On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Open are You?

For the last three weeks, the kids and I have been hanging out with their biological grandparents' house. They live at the lake in a log cabin home. There are deer, coyotes, wild turkey, hawks and more. It's quiet, it's peaceful, it's beautiful.

I'm sleeping in their great grandparent's bed, their black and white, 1953 wedding photo centered above the head board, a very young bride and groom. How Sissy looks like her! When I wake up each morning, there is a 30+ year old photo of their birth mom and their aunt in matching dresses. Adorable toddlers with bright smiling faces. The room is filled with remembrances of them, the two people I considered as grandparents of my own.

There isn't a thing I don't love about open adoption. Today the kids played for hours with their cousins and are currently in the basement snuggled up on the sleeper sofa watching The Smurfs. It's so much fun to see them together, laughing, rough-housing, fighting, eating. It's what family is meant to be.

Right now I'm sitting at the kitchen table with two of their aunts, WG so very much like her Aunt A, Noni is making gluten-free cookies just for me. We're all wore out from a day of cookie baking. "How many dozens?" I asked her. Noni doesn't know, doesn't want to think about it. Noni's cookies are gifts. Love in a tasty morsel. And part of the love is spending the day in the hot kitchen making cookies for ... 10 hours now. Was up til 1:00 a.m. working on caramel/chocolate covered pretzels with their oldest cousin who will be 17 in January. Fun. Fun, fun, fun.

Is an open adoption easy? For both parties, the answer is simply, "no." An open adoption is a marriage of two families. That's a marriage of each family's quirks and idiosyncrasies and insanity. It's also a marriage of each family's best: their interests, ideas and love. All of it for the best interest of the adoptees. If you get into open adoption with any other thought in mind, it won't be a successful match.

For me, choosing open adoption was a no-brainer. My father died when I was 12. Adolescence and approaching adulthood was hard because half of my identity was gone. I'd look in the mirror and wonder What part of me is him? I only had my mother's reflection on which to form my identity so I always felt like half of me was missing. I couldn't stomach the idea of doing that to my children. Having already established a relationship with their biological family long before the kids were a thought, we didn't blink. Open. Period.

I wouldn't change a thing about it. I didn't just adopt three children, I adopted four generations of extended family. How open are you?


Becky said...

Lil Mans adoption was open.

His bio mom did not maintain any contact with the agency. And she moved. Ten times in the last 11 years from what I have been able to find via internet searches. But what I can find is not current.

Some days it makes him sad. He wishes he could meet his bio mom - the person who holds his roots. I wish I could give that to him.

And your open adoption - is a gift to your child!

Merry Christmas my friend.

Ten Beautiful Years said...

We desired to keep adoption open... until we found out details of our adopted's extended family... didn't have peace to continue in that direction.

Turns out, I believe, to have been a good thing.

The eldest of our half-bio-sibling group originally placed for adoption was murdered when she visited bio-mom at 18.

I am all for keeping adoption open when it is what is best for the child(ren). That was not the case in our adoption.

I'm grateful we followed the path we had most peace about.

I'm also grateful for all you share!