It’s not often that we get to hear from two adoption triad members in one sitting. We chatted with Becky and Talitha—one a birth mom and the other an adoptive mom. Their daughter is one and the same: theirs. As we navigate Adoption Awareness Month this November, we are sharing stories from those who are navigating adoption with some level of openness, whether it be simply phone and email communication all the way through in-person visitation. Becky and Talitha have a unique open relationship, one which has its own ups and downs, but ultimately is centered on their daughter. They do their best to be in tune with one another and act in the best interest of their daughter in the here and now, as well as in the future. We hope you are encouraged by their story and their honest, heartfelt words.
Q1: How has the openness changed or evolved in your relationship over time?
Becky: Initially, the thought of communication post-placement felt confusing and overwhelming. Although I longed for an open adoption, the fear of possibly losing all contact with my daughter felt absolutely debilitating at times. In this journey I’ve learned so much about trust and communication. I’ve learned that the “openness” we have in our adoption journey isn’t all about the visits with my daughter. It’s also about connection and understanding what’s best for her. It’s about sharing intimate moments and conversations with her parents after she’s long asleep when I’m there for a visit; and it’s about sharing together in our faith as we walk this path.
Talitha: I think at first, we both desired an open adoption relationship, but we really had no idea what that would look like. Within days after the birth, we were testing it out with text messages, photos, and a call. And two weeks later we met up for the first time post-birth. We kept taking “baby steps” as we learned to communicate, share our feelings, and work through awkward moments and probably even insecurities. It wasn’t always easy or perfect, but what actually evolved from all that is a beautiful foundation of trust and friendship.
Q2: How often do you communicate and what kind of contact do you have?
Becky: Fortunately, my daughter lives within an hour of me and I am very lucky to see her as much as I do. We do not follow a set agreement for visits, but more so we allow them to happen organically. My daughter’s mother has always been thoughtful in sending me pictures and little texts to let me know she’s thinking of me and that she cares. On average, I probably see my daughter 1 -2 times a month. One of the things I look forward to from time to time, is when my daughter and I are able to have a one-on-one visit or when she and her family gets to spend the day with me and my family.
Talitha: We communicate on an “as needed” or “as desired” basis. Sometimes we share texts every few days or weeks; other times a few months may go by. There are moments when I think to myself, “Becky would love to see or hear or know about this,” and so, I’ll reach out. Or I’ll just be thinking about her and wonder how she’s doing so I check in to see how she’s doing. Other times, my daughter wants to talk to her to tell her something, so I’ll reach out at that point. We just allow it to be as natural as possible, and that has really worked for us so far.
Q3: How do people respond when you say you’re in an open adoption?
Becky: Most of the time when I mention being a birth mom or having an open adoption, the responses are as follows: “What does that mean?”, “Well, can’t you get her back one day?” or “It’s like co-parenting, right?” Some people are more judgmental or outspoken, but others are really interested to know and understand the dynamic. There have been people who have walked out of my life because they did not agree with my decision, but there are also so many more who have risen up to support me in this journey.
Talitha: My favorite question is, “which one of you is her mom?” I love the look on their faces when we tell them we both are. Overall, we get mixed reactions. Some people are shocked or skeptical or just confused. Others are really intrigued, but I sense a bit of a caution. And then some people really wish they had a similar relationship with their birth parent(s) or adoptive parent(s).
As you can see, each adoption story is complex and nuanced in its own way. While all stories are different, all stories are also real and true, which can be a beautiful thing. To read another open adoption story, check out this one on our blog from the perspective of an adult adoptee: https://www.adoptconnect.com/puzzle-pieces-part-1/