January 04, 2008

Some Things I Want to Remember

Last Friday we woke Puppy up in the early morning and bundled him into the car to visit Ms B. He ate his banana and smiled patiently at us as we drove south through misty farm land.

We have a final "official" meeting with Ms B next week, one facilitated by an agency counselor. At that meeting we will work on a draft version of the open adoption agreement and hear what kind of interaction with us Ms B would like during her time in the hospital. We really wanted to see her once more before that more formal time.

We picked her up and went to the city library, where Puppy could enjoy himself in the children's section and we could sit and talk. Her stepfather joined us for an hour or so. Gracious yet reserved, he kindly let Puppy show him page after page in a Thomas the Tank Engine book. Somewhat out of the blue he started to share about what it was like for him to be a white parent of two children of color. "I've always thought the greatest gift I gave them and the greatest mistake I made was ignoring their race. It was the spirit of the times, I suppose. We all thought the best thing to do was to be color blind."

After the library, we had lunch together, then drove Ms B home. It was an enjoyable time. We touched on some deeper topics, but for the most part it was a lighthearted morning. Getting to know one another better and joking around a bit. It may seem strange to talk of laughter when it is such a serious matter that brings us together in the first place. But it is the combination of the more vulnerable conversations and these easygoing interactions that make it possible for me to envision entering into an open adoption with her. I do not think it is necessary to enjoy the company of your child's other parents in order to have an open adoption, but it does make it immensely easier.

Oh--Baby B has a name now! A first name, at least. Ms B was upfront from the beginning about not wanting her daughter's name changed, a conviction born of personal experience. (I realize there are a range of positions on naming in adoption. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer.) But she didn't have a name picked out; she had cycled through a couple, but not found one that really fit. So T and I have had the privilege of collaborating with her on possible names. We finally hit upon one which resonated with us all. I found it while noodling around the Social Security website. I was nervous about putting it on the table, because I had grown rather fond of it in the week or so I was mentally trying it out. But when I shared it, B immediately said, "Oh, yes." It is not super common (important to someone who grew up with the #3 name for her birthyear), it means "light," and I love it.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad for all of you that your relationship is blooming.

Her stepfather's presence...what a bonus that must have been that day, for him to show his support as well as to speak from his heart about something that is obviously near and dear to it.

"I do not think it is necessary to enjoy the company of your child's other parents in order to have an open adoption, but it does make it immensely easier."--Absolutely. I think our youngest's open adoption is such an example...although I wish things could be different. But it's the commitment to the child's welfare that has kept all of us involved. Thank goodness, it appears that in your case, it will be an actual relationship based on mutual liking!

Tammy said...

What an uplifting post about the possibilities of openness in adoption. Once again, I can see the benefit that considering an adoption placement and starting a relationshop pre-birth can bring (when it includes a mindset towards doing things right). Meeting her stepfather had to add an amazing dimension of understanding, and picking a name together is a bonding experience, one that I wish would have been more defined in our experiences.

Our matches were both relatively short (48 hours and two weeks) which have their benfits but also, you just don't have the chance on either side of things to know each other.

It sounds like you are setting the foundation for a good relationship. Many blessing to you, T, Puppy, Ms B and Baby...

And Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Awesome on the name collaboration!

Glad to hear things are going well!

Clementine said...

Reading about your get-together with Ms. B and her stepfather takes me back to when we met Ariana this time last year. It was important to me that we like each other, and I'm so glad that we did (and do).

And now I'm SO curious about the name that you and Ms. B chose for this little girl! Hester's real name means "light" as well, and it's also not so common. Hmm....

Anonymous said...

I love these posts where you share how things are progressing. They are honest, real, hopeful and show the vulnerability, realness, yet how sweetly the new relationship with B. is blossoming.

Thank you for sharing these times with us.

Corey~living and loving said...

oh how this post made me smile. I am so very thrilled you have all settled on a name that you like. what a blessing.

Heather said...

You all are so supportive! You rock.

Mindy, looking back T and I really wish we had thought more about compatibility in our first adoption. It doesn't change our commitment any, but it does make it...bumpier sometimes. It's not that we want to go back and undo things. It just would have helped to be better prepared for some of the bumps.

Clementine, it's not a secret. I emailed you. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to add, just that I love reading these posts about your family navigating some of the big stuff and the little details.

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