on the bus

I realize I haven’t written much about Baby J’s biological father. This is quite intentional, for good reason — partly because it is not really my story to tell and partly because it is challenging to discuss the rest without saying too much.

I’ve alluded to difficulties in the past that are not for the telling. Suffice it to say that our relationship with Baby J’s biological father T was strained from the start. We never had the opportunity to build a strong foundation with him. He was unavailable in every possible way.

It has seemed a bit strange to have such a wonderful open relationship with K, Baby J’s birth mom, without the same on the other side. Given our views about openness, it has also seemed strange to have somewhat of a double standard when it comes to our daughter’s biological father. But I believe it is justifiable, in that he has earned it.

Because we want our daughter to have some connection to T’s side of the family, and because T seemed unwilling or unable to provide that until recently, we have worked to maintain an open relationship with his mom, Baby J’s biological grandmother (though it is nothing like the relationship we enjoy with K’s mom). We first met T’s mom over the summer, when Baby J was just 10 weeks old. We’ve had to establish boundaries there which I believe will always be tested.

Still, we intend to honor our “open door” policy with T, so long as it remains appropriate to do so. We have kept the door wide open from the beginning. And now, well, now he has actually begun to walk through.

While we spoke on the phone before Baby J was born, we never actually met T. It was not for our lack of effort. After bailing on several plans to meet, T began reaching out to us when Baby J was a few months old. In October, I mentioned that we might actually get to meet him. And we did. Just before our daughter turned five months old last fall, she met her biological father for the first time. And so did we. We spent about 24 hours together and enjoyed a visit with K as well. By all accounts, it went well. T asked to hold Baby J and we took some photos. He told us a little about his family, his history. We heard stories. He saw us as parents, and said his mind was finally at ease. The magnitude of the event finally sunk in for him when saying goodbye, I think.

Then he called on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we sent him some pictures. I call him now with updates, and he asks specific things like what’s she eating, is she crawling, etc. He seems genuinely interested in our daughter. And for that my heart opens for him. I can set aside the past and look towards the future and hope that he might remain a positive role in our little girl’s life.

At the same time, though, there is another side to T that we have not seen ourselves but that we know exists. As we seek to build a relationship with him, we need to proceed slowly and ensure that it is based on a proper foundation of trust. We need to respect each others’ roles. We need to ensure that his intentions are pure. Again, we must establish and maintain healthy boundaries with T, which I imagine will be tested.

This is hard. It is not easy or nearly effortless, as our relationship with K is. Every interaction is a challenge.

Our sole responsibility is to our daughter, and that means ensuring her well being at whatever cost. I am feeling very much the protective mama bear, and M the proud protective papa bear. Nothing is more important to us. Now I am struggling to let my guard down to let T in while remaining vigilant.

T has been talking about coming to visit for a few months. We’ve heard this before but it has not yet happened. After all, we had to go to him to meet before. This time, he sounds committed. He talked about coming for a few days but our schedules don’t really allow it and we thought an open ended visit was a bit much under the circumstances. He decided that one day would be enough. So tomorrow morning, T will hop on a bus and travel from one end of the state to the other. About halfway through, he’ll get off near San Francisco and we will pick him up. We’re planning to put him up for a night at a local hotel, have dinner, then head home for Baby J’s bedtime and return in the morning to spend the day before T gets back on the next bus to his ultimate destination.

At least that’s the plan. We’ll see what happens.

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~ by luna on January 22, 2010.

15 Responses to “on the bus”

  1. Best wishes for a good visit! We’re muddling through some boundary issues in our family right now and it really can be quite draining. We do what we can to make it work out for our kids, right? Peace to you all this weekend.

  2. Good luck. Hoping that T lives up to the best of what K saw in him.

  3. Can I just say, you are amazing? I don’t think I’d be able to be patient and thoughtful with T, the way you are. I’m taking notes on how to keep an open heart, even with difficult circumstances.

    Hope the meeting goes well!

  4. I truly wish that you have the best possible experience this weekend, that T reaffirms his recent commitment and stretches to earn a little more of your trust. My heart aches for your situation, as I understand the boundary challenge of steadfastly protecting the child and family you worked so hard to create while attempting to retain biological ties in the most open way appropriate.

    We just passed the one year anniversary of our last contact with our son’s bio father. Cutting him out of our lives was extremely difficult and not something we ever expected to do, but we felt forced after too many commitments and promises were broken. So, I really, truly hope that T lives up to the potential he’s been showing lately.

  5. I really like what BabySmiling said.

    Thinking of you all this weekend.

  6. I hope it all goes well, thinking of you all.

  7. I think you guys are doing an awesome thing trying to do this for Baby J, cuz I can imagine now just how protective you are, and how you want to shelter her from not just the bad, but the potentially bad. I hope the visit’s a good one, and you get to see the good things – as Baby Smiling said.

  8. I hope it goes well and that maybe it’s on the road to a much better relationship with him.

  9. You are handling this with such care and thought, I’m so glad that Baby J is with you – she has such amazing parents.

  10. Oh, man, I bow to your Buddhahood. With Baby’s J’s best interest as your number one priority, all your decisions will be clear. Trust your instinct.

  11. You’ve got a great perspective and excellent handle on the priorities here — baby J and what’s best for her. With that, everything will work out just as it’s supposed to. Good job, Momma. 🙂

  12. I hope all went well, Luna. You are walking this fine line with such grace and clarity.

  13. I hope the visit went well. Maybe knowing there’s a little girl out there who will want to know him better someday will help him to keep his priorities straight. One can hope, anyway.

  14. […] afternoon, T got back on a bus to continue his travels after his brief visit with us. He was in town overnight and the hours we […]

  15. […] even have a phone, really. He borrows them or gets pre-paid ones, so he can be hard to reach. The first time we met we visited him when we went to see Kaye and they lived in the same town. The second time was during […]

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