“The most frequently asked question my husband (Josh) and I get asked is, ‘Why did you choose open adoption when you don’t have to?’ They’re right; we didn’t have to have an open adoption – we chose to. This is our story.
My parents divorced when I was young and not long after, my birth father gave up his rights to me. I met the man I call ‘Dad’ when my mom remarried when I was nine. I learned at a very young age family doesn’t have anything to do with blood. The first time I told my mom I wanted to adopt children, I was about twelve years old. I knew first-hand how the love and connection felt the same with my dad, and I felt I could give this same love to a child one day.
I carried and gave birth to our first two children, first a girl and then our son. When our youngest was about 18 months old, we became a waiting family at a local adoption agency. After six months waiting, we received a phone call from our caseworker telling us there was a baby girl born two days prior and she needed a home. We spent that night washing baby clothes and putting our baby items upstairs to use again.
We had a couple hour drive the next day to where baby was, a drive filled with excitement and anticipation. We knew very little about baby’s situation, but the little we did know was heartbreaking. When we arrived, we spent the first two hours on paperwork and at 12:30 we got to meet our beautiful daughter. Six pounds, five ounces of pure perfection. Over the next three hours we learned more about her situation and what care she would need, and before we knew it, they were sending us home with this precious girl!
We entered into the adoption of our daughter the way birth mom wanted it, which would be a fully closed adoption. Her birth mother’s name was blacked out in all of our paperwork because legally, we weren’t allowed to know who she was. But 24 hours after we brought our daughter home, we got a call saying her birth mother was struggling with her decision. She knew she could not safely care for her baby with the life she was living, but her heart was hurting, so we told our caseworker to offer her a visit if she mentioned it.
Sure enough, a few days later the call came in that birth mom wanted to meet us and hold her daughter. My heart filled with joy for my daughter while simultaneously sinking for my family. We sat in the agency room with hearts pounding, not knowing what to expect when she arrived. But then she did. I looked into her eyes and could see the turmoil and pain of wanting a safe place for her baby, but also the pain of letting her go. In my heart I knew we needed a plan C.
Shutting my daughter’s birth mother out means taking something away from her that isn’t mine to take. The decision for a relationship between the two of them will someday be hers, but right now it is mine. The weight of this responsibility is not lost on me. I have a responsibility to my daughter to do my part in building a relationship with her birth family because if a continued relationship with them is what my daughter chooses later in life, then I want to build a foundation for her to stand on. This little girl deserves the whole world, and this is the best way I feel I can give it to her.
Once my mind was clear on what I felt my responsibility was, it allowed me to see her birth mother in a different light. I love her birth mother with an absolute fierceness most cannot understand. I support her, encourage her, and celebrate her. I push past my boundaries in order to love and include a whole other family into my own. Our visits now include birth mom and her entire family. I look forward to our time spent with them and love learning about their culture so I can appropriately incorporate it into our lives. And her birth family has welcomed us with open arms. They not only love on our daughter, but they love on us and our other two children as well.
It’s not always a perfectly smooth road. We have bumps along the way and need to navigate and adjust as she’s getting older. But I will forever be grateful for the bonus family we gained by us all opening our hearts to one another. Adoption shouldn’t have to be ‘either/or,’ it should be ‘and.’ If there is any possibility, any amount of forgiveness and grace that could salvage a healthy relationship with birth families, it’s worth it.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Krysten Monsma. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook, and purchase her children’s books here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more stories like this here:
‘Through tears, she said, ‘Tell her I love her. Tell her I didn’t give her away because I didn’t want her.’: Mom of 5 shares powerful open adoption, ‘We’ll forever be grateful for her sacrificial love’
‘Clay and Megan adopt even though they already have a lot of kids!’ I was 4 months pregnant with our sixth baby.’: Mom of 7 shares family journey through miscarriages, adoptions, ‘We all work as a team’
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