As you’re on the path to choosing what your adoption plan will look like, one of the things that will be brought up is what kind of adoption you’d like. Did you know that there are different kinds of adoptions out there? There are open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. If you’re going through an adoption agency, you may have a lot of say as to what kind of adoption to proceed with. So what exactly does an “open adoption” mean? You can see some examples with open adoption stories, both the ones mentioned in this article and on Adoption.com.
An open adoption has the most communication and information passed through the family adoption triad (birth family, adoptee, and adoptive family). You can start to develop a relationship with the adoptive family before you give birth. Some recommended types of communication are phone calls, social media, text messages, and even in-person visits. After your baby is born, you may still be able to cultivate that relationship with the adoptive family and the adoptee onward into the future. Open adoption is actually becoming more popular due to the fact that the adoptee may have easier access to medical records and their identity. Most adoptive parents are more than willing to have an open adoption as long as the birth parents are comfortable with that. There doesn’t have to be constant communication, but it may be open whenever you’re comfortable to talk.
Now, you may be wondering if open adoption is right for you. After doing some research, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your social worker or options counselor to get an idea of what an open adoption can look like. Every adoption is unique, but there are a lot of stories out there from both birth families and adoptive families. Getting information from others can be great, but it can also be beneficial to hear stories from birth families who know exactly what you’re going through and what to expect from an open adoption with these open adoption stories.
Callie Mitchell was a 25-year-old photography student at the University of Iowa when she became pregnant. The original plan was to raise the baby with her boyfriend, but the relationship sadly ended. He tried to convince her to find an adoptive family for the baby since he thought that they both weren’t in a place to raise a child. Not only was she in school, but she was also waitressing at the time. She was originally determined to find a way to raise the baby on her own, but she decided to find an adoption agency to help guide her on the adoption journey. However, she kept changing her mind even after she got in touch with the agency and picked the adoptive family. Mitchell was able to get a hold of three different parent profiles and she found Brian and Kristen Doud and thought that they were “perfect for her son”. Prior to the birth, Mitchell talked to the Douds for an hour and met them in person only ten minutes before she was about to push. Their original agreement was for the Douds to send updates every six months and have an in-person visit once a year. The family triad went completely against their agreement and ended up talking to each other every day and visiting as often as they could. Just from reading the articles and watching their interview on the TODAY Show, you can see how this open adoption can be a great representation of what a family can look like.
What makes Mitchell’s story unique is that she documented her story during pregnancy, birth, and even afterward through photography. Not only did she use a creative outlet to show her pregnancy and the adoption journey, but it can serve as an eye-opening reminder as to what birth mothers typically go through. In 2012 and 2013 her story became well known all over the country and even internationally. She originally posted these pictures and entries in her college’s newspaper The Daily Iowan. Unfortunately, the original articles aren’t available to view anymore, but you can see some of the beautiful and haunting photos from The Daily Mail UK and from the TODAY Show.
Hannah Mongie was 18 years old and dating her boyfriend at the time, Kaden, when she discovered she was pregnant. She wasn’t sure quite yet if she was pregnant, so she asked Kaden what they would do if she did end up getting a positive test. He actually suggested that they find a family for the baby since they were both young and not ready to be parents. This tore Mongie apart as she couldn’t think of “giving up” her baby to someone else. They had only been dating for a couple of months at the time of the pregnancy. After finally getting a positive pregnancy test, she told Kaden who was absolutely ecstatic. That being said, they still decided to find families to adopt their baby. Kaden was Mongie’s biggest support system with finding families and visiting them. They still carried on a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship even with a quick break and fell in love with each other. Unfortunately, Kaden passed away in his sleep when Mongie was only 12 weeks along, leaving her alone and reconsidering the adoption. She thought about keeping the baby because “that was her last piece of Kaden”. Mongie says that she prayed to God asking for peace as she knew that adoption would be a better option for her baby. The next morning, she said she felt so peaceful and knew that this was what she needed to do. After sifting through many parent profiles, she stumbled upon Brad and Emily Marsh. Immediately, she fell in love with them and knew that they were the perfect family. She contacted them soon after and their relationship blossomed throughout the rest of her pregnancy. The Marshes invited Mongie to other events, making sure that she felt like part of the family. She gave birth to a boy and named him Taggart “Tagg” Kaden, after his birth father. There was a 48 hour time period between the birth and placement and she wanted to be alone and present for most of it. She made a video message for Tagg talking about why she found a family for him, about Kaden, and so much more, with an outpouring of love and selflessness with the choice she made for him. This happened in 2016, and to this day, Mongie has a great relationship with the Marshes and Tagg. The family triad is in close contact and they visit each other often. She candidly shares the life of a birth mom in an open adoption on her Instagram.
If this story sounds familiar, it’s due to Mongie’s video to Tagg going unintentionally viral. Her heartwarming message to her son has helped other birth families and adoptees tremendously on their journeys. She has said that birth mothers who have chosen open adoption and adoptees have made an effort to get in contact with their birth families. Mongie’s story can be another great reminder of the beauty of open adoption and the family triad. You can read more from her point of view on Love What Matters or you can see her interview on the TODAY Show.
Missy’s story was recently posted on Humans of New York. She explained in her post that she became pregnant right before her senior year was supposed to start. Her parents helped her with going through an adoption agency, and she was able to look through the parent profiles that they had. It’s unclear when exactly the story takes place, but it was probably before open adoption was popular. Some could even say that open adoption was even unheard of. Missy wanted to be a part of her baby’s life, but trying to find an adoptive family that is willing to have an open adoption was rare. She became frustrated going through the profiles and families just to hit a brick wall. Finally, she met a couple named Kathy and Tom. Missy said that even when they met for the first time, Kathy exceeded her expectations. For example, Missy brought up visitations and Kathy told her that she can babysit and have family dinners with the couple. She says in her post that “she felt seen for the first time”, as a birth mother. The focus was primarily on her; how she was feeling, how to make her more comfortable, and what she wanted to do in the future. She gave birth to a boy named Aden, but was amazed at the support that Kathy gave her during labor. Kathy was doing everything in her power to make sure Missy was heard. The emotions that she felt afterward came in waves; hurt, relief, and guilt. However, Kathy and Tom ensured that they would keep their promises, and they did just that. Even after she went to college and felt that she couldn’t really contribute much, Kathy and Tom always had their arms open to her whenever she was ready to come back. Kathy was very compassionate and understanding toward Missy. The relationship that the two mothers have is great. Missy explains that they trust each other and even confide in each other. Because Kathy was so open about her imperfections, Missy felt worthy and better about her own imperfections. She now has three children of her own and said that the feelings that she repressed were coming back, even sometimes regretting the adoption. However, Kathy always listens and expresses that she is thankful for Missy.
The relationship that Kathy and Missy have is honestly indescribable. It’s wonderful that these two mothers are able to have a special bond and love each other deeply. Not only did Missy make such a selfless choice in finding a family for Aden, but Kathy was incredibly selfless with making sure Missy was seen and making sure that she felt like she mattered. Sometimes it can seem that birth mothers are on the back burner. Hopefully Missy’s story can shed some light about birth mothers to help others realize that they are valid. Read Missy’s story on Humans of New York: Part one
and part two.
Testimonies from Gladney with Open Adoption Stories
There are a lot of resources for you at The Gladney Center of Adoption. You can speak to an options counselor, join support groups, and even listen to testimonies from other birth moms. Again, every adoption story can be unique, but odds are there is someone who went through what you’re going through right now. You can even speak to a birth mother for extra guidance, perhaps through open adoption stories. These are some great ways to help you on the path towards open adoption and seeing if it’s the right choice for you. Visit Gladney’s website here to get more information.
Open Adoption Stories
Open adoption has been said to become more popular as the years go by due to more families understanding the importance of the family triad (birth family, adoptee, and adoptive family). This can be seen through open adoption stories. You’re not alone if you’re wondering if open adoption could be right for you. Not only do you have a lot of resources out there, but you can also read and listen to a lot of testimonies and stories from birth mothers. Most adoptive families have a great relationship with the birth family, but they’re all different and special. It may seem strange for onlookers wondering about the family dynamic, but it’s not about them; it’s about you, your baby, and the family that you choose. Open adoptions can have so many beautiful aspects to them, but in the end, it’s your choice on how you want to move forward.