Monday, December 6, 2010

Of abrupt departures and returns.

So I bailed out of here in October.  No word, nothing.  And I am sorry for that.  Fear struck fast and hard.  I am a very open person, and if asked I will give you the truth, usually brutally.  But I hate conflict, and with several of my posts I knew there could potentially be BIG conflict.  So I ran away.  With about two months off to ponder and miss my blog, I came to a place where I could be at least somewhat comfortable if people in my real life happened upon my ramblings.  I thought I was fearful of my family and friends stumbling upon this blog, but I puzzled out that it's not that.

What really scared me was Cam's first family finding this blog.  And it still does.  Not because I am trying to hide anything from them, but because I want to write about my life, and not hurt them in the process.  It's taken me a while to figure out that I am not in control (shit!) of other people's thoughts and feelings.  I still have a bit of trouble with that.  Control FREAK.  There is probably a step about that, but I have yet to work them (bits of shame trailing...).

I've done a lot of "soul" searching the last couple of months about what kind of parent I want to be and how Cam's life will be impacted.  For me it has been very important that Cam know as much about her first family as possible.  When we were presented with a possible placement back in February, an open adoption didn't seem very likely and honestly, it was one of the last things on my mind.  There were about two weeks of ups and downs, not knowing if it would work out.  We found out less than 24 hours before we were to pick her up from the hospital.  Our SW told us that we would be able to meet Cam's first mom when we got there.  I was so nervous, but very excited.  About five minutes from the hospital, SW called back to let us know mom couldn't bear to watch us leave with her baby girl.  Both Rob and I understood, but I was disappointed.  I truly wanted to lay eyes on the first mom that Campbell knew...but I was also a little relieved, because I wasn't sure how I could watch her go through so much pain, leaving her child behind.

I wrote letters about every two months and sent them to the agency with pictures.  I'd occasionally call to check and see if fmom had called for updates.  They heard nothing, we heard nothing.  All contact goes through the agency, so when the agency stopped calling, and our follow-up visits ended, I just let it go.  Still wrote the letters and sent the pictures, but wasn't hounding the poor social workers.  Rob thought it would be years before we heard from Cam's first mom, I was more optimistic.  :)

Last month the agency called to tell us N (first mom) had written us a letter.  The SW talked to Rob, so I got the gist:  it had some painful things written in it, things that might upset us.  That we should brace ourselves, but they know how empathetic we are, so keep that in mind.  The letter was then forwarded a few days later.  That wait was almost as nerve-wracking as the two week wait to get word on whether we would get to be the parents of this spectacular baby girl.

The SW wasn't kidding.  The letter was extremely hard to read.  N had a very tough decision to make when she decided on adoption.  She's married, has four boys.  Her husband may not have been the father.  To make matters more wrenching, what took so long for us to take placement is that her husband was having a hard time with the adoption plan.  Both of Cam's first parents (even though N's husband may have not been the father, he had rights to the baby in our state), in our eyes, were conscientious, deliberate, and very loving.  We hoped that J, N's husband, was Cam's father, because he was by all accounts a terrific father and husband.  Qualities anyone would be proud to have in their child.

N's letter touched on her profound sorrow, the grief her husband is experiencing, made mention of Cam's four brothers.  She also had questions, hopes, and fears.  I read it once, aloud to my husband, sobbing.  He then read it.  After that he tucked it back in it's envelope, and I didn't pull it back out for at least a month.  All this time I had wanted, hoped that a letter would come.  I was in no way prepared for the punch it dealt.  I thought I knew what it would be like.  Each evening as I held my daughter in my arms, I marveled at how perfect she was.  Always knowing that if not for another woman's crisis, she would not be here.  That while I was learning every coo, cry, and stretch, someone else was missing them.  In a way I was grieving for Cam's lost family, her birthright.  Some nights I felt confident that I was fulfilling the promises we made in our "Dear Expectant Parent" letter.  Other nights I felt like a fraud.  Perhaps the letter crept into my mind, and nestled itself right up against my feelings of inadequacy, because how else could I explain not being able to look at it again for so long?  It took me about three weeks to even TRY to write N back.  So jumbled were my thoughts and intentions, I started and stopped the letter dozens of times.  At one point, I saved the letter, closed out Word, and left it for a week.  When I came back, I had no recollection of anything that I had written.  Sounded like what I would say, sounded like my voice, but I could not remember putting those particular words together.

I left the letter as I had written it, but added a post script.  Pretty sure the thing was at least four pages long.  If you hadn't noticed, I can get wordy, and with Cam, I can write all day.  I touched on N's questions, hopes, and fears, but mostly I talked about our daughter.  The milestones (almost walking...5 teeth!) and the mundane (hates diaper changes...beginning to show a distaste for certain foods).  N had sent a picture of each of her boys, all ridiculously handsome, and clearly Cam's kin.  N is 100% sure that J is Cam's father (yea!), and the proof was staring me back in those photos.  N's youngest just turned 2, and is the spitting image of our girl. 

Now I want more.  More letters.  More pictures.  Histories.  All of it, the good, the bad, the ugly.  Part of N's letter dealt with shame and guilt.  Every family has that, and N IS my family now.  Linked by a beautiful almost 10 month old baby girl sleeping upstairs in my home.  I get excited, nervous, terrified at what will be with this extension of our family.  Mostly, right now I am scared.  Scared that N will back off, retreat from the hard work that will come with an open adoption.  Scared that I might be the one to pull back.  Scared that one day Cam will be pissed as all hell that I bothered to mix our families together as one.

So, I have returned to my blog to capture these moments in time.  I want, need to preserve it so that everything will have a context later.  Right now, I am in a hopeful place.

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