Friday, September 14, 2012

Open Adoption in Foster Care, take TWO!

I wrote this for my personal/ family blog and thought I would share.

Clyde and Braxdon are the same kid, we're in transition mode with changing his name! It's been HARD! But we love his new name! He is named after my mom who died when I was 7 and coincidentally was also born on her birthday!!!

- Some probably think we’re crazy for having one open adoption especially in foster care, but now we are going for two! I am excited to see how this goes. I have gotten quit a few negative comments about us being in contact with Emma’s birth mom. So I will start out by explaining WHY I do it.

I want my children to know who they are, where they come from, who their birth parents are and so on. I don’t want them to wonder, “Did my birth mom really love me?” “Where did I come from (family wise)?” I know, well, they can know those things without it being open. I want them to really know their birth parents, to be a part of their lives! It is, at times, an exhilarating feeling seeing Emma interact with her birth mom, to talk about her, to sing about her and to hear her talk about her adoption story. I want Braxdon to have the same experiences. I don’t want him to grow up wondering or asking why Emma gets to be in contact with her birth family, but he doesn’t. I don’t want my kids to feel a sense of loss that they are cut off from their biological family. I want them to feel comfortable enough about their adoptions that they can ask us questions or even ask their birth family questions! It is also something you can’t understand unless you have gone through it, but these birth moms grow a special place in your heart! They gave birth to your children, (I totally started bawling writing this!) and even though they made mistakes, they decided to do what was best for their children and placed them for adoption to us. There is something about hearing them tell you they want you to adopt their child that makes your heart swell with love for them!
Today has been a long day. Brax and I were up early. He finally had his eye surgery. We got there and checked in, filled out the paperwork and such. His birth mom (Who I will refer to as Kim because I don’t have her permission to use her name) asked if she could come be there too. She got there a few minutes before they took him back. She was able to hold him and hand him off to the nurse. Let me back track a little, while I was signing the forms the receptionist was telling me what to sign and me relationship to Braxdon, I informed her that I was foster mom. She was like many that I have come in contact with that always view birth parents in a very negative way. People will say things like, “I don’t get how someone can just give away their child.” “I don’t get how people can do those things and get their kids taken away.” It doesn’t mean these people don’t love their children, they do very much. People make mistakes and I guess it’s just in my personality to not judge them. So, back to my day, the receptionist was giving Kim the cold shoulder the whole time! The surgery was so fast. At our consultation the doctor told me we would get there at 7 and would be leaving by 10:45, um try 8:20! As soon as surgery was over they brought Kim and I back to Braxdon. She held him the whole time and snuggled with him until we left. As we were leaving Kim asked me to take a picture of her with Braxdon on her phone. I was trying to get Brax to look and out of habit said, “Look at Mommm…. oh, sorry.” Kim, “No, you are mommy. I am birth mom and you are mom!”. I then asked her if I could go to court. I thought we would still be in surgery so I hadn’t asked. She said she really wanted me there. I got home and took a quick shower and shaved and was off to court!

I was so nervous for court because I didn’t know what to expect. Emma’s we went there knowing Sam was going to relinquish. We (DFCS & I) went expecting anything could happen. We went in and one of the first things said was she wanted to relinquish! I was kind of surreal. The judge wanted to make sure she was ready and wasn’t rushing it, he asked if she wanted to do it that day, or the next day or some other time. We took a recess for her to decide. That made me even more anxious! Sam cancelled one court date to relinquish and almost didn’t show up to her second one. It is torture waiting with anticipation! I was hoping she would do it that day and I would be able to be there. 2 other cases came and went with the judge. Kim and I had (what I thought was) a great time talking about our plans on maintain contact post-adoption and getting to know each other better and on a deeper level. I told her about my experiences with Sam to try to reassure her I am not just blowing smoke. We went back into court and it seemed like the second we sat down she was signing and it was all done! Sam paused/ hesitated when it came to signing and it felt like an hour went by! Kim’s was so fast! She and I both cried. It is one of the most bittersweet moments you can image. I felt the same way about Sam’s. Your heart breaks for them, but at the same time you are excited to be able to adopt their child.

Like I said before some people think I’m crazy for having an open adoption or maintain contact. We learned a lot with our experiences with Sam so far. We learned things we want to do again with Braxdon and Kim and things we would never do again. It’s all learning by mistakes sometimes! I don’t do anything dumb or dangerous that endangers my children’s or I’s wellbeing. I know healthy boundaries and both Sam and Kim get that. Kim told me today, “I know if I do something dumb, I don’t have the right to see him!”

The past week I have had the quote from Elder Uchtdorf stuck in my head, "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you." Thinking about my children’s birth moms and how judgmental people are of them and they have never even met them! No one is perfect, everyone has made mistakes. I get that people do have negative options about our open adoptions and our children’s birth parents. I just ask that nothing negative is even said in front of my children!

Well, even though Kim relinquished today we still have other legal stuff to deal with. If things go fast/ smoothly we could finalize as soon as November, but I’m not really counting on it. Fingers crossed to finalize by the end of the year!


April said...

Thanks for sharing! That was quite a day with the surgery and court. I'm eager for the day when you can share Braxton's picture. How does Emma feel about getting a brother?

Darla said...

Yes thank you for sharing! I can't imagine how hard it is. We are just embarking on the journey. I expect roses and rain, but we know it can't be done alone.