We had an incredible exchange with Kat yesterday, and I hope sharing this doesn’t offend her. 🙂 Kat wrote wanting to clarify what level of contact we’d be most comfortable with, and to sort out what our expectations are moving forward. Tess’ arrival was so sudden that her expectations and our expectations all went out the window. We all played it by ear, because the whole NICU stay was so unpredictable.
Suddenly, we shot out of Salt Lake City and found ourselves back in Milwaukee, trying to catch our breath and reconfigure our life around this amazing little peanut. We never got to sit down with Kat and Spencer and map out the 18 years until Tess makes all her own decisions. (I realize that number is probably inspiring guffaws around the world – it’s symbolic! Button it.) Honest exchanges like that really reinforce how well-matched we are with those two, and make me look forward to seeing them again and watching Tess interact with them as she grows.
I’ve expressed this sentiment before, and often people will comment that involvement on that level must be confusing for the child. I’ve gotta say, I’ve been stalking adults who were adopted in an open relationship and they all seem pretty satisfied with their lives. A major study came out recently reinforcing the benefits of open adoption to everyone involved. More importantly, Kat and Spencer and Dave and I went through such an incredible journey together in the NICU. Having a medically fragile child is scary and intimidating, but few people share that experience with another couple that is as emotionally involved. We know, forever, that Kat and Spencer were 100% with us and with Tess throughout that roller coaster ride. They’re supportive and fun and sensitive, and having them as the third leg in this adoption triangle has honestly been a pleasure. Seriously, what 21-year old is emotionally mature enough to ask what level of communication the adoptive parents are comfortable with?! I told her and I’m telling you, knowing who Tess will biologically take after makes me incredibly excited to see who she becomes as she grows. Between nature and nurture, Tess has four influences instead of two – and all of them rock! (That’s right. Dave tells me I’m great every day and I’m choosing to believe him today.) We all know he’s the better half, which makes him more believable, right?
Before we really dug into our adoption learning, we worried that we may not like the birth parents and therefore may not like some of our child’s quirks from that background. Now that we know Kat and Spencer, our only worry is that she won’t like piano – disappointing Spencer and I equally! If she shows traits of theirs, we’ll applaud and shoot them an email of gratitude. Who says you can’t choose family?