Monday, April 25, 2011

oh, and...

Our girl is officially 18 months old! So we had her picture taken by our very favorite photographer in the whole wide world. Click here for a teaser.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Everything has changed...

Easter was lovely, exhausting, rejuvenating, heartbreaking, and full of wonder. In Godly Play, when we get to the end of the story we tell during Lent and unroll the final section of the deep purple underlay it turns white. "Look" the storyteller says, "everything has changed."

I was reminded of this phrase early this morning, around 6:30am, when we turned on the lights and said the first Alleluia of Easter and reveled in the flowers, gold vestments, and deep joy of this the highest feast of our tradition. We do it every year, the 5am Great Vigil of Easter. And somehow, like the Godly Play story, every year it new. Look, I think to myself, everything has changed.

Last year as we sang the Great Alleluia I stood next to Mo. Melissa dressed in gold vestments myself and holding the book for her. I did a fine job in that role, but the entire three hours I only had eyes for the babe in the back of the room, being walked back and forth by Andrew. Yes, everything had changed.

This year A+J skipped the vigil. I served in a different role, this one only requiring a simple alb. When the lights flew on and the familiar inexplicable tears filled my eyes I found myself full of both wonder and wondering. Everything has changed - my daughter is a toddler, I am just weeks away from leaving my job at St. Paul's and heading to an internship at another parish, Andrew is weeks away from finishing school. Children who were wide-eyed three year olds when I began teaching Godly Play are savvy six or seven year olds now, and the savvy six year olds are world weary nine year olds who nonetheless ran screaming and joyful around the church at our sleepover last night playing hide and go seek.

I suppose this year it is a little less Everything has Changed and more that everything is changing. Some days the feeling of that change tugs me down a little, makes my eyes water, hurts in ways that are difficult to describe. But there is always Easter, there is always the pure celebration waiting on the other side of the loss that change can bring. And today of all days I feel eager to embrace that hopeful, bright and murky Mystery.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

OA Roundtable #25 - letters to somewhere

Heather's question this month for the Open Adoption Roundtable is a good one: Has open adoption ever felt like too much? Have you ever wanted to walk away?

A couple nights ago during jammy time (the 15-30 minutes before bedtime and after pajamas have been donned by the shortest member of our household) we pulled out the camera. J was in high-silly mode, running from one of us to the other, laughing, trying to zrrrbt our tummies and tickle us back. Andrew was playing the guitar I got him for his birthday, the first acoustic he's owned in a while. All three of us were singing, or trying the best we could in between giggles and tickles and full-on belly laughs. Eventually things wound down. Teeth were brushed, stories read, lights turned out, lullabies sung and after some half-hearted protesting J fell sound asleep. I plugged in the camera to look at the pictures, already wanting to relive the evening.

And the first thing the came to my mind as I fiddled with the images was Z. I often think about J's first mom when I am looking at pictures of our daughter. I am keenly aware of the power I wield as the photographer, the letter-writer, the mailer of information. I look at pictures of J to remember things we've shared together. Z looks at the photos we send to gain primary information about her daughter. It is hard for me to sort out my feelings about this.

I am never tempted to close our semi-open adoption, in fact I long for more contact and openness. Right now the communication is one way, from us to Z. It can feel like I am writing letters to nowhere. We have the agency's word that she picks them up, and a scrap of information here and there when I email for it. It is hard for me to avoid trying to see our pictures through her eyes, or imagining what she might think about them. I am someone who takes pleasure in pleasing the people I care about - finding ways to make sure they feel that I love them. This relationship challenges that desire because there isn't any feedback yet. I never mail off a package without a little bit of insecurity or anxiety. Some of it is me-focused (do I come off sounding like a jerk?) and some of it is fretting over my inability to know what questions she has, as if by simply knowing I'd be able to make it better. I tell myself that part is about Z but, upon reflection, its obviously also about me.

When I share the nature of our adoption with others, particularly the fact that at the moment Z doesn't contact us, people often seem to approve. When I share with them that we are hoping for more openness someday, responses are often wary. "That could really backfire on you," someone said to me just the other day.

I feel like while there are many ways that full openness could make our lives more complex it would also make them more honest. Z is family to my family, and that just is the truth. Right now our relationship is what it is, I send her updates and she gets them. I hope for something more because the reality is something bigger than me and my letters to somewhere.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

six years ago today

they say your wedding day is the best day of your life (or should be).

I say it was the first best day of our life, a day that set the tone for the many many other best days that did and will follow.

I'm excited for the next six! (or sixty!)