times seem unusual to both us and Elliot’s birth parents (I’m guessing), they are the norm for Elliot. And that’s how it should be.”
Karmavore (adoptive mom) @ See Theo Run: “How do I feel after a visit from Theo’s birthparents? I feel euphoric. I feel extreme joy. I feel relieved. Why? Not because “it’s over” but because inevitably, it went really well. Theo knows his birthparents better each time he sees them as do I.”
Meg (adoptive mom) @ God Will Fill This Nest: “Today, after our visit, after getting back to the house and settling down, I noticed tears in my mom’s eyes. I am sure they mirrored my own for the same reason. All of E’s family, together, loving him, working past the awkward moments and the comments from people who just don’t understand…I said to my mom ‘How did we get so lucky? Not just to get E, but the whole situation? How did we get so lucky??'”
Barelysane (adoptive mom) @ Life of the Barely Sane: “Obviously I want what is best for MG and forcing her into an uncomfortable meeting may not be wise but neither is letting this go forever. The longer we wait, the harder it will get. The more awkward it will feel. I can’t protect her from that forever. Eventually we will need to rip off that bandaid, the question is: when?”
Traathy (adoptive mom) @ Happily Ever After: “At first I thought the visits would be really sad and that there would be a lot of tears, but for some reason it’s worked out that we all get along famously and there is always tons of laughter when we get together.”
Meg (adoptive mom) @ Momosapien: “After a visit the most present thing I feel is exhausted. Especially this last time when we went to visit LB’s first mom in the city where she lives, I was worn out by the end of the weekend. Managing LB’s energy, in the same room as First Mom’s energy for any length of time is enough to make me want to hide under the nearest bed.”
Shannon (adoptive mom) @ One Inch of Grace: “My kids were adopted through the foster care system, so we don’t have an open adoption in the traditional sense of the phrase. My children have no contact with their first parents. However, we do have monthly visits with Aunt S, who is my children’s mother’s half sister. This is why I often say that we have a ‘semi-open adoption.’”
Tiffany (adoptive mom) @ Raising Paityn: “The reality is that Olivia has a strong biological connection to her first mom, as well as her first dad. I’m a scientist by education and nature, and there’s no illusion for me that Livie expected the mother she had grown inside and got a stranger instead. These visits, for now, only amplify that truth. Acknowledging this makes me no less a mother (just as not raising her does not change her first mom’s status as a mother). It’s just fact, and I see no purpose in denying it and the potential for much harm if I did.”
Abby (adoptive mom) @ Akers of Love: “I’m humbled as I’m reminded what a gift we were given when L chose us to be Max’s parents. Seeing the people that gave you that gift, face to face, allows you to never take that gift for granted.”
Deborah (first mom) @ A Birth Mother’s Love: “I’ve wondered about what caused the two very different reactions after the first and the last visits with B and his family. After months of pondering….I know, it takes me a long time to figure things out. I have decided it is because with the first visits every thing was still so fresh. I was still actively healing from placement. I loved the visits 100% and would never change having them just because I was still ‘actively healing’, but the timing, I feel is the difference. After almost 8 years I feel much more comfortable now with myself, my adoption, and the choices I have made and the way everything has turned out.”
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.