I thought I would take this time and space to write down just a couple of my first reactions on the gifts as I process this first exchange, from the prospective of an adoptive mother. If you've been following us since the beginning, then you know that when we first started our adoption process, we were hesitant on how open to be and exchanging gifts, visits, etc. We've come a long way, but this is the first gift from his birth mom so as expected, there are a lot of emotions and reactions to process in this unchartered territory for us. And, as I have learned along this journey, you experience many emotions at once and sometimes it seems they contradict each other and you wonder, "how can I have these very different emotions at the same time!"
First, the gifts from his birth mom were very sweet, and totally in line with things I would have gotten him/think are appropriate. When people buy things for your child, as the parent you are the editor. We've definitely gotten some things over the past year that have gone straight to Goodwill. You know what' I'm talking about. I was anxious to see what she would get, because I didn't want Squishy's first present from his birth mom to not be in line with our parenting. She got him some clothes and books, and they fit into the type of things he wears and reads. This became another connection between she and I, and another reminder of why she picked me to be his mom, because we were of like minds when it came to that type of stuff.
Second, she put two cards in the gifts, one to us and one to Squishy. Both were so sweet and thoughtfully worded. Among other things, she commented on the photos and updates we had been sending her and how big Squishy was getting. She said that she is starting to see more and more of his birth father in how he looks, and "how crazy it would be if he ended up having blonde hair?" (Squishy has very dark brown hair right now.) This sentiment brought up a lot. It can be a very emotionally complex thing to not be able to speak about your child in terms of them "having your eyes" etc. This is one thing I've noticed a lot of our friends and family haven't grasped, how much of family conversations revolves around tribal talk and that they are having conversations we can't participate in. We are working on talking about Squishy's looks more in relation to his birth parents in front of our family, but it's taking time. So to see this sentiment from his birth mom, and that it came so freely, really overwhelmed me. I had no idea how much I had been craving that type of conversation about my child. I can only do it with DH, and it felt really good to have someone new join in that conversation.
And finally, the feeling that I'm still wrestling with. The books that she gave Squishy were actually her books from when she was a kid that she was passing on to him. This is no doubt, a wonderful, sweet gesture of love. But I am still working through my feelings of insecurity about this one. I felt it as an inheritance issue, and that she was making inheritance decisions for him without my consent. So that touched on feelings of co-pareting. It is interesting, because we have things from her when he was in interim care. But in a way that is different because he wasn't with us yet. I have no doubt in my mind that she meant this than anything other than love. I was just a little surprised at myself for this reaction, over books. It's not like she is petitioning us to make sure he goes to a school of her choice. So, it's a reminder to me that as we go through this journey, there are still going to be things that may stir up feelings for me and I need to be prepared. But I know that I have to allow myself to have these feelings and work threw. I am not perfect. And to not recognize and work on these feelings would do more harm.
Thanks for listening, and I'd love to hear your thoughts, from both sides. Are there any gifts that you've received that caught you buy surprise? Or, when you are choosing gifts to give to your child's parents, what are looking for?