We interrupt this week’s series on birthmother expenses for an Open Adoption Roundtable.
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. We’re up to Open Adoption Roundtable #51.
Earlier this month, Heather was at a workshop with other open adoption participants. Some expressed very real fears and hurts they have had to push through in their commitments to open adoption–something those in the room agreed was not always an easy experience, but always worth it. Toward the end of the evening a woman in the front row raised her hand. “Does it ever get easier?” she asked.
How would you answer? Does it get easier?
The short answer is: Yes and no.
Certainly, the first few months of an open adoption are very hard. I know I was still getting used to being a parent, or a parent of two, and at the same time, my children’s birth parents were getting used to not being the parent. I remember feeling like I had to live up to my obligations or else! Or else what? I don’t know. I just had to be what I said I was going to be, even if parenting two was harder than I thought, or I was sick, or Cassie’s “unknown” birth father appeared.
My relationships with S and her mother have become easier in the sense that I can talk to them more openly. I don’t have to be as guarded in what I say. I don’t have to appear to be perfect. (Because we all know I’m not.) We really are like extended family at this point.
But there are some things that never get easier. S doesn’t always make the best choices. It’s never easy sitting out here in CA and wondering how she and her family are doing in MO. It’s never easy when she decides to make the same choice that didn’t work out well the last time. It’s never easy not being able to bail her out of a jam.
The relationship aspect gets easier, but the observation aspect (I can’t come up with a better word) never does. I can’t live another person’s life for her, nor would I want to. But I can’t do all that much to affect it, either. People are going to make their choices and live their lives, and the people around them just have to deal with that. That’s the part that never gets easier.
I imagine it might be different if my children’s birth parents were in different situations. There wouldn’t be as much to worry and wonder about. It might get easier all around for some people.
After much thinking, the best I can come up with is: Yes and no. Or maybe yes. It all depends.