Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Chapter, Same Story

Becky and Pearl

My daughter was adopted by me and my now ex-husband when she was 2 days old. We had been married for about 1o years when it became fairly obvious we were not going to get pregnant on our own. Being a pragmatist and also fiscally conservative I saw my options narrow quite comfortably to adoption, open adoption. I knew that by choosing adoption it was a matter of when not if. I set us on our course in fall of 1997 the year my mother died and miraculously by July 18th of 1998 we had our lovely daughter Pearl.

Ours is an open adoption and we see Pearl's birthmother, Becky a few times a year, mostly here but occasionally in Eugene where she lives with her partner. As I reported earlier this month Pearl's dad and his wife have just had a baby and now Becky is pregnant too. Babies, babies everywhere.

Becky came up this weekend to tell Pearl the good news in person and to see her new baby brother. We had a nice visit and when it was time for Becky to leave she and Pearl stood locked in a hug on the driveway. I was saying things like have a safe drive and call us when you get there. Pearl was answering for Becky in the plural, we will mom. I realized she was pretending that she was leaving with Becky. I think this is my biggest fear as a mother in this equation that one day Pearl will pack up and return to her biological family. I realize I am selling myself short in this fantasy and not seeing all the subtleties of the open adoption relationship.

Ideally Pearl sees no boundaries in the families she lives amongst, she sees them as a continuous loop winding around her not individual closed loops as I have had the tendency to see them . Her relationship with Becky will change as Becky's family grows and as Pearl matures. I will not be left behind as my fear suggests, I will remain her safe harbour, the one person who has not made any changes in my original commitment to her, to be here just for her until the day I die. My roll is less glamorous, I have no siblings to offer, I am not a fantasy compiled of occasional weekend visits. She will know me better than anyone, the good and the horrible, the inconsistent and the whacky. At times I feel sort of invisible in the equation but to Pearl I am the thread that holds her whole universe together, the person who makes it all happen and the person who makes it all feel okay. All the rest of it is just the marvelous fabric that makes up the story of her life.


Anonymous said...

You put it all out there with so much perspective. Thanks. I have had those same fears of, "being replaced" (by Grama, by friends who are more fun) - I think it's part of being a mom. Such a tough job, you give them everything you have to offer, try not to do any damage that therapy can't fix, and in the end if we succeed they go out into the world and don't need us much. On the other hand, there is something about "the mom-kid connection" that is indescribable. How lucky to get to have that. xo

Lori said...

I just love your last paragraph.

I am the Adoption Contributing Editor for Bridges, a consortium of compassionate bloggers. Might we repost this on Bridges? With a link here?

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