March 12, 2013

Reuniting With Birthmom: Visit #1

This past weekend was our first visit to New York City since our son, Jaylen, was finally released from the NICU and able to come home and meet his new family.  We have waited with reserved hope during the thirty day window that Jaylen's birthmom ("Miss N.") has to revoke her consent of the adoption placement.  We had no reason to suspect that she would change her mind, but, naturally... there is a good amount of stress that comes with waiting to know for sure.

Jaylen and I flew to Manhattan on day #30.  It felt a little risky, like I was hand-delivering a last chance to get a good look and re-evaluate... but, rather than focusing on my own fear, I wanted her to have a visit on the horizon to look forward to during that first month, and we felt that it was really important for her to be reassured that we would make visits a priority.

Our visit was really nice.  Jaylen and I stayed with Melissa, a childhood friend of Tom's.  We had a great time... so much so that her friends thought that she and I knew each other from childhood.  We smuggled Jaylen into a late night movie, we ate the most amazing food, and we stayed up way too late chatting about anything and everything.  It was such a blessing to have a place to stay, but more than anything it was nice to be able to host Miss N. and some of her family members.  Visiting in coffee shops or a restaurant works, but isn't ideal.  First of all, the time restraints are a little too much pressure, plus it gets expensive... but, more than anything, I discovered that answering the usual adoption questions is 1,000 times more uncomfortable IN FRONT of the birthmother.

Oh. My. Word.

Melissa got a little peek into my world, which includes both unintentionally, and INtentionally racist remarks... and so much staring.  Even in New York City, the great melting pot of cultural diversity, nothing draws the stares of every person with a pulse more than a black baby swaddled up on his white mother.  Don't get me wrong, people "ooh" and "ahh" and say all sorts of wonderful things, but it really can be quite a spectacle at times.  At one point Melissa and I could not even finish our conversation because a wide-eyed guy was so obviously staring at us for a solid seven minutes, we just started laughing hysterically.  The most awkward moments came when one inquirer persistently asked question after question in front on Miss N.

How do I answer the question "Is he yours?"   Saying "He's ours..." only led to more questions.  Vague answers don't do the trick, so N. finally interjected that she was his birthmom.  Even then, the questions only continued.  "So you adopted her baby?  And you're here visiting?"

In the almost six years since we adopted Harper, we have sort of learned how to navigate the stares and questions of nosy onlookers.  We have learned to subtly correct  totally rude and ignorant  less sensitive language.  We have learned how to say things like "You wanna step outside?" "That is a great question, but actually we don't just consider our biological children 'our own,' all of our kids are ours!"  We have learned how to  verbally backhand  subtly offer more sensitive and appropriate language, and I rarely get upset, and I am almost never shocked anymore.  Answering those questions with an audience is a little more intense, and answering them in front of Miss N. was not easy.

We fumbled our way through the situation, and agreed to come up with a game plan for the future.  The bottom line, though, is that I am so fortunate to be answering these questions because it means that I get to be a part of something that is worth noticing and knowing more about.  And the fact that I am answering these questions with Miss N. sitting by my side means that I have one of those really rare opportunities to know and love the first mom of my precious baby boy.

Sure, it can get uncomfortable, but if that is the worst of my baby mama drama, I really can't complain!

1 comment:

  1. For all the awkward I'd love the chance to get to know my boys' birth moms! So amazing for all of you and Jaylen. I'm impressed with Miss N too.