Sunday, December 31, 2006

Frozen In Time

I've decided that adoptive parents, or at least my son's adoptive parents, always think of birthmothers at the age and stage that we were in when we were pregnant and placed. I mean, why else would you ask a married, home owning, college educated, 35 year-old working woman what her long-term goals are? I still don't get it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Justifiably Offended?

So all week I was waiting for the box to arrive from the adoptive parents. They send gifts, but all I care about is the note/letter and picture(s) that the box hopefully contains. When Saturday evening arrived, I reminded myself that a few years ago there would be a year here and there when it would arrive after Christmas and that I would give it a few extra days before I started to wonder and worry that this was it.

Last night I had a dream that I met my son. There weren't any real details, just that I saw him in person and he said a few words. But it was a good dream and I woke up happy and hopeful.

While opening presents this morning, the postal worker came by. Did you know the post office delivers express mail on Christmas? I was grateful that the adoptive parents came through and sent a box. There was no picture this time, but there was a letter. Apparently, they had not yet received my box and letter (which I had to mail to the attorney rather than directly to them). In her letter she told me some more things about my son which I really appreciated knowing. The fact that she was responding to a question I had really gave me encouragement, too. I usually feel like my questions are ignored and I am left to cobble together what scraps do appear in notes or letters.

But the thing that really got me was very early in the letter she asked me what my long term goals are. I have always hated this question in general. Now that I am 35 and 8+ years into a marriage, 7+ years into homeownership, almost 7 years with the same employer, 5+ years past college graduation, I still hate it. And she knows the timeline I've just laid out and the stability and "progress" it supposedly represents. The fact that this question was posed to me by her immediately made me feel unworthy because I am not the type of person to have a long range plan for anything - in general I like to take life by the moment and see where it takes me, kind of seize the day, but within reason because the core of my being craves and needs stability. Some people would see this as a flaw and I immediately felt defensive and wanted to pick up a pen and answer her question because obviously she has an opinion of me that I don't have of myself. My husband asked about the letter and when I mentioned that question even he (who often says I think too hard about what people say to me) said well, you did move around a lot before we were married, but I wonder if she is asking you that because she isn't sure she can trust you with any more information than she has given you. We discussed it a little more and we both wondered if maybe their higher social and financial status makes them think that we are not doing as well as I thought we were. I don't know.

I do know that I was taken aback that I felt like I suddenly have to meet her approval all over again. And on Christmas Day when I was letting myself fantasize that the box may contain a note from my son or words in her letter to the effect of them wanting direct contact of some kind - email, real address, whatever - to have that dashed in the midst of opening gifts was kind of cruel. But how can I complain? A box did come, a letter did arrive - and two pages at that.

Yes, I'll continue to wait. And yes, I'll continue to take whatever I can get in the way of information and pictures. Beggars, after all, can't be choosers, now, can they?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ice Breaker

So my boss wants to do a team building exercise later this week at a staff meeting by having everyone submit an unknown fact about themselves to him. He will present the fact and we are supposed to guess who it is he is talking about. Since this is billed as a "fun exercise", I guess revealing the fact that I am a birthmother would not be in the spirit of the activity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Christmas Box

I've had the Christmas box ready to go since Saturday, a box that includes a letter to M explaining that I included a card that she could decide whether or not to let him read. I took a deep breath and also wrote about my daughter. It was brief and I wanted to make sure I didn't convey anything that would discount my son. Going on an assumption that these letters, or at least any news they contain, are shared with my son, I thought it would be unfair to him to not tell about my daughter.

And I bought a card that I thought would be great for writing my note, "For Someone Special at Christmas". But I kept putting it off. I know part of it is the perfectionist in me and I still wound up using a lousy pen. But I realized that if I waited any longer, he may not get the box in time.

It's exciting to think he may actually read it. And even if he has heard about how much I love him, I hope it means something special to him that he has a card from me.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Birthmother thoughts

I came across these words recently which were written by two separate women.

This woman so accurately and concisely describes the pain of being a birthmother:
"Your life will never be the same. It will hurt forever, like a wound that NEVER heals. It will feel like part of your body has been amputated. And never quite grows back. You will be angry, sad, confused, all at once, and those feelings will come and go over the years, for say, the rest of your life."

And this woman who is four years past relinquishment describes part of the process and dialogue I think all of us birthmothers go through, not once - but over and over again - for the rest of our lives:
I'm learning that it's okay to live my life and experience joy and love. That the decisions I made do not make me a bad mother or person.

I wish that a day will come when I don't have to realize I've fallen into another rut and have to re-learn that "it's okay to live my life and experience joy and love," and remind myself yet again "that the decisions I made do not make me a bad mother or person."

Thursday, December 07, 2006


It went well. We met and we talked about a lot of things.

The feeling I came away with and that I'm still trying to fully process is a certain sense of peace, of connectedness, of healing, of wholeness. It's weird. And unexpected.

Part of it is the time that passed. Part of it is that he was, and probably is, a key person in my life. We were together for quite a while, off and on, and so much of my late youth/early adulthood was spent with him.

During yesterday's conversation things were said that resonated on so many different levels. I can't find the right words but it became clear that back then we both were stumbling around trying to figure out who we were/are at the time. Age and the wisdom that comes from life have matured us, given us the distance we need. Back then I expected a prince (thank you Disney and Hollywood) when he was just a guy figuring out his way in the world.

He told me he was done stalking me but I am glad that he has his own life, his own family and his own home many states away so I don’t have to just hope he’s telling the truth – although I think he is. But I am also glad that I took the chance to meet him after all these years and talk with him. As I told him, I look forward to more conversations.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


December is when I moved in with my boyfriend. We had a tumultuous relationship and broke up several times. I was young and still growing up. The live-in situation only lasted five months. But he was around and the temptation to keep trying was always there. I didn't know it at the time, but I got pregnant the month before we decided to try living together again.

December a year later I met the couple who would raise our son. The pregnancy made me realize that I really did need to do something about not being with someone who wasn't good for me. He was fine with going his own way and even moved out of state. But then he started calling relentlessly. He drove several hours on a couple of occasions and just showed up on my doorstep or at my office. This really unsettled me. I felt stalked.

That same December while visiting my parents I met a friend's brother who was also visiting his parents for Christmas. Turned out he and I lived in the same state. It didn't matter to him that I was pregnant. Early in the Spring we began dating. Things got serious fast. We moved in together. Stalker figured out I had moved but we put the phone in New Guy's name. So the letters started coming. And coming. And coming. So I married New Guy to get a New Name. We moved to another state and had my mail forwarded to "general delivery" in the new city to make sure I didn't miss something important. Living there with a new name would ensure that he couldn't find me, and we knew the place would be temporary anyway. I didn't have my mail forwarded when we did move the final time.

December two years ago he found me. I knew he had gotten married a few years ago. And I knew where he was because every once in a while I would check to see if he was still where he was when I last knew his whereabouts because if and when our son ever wants to know where he is, I feel I owe that to him. But when I received his email I didn't want to respond. I waited a couple of days and just wrote a couple of words. That's been pretty much the extent of our writing although I quickly brought up our son because that's what I most wanted to talk about with him. I didn't care about whether he liked where he lived or any other stupid pleasantries. There has been enough in the brief and intermittent emails to show me that his basic personality hasn't changed over the years. While his involvement ended at conception and he was never a part of the pregnancy, birth and adoption, the fact remains that we created a child together and we both feel grief, although his came more after the birth of a subsequent child several years later. He is sharing my feelings when I write about the black hole inside that is my loss, the dilemma over buying gifts for a teenage boy I love so much but barely know. By corresponding with me about our son, he is not like the handful of people in my life who know but when I've felt the need to say something about my son are just being polite listeners or have to remind themselves that oh, yeah, she had that kid that she gave up. While I still crave more of a connection with my son, somehow corresponding with my old flame has assuaged some of that longing. I know it's misplaced hope, but it's been somewhat healing to reach out and have a connection with the one other person who feels his loss. And I know part of me thought that reconnecting on any level with him and dealing with those emotions and thoughts was some kind of stepping stone on the way to a reunion with my son.

Last December he wanted to come to my area and meet me again. It was bad timing. I haven't told him about my daughter and she was too young and too colicky to leave with someone. I would have been too distracted. And I wasn't sure I was up for meeting anyway.

This December he wants to meet again. He is in the area. Today. A day earlier than expected. I was having conflicted feelings yesterday about whether I wanted to meet with him. I realize the world isn't going to end, life won't really change, etc. But still ... part of me wants to remember the young man I thought I was in love with, not the middle aged man he now is. How stupid is that?