Progress continues toward communication with Firefly's paternal grandmother. It looks like we have a date set for a conference call with her early next month. I honestly have no idea what she thinks of us at this point in time, so I'm pretty curious about where the conversation is going to go. I believe she's sincere about wanting a connection with Firefly. We'll start there and see where we end up.
I have been very grateful for the involvement of our former agency social worker in all this, both as a sounding board and an intermediary during these beginning stages. There are topics and comments that are more easily broached by a third party, someone who won't be part of any eventual relationship.
If you're serious about wanting an open adoption, my unsolicited advice is to find an agency that offers strong post-adoption services. Not one that just pays lip service to them on their website (I think every agency claims to offer "lifelong counseling"). But can they give specific examples of support services they've recently provided? Is it common for clients to access the services? What happens when the particular staff members you worked with leave the agency? Your family may never need the help, but if you do it's so helpful to have it. It's hard, because a lot of one's experience with an agency depends on which specific counselors you end up working with. I've met people who had a much different experience with the same agency that has supported us so well. But at least you can figure out if there's a value for nurturing openness over the long haul.
Meanwhile, we've been spending a lot of time talking with one of the kid's birth parents who is facing some crises right now. It's a straightforward situation I suppose, in that no job means no money for the stuff of life. But the reasons behind the no job and the no money are more complicated because people and life are complicated. Poverty is chaotic. Mental illness can be chaotic. Addiction is chaotic. The economy sucketh. So we try to figure out how we can help from a distance in ways that are actually productive in the long-term instead of just continuing a messy loop. Our decisions aren't always what this person wants to hear in the moment. That's okay. But it's not always easy.
I don't know if any of you are even interested in these mundane things. But I think it fits here, in the middle of our ongoing story, because sometimes in our family this is what open adoption looks like. The gauzy happy scenes of shared love are real. But so are these episodes. I don't think of it much in terms of open adoption when it's happening, because it's more just about interacting with the people who in our life. Our children's families. But in a way it is about openness, because if the adoptions were closed up tight in the beginning none of this even be on our radar screen. Not a worthwhile trade-off, in my mind.