Friday, April 3, 2009

Open

This latest showing has taught me a couple of things. First - for all my resolutions to keep non-news to myself, I pretty much tell everyone everything that's happening with this. And second - it is hard for a lot of the people I run my mouth to understand why we want an open adoption. Believe it or not, the two are related.

So the me and my mouth thing. It's not that I tell people's secrets. But I do tell my own. If you know me in real life (or if you met me in certain internet circles - Original ILC's holla!) then chances are good you know quite a bit about the paths Andrew and I have been on while we have worked towards building our family the past few years, both blogged and nonblogged. There were plenty of times that my choice to be open about our experiences made me uncomfortable: when I was experiencing disappointment, had a bad doctor's visit, or wanted to lock myself in a dark closet and sob without being bothered, for example. During those times I didn't always love it that there were friends and family loving on me in their various skilled and unskilled ways. There were plenty of moments when I swore through tears to Andrew that "from here on we're not talking to anyone about any of this!" But that feeling never lasted. Ultimately I'm glad that the people in my life know what's really happening with me, whether it's something they "get" or not. It might not always be the most comfortable choice, but it allows me to be real. And, in an odd way, it holds me accountable to my own experience, helping me to weave the more difficult parts of my life into the tapestry of moments and experiences that have formed me into the person I am. A person who I am usually very grateful to be.

There are lots of reasons why in general open adoptions are good: research has shown them to be extremely beneficial for adopted children, it allows access to genetic and medical history, and it can moderate in some ways the immense pain a birth mother feels at the loss of her child.

But this entry is about why open adoption is something that is a particularly good fit for us. (also transracial adoption, which forces a certain sort of openness just by being what it is.) It fits me especially. If there is one thing I've learned so far in my journey towards parenthood it is that the payoff for openness in my life with the ones I love is worth the pain of all the small ways we let each other down.

I'm writing this down now, so I can come back later and re-read it. I know that if we are granted what we're praying for - an open adoption with a birth-family we can trust and be involved with - there might be times when I desperately wish it was not so. I might need the reminder, in future dark-closet-sobbing moments, that there are good reasons we are hoping for this, that the payoff will be worth the immediate cost, that dealing openly with reality is the choice we have always made, and we're good at it.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, though I don't always comment I am always interested in reading your story and I'm sure through your openness you are encouraging a lot of other people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can definitely relate to this post. I am still trying to find the balance of letting people care for you and know about your struggles but protect yourself from feeling like you have made yourself too vulnerable. It's tricky.

    When we were preparing to adopt our first, we had to work through our feelings about a semi-open adoption. Some of our struggles surprised us a bit. I can honestly say it has been good to have that sense and connection to the birth family. There were some tough, highly emotional moments but I know our kids will benefit from us having experienced that with their birthfamily.
    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete
  3. I appreciate your openess. It frustrates me immensely that so many people suffer alone in silence through experiences that are shared by others. I think we could do so much to love one another by just sharing what we're going through. It is soooo comforting to know we are not alone.

    Before I had a miscarriage, I knew TWO women that had had one. And they only told me in hushed tones well after the fact- so it was more of informing privately than sharing the experience. After my miscarriage- when I made the decision to NOT be secretive about it- I was innundated with women (secretly) approaching me and saying- "me too."

    How sad that so many of these women suffered alone- thinking they were "the only ones".

    I guess my point is (sorry I'm rambling) that I commend your honesty. I know sometimes (from firsthand experience) it can bite you in the butt, but I prefer that to the alternative personally.

    ReplyDelete