As soon as we met Buddy's birth mother we fell hard in love. She is an amazing woman with so much love and so many talents. She's stunningly gorgeous too. Buddy is so much like her, which will be a wonderful blessing in his life. We feel lucky we get to enjoy his (and her) wonderful personality.
To say I was nervous the first time we met is an understatement. I had never felt that level of emotion or nervousness before -- and I haven't since -- like I did the morning we met. Til the day I die will will never forget that experience. I was a nervous wreck as we sat in the caseworker's office in Idaho Falls. And then I heard her laughter down the hall. She didn't sound nervous at all, which surprised me considering I was almost ill I was so nervous. As she came into the room she hugged me, sensed my stress, and immediately put me at ease by complimenting us up a storm and telling us how excited she was to finally meet us.
(If that's not like my son, I don't know what is.)
Sometime I'll have to tell the whole story because truly our visit was unforgettable. And the weeks until placement were as well.
After placement I felt such a huge loss because I missed her. We wrote every week and G and I would often tell each other we hoped we'd be able to see her again. It was totally selfish and had nothing to do with Buddy. (Although that's since changed.) She told me early on that she felt like if we had met under other circumstances, we'd be close friends. I couldn't have agreed more. Both G and I genuinely liked her and all of her family.
One day a few shorts months after placement, we asked our caseworker if we were "allowed" to visit with our birth mothers after placement. We had an "open" adoption, but we still weren't allowed to exchange last names, phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc until after finalization and only if all parties agreed. Until that time, that was agency policy. He told us that things were changing at the agency and that we could "do whatever we thought was right." He was a really cool guy, but he always told us that sort of thing. Just do whatever we felt was right, was harder than it seems.
Months passed. Finalization happened. Buddy was sealed to us. We immediately revealed all of our identifying information in hopes she'd do the same with us. She did. After he turned a year, she emailed us one day to ask if we'd be open to visiting with her some time. We had been too nervous to ask, so we were so happy she made the first move. We arranged a time to visit when we were in Utah visiting family a few months later when Buddy was 17 months old.
That visit was wonderful. Unless you've been in that situation, there are no words to describe the "connection" between Buddy and her. He was so much like her family, especially the boy cousins -- it was eerie. They share common interests, they look alike, they love the same foods, and don't even get me started on the commonalities in their personalities.
The months passed and we made arrangements to see her again. By this point we realized we wanted an open adoption for Buddy and would work hard to keep that relationship. We loved her and it goes without saying that she loved him dearly, but we knew it would be a blessing to him. At our second visit, Buddy had just turned 3 years old and we spent Christmas Eve with her whole family.
We returned from Utah and felt such a deep love for her that we wanted more to create that loving relationship with a second birth mother. We had been waiting to adopt a second child for two years at that point, so in an act of inspiration, I composed a heartfelt email to our caseworker describing our visit at Christmas. I don't know why I was compelled to do it, besides I wanted him to know we were serious about an open adoption and I hoped he'd use our letter to tell potential birth mothers that he met with that we wanted a relationship with them.
Our caseworker was frustrating to work with on a good day, so I didn't really expect much of a reaction from him. But he called me immediately and said he was very moved by it, wanted to send the letter to the agency headquarters in Salt Lake City as a "success story." Several months later he asked me if he could publish it in the adoptive couple support group newsletter. The letter was published in July.
A few days after it was published, Sambo's birth mother was in the agency frustrated about not being able to find a suitable couple to adopt her baby. She had been searching for a few months and had been in contact with several couples, none of which met her strict criteria. She wanted a couple without children, from Oregon, who could demonstrate that they were serious about an open adoption, and they had to be willing to name the child the name she had chosen. July 2007 a caseworker suggested Sambo's birth mother read my letter about our feelings about having an open adoption. Her heart was touched, so she went home and prayed fervently if we were the right family for her precious baby boy. She isn't a particularly religious young woman, so that was a big deal.
Later that year, in November, during an extremely stressful time for our family, I felt very compelled to visit Buddy's birth mom again. She had recently gotten married to a fantastic man and I wanted to meet him. Buddy was just about to turn four and was under too much stress for a little boy. So the two of us flew to Las Vegas to visit a dear friend, and one day we were there we drove to Utah to visit Buddy's birth mom. I'm running out of positive adjectives, so I'll repeat, again, it was wonderful. Do you think it was coincidence that Buddy and her were wearing the same black and white checkered Vans that day? The same shoes!
To be continued...