Blog talk Radio Transcript: Chosen by a Birth Mother – Air Date: 2/20/2018: An Adoptive Family Perspective. (You may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below.)
Megan and Greg adopted their son Ben. They share how initially they were a little hesitant about open adoption, but after doing some research, and the education for their home study they began to become more comfortable with the concept. Now after meeting Heather the birth mother they cannot imagine not having an open adoption. She is now like family.
Jennifer: Hi, and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jaworski, and I am a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associate’s premier talk radio blog show. Adoption Associates and it’s staff are trusted leaders in adoption and we have placed over 5,200 children into loving homes. Since 1990 we have advocated, supported, and nurtured both birth families and adoptive families, and helping families grow through the adoption process is very important to us.
Our offices are located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, and the mid Michigan Saginaw area. Our private adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan. One of Adoption Associate’s commitments is to this weekly radio show. So we thank you very much for listening in today. We hope that you find this forum to be inspiration, education, and thought provoking.
I am excited today to be talking about being chosen by a birth mother from the adoptive parent’s perspective. A couple of weeks ago we heard from a birth mother named Heather, about the experience of choosing adoption for her newborn, and picking adoptive parents. And what all of that was like from her perspective, and today we’re really fortunate to be hearing from the same adoptive parents that were selected by Heather.
And so I’d like to welcome to today’s show, Greg and Megan. I believe you guys are with us.
Megan: Yes we are. Thank you so much for having us.
Greg: Yes thank you.
Jennifer: Oh, good morning. No thank you so much for being with us. So I was hoping we could just kind of get started with hearing from you about what it was like for you to hear Heather on this podcast a couple of weeks ago. Talk about you, and talk about her adoption decision.
Megan: It was really nice to be able to hear Heather talk about all of her experiences and her feelings and everything. You know we talk with Heather quite a bit. But it’s nice to hear from, you know, her talking to kind of, a third party about how she felt, and about us, and about everything that she went through. It just really makes this experience a lot more kind of humbling. Just because you get to hear both, you know, we know what we feel. But it’s really nice to hear how she feels, kind of in an open setting of her talking about it. If that makes sense.
Jennifer: It does completely. And I was so grateful for the two of you coming, because this is the second piece of the puzzle. You know we heard from Heather. And now we get to hear from you two. So this is exciting. Greg, I think you’re gonna take the next one. We want to talk about your thoughts and feelings when you first got the call about this. About Heather selecting you, what that was like.
Greg: Yeah. It was very nerve wracking. Shocking that we go the call so quickly. You know we were originally kind of banking on what they suggested of up to two years, possibly six months. It was very shocking. And then from there we were really nervous about would Heather still like us, would her family like us? How would we get everything ready? Because they were saying that we would, if everything goes according to plan, we’d be picking Ben up within a week. And with only waiting three months, we really, you know we had some stuff. But not nearly enough. So we definitely spent that evening getting everything we needed for him. So it was definitely a life changing phone call.
Jennifer: Well absolutely. And so imagine, so exciting, and scary, and all of that rolled into one, right?
Greg: Yeah. Yeah.
Megan: I think for me, because I got the phone call while I was driving. I was laughing hysterically, and crying hysterically at the same time because it was such an exciting thing. But it was just so unreal. So we were super excited, but very nervous too. Like Greg said.
Jennifer: Sure. Sure you were. I believe it was shortly there-after that you were able to meet Heather. So tell us about that meeting.
Megan: Yeah. So we got to meet Heather and her family three days after we got the phone call. So we didn’t quite know how to prepare ourselves feeling wise. Because we’d had so many different feelings and everything. But it was such a wonderful meeting. The case worker was super helpful. She told us what would happen during the meeting. That we would sit down with Heather and her family, and the case worker would be in there as well with us. Just kind of help facilitating the questions and everything. And once we were comfortable enough, and the conversation was flowing, we were able to have some kind of private time with Heather and her family.
It was really wonderful. I mean I remember when they were walking in, I was kind of shaking like a leaf just because you don’t know, is this the meeting that could change our lives forever? Or would they decide that they didn’t like us after meeting us? So it was very nerve wracking. But once everything got started it was just wonderful. We got to talk about our families, and our profile. We got to talk about their family. Their likes and dislikes. All of our interests. Our thoughts about everything that was happening. Heather brought a photo album of Ben’s first two weeks, in all these pictures and everything. It was absolutely wonderful. So that was great, to just be able to hear some stories of him throughout the first two weeks of his life. Just discuss everything about him. So it was really wonderful.
After we left the meeting, we were just, I think both Greg and I were just beyond excited. We absolutely loved Heather. We loved their family. We loved just everything about it. It was really reassuring to hear from them that they were happy with their decision. You know as far as we could tell they were happy with their decision. So it was after the meeting, it was very just like, “Okay.” You know, we can breathe a little bit.
Jennifer: Well did you get that feeling at any point during the meeting too? Or was it just once it was over?
Megan: I think from the first couple minutes that we sat down, we both were able to take a breath a little bit.
Greg: Yes. Absolutely.
Megan: But you know you don’t want to, yeah. When I get nervous I kind of say things that, you know when you get nervous you just say things. You don’t want to say something that would make them double think their decision, or rethink their decision or what not. So I think after everything was done we were really able to take a deep breath. But once, you know we met them and started talking and everything, we definitely, we were relieved and so excited. And just beyond grateful to be there with them, so.
Jennifer: And did it just feel natural at that point?
Megan: It was so nice talking to them. Oh my gosh. You know you have all these ideas of like what you’re gonna have to talk about, and how the conversation is gonna roll. And are there gonna be any awkward pauses? And I feel like it was just a very natural conversation of two families talking that have been friends for a while. So it was just a very awesome meeting. It was just so wonderful.
Jennifer: Well, and you were also there, right on the brink of sharing something really big in common, and that’s this child of yours, Ben that you’ve adopted. So there is a huge connection right there that exists just naturally. Um lets talk about openness. So many perspective adoptive parents, and birth parents quite honestly, just don’t quite understand the concept of openness when they’re first beginning and adoption. Can you share what some of your thoughts and feelings were that you had about openness when you first started the adoption process?
Greg: Yeah. So when we first started the process, at least for myself I was a little apprehensive on whether we wanted to have an open adoption. And if we did, maybe not completely open, but you know here and there, you know pictures, letters, stuff like that. But more than that I didn’t really know what to expect. And if we wanted to do that. But after reading all of the studies, all the material that we got through Adoption Associates, and everything we read online, and friends that we talked to who adopted or knew somebody who did adopt. We definitely quickly changed our mind on that. And we really want open adoption.
And right now, I mean, not right now, but at all. We wouldn’t want to change it. With Heather, it’s absolutely wonderful still being able to talk to her, send her pictures. Simply just texting her, “Hey, Ben had this issue. Does it run in the family?” Or, “Hey, how are doing?” You know, just to, it’s really nice to still be able to talk to Heather and her family, and have that open adoption so that-
Jennifer: And I know. Right. I was gonna say, you know Greg I know from hearing from Heather in the podcast too that that means a lot to her as well. Hearing from you guys and having that connection. It was clear to me, and to our other listeners that that holds a lot of value for her, that you guys have remained connected.
Greg: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. We wouldn’t change that for the world. You know it means a lot, and it’s really nice to still be in contact with her. And be so close to her.
Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And Megan, how would you say that your expectations of openness were different than what the reality is of having an open adoption? The things that maybe were concerning at the front end, what does that look like for you now?
Megan: So I think the reality of having an open adoption is much better than anything we could have ever expected. Like Greg said, we love the communication that we have with Heather and her family. And it feels as though we’re just kind of extending our family, rather than just connecting with a stranger or something like that. They really are a part of our family. So we really get excited to be able to share pictures, and videos, and updates, and information with Heather. My expectation in the beginning was that we would just kind of send pictures and letters every couple of months. And maybe meet up three times a year. And although we do, do that. We text each other, and we talk on the phone, and we have a Facebook account set up, so we can post anything about Ben, because we are so excited to share.
I think some of our fears in the beginning were kind of like, “Well would she want this? Is this something that’s gonna be too over whelming for her and her family? Or is it going to be something that kind of is too hard on either end?” So I just really think our expectations have been met, and exceeded times a million. So I’m really happy, and excited.
Jennifer: Absolutely. And those are very important topics to kind of keep in mind, and discuss, and consider for families who are thinking about adoption. Those expectations, and you know many times our biggest fears don’t always come to fruition. What are your future plans for talking about adoption with your son?
Greg: So, we’ve actually already started telling him about it. [inaudible 00:12:21] enjoy our story so far. But uh, you know-
Jennifer: Remind us how old he is again please.
Greg: He’s about three months. Almost three months. So, but he, we plan on telling him everything. Like I said, joking about it, but we really have started forming the best story that we can tell him. That he’ll understand that he’s loved by everybody. And this is the best decision for him, and that he’s loved. You know, Heather made this decision out of love for him. So we’ll keep telling him. Any questions he has, we’ll answer them. And it’ll be really great, kind of going back to the openness of, you know, since it’s open he’ll be able to meet Heather. And know how much she loves him, and did this out of love for him.
Jennifer: Very good. So you guys are working on creating an environment that is transparent, and open, and honest. That does not have secrecy and guilt, and shame around adoption. And that’s definitely an awesome thing, and really what’s in Ben’s best interest as well. So I’m curious now that you are parents through adoption, what has surprised you the most about all of this?
Megan: I think the thing that surprised us the most is about how quick and easy this whole process was. I know it’s not the same for everybody. So we were definitely planning on waiting at least two years. So when we got the call after just three months of our profile being live, we really couldn’t believe it. We kept saying, “Is this real life?” And still sometimes today we’re like, “Hmm, is this real life right now?” Just because it’s so, it’s nothing that we ever expected. It’s just so wonderful. So, we’re also very surprised about the amount of love and support we have received from everyone. Even people that we’ve never met before. You know you always hear this stigma around adoption, and how people form their own thoughts, and feelings about it. And just how positive and open and accepting everybody is. It’s just really awesome.
We had people sending us gifts, friends of my sisters friends. People are just, everybody’s so excited. So that’s something that surprised us too, just how excited everybody is. And how everybody’s willing to help. And also that, whenever you talk to somebody about adoption, they’re always like, “Oh, you know I know this person that went through adoption.” And you know you hear, like when we started the process, the agency was always like, “Well you know when you talk to somebody, somebody always knows somebody that has adopted.” Like even on Sunday I had an eye doctor’s appointment, and the eye doctor was like, “Oh yeah, you know I adopted my daughter just a couple a years ago.”
And it’s just like people you would never think, it’s just so prevalent nowadays, that it’s just wonderful to talk to everybody about it. Because you want everybody to think so positively of it, because it is such a wonderful experience. So I think that’s something that surprised us too.
Jennifer: And there are so many individuals and families that have been touched by adoption. And you’re right, as soon as you make mention of adoption, then you find how many connections or stories there are to be had. And that’s a common theme that we hear often, from different families. And I was gonna say you were talking earlier as well Megan, about the early days, and being prepared for how long this wait would be, and what this process would look like. And in reality you don’t know that until you live it and experience it, but Adoption Associate’s caseworkers do a really good job of preparing families. And sometimes we say well maybe we scared them unintentionally, but you know we want our families to be really prepared for not just the wait. But what that birth mom meeting is like. Just as you guys described. And what all of this process is really all about so. I appreciate you guys sharing that.
Megan: Yeah. Of course. Our caseworker was amazing. Janette was, she gave us every possible scenario. So we were kind of, we knew everything that could happen, and possibly happen, but we were just putting the worst case scenarios in our mind. Just so, if two years down the road we hadn’t gotten a call yet, we weren’t disappointed.
Megan: But, yeah. It was wonderful.
Jennifer: So, as we’re beginning to approach the end of this show. We have plenty of time. I was hoping that you could take just a couple of minutes or so to look back to the days before you began the adoption. Along with the process of preparing yourself, the home study, as well as those first days of meeting Heather and Ben. Is there anything you would have done differently, or maybe you wish that you had known back then, that you know now?
Megan: I think when Greg and I were talking about it. Looking back I don’t that there’s anything that we really would have done differently. The home study, and our profile, and our video, and just all the preparation and everything that we did. This is something that we really wanted. So we put our entire hearts, and soul into the whole process. We just really loved, it was so fun. [crosstalk 00:18:07], but like making the profile, and making our video, and just talking about our future. And everything was just, it was such a wonderful experience, I really don’t think we would change anything or do anything differently.
Something that we, or some tips, kind of that we would have taken more seriously I guess. Because we kind knew these but, just for future families and stuff is to definitely keep an open mind. I mean you know everybody tells you, you know you gotta keep an open mind. It’s really hard. As long as you stay positive, as long as you keep busy, as long as you’re not counting down the days, “Okay, it’s been this many days, and we haven’t gotten a call yet.” Just keeping busy, and talking to other adoptive parents about their experiences, and just telling everyone that you know, and even having them spread the word to people that they know that you’re adopting. And you know you’re hoping to get a call soon, and if you know anybody spread the word. Its amazing how willing people are to spread the word.
You know we had aunts, one of Greg’s aunts spread the word to, you know he’s friends with his eye doctor. And so, one day we were at the eye doctor, and his eye doctor was like, “Oh, yeah. I heard you guys are adopting. I’ll keep you guys in mind if I ever hear of anything.” So just really not being, I wish I guess we weren’t so apprehensive about spreading the word that we were adopting. You know you don’t want to be pushy with people at first, but people don’t find it pushy. It’s something that’s so exciting, and life changing, and awesome that, you know, spread the word. Make sure you tell everybody that you know. Post on social media. Just to get the word out there. You know, you never know who might know somebody that wants to make an adoption plan.
Yeah. And I think something, like we’ve had a lot of unexpected joys throughout this whole process. I don’t necessarily want to say they were unexpected. Just things that we weren’t, you know that we hoped for but didn’t know what were gonna happen, that was gonna happen. Was kind of the amount of knowledge that we gained about adoption. So just really doing your research, and going through every part of the process with an open mind. I think we also learned a lot about ourselves and each other. You know when you’re going through the home study process and you have to sit down and talk about your childhood, and talk about everything, all the questions and everything that you have to answer. It really, kind of makes you look at yourself as a person, and as a couple, and as a team, together in how we want to be parents. So, I think that was something both Greg and I really enjoyed. After we were like, “Man we gotta do this more often.” This is fun.
Jennifer: I love the fact that you viewed the home study process as an unexpected joy. I think we’re gonna have to put that one down in writing somewhere, that’s awesome. I love that Megan.
Megan: Our caseworker was amazing too. So I really think that helped. She was just so wonderful about everything. And any questions that we had, you know it was just such a fun process I think for us. Some of it was stressful, but I’m not gonna lie. There were parts that were stressful. I think over all it really was fun. I don’t know. So, yeah. That was something.
Jennifer: Thank you for that. And I do want to just cycle back really quick before we do close. You know we started the conversation talking about Heather, and about being selected by a birth mother to raise a child. And you were just talking about those unexpected joys that came, learning about yourselves, gaining adoption knowledge, gaining a lot of other knowledge. Can we talk about that from the perspective of the birth mother, and the knowledge you gained, or the information that you came upon that helped you better understand the heart of a birth mother? And how and why a woman comes to choose such a wonderful gift for a family as adoption?
Megan: Yeah. So, I don’t know Greg, do you want to take this one, or do you want me to take this one?
Greg: Oh, you can take it.
Megan: Okay. So I think it was, everything has been extremely eye-opening. And just learning about Heather and her strength, and the bravery that she has. And it makes us, its very emotional because just putting ourselves in her shoes, and everything that she’s gone through. And just how much love she has, and how brave she was, and strong. And it really says a lot about somebody that you love, I mean she loves her son so much. You know, with her whole heart she loves him. But she wanted something that she didn’t think that she could give him. So having her make a choice to have Ben come be a part of our family so that we were able to give him those things that she didn’t think that she could. I really, it says a lot. You know, and I don’t know if I’m quite answering your question correctly.
Jennifer: Oh, you most certainly are. You most certainly are. And what an honor for you to be chosen. For a woman like Heather to love her child so much that she acknowledges that maybe now is not the right time for me to parent, and I’m going to choose these people. What an honor for you guys. What a loving sacrifice on her part.
Megan: Yeah. Oh my goodness.
Jennifer: What a loving, loving sacrifice she made.
Megan: Yes. It’s just unbelievable. So that’s why, I don’t know when we talked earlier about our future plan for talking about adoption with Ben. We always made sure to say how brave Heather is, how much she loves him, and will always love him. How big of a heart that she has. But it just, you know you want everybody to know that because it’s just such an awesome give to be able to give us, a family that we wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. You know we would never be able to have children without Heather. And so for her to be able to give us that gift. But also to be able to give Ben a life that she wants for him, and making this decision for him, just thinking solely of him, and not herself, is just one of the biggest things. I don’t know personally if I would be able to make that choice myself. I don’t know if I’m strong enough myself, to be able to make that choice. So it’s just I feel like Heather’s just an amazing person. And we are extremely lucky.
We always, Greg and I always talk about how lucky we are. To be able to have her in our lives, and have Ben as our son and everything. Sorry I’m kind of rambling, I could go on forever about how awesome she is because it’s just amazing you know. This is something that we could have never expected how wonderful it turned out. So we’re just very, very happy. Very lucky.
Jennifer: And I really appreciate both Greg and Megan, you guys today, being here on the podcast. And talking about your experience, and sharing some of those really personal feelings. So thank you very much for today.
Megan: Yeah, thank you for having us.
Greg: Thank you.
Jennifer: Absolutely. For listeners that are interested in looking to connect with Adoption Associates, you can give us a call at 800-677-2367. You may also reach Adoption Associates on the web at www.AdoptionAssociates.net. I hope you join us next time for another great show with a mother and her daughter talking about how they’ve been touched by adoption. For now this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. I hope everyone has a great day. Bye-Bye.