This is parenting in a nutshell, isn't it? Bearing witness to the hard and to the good in our children's lives and not being able to do a damned thing but be present with them in the middle of it.
Back when we were hashing out the details of our open adoption agreement with Beth, I was thinking a lot about things I wished we had done differently in our first adoption. I got fixated on this idea that the agreement needed to somehow reflect the fact that child centered open adoption is a two-way street. (Which morphs into a multi-lane intersection as the child grows up.) I didn't want the agreement to only be about protecting Beth's rights to visitation and communication, as important as those things were. I wanted her commitment to stay in Firefly's life written down the same way as our promises.
Todd and I decided that, worst case scenario, we hoped Firefly would at least hear from Beth on her birthday and at Christmas. Nothing like that was in the agency's standard agreement template, so we asked them to add it. And there it now sits, in sparse legal-ish language, right after our promise to let Firefly to send and receive communication from Beth: "Beth agrees to provide the child with a letter at least two times a year."
As it turns out, Beth is the type who not only never fails to have a present at appropriate points for Firefly, but brings one for Puppy, too. Even so, that one stupid sentence relieves me of a lot of worry. Not that we'd ever actually haul Beth into mediation if she missed a few birthday cards. But at least I'd be able to say, "Hey, you promised."
I suppose it's obvious why I'm thinking about that tonight.