This is a bit of a hard question to answer. I don’t think it matters what open adoption means to me, what matters is what it means to Cooper. The stars aligned the day we met Cooper’s birth mother and extended family, four years ago. It was all made possible because of the love we all had for this unborn child--the love and longing of us, his adoptive parents and our extended family and the love of his biological family, who made extremely hard decisions for his well-being. Every choice that was made surrounding Cooper was made out of love. For Cooper, I hope that is how he views this open adoption, as a loving, natural and open relationship.
The way the relationship looks now is likely different than how it will look a few years from now. Currently, we continue to build and maintain relationships with his biological family consisting of siblings, mother and grandmother, and other friends that they have brought into our lives. In some ways, we are still getting to know one another and in other ways it feels like we have known them forever. Ensuring that this relationship in which Cooper is loved by so many is natural, like relationships between our family and close friends normalizes the relationship for Cooper, which will be very important as he grows up.
People ask us things like, “Is it hard for you, seeing his biological family?” No, not at all. For me, personally, it has never been weird or difficult, and maybe I have been lucky in that regard. But, does it really matter if it was? We have this relationship for Cooper, so in my opinion, my personal feelings are really quite irrelevant. We are more concerned with the question. “Does it benefit Cooper to have this relationship?” The answer is absolutely. Cooper will always know his story, and have access to genetic medical information for his biological family, if need be. Cooper will have access and the ability to form relationships with his siblings, which is wonderful for him as he will likely never have siblings in our home. And when the time comes, and Cooper starts asking some hard questions, I don’t have to speak for his birth mother, she will speak for herself.
We worked long and hard to complete our family and finally become parents to the most amazing kid in the world. We made sacrifices then and we knew we would continue to make sacrifices for him. It is what we signed up for. We will continue to do what it takes to preserve and grow this relationship for Cooper. All relationships take work and dedication, and this open adoption is no different. For Cooper, it means mutual love, acceptance, a sense of belonging, access and no shame, secrecy or unanswered questions. The relationship has brought us extended family and friends which we cherish. It has taught us acceptance, understanding and has shown us the meaning of unconditional love and I could not be more grateful.