The Harrises keep their sons in contact with their birth mothers with the intent to do what is best for their children.
“The whole reason to have an open adoption is that we believe and we hope it’s the healthiest thing for our children,” Harris said. “We hope that through openness that they feel loved and they feel accepted, and that they can have a more wholeness and complete identity because they have those missing pieces in their lives.”
From a birth mother’s perspective, placing a child for adoption is a bittersweet experience. Tamra Dawn Hyde is a birth mother and serves as an advocate of open adoption.
“There are so many misconceptions about adoption that I would love to set straight. It is one more option and resource people need to know about,” Hyde said. “I think a lot of people have fear about open adoption because it’s new. Adoption used to be shame-based, and we’ve come out of that, but there’s still a lot of fear. My opinion is that you have more people who love your child, and that’s not a threat in any kind of way.”
Both Harris and Hyde are grateful for the families they interact with through their adoptions, and they have a special bond with the families.
“I have a connection to both of the birth mothers — they’re not a sister, they’re not an aunt, they’re not a cousin — they’re something different and special to me that doesn’t compare to any other relationship that I have,” Harris said. “To me there’s no question that there’s a spiritual connection to both of the women.”
Before placing her son for adoption, Hyde did not anticipate the happiness she could feel from her decision.
“I thought, ‘OK, Justin’s going to win because he’s going to have prepared, stable people to be his family, and they’re going to win because they’re going to have the child they couldn’t create for themselves and have the family they’ve been praying for,” Hyde said. “I’ll be the loser in adoption, but that was the deal I was prepared to make. But what I’ve come to find out is that I win too. It’s not come easily, and I’ve paid dearly for, but there’s compensation.”
Ryan and Amy Harris are grateful for the sacrifice birth mothers made in behalf of their children.
“It’s really humbling to realize that not only did we have to wait a long time for our children, and hope and pray for them, but another woman had to essentially break her own heart in order to give her children to us,” Harris said. “They didn’t do it so that we could be parents, they did it so that our boys could have a family and could have a mom and a dad to raise them. We feel like it’s a great responsibility to do our best for them, to honor that heritage, that sacrifice that they started out with in this life.”
The Saturday before Mother’s Day is Birthmother Day.
Watch this link about Tamra Dawn Hyde’s story.
Abby Stevens is an intern for the Deseret News Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at email@example.com.
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