People have different feelings about participating in an open adoption when they donate their embryos, and they may feel uncomfortable keeping in contact with the family raising a child that is genetically tied to them. Many families decide that they want to keep the open adoption contact to a few letters and pictures traded back and forth during the year. For some families, though, the relationship can become much more than that.
Meet Rachel and Jodi, two moms who are separately raising daughters who are genetically sisters.
Jodi underwent in vitro fertilization in 2007, and after her daughter Bobbie was born she had to decide what to do with the remaining embryos. She chose to donate them to a couple experiencing fertility problems, Rachel and Donny. In 2011, Rachel became pregnant with her daughter, Esther. Jodi didn’t think she would want to be more involved with the new family beyond a few pictures every year. Rachel, however, wanted Esther to know her biological parents and asked to stay in touch. Jodi agreed, and the two became fast friends after an initial meeting in 2012. The two families now meet once a month for playdates, allowing their daughters to get to know each other as sisters and keeping in touch via texts each week.
Rachel says “You can never have too many people who love you.” Watching her own adopted brothers struggle with identity issues because they didn’t know their biological families led her to want more for her adopted daughter. While not every open embryo adoption will have the kind of closeness that Rachel and Jodi’s has, it is proof that this is a system that works for the children and parents involved in the process. If you’d like to read more stories from families experiencing the open adoption process, visit www.embryoadoption.org.
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