Love Open Adoption? You’ll Love This Birthmother’s Video

To the uninitiated, open adoption can seem scary, even strange.

How do you raise a child that another woman gave birth to? Is open adoption a form or shared parenting and if so, how does it work? What happens if the birthmother returns one day and wants her baby back?

Julie Garlington has heard all of the questions and myths surrounding open adoption. But the Los Angeles adoptive mother knows the reality and its benefits.

She and her son’s birthmother have had an open adoption relationship for the past 17 years—one based on honesty, respect, transparency, and a shared understanding about what’s best for their son, Seamus.

And, from an early age, he seems to have understood that too.

“Even when our son was four, he would say ‘Miss Alexa loves me because I was in her tummy.’” Julie says. “And we would say ‘yes, that’s right, She loves you very much!’”


Alexa was 15 when Seamus was born. Although she terminated her parental rights, she kept in touch with him and his family as he was growing up. Alexa came to Seamus’s baptism; he went to her high school graduation.

Now married with four children, Alexa is still very close to Seamus and Julie. Each year Julie sends her flowers on Birthmother’s Day.

When Seamus turns 18, the three of them plan to get matching tattoos. As Julie points out, “she’s related to our son so she’s related to us.”

Birthmothers have always had a bad rap about “giving up” their children and not caring about them. And open adoption has had a bad rap about closing the doors on birthmothers after placement.

This video created by Alexa and Seamus tells a very different story by showcasing their open adoption relationship and the love behind it. Others seem to love it as well. Their video has already been viewed more than 50,000 times.

“She is just as passionate about sharing our story as we are,” Julie says, via Instagram, adding that Seamus “just turned 17. We really need to make an updated one.”

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