Monday, August 27, 2007

Baby Steps ... forward, backward, nowhere

Last week, the same day the box came, I had a conversation in the morning with the woman who works for an adoption agency. She had come into the office again. This time she had her near-grown daughter and the baby she adopted. After a little small talk, I took a breath and said, "So, does the birthmother get pictures?" She does. I am so relieved.

I am relieved for the baby's birthmother, and I'm relieved that the conversation flowed naturally rather than being awkward. It didn't go too far and there was no tension (for me, inside my being, like there was when I found out about her connection to adoption). You would have thought we were discussing diapers or any other kind of baby-related issue.

It made me breathe a little easier about adoption.

And then I got the box that contained no pictures. I haven't been able to re-read the letter like I often do, which puts off the processing of it all. I am glad for the information in the letter, but there are a lot of hot points in there which I'm not ready to face yet. For example, "I was beginning to worry that you weren't going to have a family of your own .... "

I am just not ready to deal with all the layers of emotion that would surface when I do re-read statements like that. But oh how I treasure the things she did tell me, like how my son still keeps part of his "blankie" under his pillow.

My daughter has no attachment to anything at all. She didn't use a pacifier, doesn't need a particular blanket or doll or animal as a "lovey". But my son - even when I did have him the four days - was a champion with his pacifier. I have wondered for two years now if anything I've learned about my daughter as I've watched her develop and grow is similar to my son. The blankie was confirmation that they are definitely different in the attachment department!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Box

So a box came today from M&P. I was like, holy cow, they sent me a framed 11x14 picture! Talk about overkill. I was already deciding where I should put it while I climbed up the stairs.

Well, I opened it and there was no framed picture. In fact, there were no pictures at all. Instead, there were some gifts for my daughter and a two page letter for which I am very thankful. BUT NO PICTURES at all. No snapshots. No digital photo printed as part of the letter. No 1x1 school shot. No horribly blurry picture of unbathed, rumpled teenager taken from a distance at Boy Scout camp. Nothing. Nada.

Last two lines of letter, though? Please send pictures and I promise to do the same. Yeah right. When?

Monday, August 13, 2007

I finally asked

I called to invite my MIL to dinner and we got to talking. She had run into someone who bragged on my daughter to her and then said something along the lines of, "I guess you're going to keep her," and she had replied, "Oh yes!". I finally had it and asked, nicely, "Where does that phrase come from? Has it been around a while?" She said she thought it had, that it was probably Southern and she had heard it her entire life. I tried to laugh it off a little by saying, "I guess it's because some people know how fussy babies can be."

I still hate the phrase.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Book Quiz

Here is the outcome, for me, of one of those fun quizzes.

You're Fahrenheit 451! by Ray Bradbury. Having wanted to be a firefighter much of your life, you've recently discovered the job wasn't exactly what you were looking for. While ignorance seems like the result of oppression, it all began with people just wanting to be ignorant. As you realize more about the sordid world around you, you decide to watch less TV and work on your memorization skills. Though your memory will save you in the end, don't forget to practice running from dogs as well.

I don't agree with the firefighter part, but I did want to save the world at one time, and mistakenly thought I could in some small way. Anyway, it's just a quiz. Go have a little fun for yourself here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Aren't you glad you kept her?

So my mother, whom I haven't heard from since my birthday almost two months ago (either by phone or email), calls me the other day. She is visiting my brother and his wife and children because they just had a new baby. So while my sister-in-law was outside with the 14-month old, my mother had inside duty waiting for the 3 week-old to awaken from her nap. So glad she finally fit it into her busy schedule to call me ...

That issue aside, during the course of the conversation she asks about my daughter and comments on how quickly she is growing (she does read my mommy blog so she sees the regular pictures and updates on things she is doing or saying). Then she says in that off-hand way, "Aren't you glad you kept her?" I was shocked. I just kind of said a vague, "Yeah," and there was a brief silence. I don't know if she picked up on it or not as she then either asked an unrelated question or chattered on about some other thing. I can't remember which because I was stunned. And hurt.

As I've processed it, I realize it's one of those things that, for some people, is just a phrase. I've written before about how the phrase really surprises and bothers me, but I thought it was a Southern phrase and my mother is as Yankee as they come, and I certainly never expected to hear it from her.

And of course I was a coward and didn't bring up the adoption. She was in a strange place waiting for someone else's baby to wake up and I just felt like the timing wasn't right. That's me. Full of excuses.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grad School

I've been putting off the essay portion of my grad school application, knowing full well that they do not review my application until they have everything: completed application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essay.

The application was completed in mid-May and I requested transcripts the week after that. I waited until mid-July to ask for letters of recommendation because I despise asking people to do things for me. I set a deadline of 7/31 for myself to complete the one page essay. It passed. I finally did it this afternoon. Did the world end? No. Did the essay suck? No. Why do I put things off? I only hurt myself, duh! I know it's perfectionism and it sucks. I really must work on that.

I called the grad school office to find out if I could email the essay since I don't own a printer (plus it's already so damn late) and asked whether it was too late to be admitted for the Fall. (This is not a very competitive program, did you notice how GRE test results weren't listed above? It's more like, if you're a warm body, please just pay us some money and you're in.) She said I probably was too late. Isn't this what I wanted deep down anyway? An excuse to put off grad school even longer? Ugh.

So then I screwed up my measly courage to check the "application status" on-line. It showed them receiving my essay on 6/15. !!! I wonder what they're using for that requirement. Strange. But they only have one letter of recommendation and they should have at least two by now, if not all three. Since I sent an email to the specific person who is assigned to my application, maybe she will let me know what is going on.

Besides being my own worst enemy, I hate how persuaded I am by other people's negativity - in this case my brother's sibiling rivalry toward my Master's degree pursuit. I really need to remember that I need to watch out for myself and take care of myself. Duh duh duh.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Also off-topic, but ...

does anyone else find the amount of money raised by the current presidential candidates just outrageous? Even obscene? I mean, several of them have MILLIONS of dollars they have raised. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Democratic candidates have raised $100 million MORE than the Republicans. I don't even want to know what the total is overall. Couldn't New Orleans be completely rebuilt with this money? There are tons of other worthy projects like performing arts for kids, math tutors, college assistance for working families, etc. etc. etc.

I just think in this day and age of the shrinking middle class and the down right destitute (despite our welfare system), that it's absurd for this kind of money to be sitting around for no other purpose than to allow a person to tour the country and run ads and employee "yes" people long before the first primary. Meanwhile, children are dying because their WORKING mothers cannot find child care while they care for other people, presumably because they aren't working a traditional shift. (Most childcare vouchers can only be used in licensed facilities which are often only open during first shift.) See this recent article and this article to read more.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

OT thought on a contradiction

Here's something I wonder from time to time: How can anyone have a spiritual experience among what looks like a crush of humanity at Sistine Chapel, etc.? For how many people is it merely superficial? Most? If so, why bother? It seems like a lot of trouble and expense to travel to popular destinations to just go through the motions of seeing the sights. Do they like being in a crush of humanity or just want to say "Check, been there done that!"?

Or perhaps it's one of those contradictions between the seen and unseen. On the outside it looks like a swarming crowd but yet there could be many people for whom the experience is more than just a sightseeing tour. I don't know. For me, it's hard to have a true experience when I'm being moved along. I prefer time and space for absorption and reflection, much like in an uncrowded art gallery, museum or library.