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, December 22, 2012

Holiday Time

I'm miserable today.

For some reason, my first couple of years away from my daughter didn't bother me a ton.  Or if it did, I guess I've pushed the memory down.  But today I'm missing the anticipation of a trip to see her for Christmas.

I want to be there when she opens my gifts.  I want to talk to her about why I picked them.  I want to sit beside the tree with her and pose for our holiday photos.

Christmas is about kids, and I won't get to see mine.

I got their Christmas card in the mail yesterday.  It's the first year that it wasn't a picture of her on Santa's lap.  I guess this was the year the truth of Santa was revealed.  She's 10.  Makes sense.

Today, the holidays seem meaningless.  Yes, I'm looking forward to seeing the little bit of family I have here. Yes, I enjoy the joy my husband brings to a holiday he wasn't allowed to celebrate as a child.  But without my daughter, the holiday just feels wrong.

I spent a couple of actual Christmas Eves and Christmases with them when I still lived close.  A few other times I turned down the invitation and did my Christmas visit in January.  I wish I'd never turned down those invitations.  I'd give up a lot to get to spend another Christmas with my daughter.

So, my adoptive parent friends, give your babies an extra hug and kiss this year for the birthparents that are missing them.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Join me.

I'll write a new one, but here's what I had to say in 2006.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Birthmarked Trilogy

WARNING:  I may ruin the Birthmarked trilogy for you by giving away some key plot points.  If you plan to read them, don't read this.

I love YA dystopian novels.  It started out with Lois Lowry's The Giver when I was in high school, and then I was reintroduced to the genre with Scott Weterfeld's Uglies series.

It seems like all dystopias have their own take on reproduction and parenthood.  For many, you just have to have a thick skin if you're related to adoption in some way (The Giver's Birthmothers, anyone?).

So when I read the first book in the Birthmarked trilogy, I wasn't too bothered.  In the first book, there is an elite town of people separated from the rest of the community by a wall.  Outside the wall, the first three babies born in each sector are taken by the midwives to be "advanced" inside the wall.  Inside the wall, the babies are adopted by one of the elite families.  The book opens with a birth outside the wall after which the mother does not want to give up her baby to be advanced.  The baby is advanced anyway.

Throughout the first book, the loss is acknowledged.  The adoptive parents aren't painted as bad guys, and the birthparents are painted with loss.  The protagonist's parents light a candle each night for the two babies they lost by advancement.  Originally, the babies weren't taken until they were a year old, but babies kept getting injured or sick so they started to take them at birth.  Of course, the biological parents were hurting their children on purpose so they wouldn't lose their children.  In fact, the protagonist finds out that her own parents purposely burned her face so that she wouldn't be advanced.  They had already lost two children and didn't want to lose their third.  At the end of the book, birthparents and adoptees are both searching for their biological roots.

So far, not bad.  Yes, it can be triggery, but the characterizations are respectful enough that I wasn't bothered by the adoption content.

Then, the next one came.  This one takes place in a different dystopian community with the same protagonist.  Here, there is a shortage of women due to infertility issues among the men.  Women are expected to marry and bear ten children in the hopes that one will be a girl.  Women who choose not to marry, have babies out of wedlock, or choose not to have ten children are exiled.  If they have children, the children are taken from them and adopted by a married couple.  The protagonist thinks this is wrong.  Again, the birthparents are shown to not want to give up their children.  By the end of the book, women are allowed to keep their children and all the restrictions are removed.  Everyone is again on equal footing.  

Adoption wasn't as big of a theme in the second one, and again, it wasn't offensive to me.

Then, there was the third one.  I almost put it down.  Do not read this book if you are easily triggered. In this book, the two communities come together.  In the year that has passed, the original community has gotten more desperate for healthy babies, and are doing DNA testing to find ideal babies.  People on both sides of the wall have figured out how to track the babies, and adopted children from inside the wall are venturing outside the wall to get to know their biological families.  Here's the kicker:  the leader of the community has set up "The Vessel Institute."  Women from outside the wall are being paid to bear children for wealthy families inside the wall.  The women are taken inside the wall, given every luxury, and are impregnated.  They can leave after the first baby, or for maximum profit stay for three babies.  Officially, the women are allowed to change their mind, but if they do, they lose all compensation and will be denied medical care.  In reality, as if the official punishment wasn't harsh enough, the women will be killed for their babies.  

The protagonist finds out, and is horrified.  In addition, she discovers that some of the "vessel women" don't want to give up their babies.  They are bonding with their unborn children.  There is a scene at the end of the book that takes place at an adoption party.  The first "vessel mother" has given birth, and a party is held to transfer the baby to the adoptive parents.  The "vessel mother" is clearly upset.  The book does a good job of showing that this is devastating for the birthmother.

As I write this, I'm trying to figure out what bothered me so much.  Yes, it's triggery for anyone touched by adoption.  I think what bothers me though is that some women are happy to place their babies for adoption, and these women are not treated with any compassion at all.  So it is implied that the ones who voluntarily placed don't care about their babies.  The ones who bonded could never give them up, so what does that say about the others?  

Maybe this is accurate.  Plenty of my fellow bloggers would argue that given the right support and absent coercion, no woman would willingly place her child for adoption.  Many would also argue that it is morally wrong to place your child for adoption.  I disagree, though.  As a birthmother, I was offended by the implication that I didn't love my daughter.

I messaged the author on goodreads to ask if she had a connection to adoption.  Her best friend growing up was adopted, and she has friends who have adopted.  I wish I would have asked for more information, but I feel like I would just be being nosy.  Based on the desire of the characters to know their biological roots, I'd be interested to know if those friends of hers have open adoptions.

Overall, the last book was just too much for me.  



Thursday, November 01, 2012

Hacker

Someone tried to hack into both my facebook and twitter accounts for this username.  Scary.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

On Telling

So far, telling has been fine.

In the comments, someone said I don't even have to say she doesn't live with me.  But I do.  Trying to pretend she does is the same as when I lied about having a daughter.  People ask where she goes to school. They would ask about vacations, hobbies, holiday plans.  Saying that she doesn't live with me saves me from having to lie.  In 9 months, only one person, a student, has expressed any confusion about that.  Divorce and unwed motherhood are common enough that most people don't ask for more details.

It's been refreshing.  She came to visit me in August (with her parents), and I was able to show excitement to a coworker.  Instead of pretending to have no plans, I could say that my daughter was visiting.

Yes, it's slightly uncomfortable.  I wonder about other questions.  I find myself trying to change the subject quickly.  Still, all that is probably part of lying all this time.  Overall, I'm glad I'm being honest.  And really, it hardly ever comes up so usually I don't have to say anything at all.

Thanks for all the support everyone.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Told!

How refreshing!  I have been honest about having a daughter.  I don't say I placed her because I never get enough questions to have to (and I hope I never do), but I say "Yes, I have a daughter." and I have a picture of her on my desk.

It has made everything so much easier.  Now when I talk about things at work, I don't have to watch what I say.  For example, one of my co-workers is former military as am I.  I asked because I could tell, and then we had a long chat about it.  I got out of the military because I was pregnant.  It was awesome to be able to tell the truth.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Telling

I've posted a few times about whether or not to tell people I'm a birthmother.  I'm thinking about it again.


Next Monday, I start a new job.  Once again, I have to decide whether or not to tell.  I'm a teacher.  Kids ask if you have kids.


At my current school, I said nothing my first year.  I did tell one staff member.  I debated about coming out at the beginning of my second year, but chose not to.  I did tell some kids that I had a kid though.  I answered inconsistently when they'd ask.  Sometimes, I'd say yes, I have a daughter.  Sometimes I'd say no, I don't have any kids.  


I think I'm going to say yes at this job.  I don't have to say anything about placing her for adoption.  I can honestly say she doesn't live with me.  I feel like by denying it, I close myself off from everyone.  I have trouble making connections with people, including my students, and I feel like part of it is that I'm living a lie.


I will be happier with a picture of her on my desk.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Birthfather

Right now, my daughter wants to know more about her birthfather.  A few months ago, when I said I didn't know how to reach him, she suggested I call everyone in his town until I found someone who knew him.


About a month ago, my daughter's mother found him on facebook.  I decided to friend request him, he accepted, and we ended spending a couple of hours IMing.  


I excitedly let my daughter's mother know he was willing to have contact.  She approached him through facebook, and eventually, my daughter was able to send him her own message.


My daughter was so excited.  She told me all about the questions she asked.  I haven't heard whether or not he responded.  I hope he has.  It means so much to her.