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.

Monday, July 12, 2010

If I had it to do over...would I do it again???

I think it was Kelsey that recently said she sometimes needs to take a break from adoption blogging to clear her head, and I agree completely. The move has allowed me a lot of time to clear my head and try and gain some perspective. Sometimes distance is a good way to do that. Living here is like living on another planet. It is nothing like living in Phoenix. The land is wide open, the sky goes on for miles, and twice now I have seen rainbows in the early afternoon. There is a quiet calm to living here. I can see stars at night. My inner voice has been silent for days. I am in a less stressed, more peaceful state of mind. And I have had time to reflect on a lot of things. In the meantime, I have missed out on chat, neglected my blog, and done a lot of thinking. I think now is a good time to share those thoughts...


"If you could do it over would you still put your baby up for adoption? Like even if you could pick different parents or what ever - would you do that or did L and M ruin adoption for you? Do you think you should have just kept your baby instead?"
 
"Do you regret placing your child for adoption?" 
 
"Do you wish you didn't put your baby up for adoption because of her parents now or just wish you'd never done it at all? Do you think that they're going to mess her up because they are not nice people?"
 
"Okay, you've posted a lot about how you regret a lot about your adoption placement. Have you ever wished that you didn't place her, that you were the one raising her?"
 
I have this question sitting in my formspring account from seven different people, asked in seven different ways, (above are a few examples) and I thought it was time I should answer it...for the record. It's really a two part question, and while one answer always remains constant...the other changes frequently. If I had answered it a few weeks ago, it would have been a long winded, glaring, finger pointing session with regards to Lauren's parents, so I am glad I waited. This is my view today...
 
I have NEVER regretted my decision to choose adoption. I have spent a great many nights regretting ever even having sex so that I could get pregnant. I have regretted not educating myself on my options. I have regretted the lack of counseling, and the lack of a proper support staff. I have regretted a million different things, and find new ones daily, but I DO NOT regret adoption as my choice. You cannot regret a decision that you could not change. I could not keep her, and I knew that from the moment I saw the double lines on the pregnancy test. If you've read the blog for any length of time, you know the severity of the situation with regards to our finances at the time of the pregnancy. Two working parents, a nasty child support order that was suffocating us, a house we couldn't afford, and three starving children. No matter the size of my heart, no matter the wants of my soul, no matter anything...I could not afford to keep her. And when I look at it from that perspective...the sheer black and white (or in this case, the lack of green), nothing that L and M have done or will do, or will not do matters. (More on that later) Lauren could not stay with us. It was that knowledge that held me together through the pregnancy, and the entire journey of entering this unwanted membership into the Birthmother Club. The resources that are available to young, single women were NOT available to me. I looked into all of them. Financial assistance from the state was based on gross income, not net, and our gross was pretty nice, in all honesty. But once the State of California was done with us, it cost more money for Perr to go to work than what he brought home. For children that the mother won't even allow us to see. That is a whole other story unto itself though, and I don't feel the need to discuss it here, ever. We were not members of any church, and I wasn't going to join one for the sake of help. In fact, prior to placing, I swore that this whole situation was nothing to do with God, unless it was a "HA HA. Take that!" from the big man himself...though I feel much differently about that now. I remember telling L & M once, when I was trying to get them to relax about the possibility of me changing my mind about the adoption, that me trying to keep her would be the rough equivalent to the homeless people I see from time to time dragging a dog on a leash down the street...just not feasible. There were many reasons, but finances were always first and foremost. So for the record, once and for all, don't ever ask me if I regret my decision to choose adoption, because I don't. It was my only option.

The viewpoint that changes from day to day is on whether I regret my decision to place with L & M. In the beginning, I thought that they were perfect. Perfect to raise this child, perfect to build a life and relationship, perfect in every way. Then, as the newness of the adoption wore off, and the overwhelming grief set in, they became an easy target for my rage and hatred. As the blog grows, and the distance between us grows, they become more and more in my mind as the giant "supervillians". Baby snatchers. Liars. On and on. But the truth of the matter (and what the time away from the Adoption world allowed me to realize) is that no matter who they are, what they have done, or what I think, they are still Lauren's parents. And like me, they are human beings. And I need to maintain a certain level of respect for that. I won't make excuses for their mistakes. I don't want them to make excuses for mine. I won't say that they have been as caring as I would like them to have been. I know that they are no more perfect than I am. And because of that, I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I would choose them again. The questions all start with "If you had it to do over again..." or "If you knew then what you know now..." and the reality is that I don't. I didn't. No one does. No one can. And regret is an ugly thing, especially when based around something so beautiful.

IF I could go back in time, and do this whole thing over again...this is what I would do. I would have educated myself. I would have educated them. We would have learned together. I would have known what THEIR intentions were. I would have figured out if they wanted an open adoption or a closed one. I think a lot of times hopeful adoptive parent's promise the world to birthmoms in order to complete their own. I think that many "over promise" and under deliver. L & M told me many times that they "were fine" with me wanting a closed adoption vs an open one, when it seems to me it should be the other way around. I wonder if they were disappointed that I didn't want an open one originally, or if their first thought was, "FANTASTIC! Hang on to this one."  There is no way to know. I do know one thing though...I loved them. I loved them heart and soul, with every fiber in my being, and I wanted them to love me too. And I miss that feeling. It's like a bad divorce....you have years of good times, and then it all goes south. Except I only had a few months of good, and now an unknown amount of bad times. I want an open adoption. I want to be part of their lives. I want to know that they love her and I want to see it. I want them to be secure enough in their roles as parents to let me be around them. I want to sleep well at night knowing that I made the right decision. I want to be able to live my life without every song, movie and book reminding me of what has happened. And knowing what I know now...if they truly wanted me to disappear, and not be a part of their lives, then I would have chosen differently. There are many healthy, productive open adoptions out there. I wish I had known about them when I was making my adoption plan. If I had, I would have insisted on nothing less, and if L & M were not on board, then no amount of love for them would have made them the right choice for me.

I still haven't given up hope. They are good people at their cores, and something could change any minute. I would like to believe that it is just a lack of "not knowing" what open adoption can be. A very dear friend of mine sent me an email today, intended for them, about her open adoption. It brought tears to my eyes, and comfort to my soul. I will be sending it to them in the morning, and seeing if it helps. If it does, then I am beyond grateful to her for her kind thoughts and the sharing of her story to them. And if it doesn't, I will still be grateful to her, and a lot more in tune with who they really are.

Personally, I am hoping my first impression of them was right and that the pictures will start flooding in. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Please take a Moment and view this AMAZING ARTIST!

Several months ago, I ran across an amazing artist on Facebook. Every bit of her work that I viewed, I LOVED!!! Imagine my surprise when I realized that she is the adorable little sister of a very dear friend of mine from high school. I was tickled pink. And because I was so impressed, I asked if I could share her blog on mine. She graciously said yes...and it was then that I realized I was not that blog savvy. So, several months later, and several lessons in blog design from my amazing friends on Adoption Voices, I can finally give her some exposure.

I strongly encourage you ALL to check out JB Creations Etc. Johnna Brunenkant is an artist, originally from Arizona, but now living in Southern Oregon. JB Creations Etc. offers stationery, cards specializing in custom invitations, and other gifts created by the artist herself.

I personally am going to order a custom design with John 16:20 on it. That scripture is my personal mission statement in regards to my adoption journey. And lately, I am beginning to feel that it is this blog that is turning my "grief to joy". The people that I have met, and loved, and prayed for, and learned so much from over the last 15 months all came to me from this blog. I really love that there is an avenue like this for us to come together.

Recently, Birthmothers 4 Adoption ran a logo contest. I made a feeble attempt at an entry, and blasted it all over my Facebook, hoping that Johnna would see it and enter. Thankfully, she did see it and designed the most amazing logo I have ever seen. She did not make the deadline though, and while it may not help her, I did beg for the option to do a "write in ballot". Hopefully you can do the same.

I love this artwork. I love it for so many reasons...and if it wasn't so late, I would go on for days. I will say this much, however, I am going to email her in the morning and ask permission to have that beautiful "Birthmother" tattooed on me. I wear my label proudly, and can think of nothing more fitting to show that than this beautiful piece of artwork.

Check it out!!!!



So absolutely beautiful. Please check out her work, and see if there is something she can design for you.
 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NEW FORMSPRING QUESTION ANSWERED!!!

I don't want to sound mean but do you think L and M are going to treat you any better from you badmouthing them on your blog? Like, do you think thats going to help things? Not rude just curious to what you think.


     What a fun question! What an even more fun answer! Rarely, if ever, does someone ask me something that implies that I may be the one in the wrong. I really like that. I appreciate it beyond words. I don't take this as mean, and in fact welcome this question with both arms wide open.

     Of course, my gut reaction is to say that I am not badmouthing them...I am simply writing out how I see things. I chronicle my own truth as it occurs. But that would be naive...and yes, as time passes, my feelings of love are turning to feelings of disgust. The "update on my kids" post was straight up "badmouthing", I suppose. But remember this...There is the famous saying, "There's my side, your side, and the truth." I don't know their side. They don't feel the need to communicate that to me, or anyone else in the adoption community. As for "the truth"...there is no real way of knowing what that even is at this point, as I only know my soul and my heart. I will say this though...My blog is for me. I write what I live, and I live what I write. I share my experiences as I encounter them, and tell my own truth of this crazy matter as best as I can.

     In the beginning, my truth was that they were wonderful, caring people who were going to raise my child right, and love me forever. As the haze wore off, my truth changed. I reread emails that went back and forth between us, and I realize the manipulation that occured. I have always taken full accountability for my own lack of education regarding the adoption policies, procedures, and protocol. But if they truly were loving, caring individuals who wanted what was best for me, they They wouldn't have held onto the living expenses money like it was a ransom. They would have sought the proper counseling for me. They wouldn't hide behind PO Boxes, or change email addresses on Facebook, or not feel the need to share anything of value with me with regards to the child whom we both love with our entire hearts. I always hear excuses for their actions...fear, insecurity, whatever else someone can come up with. No excuse is justifiable to me to be thrown out like a used sponge. I should know when her adoption was finalized. I had the RIGHT to an open adoption agreement, and they could have been more forthcoming with their true intentions so that at least I would have that guarantee or even just a schedule of when to expect emails from them.

     If I was getting gorgeous pictures that I could frame, or updates that actually told me something about Lauren's life, I would probably have more positive things to say. If they showed half of the care, concern, and compassion that I have witnessed in dozens of other adoptive couples relationships, my heart wouldn't ache as badly as it does. And if my heart didn't ache...if my little inner voice didn't SCREAM at me daily that I made a mistake, well then I probably wouldn't even be writing the blog. Instead of advocating for positive open adoptions, and educating hopeful adoptive parents on how NOT to treat the human being that is their child's birthmother, I would be off living my life contently somewhere, and I would have far more time to do the things that I enjoy. But that's not how it turned out. All of the BS that is buried in all of the emails between they and I, and the long time coming realization that I was taken advantage of has made me bitter. Not bitter towards Lauren. Not bitter towards adoption. Just bitter towards them.

     One thing that long time readers say about my blog is that they enjoy the brutal honesty and the rawness of my blog. I stick to that as best as I can. I do not write it so that L and M can find it and feel better about themselves. I do not write it so that L and M can find it and feel like crap about themselves.

     I write it because when I was sitting at the bottom point of despair...alone and broken beyond repair...it was my saving grace. It let me write out all the things I would have been able to confide to a friend if I had had any. Adoption showed me that I did not.

     They are all three on my mind always. And when I say always, I mean ALWAYS. I wonder how they're doing. I wonder what they're doing. I think about how many times a day adoption pops into my life, and wonder how they feel when those same triggers occur. I wonder how they can ignore the fact that they know I hurt over the distance they have created. I wonder why they are so afraid to have a relationship with me. I wonder what and where they got their information on open adoption. Did someone tell them that if they maintained a realtionship with me that I would one day get bored and steal their baby? It stupid to me. I am real. I am here. They live 30 minutes from me. What damage would it do to ask to see me once in awhile? The answer is none. The more frustrating part is that I have no idea why. I have voiced my concerns to them. They have to know when they look at her life in pictures over the last year and a half that the ones they send me suck. They are not cream of the crop. They are not what I asked for. And that lack of consideration on their part just makes me more and more and more bitter...towards them.

     To answer your question...No, I am not worried that by "badmouthing" them on a blog that is written as a form of therapy for me, that they may treat me worse. I am already treated as a leper. As a hindrence. As something that served its purpose and has no more value to them. They are going to do what they are going to do, and the time will come when all of us will be held accountable for our actions by both God and their child. And who knows...when the time comes...maybe it will be decided that I am the one in the wrong...