This post is in honor of HeatherPNR’s brilliant idea to compile an open adoption blogroll (see the pretty hot pink button on the right of the screen? You can have one too!).
I’ve started to write it a few zillion times from a few zillion angles, and several drafts still sit in my draft box all lonely and dusty. And here I sit again, for some reason struggling to write out our journey to open adoption. Why am I struggling with this? Maybe its because in the beginning, openness wasn’t our primary destination? Because we feel a little sheepish about that? Because the only real NEGATIVE feedback/comments I’ve gotten on this blog, came from a very difficult, but honest post in which I outlined some of the harder things about our particular open adoption? I don’t know. So I’m not going to write out our journey, but maybe be able to outline our intentions.
We are a week out from our visit with N. and her girls over the weekend. It was nice. It was relatively easy and stress free. It was short (but necessarily so, what with all the muchkins needing NAPS!). This was the first time Woob and we met his newest baby sister, who, by the way, is just a tiny little cute baby bug. Very snuggly and pink 🙂 . Big sister J., was gorgeous and charming–batting her eyelashes over her big beautiful green eyes and following Woob around wherever he would go. Smothering him with a tackle toddler hug. So sweet. We got to catch up with N. and her dad, and have a quick word with N.’s mom as well. After a what seemed like a long draught from contact with N., we had been able to pick up a little more over the past few weeks, so were a little bit better caught up than usual. That made it easier to just sit and enjoy the kids. It has been way too long, though since we got together. All the growth of the kids makes it seem all the more rushed to try to show off new tricks and skills and personalities in such a short window of time. One thing that seemed a little different about this time as opposed to the others–it seemed like N. was more able?, or willing?, or comfortable??? focusing on and interacting Woob. It seemed like there was less distance there, which I’m so happy about. She’d had a chance to talk with him briefly over the phone a few times in the last week or two. Before, he would refuse to talk to anyone on the phone. But now, he’s able and willing to have a fairly coherent conversation with someone, and I think N. was amazed that he’s becoming this “real person” as opposed to a little baby, and the fact that he was interacting with HER directly, back and forth, really warmed her heart. It was also pretty cool that N. and I are able to sit and talk as parent peers as opposed to first mom/adoptive mom. Talking about milestones, discipline, and “what did you do when this came up?”, or complaining about sleep issues…its all so NORMAL and nice to be able to relate to one another that way. And Woob spent time sitting on her lap looking at books and pictures for awhile until something else caught his eye. All in all, a really great day.
You know what? Three years ago, this is not exactly what we envisioned when we were headed for this adoption. One year ago (four days before Woob’s birth!), we hadn’t heard from N., directly or through our agency worker. We were just told to trust that things would work out the way they would work out. We were trudging through our lives with the goal of bringing home a baby we didn’t even know yet. At this time three years ago, we only knew N. through one single phone conversation a month before. We couldn’t have imagined the day, not really, where we would share visits at one another’s homes, chat via text or myspace or email, get acquainted with new siblings, give or ask for advice on parenting, and so much more.
Our open adoption relationship? Its by no means perfect, but it feels so right that we are working through it. Woob knows his family, we all get along, he is loved by all, he can play with his sisters reasonably whenever he wants to, he will know his family history, he will know exactly who he looks like, and someday, he will be able to go straight to the source when he needs reasons for why he was placed. Its something we’ve been talking about a little more often lately, N. and I. She worries that he’ll hate her or have problems or what have you…I make no guarantees that he won’t be angry or act out behaviorally, but because we’re able to talk, I can reassure her of what WE’RE doing to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll be able to work some things out now, so Woob won’t have to do some of the hard stuff later–he’ll be able to concentrate on some of the more important issues related to his adoption instead of searching and finding and worrying about first contact.
So there you have it. Our adoption journey landed at this previously unknown destination–its a place we’re very happy to be.