Friday, April 27, 2012

"After a visit" OA Roundtable #37

This Open Adoption Roundtable is all about how you feel after a visit and since we've just recently come back from our second visit with Lovebugs birth family, it's all fresh in my mind. But, lets start at visit 1.....

I remember the anticipation of visit one like it was yesterday. Lovebug was 10 months old at the time and we hadn't seen Lovebug's birthmom or birth family for almost exactly 1 year, since we didn't see them at the hospital. We were meeting at a restaurant to have lunch and hopefully play in the nearby fountains. I was so excited and so nervous! I had all these things rushing through my head from one direction to the next. In one thought I worried that Lovebug wouldn't want them and in another I worried that she wouldn't want me. As we parked and walked up to the building, my knee's got a little weak. The gravity of of what was about to happen hit me at once. I remember looking at my hubby, trying to break the thickening air around us, and saying "It's bout to get real up in here!" or something to that effect. But, as we turned the corner and made our way up to the restaurant, we spotted Lovebug's birthmom and bgrandma smiling and waving and all of those fears vanished and suddenly felt very silly.

We had a good visit. Everyone was happy and talking and holding sweet Lovebug. We finished lunch and headed over to the fountains to watch the kids play. To my surprise though, I noticed Lovebugs birthmom hanging back a little, willing to be close, but not too close. After about 2 hours, birthmom decided she needed to go. So we snapped a picture of the 4 of us (one of my faves BTW!) and hugged. I'll never forget when C leaned in to kiss Lovebug on the cheek and said "see ya later" as we said our last goodbyes and Lovebug chugged her bottle in Hubby's arms. It was the first "see ya later" we witnessed. I could see the pain that sat behind her eye's, her eye lids forcing the tears back.

As they walked away, I remember feeling all sorts of things. I felt heartbroken for Lovebugs birthmom, I felt thrilled that we got to see them and that they got to see us and I felt sad that the visit was already over and truly, I felt disappointed that maybe I had expected too much. I remembered all sorts of things I wished I had told them and wondered if the things that I did say truly conveyed our feelings. It was a strange mix of emotions, that really swayed to the unpleasant side of things. I was happy, but overwhelmingly sad all at once. I wondered when and IF we'd ever see them again. Did they enjoy it seeing us and Lovebug?  Would these snap shots of our first visit be the only picture's I'd ever have to show Lovebug her birthfamilies love for her?....

Fast forward, 9 months later and we were leaving visit #2. A much more natural visit. Calmer. Like visiting old friends that you haven't seen in sometime. We had dinner, talked, laughed. I had to peel Lovebug off of my chest so they could see her beautiful face and she finally opened up some and they got to hear her chat away and throw a temper tantrum like a true toddler. It was just more relaxed and organic.  As we left dinner this time, things felt much different. The saddness wasn't there like it was the first time. I didn't see that same look behind C's eyes, and although I'm not under the misconception that there's no longer sadness, I get the impression that it's just different. And although the visit was way shorter (even more so than the last time) than I had hoped, I didn't feel disappointment and sadness driving away. Part of that is because I've become more realistic with what to expect with our situation. Not using other OA's as a standard to go by and recognizing that each OA is different, with different people and different ways of going about things. The other part of that,  I realized as we drove away, is with our first visit I had some unresolved feelings of grief for Lovebugs birthmom. I was carrying around, deep inside, a guilt for getting to be this precious baby's mommy. I realize now that some of the sadness I had when we left the first time was a feeling of guilt that we were driving away with our sweet girl and they weren't. Maybe because we hadn't experienced that in person when Lovebug was born and it took that visit to bring that to the surface and finally deal with it. This time, I did not feel that way. I felt solidified as Mommy. Confident in my role in Lovebug's life as well as C's role in Lovebug's life.   It was sad to say goodbye just because I'm not sure how long it will be until we see them again, but as I looked in our back seat and watched our sweet baby girl snuggling into her car seat, my heart couldn't feel anything, but to feel grateful and whole.


To read other responses to this topic, head here!


  1. Yay! You blogged! Great job on OAR! It was a tough one this time.

  2. Enjoyed reading this. We're about to have visit #2 with Kaylee's birthmom so I'm glad to read all these posts. I like what you said about carrying around guilt for getting to be her mommy. I still feel like that. There are so many different emotions surrounding adoption!

  3. I agree with the guilt feeling- I have that a lot. Our daughter's first parents are close by, so we have monthly visits and lots of email and text conversations. The guilt hits me a lot with things her first mom will say, and when it does, I'm always more aware of my own words and how they might be making her feel.

    This was my first time participating in an OAR, and it was hard!