May 31, 2008

Feeling Good After a Visit

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!

14 comments:

Panamahat said...

I wasn't authorised to view the pics, sadly, (here from NCLM) but I bet they are beautiful. I'm gald you had a great visit and that open adoption has been a good thing for you. I am also sorry I missed the piece you took down. Sounded like something really special!

Dawn said...

Can you talk some about the support the agency offers for first parents? I'd love to hear more about that!!

Tammy said...

Oh Heather I'm glad you are continuing to grow the relnship with Ms B. It does my heart good to hear of another open relationship unfolding positively.

Blessings to all of you!

JJandFive said...

Just curious, which of you initiates visits? We have visits about once a month, sometimes a bit more time in between... both initiating.
I, too, want to hear more about your agency's care for Ms. B. Sounds great...

Heather.PNR said...

@jjandfive - It's been both, although Ms B has more input into the spacing right now (I think that's probably going to be true for this first year). The first one she initiated. She wasn't sure how long she'd need post-placement, so she wanted to control the timing. The second neither T or I can remember who initiated (which is either a sign of our zen-ness at the moment or our lame-ness). The third was initiated by me; I was going to be in her town and we got together for coffee. At that time, we talked a little about Mother's Day and decided we'd get together at the end of the month instead (this visit). It's been pretty organic so far.

As far as the post-placement support goes, I think I'll take it to a new post. :)

Mama Bear said...

couldn't see the pics either - sounds like things are going great

Me said...

Wow I can not believe they sent Ms B all of those things! I think that would have seriously wrecked me right after I 1st placed my daughter. Very sad. :(

Busted said...

Also couldn't see the pics, but it sounds like you have a really great open adoption scenario. I'm sure Firefly and Puppy are precious!

(via NCLM).

JamieD said...

I can't imagine how difficult it is for both you and Ms B - trying to make it through the parallels. I never thought of it this way.

I hope your relationship continues to grow!

starsgoblue said...

I'm happy that everything is going smoothly for you.

katedaphne said...

Here from NCLM. I enjoy reading about your open adoption. I am not ready for adoption, tho my IF treatments haven't been going so well, and I have a really hard time envisioning open adoption in my life. So it is very helpful to see others as they live it. Thanks for sharing, I'll be back!

Heather.PNR said...

@katedaphne - I think many of us had a hard time envisioning ourselves in open adoptions. I often tell people that open adoption can look confusing and strange from the outside, but just makes a lot of sense once you're on the inside. Perhaps that is true for all adoption in some respects.

Best wishes for your IF treatments. Hope to see you back here soon. :)

anymommy said...

I think good professional support is so important after placement. I haven't experienced open adoption but I have adopted children after infancy. I know the bonding and attachment period would have been a much less lonely and frightening time if we had had better support.

I just found your blog (through your comment to me) and I'm very happy to 'meet' you. I'm looking forward to learning more about your family and your experiences with open adoption. I sincerely wish that were an option for my daughter (to know her birth family) and at the same time there is a quiet relief that it isn't possible.

Rachel said...

I am glad to hear your adoptoin is going so well.

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