building a bond

Yesterday we spent a wonderful day with K. Since we first met five weeks ago, we have seen her four more times. With each visit, we feel like we are getting to know each other better and becoming even more comfortable. We feel so grateful not only for having this wonderful match, but also for this invaluable time we spend together. Part of our process is building a relationship, the foundation upon which our future extended family may grow even stronger. 

I haven’t written much about our interactions with K because I want to be careful to protect her privacy. I also want to honor our story, and that of our child-to-be. After all, K has her own story that is hers to tell. I already feel somewhat protective of K in that I want to ensure the greatest respect for her in every way. This includes her story with the biological father, which is not mine to share. 

We first met K on a cold rainy day, the winter solstice. After corresponding by email for a couple of weeks, we had agreed to meet in person. We arrived early, nervous. I asked M if he thought she was nervous too, and figured I’d break the ice by telling her we were. When she arrived a few minutes late, the first thing she said was “I’m a little nervous,” and we all shared a laugh about that. 

She embraced us each with a strong, warm hug and I adored her instantly. She had beautiful clear blue eyes that beamed right at you, and she radiated positive energy. She seemed older and wiser than her 20 years. We talked for three hours on a small enclosed patio. If it had been warmer, we could have stayed even longer. We discussed our families, travel, school, work, food, nature, music and activism. It just so happens these are some of our favorite things to talk about!

We gave her our outreach materials bound in ribbons, some freshly baked molasses ginger cookies, and a tin of herbal rooibos tea. M and I had such a good feeling about K that day, walking out of that place. We weren’t entirely sure how she felt about us, but it seemed to go so well. We started to wonder whether this could be for real. 

We continued to email over the next week, answering lots of questions. We invited K to visit our home and she seemed interested, so we made plans. A week later, M and I furiously cleaned the house, reaching corners that probably hadn’t been cleaned since our home study visit. We placed fresh flowers everywhere and decided on a menu that M and I could both make: warm spinach artichoke spread, veggie lasagna, greens with garlic, and freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip pecan cookies. 

tulips-table

That day, K didn’t call until later in the afternoon and I was nervous. Once the food prep was done, I began knitting, which I found to be a fantastically soothing way to occupy idle hands and minds. This pattern of excitement and anticipation, followed by joyful moments together, and then anxiety before our next contact would continue for the next month. 

Finally K arrived to the smell of baking garlic (which she loves). We welcomed her and offered a tour. I told her she’d have to use her imagination for the future nursery. When we got there, she was drawn to the baby bookshelf and began perusing. She seemed happy to recognize some of her favorites, then pulled out one of our favorites and we looked at it together. She admired the view of the woods and loved that the baby’s room was connected to ours.

We had a terrific visit getting to know each other more. It felt comfortable having her here, and she seemed to appreciate seeing our home. “I just know this baby is going to have such a wonderful life with you,” she said. At one point, probably soon after that, we shared a group hug. And of course we sent her home with leftovers. 

oatchocpecan-closeup1

We kept in touch by email and made plans to meet her mom in a few weeks. We drove an hour to her hometown and met for lunch at a local cafe. Her mom is an amazing source of support, and we had already exchanged some profoundly meaningful emails with her. To hear this woman, perhaps our child’s future grandmother, say that this baby is “meant” for us, well that was hugely affirming. They know we want a fully open adoption and hope to maintain a relationship with extended family. We stressed that we will always be there and will let them lead the way.

Driving home later that night, M and I were almost run off the road, but that’s another story altogether. 

molasses-doughball2

K invited us to her next midwife appointment, so last week we went to meet them. I brought more molasses cookies, because they were truly delicious (see pre-baked above). The midwives are supportive of K’s plan and very welcoming of us. “Families are built in all kinds of ways,” said one. Indeed. Then we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat!

Afterwards, we took K to lunch and went for a short walk to take a few pictures. She had asked us about music, so we brought her some CD mixes that we had made with fun labels. Then I gave her the scarf I had been knitting (my first project; forest green Peruvian wool). I had begun it when we first started interacting, breathed into each stitch through every anxious moment, and finished it soon after she asked us to parent. It just seemed as if it was supposed to be hers. She loved it, flaws and all. 

k-scarf

Yesterday, K came over for lunch and a walk through the woods. We made a yummy veggie frittata (once it stopped leaking) with a goat cheese and pear salad. For dessert, I experimented with my first ever lemon bars. I haven’t been so inspired to bake in a long time, and it feels really good. (Just take a look below at that luscious lemony goodness, mmmm!) Walking through the redwoods nearby was wonderful and peaceful. K gave us a gift from her mom — some of K’s favorite childhood books including a classic, along with a moving note of thanks. It’s hard to explain how much her mom’s support has meant to us.

runawaybunny1

After K met our adoption counselor briefly for tea (and luscious lemon bars!), we took her to our favorite Mexican restaurant where we’ve been going for years. After dinner, we told K again how blessed we feel to have her in our lives and to share this time together. She agreed and said she felt the same.

lemony-bar

We really enjoy K’s company and we feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to spend this time with her. It feels like we are truly building a bond that could last a lifetime. While we are well aware that anything could happen in the next four months or so (or beyond), it seems we are creating a strong relationship that could lead to a beautiful extended family. 

So far it has been wonderful. Yet it hasn’t been perfect. There have definitely been some awkward moments fumbling through some tough issues — a few things I’ve said that I wish I could have said differently, and topics that are just hard to address. That’s to be expected, I suppose. 

Another challenge has to do with remaining mindful of the dynamics of our relationship. We want a truly ethical adoption and want to be sure we are not overstepping in any way. We find ourselves wanting to do things for K and yet we want to be aware of even the most subtle form of manipulation. This is hard because we are both givers, but we don’t want K to feel like she “owes” us anything. So we are trying to embrace the uncertainty, and just want to enjoy this time together.

If K’s child also becomes our child, we will look back on these days as a precious gift. If it doesn’t happen that way, well, then we will have gotten to know quite a wonderful young woman at a critical moment in her life, and offered our support in any way we could. Right now that feels like a beautiful thing. 

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~ by luna on January 25, 2009.

31 Responses to “building a bond”

  1. Luna,

    As usual, your words are extremely eloquent and you’ve elegantly described the crazy, winding road you and M are navigating. I am sure there are long stretches that feel easier and comfortable, and hairpin turns where you’re afraid you aren’t going to make it, long hills that take a lot of effort to climb up and then feel so thrilling coming down. (end cheesy metaphor.)

    I am so impressed by you as a person – the thoughtfulness you put into this process every step of the way. You may not realize it, but you are serving as a guide and mentor to me (and I am sure, many others) who are either contemplating your path or who are sharing it with you. Your blog helps me to better understand what building a family is all about and teaches me the things I need to know to go forward. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    I do believe that K is making a most excellent choice and I can’t wait for these next months to pass so we can what happens in the next chapter.

  2. Oh, Luna. Your openness to all possibilities is mind-blowing; your capacity for connection inspiring; and your baked goods scrumptious-looking.

  3. I’m so amazed by how you and M handle this so well. It seems like it must be such a difficult and frightening time yet you look at it from the best possible view point. I do hope that this ends up being a situation that works for all of you.
    Oh and your baked stuff has my mouth totally watering.

  4. I admire the grace in which you are moving through this situation and bonding with K.

  5. Darn you for making me drool uncontrollably!

    It’s clear to see why a person as warm, sensitive, and open as K is drawn to you and M.

    (And I’m not talking about your obvious straight A’s in Home Ec.)

  6. First things first – your photos are like food porn.

    Most importantly – you take my breath away – your thoughtfulness, your love, your nurturing food – cripes, you can adopt me!

    You inspire me!

  7. I still remember our meetings with VG’s birthparents more than seven years ago! As with your experience, it didn’t all go perfectly smoothly – but what relationship does? I genuinely *like* VG’s birthmom, as well as love her . . . look forward to following your journey!
    Vintage Mommy (logged in as one bag nation)

  8. I admire your generosity and your big heart.

  9. Tears. What a story you are all building together for this baby’s beginnings.

  10. OK, I want some recipes to match those drool-worthy photos. 🙂

    I so hope that this all works out for you!!

  11. I am so inspired by your way of being through all this. You’re my IF idol, luna! 🙂

    I’m also inspired by your cookie money shots.

  12. Thank you for sharing this. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad it’s going so well for all involved and hope your friendship continues to evolve into something wonderful!

  13. Everything I want to say has been said (and much better than I could BTW) by everyone. The baked goods are killing me. You grace under such an anxious time in potentially awkward situations is much admired. It’s wonderful that you seem to be one the same page with K in so many ways. I;m hoping that continues well into the future. Oh and I love that you all are activists.!

  14. This whole post just makes me cry in the best way, Luna. Beautiful, simply beautiful – your generosity of spirit and your trust in the process, as high as the stakes are and as hard as it must be in certain moments. And I simply must get the recipe for lemon bars from you – they are making me weep, in an entirely different way.

    Much love to you.

  15. wow. what all of them said. and also – wow. you are a great inspiration.

  16. Wow. thanks for sharing these last few weeks with K. It sounds absolutely amazing. I’m sure it hasn’t been all as blissful as it sounds in this post, but clearly the bond is being built. That is undeniable. What precious moments to have shared between all of you.

  17. Love the foodporn, first off. Secondly – I’m so happy for how things are going for all of you! It’s all so magical, isn’t it?

  18. Reading this entry I couldn’t help but be filled with hope and optimism. Not just for your chance to possibly parent this child, but for the experience of the three of you spending time together during an incredibly emotional time for all. I admire you all for your bravery and generosity.

  19. this isn’t remotely similar, but for some reason you reminded me of a girlfriend my brother once dated — her family was a DISASTER. her life was a wreck. (Needless to say, she and my brother were not at all meant for each other.) And for Christmas one year I gave her so much stuff — expensive backpack for her college class books, a new coat, etc. And one of my friends said, “why on earth are you doing this? You don’t even really like her that much and they’re not going to stay together.” And I responded that I just wanted to send her out into the world with as much as I could, and I wanted to help her while I could, right now. Support her right now, let her know it was possible to be believed in and loved, right now. Because I probably wasn’t going to get that chance later. (And I didn’t.)

    that’s all you can do, is be right now, do what you can for her right now. It’s incredibly hard to surrender to the idea that what happens, happens, but it’s all we’ve got. You’re good to be baking your way right through these moments. She sounds wonderful, and you two sound even more wonderful than I had previously imagined (which is saying quite a bit). I’m waiting with you.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s such a tenuous thread that we walk along… wanting so hard for these events to happen, yet knowing that we can’t control the outcome. She sounds like a wonderful young woman and I wish all of you the best. Now I must find something to eat, I’m starving 🙂

  21. What a beautiful and moving post, luna. Your generosity of spirit (not to mention your skill as a baker) are truly inspirational. K sounds like an amazing young woman, and I am so very glad that the two of you found each other.

  22. K is so lucky, truly. Not only does she get all those incredible food delicacies (I am salivating ovah here!), but she also gets to share this experience with two amazing and generous souls. I hope this journey brings beautiful things for you all.

  23. I love that thought–as if the time is a physical space as well–and the specialness that you all have shared it together.

  24. I’m a little behind on my blog reading, I’ve been so busy.

    It sounds wonderful. I am glad you are bonding with her, and she’s receptive to the two of you. I hope things continue to go smoothly, I am excited for you 🙂

    btw, the cookies look delicious!

  25. […] seek to exert it. I am overly cautious of even the most subtle form of manipulation as we seek to build a bond with K. I just do my part and try to accept that whatever will be will […]

  26. congratulations on your wonderful budding relationship…this can ONLY bode well.

    yesterday i was thinking of and contemplating: wow, june is just a few months away….

  27. […] knew that whatever would happen would happen, and all we could do is keep doing what we’re doing. […]

  28. […] kick lately. Not anything that involves pastry crust or anything exotic, just normal stuff like cookies and lemon bars. I’ve been cooking more too, when inspiration strikes. But baking brings out something deep […]

  29. […] degrees of comfort and anxiety, depending on the moment. It feels as though we’ve been building a foundation upon which our relationship could extend to […]

  30. […] Building a relationship with K has been key to our views and feelings about this entire process. I’ve said this before but it’s true: The time we’ve spent together in the past 10 weeks has has enabled us to create a foundation — to cultivate a trust and comfort with each other that is so critical as we inch closer to the birth of K’s baby. While there are still three months to go until her due date, already we have come to regard K as extended family. Like all family, we don’t expect our relationship to always be perfect or easy. Yet we intend to be honest with each other, and we truly want the best for her.  […]

  31. […] her mom, after a lovely brunch at our home. They brought gifts for the baby — including some more of K’s favorite baby books and things — which of course brought tears to my eyes. We […]

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