Our Open Adoption Rollercoaster Ride: Why I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

This guest post is by Shannon Talbot, an adoptive mother and blogger

shannon1Riding a rollercoaster and our open adoption journey were very similar in a lot of ways.

Both are scary yet thrilling. Both definitely have parts along the way that make you question ever agreeing to go for it.

But once they’re over you’re really glad you decided to take the leap and want to do it all over again!

I’m writing this with a beautiful, healthy, happy seven-month-old sound asleep in his crib. Every day I am so thankful for him and his birth parents and am happier than ever.

In a nutshell, our open adoption journey started after several failed fertility treatments and thousands of dollars.

In the beginning of our journey, we had decided to adopt internationally.

Private adoption scared us.

A waiting period where birth parents could change their minds, waiting to be picked by a birth mom and/or dad, and the thought of having an open adoption relationship with them were very scary so we started out picking international adoption.

After attending our PRIDE training session and doing some research we realized every adoption option has scary aspects and we expanded our horizon to include private adoption.

We were “adopt ready” in March of 2012 and immediately registered with Canada Adopts! and a few agencies. Our first email from a prospective birth mother through Canada Adopts! came that May and we were ecstatic.

After emailing and texting we met her in person. It was between us and one other couple and the other couple was eventually chosen. The day we got that news was definitely one of the hardest days during our journey.

It was the closest we’d ever been to having a baby. I’d never had a miscarriage and felt like this was my miscarriage in a way.

It also made me decide to work harder.

I did more research, analyzed our profile and registered with more adoption agencies.

A few months went by with no word and then in late fall we were contacted about a few potential matches. Unfortunately we weren’t picked yet again and had to move on.

On New Year’s Eve 2012 we didn’t say “This is our year” as we had the three years prior. We just agreed that whatever happens happens and we’re going to get back to doing what we love and focus on us.

We planned trips and started enjoying life again.

On April 9th, we received a call from an agency saying we had been picked and the baby was due April 22nd. Talk about a whirlwind!

open-adoption-rollercoasterYou can’t tell other people since anything can happen during those weeks, yet you somehow have to let work know and get your house ready in case it does happen.

Plus, we were supposed to go to Florida May 1st – should we cancel?

I’ve always heard — and hated hearing — “it will happen when you least expect it” and guess what? It did.

We were set to meet the birth parents April 15th and the baby was born April 14th.

On one hand, it was a blessing as we didn’t have time to develop an attachment in case they changed their mind.

But on the other hand, our first meeting was extremely nerve wracking.

It took place in the hospital with about 12 people present in total.

I felt like I was on a panel interview. It only lasted about an hour, but it felt like five and was so emotional that I still can’t bring it up without crying.

I mean how can you be happy meeting a beautiful baby for the first time when all you can see is the pain in the birth parents eyes?

Yes, they knew they were making the right decision, but that doesn’t make it easy. That was probably my hardest moment. I was so thrilled yet deeply saddened at the same time.

Driving to the hospital I was also terrified the birth parents would meet us and change their minds.


Thankfully, within minutes of meeting them I could tell we clicked and they had our profile and home study memorized.

In that moment I was also extremely thankful we had been completely honest with who we are.

Clicking with the birth parents was also extremely important as it’s an open adoption.

The birth parents are no longer together so we have separate agreements with each. We see both of them face to face every few months and email and text quite often.

My husband and I understand how important it is for everyone involved to have an open adoption but I have to say I find myself defending it quite a bit to people.

I know they’re just protecting my husband and I but we truly feel blessed that our son will get to know his birth family and really at the end of the day can you have too many people who love you?

We wouldn’t change how our family was formed for anything in the world and I’m really happy my son will get to know his biological family and know how loved he truly is.

Shannon Talbot is the adoptive mom of a beautiful baby boy living in Toronto, Ontario, wife of five years to an amazing man, marketer by trade, bilingual in Spanish, dog lover with a 6-year old beagle, and blogger who loves sharing her story to help others through infertility and adoption. Read more about her at her blog.

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