When my husband and I pictured starting a family, we envisioned what every young couple imagines. We thought we would have a positive test eventually; we may experience a few bumps in the road, but—give or take—within 9 months we would have a bouncing bundle of joy.
Fast forward through 2 years of negative tests, and it was apparent that what we had pictured wasn’t in the cards for us. We explored all our options. We grieved for what we would never have. Then, we took on our new journey of adoption. Honestly, in the beginning of the whole journey, we were unsure and apprehensive, but we were following our hearts—and our hearts were leading us to open adoption.
We were met with a lot of questions from well-meaning family members and friends who may have had negative experiences years prior with adoption or—quite honestly—watched one too many Lifetime movies. The biggest question we were faced with was: “What does open adoption look like?” At the time, all we could say was what we knew from education via our agency, books, articles, and speaking with friends who had walked the road before us.
What we did know from the start of our decision to pursue an open adoption was that we were going to put our selfishness, fears, and hopes aside. Selfishly, we wanted the positive pregnancy test. We were fearful that things would be scary at some point and that our relationship with our future baby’s birth family would be difficult. From the start, we were keenly aware that this wasn’t just about having a baby. This was about removing ourselves from our own human nature of selfishness and about opening our hearts to all the people who would love our baby.
Last January, late at night, the beautiful, heart-stopping call came that there was a 2-day-old baby boy who would be released from the hospital the next day. Within 24 hours, we had flown from Tennessee to Texas—and we had met Bryant. In the moment he first looked at me, I knew he was the reason everything had happened in the way that it had.
What we didn’t get on that trip to Texas was the chance to meet Bryant’s first family. At the time, they were not prepared for contact. This was a heart-breaking time for us. We were unsure if they would ever be ready to meet or have communication—and in our joy—they were experiencing unimaginable loss and grief.
Over the next few months, we watched our sweet angel baby grow big and strong while sending letters and pictures via our agency. During a trip over the summer to finalize Bryant’s adoption, we were able to speak with Bryant’s precious birth mama, who felt prepared to meet us, and see her son again. We were thrilled and made a 4-hour drive across Texas—full of emotions.
It was a beautiful blessing, and we have continued to build our relationship over the past few months. In October, we were able to visit with his first family again. As I reflect on our visit, and I work on photo books for Bryant’s first family, I feel better equipped to answer all the questions we received during our journey.
Why open adoption?
Open adoption enables you to be connected to your roots. It enables you to remain a part of the lives of those who love you dearly.
It allows my son to have both his moms in his life, to know his siblings, and to grow up knowing that he was not given up—he was given a beautiful opportunity.
Was it his birth mama’s first choice?
No. She let go of her desires to raise her son. She loves him as only a mother can.
Is it always easy?
Is it worth every trial or tribulation that may come up?
Someone asked me once how adoption has changed my life…it has made me a mommy, but it has changed the way I see the world. It has made me a more selfless person. Because of open adoption, our family didn’t just grow by one baby—it expanded to encompass a network of people who love our baby.
Adoption makes me thankful that things didn’t turn out the way we had imagined.
Lena grew up in the Nashville area. She met Ben at their church, they fell in love, and their story goes from there! They’ve been married 5 and 1/2 years. Lena teaches first grade, and Ben works for an I.T. company here in Nashville.