August 29, 2011

Our Day With Ray

One of the things we got to do on our long road trip was see each of Eddi'es first parents. We live 1000 miles apart, so being together in person is always a treat. Todd took care of scheduling days, but we had Eddie decide how he wanted to spend the time. For our day with Ray, his first dad, he settled on a beach trip.

We met Ray in a parking lot about halfway between his house and where were staying and all piled into our car to drive to the beach. I feel like a broken record, I say this so often, but Eddie thinks Ray is the bee's knees. He loves him wholeheartedly.  He warmed right up to him as we stuffed ourselves into the car, me in the backseat between the kids in their carseats, Ray up front in the passanger seat.

Despite it being hot hot hot that week, the beach we went to was windy and downright not warm at first. The kids didn't seem to mind. Mari got right to work digging in the sand (she discovered a bitty plastic green army guy at some point, which pretty much made her day).

It was a pleasant day. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Todd dug a big sand pit that the kids jumped into with glee. Mari dared to go into the water at one point, her first time touching the ocean. It even warmed up a bit when the wind stopped blowing. And Eddie was so very happy, there with "my Ray," as he calls him.

For a good stretch of the afternoon I sat on the blanket with Mari next to me in the sand, while Eddie, Todd and Ray explored the beach. I watched the three of them playing at the edge of the water, Eddie dancing and laughing in the waves. He would bounce around Ray, tugging at him, being goofy with him, enjoying Ray and the water and the sun as Todd and Ray talked over his head in the spaces between his words, as adults do. Bigger waves would come and Eddie would reach out for Todd's hand, seeking safety. I watched them for a long time like that, Eddie between his two fathers, finding his comfort and happiness in the space between them as he needed it. Contained in that moment, it felt simple. Relaxed. Right.

August 24, 2011

Would someone please yell at me that posts do not need to be perfect, but they do need to be published?

Much obliged.

August 16, 2011

Road Trip, By the Numbers

21days away from home
6cities slept in
2,523 miles driven
2 children trapped safely contained in car seats for all 2,523 miles
4average age of aforementioned children, who did remarkably well, all things considered
4times McNuggets were purchased (oh, the shame)
2happy visits to Zankou Chicken (I'm telling you, their tarna wraps will be served in heaven)
20children's DVD titles available for viewing in the car
47approximate number of times Toy Story was chosen
1car (big) borrowed from my parents that made trip possible
3rules imposed by said parents as condition of using big car (no eating, no drinking, no shoes inside car)
10hours of driving time added by trying to comply with said rules
0percent chance we had of actually following every rule, every day (shhh, don't tell my parents)
2conferences attended
12online friends met in person
-1days worth of clean laundry we had by the final day of the trip
4people brimming with good memories but very happy to be HOME

August 03, 2011


Eddie wanted to talk about his brother the other week. BabyBrother had turned one year old, a little smiling, curly-haired boy. Eddie and I looked together at a new picture of him his adoptive mom had linked to on her Twitter account. I wondered why I felt like a stalker, looking at a public picture someone had put out on their public Twitter stream.

"Do you think he knows how to walk yet?" Eddie wanted to know on another day. "I don't know," I told him. I find myself saying that a lot when Eddie asks about him.

What little I know about BabyBrother comes from what his parents tweet here and there. As I feared, Kelly's parents clammed up and wouldn't answer even the small questions I tried to ask about him after that afternoon last fall when they burst out with the news of his existence. As he turned one year old I was still wrestling with how to deal with the strange limbo of us knowing but Kelly still not having officially told us about him.

I can see that BabyBrother is less real to Eddie than Kelly's other child, Robin. Robin he has seen and played with. He readily claims her as a sister alongside Mari. "Why is BabyBrother my brother again?" he wanted to know last week. "Because Kelly is his birth mom, too," I answered. "You and Robin and BabyBrother all grew in Kelly's uterus." "I have a brother and Mari has a brother but Mari doesn't have a sister," he said, sorting it out in his own way.

That's where we are with siblings right now in our house. Some people are your brothers and sisters because you grew in the same uterus and have the same birth mom, some people are your brothers and sisters because you are growing up in the same house and have the same everyday mom and dad. I can sense the bigger questions of why around the bend for Eddie. Kelly isn't raising any of her three children right now, which I think delays perhaps the question of why Eddie is here and not there, since none of them are there, if there is with Kelly.

There has been sadness over the last year, though, expressed in the way Eddie expresses it, about his brother and sister being far away. Some sense for him that you should know if your little brother knows how to walk yet or what he likes to play with or what he sounds like. Because of course he does know these things about Mari and, to some degree, about Robin. And siblings should grow up together, generally speaking. I've been trying lately to open up space for him to talk about his feelings when he is ready by acknowledging that I have my own. "I'm glad that we have these pictures of BabyBrother to look at. His smile makes me smile," I say. "I hope we get to meet him someday. I feel sad that we haven't met him yet."

"It's a long life," a friend in an open adoption recently shared, a phrase that is swiftly becoming my mantra. Things change. People grow. Feelings shift. It has been good for me to be reminded to take the long view in coming alongside Eddie as he grows up apart from his siblings by birth. I don't know what those connections will look like in the future. But I know it will not be just as it is now. I'm holding on to that.

Read other bloggers' experiences with talking about siblings in open adoption at the open adoption roundtable
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...