Monday, July 30, 2012

We knew it would happen

I desperately wanted to blog this weekend, but it seems that was not meant to be.  My world took a few turns this weekend.  Only one of which I will share today, because it was by far the thing that has rocked my world the hardest.  Which is amazing considering all of the drama and trauma I went through this weekend with my family.

Saturday morning I came face to face with my daughter.  She was with her grandparents.  And it was awkward.  I could tell that they had no idea what to do.  I had recognized them and they recognized me too.  I had just called their granddaughter by name.

This was for real and we were all now face to face in a very public place (farmers market).

Brit clung to grandma's leg.  She has no idea who I am.  Just a woman at the farmer's market asking her what she is looking for with grandma.

Our conversation was brief and very superficial.  An exchange between strangers may have been warmer and more sincere.  It was apparent that they just wanted to get the heck out of there.

I did really well.  I carried on casual conversation.  I treated Brit like I would any stand-offish child who didn't know me.  I talked to her from a safe distance and mostly talked to the adults.

Our interaction might have lasted 2 minutes.

Then they walked off to find zucchini.  And I took my baby (who I watch every weekend) back to the car.

Where I completely lost it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Surprisingly OK, I think...

Yesterday was the 25th and like clockwork, we got our monthly email around 9:30pm.  Brit's dad included 4 adorable pictures (which if you are my FB friend you have already seen).

His email was funny, as always.  I love the stories he tells about Brit.  I feel like I know a little bit more about her life every time I read an email he sends.

I wish I could share the emails with all of you.  Because if I did, I think any person who would read the them would assume we are all best of friends.  The emails are casual, kind, and offer a small picture into Brit's life.  Every email ends with Love, and he signs all of their names (even the babies).

It is so strange to me.  To get these kind emails that by all indications seem to show that our relationship is good, healthy and interactive in some way.

I suppose that is why it is hard to accept that when we email them back, our emails just go to the abyss.  Because it seems like when I email them, I am emailing a friend.

The same is true when I am at the grocery store and I run into Brit's dad (which has happened probably 5 different times with me, and probably 3 times with BF).  We stand there, chat, and never would you guess that there would be any unresolved issues between us.

There is so much more that I could expound upon here with regard to this strange dynamic, but that would not be my original point for this post.

Today I just wanted to post that I got the email, read it, saw the pictures and was able to move on, without any tears.  I didn't get t lump in my throat.  I simply read the email, enjoyed it, and moved on to the next thing.


For some reason in my mind, I read that email and felt the kind feelings I have toward my sister when she shares photos with me of her son (who is the exact same age as Brit).  I was able to laugh, inspect the photos, and it did not cause me two steps backward.

It seems that while I don't like it, I have gotten to some level of acceptance of where this all stands right now. I suppose that is a good thing.  

So why does just typing that, make me cry?...

Maybe I'm not as OK as I think.

Friday, July 20, 2012


No, this post is not about a visit with Brit.  There are none on the horizon.

Instead, I am sitting here today thinking about how happy I am for two of my blog world friends who are having family time together this week.

A first mother friend of mine is spending almost a full week with her son and his parents at her house.  They live several states apart and visits are hard to come by as all of the adults work and have to synchronize their schedules to make visits happen.  My friend has been posting occasional photos and videos and I find myself going back to her FB page over and over, just to make sure I haven't missed any pictures.  My heart is filled with joy for all of them as they get to spend so much time together with the sweet little one year old who means the world to all of them. Big sister included (she is being parented by my friend).  

This visit is also the first time the birth father has seen his son since the 30 minutes he had with him at the hospital after his birth.  Looking at photos of him holding his son just melts my heart.  They also took a picture of the two children holding hands while they are asleep, and I must say it made me cry to see siblings who have been reunited.

Another dear family I have gotten to know (and also love) is celebrating their 6 year old daughter's birthday this week.  As part of their annual tradition they have flown her birthmother in so she can be with them for several days.  Their adoption is very open and the little girl talks to her birthmother via Sk.ype every week.  My favorite quote was said by the daughter as she talked to her little sister (who is also adopted and enjoys an open adoption too).  Little Ally must have been aggravated with her sister trying to get some attention, because she looked at her sister and said " "Cristina is MY BIRTHMOTHER Jessie!" To which her mother replied that "family is for everyone".  I LOVED IT!

I am so glad these families are getting some special time with each other.  It fills my heart with joy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Loving each other

Dear Brit,

I have been thinking lately about how ironic it is that the reason we placed you with another family was because we wanted you to have two parents who were married and who could give you complete undivided attention.

Your birth father and I had been together a very short amount of time when we discovered I was pregnant with you.  We didn't have any idea how things were going to work out between the two of us.  While things seemed good, it was so early in our relationship.  All we knew for certain was that he and I were both trying to figure out how to be single parents to the boys we already had, and we didn't know what the future would hold.

Fast forward 3 years.  He and I are still together.  While there were definitely some bumps in road along the way (the greatest being the emotional toll that your adoption has taken on us), we have figured it out.

Today, I look at your birth father and think to myself how glad I am that we have worked through all of the tough stuff.  I go to bed each night and I am thankful that we stuck it out and because of that, our relationship is stronger than most.  I have never felt such love for someone before.  Each day I find myself more and more in love with him and committed to us.

While it makes me so happy to know that our future will be together, the same thing makes me sad too.  Because we are together and we could have had you with us too.

When we took our first major family vacation last month, I imagined what it would have been like having you riding along with us.  When I watch your brothers interact with the baby that we keep on the weekends, I often see your face.  I can't help but imagine that this is the joy they would have playing with you.

I wish I could go back and make a different decision now that I know, but we cannot take it back.  You are being raised as part of a different family. You don't even know who we are.

But here is what I want you to know.  We love you so much.  And when you are allowed to have a relationship with us, we will be together. You will not have the complication of separated birth parents.  You will get to visit us in the same house, where all of your brothers live(d).  When you look across the table you will see how you look exactly like both of us (because you do look JUST like the younger versions of both of us, curls and all).

While we complicated your life by giving you another set of parents, at least we will be able to offer a small amount of simplicity by being together for you from that point forward.

I am so glad that I am together with your birth father because he is the only other person who can understand the incredible loss I feel.  He is also the only person who can share the incredible amount of love I have for you, because he has it too.  And having all of your brothers together in our home allows us to talk about you, display photos of you, and dream together of the day that you will be more than just a picture on our end table.

We all love you very much.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The friends who carry my heart

All of us who do it, know blogging is therapeutic.

After my post this morning, I had to run out the door to organize a concert at our local water park (I'm the marketing director for the park).

I walked out the door, ready to brave the heat and I put on my happy face.

Throughout the day my phone would buzz in my pocket and I would occasionally check it to see a preview of the emails that were coming in.

That heavy heart I woke to was gradually lifted with each word of encouragement that I received.  Comments on my blog.  Private messages.  Texts.  Many of which told me you were praying.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sure, nothing has changed. But if there is anything good that I can say has come from this adoption grief that I muddle through, it has been the friendships I have been given by women who I would have never known otherwise.

My dear sweet friend on the east coast (you know who you are!), I am in awe of your faithful daily prayers for me, even though you have no connection to adoption at all.  Your heart is so good!

Adoptive mom friends who support me, pray for me, and sometimes just tell me how it SHOULD be different; I love each and every one of you.  You encourage me with your living, breathing open adoptions and I so appreciate the love you shower over me, even when I am not part of your 'family'. You keep me from becoming completely bitter, because through you, I see that not every adoption relationship is bad.  Some are really, really good.  And those relationships bring me joy.

Fellow birthmother friends, I appreciate the way you hold me up on days I cannot drag myself up.  Knowing that there is an entire community of 'us' out there who understand fully, is both unfortunate and sadly comforting. I am thankful for the camaraderie.  It is a sad sorority of ours (a term Susie Book once said to me), but at least we all understand.  Thank you for encouraging me and reminding me that I can make it through today, no matter how hard.  Because I see that you have, even when you didn't think you would some days.

And my dear sweet 'real life' friends who read and who may not comment on my blog but instead text, call or just stand next to me in my office while I cry, I am truly thankful for all of you.  You live this with me, and you still stick around anyway.

My heart may be heavy, but so many people help me carry it on the really bad days.

Thank you friends.

Just never quite right

It's interesting that by all outside indicators I am a perfectly well adjusted mom of alot of boys.  We go to sports (lots of them). I am very active in school district activities. I volunteer within my community and even teach Sunday School.  I have a job that is very visible in our small community. I have lived in this same community since I was in high school, so I know lots and lots of people. As you might guess, trips to the grocery store always take me hours because I stop and talk to all of my 'friends' who are also there.  Have I mentioned that I am also very social. :)

But then there is this side of me.  The side that you all see.  The deep grief, regret and longing for something different, something more.

This morning I could hardly get out of bed.  I felt paralyzed by grief.  I had that oppressive feeling of not being able to change one single thing to make it better.

All night I dreamed that I was having a baby.  Literally having the baby.  But I was NOT going to let this child go home with another family.  I knew better.  This child was staying with me.  I was its mother.

Then I woke up and the reality hit like a brick wall. No matter what I had just dreamed, there is no going back.  I cannot change what has happened.  And nothing is any better than when I went to bed.

I still have no interaction with my daughter's family (aside from the emails generated by them once a month). I have no visits to look forward to.

All I have is hope that things will change in the future.  Possibly as far away as when our daughter requests to know us.

The idea that I have to live with that every day kills me.  A slow painful death.  And even on my very best day, things are just never quite right.  We have a child missing.  And the tragedy is we chose it.

How could we have ever thought this would be a good idea?  I will never be the same.  And never quite right.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Two mothers, one daughter

I read My Daughter Has Two Mothers this morning.  I cried.

She gets it.  And because this mother gets it, her daughter gets it all.  She can love two families without guilt.

My favorite part of this post is that it was the CHILD who made the mother realize that there is no reason to wait to know her birth family.

And the part of post where she talks about how her daughter gave her birth mother a necklace that said MOTHER and she kept the half that said DAUGHTER just made me cry harder.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Do they ever speak our names?

I read a post on a blog today from an adoptive mother as she referenced her child's birth mother.

She talked about how they talk about her in daily conversation.  How her photo is on their mantle.  She is just one of a multitude of family members who they hold dear in their hearts.

Makes me wonder.  Does Brit even hear the words adopted?  Does she know that she grew in someone else's tummy?  Does she hear the words that her birth family love her very much?  Do they ever look at the books of photos that we have sent and tell her who the people in the pictures are?

Unfortunately, I am going to guess I know the answer to those questions.

Adoption has taught me... To be a gracious gift recipient

Remember this post where I painstakingly told of the gifts we had been collecting for Brit? In the same post I shared that the gifts had been picked up by her father and we were just relishing the idea that she had them and was enjoying them.

Well, we never did hear back from her parents telling us that they got them. Not a word. The only way I knew that they must have them was because the gifts were not in the hallway when I returned to work on Monday.

I guess we have grown accustomed to this. Our gifts are only acknowledged in the monthly email we get each 25th. So if we send a gift right after we have just received our monthly email, then it will be a full month before we hear if they received anything we mailed, if we hear anything about it at all. Most times it is never mentioned.

This time I was so hopeful that maybe when we got our monthly email, they would share with us that Brit or her brother or sister liked the XXX or that they really appreciated the thought.

The good news is that in the monthly email Brit's dad did say "Thanks for the gifts". The sad part is, that was all he said.

I know it is petty of me to be disappointed. But the truth is, I hang on their every single word. I wait and pine for any words they send.  And those gifts were such a labor of love for me.  I was so excited about the kids getting them.  I wanted to hear that they were received in the same spirit.  (insert disappointment)

When I was choosing those gifts I put so much time and thought into choosing just the right thing. I would sit down at night and look over all the gifts we had collected up to that point. I would consider what else we could add without going overboard. When I came across something that I thought would be perfect for the care package, I would get so excited. I would rush in the door and immediately show BF and he and I would talk about how we thought it was just right. Each gift, no matter how small, was an investment in love.

I would love to see a picture of the kids with the gifts.  Any of them.  Never once have we gotten a picture of Brit wearing an outfit we have sent. They don't make a point of including photos of Brit with any of our gifts. I do recall one time when they did acknowledge a care package we sent and they made mention of how she played with one of the toys. It made us so happy.

However, never do they mention the personal gifts. The photo books we have sent from her visit with us. Or this time, the books with her photo as the main character. The things I spend the most time creating and contemplating get the least mention.

So here is what I am going to take from this.

I need to be a considerate gift recipient.

I hope I never neglect to acknowledge someone's heartfelt gift, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.

And I will make sure I have my children do the same. I want them to be amazing adults and being appreciative people is so important. I would like to think that we practice this already, but I will definitely make it a conscious choice to be deliberate and purposeful and above all else grateful.

If you are someone from the adoption triad who receives gifts from another family member, please make the effort to acknowledge the time and effort put in the gift, no matter how small. Take a picture. Tell how it made you or your child feel. Make it personal. And do it when you receive it, because you just never know if the giver is sitting on pins and needles hoping the gift brought you joy.