Welcome to the craziness that is my life!

This is my story in pieces. The good ones, the bad ones, and everything in between. It is messy and flawed...just like it's author. I am not a selfliss person...I am not an angel...I am a loud, opinionated, most of the time crazy, Mom. I write here the things I cannot discuss in my "day to day life". These views are my own, from my own journey. Adoption has changed my life forever, some for good, some not so good. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. It's not your story...it's mine. Consider it a manual on "How Not To Act/What Not To Do When You Are Pregnant and Considering Adoption". If you learn nothing else, learn to educate yourself to the long term affects on yourself, your family, and the child you chose to place.

Oh...and please, don't call me "bitter". I prefer the term "enlightened".

***DISCLAIMER-I don't speak for anyone but me...in this story or in life. It is here as an educational tool if anyone chooses to learn something. I appreciate comments always.***

P.S. Just because I don't actively blog doesn't mean I still don't LOVE comments. Yes, I still check them. I guess I would just rather hear YOUR thoughts, than share mine.

If you missed the story, start reading the "Posts of Some Significance" located directly underneath and to the right of this. That's the story in a nutshell.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Three Miles From The Rest Stop...My Mouth's Too Dry To Rage.

I wanted to say thank you to the large number of people who emailed to inquire about the closed status of the blog, and to those who inquired about me personally. To those that I didn't get a chance to respond to personally, I apologize. Your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes were greatly appreciated.

I had been spiraling down for awhile prior to closing the blog. I felt like I had been let out prior to my exit...to quote my beloved Mr. Rob Thomas. Adoption blogging, and all the feelings and people it brings, both good and bad, can really get to you. Your self esteem is a roller coaster of highs and lows. One day you are a saint, the next day you are an attention seeking liar. You forget somedays who you are, who you were, and who you might someday become. And it gets really easy to start believing the hype, regardless of which way it swings. When enough had become enough, I closed the blog. It doesn't matter why, or for/from whom. I wanted to seriously think on some things, and reflect in private for a bit. To take a real break, and see if continuing to write this blog was helping or hurting me. To see if the best way to get out of the sadness was to just turn my back and walk away. And guess what...it was. I'm over it.

Now let me explain...I am not over what adoption has done to my life. I am not over what adoption will do to Lauren's. I am simply over trying to find the meaning in it all. I am over trying to justify my actions to people who will never know what prompted them. I am over feeling guilty, and ashamed, and horrible regarding the uncontrollable aftermath of my adoption plan. I am over trying to argue with people who want to judge me or my story. I am over people who want to tell me how fantastic I am when they don't know me at all. I am most certainly over people who want to grind me into the ground when they have no clue as to what has gone on in my life in the first place. I am over trying to explain my sins to people in general...my life is between God and I. And I am over self righteous people declaring all adoptive parents saints for taking these poor children like mine in.

I have thought about it in great detail, and there is zero reason for me to write. My story is over. Lauren's story will be written by her. The therapy aspect left when her parents started reading it, and everything else is just noise. I have nothing to gain by writing, and everything to lose while sitting like a zombie in front of this screen.

Filling in the gaps that not writing this blog created was easier than I thought, at least in the big picture aspect. At first, I read a lot. "Fast Track Adoptions" was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. It's a how-to guide for getting a baby quick, just like dozens of other books. While I don't agree with any of it, I was not pushed into suicide like the birthmom that the "Ever So Perfectly Happy Ending" book was written about. "Restorative Grief" made some good points, but was written in such a fashion that I personally could not wrap around it. The author is great, and I loved the book because I am sure it has helped many people, but it couldn't help me. I do not have that "type" of faith. I continued to read blogs, write a few non published posts on some hot topics, and linger at the fringes of the online adoption community.

It then dawned on me, rather abruptly, that nothing I had been trying to do was going to help me.

For almost two years, I have scoured the internet, looking for someone that had my exact story, my exact situation. Someone married, raising children together when all hell broke loose. Someone stupid enough to go on Craigslist, disillusioned enough to think everything would be fine when it was over. No agency. No lawyers. A mental breakdown (or two). That didn't happen. I can't identify with someone who felt they were too young. I can't say I wanted her to have a Mommy and a Daddy...she would have had them. I wasn't prompted by God to find her more spiritually sound parents. I wasn't coerced. I placed out of desperation. Not too many people will say that. Common sense would dictate that we each have our own life, our own journey, that no two snowflakes are alike, but you've heard the phrase "Misery Loves Company", and I wanted to find that company. I figured that since there were enough common themes running around in bloggy land regarding adoption, that someone would be just like me. But no one was. I can identify with many of the common themes...loss, guilt, regret, depression, ambivilance...and on and on...but I could not find one single person that had made my exact mistakes, or walked my exact path, or could give constructive critisism on how to get out of the exact abyss I was in. What it felt like to me (and my selfish little inner voice), is that in the world of Birthmother's, I am an oddity. And I am sure many of us feel that way...unified but alone. Similar, but different. Seeking, but never finding.

I also went through a major phase of "WHAT NOW???" as well. As I looked around at other's stories, it seemed like so many other people were going to be able to go and do great things with their lives. Or had gone on and done great things with their lives. Meanwhile, my crazy little inner voice was screaming, "What does a 30+ mother of three do with her life after adoption? I don't get to grow up and meet Mr. Right and live happily ever after with more kids. I don't get to go to school, and have an amazing career. I don't get to advocate positively for the wonders of open adoption. I just get to sit here and wallow, neglect my kids while I am grieving, with the same uncaring husband, and crappy job...." and on and on. Isn't it funny, that no matter the situation, the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side?

Finally, after a while of all this "not actively participating, but just participating enough" and realizing that I was still hurting far too many hours a day for nothing, I tried walking away. I printed out a calendar and wrote one major "Honey Do" project a day. My first project came at the advisement of a blogger buddy, whom is an Adoptee. In one of the most touching and meaningful emails I have ever received, she wrote:

"You have the very hardest of jobs, raising other kids after adoption.It is no wonder so many mothers do not go there or cannot.For their sakes and yours you need to try to go forward and you need to honour the past.Thought of creating a special little spot somewhere to do that? It could be outside or inside, private and hidden or not whatever you feel you can do.You can visit it when you need to and then try to restrict your thinking about her to those times, the rest of the time concentrate on your other kids.Might work for you and put some boundaries around what tasks you have - raising kids and coming to terms and forgiving yourself for adoption.I'm guessing there, tell me if I'm wrong or it doesn't fit.Small thing that might have a big impact."

Her words struck a huge chord with me. Moving on, trying to move forward from it, doesn't mean forgetting it. It doesn't mean not caring. It means living. I had this crazy looking broken monster fountain creation (left by the landlord) in my backyard, and spent a week cleaning it out and turning it into the most beautiful planter ever. I hand planted tons of seeds, including Forget me Nots, and have lovingly taken care of them. They are finally sprouting little green buds, and I can work out there on days off, while the kids are at school. I have found that I love gardening, and so does Logan. We bond together over something that once was a solo pain, and instead of tears the backyard is filled with giggles.

I also started a 100 day challenge photo blog, which chronicles various things I've done and will do, and has little if anything to do with the "A" word. It's been amusing to say the least. I am currently on Day 29. With each new picture, or old one, I am reminded of the life I once lived, the things I liked to do, and that because there was life before the black cloud, there will be life after it. I have restarted crafting, redid all of the kids rooms, and have the cleanest house ever. LOL. I stay off the computer. The weather is beautiful, and we play outside every day. I can focus at work. I don't cry myself to sleep at night. I don't stress about what people (save for my family) think of me. My inner voice is silent. I am no longer holding my breath...I am breathing.

One thing I will add in closing though...I have taken to praying. Not the, "If you just do this one thing for me, I'll never (fill in the blank) again!" praying...but the real kind. And with praying comes forgiveness and peace. As I mentioned earlier, my "sins" are between God and I, and I feel like there has been some divine forgiveness there. I knew things were on the right track when I woke up one morning and didn't hate L* and M* anymore. Or more importantly, didn't hate me anymore. I still don't agree with many things that they or I have done, but it is refreshing not to feel the hatred burning in me all the time.

I am less than a week away from Lauren's second birthday, and pleased to say that this year will not be like last. She will have her cake, her party, and while I will not be there, nor probably see a picture of it...it will be enough to know that SHE had it. As for me, instead of crying or blogging...I will be out and about with my kids, enjoying another beautiful day of peace.

I am leaving this blog open, for anyone who wants to refer to it, or from it. It is my goal not to use it again, at least not unless it's needed again. My hope, is that this is the final post. Good Luck to us all. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Don't Need Water to Feel Like You're Drowning...

So I am breaking my own rule...AGAIN.

After the fiasco from the "Stat Counter Confessions" series, I swore that I would not blog about my personal situation for awhile. That I would only go through and publish posts that were sitting in draft form regarding several miscellaneous adoption related thoughts I have been having over the last few months, book reviews, movie reviews, etc. "Entitlement" was the first of those. Not directed to or about anyone. Not reflectant on my personal situation or experiences at all. Just thoughts in my head. After the huge influx of anonymous commenters on the blog, meanies on formspring, and the straight up threat letter I received in my email regarding the safety of both my family and my job, I decided that enough was enough, and I was going to take a few months off of the personal stuff.

But the comments keep coming. New posts, old posts, more emails (one of which went to my personal email as opposed to my blog linked email...interesting....), I need to address something personal. Very personal.

This post is not a random vent. It is not me tossing my thoughts out in to the blosphere to ponder. It is also NOT intended for those of you who positively advocate adoption. It is NOT meant for those of you at peace with your decision to help me make peace with mine.

You guys skip this post, and resume reading at a later date.

This is to the meanies...the ones who won't go away. The ones who cannot grasp the concept that this is just me, telling my version of my story...that it is for me to process how I got here...and more importantly, how to get out of here. Who won't stop asking the rhetorical questions that sting. What kind of person am I? What kind of Mother am I? How could I? Enough is enough.

Just stop. Stop reading. Stop asking. Stop.

My adoption journey has turned into a nightmare that I never could have imagined. Regardless of who's at fault, or who did what right or wrong, or what was best for my family, or L* and M*'s family...this is hell. And it really doesn't matter how I got here...what matters is that I AM HERE.

There is a line in one of my most favorite movies, What Dreams May Come that says that "Hell is YOUR life gone wrong." I am in my hell now, and I don't need you to come visit. I don't need you to waste your time and energy thinking of the perfect thing to say to top the last mean thing said. I don't need you to find the right combination of words to make me hurt. To make me feel bad. To call me names. To question my right to parent. I am inflicting my own pain rather nicely, and I don't need your assistance.

I live everyday with the world caving in on my head. With the consequences of a right decision gone wrong screaming in my face. With three beautiful children staring at me, wondering why it's so hard for me to stare back. Suffocating in my own thoughts. Drowning in my own regrets. Swimming in my own bitterness. Walking around smiling like nothing is wrong, while the voices in my head are screaming so loud I can't think straight. Can't sleep. Can't focus. Can't function. I have fought insomnia on and off my entire life. This time, I am loosing that battle. Do you know what it's like to stay awake for days on end, praying for sleep? Do you know what it's like to pray you don't wake up when the sleep does finally kick in? Do you know what it's like to feel indescribable disappointment when you do wake up?

It wasn't supposed to be like this. My decision was supposed to make things right for everyone. Not destroy me as a person. Not supposed to destroy my marriage. Not supposed to turn me from a fun loving, happy go lucky Mom into a shameful, angry, bitter, hopeless shell of one.  But it did. Shit happens, sometimes life sucks. Who are you to judge? Sometimes life works out harder than we think, and we have to deal with that. Sometimes we can't. Sometimes...no matter how much your head tries to process the means to heal and move on, your heart fights tooth and nail to keep you suffering. That's where I am at. Believe me when I tell you I don't want to be, but at this time, I am. Be thankful and feel very lucky that you don't have to be here. It's like being in prison, on 23 hour a day lockdown, serving an unknown sentence. And the hour a day bit of peace doesn't run concurrent...a few minutes here, a few minutes there...never all together.

 Do you know what it's like to not be able to talk about it to your loved ones? To be told you are betraying your family because of the regret and guilt you feel from giving one of them away? To forget about it. To get over it. To move on. That so and so is fine, and you're not, so there must be something wrong with you. That you are weak. That you are pitiful. That if you breathe a word about it, or shed a tear over it, you are ruining everything. That it must mean you hate your own children. To choke on the "what ifs", the coulda, shoulda, woulda's? Do you know what it's like to find joy in nothing. To stop dreaming in color. To be haunted by nightmares on the rare occasions you sleep? To not focus on a single thought longer than five minutes without it somehow linking back to this?

Do you realize that there is no "On/Off" switch? That no matter how much I wanted to wake up today and it not bother me any more...that it still did. I felt the same yesterday...the same a month ago, the same six months ago. Chances are, tomorrow will be the same.

Do you realize that just because I HATE the way my story turned out, that it doesn't mean I want to go rip Lauren out of her parent's arms? That for you to say, "Just Leave Them Alone!" is ridiculous. That I don't camp out in front of their house, or go trick or treat in their neighborhood, or throw the kids in the car and drive over to ask to use their pool? I don't overstep my boundaries. I don't question that they are her parents. I don't want to take her from them. I simply want peace that that's where she is. Don't ask me how to get it...I don't know. There is no outward physical manifestation of my sadness. There is me, this blog, and that's it.

Yes there should have been an agency, or a lawyer, or a facillitator, or a counselor, or something...but there wasn't. There isn't. There can't be. I can't just ask a therapist to sit and talk to me, or medicate me because I feel that's best for me. You need insurance, and I don't have it. Psychiatrists don't do pro bono work based on how crazy you are, or I would be in full time therapy...believe me. There's just this blog. So let me blog. Don't try and make it worse. I know there can't be much satisfation in kicking someone when they're down, and I am about six feet under from down.  Stop kicking.

My pain is my pain. I will write about it because it's all I CAN do about it. I don't question your pain. Or your pain. Or you over there either...you're allowed to hurt. I promise I will leave you be.

Return the favor.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


en·ti·tle·ment (ĕn-tītˈl-mənt)

1.The act or process of entitling.
2.The state of being entitled.
3.A government program that guarantees and provides benefits to a particular group:

So I've been thinking a lot lately, about life, adoption, work, and all the craziness that is floating around in the world lately. (Can you all smell the smoke?) As I read a lot of stories, I find myself thinking over and over again...."When did we get so entitled as a society?" At what point did we transform our thinking from "I owe something to the world!" to "The world owes me!" So I started researching it a little, as a general subject, and found some pretty interesting information regarding Entitlement. Check it out...

From Suite 101
People are very aware of their entitlements, some real, some imagined. Whenever a dispute of any sort arises, people are quick to insist on their entitlements, but you seldom hear about the obligations that entitlements carry with them.

Too many people claim real and imagined entitlement to all sorts of things without giving a thought to corresponding obligations.

Every entitlement carries an obligation; even if it is only the obligation to NOT exercise the entitlement when it harms others. If obligations are ignored, entitlement soon deteriorates to just what you can get away with.

From seattlepi.com
Entitlement signals a rejection of the very DNA of America. Our national genetic code, at least at one time, was patterned on respect for the common man and woman. It was sequenced by a belief in the dignity of human life that's not the consequence of having, but of being.

In the end, it's the entitled who, however rich, are truly poor. Instead of knowing life as a gift, life turns into something that's taken for granted -- or worse, begrudged. That's real poverty, and no sense of entitlement can alleviate it.

In my opinion, that's a lot to think about. It made me stop and think, that's for sure. Then, for giggles and grins, I googled "Entitlement in Adoption" since that's the area this blog covers (and the area in life I see it most) and can I just say WOW! There are tons of things to read, but one common thread rang over and over throughout the articles I came across.

Many "Adoption Professionals" (a term I use so very lightly) insist that entitlement in Adoptive Parents is necessary and essential in developing relationships with their adopted children. That worrying about what the child will later encounter in life regarding sense of self actually DETERS the required sense of entitlement. That by empathizing or being overly concerned for the Birthmother's loss will INHIBIT the sense of bonding with the child that Adoptive parents must learn to feel entitled to.

And you know what's even more interesting? I put the dictionary definition of "Entitlement" at the top of this post for everyone to review. But when you use the word in a sentence that includes adoption, the meaning changes. Read on, to see more of what the "professionals" have to say.

Apparently, in adoption circles, the definition of Entitlement goes through a fantastic metamorphosis. Birthmother's are not allowed to feel entitlement. Adoptee's (who in my opinion are the ones who should feel this the most since they are the ones who had the most taken from them) are not allowed to feel entitlement either...ESPECIALLY in regards to things  such as original birth certificates, and family origin, as well as answers regarding their stories straight from the mouth of the mothers who started them. In these instances, Entitlement is a bad word and should never be used. 

But when you get over into the land of Adoptive parents, the word changes. In AP circles, Entitlement's definition changes. It then means, "Developing a sense that a child "belongs" in the family, even though she wasn't born into it." or "Entitlement, to parents, means that we feel whole in our parenting." or my personal favorite..."Developing a sense of entitlement is an ongoing process of growth rather than a single task identifiably completable, and the success of an adoption is related to the degree to which this sense of entitlement has been acquired by each adoptive family member rather than to its being seen as achieved or not achieved."

I think it's fantastic that adoption is a magic wand that can change the meaning of a word. It's almost as cool as how an amended birth certificate can completely change who a person is. (And that my friends is sarcasm.)

There are lots of great tools to use to build sense of entitlement too, in fact these articles were full of great one liners...here's a few gems:

"I am only doing what I feel is in the best interest of my child"

"I wanted it to be easier than this, so I am going to stop worrying about your pain and focus on our family. That's what you said you wanted."

and my personal "favorite", I found buried deep, deep in the Internet,

"If the court says that it is "as if this child were born to me" then his birthmother is going to have to accept that. The law is the law."

Anyways, just some food for thought. We (me included)  all suffer from the disease of entitlement. Here's to hoping we find a cure...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Adoption is a Business Transaction.

So...my last post seemed to really get people fired up.

I wrote about the blessing/curse of Statcounter, my favorite blog stalkers, and how I was trying to get over stalking what my stalkers were doing. Just me venting a frustration on a blog thats purpose is for me to vent my frustrations. Nothing new. It was the comments that really took me by surprise. No matter what side of the fence they were on, a lot of people REALLY got pissed. At me, at them, at whatever. It's America...we have freedom of speech, and so I posted each comment-one by one. Even the one that stung. The one that made me cry. The one that made me think. The one that rebutted that one. The one after that. And on and on. And you know what I decided? I don't want to moderate comments anymore. It's your world people...speak your mind. It's too much power in my little hands. I don't want to be in the postion to referee. I just want to hear people's perspectives. I don't ever comment back when people leave their thoughts because I don't want to A.) Start a comment war, or B.) influence another's raw opinion. It doesn't mean I don't love each and every comment...but I always feel like I threw my views out in the post...the comments are for others. Just in case you were wondering....

I also removed StatCounter from the blog. It seems like the only healthy way to continue blogging. I can't worry about who is reading what. Or why. I just want to blog. And guess what...I have a quote for it...

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. For if you gaze too long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche.

That's how I feel about StatCounter. The abyss was not only gazing...it was drowning me. Swallowing me. And I couldn't do it anymore. So it's gone.

Now what does that have to do with Adoption being a business transaction??? The answer is nothing. I just needed to get that off my chest. Moving on now....

So back to the business of it all. The comment that started the uproar is the feature of this post. Apparently, this reader held very strong views of me and how I am proceeding on my adoption journey. I am featuring it here...not to trash their opinion...not to agree or disagree with their point as a whole, but merely to share another person's view of adoption...one that I especially do not agree with. Here goes.....

"Anonymous said...

Dear Michelle,
I have spent the afternoon reading your blog. After years of fertility problems I became pregnant. Then I lost the baby to an incompetent cervix. Now I'm fortunately pregnant again. My husband and I have contemplated adoption. I hear your pain, and it frustrates me. You made a solid decision to put your child up for adoption. Your decision has blessed M and L so much with this gift. Now you need to let them form their family and leave them alone. Please stay in counseling. You chose a closed adoption, so accept your decision. Your husband has and I hope you will too in time. You need to focus on your other children and take comfort that the youngest is being well taken care of by her loving parents. Stop being selfish and focus on your other kids' futures.

An adoption is a business transaction. You need to realize that except for the baby, you and M and L would have probably never had met in real life and were even less likely to be friends. It's over with and has been so for 1 year and 9 months and 6 days. Move on. Start by taking that ticker off of the top of your blog.

The baby is fine with her loving mommy and daddy. They will always appreciate you for your loving gift. The baby may seek you out one day when she is grown, and if she does that will be her choice.

After reading your blog, I honestly understand why so many potential adoptive parents prefer a closed adoption or an international adoption. I am glad you have this blog as it gives you a creative outlet. Take that creativity and expand your horizons. Please look toward your future. You are in my prayers. "

Her opinion is no more or less important than anyone else's. As a mother myself, I feel sadness and sorrow for the child she lost. And I will say nothing negative about the child she and her husband are about to bring into this world. I will say, however, for the sake of the child they contemplated adopting, and for the sake of that child's mother that I am VERY glad they are "fortunately pregnant" again. I wish them the best with their future biological children. And I am happy that while this is a very passive aggressive comment, at least she will be including me in her prayers. That I got her thinking, just as she got me thinking. In all honesty, there are a few things she said that really hit home. There are a few things the other commenters said that did as well. I won't say that this Anonymous commenter is right or wrong as a whole. But I do want to say a few quick things.

1. Adoption (for me) was NOT a business transaction. Lauren did not have a UPC barcode on her butt when she was born. I was not handed a receipt, and I most CERTAINLY was not informed of any return policy. I do think that Adoption can be a lucrative business (especially for agencies), but when contemplating adoption...when choosing adoption...and while being forced to live with the fallout from this adoption...I never once thought of it as a business transaction. If anything, I would have sold my soul to not be in the position to place her with anyone other than us.

2. Children are not gifts. Lauren was also not born with a big red bow on her head. I didn't create her in order to give as a gift to some upper middle class white woman so she would feel better about her own infertility. I am sure she will provide her parents with many gifts in the future (I know mine do), but she herself was NOT a gift. She was a baby. She is a person.

3. I love my ticker, and I will NEVER remove it. Every day that passes I am able to be glad I survived another day.

4. At an adoption conference I attended (Yes the one where I spit out the phrase "Crack Whore" amongst a room full of shocked LDS Members) an adoptee stood up and tried very hard to make it a point that Adoptive Parents NOT WAIT until the child is an adult to tell them their adoption story. To anyone considering adoption, please look into this prior to adopting. I am obviously not an adoptee, so I can't speak from firsthand experience on what is right or wrong. I am simply saying educate yourself.

5. If Lauren seeks me out or not, it will be her choice. Based on her desires, not what was taught to her, or told to her. Taryn is living proof that children will come to their own conclusions about how they feel regarding their stories. Brainwashing doesn't work. DNA is thicker than an ammended birth certificate. But above all, even if she doesn't...it'll be her choice.

6. Last but not least...here's some free life advice in regards to adoption. This line irritated me almost more than any other...You need to realize that except for the baby, you and M and L would have probably never had met in real life and were even less likely to be friends. When I read this, I couldn't help but think, "Is this what THEY think?" Her statement was full of truth...except for saying I "didn't realize" this. To everyone reading...I FULLY REALIZE THIS. For the record, I didn't need any new friends. I didn't get pregnant to make new friends. In fact, the adoption killed the majority of the friendships I had prior. And it built me some of the most amazing ones ever after the fact. I have no doubt they try to be the best parents they can be, but rest assured that I don't view them as such amazing people that my life would have never been complete if we hadn't faked friendship for seven months. And on top of that...I hope they realize that except for me, and my lack of education, my own ignorance, and my poor decision...they would have never been parents. I hope EVERY potential adoptive parent that feels the way this commenter does about birthmothers realizes that simple truth...no crisis pregnancy=no paper pregnancy.
So that's all for now. I am worn out.
Any thoughts? Feel free to comment....the moderation is off! :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Silence is Golden, But Duct Tape is Silver.

I have been asked a lot lately where I've been, what I've been doing, if I am OK, and more so than all the others combined...when am I planning on blogging again. On Facebook, on Formspring, via text, via phone, via whatever. The simple answer would be to say that I was busy with the holidays, both personally and professionally.

But the reality of where I am is a lot more complex. I am here...but not really. I have plenty to say, but not at this time. I want to scream in outrage at a lot of things that are happening in my life, or with adoption in general. I want to celebrate some of the amazing things that have happened as well. About my New Year's Epiphany of the gifts each of my children have brought to me. Of the ridiculous Mother and Child movie I watched seven times last week. Of the AMAZING book LifeGivers that Kelsey recommended that provided so much wisdom and clarity.

But my voice is silent. I open my mouth to speak, and nothing comes out. I sit down to type, and my fingers refuse to move.

Those of you that truly know me, know what a crazy notion that is. I never run out of things to say. Silence makes me more uncomfortable than any other action on the planet. I will talk about nothing for hours at a time just to avoid the silence. But now it surrounds me, envelopes me, and prevents me from venting, educating, or blogging. Why? The answer is simple.

THEY have found the blog. They being L* and M*.

They know what I think. They know how I feel. They are aware of the ache that almost ripped my family to shreds. They have known since July, right after they refused the help of a friend who lives in a successful open adoption. And it is apparent that nothing I ever say or do will sway them to see things from this side of the fence.

Stat Counter is a funny thing. With just a little bit of information, I can tell who looks at what, when they look, and how long they stay. For example, I could have told you what time Lauren naps from their viewing patterns, long before they ever shared that information with me. I know when they vacation or at least take a five day haitus from reading. I know that when one of you makes a pretty blunt comment on a post that they go and check out your information. And then check the blog for follow-up comments, over and over and over again.

At first it didn't bother me. I blogged away, thankful for the therapy that it provided. Thankful for the other perspectives it brought into my life. Hoping maybe something would make them stop and think twice about their actions or lack thereof. Happy to hear once in awhile that something I wrote persuaded another set of adoptive parents to not treat their birthmother as I had been treated. Proud to be featured or to guest blog on another site because of the views of my own. But then it changed. It started to eat at me. It began to bother me and that bother began to turn into hatred. Hatred turns into vengeance. Vengeance turns into something evil...something in the opposite direction of the forgiveness I am seeking, towards them, and more importantly for myself. (I will be using that all year Von...Thank you!!!)

In trying to maintain my daily life outside of the black cloud of adoption, I cancelled memberships at several adoption sites. I backed away from spending my evenings on the computer seeking answers to questions that had none. I spent time with my amazing family and rediscovered how much I love being their Mom. I patched things completely with Taryn, who coincidentally may be moving back with me VERY soon. (So much for the brainwashing...lol) Life was good. My grief and my pain surrounding my personal adoption experience had not found closure, but it had finally found containment. But soon enough I found myself checking StatCounter more and more frequently, until it became an obsession of its own. The worst times were when they and I would be on the blog at the same time. Ahhh...if only I were telekinetic, more than one screen would have blown up in their faces. Instead, I simply printed all the stat counter reports, and placed them in my Pandora's Box...one more thing to show Lauren in later years that I tried to be somewhat involved, in some small way, and it was they who refused.

My irritation didn't fully boil over until Christmas. I enjoyed the entire day with my family, and avoided the computer. That evening, long after my kids were in bed, I checked my special email box, thinking that there was no way in the world they could be heartless enough to ignore that day. That even if they wrote nothing to me, that human decency would not allow them to neglect sending a picture. I know they set up a stupid schedule, but really....who can ignore Christmas? But the inbox sat empty. Nothing was sent. But there, in my Statcounter report...their IP address...what they looked at, and for how long. Enraged doesn't begin to describe where I was. How could they take the time on Christmas to blog stalk, but not send a picture? I vented briefly, cried a few tears, and then swore to not let this set me back. After all...the blog is technically public, anyone can view it, and so I shouldn't be upset that they were on it...at least, that was the "please don't freak out" feedback that was given to me. If I wanted to continue to use it as therapy, I could make it a private blog, send out email invites, and just go from there. But I don't want to do that. Private blogs are a pain in the butt, and I would be sad if someone missed out on a random bit of usefulness I wrote. But I cannot use it for therapy anymore, since they read it. Welcome to yet another rock and a hard place. They took my trust, they took my love, they have Lauren....but now I feel they have taken the one thing I have left...my blog.

Technically public.....what an interesting concept. Really, when you think about it, it's crazy. And lots and lots and lots of information is technically public. Names, addresses, phone numbers, relatives, Facebook pages, Traffic Tickets...the list goes on and on. But there are still boundaries in this life. Invisible lines we aren't supposed to cross. The blog is mine. Their "privacy" is theirs.

I wondered for a long time how they would feel if I did a whole post on the public information I have on them. The completely public information ANYONE could accquire on them. All of the things they purposely didn't share with me, but were found in a matter of minutes and only a few clicks. I know from personal experience, some of you would love that information, if only to share a piece of your minds. Technically public right? Of how they would feel if I gave that information out and then sat in my living room laughing at the mess it would make, just as I envisioned them laughing at me on Christmas Day.

Instead, I did nothing. I just stopped blogging. It is empty...it is souless...and it is tainted, like everything else in this experience has turned out to be. And I have other things to worry about.

Thank GOD for personal growth. Vengeance is not mine....forgiveness can be.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...

One of the most lingering silly questions in the world is "If a Tree Falls in the Woods, and No One is there to Hear it...Does it still make a sound?"

The answer, my friends, is yes.

But what in the world does this have to do with adoption? Actually...a lot.

Miscommunication happens all the time in life, and adoption is no exception. I recently read a great article on "listening and communicating" and it talked about how we, as human beings "hear something", then "think something" and then "say something" based on all that. Basically, we play the grapevine/telephone game all day, every day, because most of us (me especially) don't know how to effectively communicate. Learning this skill takes much practice, and lots of time...something I, on the wrong side of relinquishment papers, do not have the opportunity to correct. But what I want to do is share how I think my adoption story turned from a journey into a destination.

***This post is simply my processing my thoughts. It is NOT a BLAME POST. To say that L* and M* are wrong is to take no accountability for my own actions. To say that I was wrong gives them a free pass from their actions. All three of us screwed up when it came to communicating what we really wanted, and so if I want to point blame, I need to use at least three fingers...and I'm not interested in that. I just want to show where I think we all went wrong, and hope that somebody out there learns something from it. And doesn't make the same mistakes. Each of us has their own journey. M* and L* wanted a closed journey. I wanted an open one. Neither of us are wrong. We just simply crossed paths, wanting two seperate things and weren't able to communicate well enough to realize that until it was too late for it.***

In the beginning....I wanted a "closed adoption". Mind you...I knew NOTHING of adoption at the time. I thought it would simply involve picking out a nice couple to raise the child I was carrying, and both parties going back to their regular lives after it was finished. I didn't know that in order to have a closed adoption I should have walked in to an agency, have them pick someone, and then let them handle it. I didn't know that getting to know her parents beforehand would be so important to me, and then so heartbreaking when things shut down. I didn't know anything about any of it. Adoption was an abstract notion in my head...not something concrete that I had educated myself about. So after a meeting or two, I told L* and M* that we'd do an "open pregnancy and a closed adoption". And off to appointments we went. They went to everyone of them. They witnessed the delivery. L* held my leg back as Lauren made her appearance into the world, and M* cut the cord. They took her home, straight from the hospital. Happy storybook ending, as a family was finally created, and mine would be unphased.

That's the short version. In real life, they always told me they "were fine" with me wanting a closed adoption. When I decided in the seventh month that I wanted pictures and updates, they "were fine" with that as well. When I asked to do a visit, they "were fine" with that. As the end of the pregnancy drew nearer and nearer, I wanted more and more for future contact, but by then, the territorial lines were already being drawn, and I remember very clearly being extra careful in asking for anything regarding contact. Starting and ending almost every sentence with "Whatever you are comfortable with...". In pushing aside the "open adoption agreement" because they were good people and would keep me included.
Walking on eggshells, while Lauren was still in my womb.
 Now you have to admit, that's almost funny. Knowing what I know now, of course. I didn't know at the time that I held power to do what I wanted. That I was the one technically in charge of how much contact we would have afterwards. That by being the one able to carry the child in the firstplace, I was the one who should have been making the rules. Power trips have never been my thing, and so when I had the chance to ride the ultimate one, I missed it. I followed their lead. I did not abuse my power in the situation and acted with compassion towards theirs. I wanted them to experience as much of the pregnancy as they wanted, and I didn't give enough thought to the life that would follow after it. When the "invisible power" that rules all of our lives made its shift from me to them. When it would be their turn to show compassion.

But those are all just details...let's go back to the big picture. When "THE" email recently showed up, there was a line in it that simply said, "When M* and I first looked into adoption, long before we met you, we never envisioned having a relationship with the birth family -  so we were perfectly fine with the agreement you both suggested." That single sentence knocked my on my butt for more than a few days. There it was...in black and white. Regardless of any bonding I thought had occured during the pregnancy, regardless of how my feelings had changed as it had progressed, regardless of anything...she KNEW that she never wanted a relationship with me. From the beginning. Before she even met me, or saw Lauren on an ultrasound, or felt her kick, or anything...she KNEW that she wanted no relationship with the woman who would finally build her family when she could not. Even if it hadn't been me. No relationship at all.

Going back to my earlier comments on how we think, hear, and say things...this is where I think things got confusing. She THOUGHT, "I don't envision having a relationship with the birthfamily." (I could throw nasty comments in here for hours as to what else I think she may have thought...but I am still working on personal growth...lol). She HEARD me say at the first meeting, "I think I want a closed adoption" and she SAID, "Whatever you want...we are fine with that." And that was all she ever heard. Closed, closed, closed.

I, on the otherhand, as the pregancy progressed, THOUGHT, "Wow...this adoption thing is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I'm going to want pictures and some communication, and some type of relationship with these two great people." I HEARD, "Whatever you want...we are fine with that." thinking that there was room for future growth, and I SAID (walking on the single most important eggshells that I will ever encounter in my life, "Of course, as long as it works for you....I don't want to be a pain."

Miscommunication at it's finest.

So where do we go from here? The answer is nowhere.

The email was also full of great lines like "Despite not having any obligation to you after the adoption...", and "We're sincerely sorry if your feelings towards us have changed because we're not willing to have the adoption be as open as you would now like." That was upfront, black and white communication. No room for error or misinterpretation there. It means, quite simply, that this is now a dead end. That the power will sit where the power sits. That people will stand behind the law as a shield, despite the moral implications of it. That compassion is once and for all replaced for entitlement, and that I need to focus on other things.

But I will say this much, because I live it....

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it...It not only makes a sound...It can kill the person standing under it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pandora's Box

Like the new song that plays when my blog pops up? It's called "The Crow and the Butterfly" and it's by Shinedown. Great song.

Brent Smith explained on a radio interview program, Rockline, that while the band was writing the new album, he had a dream about a mother whose son passes away. He wrote the song about the mom dealing with the death of her child and trying to move on. On a blog on the Shinedown website, Brent Smith said this about the song: "For me lyrically this was one of the most intense stories I have ever written. But I know the song means something different to everyone."

For me...it was a song about trying to move forward instead of staying stuck in misery.

I recently purchased a large decorated box, and this fantastic glittery looking sticker that says "Hope" and created my own little Pandora's Box. Following the mythology about it, I placed the sticker in the center of the bottom, and began to load it up.

Into the box went all the emails, all the pictures of Lauren I had printed, the necklace I have still not worked up the courage to resend her Momma..(Click Here to read that story!).the recordable Hallmark storybook I ordered for her birthday "All the ways I love you." (Yet again...another gift I spent a ton of  time picking out, and then chickened out before sending it...worried it might be deemed threatening or offensive), the hardcopy of the blog, the statcounter reports that show where the communication could have grown but stunted instead, and everything else that was of any importance to me regarding them.

Anything that was sentimental or sacred went into this box, and I said a little prayer and then closed it up. I slid it into the top of my closet, and stood there for a minute, waiting to see if the ground would open and swallow me whole. It didn't. It was just me, talking to myself in the closet. It didn't give me closure...partly because I am not interested in closure. She is still out there living, playing, smiling....and she is still very much a part of me, of my heart. Keeping all of those items, sealed safely in that big, beautiful box helps me to breath better...stay away from the computer a lot easier...and to better manage my feelings regarding this adoption. Let's just say for now...the situation is contained.

That's all. Nothing profound here today. :)