Decision 2008

Ruth tried to chat online and I missed it.

I only missed it by about ten minutes, having left to play a board game with my husband. I love board games, and had gotten him this one (Campaign Manager 2008) for his birthday—we’re both interested in politics and like the game 1960: The Making of a President, so it seemed like a fair way to lure him. Since we both just read Game Change, a book about the 2008 election, it seemed like high time to pull out his gift and give it a shot. (I, as John McCain’s campaign manager, stomped all over the Mister and his candidate.) Since seeing the missed chat hours later, I’ve been anxious, trying to get ahold of her without seeming frantic. The whole thing has been a perennial birthparent dilemma writ small: To what extent do you put your own life on hold in order to accommodate the relationship with your placed child and his adoptive parents?

When we moved away from them, I agonized over it—but it didn’t feel as though we had any other good choices. I’ve seen the issue of moving chewed over by other first mothers: There are better jobs elsewhere, or other family further away, and how do you choose whether to stay and maybe, possibly see more of your child or go and be less available but have a better career/more contact with family members who actually want it/raise your kids in a better place? We’re now talking about eventually, after school, going to the East Coast, where one of my sisters lives and the other talks about moving. We would be about as far away from Cricket as it is possible to be in the continental U.S. And at this point, that isn’t a factor anymore.

Well, okay, it is a factor. I want to say that it isn’t, but what I mean is that it isn’t a deciding factor; but it will be a part of the conversation, and if we do choose to go to New England, I will feel guilty (again) for moving away (again). But the way I weigh these decisions changed drastically once Joey was born. I will prioritize the kids I have here over the kid whose life I have almost no part in. I think that’s the right choice—Cricket already has people who have signed up to put him first (at least in theory), and Joey and Kit just have me and my husband to be the very most concerned with their welfare. Ideally, their needs are never in conflict, but realistically? That’s a different story.

In the meantime, I will hang around the internet tonight, being available, trying to connect with Cricket’s custodial parent. I’m almost never quite so clear cut in these things as I talk.