Saturday was the one year anniversary of our first placement, dubbed Ladybug here. I thought about her a lot the past week. I pray that she’s doing well. No news is good news, I suppose. If you’ve been reading here long, you probably know that while we still consider ourselves foster parents, our home is in closed status while we’re temporarily living with my parents and building a new home. Technically we haven’t had a child in foster care with us since November when Precious was moved into our legal guardianship. Specifics aside, we’ve been parents for a year now. July 28, 2011 is one of those dates that will be permanently etched in my memory. Ladybug holds a very special place in my heart. She was the first child ever to call me mama.
We started our our day with a get together of old and new friends who are all touched by adoption or foster care one way or another. I call it a community group: people on similar life journeys hanging out with no agenda but to support and encourage each other. If nothing else, it’s a place where people don’t ask dumb questions or use wrong terminology about adoption. There was one brand new foster mama there with her 10 year old first placement. There was a couple and their daughter adopted from Ethiopia 2.5 years ago. There was a woman with her one year old who was an unexpected domestic infant adoption. And there were several friends who are waiting for domestic infant adoption matches. An eclectic mix with a common thread.
From there, we spent the afternoon with some of Precious’ biological family. I have so much going through my mind since then but little of it seems appropriate to share here. Maybe writing will help me sort out my thoughts … Precious has 4 older biological half-siblings, living in 3 different homes. It was great to get them all under one roof, to see them all loving each other so well and getting along great. They’re all just as beautiful as Precious, if you can believe that. I got a few photos of the five together but I don’t feel it’s appropriate to share here.
With foster care, there is not really such thing as “open adoption.” All adoptions are closed for reasons you can imagine. But at the same time, unless a foster parent is really determined to avoid the biological family all together—or if the bio family is gone—they’re going to meet or at least know each others’ names. This was scary to me at first. Partly for Precious’ safety and emotional health, but also for selfish reason: I don’t want to make things more complicated. (Ha!) I’m finally starting to understand the sentiment I’ve often heard in regards to open adoption: a child can never have too many people who love and care about her. Seeing how excited Precious’ bio family was to see her and how they couldn’t wait to shower her with hugs and kisses confirms the value of maintaining those connections when it’s possible and beneficial.
I’ve written before about how valuable it turned out to be to have some visits with Precious’ birth mom, because not only did she show us how much she loves her, she told us and also generously affirmed us as her parents. It was so beneficial, even though it was uncomfortable. As Precious gets older, we’ll be able to give her a say in how much contact she wants to maintain with her biological family, as well as gauging how it affects her to see them. It’s so hard to know what to do but we want to keep the doors open. Anyone out there have experience with open adoptions have some insight to share?