Photo Credit: Oxygen
Adoption can be many things for a birth mother -- emotional, sad, dramatic, even heart breaking, and we've seen it all on Oxygen's docu-series, I'm Having Their Baby. But there's another theme that has been present in all of the episodes, and it's the best one yet: they all have happy endings.
During the season finale, we met Megan, a 21-year-old pregnant with her first child. She was very sure of her choice to place her unborn daughter up for adoption -- she had plans to finish college and go into the military. Some hesitation from the birth father and some tension between Megan and her mother (who wanted her to keep the baby), almost derailed Megan's plans for adoption, but after her daughter was born, her plans ended up changing anyway: Megan decided to keep the baby, and she couldn't be happier with her choice.
Lindsay was the second birth mom in the season finale, and her story had a twist of its own: twins! After the birth of her son Eli four years earlier, Lindsay realized that being a single mom with one child was hard enough. When she finally decided on adoption, she announced her plan to do a home birth, but only if she was going to receive a lot of support from friends and family -- and the adoptive parents. The successful home birth brought Lindsay closer together with the adoptive family, and she was thrilled with the sense of community the adoption gave her.
Lindsay said something at the end of the episode that really resonated with me: "Mike and Julie [the adoptive parents] were able to give me the support that I needed and we took care of each other...it's community." She's exactly right -- finding that perfect family to share adoption with really creates a community. My adoptive family is my family. They became my family the moment I met them and we have grown closer every day since. Placing my son with them was the toughest thing I've ever done, but I couldn't be more grateful for what I've gained since the adoption took place. He is surrounded by the love of twice as many families, and so am I, and it is because of open adoption that we both got that lucky.
Adoptions can be incredibly tough on birth mothers -- the surprise of the pregnancy, the indecision over the choice to place, trying to stick to your decision even after you've bonded with your baby...it is beyond difficult. But the right kind of adoption with the right kind of family can change everything. Finding that wonderful couple to parent your child, visiting them and knowing that your baby will grow up with everything he needs is the best thing a birth mother could ask for, even if it tugs at her heartstrings along the way. I'm Having Their Baby captured every moment of that process, from the dramatic to the sad to the beautiful. But the best part was the outcome: at the end of every episode, you got to see how happy every woman was with her choice. And that's what adoption is all about -- how, despite all of the pain and the confusion, you can actually find the kind of love that not only heals broken hearts, but builds stronger ones.
You can find more on the show on the I'm Having Their Baby Facebook page or follow Oxygen on Twitter for access to exclusive content.
Birth mom Renee Hartwick writes letters to her son on her blog, Letters to Little Man.