While the last post went over the big picture of the visit with N., there were some things that happened during and since that are pretty notable, I think. Things to ponder and plan an approach. When we talk about open adoption being a relationship that is fluid and ever-changing, there really is no doubt that that is correct. We’re each navigating unknown territory, we’re each at such different developmental stages, how could it be anything other than constantly changing? And Woob? he’s just working it all out in his own way, and we’re letting him.
During: As we’re all happily playing along, Woob says, “Hey Mom!”. As usual, I come back with “yes, Woob?” To which he replies, “Not you, HER!” This was really unexpected by me, though I don’t know why it should have been. He has referred to her as “my mom” or “my other mom” several times in speaking with me, and it goes without comment because I know who he’s referring to. But it did catch me off guard, and I immediately looked to see N.’s reaction and didn’t see much of a clue of how that felt for her one way or another. He did do this a few more times through the course of the day, and I learned to just sit back and pay closer attention to who he was speaking to. Am I offended by his reference to her as mom? Absolutely not. I love the way Dawn and Madison have been explaining the Mom relationships in open adoption, and am glad I’ve been reading along to see how other families work these issues that don’t need to be as complicated as we tend to make them. Anyway, so there’s that.
Then over lunch, N. let me in on some information about Woob’s first dad, whom we’ve never met in person or otherwise. You know, he was VERY young when Woob was concieved. From what we know, he’s had a somewhat troublesome past and an unclear future. But heck, as young as he is/was, there’s lots of leeway for change to happen at any time. The gist of the information was that for the first time, he’s starting to ask questions about Woob. These are questions she doesn’t feel comfortable answering or addressing, given their brief relationship and his departure before she even knew she was pregnant. Anyway, I let her know that NOW, contact wasn’t something we were actively pursuing. She’s relieved. But, I added, anyone can find anyone online or otherwise these days. It would be very easy for us to be found if someone looked hard enough and had just the right amount of information. And if S. turns up one day unexpectedly, we will deal with it, we’ll tell the truth as we know it, and we’ll do what’s right for Woob and the given circumstances. Sounds like a cop-out, I know, to say that we don’t know him, that he doesn’t sound like a safe person, etc. Especially since we DON’T know him at all. He’s never had a chance to prove himself to us, aside from whatever opportunity he was given to step forward as a young father in the beginning. Anyway, that’s out there now, and something we will undoubtedly need to be thinking about. Just maybe not today. Not this minute.
After: All was well as we made our way home after the visit. The next night, as Woob and I were doing our routine before bed, Woob stopped and said, “Mommy, I’m sad.” “Why are you sad, sweetie?” “Because I love my Mom.” Which made me a little sad because I don’t want loving N. to equal sadness. I reassured him that I was so glad he loves his other mommy, and it sounds like he’s a little sad because he misses her when she can’t be nearby. Gave him a hug and a kiss and he was ready to move on to the next thing. My thoughts on this? Anytime my son can come to me and feel safe enough to express his feelings around this, that makes me happy and makes me feel successful as a parent.
A few days passed and as I continued to think about how this open adoption works, I really felt the need to be more open with N. and ask for her thoughts, which is something we’ve been lax or avoidant of. It was a little late in the evening, but I sent her a facebk message, thanking her for letting us come on the spur of the moment and disrupt her schedule, telling her about what a great day we had, but also asking her how she felt about the whole “Mom” thing. I asked her to please let me know if there’s something we do that makes her uncomfortable because I can’t know what things are like for her, what things are the hardest, what things she is or isn’t ready to deal with. There are so many landmines in adoption, it seems, that I could step on one without even knowing it. And part of her reply:
It just melted my heart when he said mom. 🙂 It was a wonderful feeling and that is the first thing I told S. and dad and mom. I know it is hectic and confusing and def. all first time experiences for the both of us, and I think we are doing darn good….except for last night S. got out elefun for J. and she said “Bubby play too? Where’s bubby?” and normally I am fine, but it just caught me off guard, and of course she has no clue so I think it is time I start talking to her as well! Too be honest, I had not thought much about my girls questions, and I am not sure why. The more I think about it the more I understand it will be hard for them too. I am so glad I got to see him and so glad you could come up random. I think those are the best times! 🙂
How simple was that? To ask an honest question and get feedback? I love the fact that she thinks we’re all doing a good job. I love the fact that she’s thinking ahead to the girls’ questions. I love the fact that she took the time to answer mine.
So, this is where we are on our path together. These are some of the challenges we need to prepare for and successes that we’ve had on this leg of the journey.