By Karla Baumann
The first year of my son’s life we saw his birth family almost every single month. I loved getting to know them and I hope and pray that seeing him was a good thing for their hearts. The thing with open adoption, though, is it can come in like high tide and then draw back like low tide. Adoption is born out of trauma, there is no way around that. God can take that trauma and redeem it but that doesn’t take away all the trauma. Trauma takes time to heal, trauma ebbs and flows, trauma crashes down like waves and then the waters steady again. Adoption, yes even beautiful open adoption that is full of God’s love and grace, is also home to grief and trauma.
With that grief and trauma there will probably come silence. Something I have learned over these few years of being an adoptive mom is that silence is not always bad. I remember the first couple times I got silence after texting my son’s birth mom, my mind raced with what I must have done wrong. My heart broke that I didn’t know why she wasn’t answering me. I mean we are in an open adoption, why am I getting this silence? I struggled with these feelings because I just wanted us to be one big happy family. Then I remembered the icky part of adoption, the one we don’t often want to talk about. That my son’s birth mom was still in the thick of the healing. That even though we have an open adoption there would be many different seasons to it.
Seasons of great joy and many visits. Seasons of heartache and tears. Seasons of silence, maybe the hardest season of all. We live in a world that is always in conversation, a world where you are a direct message or text away from answers. So, when silence hits from any side of the triad we find ourselves lost and maybe a bit sad or scared we did something wrong. I have a beautiful friend who is a birth mom to a gorgeous 9-year-old girl. My friend is probably one of the sweetest and most God filled women I have ever met. We were talking about the silence that can come with open adoption, and I was telling her I struggle because I love our son’s birth mom so much and silence from anyone you love is hard. My sweet friend told me that there were times she went years without seeing her daughter, but that didn’t mean she didn’t love her or her parents, it was just that she needed time to heal, grow and navigate life. She said cell phones are so amazing because my daughter and her family are just a text away but if I need to step back for a minute I can. I think we need to remember that during this time of silence it is still ok to send a text or picture to let them know we are thinking of them. Truthfully, if they don’t want a text from you, they will probably let you know.
These seasons of silence may be short seasons, long seasons, of even years. The reason I write this is to say it is ok. It is ok for a birth mom to need a break to heal and work on herself for a bit. It is ok for an adoptee to need a break from seeing his or her birth family, to heal and understand all that is adoption. Adoption is a hard road; it is a lot for everyone in the adoption triad to navigate. We also have to remember that no two adoption stories will look the same. We must always remember that adoption is born out of loss and that loss needs time to breathe, heal, change, mend, seek counseling and talk. Adoption is also God ordained, full of his redemption, grace, and love. We were called into each of our roles within this adoption triad. We are forever bonded and tied to one another, may we love each other through these up and downs, may we extend grace to one another through these periods of silence, but may we also remember that God brought us all together for a beautiful child for us to all love and raise in this beautiful family that is our open adoption triad.
Karla Baumann is a stay at home adoptive mom to the most wonderful two year old boy. When not playing tractors with her son, Karla enjoys writing about adoption, cooking, singing and playing with her dogs.