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 part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list 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.
An open-ended prompt this round, because it’s always interesting to see where each of us takes it:
Write about open adoption and the holiday season.
Previously written posts work, too.
When I sat in the adoption agency’s conference room with Ruth, Nora, and an agency flack, we were all three of us tentatively mentioning things that we would like in the open adoption agreement (legally enforceable here!). I mentioned that I wanted to be able to send a birthday and a Christmas gift every year, they agreed, and now I could theoretically take them to court if they refused to accept a Christmas present. Adoption seems very strange sometimes.
Last year, I surrendered my son on December 9 and then flew to the Midwest on the 19th. I wanted to get away from the site of my loss for Christmas, so the future Mr. Book and I decided to spend Christmas with his family. We celebrated an early Christmas with my parents before I left, and they were very sweet. I remember making pancakes for everyone in the morning, in my nightgown, and noticing that my feet were wet, and realizing that my milk had come in.
Christmas in the Midwest was grim—except for one screaming fight, Mr. Book’s family was pretending that Cricket had been born dead. I was miserable, he was miserable, and we both just wanted to lie around and not talk about anything. I’m glad we got to spend it together, though.
This year, we have invited my son and his parents to Christmas with us, but they haven’t responded. Ruth wants to keep Christmas out of Cricket’s life as much as possible; she worries that the Jewish holidays, being less flashy, will suffer by comparison in the eyes of a child. She says that she may ask people to send Hanukkah presents instead. I think about the fact that I have a legal right to send a Christmas present and don’t say anything.
Ruth invites us to Cricket’s birthday party, which is also a Hanukkah party. Mr. Book has to work, so we visit on a different day and bring birthday and Christmas gifts. The Christmas gift is a pair of books, one of which I had as a child. I didn’t remember that Christmas happens in the book, but it’s a bit late now, so I give it to them with an apology. They ask about our Christmas plans with no apparent awareness of the fact that there is an unanswered invitation outstanding.
The adoption relationship is good, but the holidays are bad. I don’t know how long this will be the case.