Monday, January 17, 2011

true confessions and adoption angst

We had lunch with Tristan's birthfamily Friday. Honestly, you know, we're in the early stages of walking out open adoption, so it's all new and a little confusing to us. So much of life is like that, though. You have to make decisions, and so you make the best one you can, and then you live out what that decision means. 

When we first heard the visit request, it seemed a little soon. Tristan's only 2 months, and we thought the first visit was usually later, like 6 months. Still, we decided to go for it. One factor in ours being sooner than most is the fact that we finalized in 30 days, instead of the 6 months or a year some states require. 

As a mom, I was nervous. Originally we planned to bring the big kids, and then I had a sleepless night imagining all the inappropriate things Toby might say, so we axed that idea. I worried about how the baby would feel. Would there be some instinctive maternal tie, and he'd love her more than me? Would they think we were parenting him right? I obsessed a little about his cradle cap, his clothes, his fingernails. I worried they'd be resentful, they'd be regretful, wishing they hadn't placed him with us.

In the end, it went well. Once we were there, and his birthmom picked him up, I found myself hoping he'd love her, smile at her. I didn't feel jealous, I felt proud of what a perfect baby he is, how beautiful he is, how alert and bright. I wanted him celebrated. We passed him around the table, from arms to arms, celebrating him. We talked and we ate, trying to find common ground here and there, always coming back to the primary common ground in his Pooh overalls.

When he was finally handed back to me, I wrapped my hand around his little back instinctively, and he nestled into place on my shoulder. We belong together, he and I.

We took pictures of his birthmom and dad holding him as we were leaving, and I could feel the ache in her to just hold him a little bit longer. I can't imagine what that feels like, saying goodbye again. I told her to hold him for a little while, and she did. When she was ready, she buckled him in his carseat and we all hugged and said goodbye. His grandma whispered in my ear, "Thanks for taking such good care of him." I think a little piece of my heart healed, hearing her confidence in their decision. 

So, another open adoption first. What a precious gift they've given us.

Tristan and his first mom


  1. Oh, Jess, you are a wonderful mother and did everything right. I am so glad you are having such a positive experience for everyone's sake.

    Tristan will thank you for it one day!

  2. Open adoption can be a tricky road to navigate. I don't think there is a one size fit's all plan. We saw Em's birthmom for the first time at about a month old, and the birth father at about two months. We've seen her birthmom many times over the last 16 months. Off the top of my head, I'm going to guess about 13 times. We've formed a wonderful friendship with her. I told her the other day I think of her as a friend, more than I do as Em's birthmom. I apologized for that. But she said it was what she needed.

    It's amazing what a blessing it is for a mom's heart to hear with confidence a first mom say that she knows she made the right decision.

  3. You are doing so amazingly! I would have been terrified!

  4. That's wonderful. It's always a little scary at first. The first time we had our birthmom to our house I was so afraid she would look at our house and change her mind. (Even though she had seen pictures of our house.)

    Glad it went well.


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