Why We Have An Open Relationship With Our Son’s Birth Family

This guest post is by Tennille, an adoptive mother. 

It was bedtime, the stories had been read and prayers had been said. Then, out of the blue, our son said, “Mommy, you were praying for me while I was playing in Kelli’s tummy.”

Mateus was 2 1/2 at the time, and his comment filled my heart with joy.

When my husband and I were thinking about building our family through adoption, we had a discussion about open versus closed adoptions.

We agreed that we would raise our child to always know they had been adopted, to know who and where their birth family was, and to make sure they knew they were always wanted, loved, treasured, wished and prayed for.

Mateus is 3 1/2 now and we continue to build an open relationship with his birth family. 

For us, our relationship includes texts, instant messages, a private Facebook page, video chats, and visits whenever we’re in town or if they come to our town since we live in different states.

We post pictures, videos and updates on our private Facebook page and encourage Mateus’s birth family to post updates/messages there as well.

As Mateus gets older and understands more he will have a scrapbook of his life and be able to see and know that his birth family has been watching him grow up.

I have pictures of his birth family, of Mateus when he was in his birthmother, Kelli’s tummy, and of our adoption ceremony display in our home.

I think Mateus understands that he came from Kelli’s tummy because we talk about it, read books about adoption, and thanks to Doc McStuffins we watch shows about adoption.

I never want there to be a day when we’d have to sit him down and explain he was adopted.

We’ve decided we will raise him so that he will always know he came from Momma Kelli’s tummy and that she loves him more than he could ever imagine, just like mommy and daddy. 

Adoption Day is one of our family’s most favorite days; we celebrate it big time in our house! I show Mateus pictures from our ceremony and of the judge.

We’ve been reading adoption story books to Mateus since he was a baby and have continued to add more stories about adoption to our library.

He’s learning that there are many different kinds of families and that love makes a family.

Some of our favorite adoption books are “A Mother For Choco” by Keliko Kasza, “God Found us You” by Lisa Tawn Bergren, “Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis and “Born From The Heart” by Berta Serrano. 

Recently Mateus asked me why he didn’t grow in my tummy. I told him my tummy is broken but Kelli’s tummy is not.

He said “Oh wow! I played in Kelli’s tummy and then after I grew  and grew enough I got to go home with my mommy and daddy.  Yep!”
Open adoption has been the greatest blessing. We love being Mateus’ parents and are thankful that we adopted during a time when adoptive families are encouraged to have an open relationship with birth families.

Building a relationship with birth families can feel weird. There’s no handbook and no two look the same.

A few of our friends and family members have said they’d be uncomfortable with ‘sharing’ their child.

But we don’t look at it that way. Mateus’s birth family is a part of who he is.

We have the desire to do what is best for him, and knowing that he is loved and cared for by so many is what is best.

I know birth families who’ve really struggled with adoption because they want to be included in their child’s life after placement so they can watch their son/daughter, grandchild, niece/nephew grow up.

It’s important to remember that birth families also have feelings, love and dreams for your child.

We try to acknowledge our son’s birth family by sending messages, cards, artwork, pictures,etc. to help them remember and know that communication is ok with us.

It’s no longer just us reaching out to them; they now message us too. 

Whenever Mateus reaches milestones I message Kelli and share the news/video/picture with her first and then on our Facebook page.

When we began to plan Mateus’s first birthday it was very important to me to have it in his birth state so that lots of family (birth and adoptive) and friends could attend.

When we sang Happy Birthday we had Kelli come stand with us. His birthfather wasn’t able to attend so we saw him afterwards.

It was so awesome to have so many people there with us. I think for his birth family it was a sign that we truly want to maintain open communication.

Mateus is one very loved, amazing little boy who has a lot of family and friends who love him. As we often say in our house, we are blessed beyond measure. 

Tennille lives with her husband, son and two whippets in Las Vegas. They love the desert and enjoy many outdoor adventures. Active in their community through their church and mom’s group, they are passionate about sharing their story of building their family through adoption and are proud of the open relationship they have with their son’s birthmom and family. 

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