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. The prompts are meant to be starting points–feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Publish your response during the next two weeks–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and leave a link to your post in the comments. 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.
Are there any things that you don’t want the other members of your triad to know—or that you don’t want to know about them? I’ve heard first mothers talk about not sharing their birth stories with adoptive parents because those are for the adoptees and for themselves only. I’ve also heard of adoptees concealing their reunions from adoptive parents so as not to cause them pain. What don’t you want shared in your adoptive relationships?
This prompt first took root in my brain when I was reading some perfectly nice adoptive mother’s blog and saw that was celebrating her child turning nine months + because now (and I paraphrase) “She’s been with me longer than she was with her.” I hate this sentiment, and I also hate “Gotcha Day”; if Ruth and Nora celebrate(d) these, I thought, I never want to know. Both “holidays” feel like a really gross kind of possessiveness to me—I get it, you have the baby, you won. No need to rub it in with creepy made-up holidays designed to point out that you’re the real mommy, you are, not that other lady, it’s you.
I know how uncharitable that is. I look at that paragraph and imagine a perfectly nice adoptive mother leaving a hurt comment, telling me that they celebrate the day they became a family, and what is wrong with me? Well—I lost my son. I did that, it’s certainly no adoptive parent’s fault, and I don’t leave comments on those perfectly nice blogs telling people that they should be ashamed. (For the record, I have no similar feelings about finalization day. That seems like a perfectly fine day to celebrate, if anyone in blogland is looking for my approval.) But—okay, I will try to make a comparison. At the visit, one of the small wooden cars I had for Cricket to play with is a fire truck, and I noticed that Ruth was telling Cricket that fire trucks check on people who need help. She saw me listening and explained that they had originally told Cricket that fire trucks mean that someone is hurt, or that someone is in trouble, because it seems inappropriate to them that little kids think it’s awesome to see the fire truck zipping by when in fact it is racing through traffic because someone could be dying. So they told Cricket that it’s actually a sad thing, and he started to seem really distressed by fire trucks, so they’re trying to scale it back a bit, because compassion is great but they don’t want to traumatize him. And at first I thought, That’s so dumb. Why not let him just think they’re cool? But after awhile, I realized that they’re right—fire trucks don’t generally put the sirens on because everything is fine, and seeing little kids thrilled by them would be spooky if put into that context. I don’t know that I will necessarily do as they have done, and I don’t have any beef with parents who choose instead to point out a fire truck excitedly to their toddlers, but I think Ruth’s is a valid point of view.
Originally I planned to say that I don’t want Ruth and Nora to know that I regret placing Cricket, but I’m not actually sure that that’s true. I don’t want them to know if they don’t want to know, but I do kind of want them to know—more than that, I want them to want to know. (Okay, that’s it, I think I’ve officially hit “unreadable.”) I don’t want them to feel guilty about adopting him, and I don’t think they would, but. So what don’t I want them to know?
I don’t want them to know about anything I wish for that they wouldn’t be enthusiastically in favor of. I don’t want them to know that I do wish we could throw the boys a joint birthday party some years down the road, because they wouldn’t like the idea, and I would feel presumptuous and ashamed. Heck, I can feel that way all by myself without the embarrassment of involving Ruth and Nora. I don’t want them to know that I don’t want to see Cricket the way the Mister does, at least for the last few months—I dreaded the visit, mostly, and didn’t see “at least I’ll get to spend time with the kid” as a silver lining. That is a messed-up and complicated thing that I’m working through, and I know how bad it sounds. (And for the record, I really enjoyed the time I spent with him.)
Oh, and I don’t want them to know about the blog.