Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Looking for a name

New Guy has made his way into the hearts of my boys.  They are crazy about him.  After last weekend when New Guy and his 3 year old son spent two days with us, they became huge New Guy fans.  And mommy is just as smitten.

I love feeling appreciated.  He talks to me.  Like girls talk to each other.  It is crazy.  I didn't think guys like this existed in the single male world.  He wants to spend time with me and the boys (we have yet to have an alone date!).  He has said to me that he wants to just come alongside me and be part of my world, whatever that entails.  Really?!?!

So I need a name for this guy here in blogland.  I have been thinking about it on and off for days.

Surely something will come to me soon.  I need to find a name soon because he has already done so many blog worthy acts that I would love to start posting about how he has made my life so much more full.

Picture taken this weekend at a Halloween event. Typical of my crazy life. Little Princess on my lap, New Guy's son with my LanMan.  Our idea of a great Saturday night date.
 Hmm.....  the thinking continues.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Did I forget to mention something?

This is a non-adoption related post.  But for those of you who are also navigating the single person world, and even those who aren't, this is just a story that makes you wonder, "What WAS he thinking?..."

I work in a building that has a community fitness center (similar to a YMCA).  Each day for about the last 3 months I have happened to come in around the same time as one of the men who works out here.  We casually talk to each other.  He is really friendly, attractive and easy to talk to.

Lately he has stopped me and talked to me longer than he used to.  Making more of an effort to get my attention and when we do talk it is for longer amounts of time.  We have talked about our divorces, my kids, being a firefighter (he is one, I used to be married to one), and just general life.

Last week I had a message on my office phone.  It was this guy.  The message said "Lisa, this is Mark the firefighter.  Just thought I would leave you my cell number in case you might like to text me some time."

I thought, why not.  He seems really nice and I talk to him all the time.  Give it a shot.

We text messaged until late last Friday night.  He was on duty at the fire department.  We got to the point where we were finishing our conversation for the night.  And Mark typed "Have a great weekend."

Which I thought was a little weird.  Usually when a guy is first interested in a girl he doesn't text her all day long one day and not at all for two more days.  Unless he just didn't like her that much.

I just let it go.  I was busy all weekend.

He was on duty again Monday and starting early that morning, he began texting again.  We talked all day long into the night.

Tuesday came around and we talked at length in the fitness center.  We also exchanged texts throughout the daytime.  He asked me if I could get off work early and go for a motorcycle ride with him.  Obviously that was impractical, but I thanked him.  Then, the text messages stopped coming in the late afternoon.

Today he is back on duty and of course what do I get? An early morning text message.

So I decided, I am going to call him out on this strange pattern of texting.  Below is the exchange that happened between us.

So I just want to ask a question that has been on my mind since we stated talking.  I notice that we talk all day and evening when you are on duty.  But when you are off, we only talk during times when people would normally be at work.  Which makes me curious of your relationship status.  Is this just coincidental or is this true because you are currently in a relationship with someone?
I ask that you read all of my answer before judging me.  I am married.  I am sorry if I led you to think otherwise.  It was not my intention to deceive you.  I like talking to you and that is why I asked if you would like to text.  I believe that a man and woman can have a healthy platonic relationship.  You made the statement that your firefighter fantasy was over.  I was not looking for anything more than your friendship.  If you choose not to continue texting I will understand.  I will be sad.  I hope you are not angry with me.
No. Not angry at all.  My best friends are men.  I have plenty of experience with relationships like that.  My issue is with how I am perceived when I have a friendship with a man outside of his wife's knowledge.  I am not exactly the kind of girl that a wife likes her husband 'just chatting' with.  I know better.
That just helps me understand the boundaries of our relationship.  I can handle that.

Thank you for your honesty.  I don't like finding those things out later. I wish you would have been forthright with that part of your life.  I DO think it was purposely omitted.  But I can get past that.
I guess I could have come right up to you, shook your hand, introduced myself and said "my name is Mark and I would like to text you, oh, by the way, I am married".  Hmmm...I guess I could have done that. :-)
Or maybe in the course of conversation you could have mentioned your wife or family as a way of giving a social cue that you are married.  That way I could have better determined if I was OK with continuing a relationship with you that was past casual and moved more toward friendship.  Now I DO feel purposely deceived even though you never lied to me.  Generally not an advisable way to make a new friend.  Just sayin'
I am truly sorry.  I never meant to deceive you.
I also forgive easily and quickly.
Like I have mentioned before, you are a special person.

OK people.  FOR REAL!!!! I am not an idiot.  It was clear from his texts up until today that he was making insinuations that were beyond friendship.  Talking about hugging me, asking me yesterday if I could leave work early and go for a ride with him on his motorcycle.  Just looking for a new friend?.... Do I have stupid written on my forehead?

I wish I could call his wife and tell her.  But no good would come from that.  And I feel dirty and guilty even though I didn't do anything wrong, except believe that I was talking to a single man.

Ah yes, the joys of being a single woman.

So glad the other suitor has turned out to be a wonderful man.  I am looking forward to getting to know him even better.  I am 100% sure he is not married.  Lol!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Closing that chapter, and turning the page

BF and I had a conversation the other night.  Most of it was about our relationship and where it is and where it is going.

Without airing our laundry, the ultimate result was that we agreed that friendship was where our relationship will stand for the future.

It was freeing for me.  I have hung on to a glimmer of hope for nearly two and a half years.  Hope is gone.  I am free to move on.

While we haven't been a couple for some time now, we do everything together and we are best of friends.  Which complicates the emotions for a girl.  I never really disconnected, because I didn't have to.

But I am ready to move on with my life now.  So I had to be clear.  I wanted to say the words and hear him say them back to me.  No lingering questions.  Relationship defined.

So now I can move on without guilt or the slight thought that maybe some day it will be different.

What brought all of this to a head was that I have a suitor who has been standing at the sidelines. He has been a friend to me, but I could tell he wished he could have a chance to be more than a friend.

There was no way that I was going to even consider embarking on any type of relationship with someone else until I was certain my heart was ready to move on.  Especially not him.  He is ready to be emotionally available to someone.  He has been clear that he hoped it would be me.  It would not have been fair to be guarded with my heart because part of it still belonged to BF.

The conversation with BF and me made me certain that I am ready.  I shed no tears (until we talked about Brit, which will be another post).  I was matter of fact, and although I am a little ashamed to admit it, I was relieved that life long friendship was his answer. 

Because I am ready for more.  Ready for someone who is excited about being with me.  Someone who wants to be more than just a good friend.

So, when the new suitor asked me when we might be able to get together, my answer was how about tomorrow.  His response, I can't wait!  (He is excited to spend time with me, what a novel idea!)

Flowers he sent me last week when I was sick.
We have had our first date, strangely enough we were joined by my 18 year old son.  And all three of us had a blast.

I feel joy in my heart.  And I think I like it.

LisaAnne, happy.
PS - He knows about Brit.  He gets it.  He has a first mother and foster parents.  What a blessing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's all perspective

This blog is written by a birthmother who wants a fully open adoption.

Therefore many of my followers are birthmothers or adoptive parents who support open adoption.  A few are adoptees who help me with perspective.

Irregardless of your role, you are all so good to me.  You have supported me through really tough patches.  You encourage me.  And many of you pray for me, some daily!

Thank you dear blog friends.

But today I feel a heavy conviction on my heart about defending Brit's parents and their character. 

I hope that I have never written things that would make them seem like bad people.  Because they aren't.  I chose them to parent my child.  I picked them because I thought they would be awesome parents to my daughter.  Since the adoption happened, things have changed.  Things I desperately wish were different.  Things that I continue to think will change with time (hopefully less time rather than more).

So today I am reminding myself (and sharing with you) why I chose Brit's parents in the first place. 

When we were choosing parents for our precious child, BF and I had a few things that were important to us.  They included:
  • A married couple who had not yet had or adopted any children (Although we hoped they would be able to adopt more children some day). 
  • We wanted them to be youthful so they could enjoy being a first time parent with an active child. 
  • We wanted them to live near us.  (That was an ambiguous term because we weren't sure how close, but we knew we wanted them to be within a drive). 
  • I absolutely had to choose a Christian couple.  This was non-negotiable to me.

Some of the reasons we chose them specifically to parent our child included:
  1. They are a Christian couple with an active faith.
  2. They love each other and seem to have a strong marriage based on faith and mutual respect of each other.
  3. They were young and full of energy to devote to a child.
  4. They are a couple of average financial means.  Not wealthy.  Just working middle-class.  Like Brit's BF and I are.
  5. They live geographically close (really close) to me and Brit's BF.  This was important to us because we wanted Brit to grow up having similar experiences as her brothers.  We felt like living in the same community would give them all commonality.
  6. They have a strong tie to their families.  Brit's father's parents live down the street from them.  Close enough that Brit can walk to grandma and grandpa's house.
  7. They seemed to share similar parenting philosophy with us.  Easy going about most things, but with loving guidance.
But more than all of that, when we met them and talked to them, we liked them.  They were people we wanted to be friends with.  They are funny.  They were real around us.  It was like meeting a new couple that you hope you can stay friends with because the guys get along and the girls get along.

I felt that when we were with them.  I wanted to share the rest of my life with them.  Which I knew was what would happen when they adopted our child.  We would be forever connected.

Adoption happened and things changed.  Our relationship disintegrated because we didn't know how to navigate through open adoption once we were faced with it as a reality and not a concept.

But I do not believe their character changed.  I still believe that they are good people who truly believe they are making the best decisions for their family.

You all get to hear my inner thoughts on a routine basis.  Brit's mother doesn't.  (Unless she reads this blog, which I hope she does.)  So I don't know if she truly understands how badly I long for a relationship with her and with Brit. (I would like to think I have been extremely clear about this, but I will again give the benefit of the doubt.)

We all act and react using what we know and what we believe to be the best decision based on the information we have. Sometimes we make decisions based on what hurts the least.

I think this is where they are at.  I don't know.  Adoption was harder than they expected.  I get that.  I am living those feelings too.

But here is some perspective I have been trying to give myself lately. 

What if I had been a birthmother who needed space and didn't want to have any interaction with my daughter's adoptive parents right now because it was too hard?

Should I have been expected to have visits with Brit, even if my pain was so great that I didn't think I could live through it?

I would guess most people would say no, I should have had the option to wait until my heart had healed more. (I would hope that many of you would have also said to me that I should reconsider that decision. Even though I might have felt like a relationship and/or visits would have been hard, it would be worth it for the sake of my daughter's long-term well being.)

So am I extending enough grace to parents who might be feeling the same way?

I would like to think that I am.  Some days better than others.

Truthfully they have not cut me out of her life.  They do send monthly emails with pictures and stories.  That is a blessing.

We are two couples with a difference of perspective on open adoption.  They have even said to me before that while they know I believe a more open adoption would be beneficial, they know other people who think they are being more than generous by including me in Brit's life with what they do provide. (I promise I did not scream out loud when that was said to me - just in my head.  I did cry a little harder after it was said.)

They are hearing things every day too.  Apparently we are not listening to the same people.  So the information they are using to base their decisions of openness on are nothing like the information I have from those of you who are living beautiful (not necessarily easy) fully open adoptions.

I get the impression that they see open adoption as information sharing.  I see it as a living relationship.

I sure do wish there was a way to get all the hurt and pain out of the way here. I want us to come to a place where all of our action put Brit's relationship with both of her families, birth and adopted, at the forefront of the adults decisions.

Now, how to get everyone on the same page?...

Lunch with the boys at school

Over the past week I have had lunch with my two youngest boys at each of their schools.  Here are some fun pictures that show that I am not a sad melancholy momma.  I can be fun too!

Mom and D.  Really he does like me, just not in front of his friends.

D and his friends.

Mom eating LanMan's ice cream.
Lisa eating BF's son's pizza.  (He is the same age as LanMan and goes to the same school.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why can't I call her my sister?

We put together a Halloween care package for Brit this past week.  It is also her mom's birthday, so we thought a package with a gift for the mom and Halloween treats for Brit would be fun.

The package has a Halloween treat bucket, iced animal cookies, 2 tutus, a soft crown, a couple of glow wands, a Halloween book, a Halloween movie and a custom made funky dress up cape.  Nothing expensive, just fun holiday things that a child could enjoy.  We hope she will have a start on a dress up box that she can play with all year round.

When I had the cape made for her, I asked the person making it to embroider their last name so Brit's little sister could wear it too someday.  I want to be sensitive to including the new siblings when I send things (although right now they have no understanding as they are only 4 months old).

BF went to the mall and got some smell good lotions from the popular store that sells those things.  He did a great job of picking out a package for Brit's mom. I was terribly proud of him.  Usually that is my job.  But he wanted to do it this time.

I got the cards.

One for Brit for Halloween.  One for the twins first Halloween.  One for Brit's mom's bday.  One for Brit's dad's bday (we don't know when his bday is, so we are just sending him one with hers so he isn't left out).  And a hilarious Halloween card for Brit's parents.

On Sunday, we had all of our boys together.  So we had them all sign Brit's Halloween card.  My two older boys did a good job, said I love you or Happy Halloween and signed their names.  Then Little D got the pen.  Immediately he signs "I love you Sissy".


Brit is his sister.  He calls her that.  He claims her on family trees.  He tells the world that he has the family that lives with us plus he has a baby sister who was adopted. (Generally adding that he is mad that mom did that because he wanted to keep her. :gulp:) 

But what he did scared me.  How would Brit's parents handle that?  Would it cause an even greater rift between us?

We claim Brit as one of our own at my house.  Her picture is up on the wall with the 3 boys.  A stranger walking into my home would assume I have 4 children living there.  She is no secret.

But Brit's parents don't know that.

Of course they don't.  They have never been over to our home.  They have never allowed Brit to meet the boys. (They specifically asked we not include them in that 2 hour birthday visit in March.  They thought it would overwhelm her.)

They have no idea how these boys feel about the sister they cannot see. 

But D just put it out there.

So what did I do?  I panicked. 

I looked at D and using my calm, level headed voice I said "I think we might not want to add the word sissy because it could hurt Brit's parent's feelings."

He looked at me.  I am pretty sure I could tell you what he was thinking.  And even if he wasn't, I was. 

He has watched me sob, he has seen me depressed.  And he knows it is because I miss having a relationship with Brit and her family.

But when it comes down to it, Brit's parents' feelings take precedence over ours.  Every time.  Trumped.

He looked at me, looked back down at the card and scratched out Sissy.  He turned it into a smiling ghost face.  Without a word to me.

I am not proud of what I made him do.

I wish it was different.

But I have to be careful.  I have to be sensitive.  I cannot do anything to jeopardize the relationship that I hope to have some day.

I do not like the person I have become, but I will do anything to preserve the hope that someday this will be different.  Self sacrificing included.