Welcome to the craziness that is my life!

This is my story in pieces. The good ones, the bad ones, and everything in between. It is messy and flawed...just like it's author. I am not a selfliss person...I am not an angel...I am a loud, opinionated, most of the time crazy, Mom. I write here the things I cannot discuss in my "day to day life". These views are my own, from my own journey. Adoption has changed my life forever, some for good, some not so good. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. It's not your story...it's mine. Consider it a manual on "How Not To Act/What Not To Do When You Are Pregnant and Considering Adoption". If you learn nothing else, learn to educate yourself to the long term affects on yourself, your family, and the child you chose to place.

Oh...and please, don't call me "bitter". I prefer the term "enlightened".


***DISCLAIMER-I don't speak for anyone but me...in this story or in life. It is here as an educational tool if anyone chooses to learn something. I appreciate comments always.***

P.S. Just because I don't actively blog doesn't mean I still don't LOVE comments. Yes, I still check them. I guess I would just rather hear YOUR thoughts, than share mine.

If you missed the story, start reading the "Posts of Some Significance" located directly underneath and to the right of this. That's the story in a nutshell.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...




One of the most lingering silly questions in the world is "If a Tree Falls in the Woods, and No One is there to Hear it...Does it still make a sound?"

The answer, my friends, is yes.

But what in the world does this have to do with adoption? Actually...a lot.

Miscommunication happens all the time in life, and adoption is no exception. I recently read a great article on "listening and communicating" and it talked about how we, as human beings "hear something", then "think something" and then "say something" based on all that. Basically, we play the grapevine/telephone game all day, every day, because most of us (me especially) don't know how to effectively communicate. Learning this skill takes much practice, and lots of time...something I, on the wrong side of relinquishment papers, do not have the opportunity to correct. But what I want to do is share how I think my adoption story turned from a journey into a destination.

***This post is simply my processing my thoughts. It is NOT a BLAME POST. To say that L* and M* are wrong is to take no accountability for my own actions. To say that I was wrong gives them a free pass from their actions. All three of us screwed up when it came to communicating what we really wanted, and so if I want to point blame, I need to use at least three fingers...and I'm not interested in that. I just want to show where I think we all went wrong, and hope that somebody out there learns something from it. And doesn't make the same mistakes. Each of us has their own journey. M* and L* wanted a closed journey. I wanted an open one. Neither of us are wrong. We just simply crossed paths, wanting two seperate things and weren't able to communicate well enough to realize that until it was too late for it.***

In the beginning....I wanted a "closed adoption". Mind you...I knew NOTHING of adoption at the time. I thought it would simply involve picking out a nice couple to raise the child I was carrying, and both parties going back to their regular lives after it was finished. I didn't know that in order to have a closed adoption I should have walked in to an agency, have them pick someone, and then let them handle it. I didn't know that getting to know her parents beforehand would be so important to me, and then so heartbreaking when things shut down. I didn't know anything about any of it. Adoption was an abstract notion in my head...not something concrete that I had educated myself about. So after a meeting or two, I told L* and M* that we'd do an "open pregnancy and a closed adoption". And off to appointments we went. They went to everyone of them. They witnessed the delivery. L* held my leg back as Lauren made her appearance into the world, and M* cut the cord. They took her home, straight from the hospital. Happy storybook ending, as a family was finally created, and mine would be unphased.

That's the short version. In real life, they always told me they "were fine" with me wanting a closed adoption. When I decided in the seventh month that I wanted pictures and updates, they "were fine" with that as well. When I asked to do a visit, they "were fine" with that. As the end of the pregnancy drew nearer and nearer, I wanted more and more for future contact, but by then, the territorial lines were already being drawn, and I remember very clearly being extra careful in asking for anything regarding contact. Starting and ending almost every sentence with "Whatever you are comfortable with...". In pushing aside the "open adoption agreement" because they were good people and would keep me included.
Walking on eggshells, while Lauren was still in my womb.
 Now you have to admit, that's almost funny. Knowing what I know now, of course. I didn't know at the time that I held power to do what I wanted. That I was the one technically in charge of how much contact we would have afterwards. That by being the one able to carry the child in the firstplace, I was the one who should have been making the rules. Power trips have never been my thing, and so when I had the chance to ride the ultimate one, I missed it. I followed their lead. I did not abuse my power in the situation and acted with compassion towards theirs. I wanted them to experience as much of the pregnancy as they wanted, and I didn't give enough thought to the life that would follow after it. When the "invisible power" that rules all of our lives made its shift from me to them. When it would be their turn to show compassion.

But those are all just details...let's go back to the big picture. When "THE" email recently showed up, there was a line in it that simply said, "When M* and I first looked into adoption, long before we met you, we never envisioned having a relationship with the birth family -  so we were perfectly fine with the agreement you both suggested." That single sentence knocked my on my butt for more than a few days. There it was...in black and white. Regardless of any bonding I thought had occured during the pregnancy, regardless of how my feelings had changed as it had progressed, regardless of anything...she KNEW that she never wanted a relationship with me. From the beginning. Before she even met me, or saw Lauren on an ultrasound, or felt her kick, or anything...she KNEW that she wanted no relationship with the woman who would finally build her family when she could not. Even if it hadn't been me. No relationship at all.

Going back to my earlier comments on how we think, hear, and say things...this is where I think things got confusing. She THOUGHT, "I don't envision having a relationship with the birthfamily." (I could throw nasty comments in here for hours as to what else I think she may have thought...but I am still working on personal growth...lol). She HEARD me say at the first meeting, "I think I want a closed adoption" and she SAID, "Whatever you want...we are fine with that." And that was all she ever heard. Closed, closed, closed.

I, on the otherhand, as the pregancy progressed, THOUGHT, "Wow...this adoption thing is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I'm going to want pictures and some communication, and some type of relationship with these two great people." I HEARD, "Whatever you want...we are fine with that." thinking that there was room for future growth, and I SAID (walking on the single most important eggshells that I will ever encounter in my life, "Of course, as long as it works for you....I don't want to be a pain."

Miscommunication at it's finest.

So where do we go from here? The answer is nowhere.

The email was also full of great lines like "Despite not having any obligation to you after the adoption...", and "We're sincerely sorry if your feelings towards us have changed because we're not willing to have the adoption be as open as you would now like." That was upfront, black and white communication. No room for error or misinterpretation there. It means, quite simply, that this is now a dead end. That the power will sit where the power sits. That people will stand behind the law as a shield, despite the moral implications of it. That compassion is once and for all replaced for entitlement, and that I need to focus on other things.

But I will say this much, because I live it....

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it...It not only makes a sound...It can kill the person standing under it.

8 comments:

  1. Many of us would say they have a moral obligation and an obligation, if they're good parents to Lauren, to encourage her to know you and to facilitate contact.But that's no help when the wires got crossed and the expectations weren't clearly brought out by the agency, their job.

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  2. I don't know how I found your blog, but I did. And I'm glad I did. You are allowing me to see adoption from the perspective of Mom, and a perspective full of grace at that. Thank you

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  3. You know what amazes me most? I'm most impressed with the way your writing has changed; they way you've grown. I can feel it as I read it. Yes, you are still raw, honest, and true to yourself, but you have made great strides. What I have seen, though, is a woman that was crushed by that tree crawl until she could stand again all the while teaching us. You have changed, and I am amazed at where you are after it all. I still love you like crazy!

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  4. Such a heartbreakingly honest post. I just feel for you. I know God has a plan for you through this adoption experience. I know he only wants the best for you and I know that no one can get in the way of God's plan. Hold onto that. Your time with Lauren is coming. Her parents won't be in control forever and your time will come.

    A dear friend from Bible study who is a grandmother placed her daughter way back when...it was closed. The closed where you don't even hold the baby, know their weight or get a look at their face. The closed where you have no idea who adopted the child or what state they live in. You don't even know if the child knows they are adopted.

    Well, this dear sweet friend got a letter and a call 3 years ago. Her daughter found her!

    You cannot stop the will of God.

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  5. I think you and I are living the same life and adoption story just a few states apart. I could replace my name for yours and the story would be so similar that I could mistake it as my own.

    I don't know you other than here in cyber world, but you comfort me in a strange way by making me feel less crazy for feeling how I do about my adoption story and the disappointment I feel with how it all turned out. Including the disappointment I have with myself for making some of the choices that I did.

    If only we would have known then what we know now... But we are required to move on and keep living - as broken as we are. The kids we had before our tragedy occurred still need us. And the world around us silently tells us "Why would we feel bad for your pain, you CHOSE it?" And while no one has the brazeness to say it out loud, I hear it. So I just have to return to my faith that God has a plan for this pain, and the circumstances as they are will be used by Him for something beautiful.

    But in my selfishness, I also feel like you do. THEY COULD HEAL MY BROKENESS if they were willing to see open adoption for the gift it could be for OUR daughter - and all of us who love her.

    My A parents have both said that they feel so bad that their joy has brought me such grief. And I wonder, how can they not see that maintaining a relationship with me would lessen my grief? How is it OK for me to have to suffer because they aren't sure they are comfortable with allowing me to see her yet (she is 9 months old)? And how is it OK for them to feel differently about adoption now that they actually have her in their possession, but how my feelings have changed is just something I must deal with?

    Yes, I know the answer to that is, they hold all of the cards. I am left to be the bigger person and to wait for their hearts to soften toward us and the idea that we all might be able to love this dear child. And sharing her is not a bad thing. They will still always walk away with the child. But at least we could let her know that we were all in this together, with her best interests in mind.

    I guess you and I will keep praying. For our hearts to mend to a managable state, and for their hearts to soften toward making decisions that would benefit everyone in the adoption triad that we are all forced to live in the rest of our lives.

    Thank you for writing. You are great therapy for me.

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  6. Michelle, you are amazing! I want to be you when I grow up (though I'm pretty sure we are close in age, maturity wise I think I'm about 10 :)! I think this is a great post, and will be very helpful to many. I know I was able to take even non-adoption lessons from it like the importance of not placing blame without recognizing my own.

    I am with Von. My blood boiled when I read that they had the audacity to begin a sentence with "Despite not having any obligation to you after the adoption..." I mean seriously, you gave them life but they have no obligation to you afterwards? WTF?...(deep breath in-deep breath out)...But I am also sad for them because I am an AP with a very open adoption and so I know of all of the love they could have and Lauren could have if only they were willing to open their hearts.

    Hugs,
    Jill

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  7. I am saddened and sickened by the choices the adoptive parents have made. I cannot understand their thinking. I suppose they are putting their own feelings ahead of what is best for the child you share.

    My husband and I adopted older children from Ethiopia two years ago. We are blessed with an open adoption and we cannot imagine having it any other way. We exchange phone calls, send photographs and report cards, and we just went back for a visit last month. Is it a perfect arrangement? Absolutely not. Are we perfect parents? No way! But this is the least we can do for our children.

    I am sorry.
    Sincerely,
    Sarah

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  8. I'm so sorry this is happening to you and your baby. I am just beginning the adoption journey (first homestudy appointment is scheduled for January). I already know that I want an open adoption. I have been trying to understand why some adoptive parents want a closed adoption, especially after knowing the birth mother. I can't come up with any good reasons, at least no reasons that are good for the child.

    In my 20s, I helped a friend of mine track down her birth mother, and I went with her to meet her that first day. She had so much pain and curiosity about who she was, where she came from, why her first mother gave her up. She met her brother who took her to her mother. It was an excruciating experience that could have been avoided with openness.

    I don't want our baby to feel rejected or unloved by his or her birth mother. I want our baby to know we were chosen because he or she was loved very much by the birth mother. I am trying to understand why that can't be the case for every open pregnancy adoption. Why do some children have to suffer just because of the fears of adoptive parents? I just don't understand that kind of selfishness.

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