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Open Adoption During a Pandemic

Open adoption in the time of a pandemic. There will be no birth family visits this year. I won’t feel my heart pounding for the hour or so before we see them. Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Looking at my children and wanting to wrap them up in a tight hug because I know, each visit, brings something BIG. BIG hellos and goodbyes. BIG love. BIG memories. BIG connections.

Feeling disconnected from the boys’ first families is rough. I didn’t quite realize how much seeing them fuels me and completes my family until we knew we couldn’t safely see them this winter.

And finally, today, we FaceTimed with Rory’s birth mother and 2 of his sibby’s (R's current word for his birth siblings).

What took us so long I wonder?

There was an instant family connection when they picked up. A feeling of being so completely myself. I remember the first time, and subsequent times, picking out my outfit, R’s outfit, wanting to look good, look right, look like the mom I thought she wanted me to be. But today, R in pajamas and me with a hoodie and unwashed hair, it didn’t matter. The pleasant surprise of the ease with which we slipped into conversation.

The ease that only feels possible with the oldest of friends and the dearest of family members. Which, they are, aren’t they? The dearest of family members.

All together, we woke up Desi from his nap. What a funny thing to wake up to. Mama and papa around the crib and R holding up my phone with his tummy mommy and sibbys - all of us smiling and asking how his nap was.

Oh and that smile during the call. And I’m not talking about R’s. I’m talking about his birth sister’s smile. Her joy. I know that joy. I live with that joy. It’s a mirror image of R’s joy. She was so excited to tell me that she got 3 A’s and a B on her report card. What an honor to be the one she wanted to share that with.

Her favorite subject is math. So is R’s. A small piece of a gigantic puzzle clicked together. To know that connection feels so damn wonderful.

To hear Desi speak with R’s birth mom deepens this web we’re weaving as a family. Oh my heart.

During the call, our family felt a sense of togetherness and wholeness that I’ve missed.

And then we hung up after countless "I love you’s" and "we miss you’s."

And so, tonight, there is no fear. No mother identity crisis. No worry. No confusion as to who I am and where I fit. Tonight, I feel this enormous sense of awe and almost shock at how my role as mother came about. Everything came into clearer focus after the call. It’s been a long year.

A long hard year without more than 2 hours (other than sleep) away from my children. To say that many days we are slogging through is an understatement. But when we finally hung up, I looked at my children and saw the beauty and the magic and the depth of these incredible tiny beings with these huge enormous stories.

And so tonight, what is she thinking about? How is she managing? What does it feel like? Does she regret her choice? Does she think we’re doing a good job?

And so tonight, how is R? Well, we squeezed him extra. Extra hugs and kisses. And while we know so deep that this is the right, healthy, most excellent thing for him and his growth and identity, it is complex. It can be hard. It can feel confusing. He was tired after our FaceTime. His little body and heart and mind is not immune to the emotion and complexity involved. Even at 5. Even if he can’t express and articulate it all. It’s there. And so we do our best to not put certain emotions or judgments on the call. We leave room for him and us to hold the whole experience.

Oh Ro.

My son. Her son. Our son. That will always be true and always worth repeating to everyone.

And finally. Tonight. He curled up under a blanket and laid on my chest on the couch drifting off to sleep. He hasn’t done that since the night before E and I left to go meet our second child, his baby brother, our Desi. That night, I knew it was most likely my last night with only one child and I cried big as he slept on my chest. And tonight, again, I cried as I hugged his skinny little body close to mine. It’s a wild adventure being his mom. But my goodness, I swear ever single time I get to say “I’m his mom” or “he’s my son” I know the enormity of that statement. Of what that means. Of WHY I am his mom and because of WHO.

No matter how brilliant and beautiful my family is (and that we are), we are made more beautiful and brilliant when your idea of our family includes tummy mommies, tummy daddies, sibby’s, and every other member of our boys' first families. Xx


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