I was born in January 1986 and my family was one of the first at our adoption agency to go through the entire process as an open adoption. After they came together following my birth, my adoptive and biological parents shared letters and photos through the adoption agency. After a year or so, they felt comfortable communicating directly with each other and the five of us met when I was about 1½ years old.
From an early age my adoptive parents talked with me openly and in a positive light about what it meant to be adopted and when I was three years old we met with my birth mom at a park. After that, we waited until I was 10 to meet again, then my adoptive parents felt I was ready to re-meet my birth parents. I was so eager to meet them! My biological parents had split up within a year of my birth but they had remained in contact over the years, so all five of us were able to meet together. That occasion marked the beginning of a gradual increase in the amount of time my adoptive parents and I spent with both of my biological parents
Because I have had such an open adoption, I’m sometimes asked whether I feel conflicted about which parents are my “real” parents. The truth is that both sets are real and hold equal importance in my life. Yet, when I talk about my “parents” I am referring to my adoptive parents. I love my birth parents tremendously and they are a huge part of my identity, but my adoptive parents will always be Mom and Dad.
I’ve learned that love and openness have allowed me to process adoption in an authentic way – and have become qualities that I cherish in relationships outside of family.
I feel love and gratitude to my adoptive parents for loving me so deeply, for being so supportive of and involved in forming relationships with my biological families, and for understanding my search for self as an adoptee and as a human being. I feel love and gratitude toward my birth parents and their families for welcoming me into their lives, allowing me to connect with my biological heritage through more than just names and faces.
The open nature of my adoption has allowed for a deep sharing of ourselves and our emotional journeys that I believe has not only benefited me, but also my adoptive and biological parents. I hope that by sharing my story, those who are considering adoption or are already part of an adoption triad will be able to have faith that through the ups and downs, the experience can be guided by the light of openness, hope, and limitless love.