A First Family Visit

Adoption

About a week ago, we had visit with a member of the kids’ first family, one that they hadn’t seen in years. The kids experienced some anxiety about it, both before and after our visit. Afterwards, we had a debrief about expectations and how things aren’t always exactly as we remember them. The kids are still too young to really express their feelings, but I believe that overall, the visit was beneficial. There are certain members of their family that I want to maintain contact with, because I think the kids need to know people they are biologically related to. They need to understand that both of their families can co-exist peacefully. I’m not sure what our relationship with this family member will look like going forward, but I do know that we’ll continue to explore the possibilities.

The visit was difficult for me too, but in different ways of course. During our debrief, I imagined the conversation that we’ll have when the kids are adults and they’ve found their first parents. The experience of expectations clashing with fact and memories differing widely from reality will undoubtedly be there. Maybe the experience will be more intense because it will involve their parents. Or maybe it will be easier to talk through, because as adults, they’ll be better able to express their feelings. It’s hard to imagine how it will all play out.

Apparently, several people at our visit commented that BC looks just like his father. Lately, I’ve been tricked into forgetting that my kids actually would look like their parents. This is because I’m fortunate to hear often that my kids really do look like me. I almost forgot that they really would look like their parents, more than they resemble me. It’s hard for me to admit it (and I certainly never would to the kids), but I have mixed emotions about their parents. On one hand, I respect them for being my children’s parents and I sympathize with them for making mistakes – after all, who doesn’t? But, it’s hard to forget that their mistakes hurt our kids, and other people as well.

Open Adoption Roundtable: a visit with my “rival”

Adoption

As part of the Open Adoption Bloggers group, I’m responding to the latest prompt in which we’re supposed to write about how we feel after a “visit.” My kids were adopted through the foster care system, so we don’t have an open adoption in the traditional sense of the phrase. My children  have no contact with their first parents. However, we do have monthly visits with Aunt S, who is my children’s mother’s half sister. This is why I often say that we have a “semi-open adoption.” Aunt S wanted to adopt BE, but it didn’t work out, for reasons that are not my place to discuss here.

Naturally, Aunt S and I were intially unsure of each other, but we’ve since become friends. The other day, BE thanked me for keeping up the visits with Aunt S, and I told her that I do it because I want to see Aunt S too. I really respect Aunt S, and think of her as a friend.

Aunt S has been to our house many times and has been to a number of events such as BE’s preschool graduation. We’ve been to her place as well. All of our family members know her. So, after a visit with Aunt S, I always feel great.

For reasons that I don’t fully understand, although BE is always very excited to see Aunt S, she also used to become very hyperactive before and after a visit with Aunt S. She’s gotten significantly better over the past couple years, but it’s still there. I’d like to think this will go away as she becomes more confident in her relationship with J and me and in our relationship to Aunt S.

Most importantly, we all love Aunt S.