Building a Lifelong Bond - One Birth Mother's Open Adoption Story
When Caitlin found out that she was pregnant, she knew that adoption was the right choice for her. But, like many prospective birth mothers, she didn’t know a lot about adoption — she just expected that she would receive pictures and letters after placing her son for adoption. She would soon come to find out that with American Adoptions, she could choose the amount of contact she wanted with her son’s adoptive parents, as well as the adoptive parents themselves.
But Caitlin didn’t just find the perfect adoptive family for her son — she also ended up finding a couple who became, in a way, her family, as well.
Starting from the Beginning
Caitlin says she had her mind set on adoption from the very beginning. From there, she never doubted her decision. She was already raising a son and had plans to go back to school and further her career, and she knew that she wouldn’t be able to do both while raising two children on her own. So, she contacted American Adoptions, where she was connected with adoption specialist Rachel.
Rachel soon sent Caitlin adoptive family profiles, and finding a family for her unborn son only solidified her adoption decision.
“I knew once I decided that I wasn’t going to change my mind, because it had to be done,” Caitlin says. “I’ve seen all this stuff on social media and television about how birth mothers get halfway there and change their mind, and I couldn’t do that. I knew that once I had involved the adoptive parents, there was no way, in my heart, that I could change my mind.”
Fortunately, finding the perfect adoptive parents helped alleviate any fears she might have had. Caitlin wanted a tight-knit family for her unborn son, and she was excited to find Matt and Amanda, whose extended family was heavily involved in their lives. She was even more grateful at the opportunity to get to know them closely before her son was born — with almost six months between her match and her due date.
Because Caitlin hadn’t thought she would get more than letters and pictures, almost daily emails and texts during and after the adoption was more than she could have dreamed for.
“I feel like we’re closer, whereas some birth parents wait until the last minute and they don’t have the opportunity to get to know their family,” she says. “I got to really get to know them, and not just off of paper.”
Being There for Baby Weston
Caitlin ended up being induced for her delivery, but not before Amanda and Matt had made the trip to be there for her hospital stay. They were able to be there for the entire hospital process and be involved in baby Weston’s birth.
“Amanda never left my side — like, she barely went to the bathroom,” Caitlin says. “She held my hand the whole time and then, when he was born, I told her, ‘Cut the cord. You can do that; it’s okay.’"
Because the adoptive parents had to wait for ICPC clearance before leaving the state, Caitlin was able to create an even greater bond with them after the adoption placement. While they waited for ICPC clearance, Amanda and Matt were able to join Caitlin and her family for barbeques, lunches and other family events.
While Caitlin hasn’t seen them since they left the state, she says they update each other on all aspects of their life about every other day and video-chat when they can. She knows she will have a direct relationship with Weston as he grows up, but Matt and Amanda are so much more than just her son’s adoptive parents.
“I was never sad about what had happened or anything like that — just that I wasn’t going to be able to hold him and see him,” Caitlin says. “They became my family.
“Knowing that I can be around and be there — I don’t even know how to put it into words… I’m like a cheerleader on the sideline, and that’s more than I could have asked for,” she adds of her open
adoption relationship. “He gets this family who can take care of him and do everything I couldn’t, but he can also know that I didn’t just give him away. I had a purpose for him, and it was meant to be.”
Caitlin knew from early on in her adoption process that she wanted to help others who were in the same position as her. Not seeing a lot of local resources available to her, she joined a birth mother Facebook group to provide the kind of support and reassurance that she received from her family and her adoption specialist during her own process.
She also decided to start her own blog to tell her story and share with others the beauty of the adoption process.
“Adoption has changed me — I’m more open and I talk more,” she says. “I feel like I’ve become better because I know that if I can place him into someone else’s arms and still move on, I can do anything.
“There is hope,” she adds. “It’s a beautiful thing.”
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