I Wish I'd Known Then What I Know Now

Haven3.jpegWhen I placed my daughter for adoption twenty years ago, open adoption wasn't really discussed as a preferred option, and I didn't even know of anyone who had experienced adoption in that way.

It never crossed my mind that it was a possibility.  I received pictures of my birth daughter for the first few years from her mom, not because we had an open adoption, but simply because her mom is an incredibly kind, loving, and thoughtful woman. 

I think she may have been perfectly comfortable having an open adoption, I'm not sure, and maybe it was brought up at one time, but I hadn't prepared myself for that. It was painful, it was hard, and the envelopes of photographs that would arrive in the mail of this beautiful child, whose life I felt like I was missing out on, kept the gaping hole in my heart wide open. I wish I had known then that there was another way.  

When we brace ourselves for one thing and expect a specific scenario to play out, we can deal with it, we can somehow figure out how we plan to navigate through it, and this was what I was doing.  I had prepared my heart not to have any contact, to not be a part of her life, to not see what I was missing out on. I was trying to manage all of those feelings and move on with my life. It felt easier just to imagine what she looked like in my mind, and daydream about the perfect life she was living with her adoptive parents.  Receiving an envelope full of photographs of this beautiful, happy little girl, who looked an awful lot like me was more than I had prepared myself to process - it was too real, too painful. I went off to college, moved away, got married, and left those envelopes in the past.  

I wish I had known then that there was another way. 

Two years ago, that beautiful little girl, now a woman, walked back into my life, and my family's life.  She wanted to know me, and even more amazing, she wanted a relationship with her younger siblings. All the years of wondering - How is she? What is she like? What does her voice sound like? Does she hate me for my decision to place her for adoption? 

In a matter of moments, these questions suddenly all came to a screeching halt.  

There was now an unbreakable bond being formed between her and her siblings. The friendship between her Mom and I was rebuilt as if it had never even skipped a beat.  As happy as that made me, there were times I found myself feeling sad about all the time that was lost.  

I grieved all over again over... 

the birthdays I didn't get to celebrate alongside her, the milestones I didn't get to hear about, and the envelopes of pictures that were "returned to sender."  

I wish I had known then that there was another way.  

She is all grown up, and the idea of open adoption is not really relevant to us anymore, but she is a huge part of our lives now.  

She's a big sister. She's a birth daughter. She's a friend. She is family.  

She has discovered there are so many more people who love her and have been praying for her than she ever knew about.  Looking back over the last two years, the addition of her to all of our lives makes me wish I would have known there was another way.  

Any change takes adjustment, and there will always be growing pains, and we've experienced that - I've experienced that, but it has made me realize that open adoption doesn't have to be this scary, intimidating thing.  

There was another way, there IS another way, I'm glad I know now.  

This article was written by Haven. Haven is a full-time realtor and mom of four sweet kids and one crazy Labrador retriever! She enjoys live music, working out, and spending time with family and friends. Life is good, Love wins, and Jesus is Everything! She is thankful for BraveLove for bringing light to a sometimes "dark" subject, for honoring birthmothers and their bravery. "It has been soul healing and such an encouragement to read the stories of other women who have walked this road..."I only wish this had been around years ago — those were lonely days." Read more about Haven's story here.

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