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 listed at Open Adoption Bloggers 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–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog–linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs–and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is 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.
This latest writing prompt came from a reader suggestion. Adoptive parent Michelle faced some complicated emotions when she told her daughter’s birth mother about an injury her daughter experienced, feeling that she was entrusted with the care of this child and she had failed in some way. She wanted to hear from others about their feelings when something like that happens.
Think about a time when your child has been injured or sick (or for adoptees, when you have been injured or sick). Did adoption change or complicate that experience at all? Did you share it with others in your adoption constellation? You might write about an actual experience you have had or think about what you ideally would want to have happen.
At our summer visit of 2010, when I was visibly pregnant with Joey, Ruth said to me casually: “Oh, by the way, when Cricket was a baby, we thought he had neurological problems because of this little shudder he used to make when he was falling asleep. We spent months worrying about this and thousands of dollars on medical tests, but it all turned out to be nothing—so if Joey does something like that, it’s probably nothing.” That’s when I found out that if there was s serious illness or injury in Cricket’s life, I should not expect his moms to let me know. Indeed, so far as I’ve been told, he has never in his life been sick or hurt at all. Doesn’t seem particularly likely, does it?
Maybe I go too far the other way. I recently set up a blog just for Cricket (and necessarily Ruth) that I use to talk about how we’re doing and put up pictures of his brothers. You know, “Dear Cricket, today the boys are still getting over that flu: booger-y but not particularly distressed” and so on. I wish that I could know more about Cricket’s life and experiences, but seeing as I don’t even know what he likes, we’re a long way from my knowing when he’s under the weather or getting stitches or Lord knows what. But that one conversation, letting me know how much I wasn’t told just this one time, told me that I can’t trust Ruth or Nora to let me know if anything happens.
The last time I talked to Ruth, after asking how she’s doing and talking about that for a bit, I tried to steer the conversation (gently!) toward talking about the kids—and then she left, making this perhaps the shortest conversation we’ve ever had. Ruth doesn’t want to talk about Cricket, at least to me. Of course I worry that that means something is wrong . . . but if nothing is wrong or if something is wrong, I just want to know. I can natter endlessly about Joey and Kit, whom I tend to refer to collectively as “the buddies,” but I know that not every parent feels the same way. Is Ruth as reluctant to tell Cricket stories to her friends or his grandparents? There’s no way for me to know.
I wish that I knew more about Cricket’s days, whether spent in sickness or in health—but anyone who reads this blog knows that. I wish that I could call Ruth like I can my sisters and just chat about how things are going. But here we are.