Open Adoption – Reflections On The Journey

hands

I sat at my desk browsing for gifts, ears keenly attuned to the sounds from the adjoining family room. I’d let my twins sit at their table, their art pads open and one single instruction.

“Make a card and write a note in it for your mom’s birthday. All I ask is that you think about what you want to say before you start writing.”

I held each child’s face in my hands, our eyes peering into our souls as I tasked them and turned around and left to the privacy of my study. They worked in silence, the sketch pens scratching paper. I was midway through an article on why Hillary is the most accomplished person to be President in this election when I felt Ammu beside me before I saw her.

“Am done!”

She thrust a sealed envelope to me. On the top in her neatly printed hand was written “To Mommy B, With Love Ammu” She had even stuck a sticker where the stamp should have been. I found my eyes misting as I drew her close to me. With her permission, I opened the note and teared up all over again.

Pattu came as soon as Ammu left, clutching her letter. Hers was simpler. A single sheet folded to mimic a trifold card, with a heart cut out at the center. Her letter was longer, delving into feelings and making requests. I took pictures of her note and she left hers behind as she ran behind her sister ostensibly to play.

I dutifully emailed the notes to their mom and sat back in my chair overwhelmed by the intensity of my feelings. I read and re-read the notes, committing the shape of the lettering, the wealth of emotions and complex feelings it evoked to mind.

In the early days of our becoming a family, talk about adoption and being adopted were rife. I snuggled with them at bedtime, whispering the story of how we became a family, offering every detail of their life before us for them to remember. With each passing year, the conversations spread out over time, bubbling up to the surface only when circumstances demanded them. We still pored over old pictures, relived anecdotes from the early days and reveled in the cute, cuddly babies they once were. Adoption firmly relegated itself to the past only coming up around holidays, birthdays and milestones.

This week, I realize we have been a family for more than six years. When we stepped into unknown worlds of open adoption, we forged ahead on blind faith hoping that our beliefs will translate into reality. Each time I said to my daughters that they have two families and they should never have to feel like they have to pick one over the other, I believed it with every fiber of my being. After our visit last year, they have faces to put to names and memories that color their expectations of what they want in the future.

Reading their letters today reminded me of the trepidation from years back when we were on unknown territory. Today that has given way to confidence that what we are doing is right and while the relationships are complex, the children have absorbed it well. There is no hesitation, no holding back when they express love to both of us. That to me is worth rooting for.

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