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.
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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.
Comments on My husband and I expanded our family by placing our twins for adoption
Any chance the new moms would share their blog so we can follow along?!?
I’ll ask them if they’re up for it 🙂
I loved loved loved reading this. I think adoption takes so much courage and I love that you have created a beautiful family. Your daughters will certainly reap the benefits of your choice- they now have twice as many people to love and care for them!
As an adopted mother this story touched me deeply. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We have an open adoption with my sons birth mother and this helps me to feel even better about everything.
This is a truly amazing story. I love that you and your husband are still able to be close to the babies and that your family has expanded. And kudos to the new moms who understand the need for children to know their biological families as well. I’m in awe of this beautiful beginning!:)
Just a thought — if they are open to it (and sounds like they may be), encourage the adoptive parents to consider relactation, to supplement your own breastmilk. They could use other donor milk in the meantime until they get their supply up, but I’ve known many adoptive moms who had never been pregnant, but were able to induce lactation. LLL has info. And good for all of you that they are so committed to giving the twins the best nutrition possible!
It’s actually something they’re shooting for 🙂
Choosing a same-sex couple when you could have chosen a hetero couple really means so much. What a beautiful story. Sometimes I think that I’ll never have a large family because I’m gay, but then seeing this opens up the possibilities. Very uplifting 🙂
These Mamas were worried about the very same thing, and were even told by the adoption agency that they’d have a *very* long wait ahead of them. I don’t think they ever thought we’d be searching for people just like them!
Your story is truly inspirational! I wish you all much love and happiness!
What a beautiful story…i am just dying to read about how/why you came to your decision!
That post made me cry! It is such a beautiful story, so glad to see such a happy beginning for both families!
I just found Offbeat Mama and am so grateful I did. My partner and I just made the same decision, a very open adoption, although in my case the adoptive parents are already dear friends. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone in choosing to parent this way.
I’m very glad this was helpful for you! If you have any questions, or just want to chat, feel free to email me at [email protected].
Thank you so much for your beautiful gift to the adoptive parents, and to your little girls! I’m an adoptee, and my older brother (not biologoically related to me) is adopted as well. No one in my family is biologically related, but we learned quickly that blood may be thicker than water, but love is what makes a family -and no child can ever have enough love in their lives.
Now that I’m an adult and married, my husband and I are starting to adoption process here in WA! We’re hoping to adopt twins to complete our family – we’re open to ethnicity and even possibly age, but of course, whoever ends up being part of our family will have that gutteral “right” feeling.
Way to go, and please, feel free to follow our journey here – http://justdontknowityet.wordpress.com/category/adoption/
Thank you for putting the truth about adoption out there! People place childeren for adoption for a million different personal reasons. The Media would have folks believe that all of us are “damaged” or “defective” in some way, or lost puppies some kind hearted person took in. But there is so much more to it. If only there were enough words to articulate it!
This story was so very inspiring to me. I had no idea (really) what open adoption could be or that other people had placed after having older children. Thank you for being a light in the dark and telling your story! Since reading this, I’ve found the most amazing family for my third boy and I really couldn’t have done it without your inspiration. Bless you for being so strong to speak up on such a tender and hard subject. 🙂 I’m actually going to print this article out and keep it in my scrapbook 😉