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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Flashback: The Physical

A post from November 13, 2002, reflecting on pregnancy and birth. There are always pieces of my story that repeat themselves in new things I write so forgive the inclusion of information you may already know.

11/13/02
Unedited

I found out I was pregnant at six weeks and chose an adoption plan soon after. I had decided several years prior that I would never have children.

After the initial devastation, I really enjoyed my pregnancy (except for the extreme exhaustion). I was in no hurry for it to end physically. I enjoyed hearing her heartbeat and spent many hours watching her movements.

Emotionally it was another story. There was no way I could hide my pregnancy ( though I really wanted to). I was really tiny ("skin and bones" I was told) prior to my pregnancy so I knew I had to fess up. Nobody approved of my choice and having always been a "good girl" (weren't we all?) my pregnancy and my choice to go through with it and place my child came as a shock to everyone.

Although my condition was obvious, it was ignored by my workplace and by my family members. I was completely alone. I didn't dwell on it much while pregnant. I had read about the effects of stress on a child in utero so I was actually more stable during my pregnancy than I have ever been in my life. I also felt that my choice to place made it easier for me to enjoy the pregnancy. I didn't worry about how I would support a child or what kind of parent I would be. I just focused on doing everything possible for my unborn child during the nine months I was responsible for her care.

I work with troubled teens and many of them are adopted so I had a lot of fears about how my child would handle being adopted. This experience made me more determined to give her a healthy start. I have enough guilt about placing her so I didn't want the added guilt of a complicated pregnancy or birth.

I went into labor two weeks early. One of my coworkers had described giving birth as "death-defying pain" and my sister had given birth to five children and had really long painful labors so I prepared myself for the worst.

It was incredibly painful (I asked my stepmom why people would do it more than once), but easy compared to my family history. The painful labor lasted about twelve hours with an hour of pushing. I had no meds and only a small tear that didn't require stitches. My daughter and I were both healthy and the midwife was really pleased with my "performance".

I delivered at the most amazing hospital. Everyone was wonderful to me. Just thinking about it brings me to tears. Not a single person pressured me in any way or made me feel judged. All of my wishes were respected and many nurses went out of their way to make my experience better. The pediatrician was an adoptive mom and she also went out of her way to comfort me. When I was discharged with my daughter, many of the staff were in tears as well.

Having never wanted children, I was overwhelmed with the maternal feelings I had for my daughter. I wanted to protect her with all my being. I never expected that my feelings would be so strong. I finally understood what people mean when they say you can't understand what it is like to give birth until you have done so. I thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. I would experience the pain a hundred more times to bring her into the world again. Someday I hope she will have children of her own so she will understand how it felt to hold her in my arms.

Having my daughter changed me in ways I never could have imagined and made me rethink everything that I have ever believed about having children. I was completely unprepared.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Hospital

It was hard for me to ask for time with you in the hospital.

I woke up early every morning. I cried at my aloneness and then I waited for anyone else to be awake so that I could see you.

I remember one of the mornings, a nurse informed me that you were at the nurses' station (babies at this hospital stayed with their parents all the time and I chose to have you stay with the adoptive parents). I asked for you and so they wheeled you in. I was angry that you had been at the nurses' station all night when I would have gladly had you with me. Still, I cherished the extra time.

They were hard days. The hospital notes are filled with comments about me crying and grieving. The days were a blur of my relatives coming to see you for the only time they could though I was too far from home for very many to come.

I tried to remake my decision. Everything in my heart was begging me not to let you go. Some thoughts crossed my mind that I could never say out loud but I forced my head to convince my body that none of my reasons had changed and I talked to you as I had for the nine months I carried you and I apologized as the tears ran down my face and onto yours and I begged to remember every second of that time together- those days when I was still your only mother.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sadness, My Mom, and Other Losses

I haven't talked to my mom since Christmas (she lives plane distance away).

For my new readers, my mom did not approve of my decision to place though lately she seemed to have accepted it.

Today I got an email from her telling me to have my daughter's mom enter my daughter into a cute kid contest.

By my mom's reasoning, if my daughter, and two of my sisters' daughters all enter the contest, they could all make the final five and then the cousins would get to meet each other.

In case that was hard to follow, I have a local sister with a four year old daughter, my daughter is three, and I have another sister in Texas with a three-year old daughter. None of our children have ever met each other.

My mom said she would be so excited. How depressing is that? My mom has never gotten over her divorce from my dad, not because of the marriage, but because of the family gatherings and events that come with it. She also hates living so far away from the few family things that still do occur. It is so sad to me that my mom sees this contest as the only way to have one of those family gatherings she keeps dreaming of having.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Still Picked Them

After being nudged over by Marisa at An Elephant's Gestation (her post about it is quite lovely, BTW), I read this comment on A Little Pregnant:

A few thoughts.

Julie, I went to a "choose a family for your baby" website and looked at about 10 couples that had successfully adopted. They all looked awfully Ken and Barbie to me. Healthy, young, attractive, with beautiful homes and huge extended families and "Mom" almost always intended to stay at home or work part time.

I agree with whoever said that most young birthmothers are looking for Ken and Barbie--and why not? Hell, I'd like to be adopted myself by that couple with a huge weekday home and a huge summer home on the beach. I'm probably too old though--46.

We haven't darkened the door of a church since the teen years, my husband is a cancer survivor, we both work, I smoke (outdoors only)

I wouldn't pick us.

I chose international adoption because I didn't want to have my heart busted when I wasn't "picked", frankly. I didn't choose it because I wanted to avoid birth families at all costs.

As an adopted child myself, I feel the loss of my birth family every second and every day of my life.

It comes from this person.

It was hard for me to read.

I had this to say:

I am having a hard time with all the people who assume birthparents prefer Ken and Barbie. Aside from the fact that I've never heard a birthparent say, "Oh, well they were just so attractive," I wonder if any of you have considered that the agencies might only want to put up the most attractive adoptive parents or the fact that maybe Mr. and Mrs. Geek declined to have themselves be used to attract hopeful couples to said agency.

On another note, based on statistics, I am the average birthmother: when I placed my daughter I was a 25 year-old, college educated, steady job holding, woman who just did not feel prepared to parent. I am also a non-religious math geek who sought an intelligent couple who wanted to be parents. Like many other situations, many birthparents describe a feeling of "just knowing" when they met/ discovered the adoptive parents. I agree with all the folks who said our reasons and priorities are as varied as those of the hopeful adoptive parents out there.

And, um, we're people, too.


It was hard to read for more reasons than that. The assumption that birthparents don't exist in international adoptions. The acknowledgement by the author that she aches for her birthparents coupled with the fact that she admitedly does not want her children to know their birthparents.

It didn't help that I had just read a million other comments of varying degrees of hurtfulness.

I never looked at a profile or read a Dear Birthmother letter (and I can't believe that anyone trying to adopt hasn't even educated themselves enough to know that there should be no such thing as a Dear Birthmother letter).

I have an unusual situation, but at the same time it is usual in that I thought my daughter's parents would raise her much like I would have with a few added things that I value but couldn't give her (like their huge extended family and the subsequent gatherings- that was a big, big plus for me).

They are in their mid-40s, sometime church-goers though not very religious, sarcastic and laid-back about parenting, both work outside the home (in fact mom worked from the hotel room with my daughter as they waited to take her home and returned to work right away), no available grandfathers, one disabled grandmother, one grandmother who acts and looks 30, no reservations about babysitters so mom and dad can have a night (or weekend) away, and so on and so on. They are terrific parents.

There is no magic formula. Birthparents who zero in on one seemingly silly thing probably just felt a connection (the picture of mom kissing the pig was certainly not the only factor, folks). It is really hard to express why we really chose who we did. Our babies are not property and I, for one, resent the idea of competitiveness that is attributed to the matching process. Blech.

Anyway, I'm getting tired so I'll leave you with that and hope some of the other birthmoms can elaborate some more.

Judgement

Because people still feel the need to make sweeping generalizations about women and children, I refer you to a piece I wrote last year. I will warn you that it's on a super liberal site.

I mentioned that birthmotherhood made me more tolerant and it is true. I no longer feel the need to judge the woman whose kids were taken away or who had to sacrifice one twin to save the other or who can't sacrifice any of the many embryos that survived implantation or who placed or who parented or who adopted. It really irks me when women knock down other women's choices about parenting (short of truly damaging choices, of course). It really bugs me when women knock down other women period, but it seems that when it comes to parenting choices, the claws really come out.

It's always bugged me, too, how public my decision had to be. I could have chosen abortion and no one would have known. No one would have been able to judge me for conceiving out of wedlock or for having sex with someone I barely knew or for not wanting to be a parent. By continuing my pregnancy I opened myself up. I was no longer sweet and pure and good. Never mind that I certainly didn't conceive the first time I had sex. There is something about childlessness in a 20-something year-old that makes you seem a little bit purer than the rest of the world (particularly in my area where young single motherhood is the norm not the exception). It shouldn't be that way.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fuel For Blogs

I found some interesting birthparent posts out in blogland. I thought some of my fellow adoption bloggers might have something to say about them. I am biting my tongue.

There is Someone

When I was writing about the loss of friends, I almost typed that there was no one left.

There is my fiance, but he was absent for three years prior to my daughter's birth and for several months after. He does not know me from that time though he knows the me that I became.

Then I thought of Jay and I did not type no one. Because he knows.

I need to share my favorite memory of Jay knowing. If you read his comment, you would gather that he can relate to loss. It was a month or so after my daughter was born and I forced myself out of the house to one of my favorite nightspots. We were all regulars there (about five or six of us plus a bunch of acquaintances) and it was the one place where I could be called outgoing. I was pretending to be happy- to be my regular, fun self. Jay whispered in my ear that I didn't have to pretend, that he knew I was hurting.

Of course, I lost it. And so began the next phase of our friendship in which we discovered that we had far more in common than our nightspot relationship would have ever suggested. He is my confidante and remains the only real-life person that I can really talk to about my daughter.

I'm glad to have him.

Everybody's Doing It

Jana and Kateri have both tested the birthmother personality theory. I don't fit. My results:

INTJ -The Mastermind
You scored 0% I to E, 47% N to S, 85% F to T, and 39% J to P!
You are more introverted than extroverted. You are more intuitive than observant, you are more thinking based than feeling based, and you prefer to have a plan rather than leaving things to chance. Your type is best described by the word "mastermind", which belongs to the larger group called rationals. Only 1% of the population shares your type. You are very strong willed and self-confident. You can hardly rest until you have things settled. You will only adopt ideas and rules if they make sense. You are a great brainstormer and often come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. You are open to new concepts, and often actively seek them out.

As a romantic partner, you can be both fascinating yet demanding. You are not apt to express your emotions, leaving your partner wondering where they are with you. You strongly dislike repeating yourself or listening to the disorganized process of sorting through emotional conflicts. You see your own commitments as self-evident and don't see why you need to repeat something already expressed. You have the most difficulty in admitting your vulnerabilities. You feel the most appreciated when your partner admires the quality of your innovations and when they listen respectfully to your ideas and advice. You need plenty of quiet to explore your interests to the depth that gives you satisfaction.

Your group summary: rationals (NT)

Your type summary: INTJ

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on I to E
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 61% on N to S
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 91% on F to T
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 34% on J to P
Link: The LONG Scientific Personality Test written by unpretentious2 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


This is so me:

Natural leaders, Masterminds are not at all eager to take command of projects or groups, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead. Once in charge, however, Masterminds are the supreme pragmatists, seeing reality as a crucible for refining their strategies for goal-directed action. In a sense, Masterminds approach reality as they would a giant chess board, always seeking strategies that have a high payoff, and always devising contingency plans in case of error or adversity. To the Mastermind, organizational structure and operational procedures are never arbitrary, never set in concrete, but are quite malleable and can be changed, improved, streamlined. In their drive for efficient action, Masterminds are the most open-minded of all the types. No idea is too far-fetched to be entertained-if it is useful. Masterminds are natural brainstormers, always open to new concepts and, in fact, aggressively seeking them. They are also alert to the consequences of applying new ideas or positions. Theories which cannot be made to work are quickly discarded by the Masterminds. On the other hand, Masterminds can be quite ruthless in implementing effective ideas, seldom counting personal cost in terms of time and energy.


I do need to say, though, that this is my work personality. It probably came out more because I just saw the culmination of a major project to have a Family Math Night at school. It was something I've been pushing for for years and it pretty much went as above. I proposed the idea, let all the folks who want attention and praise try to lead and then stepped in at crunch time to make sure it actually happened and went smoothly. It's also why I haven't posted all week. It was a ton of work.

In my personal life, I definitely identify with the Healer description Jana posted.

I lead a double life.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tradition

For Ms. Mom.

I come from a musical family- at least on my father's side. We used to split the holidays. Mom's side in the morning. Dad's side to end the day. It fit that way. My dad's family likes to drink and sing.

There are five of them: 4 boys and a girl. Plus their mom, an entertainer as well. They get together and sing. My fiance says it's like having Christmas with the Von Trapps. Five-part harmony. Loud. Happy. Often completely hysterical.

As kids we were and are just witnesses- in awe mostly. And even though everyone has moved around and the holidays have changed- that is still Christmas to me. And so when all the siblings are in town to gather at my grandmother's apartment, I pray to get invited so I can witness it again.

And I want my daughter to witness it.

That's what we do when we have children. We share old traditions with them and we build new ones around them. It's all part of continuing the species, passing on the family name, sharing the family recipe.

I want my daughter to see my grandmother and her children sing.


The Other Losses

I've been meaning for awhile now to write about how being a birthmother has changed me. There are so many ways. I think, though, that it comes in pieces and that really, much of it has to do with the other losses- the less obvious ones, the more superficial ones. There is more than just the loss of her and my motherhood.

1. The everyday reminder is my body. I've written about it before and I've seen it written about with the disclaimer that we know it's superficial. Yet I am a twenty-something year-old female living in the United States and body issues are very real to me.

I've never been all that comfortable in my skin. I hit puberty early (I always imagined it was God's punishment for teasing an early developer in 4th grade) and with it came the chubbiness that is common in pubescent girls. It felt like it lasted forever though in reality I only had about a year of real chubbiness. In high school, my body settled down into thinness though I didn't feel thin until my senior year.

I was in the majority that gained weight in college which was compounded by the bulking up my body did in reaction to the rigors of Army basic training. I spent the rest of college chubby.

After college, I suddenly lost weight. A lot of weight. I went back to high school size first and then even smaller. I was also a bit older and living on my own. For the first time, I felt really confident about my figure. I loved being one of those girls who could wear just about anything. It was perfect for my age and my mostly single status.

Then I was pregnant.

I won't lie: my weight was something I thought about when I considered my options. Women in my family get pregnant and then stay heavy. Was I willing to do that for a baby I didn't plan to parent? Clearly, I was.

My body has not recovered. Some days it doesn't even feel like my body. A year ago, I was the heaviest I've ever been and I hated every second of it. And while I've started losing weight, pregnancy reconfigures things. I have no idea how to dress for my new shape (I'm definitely not a fashion kind of girl), I hate the fat that has shown up in odd places, I hate the loss of strength and fitness and have yet to find the willpower to work my way back into it.

I'm also nearing that age when figures become harder to maintain. Yes, I miss my figure. No, I don't care if it's superficial. It's visual.

2. Innocence. I wouldn't have ever called myself young and innocent. I've been told many times, even pre-pregnancy, that I have an oldness to me. Still, I was carefree. I was blissfully unaware of motherhood. I had never experienced the hopes and fears that come with having a child in the world. I had no idea that motherhood makes you want to mother every child. I knew of my ignorance. It was what I wanted. I wanted to be carefree. I wanted to be young. I wanted freedom. I suppose I didn't realize that even though I didn't parent, I would still feel like a mother. My world changed. My priorities changed.

3. I think as a direct result of the changes in me that are so hard to describe, my whole social circle changed. I don't really know what it has been like to be around me, but I feel like there is a heaviness. I do know that even those friends who stuck by me during pregnancy disappeared after the birth. It was not because they didn't approve- my good friends knew that placing my daughter really was the best thing I could do. I'm not sure where they went. I've written letters. I've called. I've tried to let them know how much I appreciated all their support- these women who threw me a baby shower, the one who spent Mother's Day with me and cooked me dinner and assured me I would be okay, they disappeared. Yes, there are some I lost because they did not approve or could not understand- but the others....I don't know. What I do know is that there is almost no one left who knew me before.

4. My job. I don't want to discuss it further, but I did lose my job due to my decision to place and I do miss it.

5. My education. This is in large part due to the loss of my job. My former job had full reimbursement for education. The workload was also quite manageable for someone going to school while working full time. I started two graduate courses the January I found out I was pregnant. I was so excited to be starting to work toward my Master's. I love school. Pregnancy changed things. I finished those classes and haven't gone back since. First it was because I needed the time to recover. Then, I lost my job. Now, my job is so demanding that I can't imagine adding classes on top of all the work I already do. I am planning to go back this spring, but a four year break from my education is not what I anticipated.

6. My identity. This is the hard one. I am not who I was before. Some is societal- the loss of good girl status, the pride that comes from saying I hadn't made that mistake. Some is good- I have more empathy, I'm warmer, more compassionate, more assertive at times. Some is not so good: I'm world-weary, more closed-up, less trusting, less available, less patient with what I view as trivial things. I've lost some confidence- a lot of confidence. I'm more anxious. Little things I'd gotten over, like my jumpiness, have come back stronger than ever. This is what has really changed my life. It is like starting all over again.

Three years after my daughter was born, I am working hard not to hang my head in public. I'm rediscovering my voice. I'm just starting to dream big again, to show my true potential, to accept praise. Three years later. It's a lot of time lost and compounded by the fact that virtually no one knows me from before- the headstrong go-getter that I used to be. It is a challenge.

I lost more than my daughter and more than my motherhood. Having a baby changes everything.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Against My Better judgment: The Meme

I was resisting, but this is a fun one, so I've decided to play along. Besides I could use a break.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was a freshman in college trying to figure out what to with my life. I had resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck at a school I never wanted to be at. I had also found two really caring professors. One of them convinced me to become a math major. That pretty much changed my life. The same professor introduced me to Ani DiFranco (just so AfrIndie Mum and I could share the love of Ani). I owe him a lot.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
The same thing I'm doing right now. Teaching math and starting rehearsals for the school musical (I'm co-director.)

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. buttered toast
2. chocolate pudding
3. popcorn
4. honey-roasted peanuts
5. raspberries

Five songs to which I know all the lyrics:
1. If It Be Your Will- Leonard Cohen/ Jann Arden
2. Talula- Tori Amos
3. Aqualung- Jethro Tull
4. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad- Meatloaf
5. There You Go- Pink

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy a house.
2. Give anonymous money to some of my students' families.
3. Electrolysis
4. Take a year off to get my Master's.
5. College fund for nieces, nephews, and daughter.

Five bad habits:
1. Smoking
2. Not calling anyone
3. Procrastinating
4. Reading (yes, it's a bad habit...I never get anything else done because I will read anything...I can't stop!)
5. Throwing my clothes into a big messy pile in the bedroom when I take them off.

Five things I like doing:
1. Playing games.
2. Algebra
3. Reading
4. Singing
5. Holding my daughter.

Five things I would never wear, buy or get new again:
1. the color yellow
2. pomegranate juice
3. a Kid Rock CD
4. those pasty things that are suppossed to work like a bra when you need one that's backless and strapless
5. candles

Five favorite toys:
1. TiVo
2. my camera
3. Mighty Beanz
4. My Aquapet
5. Picasa

So here’s the deal: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot

a la carter
afrindiemum
An Elephant’s Gestation
Boomerific
Not Mother

Then select five people to tag:
I don't know five people. Um, can people tag themselves?

Because I Have a Bunch of New Readers

You should all read this from a bit back.

I also want to say that I'm really glad to have connected with some other triad members. Reading about all the similarities and differences has been healing. I like the nakedness of blogging. On our own porches, we are often willing to say things we may not say in other venues. While blogging is more public than most things I do, it really isn't public, at least for me.

I sometimes worry that my daughter's mom will find me. While I have had only positive things to say about her, I prefer to keep this part of my journey private. Lately, I've had lots of visitors from her home state and it's made me nervous.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that and to let everyone know that I may never post on a regular schedule. I never want this blog to be forced.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dream

Last night, I dreamed you were with me. You switched back and forth between being a baby to being grown. The baby you kept your eyes affixed to my face.

You were just visiting and we were shopping. I realized mid-dream that I hadn't fed you and that I had nothing to feed a baby. The baby you just made a face, you didn't cry.

I headed to the store to get a bottle and some formula.

Then you became big again and feeding you was less difficult.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

In the Mind of a Three Year-Old

So this was in my inbox today:

So, ***** asks me the other day if you can make us another baby and if you can make it a boy this time! All of her little friends are having babies and now she wants one. I told her that she could ask you, so be prepared!!


I think it's incredibly cute. I also think the idea of answering this question is incredibly scary. Here's to hoping it doesn't come up.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On Motherhood

I'm not parenting, but I can still relate to posts like this one. I know people often wouldn't think so, but it's like something gets turned on when our babies are born.

It's funny because I noticed during my last visit that my daughter has started calling her mother mom instead of mommy. I noticed it as a milestone.

Some days I wish my daughter was still a baby. It never feels like I got enough time with her at each stage. I imagine all mothers feel that way.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Flashback: Figuring Things Out

There has been a lot of talk out in the adoption blogosphere recently about birthmothers and their roles in the adoptive family's life. Reading it all has brought me back to those first few months after my daughter was born. I was also trying to figure out what this new relationship was all about and I was frustrated by the negativity out there. I actually posted the second part of this back in October. Some of it I've talked about here before. Regardless, it seems fitting today:

October 8, 2002:

hi everyone,
Something's been bugging me for the last couple of weeks and I've been meaning to ask for some advice from you, and am finally getting to it. My daughter was just born so I'm having a hard time thinking straight because everything is still so fresh and new. This will most likely be long, so bear with me.
I'm having a really hard time figuring out my relationship with my daughter's amom, and after speaking with her this past Sunday, I'm mad at myself and her for not preparing better.
I met my daughter's amom when I was only ten weeks pregnant and before either one of us had ever stepped foot in an agency. I decided a few years ago that I never wanted to be a parent so I limited my choice to abortion or adoption. I felt a strong urge to continue my pregnancy (separate story) so I talked to my sister about adoption. My sister babysits for a little girl who was adopted from overseas. She told the girl's mother. The mother knew my daughter's adad who had approached her asking to talk about adoption (a conversation they never had) so the woman put us in touch.
Looking back, I realize that I had a lot of the misconceptions about adoption that I now hate. When my daughter's amom asked me about contact, I told her I wanted letters and pictures. She asked about visits and I was shocked. I told her what I believed at the time, that they would be disruptive to her family. Shortly after, she said that she had never read anything about visits being detrimental to the child or aparents, only to the birthparents. I'm kicking myself now, because I never asked what she had read. She was always so big on research that I assumed she had done alot. But I digress......
We broke a lot of "rules" from the start. We exchanged addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc... and I talked to her all the time. My family, work, and friends were all against my choice (yet another long story) and the birthfather is from another country, so I had no one but the amom. I don't remember when she became a regular in my life, but I know that she's the one who researched the agencies in my area (we live in different states) and the laws. She remembered every doctor's appointment and always asked what she could do. I didn't feel pressured by her, though. I was just so grateful to have someone in my life that was as excited about the baby as I was. I feel like I was able to enjoy my pregnancy and bond with my baby only because I had chosen adoption. The thought of parenting terrified me. (yet again, a whole other issue)
She began her home study and I made an appointment at another agency. I won't justify my reasoning at this point but I basically told the social worker that I was absolutely confident about adoption and that I had picked out my family. I was there only because in my state you are required to get counseling and go through an agency. My social worker is incredible. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to find her, but I am mad that I didn't pay closer attention to her suggestions. She gave me everything to read by Brenda Romanchik and James Gritter along with some other stuff. I did read it and liked the feeling of what I read, but I already had a relationship with the amom. We both felt like my social worker was pressuring us and not presenting an unbiased view, so we were both reluctant to buy into a fully open adoption.
As the amom continued to get close she maintained that it was my choice and we had fun talking about different problems at work and wondering what traits and interests the baby would inherit. During my fifth month, I began to have some doubts. In reading all that stuff, I had learned more about what's important in choosing a couple and was beginning to think that maybe I should at least look at some other couples. I also was beginning to feel very strongly that open adoption was best for the child and because my whole point was to give her the best life I could, I really wanted to make that commitment for her. The amom and her mom came to my sonogram and it was one of the best days of my pregnancy. All my doubts about our relationship melted. She had made signs and she took a bunch of pictures of the two of us in the waiting room holding up the "It's a girl" sign. She was insistent about getting pictures of me and I also talked to her husband on the phone after we broke the news. Her mom brought me a little gift and we made plans for me to go see her house and visit. Her mom also seemed excited about me visiting and the amom told me I should move to their state. I started to feel really good about things and figured I'd talk to her more about open adoption.
I never did. The next day, my daughter's birthfather emailed me and told me that when he found out it was a girl, he decided to tell his family, and that his sister (who lost her baby in the fifth month, the day after I told him I was pregnant) was going to take the baby. I called him and he told me that they had decided I would fly to his country in my seventh month, deliver there, and that his parents would help out for awhile before his sister took the baby. I told him I was concerned about my baby being so far away and that I wanted to see her and hear how she was. I offered to fly to his country to talk to him and his sister and asked him to let me know when would be a good time for him. I continued to email and call and he would either ignore me or hang up on me. He and his family viewed me as just a carrier with a baby I didn't want. When I told him that I couldn't leave my job that early and that I wanted to deliver in the U.S., he was furious.
I called the amom and let her know. She was supportive and continued to call because she cared about me. I kept trying to work out a reasonable plan with the birthfather, but I was getting nowhere. When I asked if he could help out in buying baby things and some expenses for living while I was waiting for him to come here, he accused me of trying to sell the baby. I asked if he was going to come for her birth, and he said he was too busy, and didn't know when he would be able to come here. As time went on, I became more and more frightened about sending the baby to live with his family. Time went on and my social worker and I began to plan for me to parent. She also tried to speak with the birthfather about making a plan for him to exercise his rights but he also ignored her. Then he sent us both an email saying he would try to come in December.
In the meantime, my parents had become involved and asked to meet the aparents. I hadn't met with them since the sonogram so we scheduled a meeting. My parents loved them and my stepmom said that she felt like I had made a great choice. During the meeting, my stepmom asked about calling and finding out how the baby was. They all started crying. The amom said she didn't feel threatened by me and that she had always felt like it was my choice if I wanted to visit. She told my parents that they were part of the baby's family and that they were welcome to call or visit. We took a bunch more pictures and everything felt great.
Slightly edited. Original post continues here. And ends like this:
I logged onto this board for the first time that night and began reading. I felt a lot better after reading because I realized that even the most understanding and open-minded amom's needed a few years to digest the whole idea of openning up. I just don't know where to go from here. I don't know how to respect the amom's obvious need for space while acknowledging my own thoughts and disappointment at this sudden change. I'm also afraid that with so many important people in her life feeding her fear that more than just the visits will change. I'm very upset and emotional so I'm also worried about not being able to discuss this with her in a healthy way.
And some additional thoughts from the following day, October 3, 2002:
From reading posts from all over the place, I've come to see how damaging words like that can be. In what is already an anxiety-producing relationship, words like that only widen the gap between birthparents and adoptive parents. They put everyone on the defensive, left to angrily declare their importance in the child's life. So yet again, the children suffer.

It all reminds me of children of divorce. To the kids, it doesn't matter which parent is right. Usually the kid feels the most comfortable (and as time progresses, the most connected to) whichever parent isn't badmouthing the other. I'm sad for the author too because he/she could spare THEMSELVES so much pain by letting go.

When I read all the attacks on each other, it makes me feel afraid. Do my daughter's aparents see me like that? It takes a lot of work to keep the fear from making me do damage, to keep me from becoming so frightened that I am too intent on speaking on my own behalf to hear what everyone else has to say.


We have a long way to go. I keep praying for the day when birthparents and adoptive parents stop seeing each other as enemies, but instead two family members connected by the common thread of a beautiful child.

It's always struck me how similar the fears are on both sides.