I have a confession to make. I’m terrified right now. Of what, you say? Let me explain.
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Most of you know that I’m still in a relationship with my daughter’s birthfather, and that he’s currently in the Army. He’s also on his way out – or trying to be. This has been a very long process, one almost a year in the making. He’s currently in the beginning stages of looking for jobs, and has in fact just had a “getting-to-know-you” lunch with two recruiters from Amazon. He’s excited about the opportunity, and from what he told me, they’re excited at Amazon about the chance to find out more about him. The problem with him getting a job at Amazon is that he would be working in one of Amazon’s many fulfillment centers, none of which are anywhere close to Washington.
Normally, I’d be excited for him and the possible opportunity, and I am, to a certain extent. However, I’m also terrified at the potential of moving even farther away from my daughter and her parents. We currently live about a 2-2.5 hour drive away from them. It’s not a bad trip, and the area where they live is a nice area. However, I know from experience what a strain distance can put on any relationship, much more when it’s one as fragile as a birth parent/adoptive parent relationship.
It’s ironic. When we first decided we were both in this for “the long haul,” and after placement of our daughter, he was still thinking that he’d be in the Army. That means moving from Army base to Army base every 2-3 years along with deployments. I knew then that I’d be moving with him wherever he went, possibly to include moving out of the country. I think I had less of a problem with it then because it felt like less of a choice. Now that we might be moving for a job, it feels much more like a choice. This is because the jobs that would offer him the most opportunities for advancement as well as the biggest salary potential all happen to be out of state.
I’ve seen many originally open adoptions become closed or strained after one set of parents or the other moves farther away. It becomes harder to visit, harder to keep in contact, and much easier to let life get in the way of the relationship. Because an open adoption relationship is not a “natural” relationship, there’s nothing that keeps you together except a mutual love for a child. That can be not enough when it becomes so easy for either birth or adoptive parents to deny the other’s existence.
I know that the same thing can happen to an open adoption relationship even if you continue living within your original distance from each other at placement. There’s always that potential there because both parties have to make decisions all the time to include the other set of parents (or parent, in some cases) in their lives. For some people, that’s easier than with others.
I know all this in my head. But letting my head overrule my heart and worry in this instance is another matter completely. I’ve had several friends already be so supportive as I prepare for the possibility of moving. I actually wrote a letter to my daughter’s parents where I confessed my worries and fears regarding this matter. I hope that I will get the verification that I feel I will get – that they value the relationship as much as I do, and have no intention of letting distance get in the way. I still don’t know if that will help much, to be honest. I tend to look for the worst side in people, and know that even the best of intentions can get turned around for one reason or another. But, hope is always there. So for now, I try not to let my worries get the best of me and appreciate all the love and support I’ve already gotten in anticipation of possibilities.
What about you? Are there any of you out there who have either moved farther away from your children and their parents, or they’ve moved farther away from you? Have you managed to keep your relationships intact? What have you done to insure that you still have that relationship?