Written by Angela McLaughlin, this is the first in a series of articles written from the perspective of a CPO birth mother. In this article, Angela explains her experience with open adoption. Be sure to check back often for more from this amazing birth mother.
Talking about open adoption is sometimes a difficult task. It is a thing, and a process, that involves people. And because of the people, it is a different experience for everyone. There is no one story that makes open adoption understandable. But I do believe there is a constant: love. As a birth mom, I can only share my story and the ways in which the love of open adoption has shaped my journey so far.
Samuel was born a little over 3 years ago and not a day has gone by that this wonderful, intelligent and dramatic boy has not been in my heart. Joana Macy wrote, “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” I have always believed that this is the perfect quote to explain my perspective on open adoption and being a birth mom. Placing a child for adoption is as painful as you may imagine, and more so. But my story isn’t about pain; it’s about love, and the universe it can build.
Being Samuel’s birth mom has taught me about a different kind of love. A quality of love that rises above envy, pain, and loss and absence. This, for me, is the love of a family built on open adoption. And it has been the focus of our adoption, the focus of Samuel’s parents and myself. Some people do not understand how my open adoption can work, how three people came to love each other despite jealousy, loss, anger and all of the lesser emotions that we have as people. I do not claim to fully understand it myself. But at the heart of it lies one perfect little person, and three people who want the universe for him.
I am not Samuel’s mother. I am his birth mother. I made that choice for him, and I have never regretted it. Perhaps that bears repeating. I have never regretted making an open adoption plan for Samuel. Open adoption, for me, has been a journey in learning about love. I have had the best teacher anyone could ask for. He is 3 years old, and cares about Thomas the Train maybe more than anything. Samuel doesn’t know that his family is different. He just knows that he has never wanted for people who love him. And he never will. It is my hope, and the hope of his parents, that this will be one of the defining characteristics of his life. While there will be struggles and doubts and questions on the road ahead, it will be paved with love. And there is nothing more that I could ask for him.
As for me, I have the honor of being third. In a room full of people, I am one of three that Samuel will run to. Sometimes, I am his first choice. More often, I am not. And I know that open adoption works because that is the way that I want it. And in our little mixed-up family, in our universe built out of love, that is exactly the way it should be.