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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

How I Get Pictures of My Daughter

Until my schedule allows me to write something more substantial....

My daughter's parents have always done pictures the same way. They set up an account on kodak gallery (then, Ofoto) to upload all their digital pictures and then they share all the albums with me by email.

Benefits to me:

  • I get so many pictures.
  • I can order extras to give to my mom or my daughter's birthfather.
  • I can get larger prints or wallets of my favorites.
  • I feel like part of the family.
  • I get to see everything.
Benefits to them:
  • no cost
  • no difficult choosing
  • quick and easy

I really do think this is the greatest way to do pictures in my situation. I get all the pictures so there is no question about what I can handle. In the beginning, I sometimes wondered what the rest of their family thought about having pictures of our visits thrown in, but I don't anymore. I really do feel like part of the family.

Her first year, they sent an album (shared by email) every month. These days, it's more like 4-5 times a year and mostly around vacations, birthdays, and holidays.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Good Reason for Me to Be Anonymous

LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Still Here

Just needing to focus on other things at the moment. Plus, I spend all my time reading all of your blogs so I can't keep up with my own.

And I did end up talking to my daughter on Sunday though she wasn't in much of a talking mood. Still, I feel a bit better about that.

They're coming here in December for a family party I'm having (yikes!), I'll be heading there for Thanksgiving, and they invited me for Christmas (cuz I don't have any family left here) though I doubt I'll accept that one.

Been thinking about lots of things adoption-related lately, but I'm not really ready to write about it.

Still, it's all part of my healing and growing and expanding so I do want to write. Just not sure I have the words yet.

That and I'm way too busy right now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oh sweet morning

I am beyond overwhelmed with school and school and life.

And I definitely shouldn't read angry emails before work.

Haven't spoken to my daughter since her party. I haven't even touched the pictures I took which is so unlike me.

I need the next two weeks to be over.

I'm starting to understand why so many birthmothers closed down their blogs. The angry emails are a lot to take.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To add to the recent discussions

I know the primal wound thing keeps coming up. You can add me to the list of people who own the book but have never read it. I did use parts of it for my research.

As for the whole trauma thing, unlike a lot of others out there, the "all adoptees are traumatized" myth was the one I was hanging on to at the time I found out I was pregnant. I was working in a residential program and seeing the trauma firsthand.

In my research, I found over and over again that by adulthood, things level off. Several researchers even suggested that lots of the data is inaccurate because adoption just hasn't been studied enough and so adoptees were always given the trauma stigma instead of being aided through the grieving process.

So anyway, my concluding paragraph: (keep in mind that this was a paper written for future educators)

Finally, although certain developmental tasks are complicated by adoption, it should be emphasized that research shows that by adulthood, adoptees turn out just like the rest of the population. They have the same varied ethnicities, personality traits, interests, and abilities as non-adopted people. They are as unique and individual as the rest of the population. There is enough stigma surrounding adoption without adding to it by upholding the myth that all adoptees are destined to have psychological problems. Instead, the additional challenges should be recognized as a normal part of identity development in adopted adolescents.

Oh, and if any of you have a good reason to want to read the whole paper, you can email me. I'm only being cautious because of plagiarism and copyright issues. Authors can't even quote themselves or refer to their previous research without a citation so I'm a little eh about posting or sending out too much.

Back to My Research Paper

I didn't forget that I promised to share my research with you.

I just got busy.

I got the paper back. With an A.

We had to include an annotated bibliography. Here is one of my entries:

Brodzinsky, D., Henig, R., & Schechter, M. (1992). Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for
Self. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Based on Erik Erikson’s life cycle, this book combines research and anecdotal evidence to show how adoption affects those adopted from birth through adulthood. The authors stress that the importance of adoption in a person’s life will change over time and will be different for individuals. There is some bias against other triad members and some of the information is outdated, but this book is one of the only research-based books on the psychological experience of the adoptee.
My professor commented that it would make a good doctoral thesis. Maybe you? she wrote. I laughed a little. I never told her why I chose that topic. I wonder what she's thinking. Maybe one of you would like to do a doctoral thesis on this.

Anyway, maybe I'll post highlights. I'm too busy/don't have the energy to sum up the whole paper for here.

Oh, that B-word

Just a where I stand.

1. I'm just not that interested in the debate.
2. I use the word birthmother when I write because more people know what I'm talking about.
3. I almost never call myself a birthmother when speaking.
4. I'm not really sure which term I like, though I'm partial to first mother these days.
5. I usually just say "I have a daughter...."
6. I think of myself as a mother.
7. I have no problem calling other people whatever they'd like to be called, refraining from certain word use when in certain company, understanding why the term is so loaded.
8. I guess it just doesn't make my top ten things that fire me up about adoption list.
9. I lack sensitivity/interest in other name debates, too.
10. The most disgust I ever felt at the use of the word birthmother was when reading Lois Lowry's The Giver.

And as an aside, my blog title came from a poem written by someone from a private adoption group. Her poem so nicely (heartbreakingly) summed up the way we are both mothers and not mothers that I stole the term not mother for my blog.

Hugs for Jana

I've been disturbed lately by the number of troubled relationships in my little blog circle. Some over, some recovering, but either way it seems this a year of relationship crisis.

Of course, I ended my own relationship this year. What some of you may not know is that I feel really connected to Jana's story. While our situations are certainly not identical, for a long time I couldn't read one of her C stories without thinking of my fiance. In fact, I think her blog may be the first place I actually admitted my relationship problems online.

I'm thinking about her a lot these days and hoping she can find peace at the other end of her current journey. At the same time, I've had a few recent reminders of my own saga. I've written here and there about it and at times, in anger, I've posted more than I thought was kind. Now though, I feel like a more appropriate amount of time has passed and I also feel the need to get it all down.

Plus, I'm happy. I have no regrets. I can't believe I stayed as long as I did.

And yes, at times I miss him. We were engaged. There was love there. In fact there was a time I thought I'd never feel at home unless I was in his arms. We had fun. I felt like he accepted me. I felt like we were meant to be together. And then, when things got bad, I felt like it was good enough. I passed the troubles off on the idea that all relationships have problems. I wondered if anyone else would accept me the way he did. I decided I was difficult to deal with. I blamed myself for being to picky, for not being loving enough, for being too focused on my career.

Meanwhile, my friends and family were biting their tongues. I was engaged. They know the rule about keeping quiet just in case it works out. But they saw it. I did have one friend who was straight with me. She supported me during the times I wanted to make it work while still letting me know that she really didn't think I should marry him.

It took me a long time to leave. It was bad almost as soon as I moved in. Still, at first, I treated the engagement like a commitment and I was determined to make it work. It was good. I fell in love for a reason. I kept loving him for almost twelve years for a reason. A part of me felt like we could get that back. It was hard to accept that we never would get that back.

Then there was the family. I love his family and in the end, losing them was the hardest part of leaving. It's still the hardest part. They have stood by their son (understandably) in the end and the truth has been twisted some. As for my family, I was concerned about my pride. A failed engagement. The acknowledgement that they had been right all along. The embarassment.

It was hard to leave. It was hard to see just how bad things had become. It was hard to admit failure, to give up on my dream, to start fresh again, to contemplate the thought of dating again.

I cried most of the first few days after I left (and in the weeks between telling him and leaving him). It was even harder than I anticipated. There were days that I wanted to go back. I felt very alone. There were so many reminders of him and us. There were so many loose ends to tie up. It was overwhelming and emotional and scary.

I've had some contact with him since. He's emailed. He called on my daughter's birthday. I keep my replies short. I don't call back. I don't banter. I made a rule that I wouldn't do it because I know I'd fall back in. Things would be good again and I'd get sucked back in and I'd convince myself that this time it would work and I'd completely forget about how unhappy I was and how awful he made me feel.

Feel free to insert a big long psychoanalysis here about relationship personalities. I just think of how easy it is for me to sink into this docile people-pleasing self-hating woman when I'm in a relationship. I can be strong and successful at work. I can hold my head up high everywhere. In a relationship, I take turns taking care of my partner and allowing myself to be lessened. A mixture of wanting to save him and feeling like I'm not worthy of better.

It's been about three months.

I feel like I'm flying.

Some days I look around and think that this is my life- mine. I'm not answering to anyone. I'm not apologizing for my dreams or shortcomings. I'm making my own decisions.

I feel worthy.

I've started standing up for myself more often. I'm able to keep up with life's demands. I actually look forward to coming home at the end of the day. Monday is no longer my favorite day of the week. I have time for friends again.

The biggest thing though is that walking-on-eggshells feeling. The criticism. My fiance left me lots of love notes and at times he was so sweet, but the biggest part of our relationship was the criticism- I talk too loud, I work too much, I don't know how to interact with my students, I don't sleep the right way. Sometimes I still find myself apologizing- for taking too long to back into a driveway, for parking too far from the store, for talking to my sister on the phone, because my friend called, because I need a few minutes to myself, for my taste in music, for talking about my daughter, for being sad, for every little thing. And then I am reminded that I no longer need to apologize. I am so glad that I no longer need to apologize.

I am learning that there is nothing wrong with who I am. I am also learning that people will support me in self-improvement without making me feel like there is something wrong with me. I can still try to become a better person without feeling like there is this urgent need for me to reform.

The best thing about the time I spent there is that I really learned what I value. Maybe my values are different from yours (because they were so different from his) but at least now, as I mix people into my life, I really know what's important. I always had a rough idea but these days, I know for sure. And finally, I'm living according to my values and it just makes me feel better.

I am happy. And people have noticed. I've noticed. And so for Jana and for all the others, I don't have the answers for you but I do have plenty of support in whatever you do. There is better.