Many people are familiar with the movie, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, and I want to share my favorite line from it: “In Who-ville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!” – Dr. Seuss
That is what happened to me when I became a mother. My heart didn’t start out small, but compared to what it became when I transitioned into motherhood, it felt like it was much smaller previous to that. My heart grew too big for my chest. I had so much love to give to this little infant. I poured myself into loving him until I didn’t have him anymore. So I was left with this giant hole in my heart and no idea how to express that love. This is part of the beauty of an open adoption: There are still ways to express that love depending on the level of openness that you may have with the parents of your child.
I have had many opportunities to express love to my son throughout the course of his childhood with his parents. Most recently, I have put together a care package. I want to share with you some of the ways that I express love to my child:
- Putting my son up for adoption was an expression of love, and I hope that if you struggle with this that reading my writing will help you believe that it is the truth.
- I communicate appropriately with my son’s parents. When they need to put up boundaries, I respect them. When the dynamic changes, I adapt. My son is too young to understand the healthy boundaries that must be maintained, and it is crucial that I respect the wishes of his parents. After all, they are his parents and that was my choice in the first place.
- I send him care packages every once in a while. The things I send revolve around educational games and toys, coloring books, gifts that I want to pass on to him from my family, and other fun things that a child would enjoy. I always ask his parents first though before shipping a package to their door. The key is to show respect for his parents. I ask them what activities my son is into, what studies in school he is enjoying the most, and if there are certain ideas they are trying to teach him that I could send him in relation to.
- I speak to my son on holidays and go visit him about once or twice per year. His parents are always around and I make sure to keep conversations light and age appropriate. If I’m feeling overly emotional about anticipating a phone call, I will ask them if I can postpone it and they always understand.
The most important idea in communicating with my son and his parents is to show respect of lifestyle, boundaries, and their privacy. It was my decision to place my son with them, and I have massive amounts of respect for them.
Creative expression isn’t just crucial for the birth mother; it’s a way to express love to a child. Children receive love in the way that we give it. Whether we color them a picture, talk to them on the phone, go see them, or send them a care package; it is all the same to a child. Of course, it isn’t the same as cuddling and hugging them every day, but that’s why I chose to put my son up for adoption, because I just couldn’t offer that to him. That doesn’t mean though that what I have to offer isn’t valuable. Accepting the reality of a situation is one thing, but then it becomes time to adapt to the situation.
I encourage open adoption for anyone who desires to express love to their child throughout their upbringing. Open adoption has been the best decision that I have ever made, besides putting him with his family in the first place.
– Lindsay Arielle
Lindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.