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.)