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?