In our latest adoption blogger interview, we meet Erica and Rebecca, birth mom and adoptive mom (respectively) to Ashley. As you’ll see when you read their self-introduction, their shared story encompasses the foster care system, adoption over two generations, and a strong commitment to open adoption. I’m thrilled to be able to share the thoughts of this inter-familial blogging pair.
Please introduce yourselves and your connection to open adoption.
We are Erica (the biological mom) and Rebecca (the adoptive mom). Our daughter, Ashley, is 10-years-old and was adopted from the foster care system. Erica’s journey has included trauma, addiction, and recovery, and she now works with other moms in recovery helping them find their own paths to healing and stability. In addition to being an adoptive mom, Rebecca is also an adult adoptee in a successful reunion — a perspective that has significantly influenced her position on open adoption. We blog about open adoption and related issues at I’m Still a Good Mother: A Birth Mother’s Journey Through Open Adoption and Love Is Not a Pie.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
We both had the same answer to this question. The most surprising thing has been our relationship. We both hoped for some degree of openness for our daughter Ashley’s sake, but we didn’t realize at the beginning how much we would come to care for each other. We each consider the other to be a friend and a family member.
We describe our open adoption relationship as “very open.” Recently someone asked Rebecca what that that looks like, and she answered, “It looks like family.” Neither of us could have predicted at the beginning that we would be as open as we are, but it’s what feels right for us.
If you could go back to the beginning of your open adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Erica: It’s difficult to put into words, but I think I’d tell myself not to worry because everything will work out. I’d let myself know that everything is going to be exactly as it’s meant to be.
Rebecca: I think I’d just tell myself to relax and trust my instincts. It’s easy to get sidetracked by other people’s fears, but I’ve really come to trust my ability to make the right call for my family. It might not be what’s right for everyone, but it’s right for us.
How did you start blogging?
Rebecca: My decision to start blogging was directly related to my relationship with Erica. It was through our growing relationship and many conversations about adoption and family preservation that I realized I had a lot to say. Erica was the first person I told about the blog, and that was before it even existed. We were walking together on our lunch break one day; I told her it was something I was thinking about doing and she encouraged me to go for it.
Erica: Rebecca asked me to do a guest post on her blog, and I said, “Actually, I’ve been thinking that I might just start my own.” It was something I’d been thinking about doing for a while. Rebecca encouraged me to tell my side of things because there aren’t a lot of people blogging from my point of view, as a mother who relinquished her rights in a foster-adoption situation.
Have you ever been surprised by something the other one wrote? Has knowing that your daughter’s other mother is reading changed your own writing?
Rebecca: I don’t know that I’ve ever been completely surprised by something, but I often get more details. Erica and I communicate a lot by text, so I often get the short version first and then read the full story on the blog. But even when I know the basics of the story already, I’m often surprised by the emotional impact of her writing. She’s brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I’m aware that Erica may read what I write, but I don’t think that changes things for me.
Erica: My answer is similar to Rebecca’s; I’m not so much surprised as I am enlightened. Because of our openness, I think Rebecca shares pretty much everything with me, but there are often times I really get to read more about how Ashley fits into her forever family, as well as the impact our visits and relationship have on the family. I love reading about the progress Ashley is making; it feels great to know she is healing. I also find Rebecca’s own story of adoption to be very useful in that she really helps me understand what Ashley might be thinking or feeling as an adopted child, and I really get a sense of just how amazing Rebecca really is!
If a reader were going to read just one post on your blog, which would you choose?
We’ve decided to switch this up and each pick a post from the other person’s blog:
Erica: Choosing only one of Rebecca’s posts is a difficult task! She is an amazing writer and I would recommend someone to read ALL of her posts, but right now there is one that has spoken to me deeply and that is Affection and the Adopted Child. I chose this blog post because it speaks to how the amazing power of love can truly heal a broken heart, or in this case a child. When this nightmare began, I didn’t just lose custody of Ashley — I lost the beautiful, affectionate, cuddle bug I called my daughter. I feared her love of physical contact and affection might have been gone forever, even after she became part of Rebecca’s family, until I read this post. I read the words through tears of joy, walked away from my computer, and hugged my boys so tight they thought I might squish them. I never want any of my children to fear physical contact, ever again. I’m eternally grateful for Rebecca and her family, for welcoming me into their lives, and sharing Ashley with me. Without their open hearts, this post might have never been written.
Rebecca: I knew immediately which post of Erica’s I would pick. It is Did You Want Me. As an adult adoptee, it was such a powerful moment in my life when I got to hear my first mother explain that she had always wanted me but there were just circumstances in her life that were beyond her control. I’m so glad that Ashley didn’t have to wait until age thirty, as I did, to have that conversation! This was one of those posts that brought me to tears.
Thank you to Erica and Rebecca for a great interview! You can browse the rest of the “Meet the Bloggers” series here.
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.