My life is filled with music almost always. If not actually playing there is constant music in my head. I sing, a lot. To myself when doing chores, making up songs about what I am doing or just to be silly, and I sing to Kat often. I know I am not alone, in that there are certain songs that can take me back to certain times in my life. Often these are moments that seem somewhat insignificant I suppose. One that springs to mind is a Venus Hum song, The Bells that I heard on my way to work one day while my grandfather was in the last stages of fighting cancer years ago. Insignificant drive to work, and my grandfather did not pass immediately following this drive, but some how that morning on the way to work I was really thinking of him and reflecting on his life, this song came on and struck me and that moment is forever etched in my mind and tied to that song.
The other day I had another moment like this. I was playing with Kat with music playing in the background as is almost always the case and singing to her whatever happened to be playing. She is trying to stand a lot these days and grasps my fingers with her little hands, balancing herself, clasping and then every so often letting go to try it out on her own, squealing with delight and then grasping again if she starts to lose her footing. She is getting pretty darn steady I have to say! So, we were doing our little dance, Kat finding her own and me there as her back up, and a cover of TIme After Time by Cindy Lauper came on. Of course I am singing along and there it was, one of those moments. We have done this little game a million times and that certainly won’t be the last, but singing those words to her, staring in her eyes, knowing she trusts me to not let her fall felt powerful. May seem cliché, but I sang those words and meant them earnestly and saying a silent prayer that she will always know that if she falls I will catch her, I will be waiting, time after time…. ❤
So, I am going to be participating in the Open Adoption Roundtable the question this time being, “Do you remember when you first heard about open adoption?”
As I recall, the first time I remember hearing or reading actually about open adoption was during one of many general adoption searches I was doing when we had decided that adoption was the way we were going to try to grow our family. I did tons of research and a great deal of it on the internet. I stumbled across a blog Amstel Life and read all about this first mom’s story and her life in open adoption. I remember discussing it with my husband and liking the idea of being open but being a bit shocked and uncomfortable with the idea of how open they were. Makes me laugh now being in a super open adoption very similar to the way that one was described to me! Lol It was my first peak in to that world and prompted more reading and research, discussions with my niece who is adopted internationally and getting her opinion (she is 17) and eventually deciding that this was the path we were meant to take. If I really stretch my mind the first idea of open relationships out of the norm came probably a year or so before that when I was at a nurse/healthcare professional conference about embryo adoption. At that there were two families who spoke who were connected via an embryo “adoption”. I put that in quotes because in legal terms it is not an adoption at all but yet a “transfer of property”. My point is, that these two families spoke on what a blessing they felt this open relationship was and that siblings knew each other etcetera. My husband had come along for the ride on this conference and I remember going back up to the room that evening in tears recounting the story of these families, how beautiful it was and I wondered if we could ever be a part of something like that. Not sure why my response was different with one versus the other, except maybe the conference they were people all in front of me discussing it, and they all seemed genuinely okay, and happy and to have love for each other, so maybe seeing the love emanate made it more acceptable. Not sure….but it definitely moved me.
Cut to now, we are so lucky to be a part of something so crazy and beautiful. I can’t imagine it any other way.
So, after many changes…we had our visit!! It was emotional as expected. Hopefully for Ima it was more sweet than bitter, but I do know there was some bitter in there. For me as well. I hated seeing her hurt and knowing that in some way I am a part of it. Glad to know that in some way I am part of her peace but still. Having the visit piggy backed on my grandmother’s passing and me still emotional from that didn’t help. All in all I would say it was a good visit. We had a real big heart to heart the second night where we both had a good cry. We have discovered we have two relationships in a way Ima and I. One that we are just friends, and the other where I am the adoptive mother of her biological daughter. When she is not here, the two don’t necessarily have to intersect but while here, in our home, they do. She was SO worried she was going to do something to upset me, Ima that is. Asked before she got here, was there anything I didn’t want her to do. “Like what?’ I asked. I can’t imagine what you would do I wouldn’t want?? “Like hold her, or help you with taking care of her, or making peek in on her sleeping”. I told her she was being silly and I of course did not care if she did any of those things! I didn’t, I don’t. Still, while here she would say, “am I holding her too much?”. So worried. When she became emotional she was worried that we would be so bothered by it we would not want to do visits again because it was difficult. I again assured this would SO not be the case. I understood that this was difficult and anything we could do to help let us know. It breaks my heart to see her so scared of losing us. So scared that we will shut her out. I know we have told her a million times we will never do that. I am not upset for her feeling the way she does it just breaks my heart. No one in her life has actually held up to their word I don’t think. She doesn’t know how to trust this. All we can do is keep doing what we are doing and HOPEFULLY some day she can feel comfort in knowing we are family that will never go away, even though she might wish we would 🙂 Think it was difficult as Kat is no longer the tiny baby she knew. She looks different, she IS different. She totally has a little personality and a mind of her own already! I can’t imagine what it feels like for her, Ima. I was so glad they had time together, that we all had time together. They had a few little naps together and I was able to get some really sweet pictures. It was long overdue and hopefully will not go so long before the next. Over time hope there is more and more sweet and less and less bitter….but the bitter just means you care, so it’s ok.
So again, plans have changed. A lot has happened since my last post. My grandmother passed away last Tuesday morning. She was 93 years old and lived a seriously amazing life. With that and some other scheduling difficulties it became apparent our road trip up to Ima was not going to work out. So, we did what we do best, we made adjustments!!! Ima is on our way as I type this down here for a few day visit 🙂 Phew! I tell you, we were determined to make a visit happen despite all the odds that kept trying to stand in the way! It is just so important and I am SO glad we have made it work out. I am also really glad that Scott will get to be a part of the visit. I know he was feeling a bit left out but knew it was important and at the time we were going up there and that was what would work best he was willing to set his needs aside to make sure that a visit happened for everyone else. So, as often has happened in our story, though things are not going as originally planned, I think they are going to work out perfectly any way! SO gearing myself up for what is sure to be a fun, over due, and most likely at times emotional visit. I am praying that while there will be a bitter sweetness to the visit for Ima, that it will be more sweet than bitter. I think part of what helps is that while Kat is what brought us all together, she was the catalyst for an amazing friendship that Ima and I have. I have told Ima that if at any time things are weird, hard or anything not great to let me know and if we can do anything let us know that. We say all the time, there is no hand book for this and we are all figuring it out as we go. That said, I think we are doing kind of awesome!
On a completely different note, I know this blog is about open adoption and my journey within, however I can’t go without a bit of a word about my grandmother on her passing. My grandmother as mentioned was 93 years old. She grew up in the great depression. Both parents died at a young age and she raised her three siblings making sure they all went to school and finished. She herself finishing finding a trade and by age 18 she was a business owner. Returning to college in her 50’s to get her degree. She was politically active in too many ways to mention, but worth mentioning is the grass-roots organization she started the Western North Carolina Alliance. An environmental group she began to protect the natural resources of Western North Carolina. When I turned 18, she and I were writing letters to each other debating different political issues, she made sure I went to register to vote and that I did not take for granted the women who had fought so that I had that right. Meant what she said and said what she meant, without hesitation to let you know where she stood. She did not shy away from debate or telling her view-point. She was married to my grandfather until his passing for 65 years (if my math is right). She crocheted as easily as she breathed and I am blessed to have many afghans made by her loving hands. Kat has one she made for her 🙂 She was able to meet Kat back in August and was so so happy to do so. My grandmother had beautiful jet black hair and many of grand children and great grand children had blond hair, she was SO happy when one of us brunettes, (myself included) came along 🙂 As predicted she commented on her hair when she met her. I am so thankful they got to meet and though Kat did not get a chance to know her, she will know her through my stories. A role model protector of her siblings, loving wife, mother to three children, grandmother and great-grandmother to sheesh a lot I am not sure, activist, story-teller, poet, artist, motivator, I am not even coming close to portraying what an amazing woman she was. She will be missed and if I can become even half the woman she was, I will be doing alright. (Though she would encourage me to do MORE than just alright, do the best you can, always ❤ )