Our office received a recent email from a 24 year-old woman who was placed with her adoptive parents at birth and it made our day!
“Hello, My name is Susanna * and back in 1989 you were the one who was in charge of my adoption. You placed me with my parents Joe and Mary from Richmond, Virginia and I could not be happier with the life I have been blessed with! Thank you very much for helping me find the perfect adoptive parents! I believe you were also the one to place my younger sister Lizzie with us in 1992, and so I thank you for her as well!
Back in 2006, I started contacting my birth mother and her family from the information that was sent to me through you and the agency. My birth mother and I have been talking a lot lately and I am actually planning on meeting her and her two other kids for the first time in the spring! I am very excited for that! I am very thankful that I was able to find her and have been in contact with her for 7 years now. Thank you Lynne for blessing me with the great life that I live today!
Talk to you soon, Susanna”
Why were we so excited to get this email? Because it is a great example of a healthy young woman articulating her love for, and bond with the parents who raised her—her adoptive parents—and her curiosity to learn more about her roots—her biological birth family. When she first became curious about her birthmother her adoptive parents (being strong advocates for her) supported her search and reached out to me to find information about her. Now Suzanna is an adult and is reaching out to us herself.
An Adoption Connection staff member and adoptive mother shares her story of open adoption:
My husband and I adopted our daughter 30 years ago when open adoption was very new and just beginning to be explored. Our daughter’s birthmother learned about us from a letter we sent to her doctor’s office. We wanted to meet her and stay in contact but she did not want that at the time.
When my daughter was six years old I tracked down her birthmother’s address and wrote her asking is she would like pictures and letters. She jumped at the chance. So in 1989 we began sending yearly pictures and letters. Occasionally she wrote too.
When my daughter was a young adult I turned the yearly letter writing over to her and soon that morphed into emails and her becoming Facebook “friends” with her birthmother and birth siblings. (The internet has opened up so many opportunities for connections between birth and adoptive families.) My daughter is glad to have that connection and over the years has gotten the message that her birth family cares about her and what happens in her life. That is a very important piece of knowledge for an adoptee.
When we first adopt our children we can serve as their advocates and collect as much information as possible about their birth families, including establishing some form of ongoing contact. Ultimately, adoptees are all over the map in their level of interest in contact with their birth families. We believe that, as adoptive parents, we need to let our children know that we understand and support their interest and efforts, just like Joe and Mary did with Susanna.
*Some names have been changed for confidentiality.
Related Posts: Creating an Adoption Lifebook
Related Posts: A Blended Adoptive Family – Writing Their Own Story
Related Posts: Finding Neil, My Birth Father