...two rather monumental things have occurred in the last few days.
1. josh and i finally found a house to buy here in seymour. super excited! hopefully movin in by the end of the month. we'll miss the character of our little white farm house and the most wonderful landlords in the whole world (really- the WHOLE world. i'm not jokin)...but it'll be nice to have a place we can call our own.
2. yesterday, we met w/riley's birthfamily.
yep. we did.
i intended to write a blog beforehand. but that didn't happen. so now there isn't a before and after sort of comparison to read and interpret. oh well.
ya know, there are a lot of days when i don't even think about riley bein adopted. it's not quite like i've forgotten necessarily....it's just the dailiness of life sorta washes over the rocks of our journey....eroding the jagged edges a little. and then there will be moments in which the edges, even those that are eroded and smooth, stick up outta the water a little. sometimes it's while i'm filin stuff away in the desk and come across the adoption folder - bulging and semi-organized. sometimes it's when i'm checkin out at united and the friendly cashier asks how old my baby is and if i'm still nursin her. sometimes it's when people (friends and strangers alike) comment on how riley's appearance favors josh's or mine. sometimes, it's when i get a text from her birthmother.
we've texted w/her off and on since bringin riley home. we rarely, if ever, initiate the textin or emailin....but we answer her questions, tell her stories, email pictures. contact w/her has slowly diminished in frequency over the last 7+ months. she's kind and considerate... and still immature.
all of the books and articles and experts advise adoptive parents to make all sorts of decisions, short- and long-term, prior to meeting the birthfamily....and definitely prior to the hospital experience. and they're advice makes sense. they argue that the emotional gravity of the relationship and the weight of all that happens at the hospital can lead folks (generally on the adoptive side) to agree to things they don't feel comfortable with, things that they'll regret later on. so, we tried to be good students and had what felt like a hundred conversations about how much contact we were willing to have w/riley's birthmother...we talked about this before we were even matched, then we talked just before we met her, then we talked several times b/w meetin her and goin to the hospital.....and we communicated our expectations w/her. we were all on the same page - talk and text and email before the baby's birth....only pictures and occasional emails afterwards.
then we arrived at the hospital. it was like walkin thru a drought-stricken desert for six years, and in a matter of moments, walkin into a monsoon. so many things we thought we had so firmly decided, so many opinions we held...they were washed away. the birthmother wanted to see us in the hospital. so we walked next door. her mother wanted to be the carrier of the baby - carryin riley back and forth b/w our room and the birthmother's room. and we welcomed the gesture. the birthmother wanted us to come to her room to get riley that last time...and we did. we took a great big deep breath and walked into the room w/empty arms....and came out carryin our baby girl. the birthmother wanted to see us again....in the future....6-9 months down the road. josh and i looked at each other, our hearts melted again, and we agreed.
a person. a human being. that's who the birthmother is. not an idea. not a statistic. not a vehicle for our fulfillment. not a long string of adjectives like irresponsible and immature, etc.... a person. a young woman who got into a tight spot. a woman who loved her unborn baby so deeply that she was willing to place her into our arms, hearts, and lives. a woman who carried a baby for 9 months, kissed her, and said goodbye. josh and i will never understand the road she's taken, the grief she's experienced, or the questions she may always have.
we decided that we wanted to do what we could to help her.... help her grieve, help her heal. we can't do much, but we can assure her of the redemption of her decision. we can assure her riley is well and healthy. we can assure her that we absolutely adore the baby she carried and birthed.
so yesterday, we ate chinese food w/riley's birthfamily - mother, grandmother, aunt, and nephew. they held her, took pictures, asked questions. we laughed at riley's funny games and faces and habits. we told stories. we ate. then we left.
that was it. it was....anticlimactic. it was nice and not threatening and relatively brief. and then over.
before, i was anxious. edgy. a little fidgety. all sorts of jagged edges scrapin thru the waters w/in....and maybe i'll write about those some days.
all kinds of other questions will undoubtedly arise....it'll be messier than we'd prefer, i'm sure. we'll eventually have to decide about future visits....there will come a time when bein in contact w/riley's birthmother will be more about what's best for riley than what's helpful for her birthmother. i'd kinda rather decide today and not look back rather than wrestle w/it as we all grow and change and age....but i kinda don't think that's best.
we get funny looks from most folks when we tell them we're still in contact w/the birthmother. but that's okay. for now, it's worth it.