The latest prompt is short and sweet—
What is “openness” to you?
It was inspired by Luna's recent post about what openness means to her—a piece well worth reading, in my humble opinion—and the responses are as varied as those of us responding to it. Here's mine. (Not at all short and sweet. Would you expect anything different?)
:: Openness means we have chosen to embrace realities that, truth be told, made us a little uncomfortable when we first started thinking about adoption: Our children aren't entirely ours. We are not their only parents. Their looks, their talents, their likes and dislikes are gifts to them from their other family, and they deserve to know the people who gave them these gifts.
:: Openness means we have talked to our children about their adoptions since before they had any idea what we were talking about. It means they've heard their stories a million times—in a hotel room near South Bend, Indiana, right before Julia's first birthday; in a rental car as we unexpectedly drove through the town where their first mother grew up; sprawled on pillows on the living room floor on a random Tuesday afternoon—and they can't get enough of them.
:: Openness means that when Julia tells me she misses D, I can tell her that D misses her too, and that she thinks about her every day. It means that when Julia asks me how I know, I can say: Because she told me.
:: Openness means that I worry about D less than I might otherwise, because I know what is going on in her life. Except when it means I worry more (because I know what is going on in her life).
:: Openness means a lot of explaining: We answer many questions and dispel many myths from well-meaning folks, loved ones and virtual strangers alike, and we try to do this with a smile. (Sometimes, when it's clear the comments are less-than-well-meaning, we don't bother with the smile. Uncharitable, perhaps, but we're only human.)
:: Openness means Julia and Asher will never have to wonder where they came from. They will never have to wonder why they were placed for adoption. They will never have to worry that wanting to know their biological family will feel disloyal to their adoptive family. It doesn't mean they won't have baggage to unpack, but it does mean they can work through it without having to waste energy on wondering and worrying about answers that are easily found.
:: Openness means that helping our children navigate this life they did not choose for themselves is more important than George's or D's or my comfort. We made these choices, after all, but it is they who bear the consequences; it is our responsibility to mitigate the fallout as much as we can.
:: Openness means that our family is a bit bigger than the family we once dreamed of having. It means that we had to expand our minds to include a broader definition of family and open our hearts to include more than just our children—and, as it happens, we have found that there is more than enough love to go around.
Other responses to this installment of the Open Adoption Roundtable can be found here.