So I made an attempt to address the first OA Roundtable prompt (an admittedly lame attempt but an attempt all the same). I consider my last attempt lame because I couldn’t come up with an answer. Seven years into OA and I couldn’t answer:
What do you know now that you wish you knew then? Has the reality of open adoption as it’s looked in your life matched your expectations? What one thing about open adoption would you tell your past self, if you could?
I started writing with an idea in mind but by the time I got to the end all I had in me was an, “I don’t know.” Well thanks to last night I now do know. So here I am flouting all the rules (are there rules?)and taking a second shot at this topic.
I have a three year old niece. Yesterday was an auntie/niece day. We built “houses” with duplos, played dress up, blew lots of bubbles, and watched the same dvd 3 times. Not once did I mention my son. Don’t get me wrong, she knows about her cousin. There are pictures at my house, at her house, and at my parent’s house. She knows his name and that he’s her cousin and she knows he doesn’t live with me. Although now that I think about it we’ve never explained WHY he doesn’t live with me she just knows that at aunt Katja’s house there are two cats inside, one cat outside, aunt kat, and two roommates.
So anyway after spending time I went to my parents house and after a few minutes my BabySister, SoliderBoy and Babykins showed up there as well. And they brought with them a story. Apparently on the way to my parents house Babykins has shared with her parents the following story:
“My cousin, Kidlet, and I played over there momma. We rolled down that hill and then we cried because we were stuck.”
After BabySister retold this to us well looked at Babykins and she confirmed it by emphatically insisting she and Kidlet had rolled down the hill.
She also requested a visit with her cousin.
So what does this have to do with the roundtable question? If I could go back in time and tell my 17 year old self anything about Open Adoption I would explain the ramifications not on myself but on those around me. I would remind myself that the child I was carrying was not only my son, he is also my parent’s grandson, my sister’s nephew, my future neices’ cousin, and my future children’s brother.
I would tell myself that these other relationships are important and need to be respected. I would advise myself to request J&M to come to the Northwest prior to my due date to meet my family. I would ask my family to be involved in my communications with them.
As it is my parents only met J&M once each and my sisters never met them. And it was while I was recovering from a not so awesome c-section. They did not make the best impression (IMO I’m not sure what J&M think) as neither knew what to make of the situation or if they could trust J&M to follow through on the openness.
So no, meine Nichte, you can’t go visit Kidlet. At least not at the moment. I’m sorry I didn’t lay the groundwork for this to be possible. Someday I hope you will get your visit with your cousin and maybe you’ll even get to roll down that hill together.