divergence

First off, how cool that so many of you wanted to read our birth story! Thanks to everyone for your kind words and for supporting our journey. Thanks especially to the lurkers readers who surfaced to tell me they are following along too. (If you would like the password to protected posts, please leave a comment here.)

~~~~~~~~~

Many people, both in “real” life and here, have asked about our ongoing relationship with K since the birth of Baby J four months ago.

It is hard to label what it is, or what it is not. And of course it is inevitably subject to change.

As I’ve written here, we spent nearly six months getting to know K before she placed Baby J with us. From the start, K tried to involve us in her pregnancy as much as possible. We often saw each other once or twice a week. We attended regular midwife appointments, shared many meals, spent weekends together and enjoyed hiking in the woods.

We supported K and tried to empower her to articulate what she needed at all times, from us as well as others in her life. We made it clear we would support her ultimate decision, regardless.

During that time, we talked about K and her life, her hopes and dreams for the future. We talked about her pregnancy. When asked, we felt the baby move in K’s belly. Upon prompting, we discussed names. We even painted the nursery together.

After Baby J was born, we spent the first 36 hours together in K’s home. This transitional period was important for everyone. We all knew, however, that after such a magnificent day and night together, it would eventually be time for us to go home and begin our new lives together.

We made a plan to see K at the end of the week, and her first major outing was to come visit for the weekend. We spoke every day for the first two weeks, checking on K’s recovery and spirits, sharing updates on Baby J’s progress and initial exams. K came to visit nearly every weekend for the first two months. During these visits, K lovingly held Baby J, fed her, and spoke softly to her. Even when her breasts leaked as she tried to dry her milk, K held our little girl close as we all enjoyed some early bonding time together.

It was beautiful to see the connection and love K has for Baby J. As I said before, long ago I could not have imagined that it would be so easy to share that early time together with K. But as it happened I would not have wanted it any other way.

In those early days, I think it healed everyone a little to share that huge love for our little girl. It also laid a wonderful foundation for our future relationship with K, and for hers with Baby J.

I should say I am not oblivious to the fact that I can’t truly know how it felt for K to spend that time with us. I know what she has told us. She has expressed sincere happiness at how this adoption has worked out (so far). She says she is at peace and happy with how our extended family has formed. We have each conveyed deep gratitude for having found the other. Yet as much as we talk, I also realize that K has private feelings and emotions that she might not necessarily share with us.

We knew that our lives would naturally diverge at some point. K’s focus during the time we first knew her was her pregnancy. Her goal was to deliver this beautiful child and then resume her life, always remaining a part of ours in whatever way she was able.

After our “welcome to the family” celebration for Baby J when she was two months old, K returned to her “normal” life of activity and activism for the first time since her second trimester. She now lives about five hours away instead of just one. While we continue to talk about once a week — and keep in touch with her mom, Baby J’s birth grandmother, via email, phone and visits — we have not seen K in two months. This is half of Baby J’s little life.

We knew that K would be in and out of our physical lives, given her youthful freedom and lifestyle. She is truly a “free spirit.” Yet she knows that our door will always be open. Whenever she is around, she is free to visit with us. In between visits, we’ll keep in touch in whatever way works best for her.

We knew it would be a while before we saw K again, as she has no plans to come home until Thanksgiving. So we scheduled a visit with K at the midway point, on her turf. This morning, our plan was to hop in the car and drive for over five hours with a four month old baby (baby’s first real road trip and our first getaway), to spend a weekend in a rented apartment in a quaint little town with K.

Unfortunately though, K called the other day with a terrible cold and cough and we were forced to cancel our trip. Everyone was upset as we were all very much looking forward to this visit. K seemed especially crushed. She had been counting down the days.

Thankfully, we were able to reschedule our visit for three weeks from now. The innkeeper didn’t even penalize us for the last minute cancellation since we re-booked. Our accommodations were very, well, accommodating.

Anyway, when we were making our plans, I was speaking to K on the phone. She asked about Baby J’s latest developments. I told her about everything she has been doing, how interactive she has been. I explained how she tracks us with her eyes, follows our voices, how she grasps for objects and pulls my hair. I described her easy smile and laughter. I told her about teething and fussing.

We talked about how excited we all were to see each other, and for K to see Baby J in particular.

Then K grew uncharacteristically quiet.

I asked her what was wrong. I said I was never really sure how much to share, that it must be so hard to hear on some level. She said no, she loves the updates, she loves hearing about all the things our little girl is doing. It was something else then.

After two months away, K was saddened by the thought that Baby J would not recognize her.

I told K that Baby J will look in her eyes and know her. She will sense K’s energy and smell her scent. She will remember, she will know.

I told K, as we have told her before, that she will always be a part of Baby J’s life, even when she is not here, even as our paths inevitably diverge. I told K that we talk about her often, we have pictures of her, we have her story to share.

I told K she will never have to worry that Baby J will not know her.

K was relieved, lighter.

She thanked me, but all I could do was thank her.

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~ by luna on October 2, 2009.

14 Responses to “divergence”

  1. A gorgeous post. And I’m sending good thoughts for that future visit in a few weeks.

  2. Your sensitivity to K’s feelings continue to get me choked up.

    I don’t think an open adoption, or maybe this level of openness [sp?] is right for everyone, but it’s warm and wonderful to read about how all the members of Baby J’s family have navigated it with such grace and love.

  3. What a remarkable woman to leave herself open to loving so much.

  4. It speaks volumes about you both that K could tell you what was on her mind.

    There is so much love surrounding Baby J. Lucky girl.

  5. Totally weeping, Luna. Oh, goodness. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It means a lot, more than I can say.

  6. wow. i am just amazed at how this all developed. you are so lucky, K is so lucky, baby J is beyond lucky to have so many awesome people loving her. i honestly don’t know if I could be you though. maybe if i was fortunate to have similar circumstances with a birth mother? anyway, your family, now, is the best adoption i have ever read about, thanks so much for sharing your life with us.

    • thank you for such kind and generous words. I certainly feel lucky to have this situation too. certainly wouldn’t have worked this way for us with anyone else but K. thanks again.

  7. You and K are perfect for each other! I am blown away by your sensitivity. You really get it – what K must be going through…
    K is so fortunate to not be shut out of baby J’s life. Its like K knew at some level that you and amazing M were the best parents for baby J. Funny how things work out – she must have had some intuition.

  8. Oh, that is so sad for K. I am crying for her. FWIW, we had a babysitter for LB for 4 hours a day (while I worked) from the time she was about 3.5 months until 6 months old. We didn’t see this babysitter for at least another 5 months. I am convinced LB recognized her and despite the fact that she sees this person only once a week now – after an even longer absence – this is LB’s 3rd favorite person. In fact, she often signs her name between visits.

    I have no doubt that Baby J will remember the woman who grew her and birthed her.

  9. […] week will culminate in baby’s first road trip on Friday to visit with K (our visit was rescheduled from three weeks ago because K was sick). K will hear all about our visits with her parents and […]

  10. […] J’s life, K returned to the life she enjoyed before. We had known that day was coming, when our paths would inevitably diverge until we could see each other again, so we made the most of our time together while K was still […]

  11. […] J’s life, K returned to the life she enjoyed before. We had known that day was coming, when our paths would inevitably diverge until we would see each other again, so we made the most of our time together while K was still […]

  12. […] the world at her fingertips, and a wanderlust that could take her anywhere. We knew early on that our paths would diverge — we even discussed it when we wrote our contact agreement — and that our visits would […]

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