We had our twice a year visit today with three of our children's birth family. Their birth mother, birth father, a grandmother and great grandmother came over to celebrate a belated Christmas. I struggled throughout the day still feeling sick although our children had a great time. They opened multiple gifts, pictures were taken, and I made a turkey spread for an afternoon dinner. I've written previously when we first started adopting that we weren't interested in any forms of openness. Now, I believe if the family is healthy (not drug or alcohol addicted) and it's a healthy atmosphere for our children, then everyone benefits from building a relationship together. We all love our children. And the birth family not only loves their three birth children, they're connecting with our other children, connecting with us. I can't imagine their position, and on how they feel waiting every six months to visit for a day (seeing the physical changes over time) so we email and phone until the next date. Today was exciting, our children were louder then normal, and they enjoyed playing with the birth father - (who loves to play with children) Openness is great when the boundaries are respected, the roles are established and it remains a healthy relationship for everyone. For us, I'm the "Mom" and the birth mom is the "Aunt" and the birth father is the "Uncle" - everyone seems happy within their roles but we all know their is two sets of parents, the birth and the adopted. I enjoyed getting to know the birth father more today, learning that he's allergic to cantaloupe and melons. That he's 6'4 feet tall and I laughed stating he's at least four heads taller then me! As I studied him I wondered if our little boy was going to be that tall......or if he would inherit an allergy to melons too? It was nice to reminisce and learn more, sharing stories and updates within our lives. After the day was finished, everyone was hugged (several times) until the next time. Adoption isn't just about adopting a child. It's about adopting a package, a possible whole other family. If it's not with the birth family, it can be with previous foster parents, other siblings, foster siblings and we have to remember adopting children, some come with past relationships worth keeping. We also have openness with another birth grandfather, four other sets of foster parents and a previous foster brother. (all in whom we will see this summer) I don't know what the future holds, but as long as it's positive, openness matters and you can't have too big of a family to share your life with!