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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

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

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




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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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





Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feature on BirthMom Buds!!!

Ooooooh Weeeee....Its been a busy week. I was asked to do a little interview for the Awesome Ladies over at Birthmom Buds this week. If you wanna check it out, click here, or the snazzy little "I was featured..." button over on the right side bar.

Thank you for having me!!!

Also...I am still trying to conduct my research project, yet not a SINGLE person has been brave enough to step up and give their input. Really? Come on guys....help us understand.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Michelle's First Research Project...A Right versus What is right?

Most of us can agree that there needs to be some adoption reform in this country. The majority of us believe that "open adoptions" are far more healthy and happy for all those involved versus "closed adoptions". Most of us are in agreement that adoptees have a RIGHT to their original birth certificates. There are lots of things that we agree on. There are lots of things that we don't.

Most of the time on this blog, I share with you all a piece of MY life, or MY story, or MY opinion on something, because after all...it's MY blog. This time, I don't want to talk "my"...I want to talk "why". This post is something different. This post, I want any and everyone who has some insight to lend to leave a comment. I want to hear from EVERYONE POSSIBLE who has been in one of these two situations.

Today, after a very dear friend of mine was devastated by a failed placement (a commonplace it seems in all adoptive parents stories except the ones I chose), it really got me thinking what is right versus what is "a right". Now I am only using that phrase because it sounds catchy. I am not interested in playing Judge and Jury. I won't even toss my own viewpoint into the mix since I technically have no firsthand experience in any of the two situations I am going to describe. But I want to know WHY? I want to gain an understanding that I don't currently have, and I want to share it with you...almost like a research paper. I know that this could get heated, and I am hoping to moderate that as much as possible. For the next week, I encourage you all to spread the word of this project, and let's see what kind of clarity we can reach. Use your blogs, use Facebook and Myspace, use word of mouth. Get people in these situations to speak up, so that I can compile a report of sorts to the two biggest questions I ask daily.

Right #1...An expectant mother can change her mind regarding an adoption plan ANY time before the papers are signed (and in some states for a set period of time after that).

Question #1...If you were involved in an adoption plan, and knew the potential adoptive parents, and had built a relationship with them, AND THEN changed your mind...tell me why. Please do not answer if you did not know them ahead of time. Please do not answer why you did NOT change your mind (although God knows I could talk for days about why I didn't.) I only want to hear from birthmothers who were set up to place and then changed their mind at the eleventh hour.

Right #2...An Adoptive couple can make any and all decisions as to contact with the birthmother once the appropriate papers are signed. Even in states with open adoption agreements, they are not easy to enforce.
Question #2...If you are an adoptive parent who promised a certain amount of contact and then did not follow through on your promises...tell me why. Please do not answer if you are an adoptive parent with great communication with your birthmother. Do not answer if you are a birthmother speculating about why your adoptive parents cut off contact. I want to hear from the actual aparents who said one thing and for whatever reason did another.

I GIVE YOU MY WORD...I will not judge your answers. This is as much a lesson for me to learn to be unbiased as anything. It is simply research. You may comment anonymously if you choose and I will not fault you for it. And because I DO MODERATE comments, I will NOT post any that rip apart someone's honest answers left here.

Curiousity is killing the cat here, and I would like to gain a better understanding.
Until next week my friends...now GET THE WORD OUT!!!!






Monday, August 9, 2010

OMG-What have I done???

You all know I love to rattle off my amazing self findings on this blog, but I was recently asked to guest blog for the awesome ladies over at Birthmothers4adoption.

Can you say AWESOME!!!?

You guys all know what a huge fan I am of the site, the founders, and all of the positive advocacy they do every day! If I am lucky, this will be the first appearance of many.

The topic of choice centered around healthy, natural self doubt that I have experienced in my journey. What an honor and a privilege to get to do this.

I let Desha pick the pictures and am still giggling at her selections from my Facebook albums.

Enjoy!!! (And feel free to leave comments...)

Click HERE to read My First Guest Blog Spot


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Survivor.



Survivor.
One simple word, which has so many different meaning to so many different people. Webster's defines it as:

sur·vi·vor [ sər vvər ]
1. Somebody who survives: somebody who remains alive despite being exposed to life-threatening danger
2. Somebody with great powers of endurance: somebody who shows a great will to live or a great determination to overcome difficulties and carry on.

This is a heavier post than I normally write, adoption related somewhat, but a little more in depth on my life than normal. When I was thinking of the perfect post to go with this fantastic necklace that was given to me by Laura, THIS POST was not it. I was going to write a blog about what being a birthmother meant in regards to "living" v.s. "surviving". But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum....LOL.

I don't talk a lot about life prior to adoption. For the most part, I don't pay attention to life prior to adoption. It's the past...I have moved on. And nothing "life-changing" enough has happened since the adoption to move it into the past. I have on my sidebar a quote that says "There are moments that mark your life, moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same. And time is divided into two parts...before this and after this."
I loved that when I ran across it while trying to make the side of my ridiculously long posts more interesting. And when I found it, I was thinking only of Adoption.

Then today, well actually yesterday, something random and totally out of the blue hit me very hard, and the meaning of this quote took on a larger meaning whether I wanted it to or not. You have heard me talk of being LDS as I was growing up, and of the wonderful family across the street who "adopted" me in a way, and kept me structured and active in the church for many years. That family had 4 children in it. All of them are very dear to me in very different ways (well, maybe 3 of them...one of the boys was the guy I wanted to marry when I grew up from 3rd to 8th grade...but since he never loved me back...maybe he doesn't count...LOL). Anyways, through the wonderful powers of facebook, the eldest of them-the one who babysat us on occasion, and spent 45 minutes trying to get my incredibly thin hair into the ever popular 80's "wall of Aquanet" for a New Kids on the Block concert, messaged me on facebook. She called me by my childhood nickname, and told me that it was nice to see I grew up to be gorgeous. Of course I laughed. (Though if any of you were to ever see a picture of me in 8th grade, you'd probably agree....LOL) Today, I messaged her back on chat, and told her "Thanks" for the compliment. In addition to "You're Welcome" and some very other nice things, she made a simple comment. She said, "To me, you'll always be little M, cooking and cleaning, and taking care of your little brother and sister. I didn't realize how amazing it was at the time for someone of your age." I was floored. And the kids were screaming for dinner. And so the conversation ended. But what didn't end, what has been eating at me since it was said, was the time in my life that she was referring to.

Survivor Definition #1... "Somebody who survives: somebody who remains alive despite being exposed to life-threatening danger"

Let's talk childhood. I don't usually, not to anyone, but today I feel the need to use this blog as therapy for myself, not entertainment for the masses. Growing up, I was the eldest of three. My mom worked every day, crazy hours, and went to school at nights. My stepfather was an evil, evil man whom had no love for me whatsoever. He was strict beyond words, mentally and physically abusive, and when I was an adult and they told me he had died, I honestly jumped up and down in delight. His favorite thing to do was to beat me for whatever irked his mood that day. He loved to swing a belt, and his favorite game to play was hand on the doorknob while he swung that belt. Let go of the door, another swing. Open the door...God help you. This was the man who would dump out an entire nine drawer dresser onto the floor because a drawer was slightly open. Who would hide a brand new pair of cheerleading shoes and make someone late for their first game because they had left those same shoes sitting neatly in their box on top of the dresser, excitedly wanting to show their mother in the 5 minutes she'd be at the house before work and school. This man...who had me so terrified of abuse that to this day it takes an act of God himself to make me lay a hand on one of my children. For years, I lived quietly behind that doorknob, spending as much time away from the house in between the massive amount of chores I had as I could. And most of my time was spent with the "nice LDS family across the street." I never really asked if they wanted me there as much as I was, or if they realized how much I needed to be there with them, and in all honesty, I never really cared. Their house was safe, and warm. Their family was beautiful. They had the life I wished over and over that I had been born into. Their church gave me plenty of valid excuses, in between softball, camp, young women's, dances...whatever it might have been that day...to be away from my house and the horrors that took place inside. I needed them. I loved them. I wanted to be part of their family. For years it worked. As I got older, the abuse got heavier, and his wild threats got crazier. Phrases like, "You keep that up and we'll send you to a convent." (I had NKOTB posters ALL OVER my room), or "If you don't get it together, we'll ship you to your Uncle Tom's ASAP" (Over a B in Math). Now to someone in my situation, those words were golden promises. Years of praying to a God who wouldn't answer me had gotten me nowhere, and anything would have been better than what I was living with. Having NEVER been in trouble, I thought I'd give it a try. I came home late....beating. I ditched school 2 days in a row...major beating. It took months of trial and error for a child who didn't even understand trouble to find the right combination to be sent away. One night, when I was 14, a friend and I were supposed to be babysitting. She had an idea to leave the sleeping kids, and go meet some friends. I eagerly hopped on board, thinking this might be my ticket out. Needless to say, it was childish, and irresponsible, but it worked. The cops were called, the neighbours involved, and even though I remember people staring at me with looks that said "How could you?", I knew exactly why I did. A week later, I was "shipped off to my mean ole Uncle Tom's" and that man never got to lay a hand on me again. (Coincidentally, my time with my Uncle was amongst the best in my life. I love that man more than I can put into words, and am so greatful that he stepped up to protect me when he did.)
 

 
THAT...THAT was "one of those moments". When all time was measured before and after it. I don't mention those days, and until this little facebook relay, I hadn't really thought of days like that. Time "before it" didn't matter. It was moved into a footnote in who I am now, and not ever thought of until today. Despite the life threatening environment (which is still sugar coating it if you ask me), I managed to survive. I was reborn. I became a new person. While I thought adoption was the only moment in my life that echoed that quote, today I am faced with the reality that there were two. And because there is a first one, and I made it through, it gives me a new enlightenment, that the pain of this too shall pass.

Survivor definition #2... "Somebody with great powers of endurance: somebody who shows a great will to live or a great determination to overcome difficulties and carry on."

I firmly believe that life is divided into two types of people...the "haves" and the "havenots" I will always be a "havenot". I was not born into money, I did not marry into money, and unless the lotto decides to pick my numbers even though I don't buy tickets, I will never know money. I work, I manage, I provide what I can. And I am not bitter for it. I am not angry. I accept it, as I have all things in this life. I have known many great difficulties, caused many great difficulties, and will continue to encounter them. But I move forward. I press on. I scream at the top of my lungs, and choose to NOT go quietly into that good night. Whether it was allowing to let Taryn move away from me because it was best for her, or choosing to finally walk away from the plushy life of my first marriage for a man who was also a "havenot", or finding myself out of work, or even considering and ultimately choosing adoption for my youngest, I am constantly moving forward. Moving towards success. Moving towards happiness. Moving towards peace. Or most importantly, and most recently, moving back towards the Father in Heaven. I just keep moving forward. To the time that is after this, though it may not ever be in this life. What is different these days, versus those, is that back then, I didn't think God had the care or concern to listen to my heartfelt prayers, to hear the sobbing pleas of a beaten and broken child. Many years later, as a far from perfect adult, I know he does. He led me to this blog, and most importantly, he led me to many of you. And for that, there are no words to express my gratitude.

I don't know why, out of all of the amazing things available at the R House Couture, she chose this one as a gift for me. She hasn't told me, and I don't know that she ever will. I mean that in the most wonderful and positive of ways. There are so many beautiful pieces there, but I had seen this "Survivor" one several weeks before she ordered it, and almost had ordered it for myself. I wasn't sure why...there are lots of awesome necklaces for birthmoms there...but this one attracted me the most. And when it showed up in its beautiful box wrapped in pretty turquoise ribbon, I couldn't have been more pleased. The only time I've taken it off since I received it was to photograph it for the blog picture. Maybe, just maybe, without even realizing it...I knew that it told much, much more of my whole story...both before and after adoption. It stood as the one thing that could serve as a divider from the "moments before this" and the "moments after this". And for that, I am greatful. :)