We've had an interesting--and unexpected--series of emails this week. Someone in Firefly's extended family, on her birth dad's side, reached out to us through the adoption agency.
To understand why they were so unexpected, you should know that Kevin chose not to tell anyone in his family about Firefly until over a year after her birth and placement. From the accounts of it that reached us, his disclosure had just the effect he intended: there was an immediate explosion of fury directed at anyone who had anything to do with Firefly's life or adoption. The emotions ricocheted around and around in threats and violent words. It was the only time in this open adoption gig I've ever been remotely afraid for our family's safety. And believe me when I say it took a lot for me to get to that point.
Deep breathing and dark humor go a long way in such situations, I've discovered.
When months went by and it seemed that the words were only words, our guts told us to leave things alone for awhile. Give us all time to turn things over in our minds, give us space from everything that happened last spring. It certainly didn't seem like they wanted anything to do with us at that point. But after awhile doing nothing felt the same as saying we never wanted anything to do with them. And we didn't see how that would set Firefly up well in the future. So last month we mailed some pictures and a note to Kevin at the last address we had for him. There is no point in having an open door if no one knows it is open.
He must have shared the pictures with his family members, because one of them called our contact at the agency, and she in turn emailed us to see what next steps we'd like to take. Todd and I talked over what we would need to hear at this point to feel good about moving forward. Another phone call, more emails, and it seems those things are now true. So, slowly, we're heading onward.
When I dropped those pictures in the mail, I admit this isn't what I thought would happen next. Maybe down the road, but not now. It's an odd spot to be in, figuring out how to make allowances for things done or said out of understandable anger/grief while still maintaining a certain expectation of common decency. Open adoption doesn't mean being a pushover. But it certainly has me learning to let go of things that probably few outside the open adoption world--and perhaps even inside it--would fault me for hanging onto. But if it means we can push much of this into the past before Firefly is even aware of it all, I believe it will be worth it.