Written by our 13 year old son’s birthmom. Here is a birthmom’s insight on open adoption. Please help share this so other women who may be contemplating adoption can get an inside look to an open adoption!
My name is Brittany. I’m 31 years old and raising three children, ages 10, 6, and 4. My husband is in the US Army, and we currently reside in Colorado, and will be moving to Georgia next month.
I have known Josh and Amy Smith since early 2007. I am the birthmother of their second son, Ryan Smith. My backstory is that I was pregnant my senior of high school and going over all my options, which lead me to an adoption website. I did a lot of research and learned about open adoption, and requested “Dear Birthmom” letters, and Amy and Josh immediately stood out to me. I loved their lifestyle and presentation, and ultimately loved that they had pictures with their oldest son, Cameron, and described a successful open adoption of over four years with his birthmom, so I was convinced that they were prepared to do the same for me.
For the past 13 years, they have exceeded my expectations with communication and visitation. I was living in Charlotte, NC at the time of adoption, the same state the Smiths lived in then, and currently reside in now. They let me visit Ryan the first week after I gave birth to him and were quick to facilitate visits way more often than we originally agreed upon. I made the decision to join the US Army at age 19 and was moving around quite often, and eventually settled down in Texas. Yet, anytime I would go back home to visit NC, Amy and Josh made it feel like I was a priority and would go out of their way to make a visit happen. They have always kept the lines of communication open, and I am in constant contact with Amy. They have ensured that Ryan has been able to make and maintain a bond with me and his three younger half siblings.
This arrangement has not just been limited to me and my children. I have watched Amy maintain a relationship between other members of my family, such as my mom, aunt, and brothers. My aunt resides in Texas, so they keep open lines of communication and also exchange mail and such. My family that lives in NC is also in constant contact with the Smiths, and Amy never hesitates to invite my mom to a basketball game or function featuring Ryan. Sometimes I’ll talk to my mom or my aunt and they’ll mention they’ve talked to Amy recently, and it has always warmed my heart that Amy is maintaining relationships with the rest of my family all on her own. I know that I, along with the rest of my family, all feel like we’re all extended family with the Smiths.
I do not think this letter would be complete without touching on the fact that my family did not like the idea of adoption in the first place. The morning I was due to sign the adoption papers before discharging from the hospital, my aunt was calling me from Texas begging me not to sign the papers, and came up with every scenario on how she could help me raise Ryan. She was hooked on the thought of Ryan being our blood, our family, and wanted to help in any way she could to keep him in our family. I even had second thoughts, and after the biggest emotional battle I’ve ever had, I found the devine strength to sign those papers. Little did I know, I made the hardest, proudest, best decision for everyone involved, and always look back at that moment with admiration of my younger self.
Over the years, I have not once had any regret, which, in hindsight, is definitely due to Amy and Josh’s selflessness in keeping us so involved, making us feel like we’re family, and making us feel like we’re a big part of Ryan’s life. My mom, aunt, and grandma will touch on this nearly every time Ryan is brought up. After such a positive experience, they praise me for choosing adoption, and for specifically choosing the Smiths to be his family.
This being said, in the beginning, I only had the example of their oldest son as to how the Smiths would handle an open adoption. I’m so incredibly thankful for them because they kept their word regarding communication and visitation, and have always gone above and beyond what any binding legal agreement would have made them do. They have never made me feel like a burden and the lines of communication have always been more than open. Through constant communication, pictures and videos, I have watched Ryan grow up. Also, through visits and phone calls, we all know Ryan, he knows us. They’ve selflessly done this all these years out of love for Ryan, and I’ve observed them do the same for their oldest son, Cameron, as well.
Ryan turned 13 this year, and the Smiths have maintained this open relationship throughout the years, just as much today, as the week he went home with them thirteen years ago. When I got word that my husband was getting stationed in Georgia, Amy was the first person I told, and she sounded just as excited as I was, and we’re already looking forward to the visits we’ll get to have since I’ll be a short road trip away. With Covid, our move date keeps getting pushed back, and Amy’s been the one taking initiative to text me for updates on our move. This speaks volumes as to how important maintaining the open adoption relationship is to her.
This is my testimony as a birthmother of a successful open adoption relationship, over the course of the past thirteen years, with the most selfless adoptive parents I could have ever placed my son with, Amy and Josh Smith.