extension and expansion, part two

For part one, please read this.

When we decided that we wanted a fully open adoption for our future child, we didn’t know exactly what it would look like. We still don’t, of course, given that our child is not yet born and we have not entered into an open adoption. We envisioned an ideal. Then we tried to stop ourselves from creating unrealistic expectations. Still, we knew that so much would depend on finding the “right” match — making a good connection with the “right” person in the “right” situation for ALL of us.  

Meeting K at this moment in time has been like a dream for us. Not a certainty in any sense, but a very hopeful possibility — from the baby to K and her family and our shared vision for the future.  

Yet K’s grand.mother, with whom she is very close, was upset about the adoption plan. While K and her mom had conveyed how open we would be to having K’s grand.mother in the baby’s life, she was still unsure, leery. All she knew about adoption came from the days of secretive closed adoptions, where babies disappeared and mothers were expected to forget, and no one spoke of it again. In California at least, where open adoption is the norm, those days are over, or so we hope. 

Still, K’s grandma needed to see for herself. She needed to look us in the eyes and hear our words. We wanted her to know our intentions were pure and genuine. So last week, we met with four generations over dinner (K, her mom and grandma, plus baby). K’s grandma was honest with us. She explained her fears and worries and that she really wanted to see this baby, her first great grandchild. When we told her how happy that would make us, she teared up. We explained our philosophy (about how openness can benefit everyone) and said how important it is to us that she be in this child’s life too. By the end of this highly emotional meeting, there were hugs and tears and grandma was calling us family.

It was a beautiful and powerful evening, to say the least. 

To realize that K’s grandma’s fears were coming from a place of pure and mighty love was so moving. To know that she just wants to be a part of this child’s life, and that she too could embrace us as family, was so heartwarming. 

In extending ourselves, in being open, we all expand our hearts to include each other. And it seems so very natural. 

This weekend, we were at our monthly support meeting with other adoptive families, birth families, and prospective adoptive parents. One family had brought two sets of grandparents — through adoption and birth — to share part of their story. When one grand.mother (by birth) talked about her experience with tears welling up as she watched her baby granddaughter crawl over to her leg, I felt a lump in my throat. When the other grand.mother (by adoption) talked about her love for the baby’s birth family, tears welled.

Then one grand.mother said the most profound thing. (It doesn’t matter which one said it, because there is no differentiation now.) As one looked across to the other, then down at their beautiful granddaughter, she said simply: “Love expands.”  She explained that her love for this child had no limits and was wide enough to embrace everyone who loves her too. Each woman expressed gratitude that their families had joined in this way. [ETA: Lest I make this sound a bit too rosy, I should also say that there was palpable sadness as well. The birth family of this beautiful child was also faced with what they have lost, in addition to what they have gained.]

While it may not have been perfect or the way they might have once envisioned their families, it was perfectly beautiful. 

Not only did this moment remind me why we want an open adoption for our child, it illustrates how important we are to each other in this triad. We each serve such an important role in each other’s lives, each of us providing what the other cannot provide themselves. Such an exquisitely beautiful, if painful, partnership.

Love expands, indeed. 

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~ by luna on March 2, 2009.

29 Responses to “extension and expansion, part two”

  1. Oh, luna…this is simply one of the most beautiful posts that I have ever read. Ever. “Love expands….” the statement just warms me. I hope and pray that the love expands throughout and over you all, centering on this baby that will bond your families into one.

  2. […] extension and expansion, part two « life from here: musings from … […]

  3. Now you’ve done it. Made me cry in the library.

    A Kirsty-worthy post.

  4. How is it possible that these posts keep getting more and more moving?

  5. This is simply gorgeous. And I can’t even tell you how nice it is to hear of both where K’s grandmother’s fears were coming from and how they were resolved.

  6. That is truly beautiful.

  7. I know I’ve been horrible about commenting lately, but still reading along and in awe of your words. What a beautiful journey you are embarking on! Love expands, indeed.

  8. You are really an amazing person and I feel lucky to be able to read your blog and learn from you. I have said previously that I feel like I am following your path, maybe a year behind. Reading what you have to say gives me hope that things will be okay in the world, that we just have to get through the moments. I feel like, with you as a model, my path is clearer and some of the obstacles have been cleared. You will be such a great mom.

  9. I am just filled with overwhelming happiness reading this. Everything about you and this situation feels right. Love does, indeed expand.

  10. I’ve said it before… You are truly amazing. Your capacity for openess and to embrace people – fears and all – is inspiring. I need to get me some of that going in my life.

    Wow. Just beautiful.

  11. Thank you so much for these beautiful and insightful posts, luna. Your strength and generosity of spirit never cease to astonish me. You have taught me so much about grief, about love and about what it means to build a family.

  12. First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    —————————-
    Are you tension? panic?

  13. I personally think it takes some work to manage the whole expansion of love. And Luna, you’re a wonderful advocate and diligent worker in that regard. It expands because you listen and care (and I know they do too, but I don’t want you to sell yourself short, here). Beautiful post.

  14. All I can say is wow. Thanks so much for sharing. This is such an amazing journey you’re on, one I wish more people understood and appreciated. What are the limits of expanding love? Could we expand it even further, beyond two families joining?

    Ah, the hippy in me is sure we could. 🙂

  15. “Love expands”. I am so moved and inspired by your writing. I hope that whatever may come to be for us, that I’ll be able to approach things with even an ounce of the grace and respect you’ve shown. I’ve learned so much from what you’ve shared and I thank you for it. Posts like this make me hope for open adoption, instead of shying away from it.

  16. “Love expands.” I like it.

    I’m glad you got to sit down with all of them and talk about what your desires were. It sounded very heartfelt, and it was very moving.

    I hope it all continues to go well.
    Thinking of you all.

  17. Beautiful post! It is an inspiration. We are happy to have Belinda (LB’s egg donor) in our life, but I find that I am sometimes insecure around her. I hope we will continue to build our relationship and it will grow more comfortable.

  18. I marvel at and admire your open heart and caring…

    p.s. per your Tweet, the stuffed monkey is adorable!

  19. There are so many things I love about this post, but the biggest one is how there can be pain in love, but the power of that love is in no way diminished by the pain. If anything, it throws it all into sharper relief. And maybe it’s what makes love able to expand, the fact that the pain is there. Like how muscles grow because of tiny little tears that heal and cause growth.

    So beautiful, Luna. Such a call to see how all pain can be transformed into expanding love.

  20. YES.

  21. I am imagining how beautiful this childs life will be, (or any child born into a family such as this) surrounded by so many people who love and marvel over them. What a wonderful place for a child to grow, live and flourish.

  22. I can’t say that I would be entirely comfortable with the degree of openess that you are when it comes to adoption, but perhaps that is because the current domestic adoption laws (when it comes to final termination of parental rights and how long it can take in my state) have always frightenened me. But I do think that it CAN be a good thing for some families, and it sounds like both yours, and K’s, will benefit from that kind of continued contact.

    However, here is something, well interesting, when it comes to openess in adoption, happening in my own life . . . among the items that were given to us when we received our Lil Pumpkin were several gifts from her Foster Family (in China). Laws in her province prevented us from meeting them, though she was with them for almost a year’s time. One of the gifts was a photo book, which contained photos of themselves WITH her (what a TRUE gift for her someday!!!) Also in this photo book . . . their email address! It’s written in pinyin, which is still Chinese, but not in script – looks more like English letters. Anyhoo, I have made contact with a blog friend who is married to a Chinese man, and her father-in-law has agreed to help us try to make contact with her foster family in China!!! I am exicted about the prospect of updating them on her progress and blossoming, as well as having the ability to someday either be able to answer questions Lil Pumpkin may have, or let her contact them directly.

    So, I guess in a way, we are seeking to open the lines of our adoption connection, too?!

    I will keep you updated on what happens, either way :o)

  23. I’m learning so much from you about open adoption. I really like it! I’m not sure I would be as evolved as you, but I suppose it is a process.

    Though I haven’t been reading here and commenting as much as in the past, I wanted to let you know how much I heart your blog, so I gave you an award.

  24. incredibly moving and beautiful. thank you for posting this.

  25. That was lovely. I would like to refer to your entries on my blog parenthoodforme.blogspot.com. I am learning about open adoption and finidng out how wonderful it is for the child. And, now you have shown me how wonderful it can be for the entire “family.” We adotpted our son from Korea. Open adoption wasn’t an option even though we will be 100% supportive when and if he wants to find his birth parents.
    My site is about our non profit, Parenthood for Me.org. Our mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those starting famillies through adoption or medical intervention. Stop by our site sometime.
    I will enjoy reading your blog.

  26. Inspiring. You have a beautiful motherhood awaiting you.

  27. I’ve always enjoyed your blog, but your recent posts have really been especially wonderful for me to read! I wish I could do each justice with a wothy comment, but I wanted to at least let you know that I am reading and grateful that you are writing!

  28. There’s a reason I always stray over to your blog to see what you have to say…beautiful insights. I’m also experiencing the adoption process and will keep the words ‘love expands’ as my mantra! Thanks for sharing!

  29. […] for the first time. We continued to build a relationship with K, spending afternoons together, meeting her family, cooking her dinner. We tried to give K plenty of space and ensure that she was free to change her […]

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