In my book, The Eye of Adoption, I “interview” my son’s birthmother, Kerri. Our frank discussion covers several pages and many topics, including our personal and emotional experiences with crisis pregnancy, infertility, adoption, and our current open adoption relationship. Scotty will turn four on May 13, 2014. With the interview section in my book and the speaking engagements we do together, Kerri and I have one overarching goal: to minister to others in an honest, down-to-earth manner. Kerri and I are now reaching out to waiting and adoptive families by collaborating on the Adoptimist blog. Below are some of the questions we’ve received so far, along with our candid answers.
Questions for Jody (Adoptive mother)
What does your open adoption agreement look like?
Around the time of Scotty’s birth, Kerri & Bryant (the birth parents) and my husband Jeff & I each completed a simple form called a “Post-Placement Adoption Agreement”. Basically, we outlined what we were comfortable with going forward, regarding visits and communication. Jeff and I agreed to send pictures and updates monthly for the first year (an agency requirement). We also agreed to three to six visits per year. Additionally, we would not communicate directly with Kerri or Bryant’s extended families, although they could send us any information they wanted to share. Basically, we talked out our preferences on paper. Kerri and Bryant got a copy of our form and we got a copy of theirs. Fortunately, our answers were quite similar.
How is an open adoption agreement helpful?
We set comfortable boundaries early on writing out the agreement (with the help of social workers). We knew each other’s expectations and needs. So there were no surprises or hurt feelings.
Have you struggled through hard times in your relationship? If so, how did/do you overcome them?
We have always treated each other with respect and with one common goal: to make sure Scotty is healthy and happy. There have been times when I’ve had to say “no” to certain requests. But Kerri has always understood once I explained my reasoning. She is smart, loving, and, thankfully, forgiving!
Is it weird when you are together?
I have complete confidence in my role as mother. So I am never insecure when we are together. Instead, I watch Kerri and Scotty connect in awe. I’m in awe of her love and sacrifice. I’m in awe of the undeniable reality of inherited traits. Sometimes I get a little emotional before or after a visit, simply due to the magnitude of Kerri’s gift for my family. But we always have a nice time together. We are friends for life.
Questions for Kerri (Birth mother)
Do you see your baby?
Yes! I have an open adoption and I see him a lot. Several times a year.
Did you just not want kids?
That is not the case at all. I hope to have kids at some point and can’t wait to be a mom. It’s just that he came along at a time in my life where I couldn’t give him all he deserves.
Was it hard to place your baby?
The answer to this is always “yes”. It was very hard. But I knew he was going to a safe place where I didn’t have to worry if he was fed, taken care of, or happy. I knew from very early on that he was in good hands.
What are you going to do when he grows up and wants to know why you ‘gave him away’?
I hate this question the most. It makes it sound like I just threw him away. I tell them he already knows. That it will never be a secret or a lie and he will always be able to come to me.
What if he doesn’t want to see you?
I will let him make that choice. But I know that even then, I’ll stay close to Jody and Jeff and know that Scotty is okay.