There’s a website, Open Adoption Bloggers, that has gone a long way towards educating me on open adoption. The Roundtable is a periodic writing prompt designed to get people thinking about adoption. I don’t always participate, mostly because we are so new to open adoption, but I thought I would take a stab at this one.
The prompt this time is “Are you approaching openness differently in 2013? What experiences from in the past year influenced you most?”
We’re still feeling our way through what, exactly, open adoption means to our family. Katja isn’t big enough to provide an opinion about how much contact she wants to have. We live a few hours away from her biological family, so just dropping in is really not an option. We’re going to see them this weekend, though, and we are going to make sure we see them at least once a year as long as it is logistically possible for everyone concerned.
A long time ago I wrote a post about little-f family and big-F Family. Little-f family is made up of the family you are born with, the ones you don’t choose. Big-F Family is made up of the people you choose, the ones you absolutely know will always support you, and the ones you call first when something happens. Sometimes you are lucky and they overlap. I learned this definition from friends in San Francisco when I was in college. They were two gay men who had little-f family who walked away from them when they needed them most. They had a huge a loving big-F Family, though, and I was lucky enough to be part of that.
B and E are Katja’s family. They are our family, too. I’m not sure if they will end up being Family, since it’s hard to get really close to them with the distance involved. We stay in touch through the internet and phones, though. I send pictures, Katja’s website has pictures and information, and we are in contact through social media. I don’t feel like I need to shove Katja at them, but I want the option to be there. They are good people. We’re not likely to end up living really close by just because of what our life is like, but we don’t live near other people we are related to, either. They will keep being part of our lives.
What will be different in 2013? I don’t know. This year will be busy and full of change. There are several interesting things on the horizon, all of which are tenuous and mostly undefined right now. We’ll see B and E soon, though, and we’ll get pictures of Katja with them. We’ll hopefully get to see them in June, too, when I run my half marathon. We don’t see them in the winter because of driving the passes; we don’t drive in snow unless we absolutely have to for safety reasons. I think, though, that we will come a little closer to defining what this open adoption means for us, how we will continue to interact, and a little more of what to expect over the next few years.
There isn’t a road map for this. Open adoption is created by each group of people, be they family or Family. We’re figuring out where we fit in their lives and vice versa, what kinds of contact we will continue to have, and what we want to see. Katja will define this for herself as she gets older. In the meantime, we are responsible for doing what we promised and staying in touch.