I hope this isn’t too personal, but I’ve wondered how the adoption has affected your relationship with Mr. Book. Is there any resentment towards each other over the adoption?
The summer after the adoption—when we’d just married and moved to Stumptown, and Cricket was 6–9 months old—it was affecting the relationship quite a bit, and that’s part of why I started this blog. I was incredibly angry at the Mister, blaming him for the adoption: not the honeymoon period you’d hope for. Funnily enough, the turning point—the point at which I realized that I needed to really start working through this stuff—came when someone I barely know said “Hey, didn’t he want to parent?” Ah, yes. Adoption was his third choice. I had actually blocked out that in order to blame him, which is pretty awful but the unfortunate truth.
I finally reconciled myself to the fact that in fact I was the one who chose adoption. He never held anything against me, and when I encouraged him to do so, pointed out that he could have stopped it and didn’t; we both regret the decision, but we’re both in it together.
Now we’re both just sad together. Whenever something new happens (we visit a new place, or we move, or Joey hits a new milestone), we talk about what it would be like to have both of our boys here with us.
And a second question – You have written that your mother was firmly against the adoption. How did your dad and your sisters respond when you decided to place Cricket? What are their feelings now?
My father also opposed the adoption, although less noisily; my sisters were cautiously interested, and I worry that Tammy saw my decision as a judgment of her choice to have abortions (it wasn’t). Mr. Book’s family was outraged, saw it as proof that we were both worthless, and have mostly cut both of us out of their lives (this is his mother’s family; his father’s family don’t know about Cricket). My parents rallied more or less as soon as the papers were signed—I am their daughter, they love me, and that’s more important than anything else. They did, however, start pushing me to get pregnant again right away. The Mister’s mom will speak to him on the phone, but has told him that she is only able to do so by pretending that Cricket is dead. She also behaves as though I do not exist, which must make their conversations somewhat strained. She does, however, acknowledge Joey: she has sent clothes for him, and likes to get the pictures I send every couple of months.
My family regrets the adoption, too, and they have excellent reason to; Ruth and Nora aren’t interested in any kind of relationship with our extended families. This isn’t the impression I had gotten from them during the match, but here we are. Ruth has told me that she has her own nutty mom to deal with, and one is enough. My father, sisters, and little brother have seen Cricket once, when Mr. Book and I tied the knot—my mother saw him then, and the day he was born. My parents send a birthday book to him every year, which is accepted but not acknowledged.