Open Adoption: An Amazing, Unpredictable, Life-Changing Adventure

This guest post is by Amanda Jane Avis, an adoptive mother. 

When I began my open adoption journey, I had very little know-how. I truly had no clue as to what the appropriate steps were, the timeline necessary to plan for adoption, or any research about even how to parent under my belt. 

You could definitely say I was flying blind! What I did have, however was an iron clad faith and intention that I was, without a doubt, becoming a mommy via adoption. This knowing never wavered or altered. 

It remained strong as steel, and I believe the kind of relationship I now have with my daughter is a direct result of that certainty.

That quality of absolute also rings true in my being drawn to the choice of “open adoption.” But, it is a phrase that doesn’t necessarily mean one thing. 

This could refer to the type of contact adoptive parents have with birth parents. It can be the information that is passed back and forth before the baby understands what his or her story is.

And it can also mean something to come…a potentiality that is not planned, but is inferred, suggested, and being considered. 

This is the what I grab onto when I hear the term “open adoption,” as it perfectly encompasses so much of my journey as a complete novice who, without much warning, became a mommy to the most glorious baby girl on the day of her birth.

Open adoption means opportunity, learning, discovery, questions, fear, happiness, love, and so much more. It is a phrase that implies what may be and is—as frightening as it would have been to my former extreme Type A personality—actually a precious kind of freedom.

Open adoption in our case illustrates that my daughter may have contact of her own, someday with her birth mother.

This knowledge gives me hope for the woman responsible for the most amazing gift I’ve ever received, and for her ability to witness the perfection she created in this beautiful soul I get to help raise and guide throughout her life. 

It gives me solitude and peace in knowing my daughter may learn and fully understand how desired and loved she was before she was born, and is today and will be forever by all those she touches with her kindness and sincerity.

Open adoption means that I’m not in control. I’m in the back seat of this moving vehicle with my hands far and away from the steering wheel and that is a wonderful thing! The freedom in this phrase is not daunting, despite its power. 

It’s not scary, despite the unmarked path on the map of life. What it is, is a stunning vision of three women who love deeply and selflessly.

They hear and listen and learn in order to support and grow themselves and each other. The beauty I find in open adoption is endless.

The adoption triad– birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child–can be like a Bermuda Triangle of unpredictability. How can we grasp any sense of certainty and security when we simply don’t know? 

How can we feel like we can breathe when we haven’t been informed of medical history, pregnancy plan, or the desired contact after baby is placed in our arms? There are so many unknowns and what-ifs.

But I promise you that embracing “open adoption” and its multifaceted meaning can and will give you the ability to laser focus on that vision of baby, your new family, and intense bliss. 

Giving in and surrendering control to all aspects of this journey is the best and healthiest way to navigate the forks in the road.

And ultimately, that willingness to be ready for change and tackle unforeseen shifts with grace, compassion, and awareness makes us better parents!

No matter what open adoption means to you now, or what your vision is for your family, creating a path of allowance and acceptance of what is to come is so incredibly wise and will serve your family and the triad beautifully. 

And take it from me, relinquishing control and having all the proverbial ducks way out of alignment and nowhere near a nice, neat row can conjure feelings of great nervousness and trepidation.

Breathe, put your hands over your heart and know that the incredibly wide path of open adoption will provide you and everyone involved with the opportunities needed, even if you don’t have it all planned, pinned, and googled! 

Realize that your bob and weave, your ebb and flow can be magical. Watch the beauty of this experience unfold with accepting love and the energy of curiosity as your family evolves throughout this amazing, life-changing adventure!

Amanda Jane Avis teaches Pilates and yoga. She and her daughter, Phoebe, are always dancing, yoga-ing, and learning. This mommy/daughter duo is excited about sharing their story, helping others, and spreading joy! 

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