Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weird; Like Normal

For a long time I wondered if something was wrong in our relationship. Was I trying too hard? That explanation seemed very unlikely. Perhaps I wasn't trying hard enough? Why didn't this seem to be going the way I had been told to expect?

I needed to stop measuring by other people's standards and recognizing the good thing in front of me. I had heard about and read so many people describing their relationships with adoptive families I lost focus. So often the description "like my sister" came up, shortly followed by tales of "countless texts back and forth" I started to think that might be "normal".

For a brief time I actually felt a little ashamed that my relationship with Ms Scarlet and Prof Plum didn't resemble those stories. I wanted our relationship to be like a beacon for how good everything can be in an adoption. I wanted to be the wildly successful anecdote people share, secretly hoping the same can happen to them, like when discussing film stars and rock gods. I looked at the markers for that quality relationship and found many of them lacking.

Instead, I found a real relationship. I found the kind of relationship that expresses, and more importantly respects, the strangeness of how our relationship came to be. Let's face it, adoption is a pretty strange way to kick off a friendship. "Hey, here's a kid, let's be friends!" It doesn't exactly fly in most social circles. So instead, I decided to let this relationship be exactly what it is; It's a little weird in that it's completely unique.

We don't get together and hang out at the park just because. We don't send each other endless text messages about our day at work, or the film we just saw. We don't gab like old friends who have known each other forever, because we haven't.

Instead, when we meet (about once every month) everyone is clearly aware of why we're together:

Our Son

Don't get me wrong. I really like Ms Scarlet and Prof Plum. They're great people, and I always enjoy the time we spend together. We have very little in common in terms of factual experience, but we have a great deal in common with regard to temperament. We tend to think and behave similarly, even though our contexts are quite different. But then that's the wonderful thing about this family we've built; we like and are alike, even though we differ.

Our relationship with each other is icing. The cake is everyone's relationship with Festus. That is what makes me feel that this is something to be truly proud of. Our adoption is truly and completely centered on him. Without him Athena and I probably wouldn't have a relationship with Prof Plum or Ms Scarlet. And that's fine. Our relationship is a little weird. It is awkward to explain, but is becoming very natural to those that are in it. We are not like family in the SitCom sense, nor the story book way. We are not like long lost siblings who gab and joke all day. Our relationship runs deep, and quiet. Our relationship is our shared son. We all know it, and we don't need it to be anything else.

The laughter and fun we share, when it happens, is icing. Our son is the cake.


  1. You're so right, comparing your relationship to another adoption relationship can often cause undue stress. No two are alike and there's not a cookie cutter pattern to follow. What works for you will not work for someone else. Thanks for sharing this reality.

  2. It is true every relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents is unique and should be centered around the child.

    Your relationship with the adoptive parents is one of the healthiest I know. The boundaries and expectations are clear and the respect is mutual. You are so right, about your son being the cake.

    As one of those adoptive parents who communicates weekly with birth parents, through texts and email. We have found it necessary because of the maturity level of the birth parents. When we have tried to establish set visits that can be routine, without constant communication, both the birth mother and birth father have chosen not to show, without notice several times. Luckily our daughter is young enough not to understand this.

    The boundaries we have established are tested and the communication is more then we would have expected. No matter the inconvenience or frustration on our side, the objective is to have open communication, for our daughter to know her birth parents and build a relationship with them.

    You posted awhile back about adoptive parents being more honest about the struggles of an open adoption. And I have several drafts about our frustration and hurt, the harsh realities of our open adoption that I don't think I can share. It would hurt our daughters birth parents, which would effect her relationship with them. I have shared my negative experiences about open adoption on sights where I feel safe to share. I will share these experiences on my site, in the future when I feel it will not have an impact on my daughter.

    Thanks for your insight that is well stated.

  3. Another tremendous post. I found myself shaking my head as I was reading and totally agreeing with you.

    Well written as always, and thank you for being so honest and for allowing me (and others) to read and relate!

  4. "Our relationship is our shared son. We all know it, and we don't need it to be anything else." How refreshing.


What do you think? I'm curious.