visiting, part two

Two years to the day of our home study visit, nearly a year to the day of Baby J’s welcome to the family celebration, K and her mom — our daughter’s other grandmother by birth (let’s call her Grandma Bea) — came to our home to spend the day with us. Unlike Baby J’s first birthday party, where it was difficult for them to enjoy any real time together with so many people around, this was a quality visit.

K was home for a rare weekend. Months ago, I had made plans with her mom to visit that Saturday afternoon. Our plans shifted and they decided to come Sunday instead, which worked better since M would be home too. (Unfortunately we had to cancel plans with understanding friends at the last minute, but that’s what you do to make a long overdue visit happen.)

It was a wonderful afternoon. K, her mom and little brother (Baby J’s 13 year old uncle) came before lunch to spend some time before her nap. Baby J has grown so much since her birthday — i.e., walking, running, chattering, signing, etc. She is so much more interactive now. Plus she was comfortable in her own element without a bunch of other people there.

She was a bit slow to warm, as she is with most guests. She stayed close to Mama for the first half hour or so. But soon they each found a way to connect with her. Grandma Bea took off her shiny bracelet and dangled it intriguingly. K got down on the floor and started building stuff with her. Little uncle read her books. We took pictures and video. And of course we fed everyone. It was awesome.

It was the first time they had seen her run around, or walk even. It was the first time they heard her words (all 4-5 of them!). They watched her play and heard her laugh and listened to her animal sounds (lion is her favorite). They each got to interact in their own unique way. They got to experience her little personality emerging. Simply by being in her presence for a few hours, they could see how our daughter just lights up the room. Truly, I felt so blessed to share those moments with them.

We sat at the table, the baby in her high chair nibbling on berries and cheese while we ate a veggie frittata and salad and summer fruit. Baby J kept looking to K and Grandma Bea. She smiled and giggled as they spoke sweetly to her. They’d smile back big, of course. Anything to get a baby to laugh. “See that, [Baby] J,” I told her, “that’s where your beautiful smile comes from!” And she just giggled with delight, glancing at them, at us, and back again.

To Grandma Bea it was like a tonic, basking in the presence her first and only grandchild. She had been looking forward to this visit for so long. For as close as we live to one another (less than 1.5 hours away), we don’t really see her often enough. We all have busy lives so we do what we can. Our interaction with her has always been very affirming, from the time K made her initial decision to the present. She continues to affirm our loving family and especially me as Baby J’s mother in so many ways. Sometimes she calls just to tell us that we are wonderful parents and that she is so happy we are in her life.

I used to say how “lucky” we are to have found each other, us and K. But Grandma Bea says “luck has nothing to do with it.” She truly believes the stars were aligned and that the universe unfolded just as it should have.

If not luck, then gratitude. I am so grateful that Grandma Bea is in our life. I am grateful for the support she has always shown K, no matter the circumstance. And I am grateful that she is a loving grandmother to Baby J. She is beyond generous. On top of the love and care, you should see the gifts she has given our little girl — shoes! clothes! books!

As for K, I can’t say how the visit was for her, of course. She said how happy she was to see our daughter, how much she loves her, how well loved she is. She was amazed by her incredible development. She interacted with her playfully and told her stories. I believe there is a connection there. (There’s probably a post brewing in there somewhere, for another day…)

When it was time to go, well, that is always hard. And if it’s difficult for me, I can only try to imagine what it might be like for K. I could not possibly imagine, really.

We hope to visit with Grandma Bea in late September, though we probably won’t see K until November, just before Thanksgiving. For now, we hope Grandma Bea will continue to serve a strong role in Baby J’s life. And for that, I am so grateful.

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~ by luna on August 23, 2010.

10 Responses to “visiting, part two”

  1. You have turned me into a believer, throughout your thoughtful posts, on the GOOD that occur (for all parties) in an open adoption. Obviously, this is not possible nor ideal in all cases, but it’s lovely to hear how your families have connected and have continued to grow in a healthy way for Baby J.

  2. it truely is amazing the life you have built for your daughter surrounded by others who love her so much too.

  3. Kudos to Grandma Bea and K for making this OA work so well for Baby J. But also, congrats to you and M for opening yourselves up to this experience. Inspiring!

  4. i love this. love hearing about how your open adoption is unfolding. thanks so much for being authentic. i hope that someday i too can write about tee’s first mom in a similar way.

  5. It sounds like you all have a fabulous relationship. I’m glad you were all able to enjoy the day together.

  6. Luna- I am always amazed by your posts. I am so happy that you and M were able to receive such a beautiful gift and stay in touch with most of the family. Baby J sounds like she is growing like a little weed..it is amazing how fast they grow and change. Thank you for continuing to share your wonderful experiences with all of us- I love living vicariously through your blog.

  7. Our “open” adoption is turning out to be much more open than we expected. A is continuously amazing me with her strength and grace … We are in touch via cell phone pictures (I send photos of Ben, she sends photos of herself and Ben’s sister, we both love this!), text messages, and occasional phone calls. We are getting together with A and her family for dinner at her aunt’s house later this month … None of this was planned, but it feels right. We feel that Ben can only benefit from knowing how many people love him … and I think the openness will make him more secure with himself and our family(ies). It’s all about him … I guess that’s what parenthood is about, no matter how we arrive here 🙂 I have always been inspired by your families openness, and now I totally “get” how grateful you feel for having it work for all of you. Truly an amazing experience.

  8. […] my last post, I mentioned how I used to say that we were “lucky” to have met K when we did. Luck […]

  9. Our open adoption has grown more painful as my daughter grows up. A wise person assured me it was best for Sophia to question at 13, she will hopefully manage to weave those major threads into her life by the time she becomes an adult. I hurt when she hurts, at the core of every adoption is abandonment whatever the cirmcumstances. In our case abject poverty, lack of education etc., Understandable and heroic in so many ways and the reason we became parents. Irony, rich, complicated and a part of our lives.

  10. […] While we had seen Grandma Bea and Uncle Cee in September, Kaye hadn’t seen Baby J since early August. There have been so many changes in just three months, especially with comprehension and language. […]

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