Screenwriter, Steve Shibuya talks openly about open adoption.
As you began contemplating the notion, what were your expectations about the adoption process?
My wife and I knew friends who had adopted from China, Russia, domestic. The only expectations we had was that the process would take a couple years. I was happy about the time because the idea of having a child was a new one for us. When we first got married, the thought was not to have children, but we grew up a bit, figured a few thinks out about ourselves, and changed our minds. So when we decided to adopt, we made the choice quickly.
How did that compare to your actual experience?
When we signed the papers to adopt, they told us the average time was a couple years. But, one week later they called us and said they found someone. It was as crazy as it sounds. In the end it was probably the best way to do it. Having a child is jumping into new waters, best to just jump in.
What organization did you choose?
We adopted from an agency called Adopt Help, they were awesome! They came recommended from a friend. We made an appointment, went in and felt welcome, we went on the vibe, and they had a good one. They made the process easy.
You chose a child before she was born. How did you refine the selection process?
We didn’t mind if it was a boy or a girl. I’m Japanese and my wife is Austrian. We wanted a child who was mixed, so we chose Pacific Islander and Caucasian. A week after we signed the papers, an eight month pregnant young Hawaiian girl with a Caucasian boyfriend contacted the agency. The timing was right. A couple different Doctors had seen her and said she was having a boy. We quickly painted the room blue. When our baby was born a few weeks later I went to the hospital and the birth father handed me our daughter and said “Sorry it’s a girl. I hope you don’t mind.” We didn’t. Still don’t.
Describe the open adoption experience?
My daughter is almost eleven now, she knows everything about her adoption, we’ve talked openly with her since she was three. We had been in contact with the birth Mother for a couple years over email, and when my daughter was five we met her at the park. The two of them ran around and played for four hours. It was GREAT for my daughter and most likely the same for her birth mother. After meeting her birth mom, things started to settle a bit with questions, doubts, and fears. There was a sense of closure after they finally met, which was really cool. Right now, it’s not an issue, she knows her story and when she gets older and wants to know more she can track them down.
Can you describe the moment you held your girl?
The moment I held my girl was uneventful. Having a child was not something I dreamt about or something I had as a goal in my life. Having a child was a new thought that we became open to. And then, suddenly, she was there! It was a runaway train ride, so the whole process was a bit of a shock. We all needed some time to bond, it was as new to me and my wife as it was to our daughter. But when I look at my girl today, it’s awesome. We’ve been through so much together, highs and lows. She’s my baby through and through.
Any tips for other parents wanting to adopt?
The only tip I have is go for it. Nothing will prepare you for having a child. Everyone’s journey is different. But, if you’re ready for one, and you're open for adoption, then do it.