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, January 28, 2010

Bloggers Block

So today I feel really compelled to post another blog, but I am torn between two subjects...my feelings on the Aparents need for absolute privacy and why it bothers me sometimes...or writing about how I feel when it comes to defining everyone's roles within this event.

Then again, I feel the need to discuss why somedays the whole topic is so overwhelming. And what I would say to someone today if they were faced with the adoption choice, as that may be coming to light very soon.

At any rate...I am not done blogging by any stretch. I simply have too little time and too many thoughts. Imagine that...a personal concierge who has too little time...:) Ironic.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Miracle...Finding Closure

So on November 5, 2009, my request for a visit was granted. The baby was actually seven months old that day, and I couldn't tell if I was bursting with excitement or scared to death. Either way, I went-they went-and I finally found the closure I needed so very badly.

When I sent the letter asking for a visit, that detailed all of the random crazy things I had thought of, I didn't expect an answer back for awhile. Surprisingly, my answer came within hours...and it was a "yes". My Aparents had requested a few weeks to get things more wrapped up with work and whatnot, and when they finally scheduled the visit I was bursting with joy. I had convinced myself that this event, this meeting, this visit was going to be the pot of gold at this really long rainbow I had been following for what seemed like forever.

I had visions of me sitting in their home being able to see the nursery and the wonderful home they had built for her, but quickly realized that this was not going to be the case. They agreed to meet at a local bagel place in a week. I am lying if I say I was not disappointed. After always having people around at the hospital, and the humiliation of signing the paperwork in the plain view of so many people, I had really hoped for some privacy for this. But as all birthmoms know, sometimes you get what you get and ya don't throw a fit. If I had asked them for privacy, they probably would have reconsidered and we might have wound up at a park or something, but at this point it became pretty clear I was never going to see their home.

The day before the visit, I remember over stressing about it. I took 6 hours of "me time" to go find something to wear, and get my nails done and whatnot. I wrote down a million questions to ask them, and charged up my camera battery so that I could take tons of pictures. I knew that they were going above and beyond what I had originally requested by doing this visit, and so I wanted to get as much in as I could, in case it was the only time I ever saw them again.

The day of the visit, I got up early, so that I could look perfect, and not like someone who had just spent the last 7 months alternating between bawling on my hallway floor and screaming my lungs out on my pillow several times each day. As I was finishing up getting ready, my husband looked at me and said, "Hug them. Squeeze them. Say whatever you need to, and then let them live their lives!". I remember staring at him for what seemed the longest time, and then getting teary and grabbing my purse and keys before running out the door.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the bagel place, I realized I did not have my questions, nor my camera. And I was shaking uncontrollably. So much for capturing this last precious moment and getting all of the answers I sought. I looked around the parking lot, and did not see their truck. At this point, I seriously though about just leaving and forgetting the visit. I think I even started my car up and was popping it into reverse when they pulled in. I had parked really far away for some reason, and I watched them in what seemed like "slow-mo" as they piled her out of the car. I giggled when I saw the monster sized car seat stroller combo they had, as I had always told them that less was more and that those got to be quite the pain. So much for taking good advice. :) I let them get into the bagel shop, and then I got out of my car...shaking like a leaf and walked to the door.

I remember thinking a million times in the short walk from the car to the door of the shop that I should just leave. That I was intruding, imposing, and I could only imagine how many different things they'd had to reschedule in their very busy lives to see me that day.

We hugged and said our hello's, and everyone sat down. I asked if anyone wanted anything, and me and L* got up to get sodas. M* said he didn't want anything, and I remember finding that so odd...to come to a food place and not want anything. It made me overly self conscious, and really threw my plan off. I had figured if we were stuck at this stupid place, that we'd stuff our faces with bagels until the sun set and everything would be perfect. Once we all sat down again, there was an awkward moment of silence. I was so furious at myself for not bringing my questions, and could feel that what I had seen in my head was NOT going to happen.

I could think of nothing charmy or witty to say, so I simply asked, "So...how is it?" M* started talking about how it was great...how he was happy to oficially be a card carrying member of the parenthood. L* looked at me like I had offended her, and replied back, "How do you think it is?" And she asked me a bunch of other really strange questions throughout the almost two hours we sat there, like if I was "happy they brought the baby"? Why would we do a visit without the baby? Nothing they did or said was hurtful, but upon closer later examination, a lot of it seemed strange.

I told them very briefly, without a lot of detail about the struggle I had had in coping. I had talked so much during the pregnancy, by choice or not, and was determined to let them do most of the talking. Neither one had much to say. And I couldn't think of a single thing I had wanted to ask them. I actually felt like an idiot sitting in the middle of that place with people staring at us. I talked about getting ready to switch fields, and going back to school, and about my desire to advocate for the positive side of adoption. M* told me that they hadn't talked to anyone in any adoption community and at that time had no plans to. They just wanted to be parents. I was going to ask them when their adoption had finalized, and make sure they were still planning on telling the baby she was adopted, but for some reason I couldn't get words out of my mouth. And they were not offering up anything without being asked. They told me how they had taken her to see their family, and I asked what they thought. The response was "What do you think they thought?" A lot of seemingly innocent questions were being met with really defensive answers. They weren't being mean, they were just acting uncomfortable. And I was slightly bothered by that. I considered these guys to be part of my extended family, and I really wasn't feeling that back. M* told me that when it was first over they used to think about me all day, every day, and now they only thought of me once in awhile. I was really offended by that for a second, and then it passed, as I remembered that they had been on their journey to parenthood a lot longer than they had known me. They were dealing with a lot of other things that did not include me.

I thanked them again for taking the time to visit with me, and for sending me pictures and emails. The only thing that really struck me as odd was when I asked if they would start sending more than just one pic of the baby, maybe send me a family or group picture once in awhile. I explained that it was easier for me to see them all as a family, rather than just the baby alone. And then L* got really upset, and demanded to know what I was going to do with the pictures. That really caught me off guard. I backpeddled, and told them that whatever they wanted to send was fine.

And L* looked very unhappy and uncomfortable about being there, so that was making me even more nervous. She did tear up, and tell me thank you many times over, and some other nice things, but she overall did not look happy about being there. I couldn't tell if it was being with me or being in public, and at that point I was ready to go. I was really starting to feel like this had been a mistake.

And then the baby woke up. She sat up and stared straight at me while we were all talking. Stared me down. Didn't move, didn't blink. And that really unnerved me. I couldn't help but think that perhaps she recognized my voice, because she wasn't looking at me with the "Oooh...someone new!" look...it was the "Hey...I know you!" look. And I melted.

M* asked me if I wanted to hold her, like he already had several times since we had gotten there, and I had kept telling him no because she was sleeping. Her Mommy said that the baby was probably hungry, and I said I'd hold her after she was fed. As they pulled out the bottle to feed her, I couldn't stop staring. I couldn't move. I was in shock. Partly because she was so big...my goodness. I had always joked when I saw her pictures about how she was so big and well fed, and that my own three kids looked like those kids on TV that eat on our 23 cents a day. And my last child had been born a preemie due to some umbilical cord complications, so I was used to him being smaller and doing things slower. But here she was, at seven months sitting, and smiling, and giggling, and staring a hole straight thru to my soul. It unnerved me.

But at the same time, it was like she was telling me she was ok with all of this. I watched as she giggled at her Daddy, and sucked like crazy while her Mommy fed her,smiling the whole time, and for the first time in months....I felt peace. Real Peace....not the temporary kind that would come and go on some days. This was...FINALLY...the real deal.

At this point, her Dad looked like he was getting that "been in the restaraunt too long" feeling, and I figured it was now or never. I picked her up, hugged her, and sniffed. And sniffed. And sniffed. I knew it would be the last time I ever smelled her little baby smell, and there was great comfort in it. I held her sitting on my lap for a few minutes, and then said it was time to go. I pulled her to me really close and let the tears fall silently, and breathed her in a few more times, whispered a few things, and then placed her lovingly back into her mother's arms. We were all weepy, but there really wasnt much to say.

I knew that this was probably going to be it. They had mentioned that they often thought about going to dinner with us, or doing something together, but that won't ever happen...at least not for awhile. They keep their lives to themselves, and aren't ready yet to include us in it full time. Or even part time for that matter.

I could really feel like I was getting ready to fall apart, so I did one more round of hugs, and told them goodbye. And I walked back to the car with tears sitting in the bottom of my eyes. I sat there for a long time...watched them get back into their car and drive away. And I waited to cry. But I didn't. I wanted to...but the tears would not come.

I started the car, and as I made it to the end of the parking lot, a huge epiphany of sorts hit me. I had found closure. I had felt peace the entire pregnancy that they were meant to be her parents. I had not cried the entire pregnancy regarding that. After placement, I had fallen apart...broken into pieces. All of the kind words from people about "the great thing I had done", or the "amazing gift I had given" had been no consolation to me. But as I watched the three of them get into their vehicle I was sitting face to face with my purpose...They were a family. And it was real. And it was final. And it felt FANTASTIC!!!! I had seen it with my own eyes, felt it in my heart. And I didn't hurt anymore. That's why I wasn't crying...the sadness was not in the the reality of what had happened, it was in the not seeing it for my own eyes. People's words didnt help me...but watching that little bit of real life unfold was all the closure I needed.

Don't cry because it's over...Smile because it happened!!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why are people so hateful?

So the height of my sadness and despair really hit its pinnacle in October of last year, when the baby had turned six months. It seemed like such a milestone, and I hadn't recieved any updates or pictures for several months and was really starting to freak out. Here in Phoenix, we have a site called Momslikeme.com, and since there was a tab for adoption, I decided to post. Note to self...I will NEVER do that again.

***AND FOR THE RECORD...I chose to send a letter to my Aparents which is featured in another post, and they contacted me THE SAME DAY to set up a visit. WONDERFUL PEOPLE and that's why I love them so much!***

Here's what I wrote:

Hi! I notice that there are many, many Adoptive parents on here, but not alot of Birthparents, so I am throwing my question into the wind. Throughout the pregnancy, the three of us (Adoptive parents and I) maintained constant contact, and never really laid out a set "after plan". We were so close during the pregnancy, and have almost no contact now. In some ways, losing them was just as hard as losing the baby. They sent a picture at three months, and a quick email saying they'd send another at six months. I would really like to see them in person. Does anyone have any advice on how I should ask? I know they were so worried about me changing my mind the whole pregnancy, but they're "safe" now. The baby is theirs. Would any of you, as adoptive parents, share your thoughts please....

Here is what I got back:

***Hello! I am a birthmom and I and the adoptive parents participate in an open adoption. I usually see them once a year and hear from them periodically through out the year. (Usually on important dates; birthdays and holidays). I understand not wanting to feel like your imposing but if you all agreed to an open adoption its a two way street. It is possible that they have been so overwhelmed that they haven't realized how their absence has affected you. If you have their email address maybe try to write them a quick email to set up dinner or a playdate. Its important that you guys sit down and set down boundaries that are comfortable for all involved. Good luck!

***Since you didn't have a written birth plan for after the baby was born, I can imagine that it would be difficult. Can you contact the lawyer that facilitated the adoption? Maybe write a letter, being honest and explaining your feelings. Tell them that you are not interested in co-parenting and that the child is their child. that is an adoptive parents worst nightmare, that the birth parent will want to take the baby back (even though the laws do not allow that). If you tell them exactly what you would like - a yearly visit, updates a few times a year, etc, whatever it is. Put it into writing and maybe the lawyer could pass it on. That way you will know it got to them and they will hopefully respond. I would ask in the letter for a response either way, so that you know their feelings. Hopefully that would work in the way that you want. Maybe seeing the baby again is a type of closure that you need, for your health. If so, tell them that. To me, that would be the way to go. I wish you so much luck.

SO FAR SO GOOD...RIGHT? Not for long. Read on!!!

***My honest opinion, although it may not be what you want to hear, is that once you give your child up for adoption you have no right to contact that child again. She/He has parents, and just because you carried the baby does not mean you are its parent. You gave that baby up and I believe you should walk away and if that child chooses to contact you its the childs choice. You want those parents to treat and love that baby as if they had birthed it themselves and in my opinion that means you should not be around. Its not your business once you signed those papers. If you had wanted an open adoption you should have made that very clear...because that may not be what they wanted and they are the ones raising that child so really it is their decision now who is around the child.

***I agree with Wendy 100%. I was thinking the exact same thing, I am glad she said it because I sometimes come across a little harsh with my wording (or as Danielle would call it "lack of filter" lol) and she summed it up perfectly. Let them raise their child in peace, if they want to contact you or if the child wants to contact you...they will.

***You should have thought about all this during the adoption phase and realized that even though you have an open adoption, nothing is going to make the parents contact you if they don't want to. Maybe they realized the best interest of their daughter is not to know at an early age that she was given up for adoption and has 3 brothers/sisters out there....maybe they'll explain that to her when she gets old enough to understand but not until then...and that's their right as the baby's parents.

***I am in the process of adopting my step-daughter. It is a closed adoption. The birth mother who was the primary care taker from birth to 2 years old, now at 5 years old will never be able to see her child again, she will never be able to talk to her child again. Carrying a baby does not make you a mother. Open or closed adoption you are not this child's mother. The Mother of the child is the woman who adopted the baby and even if it is an open adoption I don't think you have the right to contact this family. Wait for the family to contact you. They are busy trying to make a beautiful loving life with their daughter. I'm sorry because I know you will now tell me how rude I am but I'm not trying to offend you or be rude...this is just the way adoptions work.

Gotta love people...

Unconditional Love

As parents, whether birth, adoptive, or just everyday run of the mill, we all understand the term "unconditional love." We would have to, or we probably wouldn't be very good parents.

I read all of the time about the "unconditional love" and the "selflissness" it takes to make the decision to place the lives of our natural born children into the hands of another to raise, and inspire, and influence to become the greatest they can be. But rarely, if ever, do I hear of the unconditional love we have for our adoptive parents.

Now I am not ignorant. Crazy yes, but not ignorant. Not everyone has as good of a situation as I do when it comes to my adoptive parents, and there are many who have a much better, more involved one as well. I can only speak of my own experience, and so this is not meant to be taken as advice to anyone. These are simply my thoughts.

I knew 5 minutes after meeting L* & M* that they were the ones to take over for the life I had growing inside of me. I will never forget the first day I met them. It was chilly, but not cold, and I had tried my best to look adorable when I met them. I was short a sitter for my kids that day, so we met at the playground close to where I live, and my two older kids played while the little one sat in his stroller. When I spoke to them, I already felt like I had known them my whole life. I immediately felt a bond to them, and the beginnings of love starting to grow. I don't remember much of what we talked about, only that complete feeling of comfort. I think they had brought their "parent profile" with them, but in all honesty, I never looked at it. I knew right away that they were the only choice.

Throughout the pregnancy, I loved them and hated them a million times over. And I am sure they probably felt the same way. They always asked me so many questions, and I felt like I spent the whole time talking about myself. I never really asked them much, partly because I didn't know what to ask, and partly because I felt like I knew them already. I didn't feel I had too. I knew the basics...family size, life goals, that they loved each other and were good people.

M* reminded me a lot of my husband...huge baseball fan, great sense of humor, pretty easy going. L* was amazing as well...though a lot more high strung. I imagine I would have been the same way if placed in her situation. There was something about her that made me want to squeeze her and tell her everything was going to be fine. She always seemed so fragile to me, and I think that is where my mental switch from "first mom" to "tummy mummy" started. I wanted her to have her dreams more than anything. I wanted her to be "Mommy". She would tell me all the time that they wanted kids, but were at the stage in life where if they didnt get them, they would accept it and move on. That truely broke my heart. Everytime I talked to her, I would feel bad that I had three of my own already. Here was this amazing, beautiful woman, who had so much love bottled up in her, and for whatever reason, she was not being given the opportunity to be a parent.

Now were they perfect people....no? Am I? FAR FROM IT! But they were real, they were genuine, and they were my choice. In the first few months, I remember emailing back and forth almost every day. Thinking of them always. Hoping that they were finally getting a dream fufilled for them. There were times when I thought I almost felt bitterness coming from her, but it never lasted long, and never seemed directly aimed at me. I knew that she had endured many setbacks, many heartbreaks prior to this moment. And M* was always overdoing everything...really trying to make sure that I was comfortable, and I think there were times when it got old for her. I don't blame her. Though I did like the attention.

During Doctor's visits, they asked millions of questions. It was cute, though sometimes I just wanted in and out of that office. They went and got a copy of "What to Expect when you are Expecting", and I remember M* saying that he was studying it. They were always so over prepared for everything. Sometimes I thought it was wonderful, sometimes it drove me crazy. One thing I noticed, was that they always seemed to be "on their best behaviour", and only a few times did I ever see the cracks in that. But those were my favorite times. One of the big events that always triggered it was parking. Every time we had to find a parking spot, they would both start to get antsy. I would always tease them to just start brawling. I think I told them once how impressed I was with their coolness. My husband and I love to argue, and though we don't do it frequently, when it's time...it's time. During the delivery, when they were both over tired, they started up a little and I loved it. "Unconditional Love", the good and the bad.

There were quite a few times during the pregnancy where I was fiercely protective of L*. Some I have discussed already, so I won't go into detail, but generally when nurses, doctors, or insane ultrasound techs were involved, my claws would come out. I had ZERO tolerance for anyone who did not respect the role I had created for the baby's new Mommy. Anyone, anywhere who stepped on those toes was met swiftly with an attitude from me. I do not think that it is fair for Aparents to be excluded from ANYTHING if the one who is pregnant requests it. And I always requested it.

Now once the baby was born, I noticed a lot more of the negative feeling from L*. When the baby was delivered, she never let go of her, and I remember sitting on the bed thinking I should ask to hold her. But I didn't. I remember crying at how beautiful this new Mommy looked. I remember telling the doctor to take them all away from me and let me get dressed and to let them bond. I remember feeling as if I had passed a torch of sorts, the torch of Mommy-ness to her, and wanted to enjoy her enjoying it. I mentioned in my last post about the temporary hatred I felt when she turned the baby away from me, out of sight at the paperwork signing, but again...I understand.

As far as our arrangements for after the birth, there were none. I had always told them, "Whatever you guys are comfortable with!" There was nothing formal in writing. Originally I wanted closed, then semi open, and nowadays I would see her once a month if possible. And who knows, if I asked, they might do that. But I won't. They have always sent me little updates and some pictures here and there. Not a lot, but enough, considering I really asked for nothing in the beginning. I do wish now,, looking back that I had done more research and gotten a more formal arrangement, but that wish does not keep me up at nights...its more of an afterthought. When I sent them a begging letter to see her in October, they made sure I had a visit shortly thereafter. Was it a perfect visit...yes and no, but I will blog about that tomorrow.

My point is...I am so thankful for these two people, who were brought into my life at a crazy time but who inspired me to do better. People who made me far more thankful for my children than I was prior to meeting them. People who showed me that angels live among us every day. And no matter how many times I wanted to hug them or hit them...that I loved them unconditionally.

Placement and Signing those Horrible Papers

So I have been dreading talking about this because it was such a low day in my life, but eventually all things gotta be let out before you can heal, so this is how I handled giving away my heart...

Arizona law requires at least 72 hours after the birth before you can sign papers. In those 72 hours, I ran through every possible emotion you can think of. Satisfaction in myself-for building a family, for staying so calm, for not making a scene, for keeping my word. Guilt-for not holding her, not hugging her, not naming her, for sending her away as if she were less than my own three, and even for my children, who were stuck with me instead of having the opportunity to have more than what I could provide. Sadness-so strange to feel so empty, no more late night dance sessions with her little feet, and above all else I felt ANGRY-at myself for being an idiot and not demanding alone time with her, at my husband for not wanting to talk about it, at my Aparents for wanting her in the first place, at my stupid "friends" who never called to see if I had made it out alive, and then at myself again...I genuinely was BEWILDERED...I knew I made a good choice in her parents, I knew adoption was the plan, I knew I did the right thing...but WHY...WHY was I such a wreck? I would love to blame it on hormones, but I have never had them hit me like that, and I did give birth three times prior to this. I could not understand why my heart was running in one direction, and my head was in the other. I was so angry at myself I could literally feel it oozing out of me. I felt like an egg that had just been cracked, or like the ground in the movies where you see the hairline crack start running off getting bigger and bigger until whatever it finally stops at drops to the ground. I would close my eyes in those three days, a million times, and visualize myself dissolving into little pieces. Those three days were the longest ones of my life, because so many times during them, I thought about taking her back. Just calling and saying, "Ok. Enough. Can't do this". Of course I never did. Why would I? No matter what I felt, the circumstances hadn't changed any, and I could not even imagine what would have happened to L* & M* had I acted on those thoughts. They were primed, prepped, prepared, BY ME to be parents. I couldn't do it. So I bled, and I cried, and I waited until it was time to go...

I have read on so many posts about how signing was done at a lawyers office, or a church office, or in someones home, or in a court...but have yet to find someone who actually had to suffer the humiliation that comes with sitting at a notary's desk in the middle of a bank. That's what I did. I signed away my heart at a Bank of America. A run down, crummy bank that I have to drive by every single day on my way to and from work. I am past the point of wanting to burn it down now...so I am making progress. I think the visit on November sealed up most of those insane feelings...but I digress.

Anyways, we all had to meet there...even my super reluctant husband. Not for support, not for love of me, but because they needed his signature too. We got there first by a few seconds, and I remember thinking that there was no way I was getting out of the car. They were going to have to bring the papers to me...in the car. Drag the damn notary out there if they had to. I had done enough. I was not getting out of the car. And then I saw their truck pull in, happy faces all around, and guess what I did...I got out of the car. Stupid Michelle.

It took them forever to get the baby out of the car (I remember those days), and her new Daddy proudly presented her to us as "L--*". I remember thinking, "L--*"? WTF?" They had gone through a million names, some that I had really liked, but I am pretty sure I didn't like that one. And then I calmly reminded myself that she was not my baby. She was theirs. And then I began to breathe, slowly and deeply, not wanting to make a scene, not wanting to embarrass anyone. The tears sat in the bottom of my eyes, and I just stared forward for a long time.

The two Daddy's were talking back and forth about baseball, as usual, smiling and joking. The amommy had turned the carseat away from me (though I don't think on purpose) and I just sat there staring at the back of it. I remember thinking crazy violent thoughts about smacking her in the face for doing that. I remember thinking that it was my God Given Right to stare at the baby if I chose too, and how dare she....and then I remember I just started laughing at my own craziness.

We had to wait forever, and finally it came our time to sign. We sat at the desk and signed paper after paper after paper, and I remember being so self concious about sitting in the middle of this bank. It made me feel so so low. And Amommy sat on the very far end of the desk with the carseat tucked on the side, so now I couldn't see the baby at all. I was getting more and more and more pissed off at this totally innocent act from the Amom, when the notary stopped everything, and asked my for my marriage certificate. I had forgotten to bring it with me, and so my husband and I had to leave to go get it. Embarrassing...but it did give me time to calm down considerably.

After we got home, and retrieved the certificate, I remember saying that I wasn't going back to the bank. If I never went back, I couldn't sign anything, and they couldn't have her. I thought about how long they would sit there and what they would do if I refused to come back. I asked my husband how long he thought they'd sit there. 15 minutes, an hour, until it closed. He told me to calm down, do the right thing, and get in the car. I got in.

Driving back, I remember feeling so ashamed that I would even think about taking her from them. I felt as if they'd see all of my swirling emotions on my face, and know my secrets at that point. I was ruining my own happy ending. Now I understood why Lauren's mommy had her tucked way off to the side. I was insane. I could feel it, I am sure I looked it, and she was simply protecting her baby. Like a Momma Bear would her cub.

I went back in, apologized for keeping everyone, and signed as fast as I could. I remember hesitating for a brief second at the last signature, and waiting when I was finished for a weight to lift off of me. Or for balloons to fall out of the ceiling. Or for her parents to start jumping up and down in satisfaction. But none of that happened. I was the same as before.

Afterwards, we were handed a check for the reimbursement of living expenses, while the Adad waited for us. Mommy had gone to put her baby in the car, and I remember feeling a huge mix of hatred and satifaction at the same time. When the check was cashed, I started bawling...no holding it back. The three of us walked backed out to the cars and started to say good-bye. Mommy came around after securing the baby in the car seat, and I remember wanting to hit her in the face again for doing that. I guess I had wanted a huge scene, with my holding her and yelling, "Why Me? I am sorry!!!" and other craziness, but with her safely locked in the car that wasn't going to happen. In all reality...that was for the best.

We hugged and talked, and then my husband said, "Wow, you're not going to have your little friends anymore", meaning L* & M*, and I lost it. For the first time it dawned on me that I wasn't going to see them all of the time, and that our friendship was going to be reduced to emails. And I was so sad...equal if not more so to the sadness at realizing the baby was going away now too. I felt as if my heart had broken to nothing at that point, and then the gifts started flowing.

My Aparents are two of the world's most amazing and thoughtful people. I love them like I love no one else on this planet. They always did right by me, went above and beyond, and NEVER did anything to hurt me. A lot of the sporadic hostility I have felt towards them if from my own lack of education, or reality. When we were done saying good-byes, they handed us some amazing gifts, including a spa day at one of the biggest resorts in town. They got engaged there, and said it would be a great way for us to spend our anniversary. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever recieved. And I loved using it that May.

But, as we walked away from them and they drove off, I remember feeling like they had received the world, and I was merely left with the consolation prize. I think I even said that to my husband, at which time he told me I was crazy and that we did the right thing. And to get in the car, because I was still bawling in the middle of the parking lot and people were starting to stare.

That's all I can write on that right now. My heart is hurting a little remembering it all. And its still very early in the day...miles to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Some Background On My Story...Pt 2

When we last left each other, I had just finished explaining my crazy "justification" that I was simply a baby hotel for M & L, and that no matter what my even crazier husband said, everything was going to be just fine...

So on the morning of April 5, 2009 off we went to go have a baby. The aparents picked me up at 6:30am...far too early for any of us. I remember asking them if they got a good nights sleep, since it would be the last one they would get for awhile. They said they hadn't slept at all-far too excited.

We got checked in and settled at the hospital, and I got hooked up to all the IV's and belts and all the other annoying parts and pieces that come with having a baby. M* & L* (I kept their names out because they are privacy freaks...lol) looked like they were in shock at all of the needles and equiptment. The Doctor was wonderful, coming in and out pretty often, and we had an amazing nurse who was respectful of the situation. In AZ, they also make a social worker for the hospital be present, and we had already had an enormously bad run-in with the main one the day before when we were doing one of our stress tests. She had gone into a huge discussion with me and the Amom about how she didn't feel they needed to as involved, and almost screamed at me when I told her I hadnt discussed the adoption with my own children.*(see footnote) She even put L* in tears, which pissed me off on a primal level, and I got extremely rude with her. But thankfully for everyone involved, she had the day off, and we were able to have an amazing social worker who actually respected MY wishes, instead of her own agenda first.

Anyone who's had a baby knows its "hurry up and wait" when it comes to delivery. I kept getting pumped full of pictocin, and they wouldn't break my water, which seemed strange to me. We sat there and sat there, and L* kept asking silly questions like "How long is it now?" and so on. They were both getting pretty agitated around noon, and I remember telling them that it was ok to just fight now...its labor. No one had to be on their best behaviour around here. At 1:30, they gave me the epidural, and again L* asked how long. The Dr. said because I was only at 4 cm it would be another 4-6 hours. They both looked like they were going to explode. I looked over and said to relax...she would come at 2:30. I was an expert...I should know...lol. I decided to nap for a bit, tired of watching them pace. A little while later, L* went to the cafeteria and I had to wake up M* and tell him to get L* because I thought it was time. He went and got the Dr, and sure as anything, there was a head popping out. L* came running into the room just as the big lights came up. She was asked to hold a leg, though she almost passed out, and a few seconds later, there was their baby. Perfect. 6lbs, 21 inches long. What time was she born? 2:38...I missed it by 8 minutes. Yes, Momma does know best.

Because she still had no name at this point, little Baby Girl Masterson was cleaned off and weighed, and her new Mom and Dad cried and smiled and did all that fun stuff. The staff worked on getting me all cleaned up, and then the Dr. asked what she could do for me. I told her I wanted to go home. Now. I was done, I had done my part, I had kids that needed their Mom. She looked at me as if I were crazy. I asked ten more times, and she finally told me I had to stay at least 8 hours. I had the nurses take the new family to another room, and changed back into my clothes, and sat on the edge of the bed waiting to go home for 6 1/2 hours. I was discharged at 10:45, a little over 8 hours later. I am surprised they didnt call the mental home.

The baby had to stay in the nursery overnight, so they made me hold her while we rolled over there in the wheelchair. I remember feeling bad for L*, because she was already fiercely protective of the baby, and didnt look too happy I was holding her. I think she asked why I had too, as well, and I remember being annoyed for the first time.I put her flat on my thighs, and rolled that way. Never kissed her, hugged her...still stuck in surrogacy mode. The nurses in the nursery started talking to me, and I told them that it was their baby...talk to them. They thought I was nuts too...but at the time it all seemed very justified to me.

The ride home was quiet at best. M* & L* weren't allowed to stay in the hospital without me, and I knew they were upset I wanted to go home. That, I genuinely did not feel bad about. I hate hospitals. Wanted out. They dropped me off, and said they'd see me in the morning. I remember walking into my house, like nothing had happened. The kids were happy to see me, my husband was shocked I was back so quick. I sat on the couch and watched tv. Talked to him for a bit about how beautiful the whole experience was. Went to bed. Slept great.

The next day the picked me up so we could have the baby taken home. She still had no name. I remember thinking, "WTF...you've wanted a kid for 10 years and don't have a name picked out?", but it was fleeting. I let L* sit in the chair and get wheeled out with the baby, and I remember carrying the car seat and a diaper bag. People stopped her over and over to congratulate her on her baby. I didn't correct anyone, and told them not to either. It felt like it took an hour to get her in the car, and I remember standing at the top of the parking garage thinking what a nice day it was. And I was getting tired, and dizzy, and that they needed to hurry up. L* got in the backseat with the baby and I climbed in front. I remember thinking it was wierd to sit in the front seat. I had been in their car a million times, and never had that occur. I remember thinking it was because Mommy sits in the backseat, and I started to get really teary when M* was thanking me over and over again.

When we got to my house, I gave each of them a huge hug, trying to hide tears, and never looked back at the baby. I walked in my house, smiled, and locked myself in the bathroom for 30 minutes, waiting to cry. The tears never came....

*Footnote...No, I did not discuss the adoption with my own children. I was NEVER ashamed of what I was doing, I just didnt know how to bring it up. And they never even realized I was pregnant. My super smart kids overlooked the little bit of weight I put on, and since they didn't ask, I didnt tell. If it is ever brought up by one of them, I will explain myself. I may tell them one day on my own. It just won't be today. Please save any lectures on your views on this. Thanks

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some Background on My Story

Many different people from all walks of life are affected by adoption. I had never really had experience with it, nor planned to...until July of 2008.

At the time, my husband and I had been together for 9 years, and were happily raising our three children as best as we could. Things were tight, but we both worked full time, and managed to get by from month to month. Despite the birth control I was on, somehow, during the fabulous events of his birthday weekend, there I was...pregnant. Our way of handling it was ignoring it, convinced it wasn't really happening. Word of advice...just because you tell yourself "this isn't really happening" it probably is anyways. At least it was in my case. Abortion was never an issue. Partly because we are not big supporters of it, and partly because by the time we accepted what was going on, it was too late. We went back and forth for days that seemed like weeks and weeks that seemed like years debating what to do. My husband removed himself from the situation, mentally. He never said anything for months.

I began talking to agencies, one after another and was getting so frustrated. Prior to this, I had carried with me the stigma of what I thought birthmothers were. It was strange to have a prejudice that I had never even realized, and then to be placed in the same situation. I guess ignorance is bliss. Me being me (and a true Aquarius I might add), I decided that Adoption was my Option, and nothing would sway me from it.  I gave up on the agencies, hopped on Craigslist (CRAZY-I KNOW) and found my Aparents. They were wonderful people, I was comfortable, and my husband left all planning to me. We did not use an agency, instead I honored their wishes to use the Maricopa County Attorney's office. This was very, very cost effective for them, and since I figured everything was going to be fine...why not? Bad choice.....

They went to every doctor's appointment with me, emailed regularly, and we really built a great relationship. There were times when it was tense...I often sensed bitterness or jealousy (if even only a bit) from my amom, but I always wrote it off to her own issues of nervousness. My goal, throughout the entire pregnancy, delivery, and placement, was to show them how amazing this whole process can be and let them experience every little bit. I never at any point though about my own feelings. My little inner voice was calm and peaceful all during the pregnancy. I felt I was doing a good thing. I gave them all of the little parenting tips I could, fun books, anything to tell them about the realities of raising a baby. I told them everything she did in my tummy, showed them the wonders of Babycenter.com, and answered every weird question they came up with. I never picked her name, wanting that to be solely their choice. And until the last month of pregnancy, I really didnt even think I'd want visits or need couseling. That's where an agency would have come in handy, I think.

Now for some reason, I technically have 4 children, but have never really "gone into labor". I have always had to be induced. The night before she (who was still not named at that point) was born, my husband finally broke his silence. He screamed and cried and yelled, "What have we done, What are we doing?" over and over and over and over again...perhaps trying to snap me out of whatever trance I was in. I told him to shush, and that everything was fine. At this point I was still in LaLa Land. I got up early the next morning, and hopped in the car to go have THEIR baby. I never identified with her as mine. From the minute I met her Aparents, I switched into "surrogacy mode" and that never shut off. I always referred to her as "their" baby, to my family, to them, to my friends, to anyone who would listen. I was not ashamed, I was proud to be helping them. I always read about coersion (sp?) from lawyers and agencies...but in our experience, I was the one that did all that. I must have told them a million times I wouldn't change my mind...and never once did I think about doing so. I was CONVINCED moreso than anything else, that she was meant for them.

My fingers are sore and this is pretty rambling, so I will finish tomorrow.

Till then....

The begging wishes of a crazy woman-October

So this following letter was what I sent to the Adoptive parents at the beginning of October. I was scared to death that they would deny my request, but they granted it. It was an awkward meeting to say the least, but at least it gave me a hint of closure. I will post further insight on the visit in another post. For now, here's my letter.

Hi Guys,

So nice to hear from my most favorite new parents!!!! Well...It is 182 days into this crazy little journey of ours, and I was beyond happy to get your update. And am anxiously awaiting your pictures. I am so happy to hear that things are well, and that you FINALLY got a chance to show her off to family and friends. I bet they were amazed! No doubt she is adorable with as much love as she's getting.

I am sending over a few pictures that I had stored on my camera, in case you wanted them. Not many, but I wasn't thinking straight at the time, and didn't take that many. I know that you guys had taken some at the hospital of the three of us, and if you still have those, I would love to be able to get a copy if its ok.

I really want to tell you both, very much, how much it means to me that you take the time to send the notes of what she's doing. I know your lives are busy with so many things, and taking the time to fit me in goes so far with me. I would love to hear as often as you'd like to send...not just Lauren, but about you guys too. My interest lies far beyond Lauren...I fell so much in love with you guys in our months together, and it is very sad not to have you around now. Which leads me to my next topic...

I have been sitting here for months trying to figure out how to send you the rest of this email. Especially after the gift I sent you was marker "Return to Sender". I sat for days trying to figure out why you wouldn't want it. This is hard for me, very hard, and above all else, I do not want to say or do ANYTHING that changes the blessings you bestow by sending those updates. I do not want to make you or M* uncomfortable, I don't want to be imposing, and in all honesty, I am terrified of ruining what I am already lucky to have. I am going to be as honest as I can with you, as I always have been and see where that goes. And if I should have already "taken the hint", then forgive me of my ignorance.

I finally broke down and got the internet at home, and I haven't figured out if it is a blessing or a curse yet. One thing the web does is provide tons of information on many many things, and so I have been visiting adoption forums one after the other trying to see what other people have gone through and how they have coped and how they are coping. And what other adoptive parents think about their birthmoms after the fact. And what type of "after arrangements" people have. Some people never talk again, some people have BBQ's ever weekend (which I think is crazy), some people are positive, some are not. I have had some of the greatest insight given to me, and I have had emails that made me feel like I am the biggest piece of crap to ever grace this planet. There is so much unsureness in the whole world of adoption. Everyone has a different situation, and a different way of dealing with things before, during, and after. After reading, and writing, and talking to 100 different people from all over the world, it dawned on me...why not just ask the ones that matter?

I have to tell you...I really thought that I was 100% fine with the concept of adopting. And I thought I handeled it well. Truth be told, I didn't. I have alot of regrets. A lot of them. They eat at me most days, throughout all nights. I don't sleep anymore. It really kinda sucks. The ONLY thing I do not regret is choosing you and M*. I wish I would have held her, I wished I would have insisted she was named so I could stop staring at all these bills that say "Baby Girl Masterson" on them. I wish I would have seen a counseler. I wish I would have known that not having an afterplan was beyond stupid. And on, and on...

I really screwed up in not figuring out what it was that I wanted afterwards. In fact, I never really thought about afterwards. I genuinely thought it would be like "Juno". Needless to say it wasn't. I thought originally I wanted no contact. And then we worked toward some contact. I really don't know what I was thinking. And I don't want to burden you with where my grief lied, or lies. This should be a happy time for everyone. I simply need a little closure.

I guess what I am asking, in all the rambling, is if you both would consider a visit with me? Just me...not P*.

Big question, I know. And no matter what you choose, I won't be angry. Legally, you don't ever have to see me again. And I respect that. And I don't plan on crying and be a mess and ruin anyone's good time. But I would love to sit with the two of you and hear your experiences throughout the aftermath.

I have so many questions. Did you get PAD? Do you regret anything? Do you wish I would go away?? There's millions of things I want to ask. No matter how the answers come out. While we were going through the whole process, I only knew two things. I wanted Lauren to be safe and Loved, and I wanted the two of you to be the ones to do it.

Adoption is a weird process. You cannot know it until you've lived it, and I never want to, nor do I have the strength to live it again. But in the "not knowing" I made alot of mistakes, and I would love some closure. I don't know if you guys have said "thank god its over...lets never think about adoption again". Me on the other hand, sit in the forums, going "How does anyone ever cope and finalize?" I am only beginning to research a subject that will have forever impacted my life. I was SO worried the whole time...the pregnancy, the birth...that you guys were enjoying yourselves as much as possible. I wanted it to be special for you. It became an obsession, and I never thought that there would be any effect on me. But there was.

So like I said, I would like a visit with you if possible. Whenever, and wherever you are both comfortable. I don't know your routine, I dont know your feelings afterwards, I don't know much of anything.

Take as much time as you need to think about it. And either way you decide, I will think no less of you. As I said earlier, legally-you owe me nothing. Personally, you don't either. It is so important to me that you are comfortable in your lives. I am not interested in sharing my pain....but I am dying to share in your joy, if only for a few hours. If your gut tells you "NO WAY", I will respect that, and not ask again. I look forward to your reponse...even if the answer is no.

And no matter what, please know that I am so thankful for your updates. I am looking forward to the pictures.

Lots of Love,

Healing A little at a time

I wrote this in May, after it had been a month. People always talk about how important it is to get support, and I very much agree. I denied needing any counseling before or after placement, thinking I could do it all on my own. I was right...to some degree, though some peace would have been much easier to find had I gotten real help. My personal support staff all ran in the other direction, as quickly as possible. These were my words after a very long drive home from work...

So it has been a month now...

Somewhere in the back of my mind I keep telling myself that I should be over it. That it shouldn't hurt anymore. Or more importantly, it should not have EVER hurt. But it does. And its not getting better. It's getting worse. Much worse...

When a decision as plain an simple as the one we made blows up in your face, it sets you back a little. Whether you want it to or not. You figure out pretty quick that no matter how well people mean, your grief and frustration makes them scatter like flies. That its easier to run from you, or ignore "it", avoid "it". Its like a huge atomic bomb dropped and everyone you know doesn't want to get dust from the fallout blast on their shiny new white shoes. (and I know that feeling...because I hate when new white shoes get dirty!!!!)

So then you get angry. Not slightly angry....more like wanting to slit throats in people's sleep angry. You hate EVERYBODY. It bleeds out from your pores. A friend of mine came up with this great analogy the other day about a sprinkler. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I hate all of you. And that's what pulses out of me every day. And then I feel stupid, because who am I to feel entitled that these people should give a rat's ass if I want to blow my head off or not. And believe me...I do want to.

I am a boss. Somewhat...sometimes...nobody has to really be my friend. Or maybe they are, and its just too weird to be around me now. Or maybe its none of that.

Driving home the other night, I pulled my car off to the side of the road and screamed at the top of my lungs for ten straight minutes. Banshee screamed! Cried, hit the wheel, hyper ventilated....the works. And then I drove home. Like nothing happened. Just like everyone wants it...nothing ever happened.

My other half is frustrated now with me too. In the beginning, he was a strong supporter. He watched while I cried, shriveled up, drank too much, ate WAY too little. Three weeks his loving vigil lasted. But since he's over it now, I should be too. Or so he says. Funny, considering I am the one who lived through this amputation of the soul...whether I chose to or not.

I hate working. I hate talking on the phone. I hate having to pretend that things are fine, when they are sooooooooo far from being fine.

My therapist said it takes time, and I should heal at my own pace. I wish I could have a huge pow wow and have her tell that to everyone else. Maybe then, someone would listen.

I wish things were back to normal too...believe me I do. But there is no getting back to normal. Something inside snapped. Something big. Something that took away all my sense of reasoning. How do I go to "functioning"? Forget normal. Functioning would be nice.

Believe you me, if I could have lived through it the way I intended to, unphased and unscarred I would have. One of my customers at work was talking to me about it the other night and he said, "Hon-you couldn't have really been thinking everything would be fine and you wouldn't hurt?" And I looked at him, half crazed, and told him thats EXACTLY what I thought was going to happen!!!!! That's the problem. It didn't turn out right.

Its not that I want back what was mine. Its not that I have regrets for the decision. That's part of the problem....I don't know where the problem started. When the shock wore off? When Sundays roll around? When some asshole asks me a totally inappropriate question?

How do you correct a problem when the right answer has been given?

And how long can you go crazy before you've gone as far as you can go?

My New Blog

Its been 9 1/2 months since placement, and so many different emotions have come and gone. I am an avid member of several online support groups, and read adoption blogs by the dozen. Now I feel it is time for one of my own. Over the next few days, I will be posting some old thoughts, some new thoughts, and anything else that pops into mind. This is my first attempt at blogging, so bear with me while I work the kinks out.