This was originally posted on my blog, The Happiest Sad, on November 1, 2010.
I was asked not long ago to explain what open adoption means to me.
I'm sure that the person who asked was hoping for a definition of sorts - what do I consider to be an open adoption? How would I classify their idea of it? What are the requirements that I personally have for an adoption to qualify as open?
Well, too bad, question asker, because this is my blog, and I am obstinate. When I read the question, although I was certain of the context, I couldn't answer it that way. When I read the question, answers came to my mind. They're probably not the answers that you (whoever you are) were looking for, but they're what I've got. I've got answers to the question that no one has asked but that needs to be asked.
What does open adoption mean to me?
Open adoption means that any time I want to, I can turn on my computer, open the right file and watch Roo take a few shaky steps, or watch her dance with her sister, wiggling her hips and squealing with glee.
Open adoption means if I want to know how she's doing, all I have to do is ask.
Open adoption means I know the baby I placed, the person I love most in the world, is a happy, healthy, clever, sweet, gorgeous toddler.
Open adoption means Roo will never wonder who her birth mother is, what I look like, what sort of person I am, and why I placed her. She will know.
Open adoption means I will never wonder who my baby is, what she looks like, and whether she has a good life. I will know.
Open adoption means I know, every single day, that I made the right choice for Roo, because open adoption brings peace and reassurance.
Open adoption means that when I grieve, I grieve for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. I grieve out of love, not regret, out of sadness for myself, not for my baby.
Open adoption means that Roo is happy, and it means that Roo's mommy and daddy are happy, and it means that Roo's birth mom is happy. It's win-win-win. We all get to be happy. We all get to have peace and joy.
Open adoption means that if something needs to be said, it's said, and we make adjustments, and we're happy again, even happier than before.
Open adoption means that Roo is loved by more people than she will ever know. It means she gets to meet some of the ones who love her who are not her forever family, and that the rest of them that don't get to meet her still know who she is and that she is happy. Open adoption means an abundance of love for Roo and for all of her families.
Open adoption means that even though my heart broke, it's healed stronger than it was before. It means that I am a better, stronger person, for Roo and for her parents. It means I try every day to be someone they can be proud of.
Open adoption means I never have to wonder and I never have to worry. Open adoption is the happiest sad, and the happiest happy.
Open adoption means that placement wasn't goodbye; it was hello.
(And if you keep having the tagline "Love means never having to say your sorry" stuck in your head after reading this list, don't worry, I do too. And it's crap, because love means saying you're sorry whether you really are or not.)