When Andrew and I first started discussing what an adoption would look like for us, we initially ruled out an open adoption. When we started digging past the stories on the news we started to see a different face of adoption. Our agency also put some of our fears to rest by introducing us to families in open adoptions and helping us sort out our fears from what is best for Claire. I worked in Child Welfare for a few years before Evelyn was born. It took a loooong time for me to realize that an open adoption without State involvement looks much different. It’s hard to explain the nuances, but it’s a different atmosphere in the relationships when you’ve been chosen – when you’ve had a conversation – when you know that everyone is making their own choices. That goes a long way.
We are thrilled that we are able to visit with Claire’s biological parents and their families. Once we really got down to it and did some soul searching, we realized it was completely the way to go. No question. She will always know who she is – where she comes from – her story will be retold to her by many people, not just Andrew & me – and she will be loved from all sides. In addition, her birth families will always know how she is – who she is – and be able to share the joy as she grows. We’ve enjoyed getting to know Zeb & Rita a little bit and are excited for the girls to grow up with family in the area. Zeb’s parents live out towards the mountains and Evelyn loves to tell us how they have “a river and grass and rainbows at their house.” (We’ve seen rainbows both times we visited there.) As time goes on we meet more people and our circle expands a little further – and amazingly enough, they all accept Evelyn as part of the package deal.
I know this seems strange to many folks and I’ll be honest – it’s not for everyone. I typically say, “if in the same situation I bet you’d do the same thing.” That’s not true here. Open adoption and integrated families aren’t for everyone. Thankfully, our parents brought us up with lots of adults who weren’t related to us that felt like family. Our best friends feel like family. Adding more folks in takes time, certainly, and a little patience & understanding as we get to know each other, but the rewards are boundless, and in the end, it’s quite simple.
Evelyn and Claire are loved forever and unconditionally. Our family has plenty of opportunity to be Just Us and enjoy the little things that make a family click. Outside of that, they have a whole slew of adults with whom they have very special relationships. Each relationship is special – each is different – and each is determined by that adult and that child. We also get the pleasure of new friends.
Enough explaining. . . . just know that there are more family members that will grace the blog. I suppose I just felt the need to “introduce” them, in a way. As always, questions are welcome. If you click on the photos you’ll get bigger images w/ captions.