Like many adoption bloggers, once our adoption was finalized, I kind of disappeared. I'm sorry about that for those of you who have been checking back for updates, but honestly, there hasn't been anything to update about. Roo is happy and healthy, which we thank God for every day. I'm sure that those of you who clicked on an update link are curious about one big question: "what our open adoption (more specifically, our relationship with Anne and Ben) look like one year later?" Well, it doesn't.
I'll back up a bit. For the first 4 months or so following the adoption, Anne and I had pretty regular contact. We would text back and forth, and she called me on the phone a couple of times. Usually, the texts were me updating her about one of Roo's doctor visits, or her texting me to ask me for some photos and videos (which I had told her that she was welcome to do whenever she wanted). We were, of course, mailing our official, formal updates and photos every 3 months for the first year, and now we will mail updates once every 6 months until she is 3, and then once a year. The week of Easter 2016, we talked on the phone and she told me about some of the difficult things she was going through and her plans to really start making an effort to get her life in a better place and work on taking care of herself. I can't remember if I've ever said this before, but she truly has a difficult life that doesn't include many people who genuinely love her, even within her own family. I know I am speaking in such vague terms and generalities, but I still wish to protect her privacy. Anyway, that Easter, I sent her a text to tell her that I was thinking about her and that I hoped she had a nice holiday weekend. And that was the last time I have heard from her.
That summer, I heard from our caseworker with an update. She did, in fact, start making an effort to get her life on a better track, move forward, and overcome some of the struggles that had been continually getting in her way for the past couple of years. Part of that process for her was realizing that staying in touch with us was not what was best for her in trying to move forward in her life. She wanted us to be assured that she loved us and had nothing but positive things to say about us, but that this was what she needed to do. We will still be mailing our official updates that go through the agency, but we aren't expecting any further personal contact. We have made it known to her (both through what we have said in our update letters and what we have asked the agency to communicate) that if she ever wishes to resume direct contact we would welcome that, but at the same time, we understand that she needs to find a way to get herself to a healthy place and truly wish her the best.
So, that's where we are. We have never heard from Ben, but from what I understand, they have continued their on-again-off-again relationship. I don't have any statistics to back this up at the moment, but it is my understanding that this type of situation is pretty common in the open adoption world. It is a weird mix of emotions, but I can honestly say that I have peace about where things are. We have enough information that I know I will be able to track them down years in the future when/if Roo desires that we do so. We also have enough information to be able to tell Roo her story and answer most any question I can imagine her asking. We know that we did everything on our end that we had promised to do in maintaining an open and positive relationship with Anne, and will continue to do so. Anne made this decision while Roo was still too young to understand anything, so we didn't have a scenario where contact with her was a regular part of our lives for several years and then stopped when Roo was old enough to realize what was going on (I have known of open adoption situations where this has been the case). Anne is working on making her life better. And, most importantly, Roo is loved, healthy, and happy.
I can't promise how often I will update from here. I may continue to post research as I come across relevant articles, but our lives have been so incredibly busy. My husband is changing jobs, we are in the process of a cross country move, and things are just all around crazy-- but in a good way! We know that we won't adopt again, so I won't have a second adoption journey to share. There are a few more details I would like to share about the realities of living in a family unit put together by adoption (mainly stories that go back towards everyone wanting to ask all the questions all the time) that I'll try to find time to write in the near future. Until then, I continue to wish you all the best as you go through your adoption journeys!