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, September 22, 2007

Same Sentiment, Two Presentations

I was beyond thrilled about the picture my daughter's mom shared with me. It was pretty much the only thing I shared about my visit with those in my life who know. That along with my daughter's trying on of my title brought up the issue of how her parents approach adoption talk.

One friend made a comment along the lines of how lucky I was or how grateful I should be that her parents are teaching her to value me.

Another friend responded with "I wonder who's feeding her the language. Clearly, someone is teaching her."

Both friends were drawing attention to the fact that her parents must be influencing my daughter's perception of my role in her life, but one did it neutrally while the other did it with a clear intention of letting me know I needed to be thankful to my daughter's parents.

I doubt many of you will be surprised to learn that one of those friend's made me smile and one left me feeling angry.

I am grateful to my daughter's parents. This was in fact one of the overwhelming feelings I left with. It was such a magical weekend, and I continue to be overjoyed at the many ways her parents acknowledge my importance. I know that there is little support for what they are doing. I imagine it is sometimes difficult for them. They are wonderful people.

I absolutely don't need a friend of mine responding to my happy news by reminding me to be grateful to my daughter's parents.

I just don't.

Trust me, I get the message enough.

Recently, I was out to dinner with my beau when he wondered aloud why society puts adoptive parents on a pedestal while simultaneously looking down on birthparents. He was really upset about what he saw as a major injustice.

I asked him if this was something he noticed because he knew me and he replied that it was obvious, knowing me or not.

He's right.

My friend's comment did nothing except make me feel like I got taken down a notch- put in my place as the lowly birthmother who should be kneeling at the feet of my child's parents, ever grateful that they were willing to take on my burden and still allow me to be a part of her life. The message I got was that I was too happy- too selfish, even- and that I needed reminding that it was her parents that made it happen.

My former fiance used to do the same. No matter what I shared, he always felt the need to remind me that I wasn't her parent, that her "real" parents were awfully nice to keep me around, that perhaps I needed to let go a bit and move on, etc.

This is what I mean when I say that most of the world doesn't understand open adoption. This is the kind of stuff that makes me stop in my tracks before sharing anything about my adoption. This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to push that part of my life aside, to walk away so that her parents won't have to do any more "favors" for me.

At first I excused my friend's remarks because she is a parent. Although it still stung, I figured she related to them more because she is raising a child. But my other friend is a parent, too, and he didn't offend me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Not Posting

I'm in rough shape. I guess the September low has hit. I'm having a very hard time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Dog Has Fleas

I gave my daughter a musical instrument for her birthday.

Monday night they called so she could sing to me.

She won't stop playing. She's making up all kinds of songs.

I apologized for getting it for her, but mostly we laughed while I enjoyed the sweet phone call.

I love my daughter. I love her family.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Is My Family

My daughter's mom showed me a stapled booklet of work my daughter's preschool sent home from last year. This was part of it. Our real names appeared where I replaced them with our blog names. Daddy, Mom, Her, and Me, followed by a bunch of pets.

Does it get any better than that?


The Birthday Party:

I've gone to my daughter's kids party every year. The first time I was worried that someone would ask me who I was. I no longer worry. My daughter's grandmother and single godmother go too so the three of us stick together and it's usually fine. A couple of the close family parents know who I am and they're usually very nice.

At yesterday's party:

One of the moms: So which one's yours?

Me: Uh, none of them.

Her: Lucky you. (pause) You want one?

I give a polite chuckle. My daughter's godmother walks away. Eventually so does this mom. I kick myself for not simply saying that I'm a relative of the birthday girl. Way to kill a conversation. As an aside, my daughter's mom encouraged me to move in closer to get a picture of my daughter blowing out her candles. I took about five shots- all blurry from my shaking hands- and then took off for a bit to calm my emotions.

Opening Presents:

My daughter: (excitedly) Jesse got me a tamagotchi!

Her mom: That's an awfully big tamagotchi!

We all lean in to see it. It's an Etch-A-Sketch.

Getting Ready for Bed:

She is on her bed while getting dressed. She lifts up my shirt and checks out my belly button. Then she puts her hand on my breast.

Her: I like these.

Me: Someday you'll have them.

In the Morning:

As we play:

Her: I'm part of your family. And you're part of my family. (repeated several times)

At the farm:

My daughter and I spent awhile with a man and his granddaughter playing with a sharpening wheel in the blacksmith shop. The little girl noted that the metal got hot after sharpening so my daughter wanted to do it until she got the metal hot. Her mom came in and started playing with us.

My daughter: (running over to the grandpa) It's hot! My mommy made it! (The man says some appreciative comments and turns away. My daughter touches her mom's belly.) This is my mommy. (She then touches me) And this is my birthmom.

After the farm:

My daughter and I are putting the puzzle together. She's chatting up a storm. We're talking about ice cream.

Her: What's your favorite ice cream?

Me: Mint chocolate chip.

Her: (continuing her story) And when birthmom eats it, it tastes like mint chocolate chip.

This weekend she was definitely trying the word out. I haven't heard her use it since she first learned who I was.

My Baby Is Five

I'm home.

I had a rough time on the way there and some moments throughout the weekend, but all in all, it was a really wonderful visit.

My daughter ran right to me though I didn't get a hug (neither did her grandma). She showed me lots of things and then I was hers for the weekend. Other than a couple of hours at her party, she wanted me with her every second.

We opened presents, and played with presents (she loved what I gave her), and had pizza, and played some more. During dinner, she crawled under the table and started playing with my legs. I wrapped them around her and she laid her head against them and every time I tried to let her go, she pulled my legs back around her. Soon after I got her ready for bed. We slept together in her playroom and watched a movie as we settled in for the night. She sits up every hour during the night and changes position. She spent part of the night with her head on my belly and the rest with one hand on me. It was sweet. During the middle of the night as I woke up to her again, I thought to myself that lots of women out there would give a limb to have a night like that with their kid and yet it was hard for me. It was very emotional to be lying there with her in a home and bed that isn't mine.

We put the movie back on this morning. Then we dressed and played and had breakfast. She can do the whole monkey bars now, the one-handed swinging way. She's incredibly strong and seems to get great pleasure out of very active things. I played with her all morning. It was so comfortable. We made flowers and played horses. The day before she was less willing to have me helping her, but today she wanted me to help her and play with her. It was great fun.

Mid-afternoon, her mom took us to a local farm. It was a great time. Her mom had to take care of some work calls while we were there so we went back and forth from two to three throughout the day. Again it was very comfortable. My daughter loves to watch things, especially other people. We followed a lot of folks around during our time there. We played in the blacksmith shop and saw the animals and she helped bake cookies in the farm kitchen and the three of us played on a tractor and watched a cow get milked.

Then we drove back home and it was time for me to go. I had already stayed much longer than planned. We did a puzzle together (that my folks sent her). The day before, she wouldn't let me do it with her, but this time she asked me to and when it was done and I started to leave she dumped it out to try to get me to stay again. She laid on my shoulder as I hugged her goodbye and this time seemed quite content to stay in my arms and let me kiss her.

I felt good when I left. I had a good time with her and her family. I'm so glad I am a part of her life.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Stop Growing Up!

Yesterday, the sadness hit. I'm really not loving the getting older thing. I haven't updated the pictures of my daughter since last Christmas. I want her to stay young.

I left her a message on her birthday. I thought they were still on vacation.

She called Thursday night.

She started school this past Wednesday.

She loves it.

She told me about her teacher and how she can't pronounce the teacher's name. She told me that Thursday was her first full day and that she can't do the Spanish (she's in a bilingual program) and that they weren't allowed to play on the playground because they didn't know how to use the equipment. "But I do know how to use the equipment!...." She told me that her teacher took her home for the first time (they've hired one of the daycare folks to take my daughter home from school and give her her bath and stuff until they get home).

She told me a little of what she did on her birthday including a fall into some mulch- a piece of the story she insisted I tell my beau immediately ("If you want to tell him now, I'll wait for you. Go tell him now...")

She said that fifty people are going to her birthday party this weekend (there are a lot, but probably more like half that). She asked when I'd be taking a plane to get there. When I informed her that I didn't need to take a plane, she wanted to know how far away I lived.

It was nice to talk to her, but I was left feeling disappointed that I had missed talking to her on her birthday or her first day of school. It's the school part that's hard.

Last night, my beau and I went out to dinner and then shopping for a birthday gift. I'm finding it harder to pick gifts for her and sadly the stores all closed before I got the two things I really wanted. I was feeling cranky and sad during dinner, enough to step out in the middle for a cigarette so that I wouldn't start sobbing over my steak and cauliflower.

I'll be leaving in a couple of hours for her house to attend the party and spend the night. I'm going alone this time. Right now I'm channeling some unawkwardness to get me through the weekend.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Little Poor_Statue!

Dear Little Poor_Statue,

We didn't get to talk today, but I've been thinking about you. I can't believe you are already five! You start school soon- for the first time. I hope you love it as much as you love preschool.

I miss you.

The other night I drove by my old apartment, the one I lived in when I was pregnant with you. I imagined taking you to see it when you are older- running into the eldery ladies across the street who offered to babysit, not knowing I had come home from the hospital empty-handed.

I wish you were here with me now. Instead, I had some ice cream in honor of your special day- trying to be patient for the weekend when I will see you again.

You are amazing. You are so smart and friendly and daring and beautiful. I hope you always take pride in your strengths and find the good in everything life hands you.

See you soon, little one.

I hope you had a good day.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday.

Five years ago, I took my mom to meet my sister halfway between our cities so we could try to make the day a good one for her.

I was nine months pregnant-due in about two weeks.

On that day, I was a bit worried that I'd end up going into labor far from home (I ended up going into labor the next evening).

My mom was visiting on what would be her last annual trip back to my homestate (she lives far, far away now) and had extended her stay so she could be there for her granddaughter's birth.

She brought me a carseat just in case and then after everything was over, she visited me daily and did everything she could to help me feel better. We visited relatives and went out for dinner, and I heard birth stories.

She wasn't happy about my choice and I'm sure that those weeks were both difficult and awkward for her, but she put all of her disappointment aside to try to give me what I needed.

I'm really grateful that she was able to be here . I love the pictures I have of her holding my daughter in the hospital. I appreciate that in these past five years, she has always been the one person to acknowledge my loss on Mother's Day and my daughter's birthday. She gets it.

So even though my relationship with her is mostly distant and impersonal, I just wanted to say that I appreciate her and that I'm thinking of her today.

Happy Birthday, Mom.