As a Birth Mother in an Open Adoption arrangement with my son, his unique situation makes him the oldest child in two families.
Oh The Places You Will Go
At two years old, my son has a rather impressive travel itinerary.
I haven't taken a vacation in about three years when my husband and I had gone to see his family in Alabama, and here- my son has been to at least a dozen states and weekends at the family cottage on the lake in Michigan.
I knew his adoptive parents were hard to keep in one place and it was one of the things that impressed my husband and I about them. With their busy schedule of friends, family, and travel, any time spent with them has to be planned out about a month in advance so they can literally pencil you in.
All summer I have filled my scrapbooks with pictures of his recent camping, hiking, and mountain excursions and I feel like I am right there with him through the videos. I laugh along with him as he plays in the ocean and experiences the feel of sand for the first time. I see the smile on his face when he trots around a wooded campground touching crunchy leaves and collecting sticks to try to play with.
I see him in his pool floaties and cute little bathing suit playing in the pool and grandmother and grandfather's house and as much as his day to day life changes, I find that I am struggling to keep myself a part of his new experiences.
Staying bonded my son has been a lot of juggling around things to make him fit into the that space in my heart and life. I know that it has been the same for his family trying to open a space where my husband and I would belong.
We are all his family and this makes us solidified forever.
At two, he now has learned plenty of skills that help keeping in touch easier than when he was a mere baby.
A Is For Adoption, B Is For Birth Mom
Since learning how to talk, there is no shortage of goofy words and phrases that I get in report each week.
It makes me laugh when he adopted his adoptive mother's phrase "Oh boy!" out of excitement at something as simple as eating a cookie or figuring out that toys could be stashed in a backpack and worn upon his tiny being.
All the adults in his life are credited for these early words. Milk, doggy, kitty, water, outside, shoes, books...These words flow from the adults that make him say the phrase before handing him the object.
He knows doggy from being around his furry best friend. He knows milk because it is his dinnertime beverage, he knows Daddy because his adoptive father is one of the most caring men that I have ever met.
He learns from all of us and for months I have been reading to him in video chat or in little videos that I make to help his parents get in all the reading. He adores books and carries around a lot of the library we have made for him already in a toy shopping cart. He doesn't know what the words say yet but he is found showing the pictures to his dog friend as if he is pantomiming the way I read to him on the computer screen.
A Is For Apple, B Is For Ball, I find whatever learning books I can to read and add to his collection.
Storybooks also get in there already learning about Dr. Seuss, The Bearanstain Bears, Sesame Street monsters.
A lot of the play dates now that he is mobile have been attempts to get disguise educational into something fun. Fortunately there are plenty of play museum exhibits in the Chicagoland area.
We learn about science and nature as much as can be allowed in the downtown museums, but he still mostly wants to run around and scream, flitting for exhibit to exhibit.
Touch the sand from the ocean. Pet the animal fur, it is soft like the animals you got to pet at the zoo. Listen to the sounds you make when you beat on a drum or tap piano keys.
OK so his attention span isn't all there yet as he has more fun pushing his stroller into things at these places, but we are making slow progress. By the next time we go to such places he will be more engaged.
I have never known a child that loves phones more than my son.
Amazed at the fact voices come out of the speaker and faces appear on the screen during video chats, he pokes his fingers at the screen trying to figure out the secret of the miniature people inside talking to him.
It's important that we see him. He changes so fast at this age and the things that he says or does a week ago are replaced by new catch phrases the following day. It sounds vain but I want him to remember what I look like so there is never a meeting that he doesn't recognize me after sometime.
Somehow, he always knows who I am and has no problem with walking away from his adoptive parents and grabbing my husband and I by the hand and pulling us off in another direction.
We had lunch one afternoon when he was completely engrossed in everything about me after not seeing me for a matter of weeks.
I don't know what he was comparing me to, pulling on my hair, playing with my wedding band, and just staring. He would look away and look back at me again, studying me. Perhaps seeing if I had changed at all since the last video.
He loves phones talking on them, now working his magic on texting and photography.
Grabbing the phone from his adoptive parents and us alike, he loves to press on the screen and make things appear so we all engage in open up a empty text and letting him press whatever emoticons and sending the finished product to everyone in the group.
He hasn't really mastered a selfie yet, but he has figured out pressing on the phone in camera mode makes a noise and then something happens to it.
This is still under further review.
It really doesn't matter the things you do to keep apart of your child's life, I have learned. The important thing is the memories that are created. It is great that we have done all these things together and I know that he won't remember the specifics as he grows, but he will know that I have always been a part of his life.