A week ago Sunday, Chris and I attended a day long open adoption seminar. It was fantastic! In addition to meeting with other couples in the process, we were also treated to first person stories from birth and adoptive parents. The day ran from 10:00-4:30 including breakfast and lunch. It was really nice meeting and speaking with couples we haven't previously met in our adoption workshops. It really made me feel connected to others in the struggle for parenthood. One of the things that I love about our agency is the diversity of the staff and clients. The other thing I love is that it is a small agency so I feel like a person and not a number.
About the seminar - the birth parents discussed how they felt when they discovered they were pregnant, their difficulties in deciding whether to parent, terminate, or choose adoption, and how they chose parents for their babies. The stories were heartbreaking, hopeful, and joyful all at the same time. Each of the birth parents have very good relationships with the parents of their children and let us know that their relationships work because they work at good communication, which for them includes letters, pictures, emails, and visits.
The adoptive parents that spoke, all brought their children with them. It was so much fun to ooh and ahh over the babies and see how happy the older kids were in their families. Each family had a different birth story. Some were chosen with time to get to know the birth mothers and others were chosen after the baby was born. The latter situation seemed to be the most difficult because at this point, the birth mothers want limited or closed communication with the adoptive parents. This was hard for the adoptive parents because it meant their children will probably miss out on connections with their biological families.
All-in-all it was a nice day. The weather was good, the speakers great, and the interaction was fun.