Thursday, December 10, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable # 11

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next two weeks--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

An open-ended prompt this round, because it's always interesting to see where each of us takes it:

Write about open adoption and the holiday season.


Liam has always known that he was adopted. He knows as much about his first family as we do. He has pictures of his mom and 1/2 siblings up on his bedroom wall. Being a "secret" myself I vowed from the get-go that there would be no secrets for Liam.

The only problem is I can't stop other people from keeping secrets.

Liam's brother was 3 when Liam was born, so his mom was able to keep her pregnancy from him. As far as we know she still has not told him that he has a younger brother. This can make it awkward and difficult to try and explain to Liam. He is very proud to have a brother and will tell anyone who listens. He would very much like to know his brother and be a part of his life, but so far, he's mostly okay with the fact that he can't do that. He doesn't really understand that his brother doesn't know that he exists though. Adoption is such a complicated thing to understand at the best of times, that this fact is just beyond his cognitive skills right now. And sometimes I think it's still beyond mine

As Liam's mom, it's a struggle for me to know how to handle different things that come up. Like Christmas 2 years ago. I was out shopping at the mall with Liam so that he could pick out Christmas presents for family. We had gone over our list: Grandma and Grandpa, Granny and Grandpa, Great-Grandma, Auntie Sarah and Noah. I didn't include his first family because we weren't in contact with them and I really just didn't know what to do. We had never sent presents before, just letters and pictures throughout the year. Liam got the idea though that he was going to buy them presents.

And who was I to tell him he couldn't?

So he picked out a book for his 7 month old baby sister. Good Night Gorilla, one of his favorites. He picked out something for "K" but I don't remember what now. And then he picked out a Webkinz Little Brown Bear for his brother. And 1 for himself. So that the bears could be brothers too and they could each have one.

Hmmm. hard to say no to that!

Now his intentions were not completely selfless. He had been wanting a Webkinz of his own for a very long time. And I think part of him thought that this would be a good way to get me to agree to one. Boy, can that kid read me like a book!

Liam hasn't decided yet this year if he is going to buy them presents or not. Some days it's yes, some day's it's no. 7 year olds aren't always known for thinking of anyone but themselves. And slowly he is catching on that this "relationship" is unidirectional. He's never gotten anything from them, not a letter, not a gift, not a picture. His little brown bear is still one of his most important stuffies and he talks about how his brother has the bear's brother and wonders what he named it. I wonder if "K" ever even gave it to him. Did she change the tag and say it was from her? Did she throw it away? Is it in a box somewhere waiting till the day she finally tells "C" that he has a younger brother?

So on Christmas day this year I will give Liam extra hugs and kisses; one for "K", one for "C" and one for baby "J". It will never replace what he could have if we had an open adoption and he wasn't a secret, but it will have to do.
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