Monday, March 5, 2012

3-2-1 Contact.

Anyone else remember that show? I loved it!

Anyway, this is about more than a TV show. This is about a more important contact... a moment when "everything happens!"

As an adoptive parent, contact is a word that I have rolled around in my mind more than most people. Contact plays an important role in adoption and fostering. Specifically, I'm talking about contact with first-parents.

I used to think that I would have trouble keeping in contact with a first-parent, because of my own jealousy and need to feel important. Wow, did those feelings change over time. In fact, I am convinced more than ever that contact is super important in adoption.

I'm often encountered with extreme surprise or disbelief, when I tell people that we keep in touch with Meerkat's first mom. They seem to be afraid that talking to A will make Meerkat want to go live with her, or feel like she's missing out on that life. And, I used to feel the same way. Now, though, I feel the exact opposite. By maintaining contact, we are helping her to feel connected to her story. She will have the opportunity to have a relationship with two families who love her. It doesn't have to be us or them... It's just all of us! Meerkat is lucky, because she just has more people to love on her than most! A has become a very special person to all of us, and we're anxious to visit her this summer so she can hold Meerkat for the first time ever!

When it comes to fostering, the contact is different. It's a requirement, not a choice. But it's still something important. Through this contact, we (all of the people involved in the care of the child) get to know what type of relationship little Mr. has with his parents. But, we also get to keep their relationship strong. Little Mr. loves his visitation days. He runs to put his shoes on when we say he's going to see Daddy and Mommy. Through our own contact with Little Mr's parents, we have built trust and goodwill. It makes it infinitely easier to imagine letting go when it's time. Knowing that they are working on themselves and seeing their love for him every time they say hello and goodbye to him both breaks my heart and strengthens it. I know that when he leaves, I will mourn him to some extent. But, I also know that it will be a joy filled day for him and his parents, and to think that I had a role in keeping their relationship strong, and in enabling them to care for themselves, gives me peace.

I'm sure every scenario is different, and there are times when contact has to be minimal or non-existant. But, for the time being, I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to communicate with the people who gave life to two of the most beautiful, hilarious, imaginitive human beings I've ever known. :)