Last year at this time, my family and Marti’s had planned to meet for the first time for a vacation in Williamsburg, VA. This was a halfway point for both families distance-wise, and we were both familiar with the area attractions. It is hard to believe that a year has passed since this event.
I’ve blogged before about how I had read a magazine article in the March 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping about a family that had donated embryos to five other families, and they have a “family reunion” of sorts. I thought it was a pretty neat idea, and admired the fact that they had developed and maintained a relationship with all the families involved. I thought Marti would be interested, so I sent it to her. It wasn’t long afterwards that we suggested we do the same.
She had already sent us an invitation to Natalie and Julian’s first birthday party, but we had already been on vacation in February, and had one planned for April, so we weren’t able to attend. Obviously she had no qualms about meeting us if she is sending an invitation, but it took some convincing on my part for Jim to come around and realize that this would be a good idea to meet them. When we chose open adoption, I had entered into the process with the idea that I would most likely only get periodic updates. I had never imagined that I would have a relationship with the adopting family such as it is.
We booked our hotel accommodations in a place we had stayed before, and Marti booked there as well. Jim was hesitant about this, for he only knew of them through what I told him, and was concerned it would be awkward staying in the same hotel if the families didn’t make a connection. I told him it would be fine, and each family would go their separate way if we didn’t hit it off. I was excited about the trip, until we started to see the signs for our exit, and then I began to panic. I was worried that it wasn’t going to go well, and beginning to have reservations about meeting them. All my fears were allayed once we spent time with Marti and her family.
In my mind, I have likened the development of the relationship between the two families as “dating” and or “dancing.” You meet someone, you like them, and than you develop a stronger bond which eventually grows to love. You want to be yourself, but at the same time, you want to present a persona that the other person will like. You are always aware of the other person’s next move and reactions to you. I feel the same way when I meet and make a new friend with one of the mothers of my children’s friends.
Now that so much time has passed, I am comfortable in our relationship, and don’t have that giddy feeling that “Marti sent an email.” I feel as if both families have always been a part of one another.