The phone rang. A woman picked up the phone as she prayed with eagerness it was the call she had been waiting for. Nine months of waiting to be exact.
“Hello,” she said into the phone.
“Hello ma’am. We called to let you know that your daughter has just been born at 6:38 p.m. today. There’s a couple more tests we have to do, but in about 48 hours she’ll be ready to go home,” the voice said.
The woman leaped and cried with excitement. She said “thank you,” called her husband, packed her bags and headed toward Wichita, Kansas. She was about to officially meet her daughter for the first time.
This is one of my favorite stories to tell, not only because the woman’s reaction is very similar to that of many adoptive mothers, but because it’s the story of my adoption.
Every year, thousands of families go through the adoption process and experience the benefits of bringing a child into a family. The advantages of adoption affect everyone involved: birth mothers, adopted children and adoptive families.
According to Kathryn Patricelli, author of Choosing to Adopt, adoption is a great option for families that are infertile, lack an appropriate partner or just want to expand their family.
Through my own personal experience, I have grown to love adoption and the family I have because of it. Adoption is one of the best alternative options for creating and growing a family.
My adoption was a closed adoption, which meant that for about 19 years of my life, I didn’t have contact with my birth family. They couldn’t reach out to me and I didn’t know how to reach out to them.
At least once a year, I would think about my birth mom and wonder what she was doing. I thought about how she looked like me, or rather how I looked like her. I’d ask my parents questions of what they remembered about her, since they had the opportunity to meet her pre-adoption. They’d tell me she was beautiful and quiet. I’d ask if I looked like her and they’d say I had some similarities, but not all.
I grew up in a white home as a Hispanic, Lao and Indian child. There were times when I questioned if I belonged. It wasn’t that I was sad or didn’t feel loved, but a piece of me felt missing. Many of my friends who were also adopted experienced the same feelings.
When a child is placed in a closed adoption, according to American Adoptions, children are cut off from their biological and personal history. It’s difficult to build an identity when you lack information about where and who you come from.
The more I think about it, the more I find love for the idea of open adoption. Open adoption is where adoptees and adoptive parents are able to have contact with the birth parents. Studies show open adoption benefits all parties involved and adoptees receive the most advantages.
I think those who don’t do open adoption are just scared. They are scared to share their child and think they might lose their child in the process. I am not a parent, so I will not speak as though I know what they are going through, but I will speak as an adoptee. I think we should be thinking about how adoption affects the child first.
According to American Adoptions, children who have contact with their birth parents have a higher satisfaction with their adoption than those who don’t. They don’t have to question their identity, and if they still do, they don’t have to do it alone.
In 2019 I decided to find my birth parents. My parents were very supportive of my decision. When I finally found my birth mom and was able to arrange a time to meet her, I felt like everything made sense. I loved meeting my birth mom. I only wish I could have met her sooner.
About 66% of adopted women end up searching for their birth parents, regardless of feeling loved or not, while only 34% of adopted men do so. If we already know that down the road our children are going to look for their birth family, why not take out the extensive process in between?
Happily, about 60–70% of adoptions now are open, which I guess makes me unique. I guess I speak more to those who fear open adoption.
I want you to know your family will be okay. Adoption is beautiful. Your children will have questions. Show your adoptive child love. Teach them it’s okay to be different and you love them the same regardless of how they came to you. No matter what, be there for them.
About 117,000 children in the United States are waiting to be adopted. Take the leap and find out if adoption is right for you.
Daily Universe Reporter