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.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

She Visits Me

I'm soooooo sleepy!

The weekend was wonderful.

I was worried. Things were rough in the Statue home just before the big moment. Still, who can resist a three-year old's charms?

They arrived around 2PM yesterday. My daughter brought a bunch of her animals and right away she spread them out over the living room floor. I was happy to see a bendy bear that I gave her.

They had stopped for lunch on the way, but my daughter wouldn't eat because she wanted to see me. She told the waitress who asked who I was. This confused my daughter briefly. When her parents told the waitress I was a special friend, my daughter replied, "She's not my friend!".

She played at our house for awhile. She had fun with the toys we have around. I was actually surprised she didn't tear the place up. Her parents seemed nervous about it. She liked the noise toys. I only have a few, but my fiance just got me Thing hands and feet to go with my Thing collection so she had fun with those. I also have a Flubber doll that giggles. It was neat to see her with that. It was the first movie I took my nephew to (I take him every year for his birthday- he was four then) so it was sort of sweet.

I also loved watching her on my computer. She's pretty proficient with a mouse and it was weird and sweet and surreal to watch her play on this very computer. For awhile, she sat on my lap and clicked away and it was nice.

The hours went quickly and I wanted her to meet my in-laws so we ventured downstairs to their house. Her shyness lasted all of five minutes and then she was a bundle of energy. The nice thing about a kid her age is that no other entertainment is neated. She taught herself a coin trick where she makes a coin disappear. What she really does is drop it behind her back so it makes a really loud noise as it hits the floor and then she shows her empty hands. We all had fun with her. She loved my fiance so she played with him a lot.

We went to dinner at a local place. She had fish and chips for the first time. The highlight was after dinner when I took her to see the man playing piano. We just stood there, her in my arms, as he played sweet music. She was fascinated watching him play and it was nice.

Already that first day she asked to stay a second night.

This morning we went to another local place for breakfast. While it all seems mundane, it was just incredible to have her in my town at the places I go to. The waitresses fell for her charms and managed to dig up some fruit loops to make her happy.

It was still cold today, but it wasn't raining so we went to the playground. That was really fun. We all let loose playing on all the stuff and being kids. She kept wanting to spin and spin on the tire swing.

After the playground, we came back to my house at my daughter's request. We played some more.

It was getting late, but her parents wanted to walk down to the beach before they left.

Those are the pictures I have in my mind.

My daughter wanted to walk with me and to stay ahead of the others. So we walked hand-in-hand to the beach down the street and stayed together as we examined shells and made our way along the rocks. The beach is pretty special to me especially in cold weather. As a big family, we were always looking for free activities so we spent a lot of cold days walking along various beaches. The smell, the rocks, the darkness of a cold ocean- these things are home to me. Being with my daughter at the beach on a cold, windy day was the perfect end to our weekend.

My daughter talked a lot about coming back. She also wanted me to come back to her house today. She doesn't cling to me the way she sometimes did when she was younger, but it's good. It's very comfortable, very natural. She had one moment at breakfast when she yelled for me (because I went to the bathroom) but for the most part she divided up her time among all of us. I love the way it's going.

As an aside, there were no difficult questions. I think her mom has been expecting some because there have been many at home. Only once did my daughter mention our bond. I took her to the bathroom and she mentioned that she used to be in my belly. I don't remember where it came from but she said it with a big smile and then moved on to other things. This weekend felt like a vacation- all about fun and play and laughter. It was a great way for their first trip here to be.

Pictures

I'll post later. It was an absolutely wonderful weekend.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Very Good

*Thanks so much for all the kind words.*


I'm only going to leave this up for a couple of days, but I had to share with all of you. It's been a great day.

It's Today!

In a few hours, my daughter will be at my house.

I took yesterday off to clean- the place looks better than it has since we moved in.

A few minutes ago, my FIL knocked on the door. "Okay, what do you need me to do?" I'm still in my jammies just catching up on the internet. My fiance is fast asleep. Right away, my FIL grabbed a few things to bring downstairs. He really is the greatest guy.

It was beautiful out yesterday. I didn't even need a coat. It was supposed to be even nicer today. Instead, it's raining. I'm glad we decided to have them come straight here instead of meeting somewhere. It's not really the right season for this area anyway, but with the rain, there is definitely nothing to do.

They called me Thursday. My daughter's mom called and I could hear my daughter in the background insisting on something. Turns out she just wanted to talk to me.

Her mom wanted to know where I wanted to meet. I'd been so busy trying to get work finished and I was half-asleep on the couch when she called and I really hadn't been thinking about anything all week except for work so I was tongue-tied. I finally managed to stammer out that I figured they'd just come here. I so need to work on my social skills, but that post is for another day.

We got that over with and then my daughter came on. She seems excited about coming here. She wants to see the restaurants where I live. She wanted to know if I had coloring stuff and toys. She told me all about her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, and that she would bring it so I could see it and that she'd bring Monsters Inc, too. When I said that I had Monsters Inc., she called out to her dad that I had that one and then told me that maybe she could bring one movie and I could bring one movie.

She told me all her favorite parts in the movies and asked what mine were.

Yesterday, it didn't seem real that they were coming. Today it's as if we're getting a visit from the pope.

I'm so grateful for the in-laws because I know they'll help me be a good host. I'm definitely lacking in that area.

Plus, I have so much trouble feeling like an adult around them. They don't treat me like a kid or talk down to me or anything else. I think it's just the way a relationship develops when you meet someone at your most vulnerable and they "rescue you." And yes, I need to go deeper into those feelings, but now's just not the time.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

March Just Got Crazier

I was driving to meet my sister today when my phone rang.

It was my daughter singing "Happy Birthday". I talked to them last night (I called) and amom was confused thinking my birthday was today so I figure that's why she still called today.

So after the song, my daughter's mom comes on.

She wants to come this weekend.

Of course I said yes. (Um, well, let's wait until May when things calm down)

So I spent the rest of the drive trying to figure out how I'm going to get through this week.

Still, I am so excited to see her.

I've been really missing her.

Plus, I ended up being around a whole bunch of friends who know the whole story yesterday and so I talked about her more than I have in awhile and showed off her picture.

I can't wait to hug her.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm Here, I'm Here

Just an FYI that March is going to be insane and I have no idea how much I'll be posting. We did report cards this week, next week we have parent-teacher conferences, the week after that I'm presenting at one conference and attending another, the week after that our show opens.

Yup, I'm counting down til April 10th.

But with all the disappearing blogs, I wanted to say that I'm still here. I've been lucky to avoid all the bad stuff going around- apparantly my red on black keeps out negativity. :)

And today I got a birthday card from my daughter with a little drawing (my birthday is tomorrow). She even wrote her name. Today was a rough day so the card was bittersweet. I always miss her around my birthday. Plus every year, I fantasize about them showing up after school to surprise me. It's not that I would really want it to happen- I guess I just want our connection to feel normal.

Anyway, I've been writing posts in my head, I just haven't had enough energy to make the words real.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Weekend Away

I'm leaving in the morning to go visit my dad in AZ so I won't be around for a few days. Hope everyone has a restful weekend.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Processing

I just got off the phone with my daughter and her mom. Her mom relayed this story:

The other night, my daughter wanted to look at the lifebook I made her. In it, there is a picture of the two of us sitting on a bench outside the hospital. My daughter asked what everyone was doing and her mom explained that we were getting ready to leave the hospital. My daughter then asked if I was sad and her mother said that I was. My daughter asked why and her mom said it was because I was going to miss her. My daughter burst into tears and cried that she missed me and wanted to see me.

Eventually, after looking at more pictures, and talking it through, and offering to call me, my daughter settled down and went to sleep. It is a sad story.

On a lighter note, my daughter told me all about their upcoming vacation to Florida. Her grandpa (mom's dad) lives there and is going to visit them. My daughter said she might fall asleep on him. She said she knows he's not a pillow, but she wants to see how comfy he is. Right after that she said, "But I don't even know what color he is." and yelled to her mom, "Mom, what color is grandpa." Her mom asked her what color we were, and my daughter replied, "yellow" so her mom said that grandpa was yellow. So my daughter lists all of us and says we're all yellow except for her nanny, who she listed as green.

She is an absolute riot to listen to.

Anyway, I hope I get to see her soon.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Choice

I'm sure you all know by now that South Dakota has passed an abortion ban that is likely to go to the Supreme Court. It's seen as the first attempt to chip away at Roe vs. Wade and I've read differing opinions on the significance and expected consequences of this attempt. I, like many women, see it as part of a larger issue in which folks are attempting to put women "back in their place."

In light of recent events,
Anna Quindlen's The Last Word in this week's Newsweek talks about the place of women. There is a book coming out this spring called "The Girls Who Went Away" and Ms. Quindlin mentions it often in her column. In looking it up, I just discovered the subtitle:
The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade.

The column mentions these women- the ones who were sent to maternity homes and forced to surrender their babies. Ms. Quindlin states, "...they came back riddled with pain and rage and an unspeakable sense of loss," and goes on to quote a woman from the book as she recalls how terrible it was to lose her baby.

The article glosses over the reality of today's birthparents, but does so to make a point that today there is choice. Sure, we could argue about all the times when there still is no choice, but the truth is she makes her case elegantly as she suggests that overturning Roe vs. Wade will make women invisible again: forced out of academia (as Justice Alito's group attempted at Yale), denied jobs, forced out of work for being pregnant, sent to maternity homes (of which our President calls for more), but mostly the sense of being exiled for an accidental pregnancy and forced into maternity homes or into the hands of someone promising an illegal termination. Sexuality becomes a crime.

I've been pro-choice for as long as I knew what it was. I was sixteen when I met my first rabid pro-lifer- a dear friend, actually (and future lawyer). We would sit and argue the sides. He was one of those who actually knew women who used abortion as birth control and thought nothing of having multiple abortions. I understood why he was against abortion. It was the beginning of opening my eyes to all the nuances of such a hot issue. I learned quickly that there were many who claimed to be pro-choice, but the reality was that they were only pro-choice if it was a stranger. They would never have supported a friend's right to choose. As I got older I realized that this was true on the other side, too, with the pro-lifers who secretly have or send their daughters to have abortions when they face the reality of a crisis pregnancy. Despite all the gains Ms. Quindlen notes in her column, there is still much shame attached to unexpected pregnancies- sexuality out there in plain view.

I felt ashamed of my pregnancy. Never mind that over 90% of people have premarital sex. Those things don't matter when you're the one with the big round bulge announcing your sex life to the world. It didn't help that there was no man in sight- my daughter's father was home in his own country across the world. The shame came as a shock. I kept repeating over and over- but I chose life! Isn't what all those bumper stickers told me to do? Wasn't that supposed to shelter me from the shame? Shouldn't I have all the Catholics reaching out to me and comforting me and loving me? I chose life!

No, I opened myself up to scrutiny instead. I would be lying if I told you I've never thought about the alternative: a private abortion. No one would have known. I keep my good girl status. I keep my job. I keep my friends. Please don't get me wrong, I don't regret having my daughter. She was worth every bit, but I still can't help but compare each reality. Even though women who have abortions still get judged, there is the option to keep it private. From everyone if she wants.

And then I gave birth and a new reality kicked in. Me, the girl who was often called cold by those close to her, the one without a nurturing bone in her body, gave birth to the most perfect being in the universe (it came out of me! I did this!) and felt the most intense set of feelings I had ever experienced. I felt like a mother.

But I made my choice and I placed my daughter and I spent the next three months in a fog. Reality hit again. There were those who thought I shouldn't grieve because I made a choice. There were those who just didn't know how to handle the grief. There were plenty who looked down on me for taking the full twelve weeks (unpaid) maternity leave when I had no baby to care for. But mostly there was grief. For the first time in my life, I discovered what it was like to lie awake all night unable to sleep. Many nights found me crying all night only to finally drift into sleep on the living room couch at 9:30 AM.

It has been three years and I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I've said the same since pregnancy. It's true. The pain is that intense, the change that far-reaching, the consequences so severe and unpredictable.

There are many women who say that having a baby changed their beliefs from pro-choice to pro-life. I know my story is different, but having my daughter made me more pro-choice than ever. I wouldn't change my choice, but I gained new respect for the ability to choose. No woman should be forced to continue or terminate a pregnancy or to relinquish a baby or to parent a baby. The consequences are too big, the effects too far-reaching, the circumstances too varied for some stranger to make that choice for all women.

Unplanned pregnancies are not something you can predict a response to. I don't really believe that any woman or any family really knows what they would do if faced with an unplanned pregnancy. We need choice. All of us.



Friday, March 03, 2006

On My Mind

Nothing big. I've just been thinking about my daughter a lot.

I haven't looked at the latest pictures. I really should call before much time passes.

I'm just missing her today.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Help Me Respond

I subscribe to Dear Abby by email. This was in my inbox today:

ABBY: I am currently pregnant with a child I cannot keep.
I have chosen adoption, and the parents will be a child-
hood friend of mine and her husband, with whom I am living.

My question is, I know there should be a baby shower. But
should I attend? And if so, should I bring a gift?
-- "VI" IN NEW JERSEY

"VI": I see no reason why you should not attend the shower
if you wish. However, no gift should be necessary. You are
already bringing the most important gift of all.


Of course, there is a lot going on here, but what struck me is that this woman wondered if it would be appropriate to attend the baby shower of a childhood friend. Talk about ruining a friendship. If this is a concern now, imagine what will happen if she goes through with placing the baby with this friend. I know a couple of birthmothers with in-family adoptions who now feel awkward and excluded from family events because of the secrecy involved. I also know how tempting it is to place with a friend. I had two friends that I hoped to place with and am now glad that it didn't work out that way.

This woman needs a better response to her question.