By an Adopt4Life Community Member
As I began my journey to parenthood as a single mom, I had to really look at all the things that I wanted for my child--what could I do to give them the best possible start in life and also going forward as they grew and matured. While undergoing fertility treatments in the years prior to adoption, I knew that finding a donor who was open to meeting the child once they turned 18 was very important. Knowing that a connection to where they came from would be important to them later in life, so why wouldn't I do everything in my power to assist in that process now?
Once I turned my mind and my heart to the adoption process, I knew that having an open adoption would likely happen, and I welcomed this opportunity. This is the family that gave my child life. These are the people that share a common story with my child and she should know about them and build a relationship with them if and when that was appropriate.
When the time came that I was matched with my daughter, I learned that she had an older sister with whom she had an existing relationship. My daughter was 2, and her sister a teenager. Having grown up in a very close relationship with a sister and brother myself, I was happy that we would have the opportunity to foster this relationship between siblings.
In my mind, this relationship between my daughter and I and her biological family was going to be very different than what actually happened. In my head, it was the family that pushed for openness and wanting to maintain a relationship with J--so clearly, they loved her just as much as I did and wanted to be an active part of her life. However right from the beginning, I noticed that all communication and interaction was initiated by me. Only then would I get a reply or really any expression of interest in what was happening and how she was doing. Our agreement called for regular monthly video chats, updating photos on social media and at least 1 in-person visit per year--all these at the request of the bio-family. In the almost 2 years that we have had this agreement, we have had a single in person visit--which I will admit went well--and 2 semi-successful video chats after delays or no answers. We have not had any communication from the family that was not initiated by a posting from me. The hardest part for me was that there was no recognition of my daughter's birthday or the holidays.
I have had to come to terms accepting that the vision of openness that I had in the beginning of my adoption journey is not reality in our situation. I do continue to talk to my daughter about her sister, I show her pictures and I have committed to maintaining our social media page for the family to provide updates and pictures during milestones and holidays. I realize that they know my daughter is in a safe and loving home and for now, maybe that is enough for them. The sister is a teenager and has plenty of things going on in her life that probably don't include thinking about a 4-year-old. And that is OK. As long as I maintain the page, I will always have that door open on even a small connection that hopefully in the years to come will grow into something more. And if not, it is a place to start for my daughter when she has questions about her biological family when she is older.
My hope is that the girls will eventually get to build a relationship and they will be able to turn to each other in times of happiness or even in times of sadness. I still believe that openness is a good thing--that the more people who love our children the better and that it truly does take a village to raise a child. As an adoptive parent, being able to provide my child with answers about where she comes from, the story of her life before ours and other inevitable questions that will naturally come up as a result of being adopted is really important to me. So I will commit to my child, and to her biological family that no matter how difficult this relationship is, I will maintain this thread of communication and foster to the best of my ability this relationship between sisters.