Sunday, October 13, 2013

Candace: 12 Lessons On Open Adoption

I first saw/met Candace on YouTube. She has been a huge inspiration to me in both adoption and blogging. The relationship she has with her boy's birth moms is so beautiful. I will be forever grateful to Candace for her support and willingness to share. Here is a little bit of her adoption knowledge for you to soak up:

Hello everyone! My name is Candace and I am an Adoptive Momma. I feel honored to do a guest post on Josh & Kristen's blog about our experience with adoption. It has been an amazing blessing in our life. 
      When my husband and I decided to adopt, 4 years ago, we knew absolutely NOTHING about adoption. There was no guide book and I didn't know any Adoptive Mothers that had adopted in the past 10 years. However, I did know a few people that had been adopted so I was able to ask them lots of questions. I noticed a pattern that a lot of older adoptees shared. The unanswerable "Why". Why were they placed....Were they loved... Whats their biological health history....etc. They were saddened by missing the first chapter of their life. Not all adoptees that I talked to felt this way and were very at peace with the way things in their life were. For us though, we KNEW that we didn't ever want our children to wonder. Adoption has come a long way in the past few decades and closed adoption is becoming less and less common in America. So now that we knew that we wanted an open adoption, we questioned how exactly that would work. I knew absolutely NOBODY that had ever done an open adoption. People thought we were crazy for wanting to keep contact with a Birth Family and were quick to tell us horror stories that they saw on some news channel 20 years ago. However, at the end of the day, we truly felt that open adoption was the best way for us. So with a blind leap of faith, we jumped right in to the open adoption world.

Best buddies.

 We have now adopted 2 AMAZING little boys. Both of which are in Open Adoptions :-) Our oldest son is almost 4 and our youngest son is almost 2. I won't say that it has always been easy but I can say that it all has been completely worth it. Here are a few things we learned along the way. Enjoy!
*I know in some adoptions, Openness is not the best choice for everyone involved. That's Ok! It doesn't make their adoption any less special or amazing.
 1) Always give your child's Birth Family the benefit of the doubt. There are so many high emotions that you can easily turn something into nothing.
2) Do NOT make a promise you can not keep. Trust is the most important piece of open adoption so if you say you will do something then do it. If you aren't comfortable with something, find a happy medium to satisfy everyone involved. Setting boundaries is a good thing.
3) Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! The Good and the Bad. Ask them how they are doing and if the need more or less communication.  Be up front. If you have ill feelings that you can't shake then address them. Don't let it stew in your mind so long that you blow up.
4) If you feel inspired to reach out to a Birth Parent, DO IT! You will be more in tune with a Birth Parent than you think so don't postpone a prompting.
5) Praise them. Use the L word and mean it.
6) Honor the Birth Parents in your children's lives. Let them be proud to be adopted. Post pictures of them in their bed rooms.
7) Don't fear the Birth Parents relationship with the child. Jealousy can be hard to push past sometimes but you just have to do it. Don't nurture jealousy. The Adoptive Family and the Birth Family have 2 separate roles in the child's life. Your worlds will come together to make the child's world one. Finding a good balance is possible.
8) Include the Birth Family as much as you want. The more we give the more they give and we can help each other heal in beautiful ways. No child ever suffered by having too many people love him/her.
9) It's ok to not be perfect in front of them. They know your human. You're not a bad parent if your kid has peanut butter on his shirt.
10) Be yourself from the moment you meet them. No fake smiles, no photoshopping, no pretending to be anything but yourself. That is who they want to see.
11) Be confident in their choice. After placement Adoptive Parents will go through a guilt process. It hurts so bad. You will know that you are benefiting from what is paining them but it will be ok. Pain is to be expected in these situations. Sending them pictures and letting them know you are there helps a ton.
12) Remind them that you are never going anywhere. If you feel them pulling away its ok to ask them about it. If they need space respect it.

Adoption changed our life. It changed the way we love, the way we have compassion, the way we live. 

Our youngest son's Birth Mother lives out of state but we still see her a few times a year. 
My youngest son Jamison with his lovely Birth Mom Amy. 
Together on his first Birthday.
Jamison giving loves to his Birth Momma.
    Our oldest son's Birth Parents live about 5 hours away so we go visit them often too. They have also come to our home to visit us.  
He is one loved little boy!   
Sawyer's Birth Dad with both boys. He is not Jamison's Birth Dad but has become the "Adoptive Birth Dad" for Jamison.

Our oldest son Sawyer with his Birth Momma Lauren.

Our closeness with our boys' Birth Parents didn't just happen over night. It was gradual and it was also something we all wanted.  Every adoption is different and the type of relationship you have with  a Birth Family depends on what everyone is willing to work for. It's built on a lot of love, respect, and selflessness. It's what you make of it. Oh, and it's amazing ;-)
Adoption is full of potential. Full of choices that you will make every single day. It will be the hardest most rewarding thing you will ever do. Just keep the faith and remember that FAITH and FEAR can not exist in your mind at the same time. Make sure to nurture the faith part a little more each day and you'll be just fine. It WILL all be worth it!!


If you would like to see more of your adoption journey, check out our Youtube page here!


  1. Very wise, kind words. Thank you for educating your readers about open adoption. The more information people have about adoption, the better. It is an honorable choice. I have great respect for all of the people involved. Life is all about learning to love well, and adoption is an excellent teacher in helping us learn to love more. This was very helpful to me, Candace. I look forward to meeting the people who will be involved in our adoption story. Meanwhile, encouragement like this is invaluable. By the way, your boys are adorable. :-) Sincerely, Sonja (Kristen's mom)

  2. That was excellent to read! Very helpful.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! Candace has been such a huge help to me. Her YouTube channel is fantastic!


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