Open Adoption Roundtable #32: Holiday Memories

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. We’re now at Open Adoption Roundtable #32.

This time we are going to focus in on one specific memory and record another small moment in the ongoing stories of adoption in our lives. Share a holiday memory that involves open adoption.

I wish I could share a memory about opening presents via Skype or getting a fun-filled phone call. Unfortunately, open adoption isn’t always roses, even at holiday time. My son’s birthmother often lives a difficult life, and that doesn’t stop just because the days are supposed to be merry and bright.

My very first holiday in open adoption happened a few weeks before Jackson was born. We matched with S in October. S and I had been talking on the phone for hours at a time since the beginning of December. I think it was the weekend before Christmas, she called me, upset. She hadn’t wanted to ask for any “birthmother expenses” but her mother was the only one in the family who was working, and her paycheck wouldn’t cover their lodgings. At the time, S was living with her mother, step-father, sister, and son in an extended stay hotel. If they didn’t have the money for the room, they could – and would – be thrown out.

She said she would pay me back, but could we please cover the room for the rest of the month?

I said she didn’t have to pay me back, I’d have to check with the attorney, but if it was legal, we’d absolutely pay for the rest of the month. How could we (or anyone) leave a family truly homeless for Christmas?

Twice since then, S has called us in a state of crisis around this time of year. I can’t remember the other Christmastimes, the calm ones. I’m sure we talked to her and to her family. I’m sure we all wished each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I really hope that someday soon, S and her kids get a Very Happy New Year.

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