A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Embracing Openness ~ Jenny's Story


 This post is written by Jenny Jerkins, an adoptive mom.   She wrote it for her blog:  Our Not So Engineered Life.
Thank you Jenny for sharing your experience and perspectives (and your darling pictures) with us!


~

“Because of His great love for us before the world even began…We were chosen by God to be adopted as His children…We love because He first loved us…A pure act of faith is to care for His children just as He cared for us…Adoption is partnering with Jesus to see lives transformed…Adoption is a Miracle!” (Glory Haus)

As I sat down to write this particular blog, I struggled with how to begin and in finding those perfect words to set the tone.  Then Courtney (my dear friend and co-writer for “Our Not So Engineered Life” blog) sent me this quote which happens to be from my favorite Glory Haus canvas print.  Talk about divine intervention and perfect timing! It was just the words I was looking for and again God has shown me how He has placed us together for encouragement and support so that we can accomplish His work.  

The quote above perfectly describes why my husband and I chose open adoption.  Through our faith in Jesus and knowing what His word says, we are to open our hearts and minds to transform lives – not just our son’s, but his birth family as well.  We want to be a stark example of how Christ shows His love for us in practical ways.  One way we can do that is to open our lives to another family – the family that He chose for us, our son’s biological family.  

Ephesians 1:3-6 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

I have been asked many questions about our open adoption just in the two short years of our son’s life.  Some of these questions are heartfelt and asked with pure intentions.  Some are asked by those who are also seeking to adopt and want to know what kind of options they have.  Other questions are asked in judgmental tones from those who could not possibly understand or want to understand, and give feedback such as “I don’t know how you do that,” “Isn’t it hard?” “Won’t it just confuse your son more?” The answers are yes it is hard, but so is parenting in general.  Marriage is hard.  Jobs are hard.  Life is hard.  And we are not to be given “extra credit” for doing what we believe to be best for our son.  We don’t want or seek any kind of “medal of honor”.  We are just normal parents doing the best for their son just like everyone else.  As for confusion, we believe that openness in adoption actually lessons confusion and takes away the factor of hiding things from our son.  We don’t want him to question why he’s different.  Because first, he’s not…he’s a normal child with a mommy and daddy.  Instead, we want him to grow and have all assurance that the decision his birth mom and her family made was to give him the best life possible.  To give him a life she couldn’t at 18 years of age.  To show him that he is loved and has an extensive family who also loves him beyond measure. I’m writing this particular blog for multiple reasons.  I want to encourage and counsel others who are considering adoption by giving them the picture of a healthy and open adoption.  And I’m also writing it so that others may understand our open adoption relationship better.  

Just like individuals, all adoptions are not the same.  What works for us may not work for others.  And vice versa, what has worked for others doesn’t work for us.  But one thing is certain; every decision we have made and will continue to make will center around two things: 1) we will continue to do what God directs us to do through prayer, and 2) we will always do what is best for our son – whatever that may mean.

By now, most of you have read my Adoption Journey on our blog and have a picture of the relationship that my son’s birth mom and I had prior to and at the time of his birth. One thing my husband and I were certain of when we first started the adoption process is that we would always do what is best for our child whether that meant - open or closed adoption, meaning we either would or would not have contact with the birth family based on the situation.   And there are varying degrees of open adoption – from sending pictures at a mutually agreed upon timeframe/frequency all the way to personal visits.  And that may even change as time goes on or as a relationship grows.  For us, we evolved from our birth mom just wanting us to send her pictures on the timeframe of her choice to now having personal visits at least twice per year.  And that is the way it will remain as long as it is not emotionally affecting our son in a negative way or until it is not consistent.  For all of us – our son, my husband and I, our birth mom, the birth family, and our immediate families – it is absolutely wonderful and a way for us to demonstrate the love of Christ to our son.

My heart also wouldn’t allow me NOT to open my life to our birth mom.  I believed from the very first time that we met that God had not only sent her to me to allow me to be the mother of her unborn son, but to also allow me to have a role in her life as well.  She wanted me, someone she barely knew at the time – virtually a complete stranger – to come to doctor appointments, go with her to child birth class, and most incredibly to be with her in the delivery room.  God gave me all the joys of giving birth to our son through our birth mom even though I couldn’t physically do so.  What a gift!  But with that gift comes responsibility – to love, nurture, and provide for our son and to also do the same for the amazing young woman who carried him in her womb.  She opened her heart to me, and for the rest of our lives I will do the same for her.  It is a true, unconditional love – for one another as mom and mommy, and most importantly for our son.  How could I not allow her the opportunity to watch our son grow up and be a part of his life after her incredibly selfless acts!

No matter what choice you make in your own adoption journey – open or closed adoption – the most important thing is that you follow God’s direction and to do what is best for the child.  There are no cookie cutter adoptions and there are more gray areas than black or white.  Once you decide on your relationship with a birth family – it must be consistent.  There can be no going back and forth, or walking into or out of a child’s life.  That is beyond unfair to them and it will do more psychological and emotional harm than good to the child.  Their lives are precious and we get one chance to mold it as their parents.  

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

2 comments:

  1. I'm posting here instead of fb or calling because I want anyone who reads this to see it...I have known Jenny for 20 years or more she is one of my best friends from high school! Over the years we have shared so many things from first boyfriends to first heartbreaks. We have laughed together and cried together. She has always been a loving, compassionate person. When she first told us that they were going to adopt we were excited but nervous.I mean what if they got their hopes up and the birth mother changed her mind. After Jenny met with her I could see the bond starting to form, and I wondered did Jenny see another young girl from the past...you see we graduated 17 years ago and my daughter is 17...given different circumstances I might have been that birth mother who chose to love this wonderful baby more than she loved herself. I commend all of the people involved for their love of this little boy! I believe God sets a path for us and leads people into our lives for a reason...many years ago he led Jenny and others into my life for many reasons and I have always been thankful that he did. I have the best group of best friends and my daughter has a handful of Godmothers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a great article. So important to get these amazing stories out there!

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