Fifteen years after placing her son for adoption, Gina Ledsma got in contact with Holt earlier this year. When we asked her if she was open to sharing her story, her response was an enthusiastic “yes.” While the environment and circumstances are different from country to country and individual to individual, Gina’s domestic U.S. adoption story is one that may resonate with any birth mother. And understanding stories like hers is important for everyone who is touched by adoption.
Gina will never forget the three hard, precious days she had with her son.
“I just counted all the toes and fingers,” she says, remembering those days in a hospital bed in Eugene, Oregon. “I looked at every little piece and part — and said my goodbyes.”
It’s not uncommon for a birth mother to select openness with the adoptive family as part of her adoption plan. This can be in the form of sharing photos, email updates, and sometimes even in-person visits. But even though open adoption is viewed for the most part in society as a positive relationship between the birth parent and the adoptive family and child, it can still be difficult to navigate.
Oftentimes, a birth mother may struggle with finding ways to bond with her child after placement.
When it comes to connecting with her birth child, many birth mothers struggle with:
Feeling unsure about the child’s likes or dislikes
Doubting her ability to form a relationship with her child after placement
Fear that that she will do something wrong and won’t be able to see the adoptive family again
Lately, on our blog and social media, we’ve focused on someone whose voice is often unheard in the adoption story: the birth father. While the birth father is in many cases out of the picture, we recognize that if he is involved, he has a very important role to fill in his child’s life. Because of this, we want to educate our community about the role of birth fathers, and give them a chance to tell their stories. So last week, we shared video interviews with Tim, a birth father who placed his child through Holt-Sunny Ridge. He shared honestly from his own personal experience about finding out about the pregnancy, making the decision with the birth mom to place their child and choosing an adoptive family.
Tim isn’t the only birth father who is speaking out about his experience. Turns out, birth fathers are speaking up! We just need to listen a little more closely.