Last week we had our monthly adoption meeting which is also a potluck dinner. Our consultant brings together current, past and prospective clients and their extended families to discuss their open adoption experience, and enjoy a meal together. An interesting mix of adoptive families, prospective adoptive parents, birth families and children come together to share in a supportive setting (well, the kids actually go off and play). In addition to her strong child-centered focus, this community is one of the main reasons we chose to work with our consultant rather than our agency alone. 

I realize that like some of our consultant’s other ideas, this concept may sound a bit bizarre. Our first meeting was quite overwhelming, to say the least. Aside from the highly open nature of some adoptions that even included co-parenting in the beginning, we heard stories of mismatches and last minute changes and heartbreak on all sides that made us question what we were about to do. Seriously. It was eye-opening. We weren’t sure if, after all we had been through already, we could survive this emotional storm too. 

Thankfully, others confirmed that our reaction was not unique. Most other “waiting” families we spoke with said the same thing about their first meeting. Yet each meeting since then has continued to open up this world to us, making it real and accessible. I believe these meetings are critical to our education as would-be adoptive parents. They provide invaluable information, connection, relationships, support, and perspectives that I think are essential to our experience. This is a community of extended families we could not find anywhere else. People who know and understand.

Without question, one of the most valuable aspects is hearing from expectant mothers considering placement and from “birth” moms who placed children with adoptive families. (I use the term “birth” mom because that’s how they refer to themselves. In rare instances, a “birth” dad has spoken too.) Unlike the presentations at our agency workshops — which were also very informative — here we often see birth families interact with adoptive families and their children. We hear firsthand different perspectives on how rewarding and challenging open adoption can be. It is always powerful, always moving. 

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday and “season of the family,” the theme this week was “gratitude.” I can’t describe how emotional that room was, listening to adoptive parents holding their new babies and watching their kids play with each other, weeping as they tried to convey in words their deep gratitude and love for these women who gave them what they could not give themselves. I can’t describe the feeling of listening to a birth mom’s voice crack as she thanked the adoptive parents for giving her child what she could not, and for opening and extending their family while she continues to grieve her own loss. I don’t think there was a dry eye (or at least someone who didn’t have a lump in the throat) in the house. 

I have a lot to be grateful for, I know. I have the most amazing husband who not only accepts me for who I am flaws and all, but also sees beauty where I cannot even see it myself. We have a wonderful home in a great community. I have a decent family, even if they don’t know how to support me. I have a rewarding job with clients and colleagues I call friends. Despite my body’s inability to create and sustain life, I have my health. 

And yet. Amidst these powerful emotions and offerings, I could not speak. 

I am grateful that our path has led us to this point where we still have the chance to build our family and finally become parents. So when a new would-be adoptive dad looked down at his peaceful wife holding and blissfully gazing at the 10-day old baby girl they hope to adopt and said to me and M, “That will be you someday too, soon,” I could not help but feel so grateful for that possibility.


~ by luna on November 25, 2008.

17 Responses to “gratitude”

  1. You’ve made me cry.

    In a good way.


  2. I swore off Canadian Thanksgiving this year. A few weeks later, here I am reading this, and you sound so incredibly hopeful, Luna, after following your own path of heartbreak and loss. And I have to say: It’s inspiring, Luna. Absolutely, inspiring. XO.

  3. These meetings sound wonderful.
    And, I add my hope here too, that it will be you soon.

  4. It’s like our pregnancy loss support group… you hear the scary stuff (all the different ways you could possibly lose a future baby) but you also get a wonderful support system! So glad this is working for you!

  5. I hope it’s you soon. I hope you find the right match.

  6. It really sounds like these meetings are filled with great facilitators and participants–lots of warm feelings=) Im so grateful for this possibility for you too, Luna–one that will lead you to a perfect match.

  7. Just beautiful.


  8. I’m really impressed by open adoption. I’m sure these potlucks can be challenging for you, but you are facing it with a positive attitude! You’ve come a long way!

  9. The potluck is such a novel concept to me, very very cool.

  10. It sounds like you’ve found an incredible support group, Luna. I admire you so much for opening your heart to the open adoption process, and share in the hope that it will indeed be your turn soon.

  11. I, too, have much to be thankful for and among the many things on my list is this: the friends I’ve made in this community. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving

  12. What an amazing, multi-faceted support group! And I think that prospective adoptive dad is onto something; you and M will have your little one someday soon.

  13. Wow. I am blown away by your description of this group. I too am “waiting” and am so intrigued by this fascinating opportunity you have to engage all members of the triad (granted the children all sound young!). I really wish I could be a part of a group like that! Best wishes to you as you wait:)

  14. Oh, what a wonderful post. I wish I could bring my MIL to one of your meetings. We’re having such a time explaining the open adoption concept to her … There is nothing like being in the room with all members of the open adoption triad. Just as you described — incredibly difficult, but so so important.

  15. That is just incredible and rare. I have never heard of a support group or an extended adoption meeting group like this one. Thanks so much for sharing so much about your experiences. I know it can’t be easy for you to be there sometimes, but there is so much hope and understanding in all those other stories, I’m glad you are a part of it.

  16. […] begun to read a lot about it (in books, articles and blogs), we had seen the beauty and love in families extended through open adoption, and we continued to educate ourselves. Open adoption made a lot of sense to us for many reasons, […]

  17. […] After giving up on trying to conceive with or without intervention, we were grateful merely for the chance to become […]

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