For me, adoption has always meant that I am embracing and welcoming into my family circle not just the child, but the extended family. This does not always mean literally, but in whatever ways are safe and comfortable for all parties. When it is possible for it to be actual, physical visiting I think that is the all time flat out best.
In some cases it has been harder for my kids first family members to buy into this. Many were very angry over the adoptions. Many were struggling with personal demons. Others have cultural objections to transracial adoptions, particularly by two married white women. But over time, they have mostly come around.I am somewhat notorious for just acting really nice and happy and ignoring snarking. It works for kids and it works for adults! Also, they can see that Rob is flourishing and above all, happy. They can see that although Fiona does not live here, that our commitment and love is real and strong. Relations in general the past few years have been very friendly on all sides.
However, this has all been pretty murky for Fiona. From her perspective we failed her, the system failed her and her first family failed her. Amazing Jane has really helped her to see that we do love her and that families that love each other do not always live together. Jane has also helped restore some first family contacts, though this remains sporadic at best but not due to Jane. Right now, a cousin and her daughter have been visiting Fi. I have met them and they are very sweet. We sat together when we watched Fiona sing at the schools big arts night. Her daughter is around Lissa's age and the littles all got on famously as well.
Fiona will be coming out for a visit in November--I am waiting on a date from the school. But actually also on a date from the cousin as Fiona would like N and her daughter to come as well. I think that is fantastic. It is a concrete melding for Fiona, a united front of family who love her. Last night during the call, Fiona said that she wanted to go to the mall and have a family Christmas picture done when the visit happens. I explained that Chet can't do that because of his autism. It freaks him out to have someone adjust him and fiddle with his person and the resulting pictures are only memorable in a negative way. However I do a Christmas picture each year of the kids here at home and I have always sent Fiona one. Turned out she just thought I did that at the mall. So we will create some sort of back drop and she and hopefully N and her daughter will be in a Christmas picture. Family. Together.