I'm finally back to babysitting, which has been great. But yesterday, we unexpectedly had the day "off", so Olivia and I went "to town" for the annual street festival that I affectionately call "Deep Fried Heaven".
Since it was just going to be me and Olivia and a couple of thousand people on a crowded street, I thought it wouldn't hurt to bring reinforcements. So I called Olivia's birthmother. Samantha was more than happy to join us for lunch at the festival, and I knew Olivia would be thrilled as well.
We had a great time. And in the midst of it, we ran into about a dozen people that I know (not uncommon at this particular event), all of whom were introduced to Samantha, and all of whom were probably a bit surprised to see me casually relaxing with my deep-fried delicacies while Samantha pushed Olivia's stroller or held her hand or corrected her when she tried to steal another little girl's pretzel.
Truthfully, I'm not sure I would have ever imagined this level of openness when we started out in this adoption world. I always wanted to have SOME contact for Olivia's sake. But I don't think I would have envisioned the openness that has developed over the last six months. A lot of people ask questions, say they couldn't imagine doing things this way, wonder about Samantha's motivations.
But I don't. I look at her and simply see a young woman who has made a lot of bad decisions in her short life. But when she is with our family, I see a young woman who knows that one decision led to something good...something beautiful. And I have no problem sharing as much of that beauty with her as I can. And someday, when Olivia is a champion soccer player, or gifted musician, or famous politician, or happily celebrating the birth of her own children, I hope Samantha can stand beside us and express joy and pride over the accomplishments of the daughter that we share.