About Me

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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year


May good things come to all of us in the new year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Broken Record

I've said it before but it needs to repeated (and I already posted it as a comment out in the adoption blogosphere.)

More of the same:

The first time I met with my social worker, I thought I was the exception.

I believed birthmothers were young, irresponsible, drug-using, messed-up, the list goes on.

I was 25, college-educated, a middle school teacher with my own apartment.

My social worker set me straight. I was the norm- the average birthmother is in her mid-twenties with a college education. We are responsible and hard-working. That is part of what gives us the stamina to follow through with an adoption plan.

I have an open adoption and there are times I want to walk away. It hurts to see my daughter- to be some sort of partial mother to her. I stay because I don't want her to be an adult caught up in a search- her heart pounding every time the phone rings or the mail comes- wondering if I've rejected her. I want her to know where her smile comes from or her love of the stage.

I want to answer her questions- to be the link to the rest of her family- her biology. I never want her to have to create fantasies to explain her situation.

We are not all the same. We all deserve respect.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My Smile

Your mom compared my childhood picture to you yesterday. Back and forth she looked. She never said a word. I wondered what she saw.

You have my smile. It's unmistakable- one eye half the size of the other, chubby cheeks, the kind of smile that fills a room.

As a kid, I hated my smile. I didn't like the way it turned my eyes into slits. I'm still bothered by the lack of symmetry. After a time though, I learned to like it- always it was the thing that people mentioned. Name one thing you like about me- it was always my smile. Meet someone new- it was always my smile they mentioned.

You have none of my self-consciousness. I hear you win everyone over. I can see why. I can never take my eyes off you.

In between snapshots of cuteness, I am taken aback- repeatedly over hours, my breath catches as I catch a glimpse of myself in your face. A slight turn of the head. A gesture. More often, that smile. I wonder if this is what regular parents go through every day or if they are somehow desensitized to it.

I remember the first time I noticed that mirror image. For so long the joke was that you musn't be mine because you looked nothing like me. One day we all went to the park. You were about six months old. In between play parts, I saw myself reflected in your baby face. It was as unnerving then as it is now.

I wonder if some of the strangeness comes from the fact that the rest of you does not resemble me. Our hair deserves its own post. I attach so much value to mine and I'm not sure if I'll ever get over the reality that your hair is nothing like mine.

Whatever the reason, I can't stop watching your smile every time I see you. I wonder who else notices the similarity. I wonder if I want something to be there that isn't. Thanks to you, I finally see its beauty.

And to Make Up for That Last One...

Read this. Sanity.

And yes it is mucky and uncomfortable sometimes.

There was a lot of that, too during my visit (Is it okay to pick her up for a kiss when I walk in?; What if she climbs into my bed during the night?; Do they mind if I take little videos of her?; Should I offer to babysit on New Year's?; What's the right mix of talking to them/ her?; Should I offer to do dishes after dinner?; What do I call my parents? Oh shoot, I called my sister auntie. etc etc etc.)

I Can't Believe This is Real!

Yuck.

Christmas Visit

It was a very good visit.

I arrived around 1 and we had a very relaxing day. We played games and watched Charlie Brown's Christmas. She showed me her new toys.

She was very excited to open her gifts to me, but didn't care to open mine to her. When she finally did, she liked them. She didn't nap so she alternated between cranky and hyper.

She's incredibly cute. She looked at old photo albums and I was pleased to see that she knew my baby pictures were of me. She asked why I wasn't in her christening pictures. Mostly, she said how cute everyone was.

We played Dora Candyland and she did a puzzle all by herself. She's still at the stage that she doesn't want any help.

We took turns pretending to be a toy that sings when you press it. She loved that game. She and I played while her parents cleaned up after dinner. She asked for a horsie ride after which she decided to be the horsie. It was really cute to see her trying to pick me up and pretending to be the horse. She wanted to do the same with the baby bumblebee song.

She asked me several times to sleepover with her so I did. No story again this time because she wanted her mom to read to her.

She didn't want her picture taken though I managed anyway. She did want to take our pictures though and did lots of that. She is absolutely adorable. I couldn't keep my eyes off her.

They had to work this morning. She asked to play with me for a little while and then we said our goodbyes.

It was really nice to see her so close to Christmas.

They're planning to come out my way in February so that'll be exciting.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Presents

My daughter called a little while ago. She was all excited about Christmas.

Later, her mom got on the phone and asked for my parents numbers.

Both my parents came to the hospital when she was born and my dad and stepmom visited after my daughter's first Christmas. Since then, neither of my parents has had any contact with my daughter other than holiday cards.

I thought it was wonderful that my daughter's mom wanted to call them for Christmas. I haven't talked to my mom yet, but my stepmom said it was the best Christmas present.

I'm so happy for them.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Visit

I got am email Wednesday asking if I'd like to come the day after Christmas! I'm so excited! What a treat!

I usually get my daughter a book, ornament, and CD for Christmas though I added a small toy once she was at an age to care about opening gifts.

This year I replaced the CD with a movie, the toy with a little stuffed Christmas tree and I finally framed the Katie Cook pictures I got in Chicago. They look awesome!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Just Checking In

Christmas is always bittersweet.

Mostly, it makes me happy. But the holidays are hard.

Tonight I wrapped all her gifts.

I'm not even sure when I'm going to see her. Usually we have it planned by now. Not this year.

I wish she was with me for Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Disgusting Adoption Ad


Babies have dreams about not living with their mothers.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving

I'm late this time. Usually, I post right away. I suppose it's because there isn't much to say. The visit was good, but nothing stood out.

It took forever to get there. The extended family was there and I brought my fiance. My daughter greeted me swiftly, but spent most of the day playing with her cousins. She was running a fever so she ended up sleeping through dinner and most of the time after.

The food was delicious as usual. I was happy to see that there was a picture of just the amom and I on the refrigerator. I sat with my sleeping daughter after dinner.

We had dessert and played a crocodile game after. Then we all left.

No bedtime story this time because I was driving home.

Although there is nothing exciting to share, it is nice for it to feel so normal and family-like.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tradition

Tomorrow I'm bringing tradition with me. It comes stuffed in crescent rolls- spicy and warm. It is something little I can do.

I do not plan your traditions. I have no say in the dishes served, the relatives present, or the order of events. It feels strange to have a daughter that celebrates holidays with someone else's traditions.

I love the day with you and your family. It is the closest holiday to those I had as a child- the days I get nostalgic for as I grow older. I am thankful for the similarities.

Still, there is a loss.

And so I bring tradition to you in the only way I can- by food. The same food I wouldn't eat as a child, I bring to you now in the hopes of making the day feel complete.



I felt such joy tonight as I tried the family recipe for the first time- tasting and adding spices, tasting again. I imagined making it with you someday, watching you refuse it tomorrow, putting the recipe in a book for you.

But mostly I just enjoyed the scent and flavor. I enjoyed the feeling that I was keeping tradition alive. I enjoyed the feeling that I had the power to bring a little bit of my childhood to yours.

I say again, it's the little things.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Excited

I'm so excited about my Thanksgiving visit. Enough that normally closed-up me mentioned how excited I was at the end of an email to my daughter's mom. She said my daughter is so excited too because her family is coming over.

Especially after her birthday, where I truly started to feel like family among the extended relatives, I'm looking forward to this holiday visit.

I love Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Frustration

My mom: What are you doing for Thanksgiving?
Me: I'm going to see *daughter's name*.
Mom: (very excited) Oh! Wow! That's different.
Me: I've gone every year.
Mom: Oh, you have?
Me: Yup.

Some other conversation follows.

Mom: So are you going by yourself for Thanksgiving?
Me: No, *fiance's name* is coming with me.
Mom: Oh. Doesn't his family have Thanksgiving?
Me: Yes, they do.
Mom: Oh.

And yes, I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Full Circle

My stepsister had a baby girl last month. She gave birth at the same hospital where I gave birth, chosen in part because I loved it there.

My stepmother came home to see her newest grandchild. They visited the hospital together though mom and baby had already left. My stepmom said she looked for someone familiar, scanned the pictures of the children on the walls, tried to find a reminder.

The corridor proved reminder enough. It feels like it's come full circle, she said.

Later, she apologized. She thought it may have been insensitive. I was not offended.

I know my choice sent ripples through the family. I didn't just lose a daughter. My family lost a grandchild, a niece, a cousin. It doesn't matter that my family rarely sees each other. The loss is still there.

Each has dealt in their own way.

I remember going with my mother to visit my sister after my daughter was born. My sister had a nine-month old. My mother plopped the baby in my arms hoping to comfort me. I played along.

My mother has since been given two more grandchildren. She has dealt with her loss through them. She hasn't been able to see my daughter since those days in the hospital. Her two new grandchildren she sees every few months. It is a diversion for her. Plus, by living far away, I imagine she can make my daughter's placement less real. The adoptive parents send pictures and cards. I send my mother albums. She can be like any other grandmother who lives too far from her grandchildren.

For my stepmother, this new baby was the first since my daughter. By her comments, I imagine it has hurt her more than she lets on. It is the first time they have lived away from their grandchildren. They visited my daughter once after the hospital- a Christmas visit that first year, four months after her birth. My father was lost that day and barely took the opportunity to hold her. By the time he did, my daughter was fussy yet the pictures of the two of them together are some of the best from that day.

After that, life took its toll. It is true that there never seems to be a good time to visit that relative you haven't seen in awhile. Maybe now they fear it has been too long. They moved away last year.

I can't imagine what it has been like to be them- my two sets of parents- and I don't try. I hold no ill will toward my stepmother for finding comfort in this new birth. Nobody else needs to carry the grief.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Small World

I went to a housewarming party tonight for an old friend.

Midway through, a couple showed up and my friend introduced us because the woman is a social worker and another friend is getting her MSW. I asked what town she worked in and was relieved to hear that she worked in the town I work in. I didn't want her to know my family.

I found out that her husband also worked in social services. There is a woman I've been trying to find and she used to work at the same place. We didn't have much else to say, so we parted. I gathered up my courage through the night so that I would ask the man if he knew the woman I was looking for.

I finally approached the two of them when they were alone. He knew the name, but not the woman, but he took my info so he could try to find her for me.

I have no idea where I was going when I mentioned it because I know I wasn't planning to mention my daughter, but I asked if they knew my social worker, the woman I saw when I was pregnant.

I was blessed with the most wonderful social worker. I absolutely love her and I have the highest respect for her. I wrote to her this summer to let her know that I attended the Lifegiver's Festival, and I wish I still saw her today.

The woman at the party looks up at me and says, "That's my mother."

I was shocked and thrilled all at once. She went on to ask if I'd worked for her and I said no that I placed my daughter for adoption.

It was the weirdest thing.

We chatted for a bit and I revealed way more than I ever would normally.

Then I left the party and got in my car and cried. The emotions were overwhelming. Good. but also forcing me to remember.

I'm so glad I went and I thank whatever intervention caused me to mention my social worker's name.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

My First Visit: Three Years Ago

First some background:

October 8, 2002
The hospital experience was awesome. My whole family visited and everyone got along. My mom, who was furious about my decision, also came. I asked the amom while we were there if I could bring my mom to visit once a year when my mom was in town she said absolutely. We said goodbye outside the hospital. The aparents had to stay in a hotel while they waited for permission to leave the state. I visited twice during the ten days they were there. I met their cousin and they met my friend. The amom said she would love to meet my friends. During this time, she also told me that her mom was uncomfortable with me visiting, but when I asked her about it, she maintained that it was her choice and she had no trouble with me visiting. She also said that she hoped at some point that things would clear up with the birthfather and that she wouldn't mind if he visited in the future. Her husband said they had talked and that they were really happy that the baby had two moms that loved her.
They told me not to wait too long before coming to visit their house. After they returned home, I called to arrange a visit with my sister (the only one who couldn't come to the hospital and the sister who connected the aparents and I). The amom was completely agreeable and reassured me that I shouldn't be scared to ask her things like that. We met at a restaurant and had a nice visit. I told the amom I would probably arrange a visit at the end of October when I was done with the scrapbook I am making.

Right after that, my friends and family began to pressure me to back off and leave the aparents alone because they felt it was overly generous for the aparents to allow me to visit. I also started feeling guilty because we never had any agreement and I felt like I was going back on my word. Plus, when I talked to the amom, the change in our roles was palpable. I sensed that she was feeling awkward and that she felt like she had to tell me every little thing they had done. With the advice of some here, I wrote a letter to the amom letting her know what was going on and how I was feeling. I also told her that I just wanted to do what was best for the baby and that I would respect her decision. I also told her that I was really glad she was the mom and that I wanted her to enjoy being a mother and not to feel obligated to always tell me everything that was happening with the baby, that I chose her and I never wanted a sense of obligation to cloud the relationship we had. Her response was nice and mostly what I expected, but two things stuck out: she said she wasn't sure what they wanted to do in the future regarding visiting because she wasn't sure what was best for the baby and she also said she thought I needed to deal with my separation from the baby.

I was feeling really emotional overall so I hung on to the fact that she and I had developed a really good realationship and that maybe I was worrying too much. She usually calls me on Sunday nights, so I figured I'd calm myself down and wait until then. The phone call started off okay. She expressed some concern about how I was doing and we chatted about that. I won't get into the whole call (cuz I know this is already a novel...LOL) but I'll try to remember the main points. She asked me if I thought it was harder for me to see the baby (as in "Doesn't it make it worse for you?)...we talked about that a bit, and I got the impression she was hoping I would say yes, that it was too hard. She told me she was afraid of letting me down by cutting off visits. She speculated that having information about me should be enough for the baby. She told me (for the first time....) that their social worker is completely against any kind of open adoption because she thinks it is confusing for the child- as in, who am I to the baby? This made me wonder....if the aparents were telling the baby about me from the start and showing her pictures (which is something I thought we were completely clear was going to happen) then how is seeing me in person confusing? Then I remembered that their friend who adopted waited until her daughter was ten before sharing the picture of her birthmother and I started to wonder). Her social worker was appalled that they had "let me" see the baby already and that they had planned to have me visit their house and asked her if she was afraid I would show up on her doorstep and disrupt their life. This really upset me because it is exactly the kind of thinking I hate. I told the amom that the last thing I wanted to do was disrupt their lives. We agreed to keep our relationship going and to discuss things further. During our phone call, when I asked, the amom said she had been too busy to do any more research and beat around the bush when I asked her if her and her husband were going to talk to another social worker or go to the aparents group she mentioned. As we were getting ready to hang up, I made a comment about not knowing where we'll be a year from now (as in I can wait and this whole issue is up for discussion) and she said "Well, wait a minute, I'm not even saying I agree to a year of anything....I don't want to make that commitment."

I was really upset when I hung up. I felt like I had been misled and I wondered what else they hadn't shared. I was mad at myself for not listening to my social worker (who met the amom once and expressed some concern about how prepared they were to adopt a baby and reminded me over and over that hopeful aparents will jump through hoops before the papers are signed) and for not realizing what a major life decision this was for myself and my daughter. I began to worry about how prepared the aparents were for the enoirmity of this. I was also mad at myself for not being more assertive and never once thinking about how this would all affect me. . .


October 27, 2002


I'm feeling really drained right now, but I wanted to at least post a little something. I visited my daughter today at her house(my first time there). She lives in a beautiful neighborhood and house. It reminded me of where I grew up. Her bedroom is so pretty, all decorated in pale yellow and pink. She looked so different. She's lost a lot of hair and her eyes look much lighter. Her face is starting to look more unique. She looked so beautiful. I'll try to get some new pictures in ASAP. Her mom changed her into a little orange outfit and pumpkin bib to take some pictures with the halloween decorations. Who needs a professional when my daughter's mom is around? I saw the pictures they took with their digital camera and they came out really well.
After reading all the stuff here, I bought my daughter "The Velveteen Rabbit" It's actually the first thing I've given her. I spent some time alone with her and read it to her. She actually paid attention to the whole story! She's starting to make noises and smiling a little.
Her mom and I had a long talk about everything that's been going on. It was extremely emotional. I still don't know what will end up happening. She's feeling really overwhelmed and we're both adjusting and feeling emotional so it's pretty tough. I'm thankful that we can talk like that. I'm also scared that I said too much. Some of the things we had to say weren't very pretty. I think it'll be okay though. I'm just feeling sad, and scared, and confused, and lonely, and angry tonight. Not angry at her, just angry at the world. Right now I just wish I could help her.
On a lighter note, she bought the Dr. Seuss book "Are you my mother?" and we had a good laugh about it. I thought it was great. And another good thing, I had a good chat with my daughter's father. He's really interesting and sweet.
Hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Days Like This

Some days I feel like reminiscing.

I read my blog and feel that familiar mixture of joy and sadness.

Perhaps it was the long drawn out conversation with the pregnant woman at work. I listened. I tried to show interest without giving anything away then caught myself nodding in agreement over a conversation about carseats.

I used to talk to that woman- ate lunch with her even. Now I walk by her office as quickly as possible. I'm afraid to talk to her. I don't know what to say to someone who is pregnant without giving away that I've been there too.

Plus, I'm losing weight. A lot of it. Enough to make all of my pants feel uncomfortable because I'm constantly hiking them up. I'm not prepregnancy yet, but feel like I'm headed there. I may no longer have that belly to remind me.

I'm at a crossroads everywhere- a mix of good and bad at work and at home.

And on these days, I think of her.

I gazed at her picture at work- a big birthday smile- and resisted the urge to show my students.

I want to claim her.

So I read instead and try to feel her hand in mine or her weight on my lap or her hair through my fingers. I can feel it. My whole hand tingles with the memory.

The thought of her smile makes my eyes fill up. She should be here with me. I could spend a lifetime just staring at her- soaking in every feature. I don't want her to grow up.

I read and imagine what it would be like to have a weekend with her. Or a week.

I imagine staying up all night just to watch her sleep.

I imagine eating pancakes with her.

I imagine walking around the city showing her all the places I loved.

And I imagine curling up with her in the cool fall air. Drinking hot cider. Watching cartoons and cuddling her bunny.

But I settle for tingling hands.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I Want to Dream About Her

My daughter called tonight. She said she wanted to make sure I was home.

She chatted so much today. It feels like it's been so long since I talked to her. It made me miss her so much.

Eventually her mom got on the phone and told me she had asked to call me. When her mom asked her if she wanted to say goodbye, she said, "I want to dream about her." Too precious.

She got on the phone to say goodbye and asked if I was coming to pick her up. She wants me to see her new class at preschool.

I hate how much it hurts to talk to her. I hate how far away she is. I hate that I can't pick her up. I miss her tonight.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Flashing Back

Partly to get all my adoption thoughts in one place and partly to have something to post at least weekly, I'm going to post some old stuff here. Most of it is from two boards/groups I joined right after my daughter was born. I have a ton of stuff from those first few months and then it tapers off.

Sometimes it's enlightening to look back.

Flashback: Three Years Ago

Just some related info: The month after my daughter was born, I went to visit and was informed that it may be my last visit because her parents were no longer sure it was best for her. These posts were written right before that visit. My daughter's mom had alluded to it in phone calls. Their social worker was horrified that they had given me their address and that they were planning to keep in contact with me. It's amazing how much has changed.

10/11/02
Yet again, it is 5AM and I have yet to sleep.

All I ever do when I try to go to sleep is cry.

I never knew it would be so hard and I am so angry because nobody has any idea what this is like. I am so angry that everyone expects me to stay in hiding. I am so angry at all the secrets.

I hate the fact the entire world expects the amom and I to be enemies and I hate even more that they are winning. Tonight all I want to do is scream at her. I want to lump her in with all those adoptive parents that are so desperate for a baby that they forget that there are people are involved. I want to scream at her for destroying my trust because she let some backwards social worker feed her birthparent prejudices. Tonight I'm every adoptive parent's worst nightmare because I do want my baby back. I want to protect her from the lies and secrets I fear she will be raised with.

I want to tell her how much I love her and that it is not my choice to say goodbye.

I hate that knowing the amom's last name is seen as some kind of privilege....like, wow!!!, you know her name. To me it is laughable that as birthparents we are expected to entrust these people with our children, yet we can't even know their names.

I hate that everyone is so filled with fear. I hate that twenty years after open adoption began, the participants are still pioneers. I hate that people with no experience in adoption still feel free to tell others how to live it. I hate that with all the research and all the testimony, I am still being told to "move on". I hate that so many people refuse to get it. I hate that we will have yet another generation of children posting searches on the internet, hoping to find the birthparent they should have known all along.

I hate that there are still birthparents who do not receive counseling. I hate that counseling for hopeful adoptive parents is seen as a frill and not the necessity it is. I hate that the media isn't helping. I can't figure out why Oprah hasn't done a show about birthmothers or why in her show on adoption, she asked the adoptive parents "Aren't you afraid she'll show up on your doorstep?". If such an important figure in the American media and culture can be so misinformed about birthmothers, then what are we doing wrong? Why aren't our voices being heard? How can we make it better?

I can't believe that we can be so backwards in such a life altering experience.
10/15/02
It felt so good to get so many people telling me they understood and to let out all that anger.

I think that one of the funniest things is that the adoptive moms who want open relationships seem to have birthmothers who don't and yet there are all these birthmothers out there who would give one of their limbs just to have their child's adoptive parents send them a picture. I don't get it.

Just as an update, I'm trying to stay positive about my child's mother. That's part of why I exploded on this site. I didn't want to lay it all on her before she's made her final decision. I do feel like she misled me and that bothers me, but mostly I'm just so angry that our culture is such that openness in adoption is so frowned on. I hate this helplessness. I can't be the one to tell my adoptive mother about the benefits of openness. All I can do is sit back and hope she gets a second opinion before she cuts me out of their life.

Ahhhh! It's so crazy. It is so frustrating. Even my friends and family don't get it. They only see things from the adoptive parents side and make excuses for them. And while I know they can't totally get it, I hate that they're not even willing to try. Or if they do try to sympathize they still feel like I should've known better or that because I chose this, I shouldn't be complaining.

Believe me, I'm going to keep trying to get the birthmother's side out there. I'm tired of being labeled. Oprah , here I come!!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Relief

From my daughter's mom:

Of course it's all right! She didn't mention it...Typical 3 year old. ****
and I went night golfing. Funny, one of the few nights we were out and had
a babysitter.

I feel much better now. Thanks for all the support everyone.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Opinions Appreciated

So I called my daughter tonight. Her mom has asked me to call more often and they called me on Thursday while I was out so I wanted to make sure I called back.

A girl answered. I thought I might have the wrong number but I figured that maybe my daughter's mom just sounded younger today.

"Hi, it's Poor_Statue" I said.

"Oh, this is the babysitter. Do you want to leave a message?"

I was a little flustered. Not only is it totally weird to think that my daughter has a babysitter (I don't even want to go there today), but I just didn't know how to respond.

"Um, no that's okay. Um, Can I talk to *PS's daughter's name*?"

So she put my daughter on the phone and we chatted for a bit (though I confess that I didn't really hear most of what she said).

As I talked though, I thought that maybe I shouldn't have asked for her. She's only three. Her parents may want to be there when we talk. I may have freaked out the babysitter.

Now I'm paranoid that her parents will be mad and wondering if they'd even tell me if they were.

I emailed already, but it's weirding me out.

It was nice to hear her voice anyway. Still, I worked with kids all day so my "I miss my daughter" button is turned off so I won't start crying at work.

It's going to be an interesting year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hey All

I have no news to share (unless the million dollars I just spent on pictures is news).

Mostly I just want to say that this blog is very sporadic.

I started it for me. I never make time for a written journal so I decided to keep an online one. I know how important journaling can be in adoption.

I chose to keep it public because I figured one person might find it helpful or learn something. I also kept it public so that my loved ones would have a place to find out more (I'm pretty closed up in real life.)

In the past month or so, I've gotten some regular readers and a few folks have linked here. I check my traffic. I know there are a few of you who check in every day.

It makes me feel bad that I don't post regularly.

I write when I'm feeling something, and even then it has to be convenient timing. I think about adoption every day, but I don't always have something to say about it.

I hope you will all keep coming but I don't want to write just because. I have a regular (and not very exciting) blog that I try to update regularly, but I want this one to stay the way it is. A haven. A dark corner. Whichever need it fills the day I choose to write.

I will try to follow through on my urges to post, but this blog will never be predictable.

My life isn't. My adoption experience hasn't been.

I'd also love it if people commented. Many of you have and I appreciate it. I hope you will also talk to each other, offer a different perspective, share a similar story. It seems that for many of us, there is a huge void where shared experiences should be. It seems that we are all so hungry to talk to someone else in the adoption triad. We have been aching for each other.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Where's Your Daddy?

Hopefully, my dad will read this. I keep forgetting to tell him.

I know I mentioned awhile ago that my daughter asked about my parents. I thought it was weird but a onetime thing.

It wasn't.

Every time I've talked to my daughter, she's asked me where my daddy is.

On her birthday, she asked and I told her that he was at home. "Can I talk to him?" she said, clearly thinking I'd hand over the phone.

When I explained that I don't live with him, she wanted to know why. She didn't understand.

It's so odd to me. Why the obsession with my dad?

I got a little insight when I visited. She loves her dad- so much that everyone else feels neglected. Also, when we looked at her lifebook, she has clearly memorized the players. My sister, she knows. My mom, stepmom, and dad, she wouldn't know. All she has is a picture of them holding her.

It definitely means something to her that I have a stepmother. I sensed that it helped her process her own experience of having two moms.

But my dad- she's obsessed. I was hoping she'd mention it at the party. I would have called him. I'm sure my dad would be thrilled.

Maybe next time.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My FIL Continues to Amaze Me

Like any parent, I love showing off pictures of my daughter.

My FIL came up last night while I was going through the pictures from the weekend. I don't usually show him, but the pictures are so cute so I wanted to show him one.

I pulled up one of her with her cake. I showed him.

"Show me more." he said. He told me he liked looking at them. I picked some of the nicer ones. He said she has my smile.

It was so nice.

Goodbye

My daughter woke up around 5:30 from a bad dream. I admit I felt awkward comforting her when her mom walked in. She fell back asleep quickly.

She stubbed her toe getting out of bed in the morning. It wasn't a good start to the morning. It was her first day of big girl swim class (no parents). We got her all ready, but she wouldn't go in the water. I wasn't really surprised. It was a full weekend for her.

We went back to her house. I was planning to leave then. They had plans for the afternoon.

Instead, we played with her new toys. It seemed like her parents were happy to have the chance to clean up from the party while the two of us played. It was a wonderful two hours.

Her mom came in around noon and we went outside to take some pictures before I left.

I'm really glad I had the morning with her.

It's been hard since coming home. This strange sort of motherhood is really wearing on me. Even though things are great, I can't help thinking about what it would have been like if I'd parented her. She has the life I wanted for her and she's happy and loved. I don't want anyone to think it has anything to do with her parents.

It's just that you have these ideas about what life will be like for your child and they all include you.

I hate that I'm not her mommy even though I think I made the right choice.

The Remainder of the Day

There was some time between parties (yes, she had two). We played in the yard and opened some gifts. Her godmother and I pushed her on the swing. She likes to have someone on both sides.

I felt so much more comfortable this time.

My daughter and I took walk into the front yard and as we were there, her family arrived. Usually, once they arrive, my daughter plays with her cousins the rest of the time and I just watch. She was excited to see them, but she stayed there holding my hand. During the rest of the party, she took turns with all of us.

Perhaps that helped my comfort. It's easier to feel like I belong there when my daughter chooses to play with me. Plus, I've met the family a few times now and I really like them (especially her cousins). They are starting to feel like my family. It's a great feeling.

My sister arrived. She loves kids and has no problem jumping right into the play. They played T-ball. I got some great pictures of them. My daughter is so cute and so much fun to play with. I felt more comfortable with my sister there so I hoisted my daughter up to play the way I used to with my nieces and nephews. It was so nice to hear my daughter laughing.

We had cake and then the party ended somewhat abruptly. Everyone said their goodbyes.

The godmother and I stayed. The rest of the presents were opened. My daughter was a little cranky after such a full day with no nap. She wanted her godmother to sleep over. I tried not to feel guilty. Her godmother will see her again before I do. I did feel a little like I was imposing. Everyone was tired and my daughter's mom was a little cranky, too with everything that had to be done. It was a pain to get my bed ready. I felt bad.

My daughter wanted to read her lifebook (she calls it her baby book). Her mom told me a few times how much she loves it and how she wants to read it all the time. Like last time, she didn't want to read it with just me. It was fine. My daughter expressed it so well: "I want you to look at it together and talk about it." It's hard to believe she's three.

We sat on her bed with her in the middle. She got comfortable. She laid her head in her mom's lap and soon streched her legs out so that her feet were in my lap.

She watched me. Big eyes. Searching my face. It was hard to read, but so good and perfect at the same time. Her mom chimed in every so often. I had a harder time chiming in. I was concentrating on getting the words out. It was like I had tunnel vision. I rubbed my daughter's legs in absent-minded comfort and read words that felt dry off the page.

When we got to the pictures of her birthfather, my daughter stopped. She asked who it was and watched me for an answer. I asked her (we do that a lot when we know she knows the answer.) She wouldn't answer. I told her that was her birthfather. "My birthfather?" and she pointed at herself. "Yes." I answered. She grinned big and scrunched up her shoulders the way kids do when they're happy and said proudly: "He maked me."

Her mom chimed in a little and then we kept reading. She tried to fight sleep. It didn't work, she fell fast asleep as I read. It felt so good to see her sleeping so peacefully (and I was relieved that I didn't have to keep reading.)

We tucked her in. I was tired, but her mom invited me downstairs and I didn't want her to feel like I only cared about my daughter so I went down.

We chatted about work and stuff and then around 11, we went to bed.

It was a really good day.

The Kid's Party

I was nervous about going.

I figured I'd stick out- the only adult there without a child.

On the drive, I gathered up the courage to ask my daughter's mom what to say if someone asked who I was.

When I pulled up to their house, my daughter's godmother was just getting out of her car. I wouldn't be the only child-free one. I breathed a sigh of relief. We played for a few minutes and then piled into the car.

Caps for Sale had been added to the backseat pocket. My daughter asked her godmother to read it. My daughter saw the inscription on the inside cover and asked who bought it for her. Her godmother asked whose name it was and my daughter replied with mine. I think I enjoyed the reading more than she did. It was one of my favorite books as a kid.

The party was fine. It was weird being around so many kids. The parents all knew each other. They must have felt my don't-talk-to-me vibes. We shared smiles but no words. I didn't feel uncomfortable.

I had more moments with my daughter than I usually do at her birthday parties. She came over to hug me or play with me a few times. Every now and then she would check for my necklace ("I gave that to you....do you wear it everyday?....why?")

The party was short. There were some little rides and some arts and crafts. My daughter beamed as everyone sang to her. Her best friend's family were the last to go. My daughter walked with them toward the parking lot. No one followed. The mother looked around for someone to watch my daughter. I stepped over to take her hand. The mother said excitedly, "Are you her birthmother?" My daughter had joined her friend. The mother told me how amazed they are by her. She then said, "You know a lot of it is genes so it's a real testament to you." I was so moved.

She was so nice.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Excerpts from Wake Me Up When September Ends by Greenday:

here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when september ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when september ends

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sleep

I don't want to be the facilitator.

I just want one person in my life to take it upon themselves to learn about open adoption. Just one.

I love my online birthmom friends, but I'm one of those too and I know we can't be the primary source of support for each other. We may be the only ones who really "get it." but we shouldn't be the only ones who try.

Go to Open Adoption Insight. Read one book. Do one online search. Read my blog.

Yeah, I know. If they read my blog, I wouldn't have to write this.

Sorry to be a downer. Let's see: new school year, hurricane, seasonal second job, daughter's birthday. I wonder why I'm not feeling better. Although I should clarify- school is going great, but Psychology 101 says positive stressors are still stressors.

The party is on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Harder

I don't really feel like chatting.

This weekend was very difficult. It was a mixture of not being prepared and not being acknowledged.

Nobody remembered.

I shouldn't say that. A birthmother I met a few years ago (online) remembered. We've never talked. She occassionally sends me forwards. I was really touched that she remembered.

That was it. No one in my adoption group mentioned it. Not one friend or family member called or emailed.

It sucked.

As if being a birthmother doesn't make me feel worthless enough.

For the record, you can do two things: a simple "I'm thinking of you" or a "Hey, happy birthday to your daughter." are fine. I'm not looking for anything exciting- just some kind of acknowledgement that the day has meaning for me.

Thanks to Aimee and Mike who wouldn't know her birthday by themselves, but who acknowledged it as soon as they heard. It means a lot.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!


Birthday wishes to you on your third birthday.

Edited

My daughter is three today. I don't know why I had it in my head that her birthday was tomorrow. When I saw the calendar this morning, I was unprepared.

All the hard days seem harder this year.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Birthday

My daughter turns three on Monday Sunday.

It's definitely getting to me.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Motherhood

I'm reading the current issue of Oprah. In it she interviews Christiane Amanpour from CNN.

Christiane talks about how the birth of her son changed her- the overwhelming feeling of protectiveness, the increased concern about her own life.

I related so much to her words. She talked about how during her pregnancy, she was determined not to let motherhood change the types of assignments she took. Yet, it did. And she was unprepared for the overwhelming feelings.

I was, too. The sense of protectiveness I felt toward my daughter took me completely by surprise and I definitely value my own life more now that she is in the world.

Motherhood changes things and some of those things are universal.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Legs

The first thing we did was sit on the floor to pass a ball around.

She was shy this time. The picture I have of her in that moment is of her ducking her head.

I sat the way I usually do- one leg indian style, the other bent behind me.

She watched my every move.

I don't remember what she said, but she wanted to sit like me. She kept trying to bend her legs exactly the way I had. Each time she would look up at me with her big eyes and a shy smile to see how she did. Then she'd try again. After several minutes of this and lots of creative positions, we resumed our play- passing the ball.

Maybe she's practicing her sitting for the next time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Round Belly

There is a roundness to my belly. Not the kind that comes from too much beer or fatty foods, but the kind that comes only from occupation- a rite of passage, a battle scar, a reminder.

On the bad days, it reminds me of all that I've lost. A reminder of the carefree life that came before it, a life of mini-skirts and cute tops- enjoying the heads that turned as I walked by, a life of fitted dress clothes in lovely fabrics and beautiful colors that marked my passage into adulthood. I was coming into myself. I felt good.

But the loss goes deeper and my belly reminds me of that, too. A reminder of another life. A daughter. Growing within me. A tiny miracle.

The reminder is with me, but she is not.

In the beginning, my belly was barely noticeable. A stranger on the street would never have known- in fact her future parents first reaction was "You're so tiny!". Those close to me could tell. If I turned just the right way so that the fabric in my shirt hugged its outline, they knew. My sister marveled at it.

I tried to hide it for awhile- not really by choice, but because I learned early that people were ashamed. They would rather have me pretend. I bought pants and shirts in larger sizes and cried each morning as I tried to dress in a way that wouldn't reveal my sin.

As my belly grew larger and more noticeable, I tried harder not to be noticed- a trait that has stuck. I kept my eyes low to the ground praying nobody would stop to talk to me, to ask me about the little life growing within.

When I went out, I imagined every eye going straight to my naked fingers as their own shook at me in condemnation and disgust. But it wasn't just that I was unwed, it was what I had planned- to give away my own flesh and blood, to shirk responsibility for my actions by passing it on to someone else. Surely I could not love my child if I was planning such a thing. And so I became selfish and unloving in their eyes- not just those of strangers, but those of the people closest to me as well.

And my belly grew. The rest of me filled up to help support the added weight. A beautiful round basketball.

What is left reminds me of good things, too- sleepless nights in bed feeling precious kicks. Oh how I loved that full and occupied belly! Nothing short of magical- to feel sweet life within. Strange shapes and bumps- I rubbed my belly constantly- sometimes I still catch myself doing it.

On difficult days, I would pat and talk in soothing voices- calming myself and my baby at the same time. Some days I was angry that I was alone. Some days I wished there was someone else to share the joy of tiny movements- to lay a head on my belly- to marvel at the activity.

Before that could happen, my belly was emptied. Soft pouch taking the place of taut sphere. The invisible baby made her way into the world. The memory is bittersweet.

I went home without her. But I kept the belly. A reminder. Of loss and joy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Teary

I still haven't recovered from my visit.

This one just left me feeling lost. Not just lost in my adoption world. Lost overall.

Plus, I couldn't write about it in my adoption group without crying.

I just want my life to settle down.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Tough Weekend

This was a tough visit. I'm not feeling up to details today, it was just tough.

On an I-can't-believe-it note: my daughter's mom saved the lifebook for me to read to her last night. I was really shocked. She hadn't said anything to me about where or how she was going to share it, so I was really touched that she saved it for me to read. She planned to have me read it to my daughter as her bedtime story.

Since last Thanksgiving, my daughter's mom has me read my daughter a story and put her to bed. I really love getting to share that special time with my daughter, and every other time, my daughter has been thrilled.

This time, she wanted her mom to read her a story. She didn't want her mom to leave her- even before she knew that her mom was pulling out the lifebook.

It was sort of sad and very much the trend of the day, but I was glad in a sense, too.

I thought it was better to share the lifebook with her together. The three of us sat on my daughter's bed with my daughter in the middle.

We didn't actually end up reading it. My daughter was really into looking at all the pictures so we went through all the pages and talked a bit about what was in all the pictures, but didn't actually read any of the words.

It was hard.

I do think it was good to have the first time go like that. As honored as I felt to be able to be the first one to share it with her, I imagine it's a lot to take in so I think it was good to have the first time be a pictures only time. We did have to introduce the idea of a birthfather while we looked at the pictures. Her mom and I got a good laugh out of that because my daughter's reaction was "What?!?". We laughed that we were thinking the same thing.

Anyway, I did have fun. It was just tough.

Oh, and my daughter just looks so amazingly adorable. I couldn't stop looking at her.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

This Is It

Sunday I visit my daughter.

I hadn't mentioned it yet, but I got a signed Dora book for her in Chicago. I can't believe how emotional it was to get it. I really just wanted to cry as I watched the guy signing it. I did end up going outside for awhile right after so I could try to pull myself together.

Sometimes those little things hit the hardest.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Dear Katie Cook

I'm the girl with the pink dog.

You asked if there was a story behind it. I should have been prepared, but I wasn't.

For starters, you're my kind of artist. The comicon was for my fiance more than me. I loved your work.

So what's my story?

I have a daughter. She's almost three. I placed her for adoption at birth.

I have an open adoption which means that I still see her. She calls me by my first name. Her parents just explained to her who I was, and I'm nervous about seeing her again. I'm going there next Saturday. It'll be the first time I've seen her since her parents told her that I was her birthmother.

For my birthday this year, my daughter picked out that little pink birthstone dog. She has one with her birthmonth and we spent a lot of time the day she gave it to me playing with our dogs. My heart was breaking as my daughter explored their sameness. She doesn't look much like me, but there are moments that are unnerving. She definitely has my smile. It is so strange to see yourself reflected in a child's face.

I'm not very good at keeping in touch. I hate the phone. I have no reason to- I just do. I decided recently that I would start sending postcards. I plan to feature that little pink dog in all the postcards so that my daughter will know they are from me. I'm so thrilled that you were able to include it in the drawing. I'm even more excited because "Gronk is love." The drawing is a perfect expression of our relationship and I made sure to get a "Gronk is love" pin to attach to the frame.

Besides that, I bring my daughter a book every time I visit. I love to read so it was my way of sharing something I love with her. Sometimes I bring her one of my childhood favorites, sometimes I mark a holiday or milestone, and sometimes I just bring her a book that caught my eye. When yours is published, I will definitely get it for her.

My daughter's mom collects artwork from random artists. I don't think she's found any yet for my daughter's room. I plan to give my daughter your print and custom drawing for her birthday next month. I think they'll be a hit.

I don't think I could have found a more perfect place to stop at Wizard World. Thank you for doing great work and for being so friendly and kind.

So there is a story behind the dog. It was a gift from my daughter.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Searching

A touching story about a football player searching for his birthmother.

Side note: I'm going to be away until next week.

On Luckiness

Imagine your beloved father (or any other loved one) is dying.

The illness is brief enough to spare your father a long drawn out death, but long enough for all of the family to say goodbye.

You go home to your own family one weekend, fearing that your father will pass while you are gone. He doesn't.

You go back on that Monday and have some precious final moments with him. Everything you've wanted to say to him was able to be said. Everything you wanted to hear from him was heard.

If your father had to die, this is exactly how you would have wanted it to be.

You are telling a friend about those last few days with your father- all the words that were said, all the moments that were shared- and your friend replies, "You're so lucky." Perhaps they follow it with "that you were able to spend his last moments with him." or "that he died peacefully." or "that you had a chance to say 'I love you'."

Now there may be a part of you that does feel lucky. You may feel grateful that it was the way it was. But I imagine your friend's comment feels like a slap across the face. What's lucky about losing your father? How dare someone tell you how lucky you are in a situation so filled with grief!

And so it is with adoption.

That is why I cringe to hear those words.

Like it or not, there is grief in adoption. It doesn't go away. It ebbs and flows, but it is there- maybe resurfaced at a baby shower or the sight of a pregnant woman. Maybe it comes up around the holidays. Maybe it is there when you look at your child's face and either do or do not see yourself reflected in it.

Put "That's really nice" in front of any of the above comments, and the sting is lessened.


Mommy, Can I Say Goodbye to Her Now?

I bought my daughter a little pink dress in Michigan. I sent it along with the lifebook (addressed to her parents only) and a separately mailed postcard of my dog hanging out on the couch (addressed to my daughter).

I got a phone call last night. My daughter thanked me for the dress and pictures. She told me about her day, asked me where my mom and dad were (again!). She then told me that she couldn't drive to my house because she didn't know where it was. Too cute!

After a couple minutes she asked her mom to say goodbye. On other days, I might have been hurt. Instead I thought it was really funny. I told her mom I thought it was funny. Her mom said she usually just hands the phone off when she no longer feels like talking.

Her mom and I chatted for quite awhile. It's been a long time since we talked like that and it was really nice to reconnect with her again. Nothing about my daughter- just life in general.

She did tell me that she loved the lifebook, that it was beautiful, that she never could have found the time to make something so nice. I was so glad. I was really nervous about what she would think. What a relief to know she liked it! No word on sharing it with my daughter, but I'm happy just to know that she approved.

For some reason, I feel so peaceful about that part of my life.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

This Is Why I'm Silent

Sometimes I want to be more open about my birthmotherhood.

Then I read stuff like this and all the "Well said!" remarks to follow and start to feel like it's not worth it.

Last time I checked, adoption involved children. Yes, folks, real live humans who are counting on us to nurture them. You'd never know from reading what the adults on that blog have to say.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Good Blog

I rediscovered this blog in my bookmarks today. It's kept up by an adoptive mother who has two children in open adoption. She keeps up with adoption news and talks about all kinds of adoption stuff.

Monday, July 25, 2005

There's Nothing Lucky About Adoption

I'm tired of being told how lucky I am.

Nobody is saying it to be rude- they're just clueless. It makes us all cringe.

My daughter and I are not lucky to have been separated at birth.

Sometimes I want to reply that her parents are lucky to be raising my child, but there is nothing lucky about not being able to have children.

The fact that she has great parents is due in part to good planning by me and for many other birthmoms is helped by the fact that there are more of them than us.

Yes, I feel lucky sometimes, but I really hate it when people sum up our relationship in "You're so lucky."

Yes, I see my daughter. It doesn't make me lucky. It's what we feel is best for the child we love.

I'm not lucky. A crisis pregnancy during which I decided I wasn't the best person to parent my child doesn't really seem like luck to me.

Yes, I'm grateful that I have a good relationship with my daughter and her family. Luck has nothing to do with it. We make a conscious effort to treat each other with kindness and respect.

Please, stop telling me I'm lucky. Change it to "That's really nice." Then, maybe I can agree with you.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lifebook: Take 2

I brought the Lifebook I made to the Lifegiver's Festival. I really wanted some other opinions about it's appropriateness.

I'm happy to say it got rave reviews. I feel much better about it.

One of the problems with adoption books for children is that many of them make everything about adoption so happy, happy (aside from the obvious problem that most aren't meant for children in open adoption). It isn't happy, happy and these books tend to disregard the child's own feelings and confuse them about how their birthparents could love them but still be happy about leaving them.

So anyway, the lifebook I made does mention how sad the decision was.

I made a new one yesterday to take care of a few typos and an abrupt ending. When I get it, I'll send it to her mom to see what she thinks. I hope she's okay with it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm home



It was a wonderful weekend. I'm very glad I went.










Thursday, July 07, 2005

Phones and Planes

I have an upset stomach today. I'm leaving in a few minutes for the conference. Besides the obvious issues of facing the grief head on and thinking about my daughter, I get really nervous about meeting new people. I'll feel better when I'm there I hope.

My daughter called last night. It was a nice way to start the weekend. She wanted to know where my Mommy and Daddy were. We didn't talk too long because I was on my way in to a birthday dinner for my fiance.

Anyway, I hope the stomachache goes away. I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Update

I've been swamped with work for about a month and I haven't had any new adoption news, so I've been neglecting this blog (among other things).

I haven't talked to my daughter or her parents since the last time I called. It's kind of anticlimactic after Mother's Day, but it really has been that busy. Her mom sent me new pictures a couple weeks ago and I haven't even looked at those. The scrapbook pages I did are sitting in the same place in my living room.

I do have something exciting and nerve-wracking coming up. I'm going to the Lifegiver's Festival next week. It's sort of like a retreat for birthmothers in open adoption. I'm terrified. I'm not good at meeting new people, I hate getting emotional, and I get really nervous staying away from home.

But it's the perfect time to go. I won't know how to answer my daughter's questions and this will teach me. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Firefox Question

I would love it if my links showed up on their own lines in Firefox. It's fine in IE, but in Firefox, they're all mushed together.

Anyone know how to fix it?

Scrapbooking

I dragged out all my scrapbooking stuff this weekend and completed four pages yesterday. It's weird to look at pictures from so long ago. I really want to catch up with it. I really enjoy scrapbooking. I'm not really artistic, but I don't find that making nice scrapbook pages is overly challenging. I'm sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of embellishments out there, but I find that once I get going, my pictures are usually enough to make the page.

The funny thing about being a birthmother scrapping is that I usually have about 30 pictures I want to use from one visit. It's a little different from the few great pictures you would normally have from a special day. I got a really great book about cropping photos creatively that has really helped me be able to use more pictures without getting boring. I keep procrastinating on the journaling part of it though. I have beautiful pages with spaces to write in, but I never have the energy to write. In time, I suppose.

I also called my daughter last night. I hadn't talked to them since that Mother's Day call and I didn't want her mom to think I was freaked out. It was a brief call, but it was good. I have no idea when my next visit will be, but I'm okay with that.

I'm planning to attend the Lifegiver's Festival in July. It's like a conference/ retreat for birthmothers in open adoptions. The idea is to help birthmothers navigate the complicated relationships that result in open adoption (including relationships with spouses and immediate family). I need it this year. Between my daughter's new knowledge and my fiance's new fears, I could use the help.


Friday, June 03, 2005

Missing Her

I really miss my daughter tonight.

I just came home from the cast party at my school. Middle school kids. They all had so much fun and it was so nice to watch them. It's a great age and I feel really attached to some of them.

Driving home, all I could think of was my daughter. I wish I could share nights like that with her. I wish I could share her.

As I look at old pictures, I'm realizing that she really does look like me and as her personality develops, I see my mannerisms. It's amazing how biology works. One of my friends pointed out that my daughter stands like me- one hand in her pocket and the other by her side. That picture is stuck in my head.

The drive home was hard. I imagined her there with me, a little older- sharing a laugh, holding my hand, standing close to me the way kids do. I wanted it to be true. I wanted her to be my daughter in every way- to share that special bond that mothers and daughters do.

Tonight my reasons aren't good enough. Tonight I wish I had made a different choice. Tonight I just want her to be mine.

I miss her.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Lifebook

I finished my daughter's lifebook tonight and ordered it through the photo website I use.

It was difficult to finish and of course I couldn't find the book I used as a template so I just wrapped it up.

Now that her parents are telling her who I am, something like a lifebook may be appropriate. I hope her parents approve. Usually the adoptive parents write it so I hope it's not too focused on me.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll be watching the mail. I had it sent to me so I can look at it before I give it to them. I'll probably mail it. Her mom has read most of the text already and she said she liked it so it should be fine. I only added a few sentences at the end.

I can't believe I actually finished it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hungry

I met my first real live birthmother tonight. Someone from my online group was in my area.
I went out to dinner with her and her husband and then we came back to my house for a little while.
It was really wonderful to meet them. I was a bit nervous because entertaining is really not my thing and I felt bad because they had such a long drive to get to me, but I think it was okay.
What struck me was how hungry they both were for information about my experiences with adoption. It's like that real life validation is just so important. We support each other online, but it's different when it's a real person.
It wasn't the emotional experience I expected it to be, but we talked a lot. I imagined us embracing in a big hug as soon as we saw each other, but I guess we're both pretty reserved so we didn't. We did hug goodbye, though.
I wish I could meet more birthmothers or at least see some regularly. It may be time to try to find a local group again. We need to come out of hiding.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Birthmother's Day article

It's really nice to see something like this in the newspaper.

Plus, I thought some of you might want to learn more about birthmothers and Mother's Day.

As the article notes, Mother's Day falls second only to the child's birthday as the hardest day for birthmothers. My day yesterday was no exception. In fact, I found it harder than her birthday.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

You're My Mother

Today has been a hard day.

But......I just got off the phone with my daughter. Up until now, I don't think her parents had explained who I was.

The first words out of her mouth were "You're my mother."

My heart broke.

"You're my birthmother. I grew in your belly," she went on.

She then went on to chatter about her day. She was talkative tonight.

So she knows. A big turning point for all of us.

I guess I'd better finish that lifebook.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Happy Birthmother's Day!

A little late in the day, but today was Birthmother's Day.

If you know a birthmother, remember her this weekend.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Mother's Day Card

Just a short post today.

I got a Mother's Day card from my daughter and her family today.

Her mom has such a knack for finding the perfect card. One year she sent me one that said "ma mere" on the front. I'm french so it was perfect.

This year she sent one about two kinds of families- ones we are born to and ones we create.

Very special. Very sweet. And my daughter colored in it for me.

Today was a really good day.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why Are You Leaving?

I had a really nice day yesterday.
My daughter looked adorable and we had fun playing together.
I love that when I visit she wants me to do everything with her. She had asked for me to do her swim lesson with her, too.
When we go out to public places, it is sometimes difficult. Her mom usually does most of the stuff with her. We went to a Kid's Fair yesterday and while I was glad to carry my daughter in between most of the activities, she pretty much did everything with her mom.
Plus it always makes me nervous that someone will say something to us. When I carry her or am walking with her or even when all of us are at dinner together, everyone always assumes that I am her mother. Again, I don't feel like we look that much alike, but there must be something.
One of the women working at the fair offered to take a picture of my daughter and I together. I was trying to get a picture of her playing with bubbles. I really wanted to say yes. My daughter's parents weren't taking any pictures. But my daughter's mom was right there and I can't imagine what she would have thought. I sheepishly declined.
Later that evening we went to my daughter's favorite restaurant. She likes it because a group of men go around singing and playing string instruments. She strums a pretend guitar as they play- definitely genetics there.
We all loosened up a bit.
When we got back to their house, I set about getting some final pictures before I left. We were all playing with my daughter- her parents and I. I wish someone could have captured it- it felt so good.
It was getting late and I had a long drive ahead (I declined the offer to spend the night.) so I asked my daughter for a hug goodbye.
We had all been laughing and giggling and being silly. Her face dropped. "Why are you leaving?" she said sadly. She said something about not wanting me to leave.
I made a comment about breaking my heart and explained to her that I had a long drive- "but why?"- because I need to go home- "but why?"- because I have my own house and it's far away- "but why?"- because I don't live with you.
Her mom began to cry- it is the first time I've seen her cry in a very long time.
I know kids normally want relatives and friends to stay. I'm not sure what exactly about the exchange affected her mom like that - she's usually much more controlled- not a warm and fuzzy kind of woman.
But it was sad for me, too. The day was filled with those moments. My daughter making a comment about me being a mommy, her stroking my face and getting every last strand of hair out of my eyes as she told me I was her sweetie-pie, her shouting that I was hers, her pretending to call my mother to find out if I could stay: "hello, Poor_Statue's mommy, can Poor_Statue stay here?".
Why am I leaving?
I don't know.

We Have the Same Dog

My daughter picked out a little stuffed birthstone dog for my birthday which she gave to me yesterday.

She has one for her birthday and when reminded, she ran upstairs to get it and then brought it down.

"We have the same dog." she said happily.

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She then proceeded to compare all the dogs' parts. We sat on the floor and I held mine while she held hers.

"They have the same nose." she said as she touched the dogs' noses together.

"They have the same bow."

She went on like this, holding the dogs together and exploring all their sameness.

And I sat thinking that we have the same nose and the same eyes, too.

She decided the dogs should play together in the bag mine was given in.

Much later in the day, she pulled them out again.

Once again she examined their sameness.

Then she handed hers to me and took mine.

"Here," she said, "you take my dog and I'll take your dog and we'll rub their backs."

And so we sat there on the floor of the living room rubbing their backs.

And I tried not to cry.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I'm Home

I've been home for a week now, but I still haven't recovered.

My trip was wonderful, the return has been difficult.

It's about dinosaurs, but I'll leave it at that until I know more.

I called my daughter while I was away. She was full of adorable questions. Her dad kept telling her to say goodbye because I was far away. I wanted to say that I wasn't worried about my cell phone minutes, but I didn't.

She was so cute.

I'm going to see her this Saturday. It's been awhile and I'm glad, but really my mind is on other things these days so I've pushed the adoption stuff back a bit.

Life has just been difficult. It seems that every time I feel my life is finally getting back in order, it turns upside down. I suppose everyone feels that way, but it still sucks.

I want to be taken care of for a little while.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

In Loving Memory

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I'll be away for the next week and will be unable to properly commemorate the one year anniversary of Cindy's death.

She was a dear, dear friend of mine as well as a fellow birthmother. She brought joy and life to everyone she met. I have known few as generous or as loving as Cindy was.

I hope she has many rainbows in heaven.


Friday, March 25, 2005

A Week

There has been a lot on my mind this week.
I have to say that the day after posting about adoption on Daily Kos, I regretted it.
I was emotionally drained.
Lots of people told me I was brave to share my story. Initially, I wondered how they could think so- what's so brave about sharing my story anonymously?
Brave would be coming out at work or on the street or speaking up when people perpetuate adoption myths. I do none of those things.
As the comments died down, a couple of people continued to post. These were the dissenters. The people who didn't appreciate my posting- even going so far as to tell me I shouldn't be talking about adoption on the internet.
I'm all for lively debate. I know that not everyone agrees with my views about adoption. I know that there are plenty of people with valid reasons for disapproving of the choices I made. At first I wanted people to debate. Yet when it started, I couldn't deal with it.
It was too much for me. It reminded me of why I don't share my choice in my public life. Even if hundreds of people validate me, all it takes is one to stir up the seeds of doubt and take me back to my choice all over again. Was it really the best thing? Am I really still a decent person having done all that I have?
Questions like these do nothing. I made my choice. It's over. The only thing I can do now is decide how to live with it.
Part of why I write is for my daughter. I was warned early during my birthmotherhood that there would come a time where even I would no longer understand why I placed. My life would settle down and the things that seemed so big during pregnancy would no longer seem like good reasons to let go of her.
I need to leave a record of where I was then and where I am at each stage of my journey.
Someday my daughter will ask. She may be angry. She will have every right to be angry. I need to be able to go back- to have something to explain to her.
Anyway, I was drained this week. Sharing my story was much harder than I envisioned. I no longer regret it. I'm glad it was read and appreciated by so many. But I don't know when I will write again.
I am just one person. I am not an expert. I cannot claim to know of any other person's adoption experience. It feels heavy to be treated as if I do.
Anyway, I'm glad it's the weekend again.
I got my daughter's Easter picture and I imagine she has a family-filled weekend ahead.
It's good.