Monday, January 21, 2013

Baby Girl and Her Family

There were three projects I wanted to finish before Baby Girl was one years old
1) Write her adoption story  (DONE :) )
2) Finish "On the Day You Were Born" book that D helped me fill in the blanks but I needed to creatively create pictures since I have no pictures from the day she was born.  (DONE :) )
3) Re-finish my baby quilt for her (umm... I need to buy a sewing machine)

So 2/3 isn't bad- right?

I had a hard time finding the words for her adoption story and wanted to share pieces of it that I thought might be helpful to others.  The goal of an adoption story book is to explain to your child their personal adoption story (Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born is great but its not Baby Girls Adoption story).  I wanted it to be truthful but also allow room for discussion.  I wanted the book to be interesting but not a fairy tail.  I think for me the hardest part was the first paragraph then after that it flowed.

I started the book by stating:
"No two families are alike.  Some families have a mom and dad, some have two dads while others might have one mom.  Baby Girl has a Birthmom D, a Birthfather J and a Mom and Dad."
I thought of the kids Baby Girl will ride the bus with in just a few years and chose those combinations (two dads, one mom, etc).  

I've read that sometimes children that are adopted are confused that if they didn't grow in their Mom then how did they get here so the next page I stated "No matter what the family looks like- all babies are born.  You were born Baby Girl (Birth Name); January 25, 2012 at 10:08AM; 7lbs 3 oz."  I then went on to share with her things D had shared w me about that day like "she was born smiling" and "it was cold but sunny that day."  Since I dont have any pictures of the day she was born I had taken a picture of the front of the hospital which I used on this page as well as the picture of the Reading Terminal in Phili at 9:59AM  (The NICU opened at 10AM each morning so I never was out on the street at 10:08!)

I then explained that when D and J found out about Baby Girl they knew that they couldn't take care of any baby at that time.  I then shared that once Baby Girl was born they asked the agency to look for a mom and dad for her.  This was a hard page for me to write since D had inquired about adoption prior but really didn't go forward with creating a plan.  I kept it simple and I will be able to share with her the expanded information once she is older and might wonder about why we didn't know about her for a week.  I also wanted to be sure that she knew that it wasn't just her they couldn't take care of- they were not in a position to take care of any baby.  I borrowed some of this language from the December issue of Adoptive Families Magazine article about talking about adoption with your children.

DH and I had fun reenacting "the call!"  We both had co-workers take pictures of us on the phone at work.  Since I couldn't conjure up tears instead I'm jumping in the picture.  I think its fitting for her Dad to have gotten the call and not me- since she is very much Daddy's Little Girl.

The book gave me a chance to put together the many pictures we have of Baby Girl and her birth family.  I'm sad to say there is only one picture of J and her.  He is holding her and all you can see are two of his fingers supporting her neck, his nose and mouth.  There is one other picture of him with DH.  Its funny that since putting together this book I've caught glimpses of his face in hers where before I see her birth siblings in her more then anyone.

Another hard page for me to write was about her hospitalization.  Its so raw for me still.  The thought of that hospital increases my respiratory rate and my breaths become shallow.  The smell of peanut butter still makes my stomach turn (I ate PB&J two times a day every day except when DH was there I ate it 1x a day).  I wanted to be truthful but I also wanted it to be a book that if someone other then the three of us were to pick it up I would be comfortable with it.  So I told her that "We wanted to take you right home but you were sick and needed medicine only nurses could give."  I told her about how I was there everyday and took care of her.  I also told her about how it meant that her birth family could visit and love her.  I told her how D and her mom were there the day we left and how she cried because she would miss her but also happy that she found us to be her parents.  I told her about her car ride home and her first night in her own crib.

I told her about the stream of visitors that came as well as the trips we took to introduce her.  I told her about the post placement visits and how the social worker wanted to know what she liked/didn't like.  I have a very sweet picture of the social worker and Baby Girl.

I shared with her that the social worker told the judge we would make perfect forever parents for her.  I then went on to tell her that "On August 29, 2012 Judge X had all three of us sign a piece of paper that promised we would love you forever and that your new name would be Baby Girl.  That was your adoption day."  Judge X has a very sweet certificate that she had the social worker, her self, the parents and child sign in addition to the adoption decree.  I told her about her party that day and the cherry tree we planted.  

I ended the book by stating "Families are made up of people who love each other and we love you very much."

When the book arrived I was so excited to read it with tears streaming down my face.  I'm still in awe that someone so small can have such an impact on me.  I left the book out on the dining room table.  When I got baby girl up in the morning the book caught her eye and she insistently pointed at the book.  We read it quickly since it was a day she had to be at daycare.  When we got home that night she again insisted on reading it.  She loves seeing the dog and cat, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, oma and opa.  I hope that the book allows her to recognize her birth siblings and birth grandmother when we visit them later this winter.  I also hope that the book allows us to have conversations and answer her questions.  I hope the book helps her understand D and J and realize their love for her.  I hope the book helps her feel secure in her place in our hearts and that adoption is forever.

On The Day You were Born
I got it from my mother before baby girl was born.  I accepted the gift but reminded my mom that there was a strong chance I wouldn't be there on the day she was born or even know she was born the day she was born.  So I added it to the hospital bag thinking I might not get a chance to use it.  

So when the call came and baby girl was already 6 days old- I thought the book could be re-gifted.  As I looked thru it I began to wonder things about the day she was born.  I didn't know any of the answers- what was the weather like?  Who was there?  So I took it with me and decided to ask D.

The first day I was alone with Baby Girl D came to visit for an extended visit.  I blogged about it- It was HOURS long.  I was zapped emotionally.  I was stressed about being alone in a big city that I knew no one - not even my own daughter.  So that was the day D and I filled out the book.  I filled it out with her birth name as the name she was born.  D gave me information about the weather that day.  Who was there.  What she could see from her hospital room.  That Baby Girl slept her first night.  Her stats (weight, length, time- these are slightly different then the hospital record).

Just before I left PA I knew I wouldn't have pictures from the day she was born even though I asked D several times for the pictures.  I'd still love them but doubt D will ever get them to Baby Girl.  So I took the early train into the city and took pictures of the hospital, things around the hospital such as the LOVE statue that Phili is famous for, a clock at the train station, trees, and anything else I could think of possibly using for the book.

Baby Girl now has a book from D's own words about the day she was born.  There are a few pictures of her that I took after we arrived but most of them are creative ways of depicting the day she was born.    I dont know why I dragged my feet so long- maybe it was because I hoped I'd get those pictures from D, but now that I'm done with it I'm glad I didn't give it away.  I have a feeling this book will be special for Baby Girl.

The Quilt...
like I said- I need a sewing machine.  Maybe it can be my goal to have it done by the time she is two.

OH AND SHE IS WALKING!!!!  How my life has changed in less then a year?!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The Friday before Christmas we got her birth certificate!!!!  I was in a hurry that Friday getting last minute gifts (yeah I'm there with the husbands Christmas eve), going grocery shopping, getting the house perfect for the in-laws and running to the post office (did you know the post office is literally empty the Friday before Christmas and you can ship your Christmas cards out without waiting in line- and most arrived before Christmas!!  So I digress).  So before I ran out for my errands I grabbed the mail and threw it on the seat next to me in the car.  I noticed an envelope from our agency here at home but didn't think anything of it because we get mail from them with some frequency and didn't expect the birth certificate to come from them since all other court information had come directly to us.  So after a day of running around I opened the envelope to find Christmas had arrived early!!

I had seen her original birth certificate so I knew what Pennsylvanias format was going to look like but I was still shocked at how empty it was.  It made me sad- like so much was missing.  My personal birth certificate is full of gems of information- the address I was born at, my parents names, my parents ages, the states my parents were from, etc- I can look at it and I feel like I learn something about my start.  Her birth certificate is sterile- blank- gaps- sad.  Her date of birth is in January, it was filed in February, it was issued in December- blocks of time unaccounted for.  Her gender is listed followed by the time of her birth and the county is listed as her place of birth- real facts- unchangeable.  No hospital is listed.  Mothers maiden name is my own full name- who my birth certificate says I am.  Then a 1" gap.  Fathers Name- the name given to my husband the day he joined the world.  2.5" gap.  "This is to certify that this is a true copy of the record which is on file in the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in accordance with the Vital Statistics Law of 1953, as amended."  The signature of the registrar.  Period the end.

Her original birth certificate has gaps as well.  Fathers name is listed as "Information Not Recorded."  Though her Name is her birth first and middle name with her birthfathers last name.  Even her original birth certificate doesn't feel "right."  Though I realize her birth certificate does not make her "who she is."  It is still that first place we are recorded, defined, numbered.

The document never really was and never truly will be accurate.  Its filled with blanks that hopefully I can help her fill.  I am glad I have them both so she realizes she existed before December 2012.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just A Piece of Paper

Who knew that one piece of paper could hold up so much.  I have gotten by my whole adult life with just one official copy of my birth certificate.  In fact my parents took so long in filing my birth certificate for my home birth that when I requested an additional copy so that I could apply for an updated passport the state of Wisconsin told me I could not obtain an official copy of my birth certificate a few years back.  In order to get an official copy I had to provide a baptism record (I was raised Quaker- no baptism), a birth certificate (haha funny), or hospital record (remember I was home birthed- so haha).  So you would think that I'd have some idea that this one piece of paper could hold up so much.

We finalized at the end of August but we STILL do not have an amended birth certificate.  So despite fighting to get a copy of her original piece of paper (aka birth certificate) we still cannot get her a new social security # (she has one- I just can't know it), we cannot get her a passport, we cannot open a bank account, and I just learned the other day we cannot get a life time hunting/finish license for our state.  I'm frustrated.

So our agency found out the week of Sandy that PA had changed their requirements and thus they had not sent all the required paper work for an amended birth certificate to be created.  So Sandy hit and Phili was busy with Sandy after math (I have sympathy and know the birth certificate is not #1 however the process started two months BEFORE Sandy).  So the courts are backed up in Phili and so now we wait.  It could be mid-January before we get a birth certificate (because they get 12 weeks to provide us with an amended birth certificate assuming the paper work is right this time).  

I've looked into ways to circumvent the need for a birth certificate for after all its just a piece of paper and when I get frustrated I usually crusade.  For the passport I'd need an affidavit from someone that can verify her birth along with a baptismal record (which we have but doesn't have a place of birth on it which the passport site indicates it needs) or birth certificate (haha).  So passport is a likely no- go.  Social Security # I maybe able to get as it states in "some cases" they will accept an official final adoption decree which DH is going to get three copies of tomorrow (we probably should have an official copy of that anyway).  Hunting/Fishing license there is no alternative.  Bank account I need the social security # to open an account.

The funny things is I have not fished since middle school and my husband has maybe purchased a fishing license twice in the past 8 years I've known him.  Its the hunting/fishing license that gets me the most (well maybe the passport and social security number and bank account bother me a lot too).  In our state once a child turns 1 the rate doubles from $150 to $300 for a life time license.  My DH is 4th generation born in the state we reside and it holds some clout.  My dear daughter wont get a birth certificate that honors her being 5th generation.  The hunting/fishing license is as close as she will ever get to being truly from this state (flat landers like myself will be outsiders no matter how long they live here).  Part of me wants to write the Fishing and Wildlife department with our story and I'm sure we can work something out; however it also means I have to reveal her adoption story to a stranger that has no right to her story.

So no trip to the zoo in Canada in our near future.  Possibly no life time/hunting fishing license for our little girl (she likely would only fish but who knows I dont want to hold her back).  We still cannot deposit her checks addressed to her from her baby showers.  

I just feel stuck- like I still not 100% her mom yet.  Just because of a stupid piece of paper.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interview Project 2012

 When I found Open Adoption Bloggers it was a moment in my waiting process when I realized I wasn't the only one. I realized there were really others that existed in the triad. People who not only challenged the way I thought and helped me grow but also people there to make me realize that I wasn't the first one to have many of the feelings I had while I waited. Sure I read books as our agency required but many of them were written in the 80's and 90's. So while open adoptions continued to grow the knowledge in the books was stagnant.

 The Interview project is a project in which open adoption bloggers are randomly paired, get to know their partners blogs, then interview them. What I love most about this project is not only did I get to read an amazing (new to me) blog I also then was able to read the blogs she enjoyed. So without further ado I'd like to introduce Andy from Today Is The Day. Andy is an amazing Mom to a boy named Liam. Both Andy and Liam were adopted at birth. Andy has chronicled her parenting of Liam, her partnership with Hilary, the reunification with her birthmother Iris, as well as her (and Liams) relationship with food, their family traditions, their love for laughter, and my favorite posts those she calles "caught a moment."


Q:  You created a post Parenting Tips I'm Working On - What has changed most in your parenting style as Liam gets older?
A: One of the best parts of these interviews is that I get to revisit old posts that I haven’t read in a long time.  I wrote that post in 2008, 2 years before Liam was  diagnosed with ADHD and we started him on medication.  If only I knew then what I know now!  I think the thing that has changed the most is my understanding of ADHD and how it affects Liam. I still work on all the tips listed on that post, and probably struggle the most with yelling and being consistent.  Liam can push my every button (sometimes all at once).  The one thing I have tried hard to learn, is to let go of my expectations.  If he doesn’t want to go trick or treating for Hallowe’en, that’s okay.  It’s not about me and what I think he should do.

Q: You glanced at the topic of displaying birthfamily pictures and would love to hear more of your perspective on what/how much to share?  I thought your insight from the adoptee perspective was interesting as it made the keeping of pictures private made it seem like the topic of adoption was private.  How do you view balancing private vs. public information in relation to adoption?
A: I didn't have any pictures of my birth family until I was in reunion with my mother Iris when I was 30 years old.  Seeing her picture (and one of my older 1/2 sister) for the first time was an unbelievably hard moment, but also an amazing one.  It suddenly made this person that I had only ever imagined real. Pictures for me have always been important, a way to capture memories.  On the few times that I have met Iris in person, it was always important to take as many pictures as I could, because in the back of my mind I always worried that it would be the last time I saw her.  Having a picture of her and I together was priceless.

As I'm very open about my adoption, I don't hide it away. We have 2 walls of family pictures that line the staircase in our house and I have pictures of both Iris and my sister hanging among all my other family members.  I do think that if I were to hide those pictures, or not display them, that I would be conveying the idea that adoption was something to be hidden.  And it's not.

I wish that we had more pictures for Liam.  We have 1 or 2 of his Mom that she sent us early on, but that is all.  They hang among other family pictures in his bedroom, out and proud for anyone to see. 
By nature of blogging about family and adoption, I have made the choice to not keep very much private, though there are topics and stories that I would never include on the blog, Facebook or other public places.  Some of those stories are just too personal, or not mine to share.  My litmus test for what to include on the blog comes down to Mothers:  Would I be okay if either of my mothers, or if Liam's mother were to read what I wrote?  If so, then I continue on.

Q: You shared that an assignment for Liam prompted an opportunity for you and another parent to present on different types of families and how the teachers would adapt assignments to include all families.  What changes occurred as a result?  Do you speak with Liam's teachers at the start of the year about adoption?  Did your parents speak with your teachers?  (clearly not the bio teacher but he seemed unreasonable)    
A: Liam goes to a fairly small private school, so there isn’t a need to speak to teachers at the start of each year, as we have been there for 6 years now and everyone knows who we are and the fact that he was adopted.   I think the biggest changes that occurred at the school is that teachers are much more aware of the impact their assignments can have and they work hard to use more inclusive language. 

 I don’t know if my parents ever spoke to my teachers when I was in grade school – I’ll be sure to ask my Mom when I talk to her next.  However, I know that my adoption was not a secret, and something that I openly discussed with my school mates.  I also went to a small school, there was only 10 of us in my grade and we were together from Kindergarten to grade 8.  One of the boys in my class was also adopted, but he was much less vocal, almost to the point of being ashamed of it.  I got the sense that his parents did not want him to discuss it.  Ever.

Q: Traditions are a big theme in your blog.  Where do the traditions come from?  What is your favorite?
A: I do love a good tradition!  Most of our traditions come from my partner Hilary’s family, but some are ones that she and I have developed over the 19 years we have been together.  By and large my favorite tradition is Table Presents.  This one comes from Hilary’s family and has its roots in British tradition.  For Birthdays and Christmas (and some other holidays if we feel the need to spruce things up) everyone at the table gets a small, usually funny, gift to open before the meal is served.  Our friends and my side of the family have even now embraced this and we all have a lot of fun with it. Some of the best table presents over the years have included bacon mints, bacon peanut brittle and bacon mouth spray.  We have a thing for bacon!

Q: You mentioned that you only took a few weeks off when Liam was born.  In the US gay couples, men, and adoptive parents don't typically get paid time off because paid time off is paid by a companies short term disability policy.  Since I (and the other groups listed) never give birth thus never are "disabled" we don't get paid time off with our children.  How does this work in Canada?
A: Here in Canada maternity leave is 1 year, but that is technically broken down into 14 weeks of actual “maternity” leave (based on the woman giving birth and needing to recover) and the rest is listed as “parental” leave.  The parental portion can be taken by either parent or split between the 2 of them.  All of this leave time is paid by our employment insurance benefits and is available to anyone who has worked a minimum number of hours before they apply for it. Employers can choose to “top up” the amount a person is paid while they are off, but those employers are few and far between.  Adoptive parents qualify for the parental leave portion and can have it extended the additional 14 weeks to make up the full year to allow for bonding with the child.
At the time that we adopted, the laws had just changed recognizing same-sex couples as common-law couples, and another law changed allowing common-law couples to adopt.  So my partner Hilary was able to take paid parental leave when Liam came home.

Q: You posted a few times about starting but being unsuccessful at finding your birthfathers family.  Have you considered reopening that search?
A: I go back and forth on this one.  I have very little information, so knowing where to even start is hard.  If anyone knows a lesbian named Carol from Guelph, Ontario who would be in her 60’s, let me know.
And even though I don’t currently have any contact with Iris, my mother, I know that she absolutely does not want me to search for his family, and I don’t want to hurt her or cause her any distress.  From what I’ve gathered in tidbits since our reunion, Iris and my father’s wife were (are?) friends, so that could be pretty awkward.  Another factor is  that my siblings would all be in there 60s and 70s and  I’m not sure how they would handle finding a sibling now.  But then on the other hand, my siblings would all be in there 60s and 70s, which doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time left to try and find them.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

Q: Silence has been the hardest part of our open/semi-open adoption thus far.  The not knowing if letters are arriving or if gifts we have sent to her siblings are being distributed.  How are you helping Liam deal with the silence and has it changed as he has gotten older?
A: This has been the hardest part of Liam’s adoption for me.  I so wanted him to have what I didn’t – a relationship with his first family while he was growing up, avoiding the emotional roller coaster of reunion later on.  For the most part Liam takes it in stride, having never known any different.  Since he is growing up as an only child, the idea that he has siblings close in age is probably the hardest part for him.  He would very much like to meet them and have them as part of his life.  When he does bring it up we explain as best we can, based on our own assumptions.  However, I’m sure there will come a time, as it does with many adoptees, that he will decide that he wants to search for them and we will do everything we can to help him with that journey.

Q: You posted about watching Say Yes to the Dress (which i can admit to watching- WHO has $10000 or even $1000 for a wedding dress? but I digress)  What is your current guilty pleasure?
A:  Ahhhh guilty pleasures.  Right now my guilty pleasure is having an hour to myself in the morning before everyone wakes up, so that I can play mindless computer games, otherwise known as Farmville on Facebook.    I know!  Serious time waster of no value what-so-ever, but hey, I enjoy it with my morning coffee.


 Thank you Andy for sharing your blog with all of us. I know you have stepped away from adoption blogging and stated it was because you felt that at times you felt you had nothing left to add. I really appreciate your perspective as both an adoptee and an adoptive mother. I hope one day my daughter can feel that I was as open with her as you have been with Liam.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Letters from PA

On Friday as the second repair man left the house there was a package. The package was from the agency in PA. I quickly opened it hoping it was from D. The package was from Ds mom! Though I wish it was from D telling us she would meet us in the spring I was happy to get a letter from her. She confirmed D is getting our letters and the gift we sent to baby girls birth brother was given to him. It makes me glad to know that D is at least getting the letters. I'm also happy that baby girl has gotten communication! Today I got home to learn Baby girls birth sister also sent a package! She told us she looked forward to our visit!!!! She also sent baby girl (and DH and I) shirts she had made up for the team she raised $2000 for autism research. She shared she changed her major from special Ed to psych! Such a smart beautiful girl! She told us they look at the shutterfly account! I've been discouraged because I have felt my letters go into a black hole. It made me feel like what's the point? Will baby girl ever get a letter from D or J I don't know but I do know that her family loves her and doesn't want the communication to stop. I also am hopeful for a visit to PA in the spring. Since we are going that far I'd like to go to DC and see the cherry trees bloom! Though you all would share in my excitement! Also I've signed up for the interview project so Ill be back in November :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thank You and Good-Bye

This journey has been long and I'm glad I had you all along for the ride.  Saying good-bye isn't as easy as I anticipated two years ago.  Most of you I have never met and likely never will.  I will miss you!  I started the blog initially to be able to remember the process.  I also blogged in hopes to help other families going thru the process.  Some that followed my blog are adoptive parents that had already achieved the title of "Mom" and validated my sadness/frustrations from the finish line.  Some joined me as they started the process. Some just stopped by to learn about lactation, dear birthparent letters, and adoption.  Some were personal friends that took the time to understand the process that we embarked on forever ago and I'll never be able to thank you for being gentile with my feelings.

I will miss writing the blog but I think its time for me to move on.  As many of you know personally blogging takes time- even a quick entry.  Some posts take weeks or months to edit before they are ready for the world to critique.  With baby girl here I don't want to miss a moment.  So it is time for me to say good-bye.

For our daughter
Thank you for coming into our lives.  You continue to amaze us each day.  I love getting to be your Mom.  Yesterday you had a spill and I grabbed you up and we snuggled.  I got a rare moment to rock you to sleep in my arms and we slept together on the sofa.  When you woke up I stroked your cheek and you smiled at me.  Its the simple things that make me so grateful to get the title of Mom.  As your Mom I promise to let you fall sometimes but I will always be there to comfort you.
I hope I can share this blog with you at some point.  I want you to know how much you were wanted.  I want you to know that I will always do my best to answer your questions and if I dont have an answer I will work with you to find that answer.  Your blue eyes come from your Mom-Mom, your strawberry blond hair from your birthmother, your complexion from your birthfather, and your infectious smile from your birth-sister.
I am not going to be perfect, but here is a secret: neither was my Mom.  I look forward to watching you grow into an amazing woman- and I will always love you.
I couldn't say it more perfectly then the song Make Me Feel My Love:
I've known it from the moment that we met,
No doubt in my mind where you belong.

I'd go hungry; I'd go black and blue,
I'd go crawling down the avenue.
No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do
To make you feel my love.
 - Love Mom

DH Thank you for going on this journey with me. You are an amazing father and husband. Not all men are up for the challenge you took on. Our daughter will have a role model for the way men should act and treat the women in their lives. Thank you for taking my sadness seriously. Thank you for not treating me like I was crazy and realizing what I needed more were hugs. I look forward to spending a life time with you. -You wife and partner in parenthood

For those of you still waiting.
Each morning my alarm clock played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and each morning I started a new reminding myself that some day I'd meet my baby.  I will not sugar coat it and say it was easy because a portion of the wait I was depressed.  I cried to and from work on numerous occasions.  I cried when a patient told me that I should "get married and have kids" in a bitter disgusted voice "because then I'd make someone else's life miserable" I sobbed.  For me it was easy to turn inward and away from those around me but I was fortunate to have a few amazing friends.  Take time to figure out which of your friends "get it."  As a general rule you have to "live it" to really "get it" but there are a few special friends who can never really understand but will be willing to listen- find them!  I had some dark days where I wasn't sure I'd be able to continue the process.  Confide in your partner- its hard sometimes to remember you both are on the same boat.
I also want to tell you that I fantasized about the day my child would be placed in my arms.  When I met her she was sleeping.  I never had her placed in my arms- I picked her up from a blue bouncy seat and we were tethered to the wall with heart monitors for a month.  I thought she was beautiful the moment I saw her but not a single tear dropped.  Continue to dream, continue to pray, continue to hope, but know that no matter how that baby ends up in your arms you will think they are beautiful and you will find yourself in love.  My last piece of unsolicited advice is try not to guard your heart too much.  Each states waiting period for the TPR to finalize is different for us it was a two month waiting period.  The wait for the TPR to finalize is a roller coaster but remind yourself that to adhear to the legal process means you can look your child in their eyes and say "Your Birthparents made a loving choice to put you first and made us your parents."   I did love her during that roller coaster but a small piece of me did hold back.  I didn't ever schedule a baby photo shoot.  I do regret that.
I continue to think of each of you.  I will continue to follow your blogs.  Just remember keep your faith-

So this is it...Thank you and Good bye!  I could not have made this journey without the blog and you all were part of made writing worth it.  I do plan from time to time to drop by and say hello.  Maybe once I finish Baby Girls Adoption Story I'll write up some sort of outline (without details).  I'd love to share the story of Baby Girls first visit back to PA.  So its not good-bye forever but allows for some closure as well as an opportunity to just focus on my most important job- Mom.  When I started blogging I knew I wanted to create some sort of finality to it.  So often blogs just stop or fade away.  I often wondered where the story went.  So this is our story- we fell in love, we got married, we TTC, we TTA, and now just shy of our 5 year anniversary I'm a Mom.  

Baby Girl is stirring from her nap....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Birthparents D & J

During the waiting process I wanted so badly to have an open adoption.  I wanted birthparents that wanted to be a part of our childs life so that my child would have the ability to really fully understand who they are.  I wanted to be able to change peoples perceptions of birthparents as my own perceptions of birthparents had changed during our wait and then we met our daughters birthparents and my perceptions were reality.

The adoption world pushes us all to speak highly of birthparents and I do.  There is a push to change the perception of birthparents from uncaring soulless people who discard their children because they came at an inconvenient time.  I never thought this.  Now that I've met D and J I realize that during my wait I may have shifted too far the opposite direction waiting to meet these people who were so amazing and I was disappointed.  I realize that statistically my odds were good of meeting an amazing birthmother however like any group of people there will be an assortment of people.  I know that women over 21 are more likely to place their children for adoption and that held true for our birthparents both of them were in fact older then both DH and I.  Birthmothers likely have graduated high school or will go onto graduate high school.  My mother used to tell us to be careful of putting people on pedestals because they will always disappoint you as no one is perfect- I think I made this mistake.  I now have to come to terms with reality- with my childs real birthparents.  They cannot be nor will they ever be perfect and neither am I.

I want to have only good things to say and when I discuss Baby Girls adoption I do make people use positive adoption language.  I am the first to stand up for D and J and do not allow anyone to speak negatively about them.  I stress D and J had a choice and it was the most loving thing they could do for Baby Girl and that D is one of the strongest woman I know because that is true.  I never go beyond that because there is not much more positive to say.  It hurts because I wanted something more for Baby Girl.  I can't change D and J.  I can only come to terms with who they are and in time help Baby Girl understand her story.

Baby Girl is blessed with an amazing extended birth family and I have every intention of giving her that biological connection that I believe that every adopted child has a right to.  I wish that D and J were in a place in their lives to give her that connection themselves.  I morn that loss for her.  I worked hard at obtaining a copy for Baby Girls original birth certificate even though PA does not allow for the adopted child to have one.  I'm glad I did because what I had been told was on there was not accurate.  Baby girl now has proof of where she started and who she is.  Her original initials were KMF and I had been lead to believe she was KML.  She now is LMF.  Again an original birth certificate is a right that every adopted child should have, I wish it wasn't a copy but its the best I could do until the laws change.

I think this letter was the most therapeutic thing I've done.  I feel like a weight was lifted.  From the start  I've said I love D and J just not their actions/choices, I now feel like I actually can believe that statement.  I feel like being honest in this letter has allowed me to break away from the facade that all birthparents deserve to be placed on a pedestal.  In our case we cannot- if we said otherwise we would not be truthful.  In so many cases birthparents are amazingly selfless women and men that make a decision placing their child first and their own pain second.  For our second child I have every intention of seeking out birthparents that can participate fully in an open adoption and D and J have not changed my opinion of birthparents as a collective group.  There is a lifetime for D and J to change, but for now I need to place my anger away and accept the fact that I love the two of them for out of all their poor choices making one amazingly selfless choice to give Baby Girl the life she deserves.  Yes I said it; not a popular statement in the adoption world but so very true in her case and this belief is shared not only by myself but her birth-grandmother and birth-sister.  Its not popular because it implies that the birthmother couldn't parent had she wanted to and in our case that is a true statement.  In many cases a birthmother could parent though it would mean possibly a single parent, or less resources for their other children; but one resource that never would be less would be love.  In our case the state determined that if D did not move forward with an adoption plan Baby Girl would have entered the foster care system with likely the same outcome- adoption.

I avoided this topic for a long time on my blog but felt I couldnt end my blog until I addressed it.  My guess is that it wont be a popular post.  I will likely get flack for bing "anti-birthparent."  I hope all that read this can realize that this is not anti-birthparent or even anti-D and J.  Its the sad reality of this particular adoption story.  If you cannot understand that distinction I ask now that you stop reading.

Dear D and J

I have a great deal I want to tell you.  Some of it I've said before and plan to continue to say.  Some of it I plan to write here and try to let it go.  Adoption isn't easy for any of the members of the triad.  There are moments we all wish I'm sure to not be a part of this triad, but we have been brought together.  As the adults in this triad we have important responsibilities to put our daughter first.  When I use "our daughter" in this letter I am referring to myself, DH, you D and J.  We plan to refer to you two as D and J as well as Birthmom and Birthdad in our home but we are comfortable in knowing that you refer to Baby Girl as your daughter and more affectionately "Baby Girl" which is how I came to call her Baby Girl on my blog.  I know D that you asked me to refer to you as Mom, but I do not think that it is a healthy choice for our daughter but when I use your name as well as Birthmom I promise to always use it as a loving title.

So to start I want to thank you for searching your hearts and making the decision that was best for your daughter.  D your strength amazes me in standing so firm in your decision.  I know on more then one occasion you told me it was a hard choice but a choice you wouldn't change because you wanted what was best for our daughter.  I know you cried a great deal because you confided in me and it always broke my heart.  You are a caring woman that loves your children but you were just as ill as our daughter.  I also know that it pained you to see your daughter cry and hurt in the NICU.  I am sure coming as often as you did was painful and hard but really what was best for our daughter.  Our daughter will always know that you visited her routinely and love to feed and change her.  You were always so gentile with her and gave me so much advice on how to care for our daughter.  Some of the stories you told me about your life were hard to hear but help me explain to our daughter how it came to be that the five of us met.  The day we walked away from you hugging your Mom and crying is an imagine I will always remember how you were able to stand and not crumple to the floor demonstrates your courage and strength.  

J I want to tell you that I am working hard in forgiving you for the emotional storm you caused during each of your visits.  I know deep down that your visits were for your daughter and were not intended to cause me pain.  Your manipulative behavior was not a personal attack but rather a reaction to a situation in which you had no control.  The way you looked at our daughter reminds me that you do love her and you wished with all your heart lifes circumstances were different.  I wish you had been able to visit more often and come to terms with your decision before our daughter left PA.  As much as I dreaded your last visit I wish that you had come to say good-bye like you said you would.  I realize that although you are an adult you still have so much growing up to do.  I hope for you that this experience made you realize how much more to life there is and that it will result in positive change for you.

D and J I plan to work hard at forgiving you for not taking care of our daughter while she was in the womb which is a large part of why I cannot refer to the two of you as Mom and Dad.  D I plan to work hard at forgiving you for denying her existence in your womb for so long.  The role of Mom and Dad means sacrificing your own needs/wants for what is best for your child.  I plan to work hard at forgiving you J for using our daughter as a pawn in your threats.  J I plan to work at letting go of my resentment for your attempts to take advantage of our intense desires to be parents to make personal gains.  I plan on working hard at forgiving you J for not supporting D.    J I know we all want to present ourselves in the most positive light but I wasn't born yesterday.  I plan to work hard at forgiving you for making it seem like D was the only one struggling with demons.  I plan to work hard at forgiving you both for putting me in the middle of your relationship struggles.  I plan on finding it in my heart to let it all go.  I will not forget these things but its not healthy for me and its not healthy for our daughter for me to continue to be angry.  Our daughter will in time know this unfortunate part of her story, but I will share it as she is old enough to process the information.  I will do my best to always present the facts fairly including helping her understand the struggles the two of you endured that lead you to the place you were seven months ago. With the internet at her fingertips I may need to share with her more then I'd like sooner then I'd like as she will likely figured out Google and the results will tell her more then I may want her to know.  She will also know that you did have a choices and you chose to keep her from a system that would have been extremely painful for her and are so grateful.

To both of you I hope you can take time to heal your selves.  The choices you make do not just impact you but also all of those that love you.  Included in those you hurt are your children, your parents, siblings, and now us.  Both of you have loving families that over and over reach out to try to help you heal from damage done when you were much younger.  You continue to reject those offers and it makes us all sad.  I know you have the strength to do it however you have been on this road so long I don't know that it will ever happen and in part of forgiving you is understanding that you will most likely not change.  D I think a great deal of your ability to admit your weaknesses the next step is to just take the help!

Our daughter is changing each day.  She is so smart, vivacious and amazing.  I see your faces in her face.  I see her birthsiblings smiles on her face.  She has hit every mile stone early- rolling, sitting, crawling, pulling herself up, and now taking steps when we hold her up.  She loves to clap and get those around her to smile.  She is the sunshine in our days.  She knows about you both and we always start her birthstory talking about her Birthmom D and Birthdad J.  She knows that you made a hard decision because you were not well enough to care for her.  She knows that the two of you picked us as her Mom and Dad and our job is to keep her safe and love her for always.

I hope that she is able to continue to visit each year and get letters from you letting her know how much you love her.  Our daughter is what comes first though.  I will not continue visits if you cannot come to those visits in a state that is healthy.  I will not allow you to hurt our daughter over and over- the potential damage you have already caused is enough.  She is a very sensitive and smart girl and will pick up if things are not right.  

Adoption is beautiful.  Adoption is what made our daughter, DH and I a family.  Adoption is a loss of ones birthparents and a gaining of adoptive parents.  In many cases an open adoption allows for a continued connection to help explain that initial loss.  I hope you two can heal for our daughter so she can receive hugs from you each year.  So far we have heard nothing and that tells me that soon I will have to morn and then forgive you for breaching your end of the contract.  Please prove me wrong.  So often adoptive parents are vilified for closing adoptions.  Remember you asked for visits, you agreed to send us letters.  Our relationship is not about you D, you J or even DH and I.  This relationship is singularly about Baby Girl and what is best for her.

I will continue to work to free my heart of anger.  I am not perfect.  Just as I ask of you to do your best I will try the same.  I hope you two can work to free your selves of your own monsters.  Know you are loved by one special little girl- please do not hurt her.

In peace,