Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
I have been meaning to write this post for a long time*. I think I have a draft started somewhere. I think I started it pre-Baby Girl. Khalil Gibran is a philosopher that wrote the above or some version of the above. It was then turned into a song that Sweet Honey and the Rock sang that my Mother would sing. These words were read at each of her children (me and my sisters) dedication ceremony at church. This is the philosophy my parents used to raise us. Although we were their children we were not THEIRS as in the possessive which implies property.
I think part of the reason open adoption has been somewhat natural to me is that my Baby Girl is not mine. She isn't ours. She in't D's or J's. She doesn't belong to anyone as she is not a possession. She is a person that needs nurturing and the ability to explore the world. She has a right to know facts though my opinion of D and J is not factual. She is entitled to her own opinions and thoughts on D and J. She will forever be connected to D and J but she was never theirs as she will never be mine.
It is my job to instill in her that she is responsible for herself. She will make choices, which have consequences both good and bad. She will have opinions which I may or may not agree with. I want to ensure I help develop a sense of self which will allow her to become a contributing member of society.
With this all said she does have a secure place where she belongs in our family, but she also has a place in D and J's family. It is up to her to figure out where these worlds meet.
Adoption intensifies that sense of mine, yours, ours. After waiting years to become parents its hard not to want to suck up every waking moment with this new person. It is hard at times to share moments of our childrens lives that other families don't have to share.
I wanted nothing more then to be alone with Baby Girl many days/nights at the hospital. It was hard. Its not easy. I then would be reminded that she was not mine legally and more importantly she would never be mine. At the time it was hard to live those feelings. In hindsight I look back with fondness to those days/nights with D and her family. J brought too much turmoil for me but I still wish for Baby Girl I had a better picture of the two of them as its only his nose and hands that show in the picture of him holding her. With all the other pictures she can say the names of those in the pictures. With J she always says "Baby!"
At a kids event the other day. Baby Girl was marching to her own drum (some may have called it sassy). Someone called out "looks like we know who is in charge today." I smiled but silently thought "and thats ok." Why do adults always feel the need to "take control" and "be in charge." It was a childrens event- she was safe her ideas were just a little different then mine. She wasn't being disrespectful. What are we afraid of? I think once adults become comfortable with realizing that children will not revolt if you let them think its amazing what they are able to do. As a mother to a girl I think its even more important that she realizes at a young age that she is not a possession but a person with thoughts and opinions.
I feel like my baseline of realizing my children are not possessions has helped me with open adoption. When I find myself uncomfortable I often realize I've slipped into possessiveness. This is not to say that I'm not protective, but I work hard at not being possessive. Baby Girl is not mine. My hope for her is that she too will grow up knowing she is not a possession and she will have the freedom to be herself.
*I pushed myself to finally write this post thanks to a post Robyn. Her post was in response to a prospective adoptive parent that was having a hard time sharing with the expectant mother.
Home Study Check List:
Physician Report- Me
Finger Prints- DH