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, February 25, 2006

Vacation

So I've been on vacation this week. I thought I'd end up posting more, but I suppose my whole self just needed a break.

I've never done well on vacations. All that unstructured time really gets to me. I filled this one up though so it wasn't bad.

Last Friday, I went out singing, Saturday I played D&D (we do it every other week), Monday and Thursday I had board game day at my friend Jay's house, Tuesday I had appointments all day, Wednesday I cleaned all day and went out singing all night, yesterday we had play rehearsal all morning and then I did laundry all afternoon. I filled up my days well.

I'm kicking myself today because I bailed on my plans so I could correct papers, pay bills, and do all the other stuff I need to do to get ready for Monday. I planned it that way so that tomorrow I won't get stressed and we could maybe go to the movies or something.

I have become an earlier bird in my old age so other than the days after my singing nights, I was up by 8 every day this week (no alarm) and even after those nights, I was up by 10 (no alarm). I went to bed at midnight last night, later than usual but nothing too crazy and I've had plenty of rest this week.

So when did I get up today, my day to tie up all the loose ends and prepare to go back to work? 11AM? Noon? No, I woke up at 2:15 this afternoon and absolutely panicked. My entire day was gone. How could I have slept so long?

So anyway, I still managed to do some dishes and put things away, and I thought that I ought to at least say hello before everyone thought I'd disappeared. I've been keeping up with the reading mostly, I just haven't posted. I think after all the stress, I just really needed a break.

So I'm here and I imagine I'll be back into the swing of things when I return to work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Spoke to them Yesterday

No insights today.

My daughter called yesterday. Her mom said she wanted to talk to me. She chattered on and on about what everyone was doing that day and asked lots of questions about what I was doing and who I was with. They were going out so after lots of chattering, I heard her mom asking her to say goodbye. She started to and came back to tell me she had a bagel for breakfast and then came back again to add "with butter." It cute.

Her mom sounded genuinely distressed about not making it down here. I really tried to downplay it but she seemed to feel really bad and said they'd reschedule soon. When I mentioned that the weather would be better, she was unconcerned. Not sure if there is more reason to her wanting to come, but it is good to know that she plans to come soon.

The Christmas to summer stretch is always the hardest for me. I'm never sure if I'll have a visit any time in there and even when I do, it's usually the longest stretch between seeing my daughter. It isn't helped by the fact that the three prior visits are all holiday visits. I do like those, but sometimes I just want a quiet day without all the other relatives or holiday things to do so I can just enjoy my time with them.

I hope they are able to come soon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Just Checking In

Thanks so much to everyone for the cyber-love.

I got through the weekend and am doing fine. I desperately needed a break from anything demanding so I went out singing on Friday and did my usual Saturday stuff.

I ended up falling asleep around seven Saturday night and sleeping through til about 9 yesterday. I really needed the rest. I decided that I would spend Sunday doing absolutely nothing productive and that's what I did.

I'm on vacation this week so I was able to take a weekend off.

It was a legitimate cancel but I don't think they'll reschedule anytime soon. Hopefully, we'll plan a visit for me to go there soon.

I was just so excited to finally have them in my area and so I was disappointed. Plus, there is nothing like getting all excited to see my daughter and having it not happen.

But life goes on and I know I will have another visit. For now, I'm grateful for some much needed time off.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

No Visit

So I just found out that they're not coming.

I suppose I can stop stressing about it.

Thank you so much to everyone who left well wishes and kind words for me. I really, really, appreciate it.

I'm feeling a bit sad so I'll either be around a lot or not at all this weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Beyond Stressed

So I'm freaking out a bit.

I've been sort of edgy anyway. Overtired. Overwhelmed.

I'm assuming my daughter's visit this weekend is making me more stressed.

I was a mess at work. I was a mess when I got home.

I've had a two-year battle with my fiance over the neatness of our teeny-tiny apartment which is sort of coming to a head yet again with this upcoming visit.

My mom's upset that she isn't going to be here when my daughter is here.

My sister is upset because she never got to give my daughter her Christmas presents.

I got the whole "You're so lucky" comment from a friend yesterday when I shared that my daughter was coming.

It's Valentine's Day and I don't feel even a little bit loving.

I have to work late doing something I hate and I'm going to miss all of my morning classes for some training which I'll then have to pass along to the rest of the staff this week. I've already had one teacher complain to me about the schedule I made and I tried very hard not to say that his problems with the schedule were due to imcompetence not the schedule. Instead, I truthfully told him that the information was not passed on to me when I started the schedule and that I had no idea what he was talking about.

We're going to have an entire month of standardized testing this year because of NCLB which is going to start two months before school ends and if my students don't do well, the principal will blame me. So we can lose almost 20% of our instructional time for testing and be expected to cover more material than has ever been covered in the shortened time.

But I digress.

I'm nervous about this weekend. I keep saying I'm going to call to iron out the details but I am frozen in inaction and all I really want to do is crawl into bed.

So thanks for being patient with me.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Invisibility: The Evolution of a Blog

My first memories of being invisible go back to childhood. I remember testing my family to see if anyone would notice if I disappeared. We'd all be playing and I'd get that invisible feeling and I'd go hide somewhere. I'd stay away for as long as I could bear, praying someone would look for me, but no one ever did so I'd sneak back into the play where my suspicions were confirmed: not only did no one notice that I'd been gone, they didn't even notice that I'd returned.

It made for an odd sense of self- this feeling of being unnecessary. Of course, I wasn't always in this invisible state but when I was noticed, it was usually a bad thing and so as soon as I was old enough to make decisions I poured my energy into a mixture of solitary pursuits for the invisible times and theatrical ones so that if I did get noticed it wouldn't really be me up there but the character I was playing.

I still haven't figured out what it is about me that makes me so forgettable. I'm at a stage in my life where I've mostly embraced the quirkiness. I can laugh about my lack of social skills and blame that for all the times I don't get recognized at work or for when I actually speak something out loud that truly doesn't get heard. More than once I've sat in wonder as a person in the room repeated what I had said ten minutes earlier and had their words treated as brand-new. Yes, at times I can laugh about it, but there are plenty of times that I am left angry or confused or depressed or hopeless.

Being a birthmother has certainly exaggerated these qualities. I don't know if I've regressed or if I'm using it as some sort of coping mechanism or if I'm just caving into the shame I'm expected to feel. I have given up trying to conquer my psychology. They haven't written enough books to cover my life experiences (my sisters and I would make an incredible case study).

So what does this have to do with my blog?

Well, the summer before the presidential election, my fiance suggested I start a blog to let me get my frustrations out. So I did and I made friends with other political bloggers and found a temporary home for my ranting. I called it Convince Me. I knew the fascination would be temporary, but it was fun and I actually tried to network a bit until the blogworld started to get big and I caved to the fact that I would never be able to invest the kind of energy it takes to be one of the good ones.

In the middle of this was my daughter's birthday. My former adoption haven had become much less of a haven and without any real-life support, I really needed to document my thoughts and visits. So I started this blog, separate from my other blog but under the same name, just a journal for me. I posted when I felt like it and never had any intention of publicizing my blog or anything else. This was a space for me- my public, get to know me blog was elsewhere. When I did post something new here, I would link back to it from my "real" blog, but that was it.

Time passed and I became a regular on the political blog, Daily Kos. I spent hours there every day. At least once a week there would be a thread about abortion which would always turn into this huge debate which would in turn lead to all kinds of ignorant comments about adoption. I joined in on every one, but started to get really tired of saying the same thing over and over so for the first time, I started giving out the address to this blog. I put it in my signature on Daily Kos and in March wrote a whole piece on there about adoption.

I started getting a bunch of hits from Daily Kos. It was one of those things where the more comments I made over there, the more hits I got. It didn't matter much to me, I used the link as more of a to be continued for any comment I made about adoption. It saved me time and got a few people thinking. Slowly, I stopped going there as much and I no longer got a bunch of hits from Daily Kos. No matter- it was never about my statcounter which is quite evident from the irregularity of my posts.

Then I was found by Aimee and Kateri and later kim.kim as well as a few adoptive moms (Christine) and adoptees. Still, it wasn't a discussion relationship. When I did ask about the whole irregular posting bit, they all assured me that I could do what I wanted. They meant it. Some months went by and I had the same bunch of steady readers (about 20 or so) regardless of my posting frequency. Some, like the ones mentioned above, commented occasionally, others just came.

It was sort of a weird thing to have real readers, but I got over it and we continued to do our thing and to make quiet visits to each other and to be kind to each other.

And then there was an explosion. There were some who had just found each other through each other (Faux Claud has been my favorite of these discoveries), but there were also a bunch of new blogging birthmothers and we had a ring and adoptive parents started to read us and link to us and adoptees started to read us and link to us and now all of the sudden we all had this mad dash to post and link and comment and write.

And we lost a few- some had been around for a long time, some were just starting out. And some of the content changed to meet our new audiences. And people were left out and people were added. And I began to feel that feeling of invisibility.

Because you see, if I walked out of this room, no one would notice.

And it sort of hurts to have this haven that is suddenly found and to have this little circle that somehow inspires all these sisters to come out and talk and to have all these great conversations start happening where people are learning from each other and really wanting to work with each other to make change and to have places where women are telling their stories and where we can finally say that we are not alone and to connect with each other and wrap our arms around each other only to have it start to feel like there's a cool club and a not-so-cool club.

Recently Magic Pointe Shoes mentioned a feeling that as birthmothers, we're even stereotyping each other and I couldn't help but feel like she had a point and so I'm going to talk about the elephant in the room which happens to be the story of my life and to ask if I've missed some sort of crazy blogging etiquette that has kept me out of the club because I really want to know why we're making cliques. And I don't mean we all are because certainly those same women who were so kind to me six months ago are still just as kind and seem quite unchanged by this whole shift in our world, while I am left a bit reeling.

I keep thinking that I'm just stressed or that maybe I'm just being a big baby or that I may be opening myself up for one of those chick fights that are the reason I have so few female friends but it's bothering me and I don't want to be a people-pleaser and I'm really not looking for any comments on this topic- I just want to say knock it off.

Oh and try to remember that there are real people behind all these typed up words and that it really sucks to feel invisible. Oh, and it's usually considered nice to acknowledge the old-timers so my thanks go out to Kateri and Aimee for helping us get our voices out there.



Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Necklace

I never pointed it out, but in my profile pic, I'm wearing the necklace my daughter gave me. I really do wear it just about every day.

This week, I noticed that the ball was coming unglued from the setting. It was at school, first period, and so I was in a panic the rest of the day wondering if it was going to fall out.

My fiance fixed it when I got home.

He also drew the picture, BTW. He recently edited it on his computer to get rid of the pencil lines and fine-tune the colors. He draws all my profile pics. I always get a kick out of them because he usually picks an outfit I've worn once to dress me in. I wore that pink skirt as a joke because my kids tease me about wearing black so much. I kept promising to wear pink (unheard of for me) and so I showed up in a rosy pink skirt with a black sweater.

The Other Day

I tried to catch up on Thursday. I planned to so some commenting and posting. Blogger wasn't having it. It ended up being the beginning of an overly odd morning.

My life is very busy between January and June. As a teacher, it seems I'm always busy, but in January I add in rehersals for the school play and what little energy I have is taken up by a cast of forty middle-schoolers. I wouldn't change it, though. They are also the source of much joy.

It seems I've missed a lot this week.

I do want to weigh in on open adoption. Against all odds, I'm living in one of the good ones. My social worker told me more than once that she considered it something of a miracle that my daughter's parents ended up commiting to an open adoption. There were a million red flags. Some days, I find it amazing that I've commited to it.

I've seen Brenda Romanchik's name thrown about a lot lately. My social worker had me read everything by her and I was blessed to become a friend of Brenda's shortly after my daughter was born. It is her words that lay behind most of my beliefs and actions. When I first started this blog, the only link I put on was a link to Brenda's nonprofit. She really is an incredible woman and resource.

I have a lot to say, but I don't know that I'm up to saying it today. I've been up for several hours now and haven't stepped away from my computer yet. I still have a street to sweep and a house to redecorate (just kidding, but I do need to do some cleaning before next weekend). Occassionally, loife interferes with blogging.

A while back, someone mentioned that they liked reading the blogs that aren't just about adoption because it makes the people behind them more real. I liked the thought, but don't see myself turning this into anything other than an adoption blog anytime soon. I do keep a separate blog. I update it even less frequently than this one, but it is probably a more accurate reflection of my personality and interests. Although adoption seems at times to be the only thing that defines me, in truth it is a very small part of my day-to-day existence.


Flashback: Faith and Trust

From 12/30/02. Edited for privacy reasons.

When I gave birth to my daughter, I was overwhelmed with the love I had for her. Every fiber in my body wanted to protect her, to hold her and never let her go. I cried many tears in the hospital those few days. I sobbed over my newborns tiny body and apologized for not being able to take care of her. I doubted that I would have the strength to let her go.

I did let her go. I had spent nine months weighing all the possibilities and knew that I had made the best choice possible in those circumstances. I carried her out of the hospital and placed her into her parents arms. I don't think I stopped crying all week.

The next two months, I read everything I could about adoption. At times, I questioned my choices and I still wish I had done some things differently. I cried myself to sleep every night. I barely ate or slept. My arms ached and I hated having breasts leaking with milk that was meant for my daughter. I looked around my home and thought of how I should have prepared a place for her so that maybe I would have taken her home. I screamed into the night that I wanted my baby. I kept apologizing over and over to the tiny little life that I had entrusted to someone else.

One of the most difficult things to accept was the enormous faith I had placed in her parents. As you said, here are these people I barely know and I am entrusting them with the person in my life who is most precious to me. I tossed and turned many nights wondering if they would be able to handle the demands of parenthood, if they would be able to meet her unique needs as an adoptee, if she would grow up knowing how much I love her.

It is hard to place your faith in the adoptive parents, but I did so in the hopes that they provide my daughter with the life that I couldn't. Only time will tell if my daughter is able to heal from the scars she already carries because of her relinquishment. Having known her parents for almost a year now, I have confidence that they will be able to both meet and exceed my daughter's needs. I trust them. They have become a part of my family and I of theirs.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More Dreams

My daughter and her parents are coming here in a week and a half. It will be their first time visiting my home/ town.

Last night, I slept restlessly as I dreameed about their visit. It was at my parents house and though I had invited no one, my stepmother and my daughter's mother had both invited tons and tons of people.

My daughter came to play with me. There was a new baby, too- in my dream it was clear that the baby and my daughter were cut from the ssame cloth though it wasn't clear that the new baby was birthed by me.

All in all, it was an odd and uncomfortable dream.

I hadn't even realized that this visit was stressing me out already.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Two Disturbing Articles on Coercion

This may be old news to some of you, but it was new to me. Obviously, I knew this stuff happened, but I had never read this article. Or this one.

Flashback: To Tell or Not to Tell

From 11/15/02 as I was trying to work out how much to share about my daughter's placement. Another birthmother was struggling with the guilt she felt when she denied her son and was trying to figure out whether or not to tell the truth.

I think it is a very personal choice. It really depends on how willing you are to answer questions and face judgements about your choice.

My daughter is only two months old so I haven't fully figured this out for myself. It can be really awkward. Last night I went out to dinner with my parents and the waitress actually remembered seeing me once while I was pregnant! She asked how old the baby was. There are many other people who know that I had a baby and will ask. For casual acquaintances, I answer their questions honestly without getting into the adoption plan (and pray they don't ask me if she keeps me up at night!).

With my family and people I'm close to, I told them the truth. I couldn't hide my pregnancy and I hate the weight of the secret that I'm not raising her. Some of the people I've told have been less comfortable to tell. I actually switched doctors because I didn't feel comfortable telling my doctor that I was placing my baby for adoption. Even in the professional world, I've met with so many misconceptions. I get really tired of the thoughtless comments and well-meaning advice.

I feel I have a responsibility to be open about it and to show the world that birthmothers are normal people and that open adoption is a good thing. I think it is important to choose who you share with. If it is a person who doesn't know me and probably never will, then there isn't much good to be had by telling them I'm a birthmother.

For me personally, I'm not comfortable withholding the truth, but there are many times that I wish I was. I kind of feel like it's lose-lose. Either I deny my daughter and feel the guilt you've described or I tell the truth and open myself up to questions and judgments about what should be a very personal choice. I've said before that it's very frustrating because pregnancy is not something you can hide.

Most people can make a choice about whether or not they want to share certain things about their lives. Because pregnancy is so obvious, it's hard to avoid sharing. I sometimes get frustrated about being the poster girl for birthmothers. At the same time though, I've seen firsthand how my choice has enlightened the people close to me. I try to remember that I've provided society with a new group of people who can challenge the misconceptions about birthmothers (although some of these people think I'm the exception, not the rule and it can be just as frustrating to tell these people that they've got it all wrong).

Anyway, I think it's a personal choice. My only suggestion would be to be honest with the people who might be involved with your son in the future. You don't need any more awkwardness in a reunion. But as far as random folks or casual friends, I think it's up to you to decide what you're comfortable with.

I have a lot more to say about this three years later, but I'll save it for another day.

Flashback: Advice for the New Birthmother

Written 11/13/02 to a woman about to place:



I wish I could be there to comfort you right now. Your life wiill be forever altered but you can find joy again.

Please take care of yourself.

Relish every moment of your motherhood. Put yourself first for awhile. Allow yourself to make choices for your child even though you are relinquishing. Hold him, love him, talk to him, cry with him, tell him why you are making this choice. Keep his hospital blanket, his ID tag, his little cap.

Send him home with a picture of you, a book, a letter or poem. Give him a million kisses. Cry some more.

Allow someone to hold you. Admit that you are hurting. Say no when you don't feel up to something. Let yourself laugh. Let yourself have fun. Let yourself cry. Give yourself permission to lay in bed all day feeling sad.

Remind yourself of all the reasons that you made this choice. Remind youself that you are brave. Refuse to hang your head in shame. Don't allow people to belittle you. Feel proud of the journey you are walking. Know that there are many of us out there who would be happy to hold you up when your legs can no longer carry you.

I would add: reconsider.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What You Should Do Today

You should hop on over to paragraphein and read the last few posts about adoption reform and the State of the Union and adoption numbers. Seriously, I would say the same stuff.

I'm all out of energy and she said it all so well so I'll just say, I second all of that.

PS: Did anyone see the Criminal Minds episode in which the FBI allowed the birthmom to die so that her birthson would not have to know who his biological parents were? I was sickened. What's worse is that my fiance thought it was the right thing to do.