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, April 29, 2007

Seeing My Face

My daughter's mom emailed some pictures and several are from the last two visits.

My daughter has my face. As she gets older, it's becoming more noticeable. Plus, we've been able to get a few pictures in which we're both smiling so the similarity is even more obvious. My eyes scrunch up a lot more than hers and my face is starting to show my age, but the sameness is so recognizable now. I look at pictures of us together and my eyes fill with tears. I am reminded of how much I am missing.

At our Easter brunch, although I did not sit next to my daughter, the waitress directed her questions to me as though I were her mother. It took several moments before my body language and glances at my daughter's mom caused her to correct herself. So the sameness must be noticeable to others now, too.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Eavesdropping

During our Easter brunch, I was drawn to a conversation at another table that was clearly about adoption.

The sentence I heard clearly, "The adoptive parents couldn't do anything about it."

A snippet I caught, "she befriended them and then..."

I tried to listen more.

I was caught off guard.

From what I did hear, it was clearly an anti-birthmother story.

And there we were at the next table: my daughter, her parents, her grandmother, and me.

If they only knew!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Evelyn Bennett

This child should be returned to her mother and grandparents. How can the potential adoptive parents live with themselves knowing that they have taken a child from her mother?

This child is not in danger. There was nothing legal about her transfer to the potential adoptive parents. Her mother and grandparents want to raise her.

She belongs back home.

Listen to the story here.

For more information, read the Origins press release.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

Last night, I read Claud's account of going to see "Meet the Robinsons". I had my homeroom last period today. They were working in partners and I was entering some grades on my computer. I heard a group next to me start talking about going to see the movie. Without thinking about it, I told them not to go see it- that they should boycott it.

For anyone who doesn't know, my students do not know I have a child. There are three people at work that know. That's it. Of course my students asked why they should boycott it. I tried to be brief- saying something about how it's upsetting to people touched by adoption because it gets it all wrong. They wanted to know more. I told them I didn't want to talk about it, but uncharacteristically, they pressed for more.

I only knew what I read on Claud's blog and that was fuzzy. Blogger is blocked at work. I googled the press release and gave them highlights from that. They wanted to know more. I tried to tell them more without giving anything away. I mostly focused on how upsetting it was to adopted children.

I started telling them about reading the story of Claud (I described her as a friend) taking her children to see it. From everything I had said, they should have assumed Claud was an adoptive mother taking her adopted children to see it. Instead I was interrupted by a boy on the other side of the room: "Did she do that?"

(Disclaimer: I'm not really sure what adoption language was and wasn't used, so don't bother commenting on my or their word choice)

Me: "What do you mean?"

Him: "Did she give up her baby?"

Another kid: "Were her kids adopted or did she have a kid she gave up?"

Me: (thinking, how did they know? and probably getting red in the face) Um, yeah, she placed her son and she brought the two kids she was raising and it really bothered her to sit through a movie that gave her kids such a bad message about their family.

They totally got it. We talked for awhile. I tried as best I could to give my knowledge of why the movie was bad. They were interested. They were respectful.

The most interested girl then commented: "But if they knew it was about adoption [meaning everyone who was upset, not Claud specifically] and it might be upsetting, why did they go?"

It was an interesting and honest question that to me spoke volumes about how little most people know about adoption.

Me: But they should want to go. If you hear that a movie is about an adopted child, you will want to bring your child so they can see that they are not alone- that there are other kids like them.

She nodded but I hadn't really gotten my point across. My first thought was to use a racial analogy, but I did fear offending someone. Eventually, I did it anyway.

Me: That's like being Chinese and someone telling you not to see a movie with Chinese people in it because it might be upsetting. If a movie offends the very people it is about, then they are doing something wrong.

I tried to get off the topic, but it wasn't over yet. She asked if I was surprised by how Disney did things. A couple kids had mentioned that people assume Disney does things right. I said yes and no. I said that I wasn't surprised at the stereotypes because I know they are everywhere. I said I was surprised that a big company like Disney with so many people working for them screwed up so badly. I made the point that just a tiny bit of research would have quickly made them aware how wrong their movie was. I told them that the movie just perpetuated a bunch of outdated stereotypes about adoption.

Finally, I said I was going to stop talking about it because I was getting upset.

We had touched on why women give babies up, identity issues, rejection issues- both of the adopted child and the birthfamily, the whole chosen thing. I can't say I did a great job with everything. I was unprepared to discuss it in the middle of my math class. I was trying not to let my emotions carry me away. I was trying not to make their understanding of adoption worse. I was also trying not to make them feel bad for not understanding a topic that is so close to my heart.

It was emotional and interesting, but not something I care to repeat. Still, I felt a little bit proud about fighting some of those myths and stereotypes for our next generation.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Poor_Statue, How Did You Make Me?

It was a nice holiday visit. I arrived a bit before dinner yesterday and my daughter promptly showed off her headstand skills.

We played Slap jack (she cheats!), I taught her War, and we played Go Fish. We also watched a bit of The Parent Trap which she knows basically by heart. In fact, she plays and sings along with anything on TV.

We had a delicious dinner and dessert and then got ready for bed. She's still asking me to get dressed with her and I'm still saying no.

We slept together this time- on a pull-out couch in her playroom. This was her choice. She likes her mom to rub her back before bed so her mom did and then I was pleased that she asked me to continue after her mom left.

It was odd to share a bed with her- having my little girl lying beside me. I got lots of elbows in the face and discovered that she sits up and talks in her sleep several times throughout the night. She sat up once from a bad dream and it was nice to pull her in next to me and go back to sleep. With all the waking up, it was a pretty terrible night of sleep, but I guess I'm grateful I slept at all.

She woke up early and happy. We had a small breakfast and then got ready for church. She didn't want my help getting dressed this time though she was still in a good mood. Church was nice. She was a little fascinated by the fact that I sang along with all the hymns and she kept getting a book to try to join me. Mostly though, she didn't like church.

We met up with her grandmother and went out for brunch. I got the first really big sweet hug from her at brunch, but our food took an hour to come out so for the most part she was restless. The service and food turned out terrible, but the company was good. I really do enjoy spending time with her family and when my daughter came over for that unsolicited cuddling, her mom gave me a huge and knowing smile.

On the way home from breakfast, my daughter asked me how she was made. The car went silent. I was caught off guard. I did my best short explanation. Her mom offered to have me read my daughter's "baby book" (I made her a lifebook.) when we got back, but my daughter insisted she hear it straight from me right then. Her mom added some more information after I said my short piece and that was the end of it. I still wish I knew what she was thinking.

Then, I said my goodbyes, got a kiss, a hug, and an I love you, and went on my way.

The goodbye part is always the worst.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another Holiday

I've been invited for Easter. This will be the third holiday in this past year. Amazing.

And I need it. Life is stressing me out right now. It'll be good to see her.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Evolution of a Blog

Please forgive my extended absence. I was so busy enjoying my 30s that I couldn't find time to post.

In the meantime, I've been awarded the Thinking Blogger award twice!

And so I said thanks by disappearing. Well, not really, but I was a bit overwhelmed and so thought it would be a good time to reflect on how this blog came to be.

In the spring of 2004, I became interested in politics for the first time in my life. I read and watched everything I could find and then ranted to my then fiance about how stupid everyone was. Tired of my ranting, he suggested I start a blog and directed me to Blogger where my blog, Convince Me, was born.

I blogged quite often back then and realized that there was this entire community out there blogging right along with me. I put quite a bit of time and work into my blog back then. I learned that the more I commented on other blogs, the more visitors I'd get.

Then September came- the month of my daughter's birth. I was struggling. I'd been telling myself for a long time that I would journal about my adoption experiences, but I never did. This time though, I had a new way to journal- a blog.

It seemed inappropriate to blog about adoption grief on my political blog, so I created this place- red letters on a black background to reflect my mood. I never intended to publicize it or try to get readers the way I did for my other blog. This was my private, dark place. I kept it public just in case someone stumbled upon it and needed to hear from someone like them.

I blogged here just for me for awhile, never realizing that there was another community of adoption bloggers out there. There was no pressure to write. Most of those early entries reflected days when losing my daughter hurt too much to deal with.

Meanwhile, I had become an active member of Daily Kos. I loved it there and was starting to get noticed. Every so often, liberal bloggers like to redebate abortion. There are plenty of pro-life democrats and so giant discussions would take place and invariably someone would throw adoption out there as the perfect solution. I started to speak up online, outside of the adoption forums and private groups. Because I constantly said the same things and couldn't say enough in a comment, I started to include a link back here on all my comments on Daily Kos.

My stats didn't skyrocket- every poster on Daily Kos is hoping their blog will become the next big thing because of the exposure there and so the Kos regulars are hesitant clickers, but I did get a few regular readers. A few others found me on their own somehow. I remember thinking to myself: "Wow, twenty people come here every week just to read what I have to say!" It didn't seem real.

Soon I was invited into the blog ring and others started finding me. It didn't take long for me to realize that my two blogs had switched places- this was the blog people came back to read. And so eventually I gave up on Convince Me and tried to focus more of my energy here.

It's still not perfect. I don't ever want to feel pressured to write here so I frequently disappear for weeks. I've struggled with the change in this place for me, my obligation to my readers, my obligation to others in the adoption blogosphere. I long ago decided that I wanted to keep this a place where I primarily tell my story. I'm not ready to be an activist. I have opinions about things, but my main purpose is to document my experience. The nice benefit is that it gives everyone a glimpse into a real open adoption.


I'm flattered that what began as a personal journal has become something that makes people think.

Much thanks to Wraith and Imperfect Christian for recognizing me. What I think is really special is that the three of us represent all three sides of the triad- to me, that's what talking about adoption is all about- coming together.

You can find the link to the awards origins here.

And now, to acknowledge five blogs of my own. At first I wanted to try to give all new people, but I don't think that approach is in the spirit of the award so instead I'm just going to give my five.

In no special order:

1. Claud at Musings of the Lame: I know Claud makes lots of us think, but I want to share why she's special to me. Claud forces me to consider how I present myself here. While I don't want to be an activist, I also don't want to give any expectant mother the feeling that adoption will work for them. I'm in an ideal situation and I do not regret my adoption decision, but because of Claud, I always try to make sure I acknowledge that adoption is not the solution for most women. I find her words difficult to read at times (though not nearly as difficult to read as all the cruel commenters over there), mostly because she forces me to find a balance between living my truth while recognizing hers.

2. Dawn at This Woman's Work: Another popular blogger, but someone who again stands out for me. Part of my interest in Dawn is because she is on the other side of my personal story. In addition to that, Dawn asks and answers hard questions. I've written more than one post in response to something I've read on her blog, a very concrete example of how she makes me think.\

3. Nicole at Paragraphein: Again, Nicole is in a similar situation as me. When I read her, I get a glimpse of my future. Like Dawn, Nicole is not afraid to tackle difficult topics. Back in my blog beginnings, I linked to her so much I was afraid she'd think I was a bit crazy because she always had such deep thought-provoking posts and she always seemed to perfectly post about whatever I was thinking about. This is one blog I'd hate to live without.

4. Addie at According to Addie: When I found Addie, I went back and read her entire archives. She tackles difficult topics with incredible humor. I like reading about her point of view. I like reading about her struggles. I like reading about her beliefs. And because Addie's voice is from yet another side of the triad, hearing her perspective definitely makes me think.

5. Susan at Reading Writing Living: Susan seems to fill every post with meaning. She writes about a variety of topics, but she always encourages her readers to think and to ask themselves questions. And I do.

So my fellow bloggers, the torch has been passed:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.