The kid's birthday is next Sunday. I can't believe he'll be 8. How did that happen?! (And, yes, I know this is a question all parents ask themselves.) He's going to have a superhero-themed party which is going to be pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I'll try to post pics of all that later. (Maybe. If I remember to take any. Yes, I suck.) But, for today, that's not my focus.
For all 3 of baby E's birthdays, at least some members of his birth family have been present. That, however, has not been the kid's experience. He's never had any of his biological family celebrate with us. Certainly we've invited them (every year we've known how to contact them) but I've never gotten so much as a response from the invitations.
In the last year or two, this difference has really started to dawn on him. And, I think, started to bother him. I told you how excited he was last year to get a Christmas card from his birth family. Well last year, he immediately, upon starting to plan for this birthday, asked whether they were going to come to his party. I promised him we'd invite them (and we did) but cautioned him that they have a lot going on (they do) and might not be able to make it (they didn't). He was disappointed, but in his overwhelming excitement about his birthday, he seemed to have forgotten about it.
Baby E has recently been asking about whose belly so-and-so came out of, starting to make sense of some relationships and the basics of babies. And this seems to have brought back up for the kid thoughts and mentions of his birth family. But they're not the same kind of things he was saying last year. Last year, there was excitement when he talked about them. Hopefulness. This year, it's more "I guess they're not going to come again this year" said in this cynical kind of voice. The desire for them to come is still there. But in a "I'm afraid to get my hopes up kind of way". This voice isn't my kid. I don't like it.
I can tell he still wants them to be around (although it's been over 2 years since we've seen them), but seems to have given up on believing they will be. It's so sad. We so wanted to have an open adoption. But, in essence, it's closed. I mean, I am fb friends with his birth mom, but there's no generally no response there when I've attempted. We've sent cards and invitations. I'm not sure what else to do. I'm afraid to push anymore because I don't want to make things harder for them, or, frankly, to piss them off.
I remember sitting on their living room floor, our first meeting. We talked about open adoption and it was obvious they were hesitant. I assumed their hesitation was because they didn't want the kid to be confused about who his parents are (I mean, that's the reason they gave). We assumed him that he would have 2 sets of parents, neither more "real" than the other, each who loved him, and that we would do our best to help him not be confused. But that, really, we needed their help to do that. It felt like we made headway and they were in agreement (over the several months after he was born). But, for a myriad of reasons we'll likely never know or understand, we're back at the beginning.
And I get that this whole adoption thing has got to be so hard for them. And I know that I've no idea how hard or in what ways. So it's not like I fault them, or am angry with them at all. I'm just sad. Sad for them to not get to see who the kid is turning out to be. Sad for the kid to not have that connection that we want him to have. So very sad for him not to have that connection that he clearly wants for himself.
As another birthday for our sweet boy rolls around, I hope his birth parents know that we love him. And that we love them. And that we're here, whenever they're ready for contact. And I really hope that the kid will be open to that, too, whenever they decide they're ready.
Off I go to invite them for the birthday. Again. Perhaps they'll know at least that we're thinking of them. That he's thinking of them. Because he is. Probably more than any of us realize.
Today's Lesson: All we can do is try. And then others decide what they can handle.