Walking towards the hospital elevator without Harrison was the most heartbreaking event in our lives. It was as though a knife was twisting and slicing through us. It hurt, it ached, and the pain was burning and choking us. It felt very unnatural to leave Harrison behind with a family of strangers who were unknown to us, who had no bonding moments, who had not shared our lives or understood how this decision came to be. I was sure if I would never be part of this little boy’s life; I was after all just the ‘bio- gran’ and this tore my heart out.
I supported Christie’s and Curtis’s decision for open adoption. As a parent, my primary role is to guide, support, pick up the broken pieces or stay silent and stand back watching emotions and pain unfolding and hoping time will dull the ache they were feeling. It tested their relationship, as family, friends and co-workers were opinionated and sometimes insensitive or not always supportive. We felt this in the hospital even and at prenatal appointments.
Six years later … I am truly blessed. I am so thankful that Jeff and Lisa were chosen to parent Harrison. They embraced us and helped guide us through this unchartered journey. A full open adoption has given me peace of mind knowing that Harrison is safe, healthy, happy and very much loved and that he loves in return. His family is very much part of my life, his parents, his sisters, we have developed personal relationships. Jeff and Lisa are truly good people, they open doors and welcome you in with no judgement. I receive hugs and kisses, FaceTime’s, and I love you’s from Harrison. I extend my love to his sisters as they are an important part of his life.
I can see the pain in Christie’s & Curtis’ eyes still, how excited Christie gets at the thought of visiting him or how sometimes she is scared to touch or hug him. Open adoption not only communicates family history and health information, it opens up limitless boundaries of love and acceptance for everyone involved.
Birth Parent Stories
My name is Kim and I am a birth mom to a beautiful baby boy, Jacob. I was in a serious relationship for two years when I unexpectedly found myself pregnant. Jacob’s birth father and I were both full time college and university students and we were both still living at home. I remember telling Jacob’s birth father about being pregnant and hearing what his reaction was. He was not going to let this affect his life. He had many questions that I could not answer and he got in contact with the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre (CPCC).
I felt I was not prepared to take on the role of being a full time single parent so I decided to place my son into an open adoption. This way, Jacob and I would have the best of both worlds. He would have a great family, who I chose, to love him and raise him and I would be able to see my son grow. He will always be an important part of my life.
The CPCC helped me find Adoption By Choice. I remember being so nervous and scared the first time I went to ABC. I had an appointment with Gayle and I did not know what to expect. Gayle and I sat and talked for a long time that first visit. She answered all of my questions and concerns. She helped me find David and Jennifer. They are the couple who adopted my son.
I think of my son all the time. There hasn’t been a day gone by that I haven’t thought of him at least ten times. I wonder how he is doing, what he is doing and what new things he is learning. I think about David and Jennifer and how special they are. I never thought my life would lead me down this path but I have met so many wonderful and supportive people.
David, Jennifer and I have a great relationship that will to grow and get stronger as Jacob gets older. There are good days and bad days when you have placed a child for adoption. At the beginning, there are more bad days than good and on those days I cried a lot. Now, the bad days are coming fewer and farther between.
The days that Jacob will experience all his first are going to be hard, his first steps, his first birthday and the first time I hear him say "Mom" and he is not going to be saying it to me. Even though I know they are going to be tough, they would be even tougher if I didn’t get to see him and experience them in some way too. I love my son and I know he has a bright future. He has so many people who love him. I had to make the most important decision of Jacob’s life as well as the hardest of mine but I know it was the best one for both of us.
My name is Jennifer. I began building my adoption plan when I was four months pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant, that was the happiest and scariest day of my life. I was really scared. I knew I couldn’t have an abortion, and there was no way I could give my baby away, with so many unknowns. So, I decided right away to keep my baby. My mom and I had a huge fight and my step-dad hadn’t spoken a word to me since discovering I was pregnant. I felt forced to leave, and unwelcome there.
I moved into Emma Maternity Home a few days later. I met a girl there (Kim), who was building an adoption plan for her baby. Just after Kim released her son, Carol Lamb came to see her. It was then that I decided to look into adoption, and start building an adoption plan. Cameron (Michelle’s father) and I went through several files, narrowing our choice down to Pat and Trish. We liked them the best and we had Carol arrange for a meeting. We were all pretty nervous. I had a huge list of questions to ask them, and I needed to know in my heart that these were the parents that God had meant for my baby to be with.
Cameron and I saw Pat and Trish on several different occasions before Michelle’s birth. We visited them in their home, saw them transform an office into a beautiful nursery, and we went through baby names trying to select one that all four of us agreed on. My parents and I had completely reconciled, and they were supportive of my decision to create an adoption plan. I was in and out of the hospital with pre-term labour for the last month of my pregnancy. Pat and Trish came to see and to make sure we were both doing fine. They told me if I needed anything at all, to let them know. It was good to know they were helping to take care of this baby even being born. I had an easy labour and birth, and Trish got to see and hold Michelle, right after she was born. It was very special seeing them bond right away.
We decided in our adoption plan that I would take Michelle home for a few days after being released from the hospital. When Michelle was two days old, Pat and Trish came over for a visit (ironic that the adoptive parents are the ones visiting!). We invited them over to reaffirm that we were holding to our decision to release Michelle. Before they left, Trish hugged me and started to cry. She said "thank-you" and "I love you" to me. I just looked down at Michelle and realized just how very important my little angel was to two very special people. The four days I had her, I was a wreck! I was so happy to be holding her and kissing her and telling her how much I loved her. Yet, I was also crying a lot over the loss of my daughter even before she was gone from my arms.
The night we released her, Cameron and I cried a lot. We told her how much we loved her through our tears. Prayers were said, along with words of encouragement; there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room. I placed my sweet angel into Trish’s arms knowing in my heart this was what was right.
Since then, we have had many visits. They get better as she grows older. (She was two when this was written). It feels great to be able to see my birth daughter grow up happy and healthy. Pat, Trish, Michelle, Cameron and I all have a very special relationship. We will always be a part of each other's lives. My biggest thanks goes out to my family, Carol Lamb, the Russell Family (former house parents at Emma House), Jutta (my counselor at P.C.C.); also my labour coach, Margie Ronca; and Kari Rota from the Kara Program, and especially Pat, Trish and Michelle. I love you all, and I thank you greatly for your love and support.