Leaving at the end of a visit with Jay's birthparents is never easy. If it's bittersweet to reunite, then it's just plain bitter to separate again. I don't want to make it sound like there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, because there's not. But, there is a heaviness that settles in deep. There is a daunting weight and heft to open adoption. It comes with a constant awareness that there is so much to our story - both beautiful and tragic - and we sometimes feel the tragic more, when leaving, than we do the beauty. Yet, every time I struggle through the emotional layers of open adoption I remind myself that they chose life.
So. I choose love.
Coming home after a visit is not easy either. Harper, who is already facing challenges every day, is faced with the additional feat of processing the difference between his and Jay's adoptive experience. Feelings of anger and confusion and jealousy are a natural result of comparison (in general I think) but especially when every emotion he experiences tends to have a sense of rejection tethered to it. For a child already struggling with outbursts of aggression, these visits with Jay's birthparents have been a trigger for Harper. So I am going to be kind to myself and my family by laying low this weekend. As I expected I would at some point during this crazy month, I have run myself completely ragged and this cold I now have is getting progressively worse by the minute.
For Day 22 I placed little notes around Sweet Melissa's apartment. She lets Jay and I stay with her whenever we need, she spoils me rotten, she verbally abuses me in the best possible way. (See "awesome, but useless" in previous post.) It goes without saying that she deserves a few hidden notes of encouragement and/or silliness. Some notes are awesome, and some are useless.
Just like me.
For Day 23, I put little thank you notes on candy bars to give to some of the F.U.P. (Frequently Underappreciated People) in my life. This included some lunch monitors, the front desk secretary at the school, our mail carrier, the bus driver, and the school custodian.
All these people work very hard, and do it with a smile on their face! Seriously, these people are wonderful. And I am at this school three times a day, every day. (Yes, I am aware that three times a day is excessive.)
Buuuut, I bring the kids to school every morning and pick them up every afternoon, and on the specialist's recommendation, I join Harper for lunch every single day at school. I get a lot more face time with the F.U.P. at Briarwood than most parents and if I were them, I would have stopped smiling at me weeks ago. But, they are nice, literally, every single day.
The front end person at any school or business has a huge job of setting the tone for one's experience with said operation. And the front end person at Briarwood is a wonderful secretary who buzzes me in the doors up to thrice a day with a joyful attitude. It was such a small gesture compared to how kindly she engages with the students, parents and staff, still she thanked me and said that my note of appreciation almost made her cry! That is a sign of some serious underappreciation!
We have just over a week left in October. That is plenty of time to plan some simple #AdamsActs for the F.U.P. in your life. I know that it's tiring on the homestretch. Some of us are sick, many of us are exhausted and countless are carrying a butt ton of heavy burdens. This is when we need to remember how powerful kindness can be, that compassion and expressed appreciation can uplift and encourage a weary soul, that we have been given the power to lift one another up, or put down, to bring life or death into this world. And we get to choose. We get to lift up. We get to choose life.
"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32