I've been thinking a lot about expectations (cause I'm a nerdy introvert who sits around and thinks about all kinds of weird shit. all. the. time.) People have all kinds of expectations about pretty much everything (or at least I do). And that's a giant set up for disappointment, in my opinion. As adoptive parents, I think we, by necessity in some ways, have less expectations about our kid than a biological parent might. Or, at least, we try to expect less. Or, rather, be open to more. Because we have less knowledge about the genetic things that may come into play. Our kid isn't necessarily going to look like us or stick out his tongue while concentrating like I do. But I'd be kidding myself if I said there weren't certain other expectations we had - about parenthood, and about open adoption. I don't think we expected an open adoption relationship to be easy - we weren't that naive. But I do think we expected it to be hard in different ways than it is, maybe.

One of the things I struggle with in thinking about our open adoption relationship - one of the ways it is not what I expected - is that it's not the rosy picture painted when we started down this path. It is not the relationship that other families we know have. In short, I am disappointed that it isn't this amazing, happy "we're all family" experience. I know that it is okay that it's not. I know that relationships can be hard and can be different at different times, and things can change. But I wish it could be easier. I wish I was less frustrated and triggered. I wish K (Gus's birthmom) seemed more interested in Gus, the person. And I don't know - I just don't know - what really is best for Gus right now. He is one. He is happy. He loves everybody he meets. Right now, will it matter to Gus when and where and whether he sees K? I honestly can't answer that. Separating out what is best and works for us from what is best and works for K from - most importantly - what is best and works for Gus is really difficult. There are a lot of feelings to maneuver. And also having to think about whether what might be best or work for all/some/any of those people now vs. what might be best for them in the future is a difficult task. Because, let's face it, I'm no Kreskin.

I know that I will feel guilty if we can't make a visit happen soon. I know that before he was born we made a commitment that was about him. I know that fear comes into play. I know that, frankly, we are overwhelmed and inconvenienced thinking about one more possible trip this year, one more thing on an impossibly long to-do list. I know that despite her seeming lack of interest in Gus over the past year, K is grieving and I imagine it is a very difficult thing for her to live each day knowing she is unable to raise this awesome kid she gave birth to. I know that the biological connection is strong and important, and that there is a reason we chose open adoption. I know that no matter what, the focus here, the most important person in all of this, is Gus.

But, of course, with all that I do know, there is even more that I don't. I don't know how to make Gus stop wanting to eat sand at the park or climb into the stream at the Discovery Museum. How to explain to him that he can't swim with the fish in the aquarium at the Academy of Sciences. I don't know where the heck he gets all this energy that allows him to go full throttle from sun-up to sun-down. And I don't yet know how we will handle negotiating this ongoing open adoption relationship.

Being a parent is hard. Navigating the day-in/day-out of it plus thinking about how what you are doing or are not doing will affect this tiny human in the future? Phew. It's like standing at the top of a zipline looking down into a ravine, hoping the rope is going to hold you and then - stepping the fuck off. And zipping at an impossible speed toward a sheer rock face. Over and over again, several times a day. Incredibly scary. But, sometimes, if you remember to breathe, open your eyes, and just let go, it can be a lot of fun, too! Terrifying, nauseating fun.

Full. Throttle.
This was after he tried to crawl in, but before he started
lapping up the water. Like a dog.

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