Summer Reunions & Reflections

It's summertime, and what better way to kick off a time of warm weather and sunshine than with a few reflections from summer's past? And, since it's now no secret who I am, I'd like to talk about one of my most treasured memories of last summer with Erik and our gaggle of kids. So, without further ado, let's talk summer fun.

first connections

First Connections

While Alli Mae is my biological firstborn, she's not my only. Just five years later, my Violet made her debut into the world. And, while it's not only an incredible joy to see both little ladies making their way through the world, it's a jarring experience in some ways.  Generally, my inclination is to see everything in a positive light, hoping for the absolute best. Still, as I brought new life into the world, I had many questions about what this meant for Alli Mae and I's relationship. Not only this, but my father, a very thoughtful man, also posed some questions and insightful points to mull over.

The biggest and most pressing of these being — will Alli Mae resent you for having another baby? And that, I think, is a very fair question. Not only is she a child, but it's not necessarily the easiest concept to grasp for anyone to find out that they have a sibling from their birthmother who is not their parent. It's a confusing point — whether she completely understands what that means or not right now. Even for my own situation (which maybe we'll dive into one day), it's something I struggled to know about and cope with.

There will likely be conversations about this in more depth one day, but for now, she continues to impress me with her ability to see past the surface and love unconditionally. And I'll tell you exactly how I know this.

New York, New York!

As Erik has mentioned and you've seen following their adventures, they spent time in the great state of New York just a summer ago. Well, as it happened, my family had also just moved up to the Big Apple, brand new to the city and in need of some familiar faces. Fortunately, with such an opportune time, Erik, Douglas, and I made one of the biggest decisions in our lives: we decided to have Alli Mae and Violet meet. This is something that I've always dreamt of, but I let Erik and primarily Alli Mae lead the way when it comes to crossing that bridge. But I'm so happy we finally did.


Shared Smiles

I wasn't sure what to expect when they first met. At this point, Violet knew she had a sister and had been itching to meet her. Alli Mae also knew she had a baby sister, but it's one thing to know and another thing to meet her in the flesh. Needless to say, I was a happily nervous wreck. But as soon as those two saw each other, it was like they had known each other their entire lives. They instantly connected and started playing together, giggling without hesitation or awkwardness.

Not only that, but both of Alli Mae's siblings were there, and it was just an amazing experience to see them all bonding and having a great time together. It truly felt like a big, happy family reunion. And that's what's so incredible about kids and their ability to connect. They don't see differences or past history; they just see another kid who wants to play and have fun, but this time, there is more to it. It was like they understood on a deeper level that they were family, and nothing could change that.

And despite any doubts or worries I may have had about Alli Mae's reaction, she proved me wrong in the best possible way. It showed me that love knows no boundaries or blood relations. It simply sees another soul to connect with and cherish. It's one of the things I'm most proud of to see in her, that resilience and openness to love and accept others. It's something I know she radiates, and I couldn't be more grateful for it. As for Violet, I am also incredibly proud of her for being so open and excited to meet her big sister. As a then four-year-old, she may not fully understand the complexity of their relationship, but she knows that they are family, and that's all that matters.

A Modern Family

This reunion was a turning point for all of us. It opened a whole new world of possibilities and took our relationship as friends and a modernly built extended family to the next level. From Alli Mae's adoption process to finding Erik and Douglas and expanding my family, it felt like everything had finally fallen into place.

However, I can't forget to mention just how lucky we are that this is our life. There are so many children, adoptive families and birthmothers who long for such a strong and genuine connection. Many are often let down as not all relationships like ours have the same happy ending. So, to say I am grateful for this moment in life, this memory, and the love between both families is an understatement.

And, like I said, there are still many, many conversations to be had and feelings to feel, but those are for the kids to lead us on. As adults, we may be the ones to plan and facilitate these meetings, but the kids are the ones who guide us and show us what they're ready for and comfortable with. And I do not doubt that as they grow and bond, this summer memory will be just one of many more to come.

With summer upon us, I'm excited to see what's in store for our families. Maybe we'll have a new reunion to add to our happy memories. Whatever happens, our love will continue to grow and strengthen as we navigate this unique and beautiful modern family dynamic. So here's to future shared smiles, laughter, and love! We hope you have a summer filled with the same.

Until next time,

Sallie Mae