Okay, Okay…I’m lame at this whole blogging thing. In my own defense, I’ve been battling laziness, potty training a three year old, working full time, going on fabulous beach vacations (well, just one), laundry, various family events, and elderly in-laws—one of which just had knee replacement surgery yesterday morning a county away. Oh, yeah, and facebook 🙂 Forgive me?
And, because I’m lame, I missed the deadline for Heather PNR’s inaugural Open Adoption Round Table discussion topic, but since I am somewhat of a rule follower, and want people to like me, I’m going to go ahead and submit a post.
This whole blog started because we were not really in an open adoption when we began. For some, the fact that Woob’s firstmother “chose” us via profile and phone discussion, that we all actually MET in person and spent two days together following Woob’s birth, and that we started out writing letters and sending pics to Woob’s grandpa would constitute an open adoption. But to me, the fact that his firstmom stated she didn’t want contact after we left the hospital (but were welcome to keep in touch with her dad) meant that the adoption was very closed, indeed.
I had such anxiety leaving that hospital, especially after getting to know N. and her mom and dad, thinking that we would never be friends, that Woob might never know his biological family—especially siblings that might come along (and two did come along!). Looking back I guess I don’t know exactly what I though our imaginary future open adoption might look like for sure, other than I just KNEW it would be lovely, and satisfying, and ideal for everyone involved.
And so things went for about a year, and BAM! the following spring, we hear from N. and everything changes! We started having visits, emails, and occasional phone conversations. I was going to get my lovely, satisfying, ideal-for-everyone adoption scenario after all! Um, reality can be hard sometimes, folks. Now that you have the quick background, we can get to the given assignment.
What would I tell my “then” self about open adoption now that I’ve lived in it awhile?
- Even though it may very well be lovely, satisfying, and ideal-for-everyone sometimes, there are also times that it is none of those things, a combination of those things, or true for some people in the party but not others.
- There is no way you can actually picture the way the relationships will flow from day to day, week to week, or month to month. We all will have things going on that do and do not relate to adoption that impact what we’re able to focus on or give at any given time.
- You will have insecurities about things that you don’t expect, and will feel secure in things that you thought you’d feel insecure about.
- When you let another person, or people into your heart, you have more people to worry over–this has its problems and its blessings.
- This thing called open adoption is a privelege, certainly not a right, and should be handled with care.
- Trust your heart. Despite all that’s involved, for our family, this will be a GOOD thing.
- As much as you’d like them to, and try to help them, some people in the world will NEVER understand open adoption, nor do they apparently want to…that’s their problem and not yours.
Bottom line: our contact comes and goes, we parent differently, we make different kinds of choices, lead different types of lives. We care about one another and our families. We celebrate the growth and accomplishment of our children. We care what happens to one another. My son knows who his first mother is and can see her and learn from her and know who he comes from and who he looks like. He gets to know his great grandad was in a barbershop quartet and his grandma was in the Army. He can play ball with his grandpa if he wants. He can curl up on N.’s lap to read a story, or go chase after his sisters. Our open adoption offers him far more choices in how he can pursue his relationships and definitions of family as he grows. It doesn’t mean its easy for us or will be easy for him. We just all feel like its the best thing we can do for him and for his sisters. Someday (WAAAYYYY down the road!) all of the sets of parents will be gone, and he’ll be able to keep a sense of his past and share the future with family without having to struggle to hunt it down and make sense of it.
I believe that its one of the biggest gifts we can give our son.