Every month, the blogging group I joined earlier this year presents a topic for discussion. This month, the discussion is about remaining committed to open adoption, even if the situation becomes difficult and/or troublesome. The query was “Does it get any easier?” While most bloggers will probably be addressing points in their family’s experiences that are to do with relationships between birthparents, adoptive parents, and adopted child(ren), as well as the challenges of navigating adoptive parenthood, as a pre-adoptive parent, I know my perspective is limited. This is my first attempt at joining the conversation, so I’m sticking to what we have experienced so far and what we are currently trying to get a handle on: openly announcing to the wide world that we’re adopting.
There we are: our little adoption pass-along cards and painstakingly created postcards with our smiling faces pinned up on a bulletin board in the Post Office, right next to a poster advertising a Neil Diamond-themed dinner theater. Sharing a couple of inches with a landscaping business card by the restrooms in a busy retail shop. Hanging out in the envelope with our check to pay Blue Cross Blue Shield this month and sitting on a nurse’s station in the ER. Greeting the busboy at the restaurant where we had dinner. Winging our way to various points across the country for friends and family to scatter the same way.
Here lately, I’ve often found myself doing a reality check: is this really happening? Are we really putting up pictures of ourselves with contact information so that we can find an expectant mother who wants to make an adoption plan? This was not any part of the ways I thought we would become a family, even a few years ago. It seems sort of surreal.
Yet, again, here we are: trying to pry our friends away from their Facebook updates about whatever football game is going on or whatever joke they are passing along to like our page or our blog posts, on the off chance that someone in their network will like one as well, and the ball will start rolling and boom, we’ll have many, many likes on our page. And, as we all know, the more likes, the more exposure. The more exposure, the closer we are….
Well, hopefully, our goal of becoming parents. But right now, as we hang ourselves out there and wait for the right person to spot us, we feel pretty vulnerable. It’s simultaneously good and uncomfortable having so much information out there about yourself. A website, a toll-free number, a Facebook page, Dear Birthmother Letters, our postcards and pass-along cards, this blog–*A* and I are both pretty reserved people, and this amount of “Hey, look at US!” feels really strange.
It feels a bit like we’re in a fishbowl: everyone can see all sorts of the daily goings-on of our lives, and we actively try to be transparent so that we can give an accurate portrait of how our lives are now and what we hope for in being able to become parents.
To that point, don’t misunderstand: we’re not questioning whether or not open adoption is right for our family. We are committed to it wholeheartedly. We are grateful that we have the opportunity to actively seek an expectant mother who is thinking of making an adoption plan, and she has the opportunity to actively seek and consider us to parent her child. Like I said in a previous post, we hope that we can raise our child to know and have relationships with a big family, made up of the family we will be together, as well as birth parents and their families, my family, *A*’s family, and our friends.
None of that can start without our having put ourselves out there first. No one ever came up with a clever quip about murmuring news from a rooftop, after all.
We hope – no, we know – it’ll get easier. It’s just pushing past this bump-in-the-road and learning how to become our own best advocates that is proving to be our current challenge.
This post is in response to a writing prompt related to open adoption as part of the Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable discussion #51.