Eight years after having their first child through an anonymous egg donor, John and Leslie realized they still have more love in their hearts for another child to join their family. They’ve decided to pursue expanding their family through open adoption. John and Leslie are excited for a sibling for their daughter, someone to share museum visits, family dinners, swimming lessons, gardening and family beach trips. Lily, their eight year old daughter, is excited to have a real baby in their home to play with instead of doting on her dolls. 

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The road to adoption isn’t always easy though, and the decision to adopt can be an emotional one. John shared “We’d always wanted a larger family, and we tried other fertility options, but those didn’t work. That was an emotional roller coaster with its ups and downs, but we came to terms with the reality that it wasn’t going to work for us.  After a pause for a while to sort of regroup, we decided to commit ourselves to adoption.”

An open adoption arrangement with their future child’s birth mother means ongoing contact between the couple and the birth family, through pictures, letters, phone calls, and/or in person visits. Open adoptions are considered by many to be more healthy, not only for the birth families but for the adopted child as well. To educate themselves and their daughter on open adoption, John and Leslie bought books that explore open adoption and regularly read them with their daughter. Although open adoptions aren’t a new idea, they are still foreign to many who only know of the closed adoptions of the past. 

When I asked them why they chose open adoption, John shared, “If we are fortunate enough to adopt, we want our new child to know his or her full story, just as we’ve educated Lily with her full story.  We recognize that this is really new territory for us, and it will have its own set of challenges, but we definitely believe it is our child’s best interest.  And, we’ve also had some friends go through an open adoption, which takes some of the mystery out of it.”

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Working as a teacher has left John with plenty of experience with adoptions of all kinds. He’s seen first hand how adoption has affected not only his students, but family and friends as well. John tells us “Quite a few of my students are adopted. One of the things that I’ve seen is there families are just like everyone else’s. I guess that should be pretty obvious, but it helps to see it in other families first. I see these kids walking down the street holding hands with mom or dad, and that is comforting.”

As head of the math department, it also means John gets the summers off to spend with his family which includes the family tradition of plenty of swimming lessons with their daughter. Leslie works at home as a writer and editor, which allows her to spend a lot of time with Lily and have a flexible schedule. As a teacher, John has summers off. Leslie shared “We are incredibly lucky to have so much time with Lily.  John is around all the time in the summer and heavily involved the rest of the year. I arrange my work around Lily’s schedule, so I can be at her school a lot. I do a lot of volunteer work there, and I spend most afternoons with Lily taking her to activities and around the city.”

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John and Leslie have been waiting to adopt since May of last year. They’ve created an online profile to show expectant mothers considering adoption the kind of parents they are. They also decided to get advice from a birth mother who has previously placed a child for adoption so they can understand the birth mother perspective when going through the process. Leslie reflects “Through Binti, we got a Birthmother Buddy who told us about her experience. The best thing about talking to the birth mother buddy was hearing about her experiences, which helped us personalize this from the other side.  It’s helped to take some of the unknown out of this process.  One specific thing we’ve learned is that the post-adoption relationship is a work in progress for everyone, and that it will evolve over time. That takes some pressure off, knowing that we don’t have to figure it out all at once.”

Wish John, Leslie and Lily your best wishes on their adoption journey!

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