As we slowly but surely approach LT’s second birthday (holy crap, we have an almost 2-year-old!), it feels like the perfect time to reflect on how our relationship with his birth family has changed.

Two years ago we didn’t know what to expect. RW had requested little to no contact. I was shoulder deep in research, trying to figure out how to navigate a closed adoption, which, ironically, is a heck of a lot harder sounding than I had expected and a lot harder than open adoption seemed. We were choosing the car seat, putting together the stroller, washing and hanging up clothes, and arranging what was to be his room. Every week, we wondered what would happen next, hoping all would go the way it was intended to, begging for peace and comfort for all involved, even if we wouldn’t be parents.

After our first post-placement visit with RW, I felt a sigh of relief. It was like we left the door wide open and waited to see what would happen next. We continued messaging back and forth and had at least one more meeting before LT turned 1. Each time we spent some time together, it solidified in my mind and heart that we were doing exactly what we should. RW felt more and more like a very close relative and a great friend. She wasn’t just some girl that placed a baby. She was our RW.

A month after LT turned 1, we were yet again in their town, this time with Ty’s family for a triathlon. We had arranged for RW’s sister to take some family photos as she is a fantastic photographer. The pictures were taken in a field not too far from her house, and we had a blast cracking jokes and laughing tons. Right after, we briefly stopped by her house to see RW and the rest of the family. We met members of the family that apparently weren’t too happy about the adoption. Ty and I had no idea that there was anyone who wasn’t 100% on board, which is what makes it even funnier that the first people Ty chose to talk were those individuals. I swear he won them over.

There have been more visits, and with each one our love for RW and her family grows. RW’s child that she’s parenting has begun referencing LT as a brother, which seriously warms my heart. Just the other day, we received a message with a video from an app that makes it sound like you’re talking after inhaling helium. It was LT’s half sibling saying hello and again calling him brother. Naturally, we downloaded the app and sent one right back!

Our relationship didn’t just happen overnight, but I truly believe it was meant to go this way. There is no other explanation as to how or why it all feels and seems so natural. I would venture to say that we’re closer to RW than we are to some of our blood relatives. That is why I can’t wait for our next trip to her neck of the woods.