This post is prompted by recent events, as well as some exciting news.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from Open Adoption Bloggers sharing that my International Breastfeeding Week post had made OAB's list of one of the Best Open Adoption Blogs of 2013. Hop on over to OAB and discover more fantastic posts!
And now on to the mess:
2013 was our family's hardest open adoption year.
You might think it would be year #1, the year we first experienced open adoption...the year we discovered our first child had a bio sib who was also with an adoptive family. The year we had to learn what to write in letters sent to our first child's bio mom. The year we had to figure out what we really wanted out of open adoption and why. The year we were first-time parents who straddled the joy of finally being someone's mom and dad and the heartache of knowing that joy only came from someone else's tremendous loss.
We have three open adoptions. But not one looks the same. Some are more spread out than others. Some more reciprocated than others. Some with more mutual expectations. Some with hurt feelings and disappointments. Some with uncertainly. Some with confidence.
And you know, being Miss Type A Control Freak, I like order. I like predictability.
2013 brought us extreme moments of joy and surprise. While some moments had us at our lowest-lows, questioning if open adoption was (is) ever a good idea. Is it worth the time, energy, and potential for hurt and disappointment? Were we really doing the right thing for each of our children? Should we continue to encourage other families to be as open as possible, even when it's sometimes uncomfortable, because, after all, it's usually what's best for the kids? Or it is what is best for the kids?
Where is the perfect balance? The right answer?
One thing is for sure. There's not guidebook on how to navigate the messiness of open adoption. There's no one-size-fits-all answer.
I do know for certain, that as I try to navigate open adoption in this season of our lives, that beauty can come from ashes, but only with grace, patience, and God-given peace (which surpasses all understanding). Because, in all honesty, many days I feel like I don't have much more to give. I don't have patience. I'm tired of lowering expectations. I want the best.
But I remind myself of something I saw during a T.D. Jakes talk. He discussed how sometimes there are big people: people who have 10 gallon love tanks. And then these 10-gallon people are involved with 2-gallon people. So the 10-galloners are often left disappointed when the 2-gallon people give, but it simply doesn't fill the 10-gallon tank. Then he said something I'll never forget: that 2-gallon people, if they give their 2-gallons, are doing their very best. And instead of always expecting that we get 10 gallons from 2-gallon people, we need to learn and and accept that 2-gallons as that person's best, be thankful for it, and stop expecting more and telling ourselves we will never be satisfied with that person until they give more. The problem, well, it's not really with the 2-gallon person, is it?
And then, what my mom has always told me. That I'm only in charge of myself. I cannot do anything about the behavior and choices of others, nor should I pour my energy into changing other people. I have to do the best with what I have at that time, make personal changes according to the conviction and prompting of God (not people!), and take care of business: that is, my #1 job is to protect, love, nurture, and guide my children, the children I was chosen to parent.
I wish I could hand you, dear readers, a pretty package containing open adoption perfection, a gift that would make your life easier. A little more Hallmark, and a little less Lifetime-movie.
But I can't.
Perfection. Perfect joy. Perfect peace. Perfect relationships. They simply do not exist within the confines of humanity. Adoption is messy, open adoption especially messy, because it all began with brokenness. The break between a biological mother and child. So, any adoption is going to have dark, unrepairable nooks and crannies. There are tangles. Road blocks. Valleys.
In 2014, I want each of us to choose and pursue peace, even in the midst of storms, worry, anger, frustration, confusion, and heartache. For the sake or our hearts. For the sake of our children. For the sake of their biological families.
I am certain of nothing in open adoption except this: God will give me what I need, when I need it, if choose His peace and rely on His promptings.