Tuesday, July 10, 2007

7th and 8th month letters--in photo form

Our open adoption agreement included a promise to send a few photos and a letter to Miguel’s birth parents for the first six months, and yearly after that. From the beginning, we planned to exceed these minimum expectations. We cherish our open relationship and work hard to keep the lines of communication flowing through phone calls, tons of photos, visits, and—for the first six months—detailed letters.

Even though it was sometimes difficult to get those letters done, the monthly prod forced us to write and reflect on Miguel’s progress and adventures. We are grateful for the words; they help us remember the feelings and details that photos sometimes miss. Alas, I need a sharp pronged deadline to keep writer’s block from creeping in. Without it, I rely too much on the camera to filter our days. I haven’t written a letter since the last one was “due.”

We continue to be in touch with Miguel’s birth parents. A few weeks ago, I biked to their house with photos spanning his 7th and 8th months. His birth mother and I sat on their front stoop for nearly an hour, just catching up and continuing to get to know one another.

It was a calm, early Saturday morning—everyone else in her house was asleep. She showed me pictures of her maternal grandparents. I told her how Miguel was finally starting to push himself up. She told me a funny story about when her oldest son finally learned to call her Momma. We talked frankly about our hopes and fears for our relationship. We compared music tastes and what we do to relax, then laughed about there being no time to relax. I didn’t feel too bad about not having a letter. But I promised to get writing again for the next batch.

In the meantime . . . below are some photos from his 7th and 8th months, when he took his first ride in a swing, learned to sit up on his own, started solids, took control of his bottle (and spoon), continued his newspaper fetish, went on a hike, dipped his toes in the Pacific (and other local bodies of water), got his first tooth, dished with Ms. Violet about being in the 10/07 baby cohort, helped his mom feel OK about turning 35, and finally got his substantial noggin off the ground.

During this time he took some big trips. One was a very sorrowful visit to Warren, MI, after his grandfather was tragically killed by a drunk driver in Florida. He is the 11th grandchild on Michael's side, and he got to meet 8 of the other 10. It was a week of grieving mingled with deep, loving appreciation for family. Miguel teased out some smiles under the tears. At church, he was awed then enticed by the high ceilings. He tested his vocal chords once or twice before the service. My knees buckled while carrying him to the casket for the final offering to Grandpa--a floppy sunhat, something Donald seldom walked without. Miguel carries on the tradition, sometimes a bit fussily.

Two weeks later, we headed to San Fransisco for Laura and Tom's wedding. They asked their guests to wear something red and or orange--Miguel's favorite color! It was a splendid event--rich in hue and meaning. Miguel finally got to meet Amy, who, with Jess, had been visiting us the weekend he was born. She did so much to help us prepare, and how did Miguel thank her? By swiping a champagne glass off a table all over her party dress. Just like his dad, who once
managed to dump beer on a bride, at a wedding where he was best man. In both cases, the doused ones were quite forgiving.

Hmmm, I seem to be a bit unblocked . . . .