It’s That Time Again

21 Mar

Once a year we send a letter to Pickle’s birth parents. It’s hard putting pen to paper under these circumstances. I dread it. I feel terrible saying that, but I genuinely dread it. It takes the consumption of 23 cups of tea and the resistance of a rather strong urge to take up smoking before my writer’s block dissipates. I wander aimlessly around the house trying to muster up the courage and inspiration. I deliberate for hours over the composition of this one-page, fiddly letter. I use the largest font I can get away with, so I can write less. I type draft upon draft. Writing things. Deleting things. Writing things. Deleting things. Over-analysing every single syllable of every single word.

The hardest part is suppressing the natural desire to openly gush about all the wonderful things that Pickle has achieved in his time with us. All the giant strides he has made to get to where he is now.

I want to be able to say that he has landed himself the starring role in this year’s Spring concert. He has to pretend to climb a beanstalk n’ everything! He’s going to be up on that stage, name in neon lights, audience fawning over his A list performance, hanging on to his every word….ahem. (I’m brimming with pride about this, as you can tell!).

I want to tell them all the humorous anecdotes he comes out with. I want to tell them how, at school ‘news time’, the other kids all roll their eyes when it’s his turn to speak, knowing that they’re going to have to sit, arms-folded-legs-crossed-fingers-on-lips, for however long it takes for Pickle to stumble over his long-winded, generally pointless stories. I want to tell them how stubborn and obstinate he is at times and how his dogged determination is the most infuriating, yet awe-inspiring, aspect of his character.

But the letter is short and superficial. I make sure I include such things he has learned; the alphabet, riding a bike without stabilisers, swimming without armbands. I tell them that he’s happy and healthy, that he’s polite and caring, that he’s developing and growing well.  It’s generally unemotional in style and expression, but I find it impossible not to get emotional when sitting in front of the computer screen. The unavoidable watery eyeballs and attractive dripping nose are there in their full glory.

It’s important to me that I write the letter as though I am Pickle’s birth mother reading it. I try to put myself in her shoes and imagine how she must be feeling as she reads my letter. I refrain from being too filled with excitement and motherly joy. I hate the thought that I may cause any more pain and upset than is already likely to be firmly in her heart. I try to be factual and informative, yet light-hearted and friendly. It’s essential that I respect her feelings as Pickle’s tummy mummy, and that both his birth parents know that we are looking after Pickle to the best of our abilities and loving him with all our hearts.

Whatever the circumstances that Pickle is no longer with his birth parents, I have them to thank for my gorgeous boy.

It’s that time again….here goes…


21 Responses to “It’s That Time Again”

  1. Vanessa Chapman March 21, 2012 at 13:37 #

    Wow, I can’t imagine how hard that must be. Getting the balance right between reassuring them that he is with people who love and care for him but not rubbing their noses in the fact that he is with you and not them. It makes me fill-up just thinking about it! Good luck.

    • permanentlyinapickle March 21, 2012 at 13:47 #

      Thanks Vanessa, I don’t relish the task but it’s an important one. Take care and thanks for reading.

  2. Anne March 21, 2012 at 13:51 #

    Such a totally amazing read, you have really opened my eyes, fascinating, I am in awe of you! Please continue xxx

  3. Threebecomefour March 21, 2012 at 19:36 #

    I find them difficult to write as well, although do give little annecdotes from time to time. We have two per year to do. We do get a reply from one of K’s family so the letters are more personal because there is something to reply to and a relationship that is forming between us. The letters to the people who don’t reply are much harder to write and, like you, more superficial. I want to try and give a flavour of how she is progressing and developing without causing upset, but I suspect it might be hard to avoid causing upset, due to the nature of adoption. I try to give as full a picture as possible and hope that it’s for the best in the long run. xx

    • permanentlyinapickle March 21, 2012 at 19:46 #

      I have other members of the family to write to as well. I have had replies there and it is a little easier, especially when they ask questions. To be fair I have had 1 reply from BM, which addressed all my points and asked about his general progress. I didn’t get a reply to my last one though, which saddened me as I am keeping them all in a chronological file to give to Pickle when he’s old enough.

  4. Stix March 21, 2012 at 20:33 #

    I write twice a year, using the same letter for BM and BD. In 4 years, we’ve had one response from BM, which wasn’t really a letter just a list acknowledging everything I’ve ever written about and asking for a recent photo.

    I tend to write just a one page doc about Mini’s likes and dislikes at that time and a short bit of progress on school. I take the opportunity to ask questions. And more recently I’ve started being honest about some of Mini’s health issues – i.e his recent seizure and long-sightedness both made an appearance in the last letter. Mini would want her to know that he is loved and well cared-for, but I want her to know that it’s not all a bed of roses, he’s not perfect and neither are we. Equally I do think she’d want to know everything – I would, I’d need all the details!

    I’ve never really taken the time to think about how she’d feel, whether my letters would upset her, or rub her nose in the situation. I don’t write them for the benefit of his birth parents, I write these letters on Mini’s behalf, in the hope that one day they’ll reply to him.

    The more time goes by, the more Mini becomes ‘mine’, the harder I find letterbox. She is virtually a stranger – to all of us, and I struggle with why I should tell her about ‘my’ son. But I hold onto the fact that whether they reply or not, at least I can say to Mini that I did my best to keep the lines of communication open for him…

    • permanentlyinapickle March 21, 2012 at 20:46 #

      Yes, I suppose it is only ever going to get harder. Like you, I want Pickle to know we have done our best in terms of contact. I keep both our letters and theirs (well the one we have so far from BM) together in a marked envelope so he will be able to see it all for himself when the time comes. 🙂

  5. ellengantley March 21, 2012 at 23:08 #

    claire iv seen how brave you are with sercumstances and you allways get through iknow you do this well love to pickle& gerkin xxxxxxxxxxx

    • permanentlyinapickle March 22, 2012 at 09:31 #

      Thanks for your kind words, Ellen. See you can work this technology. Have confidence x

  6. The Crumby Mummy March 22, 2012 at 16:04 #

    That must be really difficult! It’s good of you to keep them informed. Sounds like your little pickle is doing well and you are rightly proud! :o)

  7. thefamilyof5 March 22, 2012 at 22:24 #

    oh this sounds so familiar! We have lots of contact letters to write to various different members of birth family twice a year. It really is hard isnt it :/

  8. Louise Lloyd June 18, 2012 at 12:11 #

    Just found your blog via Love New Blogs and I just couldn’t read and not write anything. I am afraid I have no experience so can only imagine how much of a difficult task this must be. But take pride in what your little pickle is achieving and I hope the letters are received with interest and joy that he is obviously enjoying and loving all that he does!

  9. suzanne June 19, 2012 at 11:59 #

    I have just read this post via the Love New Blogs website, I too am a fellow newbie and was totally hooked by your ‘story’. I cannot even pretend to understand what kind of emotions this situation must conjure up in you but thank you for sharing, it was so interesting to read and I am looking forward to hearing more of your journey with ‘Pickle’.

    • permanentlyinapickle June 19, 2012 at 12:07 #

      Thanks for stopping by and reading Suzanne, and for your kind words. Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.

  10. actuallymummy June 19, 2012 at 22:04 #

    Gosh how difficult that must be. I can imagine wanting to let them know everything about him, and connect with them, but I guess that isn’t wise. It would genuinely get me down. I hope you got it done without too much angst

    • permanentlyinapickle June 19, 2012 at 22:14 #

      The anticipation is generally worse to be honest. I have to pencil it in and just get on with it otherwise it would never happen :o. Doesn’t help that I am far too analytical by nature 🙂 Thanks for commenting. 🙂


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