From the roundtable this time: write about a small moment that open adoption made possible.
When I first read this week's discussion topic, I must not have been paying close enough attention. I thought Heather was asking us to write about a small moment that made open adoption possible. My mistake. :)
But I think I'm on the right page now!
In thinking of our particular situation (and maybe others can relate), the entire relationship has been made up of a lot of small moments. In the past almost twenty months, we've had very few earth-shattering moments where our relationship with "A" is concerned.
And though I would still consider our adoption to be an open one, it is often more "semi-open," or even somewhat "closed" in practice. It's not for lack of trying; but, this is how things have more often than not played out.
So, maybe all the more because of that fact, I greatly treasure the one visit we have had since our sassy little girl was born. She was six months old at the time--the perfect age for still being a cuddly baby, and yet having so much awareness of her surroundings, responding to others, and being fully entertained (and entertaining) with smiles and laughter.
We spent the entire day with A, her family, and friends. We visited with those we had not see in six months, and we met others who had known our precious girl before she was born, not yet having had the opportunity to see her in person. She was passed from person to person, family member to friend, grandparent to grandparent, and mother to mother. She did beautifully the whole time, and on that day more than ever, I was SO grateful for her easy-going nature and flexibility in unfamiliar situations.
She was a baby, though, and naptime did come. I had wondered how we would manage to not push her past her limit, while still allowing A to savor every moment with her. I tried not to worry about it too much beforehand, and just decided we would take the day as it came.
It came time for a bottle, and A gladly did the honors. I loved that she got to snuggle her sweet baby as she ate. There's something so precious about feeding a baby--your baby. After mealtime was over, the room started to quiet down as others went into the kitchen to eat or went outside to chat and play games. People stopped coming and going as much, and the room became still for the first time all day. Maybe others sensed the need for a few quiet moments between A and the daughter she'd missed all these months, or maybe everything just fell into place.
She began to rock our sweet baby. She relaxed her arms so she would lay back in them. She cuddled her and stroked her face. She quietly "shhh'ed" her, just like all mothers do with their tired babies. It was the most natural thing in all the world, and in a way, I felt like I was intruding a bit by being present in the room. I quickly took a few pictures of the two, and then left to sit outside with my husband and enjoy the cookout. I told him what a precious thing was going on at that moment, and how I only wished our little girl would stop her attentive nature for just a few moments, so that she wouldn't be raising her head to look at me. We smiled at what a lovely day it really had been.
Days later, as A and I were corresponding via email about the visit we'd had, she noted that, among other things, she loved being able to rock our daughter in her sleepy state, and how it brought her such relief to see her craning her neck to watch Mommy. She commented that, as a "birth mom," she was so happy to see our girl safe and secure. She had been worried that their strong connection as a family, similar physical attributes, and other characteristics would make us feel sad or upset on that day, and how she hoped we understood that our parenthood wasn't being threatened.
I wrote back immediately and told her that, first of all, I had been worried that she had been upset by the neck-craning, and second, having a sense of acceptance and biological heritage for our daughter on that day was the thing I had most been hoping for on our visit. How funny that the things we were each fearing for the other were the very things that meant so much to us.
I will never forget the image of A rocking our baby girl. It was as if they'd never been separated. I'm so thankful to have the pictures from that day, but I'm also so thankful for the quiet moments between a mother and her child.