a family creation

I know it’s silly, but I’ve been trying to find something adorable for Baby J to wear to court and I realized that I have nothing adorable to wear myself. I’m only half kidding. I never look adorable. Ever. But I don’t even have a dress that fits right. And practically everything that does fit is black. Probably not the best color to commemorate the occasion, right?

I used to put so much energy into worrying about what I would wear or how I looked, but to be honest when I leave the house now I’m often content if I remember to bring a bottle and spare outfit for Baby J in case of leakage. Times have changed.

So our big day is tomorrow. Family and friends are welcome, but that is actually bittersweet since my mom really wanted to be here for this. In her past life before retirement, my mom was a family court judge and her favorite occasions were adoption days. Every other day she dealt with bitter custody battles, domestic disputes, abused kids, foster families gone awry, etc. You name it, she saw it. She says the best days were when happy families were joined together (or reunited after foster care). She is fond of the saying “it ain’t over ’til the Judge kisses the baby.” Or at least until the Judge gets a photo with the happy family.

My mom will have to settle for a photo, unfortunately, since she in no condition to travel.

We’ve been thinking about whether any loved ones will be able to share this special occasion with us. Since Baby J will be a year old in just a few months, we may wait for a real celebration until then. But this is still a special day. Given that our parents can’t be there, I’d be fine if it were just the three of us. That would seem perfectly appropriate to me. Plus most people early on a Thursday morning would either be at work or home tending to small children. We did invite a few family members but they are unlikely to attend except for my aunt. I think she feels like the surrogate for the rest of the family, which is nice.

For a while I’d been wondering whether to share the date with K and her mom, and possibly even send them an invitation to join us in court. I hesitated at first because I wasn’t sure how it might make them feel. Would it be insensitive to invite them to such a glorious day for our family? Would it be painful or maybe bittersweet for them? I wondered whether it would be inappropriate for any number of reasons. Maybe it wasn’t the kind of thing that birth parents normally do? Maybe it was supposed to be for just us? I really didn’t know. There are no guidelines for this sort of thing.

Then I read a post by a first mom/birth mother whose blog I follow (I’m not linking to her in case she doesn’t want the traffic, but you know who you are). She mentioned how she felt when she found out about her son’s finalization hearing well after the fact and in a roundabout way — i.e., not directly from the adoptive parents before the court date. She noted how it bothered her, not that she wasn’t invited as much as excluded from such an important event that brought the adoptive family great happiness at her expense. They hadn’t even told her about it.

And it made sense.

I realized that in my attempt to try to “protect” K and her mom, I was thinking of doing what many fertile friends and family had done to me over the years. And I resented them for it. If I had learned anything about protecting myself — as only I can — it was the the fine art of “opting out” when I needed to. I always wanted the invitation extended, even if I chose to say “no thanks” (or “hell no” in private). I never wanted someone else to presume that they could know how anything would make me feel. I never wanted anyone else to eliminate my options. My choices.

So the other night I emailed K and her mom and told them about our court date. I didn’t really expect to hear back, but I wanted them to know that we were thinking of them. We are always thinking of K.

Then last night K called. It turns out she is headed home for a few days and wants to plan a visit. And yes, she would love to join us for our day in court to celebrate. There is always a chance she might not be able to make it, so I don’t want to create any expectation. But she wants to be there to witness our being joined as a family in the eyes of the law. It’s the final step in the legal process that K started before we even met her. It’s the final step in the creation of our legal family.

Of course every day I remember that it was K who created our family to begin with. When K chose us to parent her child, when she placed her newborn daughter in my arms, when she called us mama and papa to our baby girl (and I mean “our” in the collective sense), she created our family and by extension her place in it.

How amazingly wonderful that she wants to celebrate this joyous occasion with us.

I am so very grateful.

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~ by luna on March 10, 2010.

22 Responses to “a family creation”

  1. Beth was working the day of Firefly’s finalization, but the courthouse was in her town and afterward we stopped by and she took F around and introduced her to all her coworkers. The first thing we did as a legal family of four was to go be with her birth mom. There was something that felt very right about that.

  2. This is so, so beautiful Luna. I love that insight about protecting others vs protecting ourselves and how exclusive and isolating it can be when we are trying to shield others from what we imagine might be painful for them.

    And I especially love that this day is finally here and that you are including K as you have all along – I love that both your and K’s hearts have expanded to contain each other and the sacredness of this journey you are on together. It is wonderful to read about it, it really is.

    Much love and hearty congratulations to you all. I’m very sorry your mom can’t be there, though.

  3. I love that blogs can open us to perspectives that challenge our own expectations. If K can be there, I hope that’s a positive step for everyone since she’s a key player in your family formation anyhow. But if you can’t be there, at least you know you have her goodwill and support. To me, it seems like a great thing that you’re able to recognize how you felt when facing infertility and connect that to other situations where people feel disempowered or overprotected; a lot of people wouldn’t have made that leap. And despite the fact that your mom won’t be the one kissing this baby this day, it sounds like you’re making a lot of good progress on a lot of fronts. Congratulations!

  4. Congratulations! Whoever may join you, I hope you enjoy the day. Perhaps you could mention your mother’s former occupation to the judge and create her presence in that way.

  5. Congratulations! I’m so glad that you reached out to “K” What a wonderful way to build your relationship with her.

    I hope you have a wonderful day.

  6. I hope it’s a wonderful day for you, your family and everyone who is celebrating with you whether they are there in person or only in spirit.

  7. I wish I had had the insight when my daughter’s adoption was finalized that I have now. The truth is that even though it was most certainly a celebration for us, and good thing for her in that it made us a legal, permanent family, it really was a bittersweet day. In making us a permanent family, it also permanently severed any possibility of her being raised by the mother who bore her. There was much to be celebrated, but there was also a heaviness there that I missed, and which I regret missing.

    • thanks for your comment, michelle. I can understand the bittersweet aspect. we recognized K’s relinquishment as that bittersweet moment, when her parental rights were severed over 8 months ago. I think we all feel like we’ve been in a sort of legal limbo since then, which gives us more reason to celebrate the finality. I realize every situation is different, and I love how you can appreciate that moment now for what it was then.

  8. Will be thinking of you all! Such an exciting moment for your family!

  9. Have a fabulous day! our re adoption was amazing, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was awesome. I had been out of the country so couldn’t find anything to wear either and Maya only had warm weather clothes so we still looked good enough to me but it certainly wasn’t fancy. I wouldn’t have known what to do either, i would ahve wanted to protect as well. Glad you have someone that has been in those shoes as well so you could see it thru her eyes.

  10. I hope K is able to attend the special event. I like the way you decided to invite her.

    I’ll be thinking of you all tomorrow. Yay!

  11. Congrats on the big day! I too, do the overprotective thing, and often get myself into trouble for it. Good for you for letting K decide for herself 🙂

  12. Right now I’ve got about a minute and a half – as I hear the delightful coos of my wakening son- and I just want to let you know how much I have looked up to you (sorry to stick you on that pedestal) throughout this whole journey. I kept trying to mold our situation into one like yours (alas, that didn’t work) but you’ve remained a touchstone every time I have doubt. Thank you. And also congratulations on your decision to let K know about your court date. From everything I’ve read about your relationship, it seemed like the right thing to do.

    I want you to wear something bright if only a flower in your hair or perhaps jewellery – cause it will be day to remember. Congratulations to you and M and J – and K.

  13. I hope you all have a wonderful day! I’ll be thinking of you 🙂

  14. K sound incredible. Please hug her, for me. So does your mom — that sentiment really tugged at my heart. Judges must see so much crap and awfulness that a day like this really makes them realize there is good to be done, and not everything (even if ending justly) needs to end in hurt for someone. Congrats, and I can’t wait to hear about the big day on the other side!!

    (Also, stupid fashion assvice from one of the least fashionable people on the PLANET, but: I also own a load of black, and sometimes in spring I just throw on a spring colored cardigan or shawl or something with a bit of color and it looks chic/spring instead of, well, funereal/business meeting. Treat yourself to a new sweater maybe?)

  15. You know, you’re completely right. Ours was not a domestic adoption, and I was not thinking here that TPR would have been signed long before finalization. We too have our “picture with the judge”. It WAS special, and I’m sorry your mom can’t be there. Our boys were each able to say a little something, and it was really very sweet.

  16. I love how you are able to share how you make the choices you do, Luna. You explain things is a way that just makes sense.

    I love the quotes from your mom and I’m so sorry she won’t be able to be with you. What a beautiful relationship you have with K…

    I’m looking forward to hearing how your day goes.

  17. Oh that is so wonderful that K might be able to join you on this amazing occasion. What a huge event and I wish you all the joy on that day. In a different way I also try to keep my surrogate connected still with sending photos and I really will always know she brought our baby to life. It’s a beautiful thing.

  18. I’ve been thinking of you and I hope the day was a wonderful celebration of your family. I’m so sorry you Mum can’t be there. I can’t imagine how disappointing and difficult it must be for both of you. But I really hope K was able to make it, I think that would be so special to share that with her. I can’t wait to hear about it.

  19. Hoping it was a really great day for you all.

  20. […] Our big day was incredible, though it started out a little less than […]

  21. You are so special, this birthmom is lucky to have you.

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