Ms B came over for lunch today with her friends. It's the fourth time she's seen Firefly since the placement in mid-February. We didn't plan that one way or the other, it's just how things have happened so far. There is no magic number that's right for everyone, but I thought I'd throw that out there since I always find it interesting to get data points from other open adoption families.
She brought Firefly's social security card with her. The card is one of a string of government communications that have followed her after the relinquishment. (She's also received a state health care card for Firefly and a call about a state screening test result. And of course the usual marketing materials from formula companies and their ilk.) She said at one low point she was afraid to check her mail for fear of getting another "To the parent of..." thing. It's as if Firefly exists in two parallel worlds: one in which Ms B is still the parent of record and one in which she hangs in limbo with "Adoption Pending" stamped across her birth certificate (I kid you not--I was bummed when we got our copy). It troubles me that a system which so efficiently ended Ms B's parental rights can't manage to stop sending her these painful reminders. File it under sad, but not surprising.
I realized today that don't think I would change much about these past few months. It feels nice to be able to say that; I had so many insecurities at this point when we adopted Puppy. I was committed to living out openness but it wasn't feeling so great for me (that whole head vs. heart, feelings vs. actions thing). There are a lot different factors, of course: we're second-timers, it's different players, a different agency. The agency support has made a world of difference for me. Their post-placement services for Ms B have been excellent. I'm concerned for Ms B because this is a hard time for her, but I'm not worried about her, if that distinction makes sense. And I don't fret some misstep on my part will tank our relationship because I know she'd talk it through with her counselor who'd help her bring it up me if needed. Working with an agency which treats people well leading up to an adoption is crucial, but in open adoption I think the aftercare is equally important and often gets short shrift.
Finally, Ms B was cool with me putting up some pictures from today. Enjoy!