From a birthgrandparent
During my growing-up years, I knew numerous adoptive families, and all were different. One had Korean and Filipino children; one had many foster children, but kept one disabled child for life; one couple learned they were “expecting” just as their adopted baby arrived; and several other families’ situations were equally unique, and all interesting to me. So I loved the idea of adoption, and was thrilled to be informed, twenty-two years ago now, that we had been chosen to adopt a soon-to-appear baby girl. We met “our” birthmother twice before the birth, and were at the hospital at her request when the baby came. We visited her soon after the birth, and she visited us before we left the hospital on the second day. All three of us had agreed that there would be little or no further in-person contact.
Like most parents, I cherished the hope that Kayleigh would avoid all the pitfalls I myself had had to climb out of as a teenager and young adult. Instead she waded resolutely right on into them, spending her high-school years focusedentirely on her boyfriend. It was heart-rending to watch such a bright girl blow off her studies in an excellent school, resisting everyone’s efforts to convince her of the importance of preparing herself for a satisfying and productive professional and personal adult life. When she announced her pregnancy just after graduating from high school, it was with the assumption that she and Anthony would keep the baby and set up housekeeping together. (She was living with me and he with his own parents at the time.) A group meeting with all parents present made it clear to the young ones that they were not really prepared to do this, having virtually no income, no credit, and no savings. Kayleigh couldn’t imagine aborting a baby she dearly loved, so she and Anthony began the search for the right adoption agency.
That was when she met Geri Glazer, who patiently helped both Kayleigh and Anthony to deal with all the hopes, fears, ups, and downs of the experience. Anything to do with babies is fascinating to Kayleigh, and so she became interested in the whole picture of adoption-agency work as she moved through the process of poring over the profiles of hopeful adoptive parents and making the final selection. She and Anthony ultimately chose a family with a three-year-old “big brother,” who had previously been adopted through Geri’s agency.
While the physical relinquishment of the baby to her new parents was difficult (unimaginably so to those of us who have never had to do it), Geri was right there to help Kayleigh remember that she was doing the best thing for the baby, and that the open-adoption arrangement she and Anthony had planned with the adoptive family would allow her to see the baby often. She pumped milk for six weeks, and the dad would bring Maddie along when he came on “milk runs.” Since then, all parties have planned outings and visits together, in various configurations. While Kayleigh and Anthony are no longer a couple, they remain in contact with each other and get together with Madeline and her family on a regular basis.
And while all of this has been going on, the most remarkable transformation has been within Kayleigh herself. Soon after Madeline’s birth, Kayleigh began volunteering with the adoption agency. Geri would have her visit girls who were considering adoption for their unplanned babies, and help them to make their own important decisions and then carry them out. Kayleigh realized that this would be the right profession for her, and so in the summer after Madeline came, she began classes leading to a major in social work, with the intent of going all the way through a master’s degree and state licensing so as to qualify to perform all aspects of adoption work. She has become a serious student with a concrete goal. She has participated in the startup of On Your Feet Colorado (a nonprofit foundation serving the needs of post-placement birthmothers) and Adoptions By Heart, Geri Glazer’s new adoption agency. Geri’s encouragement has been invaluable through it all, and has contributed to a new level of maturity in Kayleigh that is heartwarming to see. We can’t wait for each new chapter to unfold!
Anyone considering open adoption should know that it can take many forms, from the minimal contact of my own experience, which was just right for me and my family, to the very-involved relationship Kayleigh enjoys with her birthdaughter’s family. Each set of participants arrives at the understanding of what will be best for them; open communication, with assistance from experienced professionals such as Geri, will allow all parties to feel at ease and get on with the roles they’ve elected to play.
While an out-of-wedlock pregnancy seemed like a disaster at the outset, this whole experience has brought growth and joy, and great expectations for the future, which I could never have anticipated, and for that I am very grateful.
Adoptions by Heart
4605 S. Yosemite St.
Denver CO. 80237
*Disclaimer – Photos and testimonials may be from both present and previous clients of employment of Geri Glazer and Jeanne Reisig.