GPOYKW: First Meeting
This picture was actually taken the day after we met Dictator, but the photos of our very first meeting actually make me pretty sad - there was so much pain colouring our joy.
But when I look at this picture, all I remember is feeling overawed by this tiny person. I had tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid falling in love with the idea of her before she was born, but holding her the day after she was placed with us… there was just no holding back. I was in love, wholly and completely.
Whether or not you believe Mother’s Day applies to you, I want to thank you for choosing adoption and for making this day a possibility for someone else.
I had the privilege of breakfast on the fancy china and excited chatter with my best girl this morning because someone chose me to be her mom. Mother’s Day is possible for me only because of the selflessness of a woman like you.
Words are inadequate, but still - Thank you.
Some of you know that I have held a secret overwhelming desire to see my little boy again since the day I put him in C’s arms…
I have held that in for the most part for the past 4 months. From my reading and speaking with other adoptive parents, the visit part of the adoption can be quite scary,…
There could be any number of reasons why she hasn’t emailed you back, but if you’re concerned that she’s freaked out, could you email her again? Just a quick note to say that you hope your last email didn’t turn them off, but you hope they can understand how exciting it is for you to think about a visit and that you’re eager to schedule one.
Honestly, maybe they’re afraid, especially given that the adoption hasn’t been finalized yet. (I don’t know the laws where you are, so I have no idea if you can even revoke consent at this stage.) Remember that they didn’t get to bond with you, either, so just as you don’t know how to read them, they may not have a good read on you yet.
You asked how hard it is to see the birthmom - it’s hard. Really fucking hard. Especially at first. Our first few visits with Dictator’s birthparents were awful from an emotional perspective. I was afraid they would change their minds. I felt guilty that they were clearly in so much pain over their decision. And it was really, really awkward at the very beginning. For your son’s parents, you’ve been at arm’s length for all these months - they haven’t had to deal with the reality of seeing you with him or interacting with you directly. Suddenly that’s right around the corner, and because they haven’t seen you since placement, I’m sure that’s especially terrifying. Not that their feelings are a reason to not get back to you - I’m just letting you know where their heads might be at.
(Or, they could be complete jerkfaces who want to forget that you exist - but it doesn’t sound that way to me. They wouldn’t have agreed to the level of contact you have, and they definitely wouldn’t be emailing you weekly.)
It sounds like you’ve got a good rapport via email, so I say send them a short note and see what’s up. You’ll drive yourself crazy otherwise.
“I just found your blog and I think its amazing! You really understand how a b-mom might feel as much as you possibly can. I think that it's great you have such a great relationship/ I am a B-mom, in an open adoption as well. I don't have the best relationship with my son's mother, but I hope one day to have the amazing relationship you and your birthparents have! - and to comment on an old post (I browsed ur adoption tag) I always call him my son, but I never refer to me as his mother.”
Thank you for saying hello and being so kind!
I know I can’t possibly understand everything that a birthmom goes through, but we’ve all worked hard to try to understand each other so that we can have the best possible relationship for Dictator’s sake. I don’t know how old your son is, so I don’t know how long you’ve been navigating things, but it definitely takes time to settle into a comfortable relationship. I hope you’re able to develop the kind of relationship you want with your son’s mother, and if that’s not possible, that you’re at least able to have a relationship with your son as he grows.
Good luck, and thank you again for getting in touch.
I’ve been on a Civil Wars kick for the last few weeks, and I finally really listened to the lyrics from To Whom It May Concern. I actually shed tears.
This song describes perfectly for me the feeling of waiting for adoption:
Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don’t know how much more I can take
I missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
How I do
Slowly counting down the days
Till I finally know your name
Ooo the way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh
The way your kisses taste
I missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
How I do, How I do
I’ve missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh I missed you
I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
Oh how I want to
Dear whoever you might be
I’m still waiting patiently
“Your blog was recommended by someone on metafilter as a source of adoption information. I didn't find the information I was hoping for (you don't really talk about adoption that much), but I do like your blog. Your daughter is hilarious.”
Thanks for checking me out. I’m sorry my posts didn’t give you whatever information you were hoping for, but in the grand scheme of it all, adoption is a very small part of our lives, and I only write about it when there’s something worth writing about.
If you have any specific questions you’d like answered, please don’t hesitate to ask.
(And as a reminder to the rest of you - it’s National Adoption Awareness Month. If you have questions, send them my way!)
P.S. Thanks, random metafilter recommender!
In On It
thisismorepersonal replied to your photo: Cripes, that’s a tough one! I don’t think there’s…
I also recommend the book In On It, for loved ones of those adopting. Its been a great way for ours to connect with our process and understand why we don’t share everything with them.
I’ve never heard of this book, but you can read an excerpt here. It sounds like something I would have liked to give to our entire family back in the beginning!
Cripes, that’s a tough one! I don’t think there’s a right answer here. Everyone approaches adoption in their own way, and everyone needs different kinds of support at different times.
I think you have to take her lead on this one, keeping in mind that constantly being asked about the process and her feelings may only remind her that she’s still waiting. The adoption process moves quickly from the excitement of getting started to a feeling of complete powerlessness once you’re approved and all you can do is wait.
I guess my advice is this:
Go ahead and show your interest in the process. Offer your help where it seems appropriate (does she need a reference letter? Pictures for her “dear birthmother letter” that show how great an aunt she is to Audrey? Can she borrow your old crib/car seat/baby tub when the time comes?). Let her know you’re there whenever she wants to talk about it, but respect that she may not want to discuss it at all.
And once she’s been approved and she’s entered the waiting game, for the love of all things good and holy, do not ask her if there’s any “news”. Ever. I promise, she’ll tell you what she can tell you when she can tell you. She’ll be screaming it from the rooftops when the time comes. While you might think it’s supportive to show that you’re interested by asking, it’s usually just a painful reminder that there’s no baby at home yet.
Best of luck to your sister-in-law! And I’m sure you’ll do just fine in the support department!
“Have you given a baby up for adoption or adopted? (Just because you said it's national adoption awareness month & I'm new to following you, just curious).”
Welcome! Thanks for reading along!
The Dictator was placed with us when she was four days old. We have a very open adoption and see both of her birthparents and their families regularly.
You can get a sense of our experience with open adoption by clicking the adoption tag on my blog.
It’s National Adoption Awareness Month
We'll Worry About Sex Ed and Anatomy Lessons Later
- Dictator: Babies grow in mommy's tummies!
- Me: Babies grow in ladies' tummies, but not always in their mama's tummy.
- Dictator: [cockeyed confused puppy look]
- Me: You grew in C's belly, not in my belly. But then C picked me and Daddy to be your parents.
- Dictator: And you is my mama.
- Me: That's right. But C is your birthmother.
- Dictator: C is my mudder?
- Me: C is your birthmother.
- Dictator: C is my birf mudder?
- Me: That's right. She's your birthmother. You came out of her tummy.
- Dictator: No, Mama! Is not right! I not come out of C's tummy!
- Me: Yep, that's what happened.
- Dictator: No, Mama! I not come out of her TUMMY... I come out of her BUM. [giggles]
Oh, Good Lord.
I posted a picture of teeny tiny Dictator on Facebook yesterday with a note similar to the one I wrote here, expressing our gratitude to her birthparents for creating our family.
Twenty (lovely) comments and happy birthday wishes for Dictator, and someone posted this: “Beautiful note. Happy Birthday D__. So when are they making you another one?”
“So when are they making you another one?”
“So when are they making you another one?”
Are you fucking kidding me? Do you know how insanely rude and disrespectful that is? Dictator’s birthparents are not a fucking baby factory waiting for us to put in a request form for another one.
I’m torn between saying just that (perhaps a little more articulately), and just simply deleting her comment and messaging her privately to tell her why I took it down. One way lets C & R know that I think the message was completely rude and hurtful (they’ve both commented on the thread, so may get notifications when other people comment), and one lets me tell the commenter off while still looking like a grownup.
Thoughts? Because I’m boiling over here and I don’t know which is the right answer.
(Please ignore this obligatory question mark that lets me check that “let people answer this” box: ?)
ETA: I really didn’t want that comment to sit there, so I’ve deleted it and sent a private message to the poster and to birthmom and birthdad in case they saw it before I took it down.
ETA Pt. II: This was the poster’s response. Unacceptable.
At This Time Four Years Ago…
…I was getting ready for work after a sleepless night spent thinking about the brave young woman and very special man who were working hard to bring our baby into the world.
My day at work was unproductive, to say the least, and shortly after I got home that evening, I got the most beautiful text I’ve ever received. Our daughter was born, and our family grew not by one, but by three very special people, who we’ve been grateful for every day since.
There will never be enough words to adequately express our gratitude and love for C and R, so tonight we will make do by having cake and toasting them and their decision to make us a family.
Happy fourth birthday, Bird.
This. This is why.
My heart exploded.
Birthmom perspective (in italics below) on this earlier post… Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kelsey! (The section I bolded particularly resonates with me.)
This is an interesting opinion piece by Meika Rouda, who writes great articles for The Next Family. In this particular article, she considers the following quote found on a birthmother support website:
“When I am talking to another birth mom, I’m not a birth mom, I’m a mom. We don’t have to put a title on it. I can say ‘Oh my son did this or my daughter did this‘ and I can just be a mom. There are no stipulations on it, there’s no stigma. We can just be moms.”
She goes on to say that she thinks “…it is dangerous thinking for birthmothers to be sitting around talking about the children they placed like they’re the ones mothering them. It is a different job and one that adoptive moms should get the credit for.”
I don’t think that’s what this particular birthmom was saying - I think she was saying that she can be proud of her child’s accomplishments without having to explain the dynamic of their relationship (or lack of one, depending on their situation). I don’t believe she was trying to suggest that she was mothering her child at all.
Regardless of what that birthmom was trying to say, it’s the author’s suggestion that “credit” is due to anyone that bothers me the most.
This is perfect because I was actually going to make a post on this but instead, I’ll just reblog! The other day I had a woman ask me if I had any children, and I was completely stumped as to what to say. I’ve noticed in society, birth moms aren’t really considered mothers. Usually when/if I tell people that in fact, I do have a son, who I don’t raise or care for, it usually followed by things you should never say to a birth mom. People don’t view me as a mother, and sometimes I just want to scream at them. I AM a mother. I just made a different choice for my kid, which does not make me less then you. As a mother, isn’t it your responsibility to make sure your doing the best by your child? And by making an adoption plan to ensure that my son gets everything he could need, am I not doing the same thing? It’s not the same thing as being in the thick of it all, raising your kid and everything, but it does not make me less of a mother. It’s a double edged sword, really.
I look at pictures of Matthew, and I see me, I see Zakk, and I think of how beautiful and wonderful he is. But I do not see him as MINE. Rachel is his mother, but he would not be here without me. I do refer to him as my son, because he is. And he always will be. But he isn’t just my son. He is the son to four adults. And that’s the beauty in an open adoption. He has two parents, but he is the son to four people. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have a right to call him my son, and I still feel weird doing it sometimes. But I am coming to terms with the fact that’s exactly what he is. Me and Rachel are different kinds of moms.
And you know what? That’s okay.