This is a reblog from my friend Luanne at Don’t We Look Alike. Last January she invited me to do a story about all the love ours girls receive over Christmas for her readers. Christmas is always a special holiday for the girls, as are their birthdays. As a parent it really touches me to see our kids so loved.
I didn’t reblog the post at the time as I did not want to burden my readers here with another ‘feel good’ story about our kids, like I subjected you to over the Holidays. Plus, I feel like I take advantage of our two wonderful birth families enough, trampling awful close to there privacy many times. You know we love you!
But I thought, today is the day for love. See? That’s the third time I used the word so far! So if you are looking for a love story this Valentines Day, here is a very special one for you.
FOUR GRANDMOTHERS FOR CHRISTMAS
When my wife and I decided on adoption to start our family, we did not have any preconceived ideas on how. We first considered International but the time was not right for that. So we researched Domestic Adoption agencies, deciding on Bethany.
We loved how the birth mother could pick her forever family. It seemed more like destiny or fate somehow. Not only was she choosing a family similar to her lifestyle, the reverse would be that she, and her child, would be similar to us. While that was not a deciding factor, we thought it would help in the transition success.
During our first adoption we met a quiet pretty young lady and her mother. The birth mother, having difficulty with this life-changing decision, wanted to be assured she was making the right decision. She wanted pictures and open communication to help set her mind at ease. We had not considered open adoptions, pro or con, prior to that. We just wanted knew we wanted to start a family.
What a blessing that decision turned out to be. We never looked back. That first year we were surprised time and time again by the love and thoughtfulness coming from the birth mother and grandmother. Gifts would appear for Christmas. And then again for our daughter’s first birthday, along with attending her party. Then came Easter, along with signed cards and frequent calls and emails the entire year. We saved and dated these cards for a later time.
Two years later we were ready to grow our family with a second adoption. We went through Bethany’s process and were lined up with another potential birth mother.
Once again we were met by a lovely young lady, her mother and sister. The difference between this meeting and the first was we we hoped for a second open adoption, based on the love and how well our first one went.
Once we met this family in person it was a done deal. We never knew if this second birth family had considered staying in touch or not after the adoption. We pretty much acted like this is how we like to do things, since we had one adoption under our belt already. And by the looks of things so far, I believe they have no complaints about our decision.
This second family has been such a blessing to our family as well. They call, email and send equal amounts of packages in the mail, all filled with love. And, while it might be human nature to send love for their own child, each family sends gifts in the mail for each child knowing they are now sisters and ‘family’. It is really touching to be a part of all this love and never in a million years would we have thought adoptions could be like this. What could be better to a child at Christmas than four loving grandmothers?
Every Christmas has been the same. First one huge package shows up in the mail and then another. This Christmas was was no different. The Friday before Christmas one huge box arrived in the mail. Then Saturday another huge box arrived at our front door. And then again, Christmas eve, our girls got to open another generous gift box that got lost in the mail the week before. If a box ever shows up on our door step our girls just naturally think it is for them. And they are usually right.
We try to film and photograph each ‘opening of presents’ so we can reciprocate the love by sharing (back) the gift opening experience with thoughtful the birth family. Take a look:
The love these birth families send practically doubles our girl’s Christmas. They enjoy the gifts. They enjoy the attention. They love that somebody is thinking about them. Last year when I was unemployed over Christmas these girls had the most lucrative Christmas yet. They didn’t suffer at all.
We are always amazed at the packages from these families. The best and coolest clothes our girls own came from these birth families. Each gift is individually wrapped. The box is stuffed full of presents. And the gifts are usually covered by all the mail peanuts for fillers. As Mom and Dad, we really look forward to the opening of every box as they are always full of surprises. It’s as much fun for us as it is for them (almost)
The kids have to dig to see if they found all the presents. We just watch their faces light up. Its a lot of fun! One year I got home early and let the girls open their gift box with their nanny, before Mom got home. I didn’t hear the end of that poor decision for weeks!
Watch their faces light up…
Last year our second child’s birth family visited us for Christmas. We all had lunch at a favorite local restaurant. We talked and laughed. This wonderful family just held and hugged and smiled with our daughter the whole time, usually with our 36 month on their lap; even while they ate. As parents, we loved so much to see the huge smile on our daughter’s face all afternoon. You have to be happy to see your child so happy and loved.
When we went to the parking lot and said our good-byes the birth grandfather snuck off to his car. He returned with two life-size gift bags, one for each of the girls. We were awed! How can you not love to see your kids so happy? And not love this family in return?
Forgive the bravado here, but you have to actually see what’s inside these packages! These bags aren’t filled with candy and trinkets they just bought the weekend before. The bags are filled with the most beautiful clothes and dresses you can imagine for a couple of toddlers. Check out the smiles and the riches from this wonderful afternoon:
What could be better than four grandmothers at Christmas? The more love the better!
Now some of you may be wondering how are we going to handle this in later years when stories of adoptions and birth mothers are shared, given the history from these birth families?
We are very clear each and every holiday. When the girls receive gifts from the birth families we tell them who they are from and that these people love them very, very much. We save and date each card received to show the history of love. We look forward to any visits from these families so our girls can attach an actual face to the names we tell them.
We tell them the gifts are from their birth grandmothers and their daughters, just like family. And that’s the way we consider these ladies. These ladies are their grandmothers both figuratively and literally. They love our kids every bit as much as we do. And we love these families just as much. Going back to the beginning of this tale, we feel we have been blessed to have such wonderful people placed in our lives via the Bethany process. Destiny. Fate. An act of God.
Some people may be leery or scared of an open adoption; to have the birth family so close. I would say, first, it would depend on the situation, the nearness and nature of the birth family. We feel very fortunate for our adoptions to be tied to two such wonderful families. We were blessed in our situation.
My blog is one way I try to stay in touch and show the development our girls with family and friends. If you have ever read my blog you would know that there is very little that I don’t share. Its one way to reciprocate some love back to our birth families. Hopefully, they won’t spend any long nights wondering; any more than any family would do.
I don’t know if it works or not as I can never put myself in their shoes. This past December we received an email from one of our birth families inquiring about our schedules over Christmas and Christmas wish lists for the girls. This email contained a super little Christmas gift for my wife and I this time. This is part of their message, word for word:
” I look forward to reading it (the blog) everyday. I love the pictures and the videos of the girls. I feel like I’m a part of their lives even though I’m not physically there. You both are great parents. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. I don’t think anyone else is doing a better job than you both are. Enjoy the rest of your holidays, tell your parents hello! We love you all.”
Wow! Merry Christmas to us! How can you repay that? How can you not love four grandmothers at Christmas?
***And the hits just keep on coming! Ironically, the day DWLA published this story our girls actually received a package in the mail that same day. And this past weekend I called Mom to let her from having our taxes done, Dylan gets on the phone and says, “Guess what Daddy? There’s a package in the mail with my name on it!” Then she put Skylar on and she said the exact same thing. As there was. There always is.
And I invite you to share the love with Luanne and Marisha at Don’t We All Look Alike? They are doing a great job offering great adoption stories and education in their end of the blog-o-sphere. Thank Ladies!