what openness means to me (so far)
I wrote my last post in response to a recent conversation about adoption. I hung up the phone frustrated and just had to write, though I deleted the part where I vented said frustration since it wouldn’t do any good to publish it. I ended up going in a different direction which was far more civil though sterile (and long, sorry). Something was lost, I think, in my effort to avoid the controversy I would have been courting by publishing the original. Maybe some day I’ll feel more comfortable writing more about that particular situation. Maybe not.
For now, I just want to try to address the spirit of what was missing in that post.
What is openness to me?
Openness is embracing our child’s first family as our own. It’s extending our family to include those who loved our daughter before we ever met her. It’s expanding the very definition of family, not just in theory but in every day practice.
Openness is telling our daughter the story of how we came to be her parents. It’s never needing to choose the “right” time to tell her about adoption, because she will always know. It’s creating an environment where she should feel comfortable asking hard questions and sharing difficult feelings. It’s being honest and authentic, always.
Openness is being able to see where our daughter got her magnificent locks and luminous eyes. It’s seeing her face light up as she sits next to her kin while they gaze into a mirror admiring their likeness. It’s celebrating those similarities and their source.
Openness is knowing where our child inherited her unique artistic ability and uncanny memory. It’s listening to stories that tie our daughter to her ancestors, and re-telling those stories until they become her own.
Openness is genuinely extending a warm welcome into our lives, not an obligation we fulfill because a contract says so. It’s reaffirming that invitation when someone may need encouragement to participate. It’s keeping that door open for those who have not yet walked through it.
Openness is tremendous gratitude that our daughter can share significant milestones as well as ordinary events with family who love and adore her. It’s witnessing the love flowing to and from our little girl. It’s enjoying regular meals with her grandmother. It’s when her grandfather drops off a valentine on his way home from work. It’s always planning our next visit, hoping it comes sooner rather than later.
Openness is when our oldest daughter’s first family embraces our youngest daughter too. It’s knowing that family ties are built with dedication, commitment and love that extends beyond blood, woven into a rich tapestry displaying many stories, bold and beautiful, heartbreaking and marvelous.
And that is only the beginning…