"The first time that I thought about finding my parents [I was] around 7 or 8. I started wondering, who do I look like? Where did I come from?" says Amy. "The details my parents told me about being adopted were that I was chosen. I was special. Throughout my entire life, I've always felt that it was always a good thing."
To begin the search for her birth parents, Amy submitted her name to the county where she was adopted. "I received a phone call from the county office that my biological mother and my biological father were looking to locate me," she recalls. "The first time I met my actual birth parents, right away, I knew that that was my birth mother. I looked very much like her. The initial meeting, there is an elation, a sense of relief, in terms of I'm going to have some of these questions answered. Once that period stops, they start showing their true colors."
[AD]Amy says her relationship with her biological father changed immediately. "He asked if he could have a paternity test, and I was rather insulted," she says. "With my birth mother, it took a little bit longer. She seemed to carry a tremendous amount of guilt, and over time, it just took a toll on our relationship, and I have not spoken with my birth mother in five years."
Amy shares her feelings about open adoptions. "It's unnecessary," she says. "I can't imagine growing up being able to handle a situation where I have a birth mother, but then I also have this adoptive mother and father, because really, that's the relationship you want to establish ... If there's one thing that I can say about my parents who raised me, I completely understand what unconditional love is."
Dr. Phil asks Brittney, "Do you think [an open adoption] would be confusing to the child?"
"I know plenty of kids who are adopted, who've actually had an open adoption," she says, adding that Jody has open adoptions with her children.
Amy says it would have been extremely confusing for her. "It would have put an entirely different role on what roles people play," she says. "I almost look at it in some sense as a divorce, where kids play both sides. I definitely would have seen myself in that situation where if something wasn't working with my family that was raising me, my adoptive family " which I call my family " I would have turned then possibly to my birth parents. There's just no need for it. If you're willing, and if you feel the need to be able to give up a child and allow someone else to raise them, then allow those people to have their roles with that child and allow me, as the child, to be able to have that role and establish myself with them."
[AD]Dr. Phil asks Brittney, "Do you think this is kind of a middle-of-the-road option for you?"
"I'm not there to take away their rights as parents. I'm not there to intervene with them raising this child. I'm just here to answer any questions that the child may have, or so they know who I am and who their birth father is," she says. "I'm not doing this for me, and I'm not doing this for the baby. I'm doing it for both of us."
"This is one of the things you would discuss with a counselor," Dr. Phil tells her. "You want to make all the best decisions for the baby."