I've had the chance to see both sides of my birth family recently and it reminded me that I was planning on putting together a post about being adopted. And then I remembered why I never finished it - I couldn't decide on a cohesive way to share it without it becoming a huge novel about my entire life. I was obviously making it into something bigger than it needed to be so instead I've decided to do a Q and A of sorts about how it came to be that I was adopted, how I feel about being adopted, how I made the decision to find my birth family, meeting them, and what life is like now. I have quite a few 'questions' I will be asking myself, but if there is anything in particular you are curious about feel free to leave those questions in the comments below and I will make sure to work them in.
As for this post, we went to my birth grandma's 84th birthday party so I thought I would share some pictures from that.
|Riley making her great grandma Val a card.|
My birth family lives near Fairmont, MN so it's a couple hour drive for us to go visit. Because of this, we don't see each other a ton and it's really been awhile since I've seen many on my birth mom's side. Many of the guest remarked that the last time they saw us was when Riley was about 6 months old. Whoa, that was awhile ago.
The party was at my birth brother's house. Andy, his wife, Amy, and son, Blake, live in the old family farm house, but they have done extensive renovations to it so it's pretty much a new house. It was the first time I was able to visit them at their home and it was great to finally see their place and hear stories from my birth mom, Linda, about the house when she lived in it as a young girl.
Also exciting for Riley was getting another birthday gift. She's going to start thinking that her birthday lasts a month and in fact told the crowd that her birthday was the day before. We're still working on that concept of time, obviously. At any rate, she received her very first Barbie. Not sure how I feel about it. I don't like some things about Barbie (body image stuff), but Barbie was a big part of my childhood. I won't be able to shelter her from the body image stuff because it is everywhere. I can work on helping her know how to interpret it and be confident in who she is. Doesn't mean I will run out and buy her a ton of Barbie stuff or that I won't cringe at the super short dress Barbie was wearing, but I will let her enjoy this toy for what it is... a toy.
The afternoon was filled with eating, catching up, playing games, and even Skyping with my birth sister, Megan.
Andy recently finished an addition above the garage - a man cave of sorts. It included a large tv, games, and Andy's trophies (he races cars). Jesse was a little in heaven when he saw the video game and pinball machine. He's never been one to want to stay a long time at any family event, but he jokingly told me we could stay as long as I wanted once he saw this room.
My birth sister, Megan has been living in Senegal, Africa for about the last year and a half working for the Peace Corps. She's contracted until next December and has been writing about her experience here. Having the entire family together seemed like a good time to Skype and catch up. We talked about all sorts of things, but of course the weather was a 'hot' topic since it was below zero in MN, but about 100 degrees in Senegal. Yuck for both these extremes.
Riley really enjoyed herself since she found a little playmate that was about her age. She and Drew ran around the house and had an especially good time with Blake's lego set up. Note to Blake: sorry, but you might have to rebuild a thing or two.
|Whoa Barbie, looks like we need to teach you how to cross those legs.|
Of course, I had to get a bunch of pictures since I don't see this side of my family that often... and sneak in a picture of Jesse. I actually have a number of these pictures of him looking out a window - I could make it a series, I suppose.
|A couple of my aunts with cousin's kids.|
|Riley with my birth mom.|
Riley had a ton of fun so I was a little worried that she would have a hard time leaving,but she did pretty good. Maybe it was because Jesse and I prepared her about 20 times. She was a gracious guest and said goodbye to the whole crowd before we headed on our way. Such a nice visit with family.
|With her cousin, Blake.|