March 12, 2013 § 30 Comments
I mentioned a few posts ago, when C and L sent me an update at 6 months, that I had sent them a Happy Thanksgiving card and asked if they wanted the pictures from the hospital. In the letter, C wrote that they would love to get the hospital pictures. (At least, I am mostly positive that she is the one writing me and sending me photos. As a general rule, women do those things and men don’t.) I wish I hadn’t offered now. Of course I would like them to have photos of the first 2 days of your life. It’s a nice idea, in theory.
And then I open up the file folder and look at those photos. There are over 300 photos from the hospital. There’s no reason I should send them all 300+ hospital photos, or even all the ones that are in focus. They don’t send me every photo they take. Some are close-ups of you that would fit nicely into anyone’s photo album, no betrayal of the evidence that you used to be someone else’s. But then there are more pictures that are not so polite. Pictures spanning labor, delivery, the first hours of life in my arms, nursing, the two nights we spent in the maternity ward, me holding you, David holding you, my friends and family, our happiness and sadness. I can’t imagine they would want to see any of that. The first two days of your life are the only ones they didn’t get to have. Looking at these pictures that I’ve seen hundreds of times, I selfishly don’t want them to see a single one. I didn’t even get two entire days with you, and that was all that was mine.
More importantly, I don’t want to show them something they won’t care about, and I know they wouldn’t care about most of these pictures that mean so much to me. They don’t need to see the placenta or the blood everywhere, or the pictures of me and David, or my parents holding their grandchild who has ceased to exist as far as they’re concerned. When I offered to send them pictures, I really didn’t think it through. I didn’t consider that it may seem insensitive.
Adoptive parents who are reading, I would love to hear your experiences. Have you seen your child’s hospital pictures? Am I making too big of a deal?
I know the obvious solution: send them a few of the photos, the up-close ones of your sweet face, and save the rest for when you’re older. If you’re interested that is. I certainly wouldn’t force bloody placentas on anyone. Generally, I think the safest rule of thumb for me in this relationship is to approach them with the same level of openness that I’ve been approached with, i.e. write to them only when they’ve sent an update, with nothing deeper than small talk and a response to what they wrote to me. I can’t go wrong.