Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Chinese

Over a year ago K was born and what a year it has been. As her birth mom's graduation from high school began to near, I tried to think of what to get her as a gift. I asked my husband and we could not come up with anything that we felt would be special enough. Then it came to my attention that over the past year, we have been able to share in so many memories with K and we should share more of those with others. I have a share site for K that we post pictures and milestones on, but I wanted K's birth mom to have something all her own. Something she could take to college with her and look at on days that were hard or days that she missed her family and friends. I remember having a few of those types of days in college and thought that K's cute little sweet face in pictures might just do the trick to make those long, hard days just a little bit easier. I took some of our favorite pictures from across the year and turned them into a book for her. I added special quotes about children and babies that I had found, as well as a few songs lyrics that relate to our unique situation. I had just finished K's baby book from her first year of life and so I used some of the ideas that I put in our own book into her birth mom's book as well. When it arrived in the mail, all bound together as a book, I could hardly wait to open the package. When I did, I realized what a difference a year makes! Never in a million years would I ever have thought that we would have the type of relationship with a birth family like we have. I remember when we first started talking about adoption, I didn't know if I could handle an open adoption. It just seemed odd and not realistic. It sounded painful and full of emotions. But over time, as I learned more about what an open adoption entailed, I figured out that any type of adoption would be painful for all involved and always would be full of emotions, so why not do what research says is best for children and have it be open? The number one question we get about adoption from people is if we ever see or talk to K's birth parents. You can see their faces change to a puzzled look when we tell them that yes, we see them every couple of months and we have been at some pretty major events together as one big extended family. I think some people think it's odd or weird, but to us it has become our new normal. Never, ever will I be sorry or apologize for forming a bond with them because the one who will really benefit from that relationship will be K. She will never have to wonder where she came from, if her birth parents loved her, and she will get to see that we were all there for the most important events in our family's lives, all together as one unit. I am proud to say that her birth mom and I have a bond. I know that things will change as we all grow and time passes, but I am happy to call her my friend. I don't expect people to understand that. I wouldn't have gotten it and really understood what it was like before our adoption either. I get why people are curious and I love to brag about K and her birth mom to anyone that will listen! When thinking about the past year and making the graduation gift, I remembered something interesting that happen almost a year ago. I don't really ever believe in those silly fortunes that come in the cookies at all Chinese places, but last summer we took K out to eat very early on after she was born. My fortune in my cookie that night said "The current year will bring you much happiness". I kept that little slip in my billfold all year and pulled it out on K's birthday to show to my husband. Pretty darn accurate if you ask me! The slip is a little dirty and worn, just like me, but still says the wonderful happy words that it did a year ago. Everytime I've had a bad day, I pull that little slip out and look at it to remind me of all good that has happened. Hopefully K's birth mom will use the book we made her in the very same way and she will have lots to smile about too.