I'm excited that Heather at Production Not Reproduction has begun to offer a writing prompt for open adoption bloggers. Like others, I want to write more about open adoption but sometimes don't know what to say, so these prompts are a great idea.
(However, we'll be seeing G, Evie's birthfather, this coming weekend, so I'll post about that soon after it happens.)
The first prompt is: What one thing about open adoption would you tell your past self, if you could? My response is below; for more responses, visit this post.
If I had to choose only one thing to tell my past self, it would be that open adoption is largely a state of mind. I think one of the biggest fears of adoptive parents is that an open adoption makes them less of a parent because they are sharing the parenting with a child's first parents. The reality is that open adoption only makes you less of a parent if you decide to believe that it does.
This particular fear, I believe, comes from the fact that many adoptive parents are entering into open adoptions after struggling with infertility. They have been working so hard for the goal of parenthood! Open adoption feels like being a runner-up. At first glance it means "yes, you can finally be a parent, but not 100%...you have to share the baby with this other family, too." This seems annoying, frustrating and scary. After waiting so long, we don't want to share anything with anyone.
The only parts of my experience that justified the fear of having to share, or co-parent, were the days we spent in hospitals literally sharing Lucy and Evie with their biological parents. In the first case, well, it turns out that M & T were sharing Lucy with us and not the other way around. In the second case, those long, tense 24 hours before R and G checked out of the hospital are now a distant memory. If I made a list of words to describe our relationship with R & G, co-parenting wouldn't be anywhere on it. Actually, there have been nights when I would have welcomed R and G to co-parent and help with feedings! Mostly kidding.
In the past 8 plus months, J and I have changed innumerable diapers, fed countless bottles, given dozens of baths and kissed Evie's scrumptious cheeks thousands of times. When we share Evie by letting friends hold her, grandmas bathe her and aunts and uncles give her a bottle, we do so with pride and generosity. We're happy that our friends and family love her and get to experience a little of the magic of our Evie Bea.
When we get together with R and G, we could feel differently. We could, instead, be jealous of them holding her and kissing her. We could feel annoyed that they are still a part of her life. We could begrudge them the time we spend keeping up their private blog and the gas we burn driving across town to see them. But we don't. We hand Evie to them each time and our eyes well up with pride and generosity. We're happy that they love her and get to experience a little of the magic of our Evie Bea.
Open adoption is a state of mind. It only makes you less of a parent if you decide to believe that it does.
Life in bullets, take 2 (0r 3?)
4 years ago