The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
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Are you approaching openness differently in 2013? What experiences from in the past year influenced you most?
Am I approaching openness differently?? Maybe, different as in not at all. Well not as aggressively as I could be. I could be messaging my son's adoptive mom every week, asking for a visit. I could be worrying more about it. The fact it that I've become somewhat ambivalent about my whole situation. I'm not sure if I want to push for visits because well, shes(adoptive mom) has been pretty good with the posting of pictures on face book and such. I mean, I know things like he lost two bottom front teeth and that he threw up at school and several of his antics at home and elsewhere through the glory of social network that I previously mentioned.
Honestly, I want to stay as harmless looking as possible. As well, as I have started to pursue things in life, fitness being a big one(got a YMCA membership and boy, do I use it!). I've also tried to focus inwardly, on my own emotional and spiritual health and in doing so, I kind of sometimes 'forget' that I want to know my one and only son because I just trust that if his adoptive parents see it fit not to involve me as much as they have before, then I should respect and honor that decision.
Also, the past about 3-4 visits have become a bit awkward as my son seems to have little interest in connecting with myself or even his half-brothers and Jacob.
I read a blog a while back that seemed to call me out on certain specific things I have written about before, in years past. When comments that specific are made, even if they don't directly mention me, I kind of know that that one half of the sentence, that was about how I'm a horrible person for wanting to visit my son because it means I'm abandoning him again and again and have done so far too many times. The fact that I probably stated somewhere that it's OK with me if my son is upset with me for choosing an adoption plan for him(in the future), that made me out as a sadist that thinks it's OK if children are hurt by the actions of an adult.
So, in light of that idea, at this point, I'm hoping that my son decides to ask to see me, because he is a very intelligent boy now. Says far more large words than other kids his age, even though his lack of co-ordination and the fact that he has a short attention span that seems to point to ADD(which I and Jacob have, really wish that wasn't so heritable!). Two years ago, his adoptive mom told me that he pointed me out on the Christmas postcard picture I sent them, and the fact that he could point to a picture and say "That's Cindy, she's my birthmom" that was the first nail in the coffin for my desire for visits. Because my goal in visiting was to make myself known. I often told myself, if my son knows who I am, then the reason for visiting is void.
Unless of course, he actually asks to see me. I feel terrible about the idea that I could have been 'forcing' him to see me all these years, and that's one of the biggest changes. I'm not going to force anything anymore.
Openness used to mean that I "get to see him". At least, that's how many of the people who know about the fact that I have a son seem to address openness in relationships(be it adoption or separated parents or extended family/friends that live far away). They are of the more old-fashioned crowd, but even younger folks tend to think that if you don't see a person IRL then you are not really a part of their life.
I get to be a part of gift giving and even though my gifts are rarely the ones he favors, I still know that he knows that they are from me because in past visits, when I enter their home, one of the first things that my son sometimes tries to do is round up all the things I have previously given him. If that doesn't show he knows they are from me, I don't know what would.
I think of openness in a more varied sense. For me it has become knowing about the facts of his daily life.
Like knowing the costumes he wore for Halloween, or seeing the ginger bread house he made(with help from adoptive dad, uncle, and cousin) or knowing that he is still taller then everyone his age, in his class, and in his family. Knowing the little facts that come about on social media give me peace that his life is far far far better than I could have even imagined for him. Just knowing about his life is openness now when previously, I felt as though visiting was paying so sort of social debt I had toward my relationship with my son.
I don't know exactly what made me change my attitudes so much. Part of it is that I just have lost my courage and confidence in seeing myself as an important part of my son's life.
The opinions of adopted persons, who seem very very very opposed to openness also make me feel too guilty to assert that I know there are benefits and the benefits often out weigh most of the cons that they propose. The fact is that many things I have read discourage me from trying harder. I feel that in just a few years, if face book died(or when face book dies) the last link of openness that I enjoy will be gone too, and I will probably be OK with that happening because I've known so much over the last 6 years. Maybe I have been too greedy and ending this unsatisfying relationship would be a relief and I can go on improving myself at the gym and my soul and mind in other ways, without being so obsessed about my sons life.
Honestly I will always think about him everyday, I have his pictures on my desk and in my purse.
All I want to do is for him to want to know me so that the weird dream I sometimes have of him randomly showing up at my front door can somehow come true and that's when I will feed him, take care of him for a day, and send him back home like I always imagine. But that's just a strange dream that will likely never happen.
What I have to accept is that I am not important to my son at this point. The time for teaching him who I am is likely almost done and unless I'm wrong about that, I have to work on moving on and living to the best of my ability with the peace that comes from trusting that my son is doing well, he doesn't need me at all because I've given him the best family possible(they are actually better than I could have ever known)