Questions & Answers from A Birthmother

Susan recently connected with a Kathryn on Twitter. She's a birthmother who placed her son. Kathryn has her own blog here:

Kathryn has been hoping to spotlight hopeful adoptive parents on her blog, so she sent me her questions.  Here are her questions and our answers. 

Do you have questions for us? We would love to answer them! Just send us an email!


How did you meet your spouse?  How long did you both date before you decided to get married?  How long have you been married?

John and I met through a friend of mine at work in downtown Baltimore. A group of us all hung out together - and still do.  We did lots of things together outside of work and we still get together several times a year. When John moved here, he met our friend K and started hanging out with us too. So, we knew each other as friends for about a year. The first time I ever spent any time with him, we went to a friend’s cookout.  He was the big kid on the floor with all the little kids climbing all over him, playing with trucks.  That memory still makes me smile.

One weekend there was a big festival by the water in Baltimore and John wanted to go.  No one else wanted to, but I told him “I’ll go!”  So we went, we had a great time and immediately started to realize we had so much in common.  We were pretty much inseparable after that!

We had dated for 4 ½ months when John proposed on Valentine’s Day, in the rain, in the middle of the sidewalk in downtown Washington, DC!

We’ve been married ten years now and every year our lives together get better.  We are best friends and soul mates.  We fit perfectly. He’s the love of my life.

What was the first thing you really came to appreciate about your spouse and why was that quality/characteristic important to you [if the ladies of the couple are answering this, then grab your husband's and have them answer it for you as well ;) ?

There are so many things I admire and love about John. I’ve always appreciated John’s strength. He’s a real grown up! J He’s been through a lot in his life and he is a very strong person.  At the same time, he’s such a positive guy!  He’s so loving and caring, has a great, goofy sense of humor and is generous to a fault! He’s also a gentleman so he opens doors, holds my hand and covers me with his umbrella. He loves me and shows me that every day. He will make an amazing, fun, loving, protective wonderful daddy. Makes my heart smile!

John wrote part of our letter to expectant moms. Here’s some of what he wrote about me:   (blushing J) “Susan is intelligent, witty, and well spoken. She has an outgoing type of personality that fills a room with happiness; she’s the one you want to talk to. I am so truly happy to be married to her. Susan is a natural with kids and ready to be a mom. The kids all like her too. The kids in the neighborhood frequently stop by to show Susan the latest bugs they've caught or to find out if frogs really do bite.” 

Do you have any current family traditions that you celebrate as a family?  If so, how did these traditions begin?

We have many family traditions, as most families do.  Some are old customs and some are new.  One of our favorite traditions is Thanksgiving weekend.  On Sunday afternoon, we go with my mom to choose our Christmas tree, cut it down, drink cider and then bring it home.  Then we decorate the tree with her, since she often spends Christmas with my brother. It’s a fun day and puts us in the mood for the holidays!

Another tradition we celebrate is “John’s Birthday Week.”  John always insists that his mom celebrated his birthday the entire week. So, even though we laugh about that, I make a special effort to do little things ALL WEEK to celebrate the day of his birth!  It’s fun!

A new tradition we have started the past few years is to Skype with John’s sister, brother-in-law, our niece and John’s brother on Christmas morning! They’re on the West Coast but Skype helps us to open our gifts together, laugh and catch up with each other.  It’s become a fun tradition and so amazing that we can spend the morning virtually together!  We absolutely love it and hope to maybe do the same kind of thing with our child’s birthparents some day!

If you currently have children, how many children do you currently have?  Are they biological?  Are they adopted?

We don’t have any kids yet but we’re hoping to soon!

If you currently do not have children, how long have you been trying to grow your family?

We’ve been trying since about a year after we got married, so about nine years.

If not already explained, how did you come to the decision to adopt?

We were going through infertility treatments and at some point we started talking about stopping.  Through that conversation, we realized that having a child biologically related to us wasn’t important.  We just wanted to have a family and become parents! So we took a break for awhile and then later began to look into adoption.

We are pretty active in trying to make a connection but it hasn't happened yet.  We try to stay positive and talk about adoption all the time. (John has decided lately that our dog, a Yorkie, "needs" a child as a playmate soon. LOL) We have both family and friends who have adopted children so we are surrounded by happy, successful adoption stories!

How has your experience in the world of adoption mirrored or changed your expectation of adoption?

It’s really such a learning process and we’ve learned so much that we didn’t know in the beginning.  We thought we knew a lot going in but it turns out we didn’t really know anything! Our experience in adoption has been an education. More than anything, we’ve learned to expect to be unexpectedly surprised!  Most of all, we’ve learned so much about openness in adoption and we’ve grown excited at the possibilities that offers.  We’ve learned from very good friends – in real life and virtual – how rewarding relationships can be between first and adoptive parents. And we see every day how amazing it is for the children. 

If you currently have children who are adopted, what is your current relationship with the birth-mothers/birth-families of your children?

We don’t have any kids yet but we’re hoping for an open relationship with our kids’ birth families someday!

If you currently have children who are adopted, do you have any traditions that their birth-mothers/birth-fathers share in on?  If so, what are they?  (eg., my adoptive couple gives me an ornament every year with a picture of Baby Boy in it, and I love it and appreciate it so much).

We don’t have any kids yet but we can’t wait to create some wonderful traditions with our child’s birth family! I am gathering some great ideas – I love the ornament idea too!

How do you define open adoption?  What is open adoption to you?

To us, having an open adoption means creating an ongoing relationship.  Creating an extended-family kind of relationship, centered around a little girl or boy.  We hope to build an open, honest, trusting bond with our child’s first family so that our baby always knows who they are and how she/he are related. We don’t want there to be a big moment where they remember being told about adoption. And so we hope that in having an open adoption, we’ll have open communication, calls, emails, lots of pictures and visits and wonderful memories over the years.

What would your ideal relationship with "your" birth-mother be, pre-placement?  (Would you like to attend Dr. Appointments with her, have her to Sunday dinners, get together on a monthly basis for a movie, &etc?  How involved would you, ideally, like to be involved, &etc.)

We really just want to be able to spend the time we all need together.  We want the expectant parent who chooses us to be happy with the level of contact we have, so we would let her lead the way.  But, yes to all of they above! We’d love to be close enough to have her over or to see her regularly and go to doctor appointments. Ideally, it would be great to live close enough that we could spontaneously call each other up, go grab a coffee or tea or have lunch together just to catch up!  But we also know that we might be further away so we look forward to travelling, calling/texting/emailing and weekends away to see her if she doesn’t live in Maryland!

If you already have adopted children, in your experience, what part of the adoption process (pre-placement, placement, post-placement) have you found to be the most important to the building of the relationship between you and the birth-mother?

We don’t have any kids yet but we’re hoping to soon!  I think that probably each part is important in it’s own way. Pre-placement is where you’re getting to know each other and a time of discovery.  At placement, the reality of the situation really hits home. It’s a critical time and there are a lot of powerful emotions at work. We hope to be a solid support and a good friend to her at such a hard time.  Post-placement, I imagine is a time when the relationship can really bloom into a solid friendship and it’s would be important to be sure to honor that relationship so that the foundation of the birth parent-adoptive parent relationship remains strong for that child who’s so very important!

If you have yet to adopt, how do you anticipate building a relationship with the birth-mother?  How important do you perceive the relationship between you and birth-mother to be throughout the entire process that is adoption (pre-placement, placement, post-placement)?

John and I think that relationship is key.  It’s so important for all of us, but especially for that Little One.  Our hope is that we can become friends and that trust will come easily, that we’ll just “click.”  We want her to know that she can trust us – trust us with both her excitement as well as her fears and worries, and go through this experience with her as friends.  But we know that it can sometimes be hard to trust and share your scariest feelings and that good relationships don’t always happen over night. So we hope to be able to spend enough time before the baby is born getting to know each other, giving hugs, being good listeners and supportive friends.  If we were in a situation where we didn’t have a lot of time together pre-placement, we would do the same things.  Most importantly, we would make sure that she knows that when we make promises, we keep them.

For any young woman considering placing her child for adoption, and who is reading this right now, what do you want to say to her? 

Thank you so much for considering adoption for your baby and for reading our answers to these questions.  We haven’t been in your situation but we do understand what a huge sacrifice this is for you to make.

We’d like you to know that if you chose us to adopt your child, that we will absolutely cherish him or her.  This baby will be welcomed with such JOY into our family. I don’t think there is any way for me to adequately express how much happiness a child would bring to our lives and how much we look forward to welcoming you into our family too.

John and I love each other more every day and we’re very strongly committed to each other and our family. We think that’s the best gift a couple can give to their children. We aren’t perfect though. We do argue sometimes. But we work it out quickly and move on. We have a strong faith in God,  a loving marriage and we are ready and excited to be parents!

We’d like you to know that we’re here to offer you support and friendship – and that we’re waiting sort of impatiently for you to find us so we can get to know you!  J

We’d love to talk to you on the phone and get to know each other.  We’re happy to answer any questions you might have – we’re an open book!

We hope that you will feel the love and respect that we have for you. Sending you love and keeping you in our prayers everyday…

Do you have a blog that you would like to share with those reading this today?  If so, what is the address of your blog?

We have a blog that includes pictures, our Letter to Expectant Parents and other information about us:

We can always be reached directly at  

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