My twins are eleven days old, and they’re so beautiful I can barely look at them. I’m wildly, deeply in love with them, feeling all the feelings I felt when my older two daughters were born. In spite of these feelings (and, paradoxically, because of them), my husband and I chose not to raise these girls ourselves, instead placing them with an adoptive family. The “why” of that decision is complicated and personal; I may address it later. Right now I just want to talk about what this adoption means in my life.
I spent a lot of time scared and confused, trying to decide if adoption was the best choice for us. Most people in my life were very understanding and supportive of the process, but there were a few people on either side of the issue who had very strong opinions and made the whole thing much more difficult. I finally approached my husband and said “Alright, if we can find the perfect family to adopt these babies — and I mean PERFECT — then we’ll know adoption is the right choice. Otherwise we keep them”. He couldn’t argue that logic.
We thought of qualities we wanted in adoptive parents, and came up with four main requirements: a) we preferred a same-sex couple, b) very open-minded, particularly in the area of religion, c) quirky/weird personalities (hopefully a bit geeky), and d) they needed to be interested in Attachment Parenting, or something similar. And there was a more vague fifth requirement: they needed to feel “right.” We were doubtful that we’d be able to fill all those requirements, particularly in Texas.
We jumped into the search, using an agency that specialized in open adoptions. They sent us info on about five couples; they all seemed very nice, but none jumped out at us. The second time we met with the representative from the agency, however, she brought more profiles. One caught our immediate attention. The front cover of their little “All About Us” booklet had a picture of two gorgeous, happy ladies. The first picture of them, upon opening the book, was a silly chopstick-walrus-tooth picture. My husband and I scoured the book, then read and re-read the blog that was mentioned in the booklet. Everything we read seemed to fit with our requirements, and we found ourselves with a creeping certainty that we’d found the right couple.
When we told the agency that we were interested in (code names!) Juliet and Lima, they set up a phone interview. We spoke for about an hour. After that phone call my husband and I were certain that we’d found our twins’ Mommies. They really did fit all of our requirements to a T, and added one more: they were interested in a *very* open adoption. Not content with the agency’s minimum of x number of pictures a year and a pre-agreed-upon number of visits, they felt it was important for the twins to really and truly know us and for us to know them. We were very excited by this thought, even though we didn’t know yet exactly what it would look like.
Flash forward a few months and you find me here, ecstatic about how our open adoption is unfolding. We got together several times before the babies came, and spent a lot of time learning about each other. We discovered that we genuinely liked each other, and could easily have been friends even if we had met under other circumstances. We talked about how often we’d visit (super often) and how best to feed the babies (me pumping as much as I can, plus supplementing with other donor milk). We showed them ultrasound pictures, they showed us the gorgeous nursery they were building. I had a crash course in Juliet’s and Lima’s history and personalities, and every time I saw them I was more convinced of the amazing parents they would be.
Eleven days ago, when the twins came, Juliet and Lima (along with my husband and my doula) were by my side. They helped advocate for my quality of care, and happily followed my doula’s instructions to help me stay comfortable. After the birth, the four of us (and my other two daughters) spent our time in the hospital bonding with each other and with the babies. We slowly, organically, transferred “possession” of the twins from me to them, and in the process formed a brand-new, unique family unit.
The girls went home from the hospital eight days ago, and we’ve been to their house to visit twice (and again tomorrow). We probably would have been there more often, but they live an hour away. I’m almost unable to describe how gratifying it is to watch Juliet and Lima bond with the babies, and grow into the parents they were meant to be. This is not to say there is no sadness for us, it’s almost impossible to view this as a loss. We know, in no uncertain terms, that we will always be a part of each other’s lives.
This is not how all, or even most, open adoptions go. Each one is completely unique to the adoption “triad” (birth family – baby – adoptive family), and is adapted to each person’s comfort levels. Some birth mothers prefer to have the two days post-birth as their alone time with the baby, without the adoptive parents present. Some adoptive parents prefer to have more time alone with the baby before the birth family visits, so that they have time to grow in their knowledge that the baby is really theirs. Some triads chose much more minimal contact… but that just wasn’t us.
As complicated and emotional as this entire process has been, I am left knowing one thing for certain: we didn’t “give up” our babies, we expanded our family.