I’m so honored to share a guest post from Jori Reid. Jori is a birth mother to an amazing 10 year old girl and they have an open adoption. As an adoptee, she also reunited with her birth mother after 21 years. Jori and her husband have 4 children, including twin girls! She is excited to share her unique perspective on adoption with you! I hope her words will be an encouragement to you, as they have been to me.
Adoption has always been a part of my life. I was born to one mother and then was raised by another. Both are amazing and wonderful in their own right. I was adopted from foster care when I was six months old in the 80’s when open adoption was still pretty non-existent. And so I grew up knowing very little about my biological family.
While in college in 2008, I became a birth mother when I placed my oldest daughter for adoption. It was a title I never thought I would share with my own birth mother. I have learned so much in the last 11 years. Since I am two parts of the adoption triad, I think I have a unique perspective. I would like to share with you 5 things I want you about adoption from the perspective of an adoptee and birth mom.
Adoption begins with loss. To be completely honest, it took me a while to see and feel this one, but it doesn't make it any less true. My birth mother left the hospital 32 years ago with empty arms and a broken heart while I stayed there without her. When I was first adopted my mom said I had a hard time adjusting to my new environment and didn’t smile much. Loss and trauma can present in many different ways and times. As a birth mother, I experienced the loss of my daughter when I got on the plane to fly back home after I relinquished my rights and the adoption became final. Yet, I also feel the loss on many occasions like a holiday or a completely random day. It hurts me to my core knowing I caused the pain my daughter feels or will feel, even though we have an open adoption. As parents it’s important to recognize adoption for all that it is and be able to sit with our children in their trauma and get them further help if needed. Doing research, joining a support group and/or finding a therapist can all make a difference.
Adoption is a choice. After reuniting with my birth mom 10 years ago I was able to hear first hand why she placed me for adoption. It was so healing for me. She chose to place me for adoption so I could have a different life. Not necessarily better just different. I too chose adoption for the same reason. It was the best choice for us at that time in my life. So now 11 years into our adoption journey I am still healing, growing, and learning. I live with my choice every single day and try to make the best of it that I can.
Adoption is about love and so is DNA. Adoption is created with love. The love of a girl/woman. The love of a baby/child. The love surrounding a family. But that’s not all it is. Adoption is family. It is history. It is DNA. It is biology. A child’s DNA matters. Growing up and filling out family history paperwork at any medical office and having to write N/A or unknown was hard. Everytime. I was always curious about my biological family. I had a void where that piece of me was missing. I always wondered if I looked or acted like them. I used to fantasize about my ethnicity and where my ancestors came from. As a birth mom, when my oldest daughter was born I had no information to give her parents about my side of the family at the time. Then, when she was six months old I reunited with my birth mom. It was such an incredible time in my life. To have that void filled and to learn about my history that no one but her could share was amazing. To be clear, just because I found and reunited with parts of my biological family does not mean I love my family or parents any less. They raised me to be who I am. I am equal parts of both of my families and am so grateful for that.
What you say about adoption matters. In society today it’s so very easy to offend someone by saying the wrong thing. But I feel most of the time people have no idea they are offending. So what’s the solution? Educate your on positive adoption language. If you don’t who will? Many times I have heard people say, “ I could never GIVE UP my baby” and and I would just cringe. Then I would politely say, “Did you know the correct term is placed a child and not gave up?” It’s a very simple, kind and direct way to educate. Words do matter and have profound power.
Teach your children about diversity. Transracial adoptions are very common. And it’s very imperative that children are taught families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
Adoption is a never ending journey. We in the adoption community have a responsibility to the triad. We have a responsibility to adoptees to remind them that they are loved unconditionally. We have a responsibility to help them remember that their voice and story matter. We have a responsibility to birth parents to remind them that they are loved during and after placement. And that this love does not just exist for who they created, but for who they are. Birth mothers deserve the best post placement care we can find and they deserve healing. Lastly, we have a responsibility to adoptive parents. To hear them. To love them. To find and give them the support they need to raise these amazing humans. Because in the end we should all be in this journey together. Supporting each other. Lifting each other up. Adoption will only move forward and progress if we put in the work.
About the writer:
Jori Reid is an adoptee and birth mom in an open adoption to an amazing 10 year old girl. Jori reunited with her birth mom after 21 years. She and her husband have 4 children, including a set of twin girls. She loves sharing her story of adoption, motherhood and her adventures of raising her kids, with the hopes to inspire and uplift others.