Childrearing

My Daughter Lies In The Balance Of Our Open Adoption

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A couple of days before I found myself in the dark, quieting my daughter, a friend posted on Facebook: “I found her.” She’d searched for and found her first mom—54 years later. She isn’t sure yet whether this woman, her mom, is willing to have a relationship. Her first mother has kept her existence a secret, and her mother—the grandmother—is still alive, and knows nothing of this granddaughter’s existence. These are deep, old secrets, wounds that scar even if you cover them over. Open adoption, in whatever form—letters that go to an adoption agency, annual photos, a set number of meetings, or something much more free form, like our situation with visits and phone calls and no quotas about contact—banishes the keeping of those impossible secrets.

But we’re still in the dark. We’ve begun to wade into new emotional territory. As our daughter matures, her range of questions and feelings about adoption increases. The complexity increases, and the simpler answers, two tummies, lots of hearts, fall away a little to so many iterations of why. However uncharted, this isn’t an experiment.

I patted our daughter’s back. I sent up a hope that our family—even with inherent complexity, like so many families in so many ways—is one where love prevails. “Do you think we should visit with Auntie Cece soon?” I asked our daughter. “It’d be really nice to see her soon.”

My daughter nodded in the semi-darkness. “I wish I could read a story tonight,” she offered.

“I know,” I replied. “It’s frustrating when we don’t get a story. We do have to cooperate at bedtime.” She yawned. “I love you,” I said, very quietly.

“I love you, too,” she muttered. Moments later, her breathing settled—and she was asleep.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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