Hello. Um. Yeah...... I'm not so good at this. It's Tom.
Lara had a super-busy day today. Not only did she dominate her typical day of managing and caring for our 5 kids, all the while being gorgeous about it - but she also got a call from NPR. Yup. NPR. You know, like, NPR. NPR! As a huge fan of their programs like All Songs Considered and Tiny Desk, I fell in love with her all over again. Through a series of friends and neighbors someone from WXXI (Rochester's NPR affiliate) called Lara to tell her they were holding a sort of town hall on current racial issues. Invited to this exclusive club were many leaders from our community. This is all part of a movement to openly and honestly talk about these issues, so each of these folks who participated today can then reach out to their spheres of influence and hold similar meetings. It's an incredible initiative and I'm so proud of Lara for her part in it. Sidenote: ATTAT ShoutOut goes to our school district's superintendent, Jeffrey Krane, who was asked to participate in part because of his hard work with the urban-to-suburban school initiative.
Not only did all that happen today, but Lara also had to pack up and head out with Jay to NYC for a birthparent visit this weekend. She's on the road right now. I assured her that everyone would rather she not write today's blog post while driving. Living is better. So, as a consolation prize you get me tonight. But you also get some Lara. I've included one of her previous posts below explaining why we as a family are all in on open adoption.
Now, how about an act of kindness from me. I don't know if it's a surprise based on the NPR links I shared above, but my love language is mix tapes. For real. I don't know if this counts, but for my act of kindness to you all, I made a mix. I think it counts, right? I just put time, thought, and effort into it, and it's not for me. Yeah, it counts. I hope you like it.
Love you guys for loving Lara so much.
We have an open adoption.
A lot of people think we are crazy. (We also think we are crazy, but for totally different reasons.) Actually, maintaining a relationship with our son's birthparents is one of the least crazy things we have ever done. When the alternative is withholding a relationship with people that created him, it seems insane to do anything else. Trust me, I am not being judgemental, I know that there are a million nightmare scenarios where a relationship must be withheld for the child's safety and well-being. But that's not what I am talking about.
I am talking about two people who absolutely adore their child. I am talking about a beautiful, bright, amazing young woman who created a life from scratch, and then birthed absolute perfection. She not only gave him the gift of life, she gave him the gift of a family. And for some reason that blows my mind every single day, she chose us to be that family.
I do not think of choosing open-adoption as some heroic act of mercy like some people think it is. Mercy is when we don't get punished for something, even though we deserve it . I think that is how a lot of people look at it, like birthparents lose their right to be involved if they choose to place their child for adoption. If I gave birth to a child that I did not feel prepared to parent at the exact moment of their birth, I cannot imagine the pain of receiving a life sentence of separation from my child because of it. I honestly don't feel like we are doing anything remarkable by facilitating a relationship with Jay and his first mommy and daddy... rather, I think we have the privilege of being part of something remarkable.
We fell in love with our son's birthmama, Miss N., the moment we first spoke with her on the phone. She and I have been texting and calling and facetiming and sending pictures and videos... almost daily ever since. Yes it is a huge commitment. Yes it is time-consuming. Yes it can sometimes be messy and enmeshed (see why I have a low tolerance for that with neighbors!?) No, it is not easy or convenient to travel to New York City every few months to visit them. Still, it is nothing remarkable on our part. What she did was remarkable. She entrusted us with the life of her only son ... and we are merely reciprocating the trust and respect she showed us, even though we did nothing to deserve it. That is called grace. To give a blessing that someone does not deserve.
Adoption is such a sweet picture of our belief system. We actually believe that we are adopted by God, because he essentially traded in His only son so that we (ie; heinous sinners) could be made His perfect sons and daughters. That is both grace and mercy. He showed us grace in pursuing us though we did nothing to deserve such love... and He showed us mercy by not separating His perfect self from us, even though I sin enough in my sleep to warrant permanent banishment from His perfect presence. I know how crazy this all sounds... which is why I admitted that texting my baby's birthmom is hardly the craziest thing I do. I actually believe this Jesus stuff, and I know that makes me wacky to a lot of people.
But, here's the cool part. Because I actually believe this stuff, I get to live with a peace and a reckless abandon that nothing else in this world can give. So, sharing my son with the only other people on this planet who adore him as much as we do, is not that hard in light of my own adoption through the grace and mercy and loving kindness of my God.