The things I've been lucky enough to be part of in our little corner of the internet make me so happy, you don't even know. The Interview Project. Open Adoption Bloggers. The Open Adoption Roundtables. I love what we together have turned those projects into.
They also take a lot of time to organize. Time I could be spending with my family or my friends. Or, ahem, the pile of clothes in permanent residence on my bedroom floor. Todd is ridiculously supportive, but I know sometimes he wonders if it's worth it, especially when I'm creeping into bed at 3:00 a.m. after matching up interview partners or glued to my computer screen during those scarce hours we have when the kids are asleep. I wonder myself sometimes if I'll look back and wish I had chosen differently.
But the thought of not working on those projects, not writing here, not reading your blogs--it deflates me. Because I believe so strongly in the ways we are collectively using social media to augment and create adoption support and education. And I can't imagine not being a part of it.
Social media changed the very shape of my family. Todd and I went into open adoption waving our pom poms and cheering to beat the band. We were open adoption cheerleaders to the core. I haven't lost that certainty that child-centered openness is the healthiest approach, but I want to bury my face in my hands at how naive our enthusiasm was. We really thought that open adoption solved everything; that there were problems and long-term pain the way infant adoption used to be practiced, but open adoption had changed that. (Agency #1 was responsible for a lot of that view, but I won't put all the blame on them.)
Because open adoption was a magical panacea, my mental version of a successful open adoption was one in which no one struggled. Everybody involved would be confident, happy, and secure. Reality hit for me shortly after Eddie was born. Being around his first family, especially Kelly, pushed all sorts of buttons I was horrified to find that I had. Then a really awkward thing happened with Kelly's parents and I was scared that if I responded the wrong way I'd blow my son's chance to grow up knowing his family of origin. I worried a lot. I chastised myself a lot. I was frustrated, anxious, and feeling like something must be wrong with me because my experience didn't match the success story I had in my mind.
I tried reaching out to the agency, more than once. They were the opposite of helpful. No one was talking about these sorts of challenges at Agency #1 or in the literature they recommended. I didn't feel like I could talk to my friends about it, because I worried they'd pity me and not understand why we wanted to forge on with open adoption. Todd and I were pretty much the sum total of each other's adoption support. So I pushed it all down inside and pretended everything was great, all the while knowing there was no way I could do this for years on end.
Our naivete almost cost us so much in our open adoption.
This post is already too long. Part two tomorrow.