The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking to http://www.productionnotreproduction.com/2011/01/open-adoption-roundtable-22.html so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and link to your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is perfectly fine; I’d appreciate it if you’d add a link back to the roundtable. If you don’t blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.
One year ago many of us answered the question, “How will you be proactive in the area of open adoption in 2010?”
If you participated in the January 2010 discussion, revisit your post and give us the one-year-later update.
And whether or not you participated last year, tell us about your open adoption hopes or commitments in 2011.
How’d we do?
1. I will find a new model for our relationship with Ruth and Nora: not marriage, not friendship, but something else. I will take into account their wishes and my experiences, and rely less on my hopes.
Heaven knows my hopes of a year ago are no longer steering my approach to the adoption—I’m more cynical and less hopeful. I expect not to get pictures on time, I expect not to see replies to emails for weeks if at all, I expect visits to be cancelled; good things are now a pleasant surprise, which has been a silver lining. I’m trying not to think of this as a permanent change—things could get better!—but for right now, I think it’s what works best for me.
2. I will, with the aid of Mr. Book, figure out how we want to handle the pregnancy we hope for later this year and the baby who will follow in the context of the open adoption. What will our boundaries be? What are our hopes for the relationship between futurekid and Cricket? What are our obligations to Ruth and Nora?
Well, we have a baby now—we’re still working on the boundaries part. My biggest concern right now is about not wanting Joey to be disappointed the way I have sometimes felt disappointed and not letting my grief over Cricket impact him. I think we’ve got a couple of years before these would be current concerns, at least. I hope that the boys will feel like family to each other.
3. I will make very sure that I am not looking at futurekid as a replacement for my lost son—the one who isn’t Cricket, but who Cricket would have been. That potential child is gone forever; I need to be very clear about that before I name another baby.
I genuinely and regularly thank God that this has not been a concern. Joey is himself, and he’s perfect (okay, he has cradle cap in his eyebrows, but that’s within spitting distance of perfect ), and while he makes me wonder about Cricket sometimes, I am 100 percent not confused; I’m parenting the son who has been gifted to me.
4. I will be supportive of other people in adoption relationships on whatever side; the adoption blogger community has been very kind to me, and I want to give back.
I hope that I have lived up to this—certainly I have felt honored to know more and more of you.
5. I will make our home ready for a baby; I don’t just mean washing onesies. I will be sure that Mr. Book and I are as prepared as anyone can be—he’s going to need to read some baby books, I am going to need to pray, and we’ll do a lot of talking together. At the same time, I will not let myself obsess until I am actually pregnant: no crying when I see pregnant women or babies, no setting up a nursery, no imaging the hoped-for child. I will be present in my life.
Turns out I didn’t have to worry about the wait for too long! We are not babyproofed, but Mr. Book did some reading and we’ve both done a lot of laundry and gotten some practice at things like baths and diapers. There are things I thought we would need that haven’t been used yet—he hasn’t seen the inside of the crib as of today—and things that we’ve needed much more than I realized before (he is just the grubbiest baby, and could grow filthy sitting quietly in a sterile room. The baby bathtub has been a lifesaver). And of course there were things that we couldn’t have been prepared for. Mr. Book told me the other night that he had known (roughly) how hard it would be, and that he had felt ready for that, but that he really hadn’t expected it to be rewarding yet. He has been pleasantly surprised. Even the baby howling in his ear at night, he says, feels like an amazing gift.
6. I will be for Cricket what he wants, or what I think he wants: available, warm, and unobtrusive.
Well. Certainly I have been unobtrusive; I think that I have been available. I have not been warm. I’m still stiff and nervous around Cricket, and I don’t really expect that to be better now that (a) we haven’t seen him in coming up on seven months, and (b) he can have real conversations, which I see as bringing him one step closer to telling me that he hates me. I am nervous about seeing him again, and sort of unfocusedly angry about the long, weird break between visits, and of course not sure whether they’re actually coming at all. I’m not much of anything for Cricket at the moment.
As for the coming year—I’m not sure. I hope to have the boys meet. Modest, eh?