LIFE AFTER PLACEMENT: BRANDI MILLER’S OPEN ADOPTION STORY [S4E17]
In this episode of ADOPTION NOW:
Birth mother Brandi Miller shares the heart-wrenching, challenging, and profoundly amazing experiences she has had with open adoption.
Brandi’s story starts at age 15 when she became pregnant. During this time she lived on an island in Washington State, which had a community of about 4,000 people.
During the interview, when asked by ADOPTION NOW host April if she wanted to keep the baby, Brandi said that she had considered it wholeheartedly. Even at 15, she knew just how upsetting the placement of a child can be for the birth mother. But because of family circumstances and her own future to think about, she knew adoption was her best option for providing the most opportunities for her kiddo.
Brandi saw adoption as the way to give her child as bright a future as possible and to give her child opportunities that she never had growing up.
But despite having a supportive mother, Brandi–as just a fifteen-year-old–was really on her own during the pregnancy. The relationship with the birth father became strained when he moved on to another relationship which left Brandi heartbroken.
April says that this was one of the hardest parts of Brandi’s story to hear. Can you imagine going through not only pregnancy but also adoption, on your own? April stresses that Brandi was dealing with very adult decisions for a fifteen-year-old.
Brandi said she was an emotional wreck during this time, that she walked around in an emotional haze.
When April asked Brandi about her father’s reaction, Brandi just kind of laughed and stated that it wasn’t until she was 7 months pregnant that her father found out, around the time Brandi was taking her driver’s license test off-island.
Soon after, and because she didn’t know what adoption exactly entailed, Brandi studied all she could on the subject. Brandi knew right away that an open adoption was the right choice for her.
“It was because if they have questions, I want them to know that they’re loved. And the whole reason that I did this is for them.”
During this interview, April asks Brandi what the whole decision was like for her: did the adoptive family bring the books with them, what did they say, what was the whole process like in the first meeting?
Brandi said it is a very overwhelming experience, but she ultimately was empowered by her decision to adopt. And her father and mother were on board with the whole decision! Even her aunts, grandparents, and other family members!
And so, despite being so young and faced with this overwhelming and scary experience, she found the family that was right for her child. Brandi describes it as an instantaneous connection!
So with that underway, everything suddenly became official. A scheduled C-section, a ferry off the island to the hospital… And then she faced yet another challenge: the birth father, who had agreed to accompany her during this terrifying time, missed the ferry.
Brandi remembers being so scared. She got to the hospital without the father, she was about to go under anesthesia for the c-section, the hospital curtains went up, and Brandi laid there terrified and feeling completely alone.
But things worked out in the end! Despite enduring an emotional roller coaster, with a complicated few days before the adoptive family could take their child home, her child (now called Mikah) is still a huge part of her life to this day!
And that’s a testament to open adoption and adoption in general: even though a lot of emotional turmoil can arise and the post-placement grief can be overwhelming, open adoption ultimately leads to an enriching, open relationship with the child, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents! For all parties, it can be a life-long relationship, as the conversation between April and Brandi explores even more.
For more on her story, including the importance of supporting your child no matter what, Brandi and Mikah’s current relationship, and having a child that is transgender, listen along. Also, make sure to tell us your favorite parts about Brandi’s story in the comments!