Sunday, June 26, 2011

Adoption Art of the Week...

New weekly installment where I talk about music, photographs, poetry or a specific peice of art that reflects my feelings about adoption.

Dedicated to Dawson

This week I will focus on the song this blog is named for:

One More Day ~ Diamond Rio
Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me,
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you

One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl
I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the tv off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do. With one more day with you

One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day
Leave me wishing still for one more day
Leave me wishing still for one more day
With you

This song was very popular in my circle during the year that I had my son. I'm sure all the rest of my high-school friends thought of some boy when hearing it, but for me it was always a reminder of how I felt about my son. Every line seems to be ripped from my own mind, because I wished for more time with my son over and over. Unfortunately I also knew that no amount of time with him would ever be enough, so I was content to relive my 3 days with him. It's funny because I do have an open adoption, so I think people have this perception that he really isnt gone from my life. In all reality he is gone though, and it's not the visits that I wish for (although I look forward to them and love them dearly as well) it is a wish for more than just that 3 days. My own selfish heart wished that I could have been his mommy for longer. The problem is that no matter what the perception may be of open adoption, he has never called me "Mom" and to him I am this obscure figure who he sees every now and then. He does know about me, who I am and what that means, but I am no more than a distant relative to him. I dont begrudge that, in fact I am more than happy with the relationship we have now. It's just strange because there is this disconnect between him being my son and me not being his mother.

The second verse always gets to me, "First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl" I dont know how many times during my 3 days I prayed that time could just slow down. I'm sure it dragged on for his family, but for me those days slipped away like water through my hands. I felt like I just couldnt hold him enough, or kiss him enough or love him enough. As in the song I wanted all distraction to go away. I shared my 3 days with J. and my family, but in some ways I wished I'd had more alone time with him. I was grateful for the help and the support, but I wanted to savor each moment too. "I'd hold you every second, say a million I love you's"... I wish I had said I loved him more. I think in many ways I was shell shocked during that time. I wasnt prepared for all these emotions bombarding me at once, and I didnt know how to deal with it all so I just didnt say much. I remember a few sideways glances from friends and family who know my normally talkative self. I was almost mute, and when I did speak it was about mundane things. I played cards alot, it helped to have something to focus on so people stopped asking if I was ok, all the while I was holding the baby close.

I guess looking back this was always my go-to song for how I felt during that first year. Even though time seems to dull the pain and my visits with them are like a balm to my heart I still come back to this song over and over. I think it will always have a special meaning for me, even as time washes away alot of the wishes and hopes. During that first year I clung to these lyrics like a lifeline, but now I look back on them with fondness, knowing that I made the right choices and everything turned out right.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I think alot about those 3 days with my son, I'm sure that is why I write about it more often. I suppose for me that was the most important part. It's like I experienced those 3 days in high definition and I relive them over and over. I think part of me is afraid if I dont keep going over it I will somehow forget. Because of that fear I sometimes forget to tell the continuing story of our beautiful lives. I have a hard time focusing on the present or the future when my mind keeps wandering to the past. I dont know if that will ever really go away, but it does seem that it has gotten better over time. It has been about 8.5 years since that last moment with my son in the hospital. I have had the privilege of watching him grow and change into a little man with a heart of gold. I see him and his family as often as I can, usually about once a year. It always feels like I am recharging my batteries when I spend time with them. Then I slowly lose that energy as time passes and I have to wait for our next visit. Alot can happen in over 8 years. We have all had growing experiences, difficulties, pains and trials in that time.

First, let me tell you about my son's family. D is his Mom, she is beautiful and vibrant and strong, and I love her like a long-lost sister. G is his Dad, a warm and wonderful presence with an awesome smile, and I have the deepest respect for him. Last but not least is his sister C, she is the biological child of D and G and she is one of the sweetest young women I know. Together they make up an amazing family, sometimes when I watch them together I feel like they are in total synchronization. They seem to see eachother clearly, and are able to show their love for eachother in the small moments they have. It's amazing to be able to be a part of their lives. They have had their hardships too, but always seem to come out stronger in the end. Over the past 8 years they have had some great times, vacations and family trips that I got to experience through pictures. They have moved, found new hobbies, suffered illnesses and found learning difficulties with the little man (I wont go into great detail out of respect for them). Through all of the good and the bad they have stuck by eachother, supported one another and loved unconditionally. That is only from the little I know of their major events. I am sure they have plenty of day-to-day moments that make up the greater whole of the amazing family they have. I am proud to have the opportunity to be part of their lives, although I wont take credit because I think they were always meant to be part of my family.

As for me, I have had alot of life lessons over the last 8 years. After the break up with J. sometime in 2004, I dated someone else seriously for about 2 years. We got engaged in 2006 and then he pulled the plug on the relationship in early 2007. I had made the mistake of hanging all of my hopes and dreams on that one person. After it ended I sort of fell apart, and had a "nervous breakdown" (according to a psychologist I saw after the fact). It was an eye opener for me, to realize that I had allowed someone else to effect me to the point where I felt they were part of my identity. I took a step back, looked at my life and realized I hadnt had the chance to do much growing of my own, I had been too busy trying to be what other people needed. So when the opportunity presented itself to move out of state I took it. I moved almost 2000 miles away from my home town, to a state where I had very little family, and I struck out to make it on my own. I got to know my extended family in this area, through them found a great job, and worked to improve my life as I went.

For 3 years I didnt date anyone for more than a month or so, but in 2009 I found myself pregnant again. This time the father didnt even pretend to try to be there, he just dissapeared. I thought through my choices, my abilities, my maturity. I sought advice from family, friends, peers and counsellors. In the end I knew that I was a different person this time, older, wiser, stronger and more capable. I had the means and the ability to make this child a good life. This child was mine, and I felt that in a way that I could not deny. I worried alot, and questioned my choice every day to make sure it was the right one. It was only confirmed after they placed that baby girl on my belly and I looked into her face. Please dont misunderstand, I love my son just as much as my daughter, they are both little pieces of my heart that I cant imagine my life without. It was never a question of loving one more or less than the other. I chose for my son the best life I could offer, and I did the same for my daughter. The only thing that ever really bothered me was the lack of a father in her life. If I had known the path life would take me on I never would have agonized over that. My baby girl had no father in her life for about 6 months. During that time she and I bonded in amazing ways, but after that I met her "real" dad. We didnt know he would be her Dad, but now we all live in the same house and my daughter calls him Daddy. He is my boyfriend, A, and he is one of the kindest and most giving men I know. I feel lucky to have had this chance to see where my life would take me. I have been dependent, independent, emotionally broken, depressed. I've raised hell, grown up, made bad decisions, owned up to my mistakes and become a better person for it (I hope). Life has brought me twists I never would have seen coming, and each has been a learning experience. They say you have to break someone down before you can build them back up, and life has done just that to my heart. I dont regret a single moment of my life because each one has brought me to this point. I am happy, healthy, whole, loved and I have an amazing family. At no point in my life have I been more blessed than in the last year. I know there will be other hard times, other lessons to be learned. I also know that for now life is amazing, and I will always know that happiness is waiting for me at the end of the black times.

A happy ending for all, exactly as I was hoping it would be. My son has an amazing family and more love than a little boy could hope for. My own life has been blessed and all of us are in the places we are supposed to be.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weighed, Measured and Found Wanting

"You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting." A Knight's Tale

This statement has stuck in my mind on many occasions. I realize that to a normal person hearing this may just bring to mind the movie reference, or a picture of Heath Ledger in Medieval garb (insert wolf-whistle here). For me it perfectly describes my own thought processes around the choice to place. Being "found wanting" for me has a double-meaning. Yes, I was lacking in knowledge, skill, maturity, financial security, etc.. but I also felt a desperate need (a want if you will) to give my child these things. As much as the statement seems to imply my lack of readiness, it also (IMHO) describes my desire for better opportunities for my son. He was the one person I could not live without, but also the only person who I was willing to give everything for.

I will not say the decision was an easy one, that would be an outrageous lie. I was dead-set to be the perfect mother for my son. I figured that where there was enough love it wouldnt matter how much money we had. I still believe that children born into poverty can become amazing individuals, and I do believe that love is a major need for all children. I also do not believe that my son would have ended up starving or unclothed with me. I know we would have had a community of family behind us. At first I was convinced that J. and I would get married, get jobs and have other children eventually. My little family would be perfect and all would be well with the world.

Unfortunately life is not the fairy tale I thought it would be and just because I had the capacity to be a mother did not mean I knew what was ahead for me. The first major turning point was the day I found out about J.'s infidelity. It was the first time I had been betrayed in that way and I had no idea how to deal with it. I never thought I would be one of those girls who clung to a boy to fulfill my life, and I knew that by forgiving him I was doing just that. I thought if I let go of him my dreams of family would be shattered. I couldnt deal with that. So I held on tight and tried to ignore the late nights, the lies and the mistrust. After a while it became habit, and even blatantly catching him didnt jolt me out of the illusion that he would change.

Then came the day when it was no longer just me being effected. One night J. was gone without a trace, I had no way to reach him and no idea where he could be. My heart pounded hard, and I may have been hyperventilating, I know I was crying. Every possible scenario ran through my brain, was he dead, stranded, lost, or was something more devious going on? I tried to sleep but couldnt relax, tried to watch a movie but couldnt focus. Early the next morning, after sleeping shortly, I woke up because the baby was doing cartwheels. I felt my stomach move furiously. Then stop completely. I was scared already, but tried to calm down and relax. I had pain in my stomach but thought it may have been from all that kicking. After almost 2 hours of no movement at all I told my mom we needed to head to the office of my CNM. We had called her at home and she encouraged me to come in right away, we were there less than 10 minutes after the office opened. Machines were strapped to me and my CNM checked my cervix. After about half an hour the baby started to move again and my CNM informed me I was having regular contractions. I was less than 7 months pregnant, but the stress was causing me to go into pre-term labor. I had already started effacing, and had to be given something to stop the contractions. I would be on bedrest for the remaining weeks of pregnancy, and would have to have periodic ultrasounds and visits with a specialist.

I went home with orders to rest and relax, and shortly after arriving home finally heard from J. He had been staying the night at a "friend's" who was female, but he claimed there was nothing going on and I was "being paranoid". I told him about the morning's excitement, and that I could no longer go to school. I think the fact that he was not there during this crisis finally drove home that the change I wanted would never be possible. I cried, and sat on my bed and tried to find the strength to call him back and say we were through. I felt weak and foolish, but I couldnt do it. So I talked to the baby, asked him what he wanted me to do.

I believed in God for alot of my life, but I also have a stubborn side that really needed freedom. Growing up in a religion with rules about pretty much everything, and being shunned by many after becoming pregnant, had given me a reason to step back from God for a while. For the first time in years I felt something I couldnt explain. I heard every piece of advice from every person who had asked if I considered adoption. My sister, my parents, friends, peers, and a counsellor/caseworker my parents had me going to. For the first time the idea took form in my head, and I didnt shove it to one side as usual. I thought about what life would bring in the next few years for me and my baby boy. Thought about separate houses, and parents fighting and coming to hate eachother. I thought about the strain on my own parents' finances, and how I would have to work and most likely quit school. I knew in my heart that J. and I would never make it together, we would tear eachother apart. Picturing my baby boy watching as his mother was disrespected over and over until she finally broke down and gave up on that future. Knowing the example his father would be, and the amount of time I would be away from him. It was like my life flashed before my eyes, and I knew that I couldnt bare all the dissapointment it would bring.

So, just for a moment, I tried on the choice. I would place him with parents who would love him just as I did, who would be together always and respect eachother. A father who knew that being a man was about the respect you can give others, and a mother who would have the heart and the experience to teach him about life. They would have fun vacations and holidays filled with laughter. Maybe I would be in their lives or maybe they wouldnt want that. It was like I could see their faces already, and I knew right then that this was not just something I was thinking about doing, but something I must do. It felt right even while my heart broke. I knew that if I chose his well-being over my own emotional needs I would never regret it. I WANTED these things for him. I had weighed and measured myself, and found myself wanting more for this child who I loved.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Looking for ideas, inspiration, topics of interest or questions regarding the adoption (or open adoption) experience from my point of view. I have a few things on the back burner, but I want to see if anyone has any ideas or suggestions to start this site off right. I am also creating a FAQ's page eventually with info from several other birth moms I know, and alot of the questions I am asked constantly. Please join in, and feel free to ask anything(within reason).


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moving on...?

Once you place a child people have so much advice for you. Some of it is helpful, but most of it is subjective. Things like "let yourself grieve" and "learn to let go" were pretty common sentiments shortly after I placed my son. People wanted me to try to move on and move past the hurt and the sadness. There was a problem with this; I didnt want to. I felt like if I left my grief behind I would be leaving my love for my son behind too. For about a year after I placed him I grieved and felt the emptiness, failure and depression. I was a wreck, I couldnt read any of the letters from his family. Couldnt talk about the placement, couldnt do anything but feel alone. I relived my 3 days with him over and over until I felt like I would burst. I was inconsolable.

Something happened shortly after my Dawson's first birthday. I had a visit with him and got a chance to see him interact with his family. He was happy and healthy and whole. I felt like the sunlight had pierced my dark corner for the first time in a long time. The truth that I found during that visit was astounding: I didnt have to grieve forever for my loss. I could be happy because he was happy. I knew I would never forget and never stop loving that little boy, but in order to love him I did not have to suffer. I wasnt really moving on... but I was able to move forward.

I have thought about this many times over the years since then. There are still days that I feel that same crushing sensation in my chest, whether on his birthday or mothers day or a special occasion. Most of the time it is fleeting now. I have learned that the sadness is almost always followed by peace, and the peace is followed by happiness. I am happier now than I can ever remember being. Sometimes I feel guilty about that and I'm sure that's pretty common. People seem to think that becasue I have a child of my own now it makes it easier to deal with the feelings for my son. If anything the opposite is true. I worry that he will think I favored her, or that I loved him less, when that is not even possible. My daughter brings me the joys of being a true mother, and she makes me so happy, but no child will ever be my son's replacement. Unfortunately emotions are messy and often hard to explain. I try to move forward every day knowing that one day he will be able to be proud of me and of where he came from. I suppose most of the good things I have done in my adult life have been to prove that I am worthy of being in his life.

So I guess this is me, purging some things I dont get to say often, moving forward but never moving on...

The Choice...

Placing a child for adoption is not something girls dream about. It is not a pretty fairy tale that has a happy ending and it is not an easy road. You dont get to move on or forget, even when you do move forward. No matter where you go or what your life brings that choice is there. Hovering, ghostly and silent, in your life and in your mind. For most of us, it is a quiet ghost, one we dont mind sharing our time with. Though painful to look at it is also a peaceful reminder of an event that blessed many lives. I wont say it is always good, feelings are messy, and just as many times as you are grateful you may also feel guilty, ashamed, sad, angry, jealous or alone. At least for me, those feelings are always balanced by the joy I feel at the wonderful life my child is leading.