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, 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.