Keeping the connection

January 21, 2008

Tonight I have been going through the past few months of photographs. Trying to pick the perfect ones to send Camille's birth family. We do this twice a year and it isn't easy. I spend way too much time analyzing each image...does she look happy enough? clean enough? why is her hair always in her face? are there too many photos of us as a family? should there be more of just her by herself? will they wonder why she's dressed like that or will they understand our strange Halloween customs?

And I can't help but think about how I would feel if were to receive these packets of photos and letters twice a year. Images showing growth and change. Images showing all of the milestones that have been achieved. Images showing family characteristics...the way she smiles, her eyes, her chubby little hands. It would make me sad to see all that has happened to a daughter so far away living a very different life. Would it make me wish I hadn't made the same decision? I don't know. I think I would have very mixed feelings about seeing those envelopes with stamps from the U.S. Happy to know she is doing well, but sad to be missing so much. I wonder what happens to the photographs. Are they kept in a scrapbook? Shown to others? or Too painful to look at again? It is so hard for me to pick these photos every few months, but I think it is an important part of the process for all of us. Keeping the connection and keeping our promises.
Heather said...

Wow, what a difficult position to be in. At first, I felt like I could relate a little because I compile pictures of the kids every few months to send to my mother-in-law in El Salvador who I've never met and who has never seen the kids in person. I worry about some of the same things, like if she'll understand the cultural context for a certain picture. But even there, I have the advantage of being able to jot explanations to her in Spanish.

But really, it's not at all the same. How hard to not know how the pictures are received--if your package is more bitter than sweet or more sweet than bitter. But I'm sure her birth family must be grateful to you for your efforts.

plumm said...

Oh how I get this! It's funny, I have all of the same thoughts. How can I sum it all up, show how amazing Kai is, in just a little envelope of photo's. I don't want to send just smiling ones in case they think I am sugarcoating our life, but to send one where he's not smiling...that doesn't seem right. I want her to see he is a really happy little boy who is adored by him family...but also to understand how complex and smart and understanding he is.

Yep, those are toughies.

Morena said...

I hear you...I used to send photos to our attorney in ROG in the hopes that his birthmom might come looking for them, but stopped after 2 years. I will never stop thinking of her and praying for her, and hoping that she knows how grateful we are to her for this wonderful gift.

I've often wondered if this is sort of how a transplant recipient must feel? I mean, in some cases (like a heart transplant) you actually need someone to die in order for you to live...that must be such a tough issue to grapple with. And I sometimes feel like my happiness came at his birthmother's expense...part of her must have died when she gave him to me. I probably just think about it too much, but the whole "not knowing" part of international adoption just leaves so many "what ifs" open.

Mom said...

I read your blog with tears running down my cheeks... In fact they still are. I cannot imagine how difficult, but meaningful, a task this must be for you as well as Camille's birth family.

the clan mccawley said...

I can't tell you how much I admire your insight into this amazing journey with your family. Camille is so lucky to have all of the families that love her.
On another note, your sewing machine resurrection reminded me that I need to raise mine! Thanks for the inspiration.

Corinne said...

Wow. How do we sum up a life in a few photos a year? I can imagine it is a seriously thought provoking exercise. You're such a great mommy. I'm sure they really appreciate it.

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