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.

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. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Change...One Person at a time.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

I ran across this post yesterday, at one of my favorite sites, Birthmothers 4 Adoption, and was so excited about this wonderful story that I couldn't help but want to pass it on. It truly showcases how "spur of the moments decisions" can really impact lives. How something small can become something so large in an instant. How miscommunication can destroy beautiful things, but how education can prompt us to right our wrongs.

On National Adoption Awareness day, I wrote a post about how even though there needs to be monstrous reform in the adoption world as we know it, ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions. Click Here! to read a living, breathing example of my point. The post is called "What I've learned about Birthmoms" and it is fantastic!!!!

This post moved me to tears...not because of my situation, or what I may want, but because it reassures me that if Angie can do it, than so can others out there in her position as an Adoptive parent.

Change can, and will happen...one person at a time.

***As a note of personal growth...since having my eyes opened to my "Coveting Problem", I have been working on it A LOT!!! I read this post, (which is so inspiring to me) and at no point did the little green monster rear its head and say "Bet you wish you had this!" Instead, I simply smiled, and was glad that all of those in the story DID have that. I love making personal progress!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful for the little things...

The moments of happiness we enjoy most take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”


When I made the mistake of asking for a picture once a month from my AParents, it was quickly denied. My intention was to get on a regular schedule so that I could stop checking my email several times a day, every day (Yes...I was more than a little hopeful...and obsessed...lol), and instead "know" that there was only one opportunity per set time period to receive one. Either it would be there or it wouldn't. It seemed like a reasonable request, at the time.

Apparently, it wasn't. For reasons unknown to me, they decided on only offering a picture three times a year. January 30, May 30, and September 30th. A logical explanation would be that they divided the year into segments of four months. In my bitterness, I was convinced that they chose those three months strictly to prevent me from ever seeing anything "important". No Halloween, No Easter, No Birthday (Mine or Hers), No Christmas, No Thanksgiving, and CERTAINLY no Mother's Day. Who really knows why they chose those months? Who really cares? It is what it is, and three times is better than zero times, especially if they knew they never wanted an open adoption.

Then, surprisingly, on Thanksgiving, there was a beautiful picture of their little one sitting in my email. Completely unexpected...completely unplanned, and one amazing blessing on a wonderful Thanksgiving. I can't share it here, but let's just say...she's so big, so darn cute, and surprisingly, looks more like M* than she does me or Perry...lol. We both got a kick out of that. :)

So now the question....I told them in the middle of the last email exchange to let me know if they wanted me to respond to their emails, and otherwise I wouldn't. They didn't ask, and wished us a good holiday season (which means I probably won't get lucky with cute christmas pictures). Based on those rules, I should take the email and run. But I am really, truly, genuinely surprised and elated that they took time out of their Thanksgiving to think of me. And I don't want them to think anything otherwise. Do I break the rules and say thank you...or just let it go?

Why is this so darn complicated???

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sometimes PAIN is a good thing.

"Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it.... Tattooing therefore, is a way of keeping the spiritual and material needs of my body in balance." ~Michelle Delio

I love tattoos. Not all tattoos, mind you, but most. Especially when they tell a story. I love good stories.

I have used this blog to chronicle my version, of my story for over a year now. I have lived through my story for two years. The good days, the bad days, and the hundreds of in between days. I have met amazing people, and I have learned so much insight into the hearts and minds of others. And learned more than I can even find the time to write about myself. On a few occasions, I have thought that perhaps I had found closure, but a day or two would go by, and the little voices would start nagging at me again, or an email would come through and the emotions would kick back up again.

 Right now, I am supposed to be writing this amazing series of posts on the discovery I have been given on my AParents true feelings and true motives. I have posts 75% done, and every time I sit down to finish them, I think "WHY? It will change nothing!" It is draining. It is pointless. It takes time away from my "real life".  And then I remember...I didn't start writing this blog for them...I started it for me. It is a lesson plan in open adoption. Its blessings, its curses, and I know more than a few of you have learned over the year what NOT to do in certain situations. Anytime an adoptive parent writes me to tell me they learned something valuable, I smile. Anytime a birthmother writes me to say she can relate, or that I have successfully put into words something she can only feel, my heart feels full. But mainly, it is here for me to vent, to learn, and to grow through a journey I never envisioned myself being on. And right, wrong, or indifferent...there has been a lot of pain, and it sucks. No way to sugar coat that. We, as human beings, don't want to feel pain, or suffering, and so we run from it, avoid it, supress it, or ignore it. Especially when that pain is inflicted on us, without our consent, from other individuals.

A little while ago, I made the consious decision to look pain straight in the face, and to see who the better man was. I felt the overwhelming need to memorialize my journey in the way of a tattoo. There is a poem, called "The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats that has nothing to do with adoption (or does it?) that was written many years ago. It has the following verse in it:

"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

For a long time, I thought I would tattoo that verse on me, along with a big fairy holding a human baby. But recently, as I read more and more about adoption...especially the adoptee blogs, it didn't seem like a "right fit" for what I was feeling. Several months ago, I was reintroduced to a talented young lady from high school, who now sells her amazing custom designs. I actually showcased her fantastic work in this post. (Click Here!!!) I asked her permission to tattoo one of her designs on me, and thankfully she said yes. Perr took two of my most favorite designs and turned them into an amazing hybrid of love, pregnancy, and my scarlett letter. I loved it, and into the car we went...off to burn into my skin what was already burning through my heart.

This tattoo experience was amazing. First of all, the guy that did it was huge, and scary as heck. That was good. I needed someone to do it that scared me. And when I told him I wanted it on my foot, and he tried to talk me out of it, due to how badly it would hurt, I KNEW this was right. I told him that anything he could do with that tattoo gun, would only be a tiny bit of pain, compared to the real life experience and overwhelming heartbreak that put me in his chair in the first place. His curiousity peaked...we began.

He started with the stencil, and told me how important it was NOT to move, since I had chosen to not do an outline on the tattoo. I wanted it feminine, delicate, and the black outline would have taken away from the artistic aspect of the design. When the needle came out, I shivered. And then I remembered that I was in control of this experience. I was inflicting the pain on myself (although he was a darn good proxy), and that I needed to focus. He tried, one last time to talk me out of the placement on my foot, saying that my back or my shoulder would hurt much less, and I told him I wanted it where I could see it daily...where it would hurt the most going on, and be the most healing going forward. That the only thing I have to stand on is my own two feet...LOL...and that I was sure that's where I wanted it.

Now, I already have one tattoo. It is ugly, and means nothing, and thankfully sits on my back shoulder where I never have to see it. When I got it, I never even flinched. My pain tolerance is higher than most, I guess. But this one, I've dreamed of...craved, and I wanted to watch the whole thing. When the needle dug into my foot, I jumped at first. As he began to trace it, he told me it wouldn't hurt as bad if I looked away. But me, being the sadist that I am, STARED at every poke and prick of the needle. Tears in my eyes, hand death gripped on my ankle for support, I gritted my teeth and watched. GOD...It hurt. Badly. But something fantastic happened as each pretty turquoise line dug into the flesh. I could finally breathe. Full deep breaths, sucking in the pain and the life and the memory. And as my foot began to sting more and more, my heart began to hurt less and less. This was not me feeling like a victim. This was me, bearing down on the pain, living through it, and being happy for the lesson that I was learning. Not all Pain is bad.

Magical. That's the only word for it. It's funny how something so small can make such a big impact on my life. The thirty minutes I spent, sharing my story, feeling the searing pain....there are no words. There were tears in my eyes, tears in his, and I wound up getting the tattoo done for the price of the tip. AMAZING.

This is it...new, raw, and bleeding still. Right now, it is nasty looking...flaking and peeling. I am learning not to pick at scabs...something Perry has cautioned me about throughout my entire Adoption journey. Sometimes you have to let wounds heal on their own. I'll post another pic once it's healed. But for now, here is my Red Badge of Courage...My Scarlett Letter...My Fantastic Battle Wound...My tattoo.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy National Adoption Day!!! (A day late, but important none the less)

So anyone who runs in these neat little circles of ours, knows that today is National Adoption Day. Of course, everyone has their own meaning of this day, their own agenda to promote, their own story to tell. And hundreds, maybe even thousands of new families were created today. Good luck to each and every one of them.

I know that I proudly wore my "Survivor" necklace today, and my neat little button that reads "Adoption...It's about Love" and talked to quite a few people about the pros and cons of adoption today. I had a blast with it. It is a day to celebrate many things, and also a day to raise awareness.

As there are many things wonderful, there are also many things in adoption that are wrong, and need to be brought to the surface. Giving Adult Adoptees access to their original birth certificates is one injustice that comes to mind. Finding a way to legally enforce open adoption agreements is another. Making legal representation and counseling MANDATORY for birthmothers is another that is close to my heart. I know I sent a well worded letter to the bastards over at MCAO this afternoon. Even if it has no impact on them, it had a tremendous impact on me. What it ethical is ethical, regardless of the law. I cannot fight the big guns alone...and the thousands of us that are fighting (though sometimes it feels like its in vain) are STILL raising awareness, even if progress hasn't quite caught up to it.

That's what I want to talk about...albeit briefly, because its late, I'm tired, and work is going to be calling my name far earlier than I will be awake for.

Aware implies knowledge gained through one's own perceptions or by means of information.

Say for example, you feel and act a certain way, and then read a book, or see a movie, or hear a lecture, and you learn something new. You become AWARE. Or, say you find a friend's diary, or discover their blog, and read all about how they feel about something very important to you both. You can no longer "pretend" that you have no idea how they are feeling. All of a sudden (or as the definition implies "by means of information") you are AWARE of the effect of your actions on another human being.

I know that over the course of my adoption journey, I made many mistakes simply because I knew no better. I wasn't aware. But since having gained that knowledge, I have righted many of my personal wrongs. At least the ones I had control over. I emailed the "other couple" I could have chosen over L* and M* and let them know how sorry I was not to have given them the closure they deserved by telling them I had chosen someone else. I had simply stopped emailing them, but after learning how that affects hopeful adoptive couples, I seized the opportunity, sent an apologetic email a couple of months ago, and actually received a response that was warm, and beautiful, and welcoming. They were great, and we are now FB friends...lol. I have done other things too, but again...it's late. I'm rambly. Way over tired and still fighting off a nasty cold.

My point is...(and of course I have a favorite quote for it!!!)

"You can have a fresh start any moment you want...For this thing called failure is not the falling down...It is the staying down."

Ethics in Adoption start at home. With each of us. And especially in adoptive couples. I won't debate "what is best for the children" or what you may or may not have envisioned in your life with regards to open adoption. There needs to be change. We can stand behind laws, and fears, and insecurities all day long...for years even...but I encourage each of you to look at your adoption situations and ask if you are showing enough compassion, empathy, symathy, and integrity. Miscommunications WILL occur. Relationships will grow, and wither, and grow again. If you know your actions are destroying another human being, reconsider them!!!

 NEVER forget, that adoption looks great on paper, but in reality it affects human beings. Real life, living, breathing people. The children, the parents on both sides...families. Lives are built on promises, and destroyed when our morals are over run by our insecurities. Things will change. Feelings will change. Eventually, Laws will change.

But as humans...as mothers...we should be able to use our "awareness" to make adoption better.At least in my opinion.

And YES. I am talking to you. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So Much For 30 Days of Blogging....

“Learn to detach...Don't cling to things, because everything is impermanent... Detachment doesn't mean you don't let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate fully.

That's how you are able to leave it...

Take any emotion--love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I'm going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions--if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them--you can never get to being detached...you're too busy being afraid. You're afraid of the pain, you're afraid of the grief. You're afraid of the vulnerability that love entails.

But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say,

"All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”

~ Mitch Albom Quotes from Tuesdays with Morrie

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Covet

So if any of us have figured out anything about the aftermath of Adoption, and all of the craziness that it brings with it, it is that things change. Constantly. Feelings, Emotions, Practices, Procedures, Viewpoints, Comfort Zones, Ignorance levels, and on and on and on. Sometimes it takes a week. Sometimes it takes a month. Sometimes it can change 17 times in one afternoon. Change is the only thing constant in Adoption. (I would say grief is as well, but I like to think that EVENTUALLY I will heal up, so we won't include that...for now.)

So recently, when "THE EMAIL" showed up...things changed yet again. I'm not really interested in getting into that at this point, because I really want to showcase all of the things that happened between when it was sent, and when I finally made up my mind on what I thought of it. "At this time", let's just say that there was a HUGE evolution of thought processes and personal growth, and over the course of the month, you'll get to learn all about it.  There was an awful lot of emotion behind receiving it, and hearing what those that sent it truly thought. But let's be honest (especially to those of you who know me in "real" life)...I was initially pissed. And even pissed is an understatement.

So into my "secret support group" I went, tears streaming, cheeks red, hands shaking, and I shared it's contents with those closest to me. Initially, almost everyone I love most was pissed with me. And then when the anger wore off, as it always does, some really neat perspectives began to pop up. I will write about the others this month, but here is one of the most interesting...actually sent from another birthmother who has been in a similar situation as I am in now. Here's what she wrote....

"Don't be offended... but I was just wondering... when was the last time you read this?

What changed since then, to you not being happy and at peace with the relationship anymore?
  • Learning about how open other adoptions are?
  • Comparing L and M to others like your 'fab 5'?
  • Getting told over and over how 'If you had placed with me i would treat you blah blah blah/give you blah blah blah'?
  • Coveting that which you dont have in comparison to other birthmom stories?
  • Have you convinced yourself that THIS wasn't enough after all?
Love you..."

So I sat there and thought about it for a long time. And I reread the post. And I reread the comments. And I rethought the day of the visit...especially on Saturday, when we could have been visiting again...all of the awkward pauses, and how weird the whole setting was, and about how pissed I was the Perr had refused to go with me, and most of all about how it took everything in my power that day not to lean across the table and punch her in the face as hard as I could when she asked me if I was surprised that they had brought the baby.

But instead of reflecting on how I felt about something the year before, I simply focused on the questions in front of me. And thought about if for many days. And thanked her for saying it to me. And above all realized that in between all of the other labels I bestow upon myself, and others bestow upon me...I am now, in addition...a COVETER.

So what are the answers to these tough questions.....lol???

and YES.

Learning about how open other adoptions are? I walked into adoption uneducated, and managed to find people who were not educated enough either. It is easy to wipe the blame, and say that they knew EXACTLY what they were doing, that they took advantage of my lack of education, that they are horrible monsters....but really? They're just normal people. And they are going to do what feels right to them. But here's where the rub lies for me...I have read the research on the benefits of open adoption. I have read the blogs, listened to some adoptees views on open adoption (both the positive and the negative). I have read the myths...seen the myths dispelled. I have read, and researched, and learned enough to know that we (the four of us) are doing an injustice to her by not offering this to her. And that bothers me. It is perfectly OK in this life to make mistakes...it is not OK (to me) to continue to make them, when there is research or evidence that shows what we are doing by having no relationship is wrong. Old fashioned adoptions are out of date for a reason. I worry a lot about how she is going to take it when she realizes that while lots of other adoptions are happy and healthy, hers is stunted. That fear, or insecurity, or just blinding ignorance is preventing her from having everything that could be available to her.

Comparing L* and M* to Others Like Your Fab 5? I wonder, why intelligent, decent human beings like them cannot take the time to learn about the benefits of open adoption. The people on my Fab 5 are there for a reason. I think each and every one of them is extraordinary in their own way. (Once upon a time it was a Super 7, but two amazing little families have already been made) I don't want to share the reasons why they are on that list right now, because I plan to do a post on each one later this month. But what they all share in common is simple...they all realize Adoption is a long, hard process...and above all else, a journey, not a destination. And they each have taken the time to learn all they can about it, and all of them continue to allow other's viewpoints to help shape their experience.

Getting told over and over how 'If you had placed with me i would treat you blah blah blah/give you blah blah blah'? Surprisingly, this was the only NO answer I could give on her list of questions. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I have now truly seen what desperation will do to a person and their moral standards, and rarely, if ever, will I ever take someone for face value again. I could care less what others would have done...I only care about what mine won't. Even though, that makes it about me...not Lauren, right now. Which is yet another point that she brought up in another conversation...and was a very valid point. And something that I am working on as we speak. (Did I mention adoption is a LONG process of self discovery....)

Coveting that which you dont have in comparison to other birthmom stories? I have a whole list of bloggers I covet. Among them, Rebekkah at Heart Cries. I don't always agree with everything she writes (though I LOVE most of it!) but seeing the first birthday pictures of her son was enough to piss me off enough to wish that I had put "Ability to take fantastic pictures" on my list of traits I was seeking in Adoptive parents. LOL. And she's not even a birthmom...she's an Adoptive Momma who feels torn at times between the joy she lives, and the grief that it has caused in her son's birthmomma. She actually cares. And writes about it. And I covet the heck out of her for that. There are many, many others that have more openess than I could ever dream of, and there are others who will never know half of what I know about Lauren. It's a double edged sword of sorts...I am thankful for the little bit I have, and hateful for the whole lot I dont. But yes, the more stories I learn, the more I wish I had a similar situation, and the more angry I get. The trick is working through the anger, and then finding peace and clarity from it. Accepting the things you have, and the things you cannot change. And realizing when to step back from things so that you don't become bitter.

Have you convinced yourself that THIS wasn't enough after all? At the end of my July post regarding would I do it over again I wrote this..."And knowing what I know now (referring to all I now know about open adoptions and the benefits for everyone involved)...if they truly wanted me to disappear, and not be a part of their lives, then I would have chosen differently. There are many healthy, productive open adoptions out there. I wish I had known about them when I was making my adoption plan. If I had, I would have insisted on nothing less, and if L & M were not on board, then no amount of love for them would have made them the right choice for me."

Imagine how heartbreaking it was when the words came through the computer that simply read..."When we first looked into adoption, long before we met you...we never envisioned having a relationship with the birth family."

But that my friends, is another post.....

In the meantime, I gotta work on the simple commandment...
Thou shalt not covet.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Have I Mentioned how much I LOVE Kelsey?

This isn't today's "official post" (unless I never make it back....) but I wanted to share an AMAZING post from one of my favorite birthmoms. Kelsey Stewart, over at A Birth Mother Voice.

Click Here, and share as she discusses why SHE advocates. Very powerful post, full of very good information. I am so thankful to her for showing that Adoption won't kill you...it just makes you stronger.

Oh, and no Kelsey post would be complete without a shameless plug for her FANTASTIC BOOK.

Before she left, she took the time to personalize two books, one for Tyler and one for Hailey. Both kids loved the book. It was the tool we used to open our kids minds to adoption, and our situation. They both took it very well, and were happy that we made "such a brave choice". This is a required "MUST HAVE" for anyone touched by adoption.

(And as a funny side note, when we were at the FSA Conference, this wonderful book was featured at one of the tables, lying flat at the base of the propped up Jamie Lee Curtis' book "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born." Since that book kind of annoyed me, I totally switched spots with Kelsey's Book. HAHAHAH!!!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank You!!! An Unexpected Aide in My Journey To Advocate....

I get asked A LOT how it is that I can advocate positively for adoption when my own adoption is not anything like what I would like. The answer is simple...

"Those who can't...TEACH"

I don't advocate for how to have a successful open adoption. I don't have one. I may never have one. I didn't take the proper precautions needed in order to have one, and I chose a couple whom recently shared with me that they never wanted one. (More on that later this month) The reason I advocate is simple...I advocate for education.

I write my views on my story because I want people to know what can happen if you do not take the proper steps to EDUCATE yourself on your options, and the cause and effect of a very big decision. I write so that expectant moms considering adoption will have a "What-not-to-do" manual on making decisions in a very stressful time in their lives. I write so that even if an expectant mom is "iffy" about the motives of adoption agencies, she will still take the time to find a professional to speak with so that she can receive counseling, and legal direction. NO ONE can do this alone, and there is NEVER a reason not to have legal representation. I assure you, that once the signature goes onto the paper, and you find yourself on the wrong side of the law...you'll wish you had....but I digress.

I write so that anyone who runs across my blog in Arizona will AVOID the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and all of the bullshit that comes with them. I write so that current and future adoptive parents will realize that Birthmothers are people, not incubators, and that sometimes feelings will change, and we as humans should be willing to change as well.

I write so that people may realize that unless you have lived it, you cannot even begin to fathom all of the things that adoption, and relinquishment, and all that comes with it, will bring.

And above all, I write so that when the time comes (be it many years from now), a certain young lady will be able to know that while I couldn't fix the mistakes I made, and that I couldn't make any forward progress with her parents, I made sure that I did everything in my power so that others in the situation I was in, would be able to have the relationship that has been shown time and time again to be healthiest and happiest for someone in her position.

But those are just my views. My point was, and is, that I feel education is important.VERY IMPORTANT. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Dawn Davenport of http://www.creatingafamily.org and she asked if she could use one of my posts on her site's blog. If you've never checked out the site, it is pretty incredible. And pretty huge when it comes to popularity. I was shocked at how popular it was. And beyond honored, once I realized what a big site it was, and that she wanted to share MY crazy ramblings on it. So I waited a few weeks, and she recently emailed me to tell me she had featured it. You can find it by clicking here, but you have to click "Read the full Post" and then click the link to read the actual post on my blog.

It is not a new post. It was written in July of this year, shortly after my dear friend Meg (who is featured on the Fab 5 section of my blog) tried to reach out to L* and M*, as an adoptive Momma who is living a successful open adoption, offering support and answers to any questions that they may have. Meg's offer was politely declined, but if it achieved anything, it did give me the five best pictures I have ever seen of that amazing little girl. BEAUTIFUL..but again...I have lost focus.

The best part of being featured at that wonderful site is simple. Over the last two days, my blog has been clicked on over 875 times. Usually, I get ten clicks a day. Now of course, that totally strokes my little ego and makes me feel important. But the real epiphany of those clicks is this...There are a heck of a lot of people looking at my blog. Which means there are a whole lot of people who will get to be introduced to my version of my story. Which means there is an awfully good chance that someone, somewhere, from some post, might learn something. And all of the pain, the suffering, the mistakes, the learning from those mistakes, the epiphanys, the clarity, and the good, bad, and ugly...ALL OF IT, will be there...just waiting to educate people.

I will never be able to go back and right my wrongs. I will never be able to convince the only set of people that matter that adoption is meant to be a journey, not a destination. But guess what....somewhere down the road, someone in my position will know better than to try and do it on their own...and for now, that's all that matters.

Thank you Dawn!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Was He Reading My Mind???

   I have all of these really neat posts ALMOST finished, but I can feel the clock ticking, and I don't want to fail out of the challenge on Day Two. So instead of my crazy ramblings on my crazy life, I am going to share another great post from Sally Bacchetta over at The Adoptive Parent. You can read this amazing account of the mixed feelings adoption causes by clicking here...


   What a powerful way to lay out the whole picture. The good and the bad...side by side. I couldn't have described this better myself. I have my, "I hate Adoption and wish I never knew about it!" days, and I have my "Thank God for the healing powers of Adoption!" days, and sometimes I have both days in one day.
   I especially liked this part..."I heard that during the pregnancy he never considered raising his daughter and that he believes he made the right decision, except when he worries that he made a mistake."

   That's me in a nutshell. She NEVER felt like my child. I loved her with my whole heart. I still do. I love her with the little pieces that are left. I wanted the best for her. I still do. I have no doubt she is living it as we speak. I knew that given the circumstances, we weren't it. I never doubted that. I felt drawn to adoption from the minute I realized I couldn't afford an abortion, and that was it. Even though I sometimes regret my current relationship with her Aparents (or I guess more correctly...my choice in parents for her that don't want a relationship with me), I knew she was never mine to keep. She was mine to love, mine to grow, mine to cherish, but not mine to keep. I have never regretted choosing Adoption...except when I do. Somedays, more so than others. Not on the days when the kids are complaining that they are squooshed in the back seat. Never on the days when I have worked 12 hours and have a migraine the size of Texas. But all the other times...when I realize there is an empty chair at my dinner table, when asked how many kids I have...when I am alone in my thoughts...when I am drawn to the adoption forums...when not a day goes by that I can simply focus on my family without feeling like something is missing. She is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS on my mind. My heart aches constantly for a child I don't consider mine. How does that work?
I also liked this..."I heard that he is grateful to adoption for giving him an out and grateful to her adoptive parents for giving her a better life. I heard that he resents adoption for giving him an out and resents her adoptive parents for being able to give her a better life."
Could I have done it? I ask myself that daily. Should I have done it? Parented, chosen adoption, found the $425 and just been done with it. Such hard questions, without easy answers. I am pretty sure that I have turned anti-abortion after meeting so many people who would die for a child, while so many others snuff out the choice of life. So that makes me another walking contradiction. I have graduated to a "pro-choice" person who doesn't believe in 98% of abortions. I couldn't have parented either. Not enough money, no matter how we sliced it.  Adoption was the best choice, and as much as I hate it is as much as I love it.

I am not tainted by adoption...I am simply different because of it. It remade my personality make up. It made me see more, and feel more, and love more. I debate with myself all the time if I prefer the "pre" or the "post" Michelle. Truth be told, I don't know. I had only known sadness a few times prior to the adoption. I waltzed through my insignifigant life and was happy in my little bubble. I did not know grief, compassion, or sympathy, or god forbid empathy...yet I know them all now.

Sometimes coming to terms with our own contradictions can be a good thing. Rarely, if ever, are things in life simply black and white. It is learning to navigate the "grey areas" that helps to shape who we truly are.

Any thoughts?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Getting Down and Dirty for the R House Challenge!

I love writing about adoption. Even on the days I think I hate adoption. Even in months like October of 2010, when I thought adoption was the worst thing that ever happened to my life. But guess what....? October is over, and November is here, and with it comes National Adoption Month!

This year, I am totally taking the r house challenge! 30 Days of blogging adoption!!! What could be better?

Click here, and you too can learn all about it and participate. Even if you're not a blogger, grab a notebook or a journal, and just do it! Write your feelings. Take notes. Dare to tread where you had never envisioned going in your life. Then at the end of the 30 days, see what you've learned. Maybe it will be ugly myths that you have believed aren't true. Maybe you will learn that fear and insecurity destroy so many lives daily, and for nothing. Maybe you will find (and this happens to me ALL THE TIME), that what you believe to be "a right" isn't "right" at all.

For me, blogging is theraputic and a great way to educate myself and others. The things I learn from reading other blogs always gives me hope, wisdom, perspective, and courage...even when they are the blogs that are hard to read, or filled with thoughts I don't believe. Learning from others experiences is never a bad thing, as long as you don't lose sight of your own.

It's been a bittersweet month for me. Sometimes things don't go as you planned. I gained some great clarity. Learned a whole new perspective on life from people I care about very deeply. Met some of the neatest people EVER at the FSA Conference. Had a mini meltdown. And rose from the ashes full of thoughts, views, and feelings that are really new and scary, but exciting at the same time.

So while this is not truly a "blog post", it is my mini-kickoff speech. I will post daily, all month long, and encourage each of you to do the same.

Here's a sneek peek of some of the posts I've got coming....
  • "If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it...does it still make a sound?" (On learning effective communication skills so that everyone gets the most from their adoption experience. Based on an amazing article I read about "thinking" versus "saying" versus "hearing".)
  • "Of Course Hindsight is 20/20...Watching Life Over..." (An interesting parallel to movies like "Sixth Sense", "The Others", or "Fight Club" where everything makes so much more sense once you already know the ending...)
  • "The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree" (A post not really related to adoption, but more on the wonders of how genes carry over whether we want them to or not. Inspired by the lovely Taryn, and this super cool customer I had a few days ago.)
  • "Through the Looking Glass...Seeing things from the other side" (Inspired by an AMAZING email sent to me by two very close friends about how things might be on the other side of the fence)
  • "Ignorance is Bliss...Also known as "Thou Shalt Not Covet" (Inspired by yet another AMAZING email sent by an amazing birthmother as she reminds me that sometimes wanting what others have can create more problems than you expected.

Ok....that's all you get. But there will be 30 days of crazy ramblings. So get in, sit back, and HOLD ON......

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm here...I'm just thinking.

Yes, I am still here. I have spoken with the majority of my "inner circle" and spent a lot of time processing everything that has occured this week. But those of you not in the circle, have send numerous emails and FB messages, that I haven't had time to respond to. I don't want you to think I have forgotten you. Or worse, that I am ignoring you. I'm still here...I am just thinking.

Saturday night I got an interesting, brutally honest email from L* and M*. There were a lot of things that I have been wondering for a really long time, and I finally have an answer sitting in my lap. All I can say for sure at this time, is "Be Careful What You Wish For...You Just Might Get It". LOL.

I have been trying to process through the wide range of emotions that this email brought. For two straight days, I had rivers of tears running out of my eyeballs (the kind where you aren't even "actively crying"...they just won't stop falling), so typing was a non issue. Since then, I have refrained from writing anything here, until I have calmed down, had time to think, and found some type of clarity from it. I have six posts sitting in draft format, that will be published soon, so I promise to have something exciting for you all to read soon.

I am a hot head by nature, which for me means that I get upset, EXPLODE, and then five minutes later don't even remember what I was angry about. And if adoption has taught me anything....it is patience and restraint. (Though I am obviously still learning that.)

I am glad I didn't fire off anything crazy about the situation, and instead took time to think it through and find different perspectives from my own. To try and see things from an alternative viewpoint. To NOT find a place to dump blame, but to find how to live the rest of life at the bad end of a horrible miscommunication. To those of you who stepped up and said, "HEY....What about this?" Or "Think about if from this perspective?" Or "What about when you said......"

I THANK YOU!!! For having the courage to love me enough to say what you were really thinking, instead of what you thought I wanted to hear.

So hang in there. And chant the Serenity Prayer a couple thousand times in my honor if you feel so inclined.

I'll post soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hold close that which we hold dear...

This little beauty showed up for me recently, sent by one of my most nearest and dearest friends. When I received her, I read her tag...sniffed it to see if it was called a Willow Tree because of its scent, and placed her on one of my display shelves in my living room. (And NO KELSEY...it wasn't the "family shelf"...inside joke)

I googled it's meaning too...It is called Angel's Embrace, and this is the description the website gives for it: "This piece can be about the feeling you get from holding a child, or the child can represent something you want to protect ... a person, a memory, a relationship, a dream, a belief. Thus, the sentiment ‘hold close that which we hold dear’ can refer to someone or something tangible — or intangible and ethereal."

I stared at it lovingly for two days before Perry finally noticed it. He knew it was there. He knew whom it was from. He just hadn't really looked at it. (MEN) We were on our way out the door, and he was holding Logan in the "Koala Bear Hug" stance...which ironically is identical to how the angel is holding this child. He stood there looking at it for a few moments, and then he reached out to pick it up and read the tag. He then told me it was written too small, and that I'd have to read it to him. I read aloud...

"Hold close that which we hold dear..."

He stared at it for a few seconds more, looking perplexed, and then said, "It's not a BABY, it's a TODDLER!" I said, "I know". He was quiet for a second, looked down at Logan clinging to him and said simply..."Wise, wise woman...Take your Boy". And out the door he went.

I was so touched...both by this beautiful gift, the symbolism behind it, and the meaning that he took from it.

To my beloved friend....Thank you, yet again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some thoughts on why I refused the visit...

This is one of those "I gotta get it out, but already know that I am not necessarily right" posts.

Just warning you now. It's not meant to get "Oh, you're so awesome" or "Oh, you are a role model for taking the higher road" comments. This is a venting, theraputic post on me being me. Petty, selfish, exhausted, broken, and defeated. This is a post on WHY I chose to reject the visit that was supposed to happen in the next two weeks.

Remember the story of King Solomon? I totally stole this off wikipedia...but here it is....

The story is recounted in 1Kings 3:16-28. Two women who lived in the same house and who both had an infant son, came to Solomon for a judgement. One of the women claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. The other woman denied this and so both women claimed to be the mother of the living son and said that the dead boy belonged to the other.

After some deliberation, king Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He declared that there is only one fair solution: the live son must be split in two, each woman receiving half of the child. Upon hearing this terrible verdict, the boy's true mother cried out, "Please, My Lord, give her the live child—do not kill him!" However, the liar, in her bitter jealousy, exclaimed, "It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!" Solomon instantly gave the live baby to the real mother, realizing that the true mother's instincts were to protect her child, while the liar revealed that she did not truly love the child. King Solomon's trick succeeded. The imposter revealed herself by her heartless cruelty. After all, no mother would have let her own child be killed just to spite another woman.

Now I have neither the wisdom of Solomon, nor the strength of a king.
I am a weak, wounded women who is trying her best not to break beneath the crushing weight of what the negative turn in my own adoption journey is doing to me or my family. And it's hard.

There aren't words for the sadness I feel, the obsession I am fighting, or the loss I am trying to work through. The reason I bring this up is simple. My decision to place Lauren for adoption was based on what I thought was best for my children and her at the time, with the information I had at my disposal. Whether L* and M* like it or not, or whether I have even come to terms with it, Lauren was "mine" first. There is a natural attatchment there that I FEEL even if I don't fully UNDERSTAND. More importantly, that being said, Lauren is also NOT a possession. She is a living, breathing person with a past, and a present, and a future. She is not "mine". She is not "theirs".
She is simply a child, placed in between two women who are fighting for her love...and she is too young to realize it. And by the time she is old enough to do just that...I don't want to be the one yelling, "CUT HER IN HALF!" My love is strong enough to walk away, whether I want to or not, and let life run its course.

If you are still reading this, and don't think I have totally lost my mind, let's move this discussion from the bible into the real world. Let's talk divorce...Let's talk child custody. I was raised in a "broken home". My husband was raised in a "broken home". And like the sad statistics we have become, we have caused "broken homes". He is my second husband, I am his third wife.

I have a beautiful, amazing, talented young women I am PROUD to call my daughter from my first marriage. She has lived with her father for ten of her thirteen years. She has loved me, hated me, been confused by me, been validated in seeing how much of who she is is from me. I love her with my entire heart, and for the most part, have a successful relationship with her, despite the fact she was not raised in my home. I have loved her from afar. I have loved her upclose and personal. I have been lucky.

My husband has four children from previous marriages. One from the first, three from the second. In his second marriage, he is unale to build a relationship with the children, and they are troubled, lost souls. Their mother cares only for the check she receives for each child, and that is a nasty can of worms that I care not to dive into here.

But his oldest child...the one who was born on his 19th birthday...his first born...that is an all together different story. When they split, she was a young child and for years Perr fought tooth and nail for visitation rights. Going to court time and time again, submitting to drug tests, and drama, all for the RIGHT to see her. And he will be the first to tell you it was all in vain during that time frame. Time and time again, he would go to pick her up, following the miserable visiting schedule that the court laid out for them, and time and time again, the cops would show up and turn him away from the house without seeing his daughter. He'd stand there...waving his little white visitation order in front of the cops...demanding to see the child that was half his, and still being unable to. Eventually, after the child witnessing this enough times...he chose to let her go. He stopped fighting for visits. He stopped trying to reason with the police who would throw his visitation order on the ground and escort him off the property. And years and years and years of him wondering where she was, and how she was doing went by.

Then, on her 18th birthday, out of the blue, she called him. And we went to meet her. And we were able to build a relationship with her on our own. Granted, nothing in this world is perfect...but when left to her own decisions...she made the one that showed she wanted to know him. And it was tragic, and it was beautiful, but it was real. And no visitation orders were needed, and no cops were called, and no sword to divide her in half was needed.

Sometimes, we have to let go in order to be reached out to. That is what I am choosing to do now. I cannot fight a battle with someone who feels entitled to what they have been given. I cannot argue the pros and cons of an open adoption with those who choose to learn nothing of it. Who don't WANT to know that there are other courses of action than the ones they are taking. And I cannot be any type of successful mother to my own children if I spent every second of every day worrying about theirs. And in case you aren't aware...that's exactly what I have been doing. And we are all drowning from it. I can't forget. I can't just "get over it". I can't pretend that my heart isn't in a thousand pieces within my chest, and that my mind is focused where it needs to be.  Because it's not. A visit, at this time, would do more damage than good. It would satisy MY need to see her, MY need to hold her, MY need to try and reason with her parents that I am not a bad person, that I am supportive of them as her parents...but that would be the end of any progress made in trying to repair MY family. I would walk away more hardened, more hurt, and even emptier than I already am. And she being 18 months old would walk away with no memory of the event at all.

Just in case you were wondering....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

My New Theme Song for Why I write this Blog!

La-la-la-la-la la
lala la la-la la lala

Everyday I fight for all my future somethings
A thousand little wars I have to choose between
I could spend a lifetime learning things I don't need
That's like chasing rainbows and coming home empty

And if you strip me, strip it all away
If you strip me, what would you find
If you strip me, strip it all away
I'll be alright

Take what you want steal my pride
Build me up or cut me down to size
Shut me out but I'll just scream
I'm only one voice in a million
But you ain't taking that from me (oh ooh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that!

I don't need a microphone yeah
To say what I've been thinking
My heart is like a loudspeaker
That's always on eleven

And if you strip me, strip it all away
If you strip me, what would you find
If you strip me, strip it all away
I'm still the same

Take what you want steal my pride
Build me up or cut me down to size
Shut me out but I'll just scream
I'm only one voice in a million
But you ain't taking that from me (oh ooh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that!

Cause when it all boils down at the end of the day
It's what you do and say that makes you who you are
Makes you think about, think about it doesn't it
Sometimes all it takes is one voice

Take what you want steal my pride
Build me up or cut me down to size
Shut me out but I'll just scream
I'm only one voice in a million
But you ain't taking that from me (oh ooh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that from me (oh oh)
You ain't taking that!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Clarity from the FSA Conference.

So this past weekend, I attended my first adoption event. Can I just say WOW!!!? Southwest Regional Conference for Families Supporting Adoption  put on a two day event to share the positive side of adoption. What an amazing experience! If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have had plenty of great things to say about the people I met, the stories I heard, and the deep appreciation I have of the people who worked so hard to put it all together. There were so many positive experiences, and valuable lessons, and tons of great things there. And in all honesty, the BEST cake I have ever tasted. Major high fives to whomever made it!!!

Hopefully I'll pop up on some other blogs with my wonderful shiny, happy views of the whole thing. I don't want to write a "play by play" post because those are popping up everywhere, and I am a lousy narrator. And in no way, shape, or form, do I wish this post to take away from everyone's hard work and effort. Here, on my personal blog, I am going to talk about the personal revelations that I had. The little epiphany's that I had over the course of the weekend.

When the class schedule came out, I scoured over every class, looking for the one I felt would give me the most answers. When I saw "Communicating and Negotiating with Your Adoptive Couple", my heart did little flip flops. For those who know me, you KNOW I needed this class. Recently, my not-so-open couple suggested a visit, and I was elated. Not wanting to repeat the "Bank of America Notary Signing" incident, or the "Let's have strangers look at us like we're crazy in the Bagel Shop" visit, I suggested that perhaps they could come to my home for lunch. Casual, calm, nothing formal, and most importantly of all, private. Privacy so that I can ask the questions that are eating me alive. Privacy, so that I can FINALLY snap a picture of me with the baby. Privacy, so that I can try to work out a picture/letter schedule that works for both of us. That should have been easy considering that L* and M* are such privacy freaks. And yet, it's not. Late Thursday night (right before the conference), I received an email telling me that they would NOT come visit here, but that a public park was fine. Needless to say, I blew it. I am still livid. And I am NOT going to a park...people deadly allergic to bees have no interest in playing outside. So I went to the conference, trying to smile and be happy for it, but carrying such a huge disappointment upon my shoulders. Hoping against hope, that this one class was truly going to teach me how to negotiate with my couple. Praying that there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Wishing that the Holy Grail would be in that class. Fingers, toes, and all crossed for some answers.

None if it was there. When I heard the couple teaching the class tell their story, I was excited. They too had a birthmother who thought she wanted little to no contact afterwards. She too changed her mind about it, leaning towards a far more open adoption. I thought, "THIS IS IT! THEY'LL KNOW!!!!". But they didn't. Their birthmom changed her mind at the hospital. I changed mine in month seven. They missed the delivery and she had a full day with the baby in the hospital before they were allowed to come. Mine were in the delivery room, and M* cut the cord. I never even got to hold her because they wouldn't put her down, and I was so out of it, I never asked. They have a close, loving relationship. I am at the level of a third cousin, twice removed...thought of only when it is convenient or when a dear friend chooses to make an attempt to help me open it up. They couldn't answer how to negotiate or communicate, because when she asked, they answered. What she wanted, she got. They went to the light side, mine went to the dark. The situations weren't the same. They said that their birthmother was on the younger side, and kind of looked at them as mother and father figures. I got upset, because in my situation, we are all full grown adults...we should act better than that (which was the point I was trying to make when I broke out with "crack whore"). At one point, I freaked out...made a weepy ass of myself...and still did not find the answer I wanted. But what I did find was clarity.

Aaahh...sweet clarity. I love you and I hate you. You teach me that the answer I want is not necessarily the answer that's needed. What I walked away from that class with, other than a headache and really puffy eyes, was that the only place I was ever going to find the answers to my problems, was in L* and M*. And "at this time" (their single most used phrase), they don't have any. They may never have any. They may NEVER educate themselves to learn that their actions are killing me, and will possibly do some damage to Lauren at some point as well. But there's no way to know, there's no way to tell, and nothing will change until THEY are ready to.

The second biggest lesson I learned was a tough one. It is easy to blame others for your suffering, and much harder to realize the suffering you cause to others. When we arrived home after the conference, I was telling Perr about the disappointment of the class, and he FREAKED. Not just kind of freaked out....major freak out, and in front of Kelsey, none the less. I was SO SO SO embarrassed. And then I stepped back, realized that he was not only talking about adoption....he was making valid points. And from the rant if all rants, I had yet another epiphany...

Building another person's family should not destroy my own.

(Pretty profound, huh? I am going to write a post in a few days titled that. I truly have a lot to say about it. Just not now.....)

And as with all lessons in life, it should have been common sense, and yet it wasn't. As I listened to him rant and rave about all the time I have spent in the last two years staring at the Internet to find answers to questions that have no answers, and about his concern as to who was going to step up and advocate for the three motherless children we have here, and about how much pain and suffering I have passed on from the pain and suffering I have gone through....aaaahhhhh.....damn you clarity! You showed me yet again what a clear mind can do.

I have plenty, plenty more to say, but as part of my "recovery program", I have solemnly sworn not to sit in front of this computer all day, so I will come back to it. I have deleted myself from Adoption Voices, so you can find me here, or on FB. I may in fact be entering a new chapter in this adoption journey of mine, and at this time, I really don't know which direction I will go. But I'll be back. Blogs are forever....and I love you all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

There's just something about Rob Thomas......

Write your soul down word for word.
See who's your friend,
And Who is kind...

My name is Michelle, and I am an adoring Rob Thomas fan. Go ahead, snicker....My friends do.

But there is something about this man that makes me think that he has read my mind on more than one occasion, and since I am saving all of my heavier posts for after I get the approval or rejection from this job, today, I want to write a post about this wonderful man. If I ever followed Kelsey's example, and wrote a "Happy Thoughts" series, he would certainly be in it. I have ALWAYS loved Matchbox 20, and have worn my CD's thin listening to them over and over. Perry and I used to get into these crazy long, crazy deep discussions about what the lyrics meant in certain songs. Rob Thomas would probably roll his eyes if we counted up the minutes that I have spent discussing his music over the course of my life. But it's profound...lol.

 I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to meet him in person and hear him live in 2009, several months after placement. I have mentioned this before, but unless you have scoured my archives (you KNOW who you are!) you may have missed this story, so I am going to retell it, just in a more brief manner....I was driving home from work one night a month or so after placement, and was not having a great day. In fact, I was having one of those "sky is crumbling down on me" days so bad that I had to pull my car off the side of the freeway because I couldn't drive through the rolling tears and heaving sobs. Trying to pull myself together wasn't working at all, and I was less than three miles from my house. Freaked out by the thought of Highway Patrol stopping to ask me what on earth I was doing, I started up the car to get off the road, and "Her Diamonds" came on the radio. First time I had ever heard the song, and it was honestly the first time in my life that I felt that "This song will change my life" feeling. I listened...not moving...and was amazed at it. The lyrics were telling my story back to me, as if someone was watching me dissolve into the grief. I was truly blown away. When I got home, I was much more pulled together, and proceeded to talk Perrs ear off about it for half an hour. I googled the heck out of it, and listened to it over and over, and just fell in love with it. With a song....LOL. I loved the line, "If she can find daylight, she'll be alright. She'll be alright...Just NOT tonight".

A few weeks later, my favorite radio station, Mix 96.9 was giving away tickets to see Rob Thomas, live and unplugged in their studio, and low and behold if I didn't manage to be caller 25 and win tickets. To say I was excited was an understatement. I was uncontrollably ecstatic!! I was going to get to hear one of my favorite musicians of all time (2nd ONLY to Tori Amos), sing the ONLY song that "changed my life". When we got there, they informed us that we could not bring in cameras or cell phones, but that the station would make sure we each got an autograph and a photo with him. Perr and I got second row seats, and got to hear him sing "Lonely No More", "3 a.m." and finally "Her Diamonds".

Wanna watch it? Click HERE and dont laugh at Perry's bald spot...he's sensitive about that. Do notice, that Little Miss "Suck it Up" (that's me) was bawling after he was finished...lol.

They interviewed him for several more minutes, and then ushered us out into the hallway to take pictures. Someone had the brilliant idea to lump us in groups of 4, and Perr had the even MORE brilliant idea to move at the last second so that he was in between Rob Thomas and me, and we were able to just crop the other two people out of our picture. I seriously doubt they appreciated it, but a little cutthroat cleverness every once in awhile never hurt anyone.....lol.

So anyways, each group of 4 had about ten seconds to take their pic, and about 2 seconds to shout over the top of each other as they all told Rob in different ways why they were such a fan. Realizing that this was the ONLY opportunity I was EVER going to have to tell this man how much his song meant to me, I went into crazy stalker mode and did the one thing that came to mind. When he went to shake my hand, I reach out and GRABBED HIM. I placed the Masterson death grip on his hand with both of mine and started rambling. I told him how we'd been married ten years and had three beautiful children, just went through placing our youngest baby for adoption, was having the world's hardest time trying to cope with it, and that if I hadn't heard "Her Diamonds" when I did, God knows I would have driven my car off the side of the freeway, and that I know he probably hears this all the time, but that I was so thankful for all of his music, but mostly this one because....and on and on and on. I held my grip for a good minute or so, NEVER took a breath, and was stunned when I realized that he was listening to me with tears in his eyes. He did not pull away or look at me like I was crazy, and even waved his bodyguard off as he was screaming, "Mr. Thomas...We HAVE TO GO!!!" He just stood there, processing what I was saying. It was surreal. When I finally ran out of breath, he put out his arms, gave me a HUGE hug, and said to me, "Oh Baby, I am so sorry that that happened to you. Thank you for sharing that with me." and then he looked up at Perr and shook his hand. There wasn't much to say after the HUGE scene I had just made, so Perr said, "Thank you. I'm a huge fan of your music." He then moved on to the next group, looking back at me as he did, and then went through the rest of the guests waiting in the hallway. I was the only one he stopped for.

I know that celebrities are just people, but I have met quite a few, and NEVER anyone as down to earth as he was. I will always remember that day with awe and wonderment, and will never forget that he took the time to listen.