In her creative non-fiction essay “The Letter,” J. Jill Robinson writes about how she reunited with her birth son, David. He was married and himself an adoptive father when David and Jill found each other. We sat down with her to find out more about her experience as a birth mother in reunion.
Before I got to know both sides of Victor’s birth families, I had a firm opinion about open adoption. I thought it was the only way to adopt, and it would help our child with his sense of identity and belonging.
Open adoption was better for the birth families, and our lives would be deepened by these new family members. In my cushy fantasy, I’d have a close relationship with the birth mother, and her family would be our family. We’d snap group photos at graduations, pop corks at weddings, and sniffle as new kids came along for the birth parents.
I never got the chance to thank you for the little boy we share. For the trust your heart had that strangers could love your son with the same intensity that you do. Thank you for giving him all that he needed to get started in this beautiful world. Noah came to us brimming with love, and I know it was from you. I know you would be very proud of him today.
My son Gabriel has been talking about tattoos since he was about 14 or 15. He has always talked about wanting the tattoos to have some meaning for him, as opposed to just being a picture he likes. His first tattoo, which he got at age 18, was of the Liberty bell. It was representative of where he was born (Philadelphia) and says “circa 1993,” which is his birth year.
At the beginning of our adoption, emotions were high, birth family visits were frequent, and roles were unclear. Well-meaning friends and family members suggested that it might just be “a whole lot easier if our adoption was closed.” We could bond with our baby without interference, and the birth parents could “get on with their lives.”
Our adoption journey started in 1998. We chose domestic adoption for a number of reasons, including wanting a newborn, and the possibility of openness with a birth family. We were prepared to wait, knowing we had no control over when, or even if, we would be chosen.
We did all the paperwork and education sessions, and by March 1999, our homestudy was ready. We jumped into the pool of waiting families and prepared to wait.
V is for Victor... or is it?
It was a sparkling May bursting with new life, and we were going to be parents in two months. We didn’t have a crib, bottles, formula, diapers or onesies, but my husband Kevin and I had a name. Our son would be named Victor.
Wow, we are the parents of two children that just celebrated birthdays. Our daughter just turned three and our son just had his first birthday.
Donor conception–a type of adoption?
As a donor-conceived person, I have used the phrase “half adopted,” because for some of us donor-conceived people that is how we see our family situation. In the classical sense of donor conception (DC), we have one parent who is biologically related to us and another who is not. In essence, this non-biological parent is in fact agreeing to raise and care for a child who has been conceived by their partner and another person. In effect, they are agreeing to adopt this child as their own.
Getting to know you
Someone once said that "ninety percent of life is showing up." This is particularly true in open adoption – something I learned from my son’s birth dad, William.