Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Give me a chance.

Lisa loving on Princess
You might recall that I keep a baby every weekend.  I refer to her as Princess here in the blog land.  She is the daughter of a friend of mine who originally planned adoption for her child, but decided to parent instead.  I have felt a strong sense of commitment to this little girl because I know how much support her momma needs to be able to make this all work out.  I am glad that by my little bit of weekend childcare, I am able to help her parent. 

Selfishly, I am glad that my support has helped her not have to deal with the birthmother grief that I have.

So all around, our relationship is very symbiotic.  Princess needs care, I have love and care to give.

Most of the time I don't find myself comparing or associating Princess with Brit.  At least not consciously.  They look nothing alike and I am so busy when I am caring for her, I don't have much time to reflect.

But this weekend was a bit different for me.  Princess is developing a personality.  She is 9 months old and changing so quickly.  She scoots across the floor, crawling sometimes, just scooting most of the time.  She pulls herself up and is so proud to be standing.

I found myself thinking about how Brit was walking at 9 months (just like I did as a child).  I wondered what Brit's personality was like at 9 months.  Did she like the same silly things that Princess does?  What did her laugh sound like?  What does it sound like when she says mama?

I missed it all.  I gave it away.  I will never know.

(Yes, hateful anonymous commenter, I know that was the default I chose when I chose adoption. No need to point it out.  I'll save you the time it takes to comment by acknowledging it right off the bat.)

So back to time with Princess.  While I have her, I take tons of pictures.  I send them to her mom's phone while she is at work so she can see her precious little girl during her breaks.  I also take videos of her doing random things (first time on the sit 'n' spin, finding a milk jug and playing with it like a toy, laughing at the boys, etc.).  I want her momma to know that she is happy.  I also want to share these moments with her momma because she is her daughter.  She should get to enjoy those moments even if she can't be there.  I want to make sure it is just like she was there with us.

Being a birth mom, I am pretty sure I am hyper sensitive in this area.  But looking back, I have been this way with my nephews too.  I have always loved taking cute pictures or retelling cute stories to their parents of the little things that they did while mom and dad were gone.

Reflecting on my actions with Princess, I definitely think I am emulating the behavior I wish I was receiving.  The joyful sharing of a child. 

I make sure I take picture of Princess wearing the new outfit her grandma in California bought her, so her mom can forward them.  I try to be thoughtful about what things her mom might like to see or share with the rest of their family.  I want to be a blessing to them by being there and loving a child that they wish they could care for, but circumstances have kept them from being physically present.

I am thankful that I get pictures of Brit once a month.  Pictures that I spend countless hours inspecting, looking for every detail I can possibly see.  I wonder what that bit of food was on her cheek.  Or what it looks like to see her run in the backyard like they say she does.

Secretly I wish they would occasionally send a picture of her playing with the toys we sent, or the gifts we put much thought and consideration into as we chose them for her.  Because we don't get time with her, the only way we can show our love to her is by sending gifts that we hope will bring her joy.  I also think that if they sent pictures like that, it would make me feel like what we try to do for her matters.  That they recognize it and appreciate it.  It might make me feel like we matter.

Every day I obsess about seeing her again.  I want to physically hold her.  Hear her voice.  See her play.  Even listen to her whine.

I try to fight off the icky thoughts.  The ones that come into my head and cause me to focus on what I don't have, versus what I do have.

I think about how I am a perfectly trustworthy person who not only cares for my own children, but someone who cares for someone else's child.  I am seemingly normal, well-adjusted and the only addiction I have is to Diet Coke. 

Yet, I am not worthy of a relationship with the child I carried for 9 months. The child whose future I wanted to include two married parents.  The child I chose parents for so she could have more than I thought I had to offer. (oh, to go back and talk to that Lisa...)

Now, I am kept at a respectable distance.  Sure, I get pictures and an email update.  But there are no phone calls, no continuation of the relationship that we had prior to birth.

I know that I could handle boundaries.  When Princess's mom comes to pick her up on Sunday nights, I hand her over with no hesitation.  I don't have any 'crazy' in me that wants to keep her.  I respect my role in Princess's life.  I love her while she is with me, but she has a momma to whom she needs to be with.

I read today on another blog that adoptive parents in open adoptions are reminded by couselors that there may be times when  birthmother will need to pull back and can't have a close realtionship with their child.  And I see blogs where adoptive mothers are so sad that birthmoms have distanced themselves.

And then there's me.

Waiting.  Wishing.  Hoping.  Crying.  Praying.  Crying.  Longing.  Crying.  And still holding on to hope. 

Silently screaming "Give me a chance to prove to you that I can be a loving part of this child's life without being a threat."

I want a chance.  I want a relationship.  I don't just want to be the recipient of a scrapbook.


Melynda said...

Sending you lots of love today. I don't have any answers and I wish I could say it gets easier. Just know that we are out here in the blogosphere, willing to sit shiva with you when you need us to.

m&msmommy said...

I honestly don't think I can express in words how happy I will be (as a complete stranger) when the day comes that you get to put your loving arms around Brit. No matter when it is, I pray that you are still blogging and I can read about it! :) I pray SO hard that her parents will understand how bad you want that relationship, how non threatening it would be, and how much it would be a benefit to all involved.

Praying EVERYDAY! :)

Susie said...

I am also sending you some love and wishing that one day Brit's parents will offer more.

If only....

birthmothertalks said...

I think it's a wonderful thing you are doing for the babies Mom by watching her while she works. I send pictures and little updates to my step daughter about her baby. I hope someday Brit's parents can be more open to sharing the day to day pictures here and there.

AmandaJane said...

As an adoptive mother I must say - I agree with every single word that you said here. I do very much hope that someday soon the relationship that you hope for is a reality...not only for you - but for Brit too.

MommySquared said...

I wish for you some peace to have time with your beloved Brit and for her parents to realize it's not about them or you but about Brit ... know there are those of us Adoptive Parents whose heart breaks to hear about what has happened to you and hope that things change in the near future!

Anonymous said...

I think you have the biggest heart that could ever be. You are doing such a good thing for this little girl and her momma.
I pray for you to get to hold Brit someday and give her a hug and tell her how much she is loved.
I think you are awesome and I can't figure out the why's of why Brit's parents are so guarded with her. I'm sure it tears at your heartstrings every min. of every day.
Is there an agency or case worker you can contact that helped with the adoption? I can't think of anything else of offer for ideas.
I wish you the BEST, with love and peace to go with it.

MariAnell said...

I can relate 100 percent to what you are saying here, although my baby girl is now 18 years old. I have another birthmother friend who compared these kinds of adoptions to a game of keep away. Everyone else is allowed to hold the baby, the doctors, the school teachers, the neighbors, but they all hold it high and away from the birth mother. The sad thing is the birth mother is not the only one who suffers in these situations.

I came across an adoptive parent's blog recently where she very rationally explained all the reasons why she as a parent felt it would be unhealthy for her children to have what she called a confusing relationship with their birthparents, which was why she chose closed adoption. The sad thing is she thinks what she is doing is right.

I attended a class where the instructors talked about emotional and mental issues that affect those involved in the adoption triad, focusing particularly on adoptees. From what she said, it sounds like some of the acting out and other issues that adoptees have might be avoided or at least lessened when there is more openness in adoption.

It is so hard to feel so powerless when you care so much.

Monika said...

I think you should write a letter or an email to Brit's parents about how you're feeling. I don't guarantee that it will open them up, but they need to know. Use excerpts from this post. Also, this birthmother's "letter" to her child's adoptive mom sounds VERY applicable to Brit's parents: http://lifemothers.com/wish.html I think you should share this or something like it with them too. I hope and pray for more openness in your relationship. I know you absolutely ache to have a real relationship not only with Brit, but with her parents too (and she'll need a relationship with you as she grows). *hugs*

Cindy said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, but never commented. I am not sure how I came across it now. First I will say I am not a parent. I struggled with infertility for 5 years and failed adoption attempts. One of those attempts was with a 16 year old girl who wanted us to parent her baby. It fell through 2 days before the child was born so we had ALL the "stuff" worked out. (open adoption, by the way) I am telling you this so you will know my perspective.

Please know that what I am about to ask is just a question to understand your situation. I cannot even begin to understand the pain that you feel right now and I sincerely hope that everything works out in the end. Your posts have often brought tears to my eyes and I mean nothing in a mean, unkind way.

Did you discuss all this HONESTLY with the adoptive parents before you agreed to give them Brit? Did you have the attorney's put it in the agreement? Just wondering if you "thought" you would be OK with pictures and such and now realize you wished you had more. If this is the case then the adoptive parents are only going by what the agreement was in the first place. They thought you had an agreement that met both of your ideas of how this was supposed to go and now you want to change that.

I am NOT saying that you shouldn't be able to talk to them and figure something else out. It just sounds like a case of the adoptive parents knowing what they wanted (a semi closed adoption) and you wanting an open adoption and that somehow didn't get agreed to??

I really do hope you all can work this out. Truly it is about what is best for this precious baby. Best wishes for you....you seem like such a strong women!

Anonymous said...

I think you are amazing. For starters because we share the same first name and well you are a fellow birthmom. I feel every word you are saying and I wish I had more to say other than I am thinking about you. I wish Brit's parents would open up to you because they are missing out on a wonderful relationship with you that could only enrich theirs and Brit's life.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping this mother keep her child!