Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Why I'm not where you are..."

The title of this post is from a book entitled Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  It was the title of the first chapter from the grandfather's point of view.  He included the date and began writing a letter to his unborn son whom he was never going to get to meet.  He wrote it to explain himself and explain why he wasn't going to be here as his son grew up and why he couldn't.  I won't say why, because this isn't a book report.  But those words stuck in my head.

After I got home from the hospital almost five years ago now, the adoption agency gave me a box of things to help me.  Book of inspirational quotes, some mints, some soap, and little things like that. One of the things was a blank journal.  It's not that fancy.  Just a yellow journal with a purple butterfly on it.  I stared at it a while and wondered what to do with it.  I have many notebooks and have always carried a whole collection of them.  But this one I stared at for a while before deciding what to write in it.

I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it when I was going through a box of books.  I found Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in my mass of paperbacks that I had thrown into boxes upon leaving Columbus.  I flipped through the pages and found the first page of the first chapter of the grandfather's narrative.

"WHY I'M NOT WHERE YOU ARE"

I think I stared at those words for about ten minutes.  I knew what I wanted to write in that blank journal now.

I opened it to the first page and wrote: "Why I'm Not Where You Are" at the top with the date of the first entry.  The first thing I wrote was the story of how I discovered I was pregnant, moved back in with my parents, found his parents, and gave birth to him.  Since then, I've written a few entries.  Some have been a couple years apart from each other.  But I always write them as if I'm talking to Joseph at some point in the future.

I imagine I'll fill this notebook up with more entries over the years.  Probably put in more details and talk about my life and his life and what I get to see as he grows up.  Tell him things that I want him to know about me and his birthfather and his birth family.  My plan is to give him this notebook on his eighteenth birthday.  Probably won't put it in his stack of presents at any party.  But I'll give it to him wrapped up and tell him to open it when he has a quiet moment to himself.

I hope it helps him to understand what it was like for me.  And I hope he knows that I always loved him.

Anyone else have a stack of letters or a notebook of things you want your kid to read one day?  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  And if you feel comfortable, talk about it in the comments.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Holidays

For most of us the holidays can be the hardest days of the year.  What is supposed to be a time of joy is a time of sadness and mourning the little face we wish we could see on this day.  Usually I do well with the holidays, my adoption experience has been a pretty good one.  I have remained in good contact with the adoptive parents and we are planning our visit for this summer.

This Easter however was a hard one.  I made a big dinner for my roommates and a friend because none of us could go back home.  I couldn't help but imagine the life I would have had.  The "what ifs" are the hardest parts for me.  It's hard not to imagine what could have, or would have, been.  Her birth father and I are still together, which makes it even harder on some days.

I would be cooking Easter dinner and she would be running around in the living room in her little Easter dress.  She might be outside with her daddy searching for eggs in the bushes.  There would be laughter and joy.  But then I come down from that fantasy.  I think about everything else that would be surrounding that.  Would her daddy even be around?  Where would I have got the money for the dinner, for her little dress?  Would we be the midst of some kind of custody battle, something so many of my friends are familiar with.  Where would we even be living, with my mother in a tiny apartment?

Its hard to get past those what ifs.  And when you do its even harder to imagine the reality of them.  Its easy to think about how amazing life would be with your child, but its hard for me to imagine how hard things would be.

I know that for me adoption was for the best interest of my daughter.  That doesnt make this any less difficult.

How do you guys spend the holidays?  What is the hardest part for you?



Monday, April 13, 2015

Slipped Away by Avril Lavigne



"I didn't get around to kiss you goodbye on the hand
I wish that I could see you again, I know that I can't
I hope you can hear me, 'cause I remember it clearly
The day you slipped away
Was the day I found it won't be the same"

If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!






Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quote of the Week: My Happiness Depends on Me!


"Tell everyone you know: "My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook.' And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they're doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel-and then, you'll love them all. Because the only reason you don't love them, is because you're using them as your excuse to not feel good."









If you have any suggestions for quotes to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!






Saturday, April 11, 2015

Gifts from my Son


So, last weekend I had a visit with my son.  And something happened at the very beginning that I have to share.

They arrived and I walked through the back door to the back gate that we keep shut so my parents can let the dog out to play in the yard without worrying that she'll get out.  I opened the gate and J walked up to me holding a washed out honey jar with the two double daffodils you see in the picture here.  I reacted much the way my mother would upon seeing a child with flowers,

"Oh wow!  Those are really pretty flowers you have there!"  He looked up at me very proudly, held up the jar and said,

"Yeah, and they're for you!"  Yep, that was when my heart that totally leaped out of my chest.  I've given my son presents.  His parents have given me a couple things over the years.  But J has never given me anything until now.

"For me!  Oh, thank you J!"  I think I was grinning from ear to ear.  Not even joking about that.  I have been given flowers very few times in my life.  And those times were roses and carnations.  These were flowers I had never seen before and had never been given before.  And out of all the times I have been given flowers, I count these as the most precious of all.

I have them at home now.  And much like my mother did when she was young, I am pressing the flowers so that I can seal them up in packing tape and make them into bookmarks.  It's a mildly long process that takes some patience.  But so far they look good.

As he gets older, this may happen again.  I'm wondering what other good things he might give me over the years.  But this was the first time and I know I will never forget it.

I hope all of you who may be having visits soon that they go as well as mine did.  Has anyone else gotten an unexpected present from your child at a visit?  I'd love to hear your stories.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Music Monday: Wherever You Will Go by The Calling



"And maybe, I'll find out
A way to make it back someday
To watch you, to guide you through the darkest of your days
If a great wave shall fall and fall upon us all
Then I hope there's someone out there who can bring me back to you"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Quote of the Week: Be OK With Yourself!





"I think when you get to the point where you don't need to be in love, then you could be in love. You have to just be OK with yourself."








If you have any suggestions for quotes to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!






Saturday, April 4, 2015

Visits with our Kids


Tomorrow I'm finally going to have a Christmas visit with my son after many delays.  Not one "side's" fault at all, just a matter of illness, weather, travel, and things keeping us busy.  Tonight I want to go out and have Chinese food with a friend or two.  I want something to get my mind off of tomorrow.  Of course my friends will ask me, "Aren't you happy about this?"

*sigh*

Happy that I will see my son, yes.  Happy that I get to watch him ride away in their car again? No.

Happy that my parents will get to see their only grandchild, yes.  Happy that when he leaves they get that far away look in their eyes that guilts me to no end?  No.

Happy that my son is doing well and smiling and doing good in school and growing up fast, yes. Happy that I have to see that this is happening without me?  No.

Happy that he's happy, healthy, and doing well, yes.  Happy that this is only because he's not with me?  No.

Happy that I get to see him, yes.  Happy that he leaves again?  No.

I'm not sure how else to describe the conflict of feelings that happens when I'm having a visit with J. I want him to be around.  I want to see him.  But I also know how much it will hurt when he leaves again.  I know I want to keep him forever and can't.  I know I want to be there for him and can't.   I know a thousand things I can do.  But I also know the million things that I can't.

Only thing I try to hold onto these days is that if he were with me, his life would not be nearly as good as it is now.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Will try for a happier topic next time.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Music Monday: Sylvia's Mother by Dr. Hook



"Please Mrs. Avery, I just gotta talk to her,
I'll only keep her a while
Please Mrs. Avery, I just wanna tell her goodbye"



If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quote of the Week: Growth




"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security."








If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!







Friday, March 27, 2015

Transference


Okay, so, this is not a subject that we talk about a lot.  But I felt like I should talk about it because I'm having to deal with it in a serious way right now.  And if you're wondering why there is a daisy at the top of this post it's because that daisy is my transference object.

Let me explain.  I've been home from the hospital for about week now since having Joseph.  My mother and I check the porch for packages and find this long package from 1-800-Flowers.  We open it up and find this daisy in a green metal pot.  It was wilted a little due to being in a box in the Georgia summer heat.  But it quickly revived with some water.  We opened the letter that came with it and discovered that my cousin Amanda had sent it to me.  She had helped cook dinner the night before I went into the hospital and came to visit my first day here.  But then she had to go back to Louisiana.  She thought it was better to send me something that was living.  So she sent this daisy.

I'm not very good at keeping houseplants.  Never have been.  But I figured I'd try.  The summer got particularly hot so I kept the daisy in a window in the kitchen.  One day I looked over and saw that the daisy was wilting slightly.  It wasn't in danger yet, but it wasn't happy.  I nearly crash into the sink getting water for it.  And that's when I realized I had transferred all my loving instincts and such onto... a daisy.

I was living in a house with a dog.  I thought it would be the dog.  But Clarence (the dog) had been around for a few years before then, so he was already firmly entrenched in the role of being my little furry brother.  I thought maybe it would happen if someone brought over their kid.  But it did not happen.  No, I transferred onto a daisy.  At first I thought it was a little crazy and I thought of getting rid of it.  But that thought nearly made me break down in tears.  And then I had another thought: it's a plant, it's about as low maintenance as a living creature can get, no one is ever going to care about where it is but me... so, why is this a bad thing again?

Well, plants, even plants that you bring in during the winter and tend to very carefully, have a life span.  Gerbera daisies have a lifespan of about three to ten years when taken care of well.  And mine is about three months away from five years old.  And this winter was not kind.  I don't have a very bright apartment and I was starting to think it was dying.  I know it's a little weird to say I was crying over a daisy, but I was.  It's been with me a while now.  And I wasn't ready to let it go.  What I realized was I need a new daisy.

I have a few very close friends in Athens, and one of them, Kristin, used to work in a florist's shop.  I told her about my dying daisy.  And asked her to go with me to a plant nursery next month and pick out a new daisy for me.  She knows what my daisy means to me and she knows that I need something to take care of.  So she agreed and we are going next month.  My daisy seems to have recovered since the weather has warmed up and is doing okay.  But I'm still going to get another daisy so that I have a back up for when the other one dies.

At this point, I guess I will have daisies in pots the rest of my life.  Every few years I'm going to have to ask a friend to go with me to a plant nursery and pick out a daisy for me.  I figure we don't get to pick our kids, I didn't get to pick my firs daisy, I should go on having everyone pick daisies for me when I need to get a new one.  It will be a ritual for me every few years.

My daisy does help me.  Despite the fact it was breaking my heart when I thought it was dying, it has helped me to take care of something and raise something in place of raising my son.  I will probably keep on growing daisies and for me they will remind me of Joseph.  But they will also remind me that I can take care of something and raise something.  They will remind me that I am capable of taking care of a living creature, even if it is just a plant.

I hope you are all doing well tonight.  If you have any stories of transference that you'd like to share, please do so in the comments.  Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Telling everyone

Finding out you're pregnant is the scariest thing in the entire world, even if it is a planned pregnancy.  When I found out I was pregnant I was devastated but the hardest part for me was telling everyone.

I was the first in my family to go to school, and my second quarter in I found out I was pregnant by a guy I barely knew.  I almost immediately knew I wanted to do adoption.   I considered terminating for quite a while, but by the time I was 8 weeks along I knew I wanted to do adoption.  Parenting was never an option for me.  I didn't want to continue the cycle of unplanned pregnancy and struggling to make ends meet, my daughter deserved so much better than that.

My mother found out I was pregnant in an interesting way.  I made an appointment with a doctors back home because my plan was to go back home for the pregnancy and return back to school after placement.  I gave the doctors my moms address and they sent an appointment reminder in the mail.  My mom received it and opened it, saying she thought it was going to be a bill.

I was kind of relieved that she found out that way, I didn't have to look her in the eyes and tell her I was pregnant, but I still had to tell her about the adoption.  She took it pretty well in the beginning, but later on in the pregnancy she did everything she could to try to get me to parent.

Telling my friends was a really hard thing to do.  I was friends with all of the "crazy" kids back home.  We partied, drank and smoke anytime we could.  I was scared that I was going to be left behind in a sense.  I knew that we were going to lose touch and that they wouldn't necessarily be supportive.  I sat them all down and told them I was pregnant and doing an adoption.  Everyone was in shock, but generally supportive.  I did lose a lot of friends because there were so many things they didn't understand.  Nobody will ever fully understand the life of a birth mom unless they are a birth mom.

Telling the father was also extremely difficult.  I called him and told him over a six minute long phone call.  He told me that he was scared and he didn't want to be a father.  I told him that I was planning on terminating and he made me promise that I wasn't going to keep the baby.  I was 18 and he was 19, we were too young and too dumb to try and make it work.  When I told him a few weeks later I wanted to do an adoption, he was extremely upset.  He didn't like the thought of a child out there with his DNA.  He was scared that I would change my mind and then he would be stuck raising a baby with me.  There are so many fears in the beginning and now two years after finding out I was pregnant, it's crazy to think about how uncertain everything was.  I wish there was a way I could tell my younger self that everything was going to be okay and that E was going to have the best life I could ever imagine for her.

If you are in the beginning of your journey, just know that it gets better.  And whatever the decision you make for you and your child will be the right one for you. 

How did you tell everyone you were pregnant or that you were considering adoption?  Were they supportive of the pregnancy and your decision?



Monday, March 23, 2015

Music Monday: How Can I Help You Say Goodbye by Patty Loveless


"And she said, "How can I help you
To say goodbye, it's okay to hurt and it's okay to cry
Come let me hold you and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!





Sunday, March 22, 2015

Quote of the Week: Self Worth






"When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it."










If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finding Out

Sorry I have been on a little bit of hiatus lately. The stress of school, work, and being a birthmom was a little much for a bit. We all have our bad times, this one just lasted a few weeks. I am doing 100% better now and I feel better than I have in a long while.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. That day was March 5th 2013. It was probably one of the hardest days of my entire life, besides placement day. I was a freshman in college and my period was a little over a week late. I had taken a test 3 days before and it was negative, so this test was just the last one I was going to take to convince myself that I wasn't pregnant and that it was just stress from school. But oh was I so wrong. At first the test wasnt working so I put it away to go to class. I thought it was a dud. When I came back from class I saw those two little pink lines that changed my life forever.

I feel like you make up hypothetical situations as a woman. I would always say "if I ever got pregnant.. blah blah blah" and tell some line about how I was never going to have children. But when that white stick comes back positive, everything that you ever knew goes out the window. I knew my life was going to change no matter what that meant. Those three options are all you can think about.
I barely knew the father and I knew what his stance on the pregnancy was. I have always been pro choice but just something about termination just didn't sit right with me. I would never tell another woman what to do with her body, but I just didn't want to do that. And today a little over two years after finding out, I could not be happier with my decision to continue my pregnancy and give my baby the best life I could give her. I am still pro choice but I love that little girl so much and I couldn't imagine my life without her in it.

As women we need to be there for each other, no matter what that means. I had my best friend in my life who was able to help me. I can never thank her enough for that. Groups like these are amazing and are so much help when you need it. I have connected with so many amazing people through adoption and I am so thankful for all of them. 




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