I distinctly remember the day we received Dominique’s profile. I was sitting in the “baby room” about to take down the crib. We had heard so many stories of immediate placements that having a baby room together helped me feel prepared and ready. But it had been almost two years since we had been home study approved, and the past spring we had been chosen by an expectant mom who decided to parent after delivery.
I had been pondering if adoption was really the path for us going forward. Then I read Dominique’s profile. What stood out the most was that her due date was on Ava’s birthday. Ava was our first born—born prematurely and only lived for a short time. Birthdays are always important, but her’s holds an extra special place in our lives.
Soon after we agreed to have our profile shown we learned that not only had she seen our profile, but she wanted to meet us! It seemed surreal and I was nervous beyond words leading up to the meeting. I tried to remind myself that we just had to be us. Who we are as a couple and as parents will either be what she is looking for in parents for her child, or it won’t be, but either way we have to sit confidently in who we are. I would like to say that eased my worries, but I was still so nervous.
Dominique did choose us, and so from then on we got to continue getting to know each other. During the months of building a relationship with her we were also continuing to educate ourselves on all aspects of the adoption triad. When we began our adoption journey years before we were solely focused on a baby, but the more we learned the more we grew to understand that adoption is so much more.
A relationship with birth parents in an open adoption does not have to be feared, but can be incredibly important and wonderful. It was a crucial mindshift for us to embrace the entire triad more fully than we had realized when we first had thoughts of adoption.
I hoped that the doctors and nurses saw that we loved Dominique for her and we wanted to support her—not just her baby. If she made a choice to parent we would still stand by her. I always worried that we seemed like the overly-eager adoptive parents who somehow were coercing her into this decision. I tried to reaffirm to all parties that we respected Dominique and genuinely wanted her to choose the option that was best for her and her baby.
In hearing other birth stories and knowing how birth plans are written, I want to encourage prospective adoptive parents to not be discouraged if a lot of contact with the baby is not planned for you. We were fortunate that Dominique wanted us at the hospital and that we got immediate time with Luca. I cherish that beyond words.
I also cherish the time that Dominique got with Luca. Looking back, that time was so short. And while I longed to have every moment with Luca from the start, I am thankful that she got such loving time with Dominique in those early hours. I could almost sense both their souls being filled with love and comfort and bond.
It is hard to not feel anxious and to want all those moments for yourself, but Dominique sacrificed so much for us to be able to parent, that Luca having those loving moments with her birth mother was so precious too.
I sensed, knowing from my past grief, that her body ached to hold Luca and be with her. I sent her pictures daily. It felt natural to share in all the pictures and baby developments with her.
My bond with Luca felt instant. Even not having given birth to her myself, I felt like my body responded in many ways as if it had. My mama bear tendencies and all my emotions and desires were exactly the same as when I had my biological kids.
It was comforting and reassuring to me that I loved this girl in every way, as if I had given birth to her myself. It also left me confident to share her with Dominique without reservation.
Dominique and I are not competing for her love. Dominique chose us so her desire to see Luca and know about her life comes from a place of love. I don’t ever feel threatened or like we’re in competition. I am confident in my role as parent and in my absolute motherly love of Luca.
This confidence makes it easy to want Dominique to have a relationship with her too. For Luca to have a connection with her and love for her birth mom. Both of us are Luca’s mom. And neither of us is a lesser mom for it.