A Kelowna woman who placed her baby with an adoptive family is sharing her story in hopes of ending the stigma surrounding birth parents who choose adoption.
Davis Rush gave birth to her baby on February 17, 2020, at the age of 20. After four days in the hospital, she made the decision to go through with an open adoption for her child.
“I just want to bring to light how amazing birth parents are. I think there’s a lot of stigma around who we are and I just want to change the narrative a little bit,” she says.
Before knowing she was going to place her baby with an adoptive family, the day after giving birth, Linette Sandor, an adoption social worker with the Adoption Centre of British Columbia, visited Rush in the hospital.
“It was a really hard decision but I’m so glad I had Linette there because she gave me the backbone that I needed, the tough love and just really put it out on the table,” says Rush.
Sandor went over all the possible options with Rush before she made the decision. Once the open adoption was decided, they started looking at potential adoptive parent profiles before finding the perfect fit.
“So just supporting her in those really vulnerable days right after having a baby and just helping her and her boyfriend make the best choice for themselves, and for baby,” says Sandor. “They knew they could do it but the more that they looked at where they were at in their lives, they just weren’t ready to be parents yet.”
Rush says the more time she spent with her baby, it became more clear to her that an open adoption was the right choice.
“Every minute I loved her more, every second. I wouldn’t put her down. She was never in her bassinet the whole time and I think everyday the more that I fell in love with her, the more I wanted what was best for her and I wasn’t that,” she says.
“That really solidified my decision and even now a year and a bit later, she’s so happy. Every picture I get, she’s just smiling. When I see them together they’re just the perfect complete little family and when I’m ready then it’ll be my time.”
Rush hopes by sharing her story, it will help other women who might be in a similar situation.
“I feel like I could have done it. In my experience it wasn’t all about money, it wasn’t that I was unfit, it wasn’t any specific thing like that. It was all around she could have been in a better life,” she says.
Sandor says choosing adoption is a very difficult choice for birth parents but it provides adoptive parents with a gift unlike any other.
“They are my super heroes,” she says, adding that open adoptions provide great outcomes for all involved.
“Open adoption isn’t just about updates, emails and visits, but it’s also about being open and honest so these little ones know their adoption story right from the time they come home. They will always know they were adopted and they’ll always know that their birth parents made this decision out of love and it wasn’t that they were abandoned, unwanted or unloved.”
Working as an adoption social worker for 10 years, Sandor has seen first-hand the stigma surrounding adoption.
“I continue to hear it. A lot of people often ask me, ‘wow, how can you work with people like that who just give their babies away?’ and ‘how can they just give their babies up?’ and I always just say these are not babies that are just given up. These are babies that are placed for adoption and they’re given more,” she says.
And for Rush, being involved in an open adoption has been very positive.
“I definitely wanted an open adoption. I didn’t want to not know who she was, I wanted her to know exactly who I was — same with my boyfriend.”
Rush and her boyfriend visit their child twice a year and receive updates and photographs on a regular basis from the adoptive parents.
“Openness is very important I think to know where you’re coming from. Any day she could call me up and ask me whatever and she’s going to know from day one who I am and I think that just alleviates so much trauma and abandonment problems that she could have later on.” explains Rush.
The open adoption has helped Rush as she continues on with her life.
“I’m doing a lot better than I thought that I would be doing and I think I have taken this opportunity to turn it into something incredible. I want to keep sharing my story, I want to help people,” she says.
“I’ve had so many women reach out to me just from posting things about it and being like ‘hey, I’m in the same situation’ or ‘I’m placing and I need someone, I need help’ and even if they don’t want to make that public, I’m that safe space for them so I love that. I love that people can come to me.”
Rush says going over all of her options when she gave birth and having someone like Sandor by her side was crucial.
“Know all your options. I think finding an adoption councillor or whoever to support you is really important and don’t base your decision off of anybody else because I think that happens a lot. Go with what your heart feels because I remember even when I was like ‘yeah I think I’m going to keep her’ something in me felt so off,” says Rush.
“Not in a bad way, knowing she wasn’t coming home with me was such a huge sense of relief because I was just giving her this incredible life by passing her to these amazing people.”
Sandor continues to advocate for birth parents across the province as they make these “beautiful, hard choices.”
The Adoption Centre of British Columbia works with people across the province ask well inter-country programs with Haiti, Thailand, India, South Africa and the United States.
To learn more or to get in contact with Rush or Sandor, click here.