Kacie Schulz already had an open adoption with her first son when she was preparing for the birth and adoption of her second son, Arlo. Writing about her experience for Love What Matters, Schulz shared, “I had told myself that every adoption looks different, and so does the level of openness.” She had no expectations of being part of Arlo’s birth and first hours, waiting to take her cues from his birth mother, Angie. But in an amazing act of courage and love, Angie welcomed her with open arms.
At the hospital after Arlo’s birth, Schulz was disappointed to learn there was no room available for her to stay at the hospital. She was taken aback when Angie said, “You can stay with us. You can stay in our room. I don’t want you to have to go home.” While not wanting to intrude, Schulz was thrilled at the possibility of staying and spending time with Arlo and Angie.
The days that followed with Schulz and Angie sharing a hospital room with baby Arlo ended up being a life-changing experience for Schulz. She writes, “The time we had together wasn’t something I expected, but I wouldn’t spend those hours any other way. It wasn’t weird. It wasn’t awkward. It was just two moms spending time loving the same son.” Schulz and Angie talked about Arlo’s ancestors and bonded over the emotional experience of his birth.
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This is open adoption. • Two moms, same post-partum room. One who gave birth, one in awe of her. One mom who he knew instinctively, one who he would grow to love in time. One mom who needed rest after labor, one who watched him sleep. • Arlo’s mom and I spent the first 24 hours after he was born together in her room, because the hospital was at full capacity, and she didn’t want me to have to go home. • We talked about her labor, his birth, and who he looked like. I dressed him in the clothes she brought for him for hospital photos. She held him, and he melted. We did foot masks together. She shared her grapes with our two year old when he came to visit. I dimmed the lights and lowered her bed when she slipped into sleep. She teased me for crying from her first contraction (I almost did but was able to hold off until we both heard his first cry). 😭 • I didn’t know we would get to have this time together, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It wasn’t weird. It wasn’t awkward. We were just two moms spending time loving the same son. • Photo posted with permission
Schulz says that the relationships she continues to have with both of her sons’ birth mothers have “changed me in a way I never imagined.” Schulz asked Angie what the experience has meant for her, and Angie told her, “To us, open adoption is opportunity, courage, strength, and faith. We put our biggest miracle into loving arms, knowing each [adoptive] family has its story and reason [for pursuing adoption]. In the end, we are all brought together for the same reason. The reason is to celebrate the joy of our son, Arlo, in everlasting love.”
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I was recently asked by @lovewhatmatters to share more about our experience in the hospital for Arlo’s birth. • While I felt honored, I hesitated. You see, in adoption, there is a fine line between telling the story of a new family member and over-sharing details that are not ours to share. Ultimately, with Arlo’s mom’s permission, I wrote a bit more about our special time together. Read the full story at the link in my bio. • If there is one thing I will shout from the rooftops about our adoptions, it is that we are blessed to know and love our sons’ parents. That we are glad we chose to give open adoption a chance. That we wouldn’t have it any other way. That we are proud of their heritage, their resemblance to their birth families, and their roots. We pray they grow up feeling the same.
Many myths about adoption persist, and Schulz’s story of families coming together out of shared love for a child shed light on the beauty of open adoption. Schulz stresses that every relationship is unique and not every adoption will look like Arlo’s. Nonetheless, such life-changing relationships are possible. One commenter on Schulz’s Instagram shared, “We didn’t know each other very well at all when my daughter was born, but her birth mom was so gracious to let me be with her throughout labor and delivery. Six years later, she is one of my best friends and I thank God for her every single day.”
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