About Me

My photo
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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Crying

So I haven't worked all week due to snow which has made for a long week. I don't do well on vacations. I'm one of those folks who deals with life by filling it up with activities and while I do have some hobbies, I'm rarely motivated to pursue them during time off.
It's been a difficult week at home which hasn't helped matters. I need a good cry, but I don't cry- especially in front of other people. Sure I get moved by things and my eyes well up, but I fight it- which means if I say something made me cry, what really happened is that I got teary-eyed but refused to cry.

Unhealthy I know.
One of the big things in my life is music. It moves me. As I mentioned earlier, the latest song on my emotional list is "Saying Goodbye" from the Muppets. It's killing me. Especially the line "...but we both know, sometimes it's better to go..." It reminds me of the adoption CD a friend made.
You see, when you become a birthmother, suddemly every song has a whole new meaning. What were once boy/girl sappy love songs become adoption creeds. Seriously, you start to wonder if all these musicians are really birthmothers and just keeping it a secret.
When I was pregnant and had decided to place my daughter, Mariah Carey's song "Whenever You Call" became my personal song. Imagine yourself pregnant and making an adoption plan while listening to that song and you'll become a believer. I still can't sing along with that song without tearing up.
But back to the adoption CD. My friend started the CD with Whitney Houston's song "I Will Always Love You". Before that CD, I didn't really think much of the song. It was overplayed and I saw The Bodyguard so I associated it with that. Suddenly though it became one of those songs with new meaning. It also had the message of sometimes just knowing that it's better to leave.
Both songs remind me of how hard that was.
I cried freely in the hospital- at least while no one was looking. My hospital records are filled with nurses' notes about walking into my room to find me crying. I woke up early while in the hospital and used those early morning hours to grieve before my family came.
The last day at the hospital was the hardest.
My family also knows me as a non-crier. In fact, after my dad saw a show I was in during which I had to cry onstage, he told me how hard it was to sit there and watch because it was so rare to see me cry.
Those last few hours in the hospital are filled with checkups and pictures and all that. My daughter's parents stayed in the hospital with the baby so they were preparing to take her home. My dad was also there because he was taking me home from the hospital. We were in some big room waiting to take the official hospital pictures and I watched my daughter's parents fussing over my daughter and trying to get everything right for the pictures and it just hit me that she was no longer mine. I completely lost it and thankfully my dad had the good sense to lead me back to my room so I could cry in private.

It was a teary day. I was lucky to have the foresight to choose to leave the hospital with my daughter (I've heard plenty of horror stories about leaving the hospital with empty arms) and we said good bye in the parking lot.

It was a beautiful sunny day and there was a nice bench outside where we took lots of pictures. I often look at them and find them so fitting. They could be in a video about loss. Here's the birthmother with the baby, here's the birthmother baby and parents, here's just the parents and baby, here's the birthmother alone- red eyes- distant.
I imagine my eyes have never quite looked the same.

Oprah and Adoption

Disclaimer: Oprah needs to learn more about adoption including sensitive language, but this is a nice story.

Today's show is about neat love stories (probably a repeat, but new for me).

Almost thirty years ago, these two teens fell in love and the girl became pregnant. Though they wanted to marry, their parents forced her to go to a home for unwed mothers and they relinquished their baby boy.

The trauma took it's toll on the couple and they separated and married other people.

After 26 years, the man, now divorced found the woman. They reconnected, discovered they were both divorced and still in love. They decided to search for their son.

The woman was at a car dealership when she struck up a conversation with a stranger and mentioned the search for her birthson. Turns out that stranger was the boy's cousin!

All were reunited. The couple had a baby girl. The birthson named the baby Madison.

All cried during the entire segment.

What a story!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My Christmas Visit

I get my daughter a book, a CD, and an ornament every year though lately I've been throwing in a small toy just cuz she's at kind of a toy age.

I decided to make her the CD this year and had a great time all week digging up all my old favorites and picking out the appropriate ones. I have to say that Saying Goodbye from the Muppets really got to me this week.

Anyway, I brought my sister along with me. I've been kind of down lately so it was nice to have the company. My daughter was excited to see us. Her parents said she didn't want to go to the store because she wanted to wait for me.

She went right for the presents, but surprisingly was just as excited about giving me mine as she was about opening hers. She hugged everything she got and was entertained most of the day by these little weeble-type things my fiance picked up for her.

After opening gifts, she grabbed the bag that my gifts were in and carried it like a purse. She started putting all the little toys she had in the bag so she "could take them home." It was really weird. She was sitting there calmly playing with blocks and telling us that she wasn't at home, that she was at my house. I guess she's at a pretending age, but it was all a bit unsettling.

Her parents got her a little mini blow up jumpy thing so of course she made us all (my sister, her mom, and I) take a turn in it with her. It was a bit awkward, but I had fun playing with her. Everytime I tried to get out, she would tell me to stay. It was cute.

We watched a video of her first stage performance (I got a copy for Christmas along with a necklace they picked up at the Rennaissance Faire where I work and a framed picture.) She was amazing. She was the only kid doing all the moves and while she was a bit shy in the beginning, once the crowd reacted she was jumping up and down and hamming it up. I guess she inherited our theater genes. When it was almost over, she started pointing at the screen and whining that she wanted to do it. We told her to do the moves, but she said she wanted to go back on stage and do it. Too cute.

After a bit more playing, she started getting tired so her mom suggested she take a nap. She agreed but insisted I take her to lay down for her nap. I read her the story I brought her and then she picked out a Pooh Where's Waldo type book. She's finding all the things in the picture and she gets to the last one on the first page when I see her head start nodding everytime she looks. She was trying so hard to fight sleep. I suggested she lay down and just go to sleep and as soon as I got the words out- Plop!- she lays right back and is out like a light.

After a couple minutes of enjoying her sleeping, I put her in her crib and went downstairs. Her parents applauded. They said they can never get her down for a nap on the weekend unless they drive somewhere. I guess she was just super tired.

Around 5:30, her mom woke her up so we could go out to dinner. She asked me to sit near her and watched my every move. You could color right on the tablecloth so we colored together. Everytime I drew something, she would stop what she was doing and just watch. She asked me to draw a cow so I did and then she asked me to draw a baby cow. I also drew a butterfly (which is about the only thing I can draw that can be recognized!) and she asked me to draw a baby butterfly, too. She named the human I drew after my sister.

We had dinner and I shared my desert with her. She has learned the power of saying "please" and used it well. Her dad really can't resist her charms. It is extremely difficult when an adorable two-year old looks up at you and says "please" so sweetly. It was the cutest thing. She also says thank you a lot. Everytime someone gave her some food, she'd say so sweetly "thank you, so-and-so."

She asked to go to the potty (she's learning) and again insisted I come. They had to convince her to have her mom come with us. She ended up not going- I guess the whole public restroom thing was a bit much.

We finished dinner and headed back to their house to say goodbye. She spins around to get her coat off which is also completely adorable. We were saying goodbye when she looks up at me and says "Will you please sit and watch TV with me just for five minutes?" How do you resist? So we sat on the couch for a couple minutes. Her mom pulled out her camera as we left and we took a few pictures. Then my daughter used pictures to stall for time- "one more, one more."

It was a really nice time. My sister hasn't been to a one-on-one visit with me in a really long time (maybe more than a year) and I could tell she was really moved by my daughter's reaction to me. I really don't think her parents have started talking to her about adoption yet so it's kind of weird to me that she reacts so fondly to me.

I did visit a friend and his three year-old recently so I got a better understanding of kids at that age. My friend's daughter also insisted that I accompany her everywhere. Still, it's odd.

She's growing up so fast and she's so smart! I'm constantly amazed at the changes in her. More importantly, she's obviously happy. She has that carefree confidence that comes from being in a secure environment. She is so loved and at the end of the day she knows who her mommy and daddy are. I'm just glad to be someone special to her.

Oh, she also commented on the necklace a few times. I put it on as soon as I got it and every so often she'd check it and make a comment.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Big Weekend

I'm leaving tomorrow morning to go see my daughter for Christmas. I can't wait! It feels like it's been so long since I saw her.

I got cheesy this week and ordered a mousepad with her picture on it. It came out great, but of course the mouse is usually right on top of her face. She looks so grown up these days. She's definitely not a baby anymore.

I usually get her a CD for Christmas, but this year I'm making her one. I've been having a great time digging up all my favorite kids songs. They're all I've listened to this week. Of course, I realized how inappropriate some of them are. Most of my favorites are the ones I've decided not to include.

Right now I have too many songs so I'm trying to narrow it down. It's not easy to do even though I know I can make her another CD next year. I want her to have all of them.

Anyway, hopefully the visit goes well. I need to call and confirm sometime today. I'm bringing my sister along cuz it's always a better day with someone else.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Birthmothers and Dating

I'm really angry this morning.
My daughter's mom sent me pictures today. She sends them through a photo website which I love because then I can order whatever pictures I want. I usually order extras to send to my mother and I used to order some to send to my daughter's birthfather.
Since my daughter's birthfather contacted me finally, I figured I'd order some pictures for him again. You can make photo books on the website so I looked into shipping a photo book directly to him.
The website actually has a site for his home country so I wondered aloud if I could avoid the international shipping charges if I sent them through that website. I suppose I would have been better off pretending he didn't exist.
If you're a single parent, I imagine it still makes it harder to date but because the kids are a frequent part of life, whoever you're dating just has to deal with it. You can't really avoid the issue. Not so in birthmotherland.
For starters, I had a hard time dating anyway. How do you break the news of your birthchild? It's a question frequently asked in adoption boards and nobody seems to have an answer. Some women are comfortable enough to share their birthmother status freely, but most of us have a hard time telling anyone. For me, I get tired of having to educate everyone. I've also had too many people judge me negatively to feel really comfortable sharing. My stomach gets all in knots and I start to sweat etc. It's something I've been trying to work on.
All the dating I've done since my daughter's birth has been with men who knew me before my pregnancy. It made things easier because they knew coming in that I had a daughter whom I placed. I'm currently engaged and one of the reasons I felt good about my fiance was because he seemed to instinctively know what I needed after visits with my daughter. It's important to me to be with someone who recognizes that she is a big and important part of my life. It's hard to find someone like that.
In case I was unclear in my birthfather post, I really value his role in our daughter's life. She needs to know her roots. Her parents feel the same way, more and more as time goes on. I'm thrilled that he finally contacted me. I want him to see how she's grown.
Apparently, my fiance doesn't. I know he gets jealous easily, but I'm annoyed at his reaction today. As soon as I mentioned sending pictures to my daughter's birthfather, he got angry. He didn't say anything, but it was written all over his face. He started giving short, curt responses to my attempts to talk to him. All the normal things he does when he's not happy. I don't know why. I don't see how sending pictures to my daughter's birthfather threatens him in any way. He knew she existed. He knew her birthfather existed. Does he really want me to ignore my daughter's birthfather?
Anyway, I'm mad and annoyed and amazed at the many ways my daughter's placement has affected my life.
People often wonder what would make a birthmother cut off contact with her child. Either that or they assume open adoptions are only good for birthparents. Even in adoption circles, those of us in open adoptions have to be really careful about expressing any grief or loss. We're considered lucky because we have contact.
I don't feel lucky. There are many days when I wish I could just pretend I never gave birth. Maybe I would be denying the grief, but at least I could go about my life without having to deal with all the extra stuff. Yes, I love seeing my daughter, but seeing her also reminds me of everything I lost when I placed her.
A lot of people assume the pain fades or goes away at some point. It doesn't. I doubt I'd get a very warm reaction if I decided that I just needed to cry about my daughter one day. It makes people uncomfortable. I should have moved on by now. How can I be sad when my open adoption is going so well?
I'm not sure that anyone will be able to understand.