Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birthmom in our home… good idea or bad idea?


When I was four, I remember walking into the bathroom where Mom was doing her hair. I was excited and ready to leave to my swimming lesson at the local pool. As I stood there wearing only my little swimming trunks, Mom turned to me… 
“What’s that on your chest?” Mom wondered. 
“I don’t know,” I said, scratching the little bumps with my fingernails. 
“You have the chicken pox!” she realized. “You can’t go to swimming lessons if you have chicken pox.” 
I was sad. I enjoyed the water and I was always excited for my lesson. After my chicken pox had run their course, I was transferred to a different aquatic class. 
“So,” Mom said after my class was done. “How was your first day back?” 
“We practiced jumping in the deep end,” I answered. 
“The deep end already?” Mom asked nervously. “You guys are a little young for the deep end.” 
“I was with the older kids,” I said proudly. “Some of them were scared, but I wasn’t scared.” 
I had never been in the deep end before. I spent some time in my regular class splashing around and kicking my feet, but jumping in the deep end with kids more than twice my age was a whole new experience. That’s where Jammie and I found ourselves with our adoption. 
Brianna had a trip planned to come see us in our home. Sure, she had lived with us for a few months before she gave birth to our little boy, but we hadn’t seen her face-to-face since our son was two weeks old. Jammie and I had spent the last eleven months getting our feet wet in the open adoption world with pictures, phone calls, etc., but having her come to our home again felt like we were jumping into the deep end. 
Brianna was awesome (so was her sister, who came with her).
“Let’s go see what Mom is doing,” Brianna said once, while holding our little boy. 
It was the little things like that, her calling Jammie the “Mom,” and referring to me as the “Dad.” She said lots of things to make sure we knew that she approved of the way we were raising our little boy. Hearing her say those things meant the world to us. It helped us feel relaxed and instead of feeling the jealousy that would have been natural for a situation like that, we were able to enjoy watching her play on the floor with our little boy. 
That visit was the best thing that we could have had for our relationship. Knowing that she approved helped us relax while she was in our home, and helped us to love and embrace our roles and relationship even more. Not only that, but it paved the way for the openness of our second adoption also. It’s not for everyone. Having birthparents into your own home is a common place to draw a line. A lot of people recommended against it, saying that their relationship is very open but their home is something that they keep for themselves. I repeat, it’s not for everyone, but it sure is wonderful for us.


  1. Very good read. Im not a big reader but i couldnt stop reading this. Very interesting.

  2. Knowing how much you love both Briana and your little boy, it is easy to see how you spread your love around. Obviously, the birth mother in your home would depend entirely on the situation and the people involved, but I know it was the right thing for the three of you.

  3. The best thing I love about you and your family is that you make your choices based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That's why I know things keep working out for you over and over again, especially in the tough situations. I'm so grateful for your loving relationships with your adopted babies' families. It fills your children's world with love. They will be so blessed because of that.

  4. Doing what fits for your family... that's the key. Jammie sharing her own experiences and feelings with me has made me better able to handle my feelings about meeting my grown daughter's birth parents. I am so glad I did!

  5. Russ, I stumbled across your blog this morning and love that it's from an adoptive father's perspective. Would you be at all interested in submitting a guest blog post for us at Adoption.com? We feature a number of guest bloggers from time to time and given your unique story, would love for you to share your experiences with our readers. Please visit our blog to see if guest blogging would be something you'd be interested in.

  6. Love this post! I love open adoption.

  7. Love this too!!! We have a very open adoption and have our son in our home all the time. She sometimes spends the night as well! I love hearing her getting him up in the morning and the special time they can share together.

  8. Sorry I meant to say our son's birthmom!

  9. So well written! I couldn't have said it better. Our daughter's birth mom has been to our home many times. She approves of the way we are raising her, but wont call us mom and dad. You couldn't have worded what those word can do to a relationship (and what it does to one when those words aren't used).
    With our son, his birth mother has only been able to come to our home once (due to location) but is very accepting of us. They called us mom and dad before he was even our son. It's so relaxing and friendly when they are here.

  10. That's really awesome that you have SUCH an open adoption! I've never heard of a birthmom living with the parents to be while she is still pregnant. That just goes to show how many different stories we, in the adoption community, can have. If you'd like to see the perspective of a birthfather, visit my blog: www.involvedbirthfathers.blogspot.com and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/societyofinvolvedbirthfathers