I've been thinking a lot about the most recent Open Adoption Round Table discussion: How do we want to be proactive in our adoption relationships this year?
This topic speaks to me right now, because it's recently started to dawn on me that our relationship isn't what I wanted for us--- not completely.
In the early years, it was much easier to stay close. We all had less going on, and the adoption was more of a focal point in all of our lives. As is supposed to happen over time, the adoption and the relationship became our Normal. We all relaxed a little. We became a touch complacent. It felt good for the intensity to subside some, you can't live you're whole life in the emotionally charged state the first years of an open adoption demands.
I feel like we've maybe become a little too relaxed. I am frustrated that I initiate the majority of the phone calls, and I can count on one hand the number of times they've visited me; I've visited them at least twice as many times. I'm not saying all this to demonstrated a "score". Until I had Jeb, I really didn't mind the imbalance. I figured when it was me who had a Little One the balance would tip back, but it has not. Parenting Jeb has allowed me much less time to call and visit, so our over all contact has really decreased over the last 2-3 years. In hind sight, I should have spoken up about my needs and expectations, but I assumed they would fill in the gap. (Remember what they say about assuming?!)
I've been walking around feeling kind of frustrated and hurt, but I couldn't put my finger on why. I know that I am important to Colin's parents, I know that they love me and love that I am a part of their lives. When I tease out the emotions of it, I am left feeling like they don't put as much effort into the relationship as I have. But again, I also have the responsibility to speak up. This relationship is like any other: it is no perpetual motion machine.
Colin will be 12 this year. We are coming into a very important age; we are obligated to clear out the cobwebs, reestablish good and honest communication, and recommit to our philosophy of standing together to support Colin. Thankfully we have a great foundation, so I know we'll get there.
I told Colin I was going to try to visit in Jan or Feb. I feel totally overwhelmed at the thought of trying to squeeze a visit into our already jam-packed daily life, but I'm starting to think this will be one of the more important visits we'll have.
So how am I going to be proactive? By getting back to the basics. Communication 101.