Still Unpacking

I think part of the reason I sounded so grim yesterday is that I spend an awful lot of cheerful and upbeat during visits; I’m so warm and agreeable that you wouldn’t recognize me. And it takes a lot out of me—I am more naturally an introvert with a dark sense of humor. But there were good conversations on Saturday, and one of the longest was with Ruth, about adoption.

We talked about their futurekid—we talk about him or her often enough that I will nickname him/her ladybug. The younger-kid version of the magazine Cricket was called Ladybug, and it can be an important reminder to us all that ladybugs can be boys or girls. Anyway. We were talking about Ladybug, and about their plans. They’re hoping to go back into the pool when Cricket turns two, which I guess means starting paperwork etc. six months before that, which means seven or eight months before they get going all over again. I’ve volunteered to write a letter for their profile, and I do think that they’re probably the best adoptive parents ever, so I have no trouble feeling motivated. I did ask how many kids they plan on, because I’m curious; they’re thinking probably only two infant adoptions, and then perhaps an older girl several years down the road. Ruth hesitated before letting me know that it’s likely that Ladybug will also call me Mama Susie, at least for awhile, because these things are complicated and if Ladybug’s big brother does…. She seemed concerned that I might be upset, but in fact I’m sort of delighted. I’ve always thought that I’d be an excellent aunt, and this would be just a slightly more nuanced kind of aunting, I imagine. Ruth talked about how unlikely it is that their next adoption would be like this one—we are so close to you guys, she said, and I know that that’s the most usual thing. I was touched and pleased, and it’s nice to hear that she thinks that our adoption relationship is a good one—I do too. They talked about race, and being unsure of the right thing to do with Ladybug; they know that  it’s hard to be a minority of one, but on the other hand they would be sensitive and loving parents to a child of a race not their own (they put it more modestly, but I endorse this position).

At lunch, when our server brought the check, she handed it to Nora. I’ve probably mentioned that I had talked with Mr. Book about it being important for us to pay when they visit here, about it being symbolic of us building a relationship between equals, and on and on. Well, I wrestled with Nora for a bit, but it became clear that she was just not going to hand it over—and then Ruth gave her a look, and she let it go, and I paid for lunch. Ruth said to me, “We had talked about whether we should pay, and we decided that we should offer, but we didn’t discuss how forcefully we should offer.” So now I’m wondering whether I should confess that we, too, had a conversation about whether we should pay. Any opinions?

6 thoughts on “Still Unpacking

  1. Have you considered talking to Ruth about how you’re hoping for this relationship to be a relationship between equals?

    It might be a good thing to have on the table. There are obvious power differentials in your relationship, obviously, but they go both ways I think. And if they realize what your vision is for the future of the relationship between your families it might give Ruth and Nora something to aim for as they develop thier expectations for visits and so forth.

    Ruth sounds great. So do you. ♥

    • This is a really interesting point, because it had never occurred to me to tell Ruth, but now that you’ve told me, it seems the only logical thing to do. Thanks for the insight. ETA: I’d really like to send you an email–mine is on the main site, but I can’t find yours. Obviously if you aren’t comfortable, ignore me….

  2. I often need a lot of decompression time after a visit, even a smooth and pleasant one. Take care of yourself, okay?

    Bringing up the check might be a good excuse to share some of what you’ve been thinking with Ruth. Not so much to belabor the actual incident, but to use it as what it was: a symbol of the balance you’re hoping for in your relationship.

  3. As I read you struggling with “what should I say about this situation,” or “what will they think if I say this?”, I am struck that as an aparent (though, this is just me talkin’), I CRAVE feedback from Woob’s first mom. I fear N. being “nice” about something she hates, and then me thinking that’s something she really likes, and all the while she’s seething or uncomfortable or hating us for it. I get very little feedback. There is so much dancing involved in adoption, isn’t there? (I’m a terrible dancer).

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