My Family

If you are new to this blog and want to read the entire story chronologically - please start in January with "Our Story, Part 1"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Story, Part 17 - "Open" adoption

After Bryan came back to live with us permanently we had to figure out where the boundaries were with Ruth and how “open” we wanted this adoption to be. I have to admit that I have made many mistakes during the process of this birth parent/adoptive parent relationship, first because of my own ignorance for Ruth’s feelings and second because I listened to other people’s advice instead of listening to my gut. For a time I took the advice that “we should just move on with our lives” (which would mean not letting Ruth visit the boys). I played into that unsolicited advice when Bryan first came back because I thought it would be too confusing for Bryan. Preston and Cole were so young they really didn’t know who Ruth was compared to me. Yes they called me “mom,” but they would still go to anybody else and not worry about who was holding them or feeding them, they were just happy to be loved.
Mykel with Cole and Preston 1999

In Bryan’s case he had been back and forth between Ruth and I so many times he was probably wondering where to call home and who to call “mom.” Hindsight of course is 20/20 and I realize now that my motive for not allowing Ruth to see the boys was because of my own insecurities as their mother. I was jealous of the competition to put it bluntly. I couldn’t see at the time that Ruth was missing them terribly, especially Bryan. I mean, she had been Bryan’s mother for the first three years of his life and Valorie had a special relationship with him as his grandmother, so how can taking that all away be good for anyone? Ruth and Valorie told me they only wanted to make sure that the boys knew that they still loved them and had not abandoned them ~ who can fault them for that? As time went on distance also became a factor in how often they could visit as we lived several hours away from each other.

Out on the farm

As I explained in one of my earlier posts, this wasn’t the normal adoption or normal adoption relationship, but it was the only one we knew. People have been very complimentary about my parenting skills since I started writing this blog, but I am the first to admit that I am definitely NOT the perfect mother ~ patience is a learned skill that I am still working to achieve!

The first few years with the boys I really struggled. Contrary to popular belief, adoptive parents aren’t the perfect parents marketing ads and commercials make them out to be. Mykel and I were far from the role model parents. We had marital and financial struggles, we definitely weren’t rich, and who was to say that we were any more qualified than the next person to raise these boys? We were just blessed to cross paths at the right time with Ruth and the results of this "open" adoption relationship have been more than we could ever ask for.

Cole, Preston, Bryan and Camille (me)

Even though life was very stressful during the time before Bryan’s adoption was finalized, I have a lot of good memories with the boys. One of my favorite memories is when I would tuck them in at night, they liked me to do the “Chicken Dance” with them – we would speed up the song and dance really fast and then fall to the ground laughing. I haven’t tried that with my girls yet….and trust me, no one wants to see me dance.

I have told my children several times “parents don’t have an instruction manual about how to raise their children, we have to learn as we go along and we make mistakes.” Fortunately for me, Ruth and I were able to make things work with this “open” adoption relationship ~ the adoption of the three boys was just the beginning of this amazing journey that has been over twelve years in the making.


  1. I just wanted to let you know that I am reading your story and taking it all in. :) Thanks for your comments on my blog... I appreciate your willingness to open your heart to another person's experience. :)

  2. Jenni,

    Thank you so much for your help... I have learned so much from your blog and your comments (thanks for your personal insight).

    I finally learned how to respond to comments made on my blog.... I have SO much to learn! :)