Almost three and a half years ago to this day, Leigh and I adopted Will. His birthday is exactly six months from mine. Before he was born, we had prayed about it and talked with his birth families about it, and decided that we would agree to an open adoption. We did not know what that would look like, but after much discussion and prayer, we decided that it was in Will's best interest to commit to it. The way we see it, the birth parents gave us an incredible, courageous and selfless gift when they chose us to be Will's parents. To have him know them and have relationships with them on some level just seems to make sense. Besides - how could having more people who love him be a bad thing?
Do we have some insecurities about it? Sure we do. Is it all smooth sailing? Of course not. But we are committed to it and as long as the birth parents want to continue to have the visits, we will continue to do so.
Will's birth parents were 17 and 19 years old when Will was born. They haven't been a couple since prior to Will's birth (we're not sure exactly why or when, but that much is clear). So what we've been doing is meeting with them separately 4-5 times per year. We also show Will pictures of them periodically and talk to him in very basic terms about the fact that he is adopted and they are his birth parents. It is hard to know for sure how much of it Will grasps or at this point, but we just feel it's best to be honest with him about it from the get-go. We celebrate his adoption day each year as well.
Recently we learned that Will's birth father and his fiance gave birth to a little girl. They wanted to know if fiance and baby could meet Will at our next visit. We were, needless to say, caught off guard. There was no mention that she was pregnant throughout her pregnancy. We received word of this via email from the birth father's mom. This is one of those times when it would be nice if there was a book or a guide to tell us what to do, but unfortunately, that's not realistic. Leigh and I discussed it and prayed about it quite a bit, and decided that just the two of us would meet with the birth father and his fiance and their one month old baby girl to talk to them about this and try to get a feel for what direction to go with their request. For now, we are not open to the idea of Will meeting them. Our fear is it may just confuse him further. He is already trying to grasp what having a birth father and birth mother means. Adding another person into the mix, not to mention a half-sibling, just seems like it could confuse him even more. He has a half sister now, and it's important that he be given the chance to know her and have a relationship with her if he wants to, once he is old enough. But right now, at the age of three and a half, it's just too soon. We are going to gradually show him some pictures of the three of them together and tell him who they are. Beyond that, we aren't 100% sure what the next steps will be. We aren't sure how to NAVIGATE this path. But it is our prayer that we do what is best for Will. He is such a tremendous blessing in our lives and truly a gift from God, and we can't forget how it became possible for him to be in our lives. But at the same time, we know that there will be questions and confusion as he gets older. All we can do is be honest with him and answer those questions as we go.
It may not always be easy. There may be some pain involved along the way for Will in trying to learn about his birth parents and reconciling all of that in his heart. But our hope is that he ends up with a deeper understanding of the absolute courage his birth parents had in allowing us to adopt him, and the love they had for him in doing that. Giving them a glimpse into our lives feels like the least we can do to say thank you to them for such a precious gift. Not because we feel we owe it to them. But because we want to. I cannot put myself in the shoes of the birth parents, and what it must be like for them. To know that you brought a little boy into this world and that you can't see him other than when someone else tells you that it's okay is probably very difficult at times, even though it's exactly what they agreed to. Birth parents are not to be forgotten, and their feelings should be considered and remembered. So often they get lost in the shuffle of the adoption picture.
As we do our best to navigate this journey with many, many forks in the road, we ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers.