A Build-A-Bear and Open Adoption

open adoption


How do Build-a-Bear and Open Adoption work together? Glad you asked 😉

We have an open adoption with my son’s birthmom, which we cherish. We love her dearly. In the beginning, we wanted to be able to share pictures with her to show how big our son was growing, so I made a trip to Build-a-Bear.

I got TWO very simple, IDENTICAL bears.

*Build-a-Bear is especially great if you are adopting and you already have biological children in the home. Take them along to the mall and they can help make the bears!*

Make a wish or say a prayer over the heart that goes inside each bear.

Fill out the birth certificate with their name and weight at birth…if they haven’t been born yet, just be generic like “Beloved Baby” or “Cherished Child”

We gave one bear to his birthmom and we kept one bear for our son.

Then we took pictures of him next to the bear. And it wasn’t long before he outgrew the bear.



We sent pictures like these all the time (as well as others) until he was about 2 years old and refused to sit still with a bear for a pic.  He lovingly calls the bear “my adoption bear.” It has been featured at every show-and-tell in every class he’s ever been a part of. It cuddles with him every night and it reminds him that he is loved.

Two years ago (when he was 6 years old), he got the bear out and requested a picture with it. And I’m a mom with a smartphone, so I happily obliged.

He said “send that to my birthmom.”  Obviously, he’s quadruple the size of the bear now, and we see his birthmom in person a lot so it was an odd request.

But I sent the picture.

I almost immediately got a response. His birthmom said she had JUST gotten her bear out of storage and was thinking about how small he used to be. So she sent a picture of herself cuddling the bear. And then we facetimed and they laughed.

The bear became much more than just a bear.

It was something they both had.

Something identical.

Something they could love on when they were apart.

Something to remind each other of their lifelong connection.

I’m so glad we took a trip to Build-a-Bear 8 years ago. These small tokens of connection may not seem like much. But when a small child is faced with a big loss, every little bit counts.


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