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.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always On Our BEST Behaviour...But why???

This post is not meant to offend anyone. The views and concerns expressed here are my own observations, and are not neccessarily proper, politically correct, or even things that should be said out loud. It is simply my opinion on what I have noticed when placed into a situation I really don't want to be involved in. Take it for what it is worth...

A few weeks ago, I found out that my best friend's sister was pregnant. It is not my place to share her situation, or her background with the rest of the bloggy world, but let's just say it's not good. After finding out that she was already five months, and that abortion was not a choice, she has decided to go the adoption route. So they came to me. Like I am an expert....lol. All I know are the blogs and the viewpoints, and the phone numbers, and the sites. I don't know anything about adoption as it relates to her...just as she knows nothing about adoption as it relates to me. But here I am, trying to help her navigate the path less taken...and now I am going to share my discoveries.

When I was pregnant, and starting my adoption journey, I did not have access to the internet. I did not spend hours searching profiles one by one trying to find "the perfect pair". You know my story...a lot of frustration, a well placed Craigslist Ad, and love at first sight is what brought me to my adoptive parents. I never looked at their "little book" or saw them on Parent Profiles...I simply knew. And for the most part it has worked out.

But this....this is different. For a lot of reasons. My involvement in  help T* find baby parents is limited to referrals really. I have been making the connections on various sites, passing along profiles of what I thought seemed to be good people. There is an amazing couple who has already been blessed through adoption that I really liked, and another one whom have had two failed placements. I cannot imagine their suffering, and I made her look at them twice...and wanted to make her pinky swear if she picked them she wouldn't change her mind. But what I have to tell myself over and over again is that this is not my decision...it is what's best for her and her unborn little one.

As a side note...I don't personally understand the moms who change their mind at the last minute. There is nothing wrong in them doing that...it's a given right. And I would never fault someone for changing their mind. It is, after all, THEIR child. I just don't understand it. When I saw my littlest one be born, I wanted her with my whole soul. My whole body and heart said "keep her..keep her..keep her..." but my head stepped in and reminded me that my heart would never change the circumstances surrounding my decision to place. Short of a shiny glass slipper or three magical beans...nothing was going to change that. But now I am off on another tangent.


My point of this post was to talk about "Best Behaviour" and how I think it relates to adoption. I have mentioned before that I feel it ridiculous that there are so many hoops that adoptive parents have to jump through, and after looking at a hundred different profiles in the last week...I feel even stronger about that. This is not a "pity for adoptive parents" post any more so than it is a "woe is me-the birthmom" post. Its just my views on all of the craziness that I have noticed.

I obviously don't understand infertility. I have had 5 children, and seem to be immune to birthcontrol. If my husband stands too close to me and the wind is blowing in the right direction, I get pregnant. For me...that is a curse of sorts. But I am aware that there are so many who would gladly trade places with me. The grass is always greener...My mother had three children, so no fertility problems there. My younger brother, on the other hand, has an almost zero sperm count, and combined with the medical issues his wife has, they will probably never have children. My younger sister is also infertile. She had poly ovarian something or other, and her doctors are totally convinced she will never have children. My brother is broken over their news, while my sister rejoices. I guess it's different for everyone. What bothers me, is that I can get pregnant as many times as I want and it wouldn't matter if I was a terrible person. I made them...I can keep them. There are people who have babies to keep troubled relationships together...there are babies made from crazy drunken one-night-stands...all of these people and all of these babies. I cannot imagine the frustration that these infertile women go through.

And then when they decide to try adoption...my god! Its like a Salem Witch hunt. I am not saying that some type of homestudy or background check shouldn't be done...but the extremes to which it goes just irritates me to no end. But again...I am off track.

What I have noticed in all of these profiles are some very similar themes.  Now, I don't know if there are "requirements or elements" that have to be satisfied in these, but they all feature pretty much the same things. I am sure that the point of the profiles is to showcase themselves at their very best, perhaps to fufill the "picture perfect, fairy tale ending" for a baby in order to attract a birthmom. Nice house, nice cars, always tons of hobbies, and I notice that these profiles always mention that they live in a "fantastic school district". There is always the charming "About Us" story, where they met and fell in love at first sight. And then there are the crazy pictures of the couple with random kids...nieces, nephews, neighbours...and always at some fantastic place like Disneyland or the ocean, or a big carnival. And then finally...my personal favorite...the "About Husband from the Wife" and vice versa section. Sometimes I just shake my head and thank God I will never have to do that. I cannot imagine the stress and the frustration that must come in having to think all that up.

I never looked at L* & M*'s "little book". Looking back, and realizing how much effort probably went into it, I often wonder if that upset them. I told them from the start that I was more interested in seeing pictures of them after they had been wide awake and unshowered for three days. Or dragging all of those "nieces, nephews, and neighbour's kids" through Wal-Mart at 9 p.m. to do grocery shopping on a budget. Or when they were busting at the seams from a cold and a migraine, and still having to get up at 7a.m. to try and find a missing shoe or a homework packet. I wanted to know that they fought like normal people from time to time, and that they didn't have white furniture, and that their house could get messy. I secretley hoped that they too had to deal with a crazy ex wife, or anything that would make them more real. Even after telling them that, they ALWAYS maintained their "Best Behaviour". But why...? They knew I was giving them a child...they knew I would not change my mind...and they knew I just wanted them to be normal people who would love this baby more than they loved themselves. But the plastic facade remained. And it is currently sitting in thousands of hopeful couples profiles. Personally...I think its bullshit. I understand the logic...but I still think its bullshit.

If I had ever been infertile...I would have lived a completely childless life. Very truly. I would never be able to jump through the hoops, and the red tape. I met my husband at work, while he was going through the world's nastiest divorce, and it took months to decide I loved him enough to deal with the baggage that came with him. I LIVE in Walmart...truly, I am there every day. Target is too rich for my blood. I don't run off to the zoo or an aquarium with a bunch of kids when I have free time. As for hobbies...yeah right. I have them...but NEVER have the time to actually do them. I work and work and work. My house is not a trainwreck, but it is very well lived in. I would not pass a white glove test...ever. My house isn't even child proofed, unless you consider two cupboard latches. If I had to sit down and write a 500 word essay on what I think of my husband it would probably include that he is intelligent, and dedicated, and has a great sense of humor. But somewhere in there, it would have to say, "He may be an ass...but he's MY ass!". And as far as him writing about me....I can only imagine. Its not that we aren't a strong couple who loves each other come what may...It's simply that we do not know how to "put on the show". And thankfully, we do not have to.

I always read about open communication, and honesty being key in balancing successful open adoptions. I also read about all of the birthmoms who had terrible experiences after the communication and honesty stopped. After reading a particularly sad story about that the other night, I had a rare opportunity to talk with my husband about all of this. "Adoption" is almost as bad of a word to him as "Yankees", and generally he won't talk about it. 

I was talking about all of the "plasticness" and his views were interesting to hear. While I don't neccessarily agree, he did make some good points. He pointed out that perhaps some aparents...after spending years going to classes and homestudies, and books, and pass along cards, and pitying looks from others...maybe they can't help their actions. Maybe after having so many people so far up in their business, and all of the money it takes to get through the process...maybe it is just human nature to take the baby and run. Maybe they feel that they have "paid their dues" and that they experienced mountains of paperwork and red tape as their "labor"...while all I had to do was get an epidural, six little pushes, and then take a nap. He wasn't making excuses for those aparents that cut off their birthmom's...he was simply playing Devil's Advocate with me.  But perhaps there is some truth in that. 

I have mentioned before that I wish my aparents were involved in the adoption community. I understand that they "just want to be parents", and while I can't really fault them for it, the fact still remains that their story would probably provide some inspiration to other hopeful adoptive parents. I LOVE their story (though I may be very biased because I played such a big part in their "happiest ending available")  and am so sorry and frustrated that they keep it so quiet. While they did not have an easy journey to get to me...once we connected, it was pretty much "smooth sailing" for them. I fought with doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, social workers,  any and everyone who ever tried to make L* & M* feel like outsiders. I let them have as much involvement as they wanted, reassuring them if I needed to. It took hours of pep talks and dozens of emails from me before they finally loosened up enough to go buy a crib and start preparing to become parents. I was low key, and low maintanence as far as birthmom's go. I sacrificed my own needs to ensure theirs were met when it came to the birth and the bonding. I did not stop the placement. I let them experience as much as they could, since I had already. I personally feel like I should get a gold star for being such a "problem free" tummy mummy.

But even after becoming parents, there is still some of that "best behaviour" on display. I don't get many pictures or emails from them now, and never any phone calls or texts (which I would love), but when they do come...its always all of the wonderful things that are happening with her, and a "thank you" for giving them the baby. Almost a year after placement, I don't really want "thank you's" anymore. I just want to know what is going on. I want to know if L* still has time to go to the gym 4 days a week. I want to know if M* is going to be able to see a spring training game or if they'll have to stay home because of the baby. I want to know if they "feel" like they are really her parents, or if they feel like substitutes. I wish that they would push the facade away long enough to realize that whats done is done, and I would really just like to be their friends. Not their daughters birthmom...just their friends. I would like to see a game together. I would like to go shopping with L* one day. Have a drink or a dinner. Anything that shows we are two sets of very real people who have had very real struggles in life, but are overcoming them and moving on.

This post is beginning to frustrate me, because it has branched off in 10 different directions, and now in between the kids and the three days I have been working on it here and there, I have lost my original point.  I guess its just to say that its ok to just be who you are, and its far better than trying to be perfect all of the time. We are humans, whether BMom, AMom, Mom, sister, wife, or child.

If they can't love you at your worst...they don't deserve to love you at your best.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Coming to Terms with My Parallel Lives (Alpha and Omega)...PT TWO

Ten years ago, long before I had any real life exposure or opinion on Adoption, I chose to sign custody of my 2 year old child over to her Father when I divorced him. Over the years, I have lost many friendships and relationships with loved ones regarding this decision. I have been belittled, ridiculed, looked down upon, disowned....you name it, someone has said it or done it. So much so, that eventually...I just stopped talking about her. But no matter how nasty people have been about it, I have NEVER backed down on my opinion that it was the best decision for her. I will go to my grave feeling it was the best choice, and no matter how hard it is, I will (and have been for 10 years) live with the issues that it has created in all of our lives.

When the divorce was new, I would always tell people I had a child from my previous marriage. But, without fail, they would look around and ask where she was. And I would get into the story of how I chose what I thought was best for her and how her Father had custody, and the same thing would ALWAYS happen. People would instantly judge, and form their own opinion of what they thought of me. Many friendships were lost over the years, and at times it feels like there is a great divide in my own family between the love and attention that is shown to Taryn vs my three others...though that discussion is a whole other blog in itself. It is amazing to me how many people who hear my story instantly think the worst of me. There is a tremendous prejudice in the world against Mother's who do not maintain custody of their children whether it is for the best or not. Birthmoms know this pain, and I certainly learned it in the decade between signing custody papers and signing relinquishment papers. It was very wearing on me, and would put me in a bad mood for such long periods of time. Eventually I got to a point where I just stopped talking about her, unless I was close to the person I was having the conversation with. I never forgot her...I simply got tired of airing my business to strangers to judge me. I am sure that many Birthmoms and Adoptive Parents feel the same way at times.

When I found out I was pregnant in 2008, and made the choice to begin the adoption journey, Taryn weighed heavy in my decision. I could see that there were many parallels in the story between my first daughter, and the little girl who would be my last. I had seen first hand that sometimes it is a better (though NOT an easier) decision to let another raise a life you created. That there are times when choosing to let go will give them the opportunity to gain so much more. I knew that it would hurt like hell, and that there would be days where I would feel like the world was ending, but that I would make it through anyways. I knew that I had made a lot of mistakes when it came to my relationship with Taryn, and I swore I would not make those mistakes with this one. I would be as involved as possible, and it gave me a new insight on how to begin building a better relationship with Taryn. So I was pretty confident that because I had lived through all of the heartache and judgement regarding Taryn that I was experienced enough to handle the adoption. That is a huge reason I thought I would come out of the adoption feeling great about my choice and would heal easily.

As we know, I did not handle the adoption well. The situations, though similar in someways, have vast differences. For one, I did not spend two years with the baby. I do not know her. And I truly do not know her parents. I know what is visible to the world, but the adoption takes great faith on my part, since I did not live the "behind the scenes" that I did with Taryn. It takes much more patience, and I tread far more carefully knowing what is at stake.

This past year has been very eye opening to me, as my relationship with Taryn has evolved to a different level. Things had been pretty quiet for a little while, and then one of her relatives befriended me on Facebook and started writing nasty things all over the pictures of my kids. So I had to delete them...both the comments and the person. Then, shortly before Christmas, (and three days after the deletion) Taryn sent me an email that broke my heart. It was written from a very angry, hurting 12 year old who wanted me to know how much my decision affected her for the worst. She unloaded all of her hate, and her hurt, and told me that I was not her Mom, never was...that she had shed her last tear over me and that I was dead to her. She was done. She hated me for not loving her, and hated me more for leaving her. She ranted that my three children did not replace her, and that she never wanted to talk to me again.

Allow me to point out that thankfully this happened after the adoption was 8 months old, or I may not have gone through with it. I sat there stunned for days. I knew I made the right choice. I still know that. She has had everything she could ever dream of for the last 10 years. But like my Mom said, "Sometimes everything you need is not everything you want!"

Taryn was angry. More angry than I knew she was capable of ever being. I didn't know what to do, so I tried to call and reason with her. I asked her if she wanted to talk now, or wait until after Christmas was over, and she demanded to talk now. So I went into my discussion with her about "what I thought was best" and all about the amazing opportunities she had that my other three did not, and gave her every reason I could ever think of to explain why I did what I did. I told her that she was most loved, and wanted, and that my choice was not taken lightly, and that I bleed for her every day, but that I was not sorry for my choice. I would apologize for her hurt and her anger, but not for the decision. And I cried, and she cried, and then she hung up on me. And text me for the next fifteen minutes about how dare I call her and ruin her Christmas, and how she hated me so much. And I just sat there stunned.

And then it occured to me, that someday this will happen with the baby. At least it is a possibility. So in one year, I am dealing with the loss that comes with Adoption, and a "reunion" of sorts with my first child where she is demanding answers other than the ones I have prepared over the last ten years. How can I not compare Adoption and Divorce when it comes to this? And this may be a big part of why the adoption is affecting me differently from what I thought it would. I was not prepared for that happens when the best is not good enough.

A little over a month ago, Taryn got a Facebook page for herself. Whether it was intentional, or coincidental, she sent Friend's Requests immediately to all of my family...even my 8 yr old son (who is only allowed his page to play games with his Grandpa...save the lectures). The point is, she refused to send one to me. Instead of sending one to her, I sent her a message that said I acknowledged she had a page and that if she ever wanted to, she could send me one. That there was no pressure or obligation, but that is would be welcomed, and that I loved her very much and was here IF AND WHEN she was ever ready. For a month...nothing. She would comment all over everyone else's page and even chat with my son. But no request.

Then, after coming home late from my Birthday party this week, I checked my FB page...and there it was. A Friend's Request from Taryn and a very cute little birthday poem that had the word "Mom" in it. It was the end to a long day that had begun with a beautiful email from the Baby's parents. Kind of an Alpha and Omega...the first and the last type thing. My circle of Motherhood was complete that day, for the first time ever. And I was thankful.

The road ahead will continue to be long and difficult, as I must deal with all of my life's "chapters" finding their place in the story that is my world. But at least there is hope.

Coming to Terms With My Parallel Lives (Alpha and Omega)...PT ONE

I started this blog to help me start healing with the loss and grief surrounding adoption that hit me completely by surprise. To help me look directly at myself and write it all down...the good and the bad. It is not so that others can feel sorry for me, or that they can agree with me. It is strictly FOR ME to confess my sins and then deal with them here. It is my way of looking at myself in the mirror. I have never kept a journal in my life, but somehow this is freeing and comforting to me. It IS my therapy. It is my refuge, where I can throw all my love and my hate and my dedication and my confusion and then be done with it. But like therapy, I think it only works if you take it seriously and are honest with it. In dealing with my adoption journey, there is a very big chapter that I have left out of my story, and recent events are now forcing me to deal with it. So I come here, loving Blog...looking for clarity once more....

I have been reading a lot of blogs lately, and have heard the outrage that comes when people compare adoption to other things, such as death, or more importantly divorce. And it seems to me that there is always an outrage at that. People get angry at the comparision, and comment wars start, and it gets ugly quickly. Consider this my disclaimer now...I am going to make some of those comparisons, BECAUSE THIS IS MY BLOG, and it is where I need to go at this time. I am going to do this blog in two parts...one to give background to the story...and the second to show how it directly affected my adoption decision, and is educating me further on what's to come ahead on my adoption journey.

I have always lived my life in "chapters". I am like a chameleon, in that I assimilate into whatever is going on, and do not remember a life before it or worry about what is to come after it. I sink my entire soul into whatever chapter I am on, and do not linger heavily in the past, or worry too much about the future. My life keeps me busy enough that I don't have much time to worry about either. I am not one of those people who maintains constant contact with friends from 20 years ago. I do not have "roots". I like to relocate every few years. Being in one place too long is not good for me...my soul is that of a restless wanderer. And because of that, it takes an enormous amount of attention and focused dedication to maintain the relationships that are important in my life. And it takes a tremendous amount of acceptance and patience from those who need to love me. It is NOT something to be proud of, but at a very real level, it is who I am. There is a lot about me that is bad...that needs work...that is selfish and hateful. And there is a lot about me that is good too, especially the wisdom that comes with life experience.

"Chapter One" of my Adult Life started in 1996, 8 days after high school graduation, when I married my "high school sweetheart". Don't let the cutesy title fool you...I knew when I said "I do" that I really didn't, and being young and foolish, I assumed that it would be easy as pie to get a divorce when I was bored with it. (oh the ignorance of youth!) Not that there was or is anything wrong with him. In fact, he is actually a very nice guy. Midwestern, Christian, polite, a good Dad...just not the right person for me. He was active duty military and I was a Manager for a Big Box retailer, so we each worked 60-70 hours a week and rarely saw each other. We had a child in 1997, and while life was wonderful with her, things were no different with him. He was actually in Japan when she was born. For 2 years, I worked 18 hour days, and lived my own life. So did he. We were polar opposites, and the worst possible match that could have ever been made, but from our two sets of genes, we managed to make a miracle. Taryn was born, and since birth has been gorgeous as she is brillant. At age 2, she could carry on a full conversation with an adult. She is a rare, wonderful gift to this planet, full of beauty and light and wisdom well beyond her years. And yes, she is "my" child.

Whoa....wait a minute...3 (that I am raising) + 1 (that was placed in April) + 1 (That we are talking about right now)= 5 children that I fit the Webster's dictionary version of mother to. But I only parent three.

This is where it gets weird... In the current chapter of my life, it is easy for me to say I have three kids when I run into people at the grocery store, or when I am talking to someone new in passing. It is also a true fact, that in this current life, more people know that I placed a child for adoption than those who know I have a 12 year old child from my first marriage. That's strange right? Not really. Let me explain...

When I divorced from my ex, we sat Taryn down and discussed with her that her Dad and I were not going to live together anymore. We asked her who she wanted to live with. She chose NEITHER of us...instead choosing her "Nana", who was at this point basically her babysitter. (Granted, she was amazing, loved Taryn like no other, and will always be beyond special to me-no matter how far apart we have grown. She loves Taryn just as much as any of her biological grandchildren, if not more so) Who could blame Taryn for her reasoning? We both were gone all of the time. I was much more dedicated at the time to advancing my career than I was to spending time with my family. At that time, I didn't know what I was missing. I thought if I worked hard while she was young, that I would have more time in the future to enjoy her later when she was older and would remember more of our time together.

So at that time, I made a decision that I felt was in the best interest of my first born child. I was relocating to be closer to work, and she was going to be in Day Care a lot. 10-12 hours a day. So that she could be with the people she loved most, and was comfortable with, I made the somewhat controversial decision to allow my ex husband to have custody of her.

Our marriage was over long before it started, and even the arrival of Taryn did not change that. As time went on, and I grew more and more unhappy, I started thinking of ways out. I stayed far longer than I had wanted, because I knew that there were going to be issues regarding what was best for her. I did not do it to relieve myself of the responsibility of being her parent, any more so that I chose to do it so I could run off with "my new boyfriend" (who happens to now be my husband of ten years). I did it because right, wrong, or indifferent...I felt it was best for her. She would be with her beloved babysitter the same amount of time as usual, and I would be able to visit her as often as I wanted. My ex drove back to our parent's hometown every other weekend, so she would still be able to see all of her grandparents and other people with whom she was so close. She would have access to all of the wealth and resources that his family had, and I knew that she wouldn't want for anything. If I had taken her, she would have bounced from day care to day care and never seen any of her relatives or extended family, because time was not something I had an excess of, and I knew I wouldn't be taking her to see anyone. I didn't want her to miss out...so after what had already been months of careful contemplation, I signed over custody. I thought that things would be perfect. She would only be an hour and a half from me, and I would have access to see her whenever I wanted to. The divorce was clean, no fighting, no yelling, just two people moving on in different directions with their life. Nothing had occured that would make me think otherwise.

Shortly thereafter, my military ex decided to (completely out of the blue to me) elope with Nana's oldest daughter in Vegas and transfer to Texas. So much for her being close, and me having lots of visits...right?

When she was little, I tried hard to communicate with her as often as I could, but she was too young to really carry on a long distance relationship. As more time passed, in her mind S* (my ex's new wife) became her Mom, and I graduated to some long forgotten fairy tale. I would always think about her, and smile and cry, and hurt and ache, and ponder my decision. But even when it got overwhelming, I would stand firm that I made the right choice. As the years went on, and my other children were born, and her parents had another child, we seperated further and further from one another, until she had little to no memories of ever being with me full time. Those memories are forever etched into my soul, and forever erased from hers.

S* is a wonderful person, whom has loved Taryn as long as she has been alive. She has always been polite to me, and never openly hostile, and the two of them are a great fit for one another. They were together and married before I could even blink an eye, and long before my husband and I got married. So Taryn was whisked to TX for many years. The only ones that got to see her where their two sets of parents who flew there, and my mom if they happened to travel to the area. I did not have the resources to travel cross country to see her. Many years went by and a few relocations as well...North Carolina, California...anywhere but where I am. So needless to say, I can count on one hand the amount of times I have seen Taryn in the last ten years.

A lot of that is my fault. Actually Most of it, once you rule out their relocating. There have been several times when she has only been three or four hours away and I was invited to visit, and I didn't make it. Usually due to finances or car issues...funny how life always throws wrenches in the machine when its important. We go in spurts on phone calls, where we will call each other all the time, and then not call for a year. I keep up with her from stories my family tells me, and pictures I see online.

She is 12 now...growing up too fast. She is still far more intelligent than all those around her, and in some ways is my spitting image both in personality and physically. She is the super tall, thin one in a house of not so tall people. She is witty, funny, and very opinionated. She is being raised well, by people who love her, and by those she refers to as "her Mom and Dad". She gets perfect grades in school, does different types of dance classes with plenty of recitals, has my love for music, is always traveling everywhere, and is surrounded with nice homes, cars, and things.

I was right when it came to that part of the decision...when it comes to seeing relatives and having material possessions...she wants for nothing. And from the outside looking in, as I have done for the last ten years, her life appears perfect.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Anyone that knows me knows how insane I am when it comes to my birthday. I LOVE my birthday. From the moment I wake up until the minute I close my eyes, and every moment in between...it is the ONE day of the year that is all about me.

I throw selflissness and humility aside, and make sure I get center stage. Christmas is for my kids. Anniversaries are an excuse for the hubby to get a full body massage. Valentine's Day is a Hallmark creation. But MY birthday is sacred...at least to me. It is the one day of the year that I do not let "real life" touch me. There is no sadness allowed to ruin my parade. It is the one day a year I think only rainbows, butterflies, and Balloons. God, do I love Balloons. Forget the roses...I will take a brightly colored bunch of balloons over almost anything.

This year, however, is my first birthday post adoption. I have to admit, I was a little worried about that. While I do not consider it as a bad thing, little negative or sad thoughts run in and out of my mind for a split second here and there A LOT these days. I think most first moms know what I mean when I say that Adoption is kind of like a constant dull ache. Not enough to immobilize you, but just enough that you are always aware of it. And today, I did NOT want to be aware...I wanted to be ignorant.

Imagine my total shock and surprise when I opened my inbox this morning, and there was an email from L*, my AMommy. And this was not the typical email either. It was NOT a baby update (though she promised to send one in a couple of weeks). It was long, it was heartfelt, and it was all about ME!!! About how often they think of me, and WHAT they think of me, and of how much they love me. And that today...they really hoped I was celebrating "me" and what a wonderful person I am, as they do every day.

I was shocked. And then I felt bad, because my last blog post was the rant and rave about some issues I was having in my head and heart with them. But like we've all said...this is a lifelong rollercoaster.

Today was a peak...a very high point, on my most favorite day.

"Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again." ~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My irritation with "Privacy"...A random vent on nothingness

So today is one of those "bad days" that we all encounter. It was not provoked by anything new...just an ongoing irritation that I have. And make no mistake...one "not so happy blog post" does not over rule my overall positive thoughts on my adoption outlook. It is just one of those things that I can't rant about out loud to my family, or to my AParents, or to my facebook page...so it comes here. I don't want any resolution for it. I just want to vent.

I will start with my irritation at my own level of "privacy". I am annoyed, outraged, irritated...whatever you want to call it...at having to be careful about what I say in the public forums such as Facebook. My husband chose not to be open about our adoption plan with the people he knew. For six months, I was banned from his place of employment, so no one would realize I was pregnant. He was not comfortable talking about or sharing with anyone our choice. So no one on "his side" knew. And more power to him...that was his decision. Where I find irritation with it, is in the fact that because of this, I have to be careful about where I talk about adoption now. I cannot comment on a lot of the things I see happening and changing in the adoption community on Facebook, nor can I publicly post about this blog or any time I get featured on a site, for fear of him freaking out about it. And I have to monitor how much stuff regarding adoption shows up on my page, or he will get upset. It bothers me, because I do not feel I should have to hide or limit my actions in the adoption community. I have a loud, intelligent, strong voice, and I do not like having it silenced. Not by anyone. Least of all my husband.

The other side of the privacy problem lies in my dealings with my Aparents, which recently have become null and void. A few weeks ago, I got to be part of a very positive spotlight on another blog, and was quite proud of it. When I shared that news with my adoptive parents, and asked if they wanted to participate, I was met head to head with a blaring "No Way". And then asked to never use their names or pictures in anything. And then told that they had zero interest at this time to be involved at all with anyone in the adoption community. And I have not recieved any further updates or pictures since then.

These people (whom I do still love no matter what...make no mistake!) are two of the biggest privacy freaks I have ever met. And it bothers me. They know where I live, they know where I work, they know everything. Yet they will share none of their information with me. I get a PO Box, and a vague description of their lives. Which is amazing in this time of the internet and quick access to public records. In reality, I have known where they live since I chose them. I even Google Earthed their house once. Do I drive by it at all hours of the night hoping to catch a glimpse of them? HECK NO. But I don't understand their choice to be so secretive, when the information is out there.

Another thing that annoys me, is my Amom's profile on facebook has been locked up tight and she removed her picture, even though I have never tried to contact her or any of her friends. Does it matter to anyone but me that I liked to stare at a picture one of the most amazing mothers I will ever encounter? I find irritation in that, because I know that there are probably dozens of pictures of that beautiful little baby on her profile. How hard would it have been for her to send me a friend's request so that I could share in those? Even if she had said, "Please don't ever contact me on there, or comment on anything" that would have been fine. At least I could have looked.

I have over 75 friends on FB and only about 10 of them do I ever interact with directly. But to be blocked? I think that is a little screwed up. Anyone who wants to befriend me on FB is welcome. I love sharing in people's lives, even if not directly. I am able to see pictures of my best friend of 6th grades family, not from the people whom I gave a child too? Very strange.

  At times, I am envious of the people out there with their fully open adoptions...complete with regular visits. Her birthday is in a month and a half. Would I love to attend her party, like so many others get to? Of Course!!! I can behave. I can pretend I am simply a friend. No one even has to know who I really am. But I can almost bet on the fact that when that day rolls around, I will be the LAST person to get sent a pretty pink invitation. And what's ironic, is that if I chose to, despite their best efforts, I could show up on their doorstep that day. And of course, I WOULD NOT...but they hide so far behind that wall of secrecy they have created to sleep soundly at night thinking that I know nothing. It just seems wrong to me.

Rob Thomas "Someday"
You can go, you can start all over again
You could try to find a way to make another day go by
You can hide, hold all your feelings inside
You could try to carry on when all you wanna do is cry

And maybe someday we'll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
And try to find a way to make things better now that
Maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud
We'll be better off somehow, someday

Now we wait and try to find another mistake
If you throw it all away then maybe you could change your mind
You can run, oh, and when everything is over and done
You could shine a little light on everything around you
Man, it's good to be someone

And maybe someday we'll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to make things better now that
Maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud
We'll be better off somehow, someday

And I don't wanna wait, I just wanna know
I just wanna hear you tell me so
Give it to me straight, tell it to me slow

'Cause maybe someday we'll figure all this out
We'll put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to just feel better now that
Maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud
We'll be better off somehow, someday

'Cause sometimes we don't really notice
Just how good it can get
So maybe we should start all over
Start all over again

'Cause sometimes we don't really notice
Just how good it can get
So maybe we should start all over
Start all over again

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Sister's Keeper...My thoughts

A few nights ago I sat down and watched "My Sister's Keeper" and was really surprised at how I reacted to the movie. Of course I cried, and sobbed...I am a girl. And I am a Mother.

But what really amazed me was "what" about the movie impacted me so much. I know the loss that comes with losing a child, although thankfully mine did not die of cancer...she has simply moved on to her next life. What struck such a huge chord with me was Cameron Diaz's role.

Watching her one track, absolutely insane focus to keep her daughter alive blew my mind on a lot of different levels. Watching her scream, and kick, and fight, and finally break, touched me very deeply. Throughout the movie, the audience is able to see how her family reacts to her madness, from her husband who can take no more and suggests divorce, to the other two healthy children she neglects, and even to the sister who asks her who she is if not a "crazy bitch that is fighting for her daughters life".

Even I watched it and pointed out how nuts she was...how I felt she needed to let go of her own pain and focus on her family...how I could not imagine purposely sacrificing the well being of one of my children for another, how it was so obvious that she was disillusioned in regards to what was best for her daughter who was sick. And on and on and on.

And then it hit me.


I was sitting there...proud on my high horse...when it dawned on me that I had acted the EXACT same way in April. And May. And June. And July...and so on and so forth until I received the visit with the baby and her parents in October.

And at that moment it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

After my freakout after placement, I acted absolutely insane for months. I searched the internet for hours, days, weeks reading adoption blogs and forums. I cried non stop for hours on end. Days would go by and I wouldn't move from my bed. And I fought with anyone I came in contact with, whether they did anything or not. I obsessed so much over those feelings that everything in my life started falling apart. I ignored my kids. I lost focus at my job. My marriage started to crumble.

My husband would interrupt my long internet searches to remind me that there were three children here who needed my love and attention, and I would stare blankly at him, then the kids, and go right back to my search. I tuned them all out. It was as if they weren't here. Or not AS important as the baby. And I would get angry at any and all of them if they suggested I was wrong. Friends, family...didn't matter. At that point, I despised them all the same.

There was never a question that there was any other option besides adoption. In choosing to do that, not only was the baby able to have more, but my own children would not be forced to have any less. And two amazing people got to become parents after many years of disappointment and heartbreak. It was the best decision. It was a good decision. It was the RIGHT decision. And everyone around me knew it.

I, on the other hand, was so obsessed with "my fight", whether that was with myself or the supposed unfairness of all of it...I was too focused on the battle I was waging to see what very real harm I was causing to all of those around me who love me and count on me for my involvement in their lives. The "D" word became very frequent in arguments between my husband and I. My kids walked on pins and needles around me for fear of provoking an outburst. Friends distanced themselves. I changed jobs. And my warm fuzzy feelings about my adoptive parents would evaporate some days and I would picture them to be just as big of monsters as the cancer's role in that movie.

The point being...I was no better, and in a lot of respects worse, than the crazy, grief stricken mother in "My Sister's Keeper". I say worse, because this was simply a tear jerker movie. I was guilty of those trangressions in REAL LIFE to my REAL FAMILY.

And like her, I reached a breaking point as well. Though my child could not tell me that it was time to let go (she was 7 months old...:) she was able to sit up and stare at me and somehow manage to assure me that there are things in this life that will happen whether I want them to or not. And that it is ok to surrender to those things that are bigger than our own wishes. And that life will go on. As small as she was, the wisdom she passed to me with those big brown eyes could not be measured, it was so big.

When I got home from my visit in October, the first thing I did was kiss, hug, and hold my children. And I made a silent vow at that point, that no matter what happened, they would always be my primary focus. They would not lose their mother to her own demons. Granted, it would have been much cooler if we had all been sitting on a beach together as they were, frolicking in the waves as the sun set...but for us, some hugs and a trip to McDonalds sealed the deal.

I don't really know what my point is in sharing all of this...other than to once again remind everyone...myself included...that it's probably not a good idea to judge people because you never know what you will do in a particular situation until you have actually LIVED through it.

More to come soon....