This fall, along with apple picking, Halloween costume shopping, and touring the local zoo, I’m planning a visit with my daughter’s birth mother.
My daughter, Miranda, is adopted. We chose an open adoption and I feel very strongly about it. I do not hide the fact that she was adopted. Quite the opposite, in fact. I speak openly and freely about adoption. And yet I dread these biannual visits like you would not believe.
There is no handbook for how to handle these situations. There is no way to know how to behave. So you have to trust that you will just do the right thing.
We always give M (the birth mother) several dates from which to pick. We give her a range of times and ask her to choose what works best. We ask her to decide where we should go. We want her to feel in control of the visit because we feel that will make it easier for her.
The fact of the matter is, though, there is nothing easy about these visits. They are a little bit awkward and a little bit uncomfortable. Our daughter is the common thread between us and yet we can’t really rely on her to carry the conversation since she is just 3.5 years old.
After the initial greeting, we all usually loosen up. Miranda goes to M and allows her to hold her and make a big deal out of her. She lets herself get smothered in attention and love and handles it all very well. Then there is play time. Then there is catch up time. We all relax some more and find our rhythm.
In every visit, there are always tears. M has told us time and time again that she knows she made the right choice for us to be Miranda’s parents. So are these tears really a sign of joy since she knows she made the right choice for the child she created? Or are they tears of sadness for all that she is missing in Miranda’s life? Or are they a combination of all of those elements, plus more? I do not know. What I do know is that it always breaks my heart.
We part with the promise to send pictures from the day and to plan our next visit in the spring. We all give hugs and say our goodbyes.
I feel fiercely protective of Miranda all the time and I worry about how we are going to explain all of the intricacies of her life to her as she gets older. I worry about Miranda having two moms. A birth mom and a what? Real mom? Practical mom? Everyday mom? Or just plain old mom? You know what? I do not need a title. Plain old mom sounds good to me. Very good, in fact.
I guess the rest we will figure out along the way. When we get it wrong, we will learn. When we get it right, well, how sweet that will be! At the end of the day, the more people to love and cherish our daughter, the better off she will be.