Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This is going to get confusing

I may need some new pseudonyms.

We met N today (let's call her Nella, nothing like her real name but also not close to any of the other Ns involved in the situation!) and had a social afternoon, then met her parents and her daughter that lives with them. I'll think up some pseudonyms for them later if I need them I think.

Nella shed a few tears, but I think appreciated the visit, and we have heard from several other adoptive families that this is an unusual time to have a visit, and that many birth parents want a break but come back for visits later, so I do think she was brave to do it now since she knows she can't see him for another year at least, now.

The daughter (let's call her Montana) is in her teens, and had a nice time holding the baby, and trying to feed and burp him (it was lovely actually that all the adults present could tell her it was OK to bang his back a bit harder! Nella and I also bonded over telling a random man in a diner that no, he could NOT hold the baby. Sheesh.)

All in all it was good, we got some great photos, and we gave them the written (but legally unenforceable) open adoption agreement that Nella had asked for. I am coming round to the idea that she has some fairly major educational difficulties as she got her dad to read it for her, plus another comment she made about looking for work; he suggested some helpful ideas on visits which I think he would not have suggested had we not met, and he also (I think it's OK to give more details now) asked if we'd like to get photos of her older son, who was removed through Child Protective Services and has been adopted, to which we said, yes please.

One issue which we think she did not notice, or she would have objected to, was the means and timing of contact which we'd suggested in our agreement. Because of the crisis she was having, Nella called us almost every day in the two-three weeks leading up to his birth, and almost every day since then too.  We aren't really sure we want to carry on having calls that often, and we have a number that can be diverted to voicemail which she uses, and we think we will turn it off apart from times when we are expecting a call. 

Nella's dad suggested we email them photos, but again because we are wary of not living up to expectations about returning emails, we may do that through a photo sharing site rather than from our own email. One worry was that Nella would return to her previous precarious (very very precarious, believe me) living situation and lose her phone number, though she'd have ours, but we got her dad's number so if we need to call we can contact her through him.

I hope this does not make us sound like bad people. We know some families have a lot more contact than this, but this level of contact is unusual for families working with our agency, we have been told. We have set up for monthly photos, letters, and calls for the next six months, and I know Nella is happy for that to happen, and we are happy too.  After that, I'm hoping for a repeat of my childhood, to be honest, with visits to a sunny US destination annually, both to bolster my American identity and to have family visits. We do want normality, but parenting an adopted child will never be entirely the same as parenting a birth child, and I hope we manage to bear that in mind. 

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