An Open Letter to Gramma B.
After cautiously opening our hearts to a relationship and learning as
we went, we’ve come to realize how much we need our child’s birth
grandmother in our lives—we hope, not too late. BY ALEX JACKSON
T he first time we met was in court. I could barely look at you. My daughter was almost two and you had never met
her, but you were petitioning the court for
custody. I had been her mommy since she
was 40 hours old and we were already pre-adoptive. Her birth mother had surrendered
her rights early on and her birth father, your
son, had had his rights terminated at 18
months—yet here we were, in court again,
still in limbo. I was scared and angry.
The judge was quick to make a decision in
our favor. At the time, it seemed like a ridic-
ulous attempt—how could two older people
who lived halfway across the country and
had never even seen the child contemplate
getting custody? Now I realize you were just
doing what you had to do.
We met for real the next day, because you
asked for a visit before you flew back home.
I agreed, so we awkwardly said hello in a
small visitation room at the Department of
Human Services. We chatted for a while,
mostly small talk. You worked at the library
and had two other kids who were both doing really well in life. You asked questions,
but didn’t pry. You had brought gifts for your
granddaughter, and I noticed that they were
all things you had lovingly made or thought
about carefully. The hour passed quickly and
we said we’d be in touch.
We started handwriting letters back and