When we got the phone call we had been matched for adoption for a little boy who would be born in about 3 weeks, of course, we were thrilled. We decided on an open adoption, meaning that we would continue visits with our son’s birth parents throughout his life.
We met his birth parents a few days after the initial phone call. We went into that meeting room nervous, making sure to do everything right. However, once inside, everything flowed so naturally. We loved them instantly.
Fast forward one month. They were supposed to call when the birth mom went into labor. But the birth dad didn’t call our caseworker until our son was born. No big deal, right? We would have just been in the waiting room anyway. We spent two emotionally weird and awkward days with them at the hospital. They were very gracious, allowing our parents to come even though we had told them they probably wouldn’t get to. That made us feel even better about the minor hiccup in the original plan.
We took our son home two days later, but he wasn’t ours yet. Their court date to terminate rights wasn’t for 3 weeks and we held our breath every single day that we would get to keep our little boy. The day of termination came and we waited eagerly by the phone for the call that he was officially ours. But that isn’t the call we got. Birth dad wanted us to jump, and our caseworker was calling to see how high we’d jump. She thought he wouldn’t terminate unless we met his wishes, so we did. We agreed to everything, all the visits he wanted, all the information he wanted. He did terminate, and for the next 12 months, we were at his beck and call. It was so, so stressful.
He was picky about meeting places. He didn’t want a caseworker there. He wanted visits at his work. He wanted to take our son shopping alone. We are so thankful for our level headed caseworker who helped us through each scenario and shut him down with “agency policy.” At this point birth mom and birth dad weren’t in a relationship anymore. She quit coming to the visits he was at and we scheduled separately with her.
I dreaded each monthly visit…and then he stopped showing up.
I wasn’t mad about it.
My perfect vision of our great relationship with our son’s birth dad had long been forgotten and we wanted out. From the time our son was 8 months old to his first birthday, he showed up to 1 visit.
After his first birthday, we were out of our agency’s contract. We could sign another one to continue to use our caseworker for mediated visits, or we could just move out on our own, scheduling visits that fit more with our schedule, but she wouldn’t be there. As much as we valued her being there that first year, we decided to go that route because we wanted to be the one calling the shots.
We sent birth dad and e-mail stating where visits would be, when they would be, and what we would allow. We were honest with how we felt and told him we were willing to walk away if necessary. It honestly felt mean. There was a part of me who still wanted this man in our son’s life. But he was toxic to our family. He never even answered our e-mail, and we haven’t seen him since.
We still see our son’s birth mom often and have a great relationship with her. Part of me is still a little sad we won’t have a person to point our son towards when he starts to ask questions about his birth dad. The other part of me knows that more than likely, this person wouldn’t have ever been a good addition to our son’s life. It was time to put the dream of a big happy birth-family/adoptive-family combination away and just let it go.
I hope that when my son hears this story, he knows that despite the decision I made for him to not see his birth dad, he knows that I still love him, his birth dad chose this life for him, and he is welcome to pursue a relationship with him, no questions asked. I hope he is able to see our perspective as his parents and agree we made the choice that was best for him at the time.