November 25, 2011

Anyone But You

There was an open adoption roundtable last year that asked what you don't want shared in your open adoption relationships. I started a response but never published it. In a nutshell, it said that there's not much I wouldn't want shared with me if it were shared honestly. If folks were willing to trust me with something, I would want to hear it. We all know that a relationship in which everyone just pretends everything is peachy keen is about as deep as a rain puddle, which is not what I want for our open adoptions.

Everything that is, except for this one thing.

I didn't ever want to know that one of the kids' first parents regretted placing their child with us. Us specifically, not adoption in general--not that they wished they hadn't placed their child at all, but that they wished they had chosen different adoptive parents. If Beth, Ray, or Kelly feel that way, they have every right to their feelings, I just want to live in ignorance. If there are issues to raise with me, raise them; specific things I could change, by all means let me know. But if deep down you feel that you picked the completely wrong parents for your child and nothing will ever change that, I hope I never know. It's hard to imagine any good coming out of knowing; I wouldn't know where to take a relationship from there.

Four months after that roundtable and the post I never published, we learned that Eddie had a little brother whom Kelly placed for adoption. And it felt like I was indirectly being told the thing I hoped never to hear.

I didn't know then, and still don't know now (nor do I think she has any obligation to tell me, to be clear) why she didn't ask us to raise BabyBrother. In my head I know there could be any number of reasons. But the deep, tender (and self-centered) part of me read it only as rejection of me and her decision to entrust Eddie to us in the first place. Because it is not that Kelly would never place another child for adoption, it's that she apparently did not want him adopted by us. She got her chance for a do-over and picked better this time around.

And that is what tears me up inside when I think about BabyBrother's adoption, what I'm still searching for a way to process: that if I had done something differently, said something differently, been someone different during the five years we knew Kelly before BabyBrother was born, that Eddie would have one of his biological siblings here with him, a brother in more ways than one. But she didn't want him with us.

There are very few true failures I feel I've had in my life, failures that couldn't somehow be at least partially made right. But this is one of them. And I've been astounded by how deeply it's shaken me.

(Again, I want to make it clear that my feelings are my own and I don't hold Kelly in any way responsible for them.  Nor am I questioning the decisions she made around BabyBrother, which she had every right to make completely independent from our family. This is about my emotional reaction to the adoption, which hit me intensely and has not lessened over time. This is me trying to understand it and process it for myself so that it doesn't affect my long-term relationship with my son's first mother. I owe it to Eddie to have the healthiest relationship I can with Kelly and this is work I need to do on my side in order to have that.)


Anonymous said...

I completely understand your feelings and give you huge credit for talking about them without blame or anger.

There are 100 things I want to tell you, from reasons I see why she might have made this choice, to things about my own relationship with M&P which they might feel are judgements on them but really truly aren't, but I won't say those things. At the end of the day, people feel how they feel about a situation whether it reality or not (but I must say I highly doubt it's reality that this decision was a judgement against you)

So all I can say is I'm listening (or reading) and you're not alone in feeling these things.

Sonya said...

One theory from the outside looking in is this: She respects y'all so much and wants your approval, that she couldn't handle the embarrasement of letting you know about Babybrother. I in NO WAY think that it was a regret of her choice of you for Eddie. Don't let it come between you in the future. Our oldest son's bmom came to visit when her newest baby was 5 weeks old. I gushed over how cute she was (wishing she were mine, selfishly) and R said "If you keep talking about how cute she is, I'm gonna leave her here with you". I wonder often if she was reaching out, or thinking she would place if we would be willing for another....I don't know, and never will. Don't beat yourself up over what you think might be the reasons..."it is what it is, and it's gonna be what it's gonna be" life motto!

mhbenes said...

Oh, I'm so sorry this happened to you. And I'm sorry you're hurting so much about it.

Andy said...

You are so very insightful to your feelings. I would imagine that I would feel just like that if I were to find out that Liam's Mom had chosen a different family to place another child with.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Oh, Heather. I didn't put the pieces together when you first posted about BabyBrother. Of COURSE you would feel this way. Which is my way of saying *I* would feel this way (still not sure why I didn't connect the dots, though -- I was focused on the secrecy part).

I think there's a lot of value in what Racilous and Sonya say. The only way you can know the real reason is if you ask K and she is honest with herself and with you. All speculation is merely mindchatter, twisting you around.

Hugs to you on dealing with these very difficult emotions. XOXO

Lori Lavender Luz said...

BTW, I'm not suggesting that you ask K. Or don't ask K. I meant to indicate that the part you have control over is the mindchatter.

Anonymous said...

I think I would feel the same way. I won't even try to guess at what went into her decision, but I can imagine how painful it must feel from your side of it. Openness, honesty, all the things you already know, are probably the only way you'll ever make sense of it for yourself and for Eddie - and you're doing all of those things. xox

Kate said...

Yeah, that would pretty much devastate me (not so much the not raising my daughter's sibling, as not being chosen to). I don't know if this applies in your situation, but our daughter's birthmom got pregnant again within months of our girl's birth, and decided to parent this time. I think though, had she chosen adoption, she likely would have chosen a different family because her daughter's father (who is not our daughter's birthdad) would have been dead set against us adopting his daughter (we're a lesbian couple and he isn't wild about even being in the same room as us). So is it possible that K's baby's father (or other family members) had some input into the decision that made her choose a different path?
Hugs to - it was hard enough to know we'd have to explain her choice to parent so very soon, to our daughter, so I really feel for you, both personally, and having to later talk to your little one about her decision.

It Is What It Is said...

I am sorry you are so tangled up about this. And, it sounds to me that what you want "the healthiest relationship with Kelly" and what you don't want "I didn't ever want to know that one of the kids' first parents regretted placing their child with us." are at odds with each other in a way that might not be easily reconciled. I am not suggesting that you broach a subject wherein you truly do not want to hear her truthful answer, but I believe that her placing BabyBrother with other adoptive parents has everything to do Kelly and not nearly as much to do with you as your internal dialogue would have you believe.

I hope you find peace surrounding this very difficult coming to terms.

Claudia said...

I never understood, when you first posted about it, why it was so hard to find out about Eddie's baby brother.

Now I feel stupid for not connecting those dots.

I have daydreams (if that is the right word) about adopting siblings of my current two kids. I think that part of it, for me, is that I would LOVE to have more kids from that same wonderful gene pool. I'm trying to write this without making it sound like I see their first parents as a baby factory. Please believe that I don't. But most people (ie, those who have kids the usual way) get to know that their next child is going to come from the same DNA as their others, and until I started thinking about adopting again, I never realised what a big loss that is for all of us, that we don't get to have that. I would like to say 'these kids are awesome! Same again, please' but I feel horribly guilty for even having those thoughts.

And yet, there they are.

So, this makes a lot of sense to me in all kinds of ways. I'm so sorry for how hard this has been. I'm really glad that this little guy and Eddie are going to be part of each others' lives - but I'm so sorry about all the pain that must surround it for you.

mama2roo said...

Somehow, I missed this post! I can really see how you would struggle with that and as usual, have no wisdom or answers. All I can do is pray that it works out to have the best of connections with Puppy and baby brother over the years so they can benefit from that relationship. There could be many many reasons they didn't place with you that you can't even imagine (I've stopped trying to guess or predict anything as it relates to Woob's birthfamily--I'm ALWAYS wrong!). But the fact is you are such fantastic parents to Eddie. And that is waht matters most right now. <3

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