Providence Place is a recognized provider of open adoption in Texas. Founded in 1895 and historically known to most people as Methodist Mission Home, Providence Place has facilitated more than 6,000 adoptions in its 120-year history.
In America, closed adoption used to be the norm. Closed adoptions did not allow the exchange of information or contact of any kind between the adopting and biological parents prior to and even after the child was born.
In the 1980s, after decades of closed adoptions, many American counselors began suggesting that requiring anonymity between birth parents and adoptive family and sealing all birth parent information from the adopted child was unnecessary.
By the late 1980s, open adoption started to become the standard of practice. In open adoptions, birth parents and the adoptive family speak prior to and after the child is born. Some adoptions can be very open, with the adoptive family and birth parents exchanging contact information such as pictures and letters and agreeing to periodic visits by the birth parents as the child matures. Some adoptions can be semi-open, where the parents know the birth parents but some confidentiality is maintained. In this case, the correspondence is handled through the adoption agency.
Faith-based and attuned to the needs of all parties in the adoption triad – birth parents, adoptive parents and child – Providence Place was a pioneer of open adoptions in Texas. Naomi, who was adopted when Providence Place was known as Methodist Mission Home, recently related her own story, which illustrates a rewarding transition from closed to open adoptions.
Naomi was adopted from Methodist Mission Home in a time of closed adoptions. She had a happy and ordinary childhood living with her mother, father and brother in San Antonio, Texas. She remembers clearly the day she realized she was adopted.
“I was eight or nine, playing in the front yard with my brother, my cousins and one of my girlfriends,” Naomi said. “My girlfriend asked me why my skin was darker than my family and the only response I had at that moment was that I had a good tan!”
Her adoptive parents have always been supportive. She visited Providence Place on several occasions with her family as she was growing up. As an adult, she expressed her desire to locate her birth mother; her adoptive parents supported her decision and gave her their blessing. At 22, Naomi began reaching out to her birth mother via correspondence.
One weekend, Naomi decided to meet her birth mother. After driving several hours, Naomi sat in her car in front of the government-housing building with pink roses in her right hand, holding the door handle in her left hand. She nervously got out of the car and knocked on the door. After what seemed like a long time later, the door opened and Naomi and her birth mother finally met. Naomi was invited in and they sat in her birth mother’s home, exchanging first-time life stories, pictures and their personal contact information. It was the beginning of a relationship that lasted more than 10 years.
Naomi and her birth mother would periodically call each other, send each other cards and Naomi would also drive the long distance to visit her once a year. She would bring gifts of necessities to ensure she was all right. Naomi would also take her to the local library, as well as to her favorite park to feed the ducks and fish in the pond. She also took her out to eat. After several years, Naomi’s birth mother became ill and, when her condition worsened almost two years ago, she passed away.
“I’m so thankful I was adopted,” said Naomi. “My adoptive parents opened many doors for me. I was truly blessed to have them and for them to love me as much as they do. They encouraged me to attend college, earn my degree and to become successful.”
Now, Naomi lives in Houston. She owns a condo and works in administration. She is engaged and is planning a June wedding.
“I know the decision my birth mother made was very hard for her,” she said. “If she had made another decision, my life would have been very different.”
Naomi believes God makes everything happen for a reason. She is grateful for her birth mother’s courageous and loving decision. She equally appreciates her adoptive parents for making a loving choice and opening doors to make her future bright and full of opportunity.