Sunday, October 23, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable #31

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community.  To browse other participating blogs click here

This is the first roundtable I have participated is the prompt:  

Write about open adoption and being scared.

I have this dream of how it is all going to work out.  Of how beautiful we can make open adoption for our adopted child or children.  I see us building a relationship with both birth parents and their families.  I see us sharing and loving...always working toward the best interest of our child.  I see us becoming friends, supporters, family.  I envision us being there for our child’s birth parents in every way we know how, holding them up in their grief and supporting them through their ups and downs, through their own life accomplishments.  I see a relationship that unfolds as a beautiful gift in front of the child we share in love.  I see a table full of an extended… blended family, eating, sharing laughing…living.  I cry thinking about sharing first steps and first words with our child’s birth parents, knowing that they will feel those moments just as deeply as we will and they too will cry.  I see open adoption as an expansion of family of friends, not just by way of the children we adopt but by the addition of their families also.  I have this dream.

I realize that this dream lacks the input of two crucial parties.  Birth parents and the child we will adopt.  They will have their own dreams, ideas, and feelings about how they want their open adoption to look and to feel.  They will bring their own hopes and fears to this journey.  They will each form their own relationships within this triad…adoptive parents, birth parents, child.  They each will have their own dream and those dreams may not be the same as mine, as ours.

The unknown can be a fearful place.  The unknown can be scary.  A complete lack of control scares the crap out of me.  So many what if’s and when’s and how’s and who... and a few more what if’s role through my patiently (some days) waiting heart and mind. 

Maybe my dream of an ideal open adoption will come true and maybe it won’t.  We don’t know what our open adoption will look like…we don’t know when it will happen or how it will happen.  When birth parents do pick us to adopt their child, we will begin this journey of molding a relationship that will work for all of us.  Regardless of our prior and previous thoughts and dreams, we will forge new ones…together. 

For now I will keep dreaming about the endless possibilities of how wonderful our open adoption may be.  We will stay open minded and surrender to our fears in a way that keeps us flexible, educated and prepared for the ultimate unknown.

Although I get scared and recognize that fear is a very real part of this journey for all of those involved, it cannot and will not dominate this journey.

Together, adoptive parents and birth parents…together…we will conquer our fears and come out on top... all because we are in this for our child and his/her very best interest. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Whitney Houston?

Whitney Houston.  Yup.  That’s right…who would have ever thought that Whitney Houston would have anything to do with an adoption blog.  Well apparently today she does…life unexpected I tell ya!

Haven’t we all heard Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You song about one billion times?  I sure have.  I have sung the song at the top of my lungs while driving in my car…I have belted out the tune in the middle of my kitchen…hoping to make someone I live with smile, but I have truly never taken the song very seriously.  Why?  Because, well because it is kind of a cheesy song.  Today however…today, this very song sent a stream of tears running down my face and made me feel deeply a pain that cannot be denied.

It has been a very long time since I actually heard that song on the radio…I know, I know who actually listens to the radio anymore…me!  I was driving today and this song started playing.   I turned it up, smiling to myself and then the flood of tears began.  Grief is sneaky like that.  You never know when it might strike.  You never know what may be the trigger.  Today the trigger was Whitney.

It is hard to explain the grief I feel in relation to our latest loss, the sweet little boy we shared 10 days with.  I will call him Little P in this blog to make things less confusing.  I have been fighting the fact that I absolutely and intensely fell head over heels in love with Little P. 
I find joy in knowing that Little P is healthy and safe and knowing that he is with his mom, and yet my heart twists and turns and aches with a heavy burn when the realization continues to nag that he will never be ours and that we will never get to be a part of his life.  I have told myself that we knew from the start that it was a possibility that his mom might change her mind.  We knew during the 10 days he was with us that she was planning to parent and was preparing to take him home.  My mind knew these things.  My heart did not listen.  My heart felt him in my arms.  My heart memorized his face, sucked in his smell, soothed his cries, cuddled his tininess, and let him become a part of me.  My heart made room.  In 10 short days I, and we, did all of the things that most new parents do.  We fed, burped, changed, and bathed him.  We felt him nuzzle our neck as he slept hours on our chest.  We sang to him, rocked him and told him how much we loved him.  We gave him all we knew how to give...and in order to give him all we knew how to give our hearts needed to make room… we needed to fall in love.  A newborn’s job is to make you fall in love with them.  He had us in seconds.

For some reason, I have been fighting the fact that I did indeed fall in love with him and so intensely.  Maybe because I feel that I am stepping on his mom’s toes….because I kind of feel like it was not my right to care for him so deeply.  Maybe because I didn’t think others could understand…this is not a common loss in our culture.  Maybe because I felt a sense of defeat that I was not able to protect myself or my family from getting hurt again…it is my job to protect my family.  Or maybe, just maybe, because admitting that my heart was so in love with Little P would mean that my heart would now need to heal…again.  That, in order to heal in a healthy way I would need to reach deeper into a darker place to deal with the true emotions and the true experience of what I, and we, truly lost.   

We lost a little boy that we loved…we need to grieve that loss and we need to know that although our love will never, ever go away, we will heal yet again.  We will always love Little P for who he was and the time that we shared.  We will always love him.

So today this is for Little P, who may never know us and who will certainly never remember the 10 days that we shared, but who I indeed fell in love with and who will always and forever hold a very special place in my heart. 
I Will Always Love You 
by Whitney Houston
If I should stay,
I would only be in your way.
So I'll go, but I know
I'll think of you ev'ry step of the way.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
You, my darling you. Hmm.

Bittersweet memories
that is all I'm taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don't cry.
We both know I'm not what you, you need.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope you have all you've dreamed of.
And I wish to you, joy and happiness.
But above all this, I wish you love.

And I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you.
I, I will always love you.

You, darling, I love you.
Ooh, I'll always, I'll always love you.