Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have said it before, and sometimes I wonder if repeating it takes away the impact of what I'm saying, but there are really no other words for it: I have the best big brother in the entire world.

I have two big brothers, so I should probably be less enthusiastic in asserting that Scott is my favorite. But it's true! He is more than just my big brother. He is my geek squad, my substitute dad, and my friend. Since my father died a year ago, Scott has had a lot to deal with. He has his own family to take care of - a wonderful wife, and three children 7 and under - and a full-time job, and a rather involved church calling. But he's never been too busy for me. He has changed flat tires, re-set sprinkler timers, set up a new cable box, resurrected my laptop computer, replaced electrical outlets, put together and taken apart furniture, fixed TV and internet problems, listened to story after dull story of mine, installed a Dog Silencer Pro, shared MP3s, baked bread sticks and pizza, answered phone calls and text messages at odd and sometimes inconvenient hours, fasted and prayed for me, and given me more priesthood blessings than I can count.

The last one on the list has been the most important; had the most impact. I miss getting father’s blessings from my dad. But the ones from Scott have saved me. There have been so many occasions this past year where I was fighting off panic attacks or crying so much I got dehydrated or feeling like I wanted to give up. And then Scott gives me a blessing and says the things that my Father in Heaven knows I most need to hear, and I know things are going to be okay.

I am more thankful for my brother than I can ever say. I am thankful for his love and patience. I am thankful that he lives worthy of the priesthood so he can give me and my mother blessings when we need them. I am so blessed to have him as a brother.

Friday, December 25, 2009


It's Christmas. Merry Christmas, blog people!

I got my gift early this year - in July. P and M got theirs in September. So, by extension, did Roo.

I miss that little girl. I mourn the loss of the things I had planned, the life I had planned with Roo. I love the presents my mother got for me, but I would have traded all of them in a second to have Roo here instead. But I love her. I wanted her to have more. So I don't have her here.

I miss her. I wonder what her first Christmas was like. What fun, bright toys she got. If she tried to eat the wrapping paper. If she had on special Christmas jammies, or a dress. Maybe a red bow on her head, or a little Santa hat. Did P and M buy a Baby's First Christmas ornament for her? Was Roo captivated by the pretty lights on the tree?

Today's been rough. I knew it would be. I'm anxious for it to be over. Strange to think that a year ago Roo was the size of a strawberry. Now she is a happy, healthy 5-month-old. I hope she had a happy day. I bet she did. She's such a mellow, cheerful baby. She's worth my misery. She's worth the pain. She has a wonderful life, with a mommy and daddy and big sister who love her. She is sealed to them. That, too, is an early present I got. Roo has what I wanted most in the world for her. Nothing else matters.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fifteen Weeks

It has been fifteen weeks since I placed my Roo. She’s 24 weeks old – 5 ½ months. I can still remember with astonishing clarity that surreal afternoon in July that my mother drove us all home from the hospital. Roo looked so tiny in her car seat. I spent the entire drive home squished up next to the car seat, worried that every little bump in the road would jostle my baby’s delicate neck too much. I had a burp cloth rolled up and wedged in between Roo’s head and the seat’s u-shaped head support because it wasn’t snug enough for my peace of mind.

Now Roo sits up confidently in her cart seat, chubby legs and wedge-shaped feet kicking happily as she reaches for the toys dangling from the seat handle. She smiles and laughs and babbles and makes the funniest, sweetest little faces as she looks around.

Equally fresh in my mind is that night fifteen weeks ago – the heartrending moment I passed Roo from my arms to her mommy’s. The clatter of the unfastened car seat buckle. The burning sensation deep in my gut that was the only feeling I was cognizant of – everything else was a clawing, biting chasm – emptiness. Coldness. Despair. I thought I'd never be cheerful again. Some days I still wonder.

This week has been a tough one. I don’t know why. But every little thing has reminded me of my Roo, and I miss her desperately. I’ve cried buckets. My mother used to say that tears cleanse the soul. My soul must be squeaky-clean and shiny by now.

Last year, I thought I couldn’t possibly have a worse Christmas. My dad had just died, I’d just been fired, and I was pregnant. What could be more devastating? Now I know. I long for the nausea and vague disquiet of a year ago. This year’s gentle (and often not-so-gentle) sobbing and complicated grief are infinitely less palatable. I miss her so much! I have little to distract me from the pain, and I'm not sure what to do with the tangle of emotions that come up.

I contacted S after I got that horrible e-mail on Friday and she promised she'd call me as soon as she could. That was five days ago and I've not gotten so much as a text message from her. I wish I had. I don't know who else to turn to for help figuring things out. The birth mothers I know have vastly different situations than I do, different relationships with their adoptive couples, different levels of openness. I'll talk to my therapist when I see him today, but he understands so little of this process that I doubt he'll be much help with things. I really need(ed) S, and she's let me down. Again. I love her dearly, but I confess myself disappointed.

I feel like ... I think it's sort of like I'm a child with divorced parents. And S is the non-custodial parent, making promises and plans and then letting them fall through. I have a good time talking and spending time with her when she can swing it, but I can never count on her when it's important. And so I cry to my mother instead, asking why someone who loves me would continue to let me down.

I miss Roo so much! I have times I want her back - for my sake, not for hers. I wish I could just hold her for a while. I suppose I could ask for a visit, but I just saw Roo a week ago. I don't want to be demanding or obnoxious to P and M. They don't owe me anything. I am acutely aware that openness is a courtesy, not a right. Not that I suspect they'd ever just cut me off. But that irrational part of my brain worries about that sort of stupid thing.

I miss Roo, and I don't know what to do with it. I don't know what to do, period. I feel like I'm waiting for my life to start. I've been praying for months for guidance - should I go back to school? Should I try to find a job? Nothing feels right, nothing fits. If I'm honest I don't want to go back to school. I don't want to get a job. The only job I'm interested in is that of mother. I want to get married and have a family. I wish I had more control over that. I wish I had more hope.

It's hard. But I know that if I have faith, I have to have hope. And so I'm working on it. I have to trust that my mother is right - Heavenly Father wouldn't ask me to do what I've done, to go through so much pain and anguish, and not bless me for it. He wouldn't take so much without having a compensation planned out for me. I just wish I knew when I can expect blessings for my sacrifice and obedience. I am not a patient person, and the longer it takes, the harder it gets to keep waiting.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas?

The past few days have been a little rough. There are dozens of reasons for it, but knowing what the reasons are did little to help me through.

I cried for the longest time last night because I happened to glance at a part of the room - the corner table where sits a small stack of wrapped presents for my Roo. Seeing those gifts, cheerfully packaged and tied with shiny ribbon - just killed me. It was like Thanksgiving, I suppose, in that it hit me fully just then that although I had a baby in July, I won't be spending this important holiday with her. Her first Christmas. I thought this Christmas would be special because I'd celebrate it with my sweet baby. Instead, it's special, in a different, sadder way, because I will be spending it without her.

Oh, I had such hopes, such plans. I pictured bringing her to family parties and enjoying seeing everyone fuss over Roo - how sweet and pretty she is, how calm and happy and clever. They would fight over who got to hold her and do silly little things to make her smile. But she'd save her biggest smiles for me, because I would be Mommy.

I pictured watching her lovely eyes grow wide as she saw the lights and decorations on the tree - watching her stretch out a chubby hand to touch, to grab. I was going to take her to see the Christmas lights at the temple. Let her chew on the soft plastic baby-safe nativity I'd been saving just for her. Sing Christmas carols and songs and listen to her try to sing along in the sweet, perfect way that babies do. I had special Christmas jammies picked out. I could see in my mind the pictures from Christmas morning - her on my lap, crinkling gift wrap in her tiny fists and delighting in the sound and feel, me sprinkling kisses on her soft cheeks and being more interested in the gift I got in July than any I got that morning. Me opening the toys I picked out for her, showing her the bright colors and lights and sounds. Then the excitement would prove too much for her, and after a little snack she'd fall asleep, and maybe I'd nap a little too, and my mother would take a picture of the two of us sleeping side by side, a precious and lovely Christmas tableau.

I can picture it all in my mind as clearly as though it all happened for real, and I find myself mourning the loss of that idyllic and cheerful morning. Seeing Roo's presents on a table - ready to be loaded into the car for the next visit instead of under our little tree - sort of hammered into my brain exactly how hard Friday is going to be - and exactly how sweet it won't be.

The presents are things I had in my mind for her when she was still mine. Those, at least, are the same in both realities. But in this reality, I won't unwrap them or get them out. I don't even know if P and M will like them. Or if they already have them from then Roo's big sister was Roo's age. Part of me thought, there's no point in buying gifts for Roo now that she's theirs. She has everything she could possibly need, and it's not as though I'll get to see her enjoy them.

But I love her. I love her so much! How could I not get her a few things? I got a refund check I hadn't been expecting and as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be my Roo Money. I spent it all on her. Roo is the only one I bought gifts for this year. Perhaps it's a strange sort of selfishness on my part, but she's the only one whose Christmas morning feelings are really and truly important to me. Everyone else can handle themselves. I want Roo's first Christmas to be special, even though it means I'm not there with her for it.

Roo is worth every tear I've shed, every hour I've been unable to fall asleep from an overload of emotions, every minute I've sobbed and suffered. She is worth it a million times over.

I miss her so much.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Right Thing

Why must things be so complicated? Why can't anything ever be simple?

Why can't it just be enough for me to love my baby and do what's best for her? Why must there always be some drama, some problem, some mistake? I hate being human sometimes. I hate knowing that so many of my problems are my own dang fault.

I try to do the right thing - or what I think is the right thing. Or I don't do anything because I want some time to make sure I know what the right thing is. And I mess things up. I make them worse than they were, worse than they should be. I hurt feelings. I say stupid things. I get all passive-aggressive and I act or write without thinking and then I feel rotten.

I hate that it's not enough to just do the right thing, the best thing, and be done with it. There's always something else to worry about, some other choice to make, another right thing to be done. And I am so rotten at figuring out what the right thing is. I get it all backwards and I disappoint myself and others. I make things worse than they would have been if I'd just made a decision and stuck with it.

No one who matters is angry. But even as a child I've preferred outright anger to gentle, reasonable disappointment. I grew up in constant self-imposed fear of disappointing those I love, those who are important to me. I make a mistake and give the wrong impression and I end up depressed, crying. Not because I feel sorry for myself, but because I feel generally rotten for hurting people I love. For making them think I don't trust them or think them capable of doing what's right for them.

How do you apologize for that sort of thing? I haven't a clue. I try and it feels insufficient. I can do what I should have done in the first place but it feels like too little too late. Or just enough, but too late.

Every time something like this happens, I feel like I must surely have ruined things. That it will be awkward or uncomfortable instead of the way it was before, which was great. I think to myself, I've done it this time. That's it. Every time, I get a reprieve. I wonder how many more I'll get. How many more times I can get back on the horse before I ruin the ride and the horse gets sent to the glue factory.

I hope I never have to find out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

H's Mother

Something happened yesterday afternoon. I've been trying to decide since then whether I ought to mention it or not. I wasn't going to, but it's still bothering me a day later, so here goes: I got e-mail from H's mother yesterday.

I was shocked when I saw her name in my inbox. Deep down, I didn't want to read anything she had to say. I knew it was going to upset me. But curiosity got the better of me. And I was right. It did upset me.

She has apparently been reading this blog. And she didn't have anything nice to say about it or me at ALL. I don't think I've ever before been on the receiving end of such vitriol, such anger, such hatred.

I am tempted to copy and paste the entire e-mail here, but I don't want that kind of nastiness on my blog. Suffice it to say that H's mother thinks I am a whore and a liar and that I don't love my baby. She accused me of spreading lies and slandering her and her son. She said I had played God. That I don't care about my baby. That I am nasty and deceitful. That God was never going to bless me because I am selfish and cruel.

She offered her family's health history, but not to me. Only to P and M. She said that she doubted I would pass her information along to them because I don't love my baby enough. Excuse me, but if there's something important to know, and she's keeping it a secret, doesn't it seem that SHE's the one who doesn't love the baby? That it is her, not me, who is being manipulative and cruel?

And I know she wouldn't just give the information to P and M outright. It's her only bargaining chip. She is going to withhold it until she gets exactly what she wants - pictures and letters, visits, or restitution of some sort, or whatever else she can think of.

I spent hours crying. I don't care where they come from - such angry, mean-spirited words and accusations sting. I don't like being called names. It hurts. And the thought of H's mother having anything to do with my sweet baby makes me nauseous. Is a person who sends that sort of e-mail out of the blue really the sort of person who ought to have access to my little girl? I don't think so. I don't want her to have visits or pictures if she's going to be so nasty, so cruel, so manipulative. That sort of behavior is unworthy of such a sweet baby.

I asked H for his health history a year ago, when I was pregnant, and he wouldn't tell me anything. I don't know why this is coming up now - why H's mother chose yesterday, after all this time, to verbally assault me. I can only assume that she wanted to ruin Christmas the same way she ruined Mother's Day.

She sent my mother a very manipulative e-mail on Mother's Day, full of half-truths and self-pity. H had lied to his mother about a number of things, and of course she believed him. She took his side, the same as she's doing now.

I'm certain she's reading this as well. I'm not going to bother refuting any of the nasty things she said because she'd never believe me. There's no point in trying to argue with that sort of content. Well, H's mother, you made me cry and feel absolutely horrible for several hours. Are you happy? Is that what you wanted? Mission Accomplished. You are a cruel and selfish woman and it is precisely because I love my baby so much that I'm not going to let you have anything to do with her. I'm not going to pass your information along just to prove a point or to try and convince you that I love my baby. If you're read this blog at all then you can't deny that I love that little girl with every cell in my body. And if you loved her, too, you wouldn't hold back important information just to be nasty and controlling. You'd share it freely. The end.

Honestly, this woman hardly knows me. That she would say such horrible things about a woman she's met twice speaks volumes about her character. I don't know where all this is coming from. Has H been bad-mouthing me to his mother? I hope not. I don't bad-mouth him. Ask my mother. She reads this blog and she hears me speak, and she doesn't think ill of H at all. I tell the ugly truth, and I'm sorry if it hurts him. He is not a bad person. I loved him once. Part of me will always love him. I wish I had more good things to say about him but some things are personal and private and I won't share them just for the sake of balancing the scales on this blog.

This whole thing is so upsetting. What on earth did I ever do to this woman? Yes, this was her first grandchild, but can't she see that I chose adoption out of love? That I only wanted the very best for this precious little child? If she can't see that, then I am so sorry for her. It's sad. I wouldn't want to live my life full of anger and bitterness.

Blog readers, help me out here: comment honestly. Have I been unfair to H? Do I come across as hating him? As having placed my baby simply to spite him? I want to know if I have. That is not my intent. I don't want to give that impression at all, and I'm sorry if I have.

But even if I have, isn't there a better way to handle it than a manipulative e-mail? I like to think there is, even if H's mother doesn't think so.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today, I miss my Roo.

I miss Roo, and I am okay.

It's nice to be okay. It's nice to know I can miss her and still have a good day. This, I can get used to.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Return of H, or: More Questions

No, he hasn't returned literally (thank goodness). I still haven't seen him in a year and two weeks (not that I'm counting). And I really haven't thought about him much for a while. But I suppose some part of my subconscious has been thinking about him, because I dreamed about him last night.

Most of the dream was about something else entirely, but in one part of my dream I got a letter from him. It wasn't a long letter but it said a lot - he was sorry for everything, he missed me, he felt bad about how things turned out between us, he wanted to meet his daughter, he wanted pictures and updates.

The dream moved on from there (it ended up as something about a vampire story in the Parade magazine that controlled the mind of anyone who read it) but the letter is the only thing that really stuck with me. Where did my brain come up with that? I wonder. It's entirely possible that it was my mind trying to resolve things. That the dream version of H said and did what some part of me wishes the real H would do.

But then, I think, is that what I really want? If I'm honest I'd rather not ever hear from him again. And I don't expect I ever will. But I think I'll always wonder why. Why doesn't he care? Doesn't he ever wonder about her? About what she looks like, if she's healthy, if she's happy. How can he not?

Sometimes I feel bad for him. He is missing out on having this wonderful little person in his life. But most of the time it's more along the lines of, I'm glad he doesn't have anything to do with her, because he doesn't deserve to. He's not good enough for her. I don't want him to have an influence in her life.

Still I wonder. Does he ever think about her? Does he ever wished he'd done things differently, that we were still together - raising her together? I think, maybe he wants contact, he wants pictures, he wants to know how she is and whether his alcohol-soaked DNA gave her flippers instead of feet, or two noses or something (don't think I didn't worry about that sort of thing when I was pregnant). Maybe he wants these things, but he's afraid to ask. I quickly dismiss those thoughts. H has never been afraid to make his opinions known. But the fact remains that I haven't seen him in over a year, and I haven't heard from him since August 22nd at 1am. Not a word since that last terse, vaguely menacing e-mail. I can only assume he resumed his cyberstalking of me enough to figure out what happened with things after he e-mailed me. But he's never bothered to contact me since then. Why? Doesn't he have anything to say? Good or bad?

I wonder about other things, too. I know he has a picture of her from the day she was born, before I fixed certain privacy settings. Has he printed it out? Does he have it somewhere he can see it? Did he give a copy to his mother? Does she hate me for choosing adoption? The next time H is in a relationship, will he tell his girlfriend that he fathered a child last year? Will he ever tell anyone? Did he even tell anyone to begin with? His mother is the only one I know for sure he told. Do his friends know? What sorts of horrible things might they have said about me to try to cheer him up? I've cried an ocean. Has H? Has he ever cried, even once, even for a second, about the chance he had that he lost? Does he ever wish he had a baby in his house? Does he ever think about me?

If my brain was trying to bring about a resolution with this dream, it failed miserably. I've got more questions than I've ever had. What I need are answers. And I don't think I'm going to find them in my dreams. I may never find them. I guess I'm going to have to accept that and try to move on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Roo was blessed in church today. My mother and I got to be there for it. Roo had on her pretty white dress again (how her parents kept it urp-free is beyond me) and she was so well-behaved. I got to hold her for a few minutes before sacrament meeting - she kept her little feet kicking constantly - just sort of a busy, happy baby kick. I can still remember so clearly what those little feet felt like kicking in my belly. Her tiny heels hurt much less kicking against my kneecap than they did against my ribs.

I got to hold her for a bit again afterward, and my mom took some pictures. Roo made all sorts of funny faces for me. She has such an expressive little face. She got crabby after a little bit - it was her nap time. She wasn't even that fussy. It was just her way of saying, "Um, excuse me, but I'm not very happy at the moment. I'd love it if you could do something to cheer me up soon, and I wish I could make a suggestion as to what that is, but unfortunately I'm a baby and I'm not good at that sort of thing. So, could you please make me happy? ... Oh, a nap. What a good idea, Daddy!"

(How I got all that from a few "eh"s is beyond me, but it's what I've decided she said just the same.)

I have felt so peaceful and happy all day. This was the last of the things I wanted for Roo as a baby - a finalization, a sealing, and now a blessing. What a happy day! I can rest easy, I can relax. She's taken care of, and she's theirs in the eyes of God and the law. Whew.

Roo really is the sweetest baby I have ever known. She is so calm, so mellow, so happy. Very little seems to phase her. She gets these funny looks on her face like she's not sure what to make of things at times, but she doesn't scream or throw fits or wail for hours. She is just sweet. Not to mention beautiful, but I will anyway.

I am so glad today was a good day. I'm thankful for the peace I had, and the confirmation I felt that Roo is exactly where and with whom she's meant to be. That little girl loves her parents. It was so good to see her with them - to see her face light up when she sees them, to see her smile at her daddy and relax in her mommy's arms. P and M are such good parents. Roo is so blessed to be in their family. And I am so blessed to be her birth mother.


I am feeling much better. After an up-and-down sort of day, I got the most amazing priesthood blessing from my brother. The blessing was exactly what I needed. It calmed me down, gave me peace and calm and joy.

I feel sort of bad about all the stuff I wrote earlier. I hope it's clear, in reading, that I say exactly what I feel when I feel it, whether I mean it or not, and whether I should or not. Yes, I had a rough day. But I don't want anyone to think for a second that I'm not happy for Roo and her parents. I don't want anyone to think for a second that I would have missed being there for her sealing. I will treasure those quiet moments in the temple waiting room as long as I live. Much as I would have loved to be in the sealing room with everyone, there was something symbolic and oddly reassuring about the way things were. P and M gave Roo what I couldn't give her - they went where I can't yet go.

As I sat there, watching people come and go, I had the thought that something was finished - something I'd been anxious for. Roo finally has what I wanted most for her. I did right by her. My job is done. It wasn't a bad feeling.

P and M invited my mother to be there for the sealing. How awesome is that? She said Roo was really good. Not that I doubted she'd be good. She is the best baby in the world. And today (yesterday, strictly speaking) she is a little bit closer to returning to live with her Father in Heaven. If I have to be miserable for a while for her to have that, I'm okay with it. She is worth every tear.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


It is officially a done deal. The adoption is indefeasible both legally and spiritually.

Today, Roo was sealed to her mommy and daddy. She is theirs for eternity. I think I'm a little jealous, as a matter of fact. I only got her for nine weeks. They get her forever.

I'm not sure what I expected today to be like, but this certainly wasn't it. I thought I'd be happier, for one. And I was happy, at first. In the temple waiting area, I felt peaceful and calm. And when they came out, M holding a white-clad Roo, I couldn't contain my joy.

I don't know why, but my joy was short-lived. Everyone went outside for pictures, and I started to feel strange. I got a few pictures with me and P and M and Roo. I look gigantic in them. I'll admit it, I weigh nearly as much now as I did on my due date. But then, some people started to leave, and M said they'd see me tomorrow for the blessing, and they left. I didn't get to hold Roo at all. I guess I thought I'd get her for a minute or two at least. She looked so cute in her white dress. She had a matching bow on her head. I managed to get a few pictures while one of Roo's aunts held her. She has the most expressive little face.

Everyone left, ostensibly for some sort of family party/lunch. Just like that, it was over. I started to feel like I needn't have bothered coming, which was a rather horrible feeling. My mom headed for the parking lot but I wasn't ready to leave yet. I found a stone bench in front of a bit of desert landscaping - cacti, succulents, and the odd palm tree. I dropped my purse, sat on the bench, and cried for all I was worth. I felt absolutely dreadful, and I was mad at myself for it. How selfish am I that on this wonderful, joyful day, the day when Roo got what I wanted most for her, all I could think of was myself, and how sad and lonely and empty I felt? But feeling so horribly selfish only made me cry harder.

If I'm honest, I felt a bit like I did right after placement - like someone had ripped my guts out, put them in a sack, and beat me with it. I wished very much that the bench I was on would turn me to stone, too, so I didn't have to think and feel anymore. I felt empty - oh, how I felt empty. And desperate and lost and oh so alone.

Finally, the cold got to me, and my mother and I left. I cried in the car, too. When we got home, I curled up on the couch and sobbed. I sent a pathetic-sounding text to S, who called me up. I whined to her for forty minutes. I don't know why it helped, but it did. She didn't say anything much more than, "It sucks, Jill, I know it sucks," but for some reason that made me feel a little better.

I fell asleep on the couch and had strange dreams - I was in a room like the waiting room at the temple, and I'd been there all day - hours and hours. People came and went but no one I knew, no one I was waiting for. I knew I was waiting for someone or something important but who or what it was never appeared.

I felt better when I woke up. Positively delighted, as a matter of fact. I felt fantastic. The feeling lasted an hour or two. Then I went back to feeling like trash. Then back up. Then back down.

My mother took me shopping to try to cheer me up. It had the opposite effect. I'd forgotten until tonight that there's nothing quite like a weekend trip to the mall to destroy your faith in humanity. Salespeople were rude and unhelpful, I'm too fat to shop anywhere, and I kept getting lost in the stupid mall. My feet hurt and my head hurt and I thought that getting Olive Garden to go would help. Until I got home and realized they'd forgotten my breadsticks. And they were closed for the night, so I couldn't go back and get any. And I only ordered salad and breadsticks, which left me with salad for dinner. I didn't just want salad. I only like their salad with their breadsticks. No dinner for me.

That was enough to send me over the edge again, and I've just finished up a nice bout of crying. I am so SICK of crying. If tears cleanse the soul, as my mother says, my soul must be so clean it squeaks. This whole day has just been a strange sort of disaster, and I wish very much that I could go back and repeat it. Or forget it entirely.

I hate that I can't just be happy for Roo. Today was such a special day for her and her parents. Why can't I be happy for them? I love them. They're happy. I should be happy. But instead I am cold and tired and hungry and miserable. Instead, I'm glad they're happy, and I think, gee, it must be nice to be happy. I'm not sure I'd know what that was like.

Roo will be blessed in church tomorrow. I hope tomorrow's a better day. I hope tomorrow I can just be happy about it. I hope that tomorrow I won't feel so devastated, so invisible, so unimportant. I KNOW it's not about me, and that I am not strictly speaking important, so don't bother to tell me that. But I did give my Roo a better life, that's something. Doesn't that make me just the tiniest bit important? I wish I felt that way. I wish I knew how.

Roo is sealed to her family. I am happy for her, and for her parents, I really, truly am. What joy for them! I'd love to have a shot at that kind of joy. I worry I never will.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I have been thinking about it ...

... and I have decided how I feel. Roo's adoption is final, and I am happy. I am happy for P and M, I am happy for Roo. But you know what will make me really, really happy? When she's sealed to them. I can't wait. And I'm looking forward to her blessing in church. Not by her single mother's brother, like it would have been if I'd kept her, but by her daddy. Roo has a daddy who can give her blessings. How awesome is that?

I wish you all could see the picture I got of Roo and her parents and sister at the courthouse yesterday. The girls looked a little underwhelmed, but the looks on their parents' faces was unmistakable - I have never seen two happier people in all my life. I love them, and I love Roo. If they're all happy, I'm happy too.

I'm happy! It's a nice feeling. I think I could get used to it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's official - Roo belongs to P and M. The adoption was finalized this morning.

I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I haven't cried, which is a good thing. I am excited, happy for all of them, I swear I am. And yet ... there's an underlying sadness. She's really theirs - which means she's really not mine.

Not that it wasn't already a done deal for me. As S told me on the phone at 3am the day after placement, the papers I signed were irrevocable, final for me. And I wouldn't take her back. I know - I know - that she is supposed to be theirs. The older I get, the less I seem to know, but that is one thing that I know for sure, no doubt about it. She was meant for them. God just had to get her there a different way than usual.

Yesterday, the ninth, was exactly three months to the date since placement. Thirteen weeks. It feels like years ago. I'm not sure what I've been doing for the past three months. Nothing comes to mind. Blogging, I guess. And speaking about adoption. And crying.

Hmm. I'm happy, I think. Yes, I've decided to be happy about it. This is what I wanted for Roo, after all. A mommy and daddy, a real family.

P and M sent me a picture of them all at the courthouse. They look overjoyed. Even the judge looks happy. Roo looks a bit nonplussed, but then she's a bit young to understand. As far as she's concerned, they've always been her parents. I'm starting to feel that way a bit too. I'm glad it's finally official.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Compadre and Komodo

I did another school presentation today - this one at Compadre High School in Tempe. Two classes with a half-hour break in between them. I don't know what the reason was, but I had an off day. Maybe it's because I've had such a rotten week. Maybe it's because the first class consisted solely of teen mothers - not pregnant girls, but girls who are single moms. Maybe it's because I slept so poorly and for so little time last night. Whatever the reason, the first class was brutal. I didn't know what to say to those girls that wouldn't make them think I was judging them or trying to convince them to place their kids for adoption. It sort of threw me. I did a terrible job. I kept stuttering, my tongue catching on simple words. I don't think I helped at all. I probably did more harm than good. I was glad to be done.

I cried a little bit after the first class. Just buried my head in my hands and let my eyeliner run. It wasn't like this was the first time I'd ever presented. I could do this in my sleep. Why was it so hard today?

I pulled myself together a bit for the second class, but I felt a little more comfortable with the audience - all pregnant girls. I don't know if I changed any minds but I kept them entertained at the least. They all looked so young. One or two of them were sophomores. Sophomores! Fifteen, sixteen years old at the most. I looked around the room and I didn't see that any of them looked particularly prepared to be mommies. I hope they are, if that's what they choose. I hope they have good families who care to help them out. I know what it's like to feel alone and like no one's excited about your baby. It's a terrible feeling and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hate the thought that any of those girls might feel that rotten. I never would have had that kind of compassion before this experience. I've changed a lot since I had Roo and since I placed her.

It was strange not seeing all of my Roo things in my bedroom last night. The room felt too big. The walls were in the right place, but there was an odd sense of spatial distortion, like there was more space than I could see. In one sense, it's nice to have everything packed away neatly. It kind of makes things easier. But then, it kind of makes things harder, too. I miss seeing Roo's toys and jammies and blankies in my room. They were familiar things and they made me think of a sweet, lovely time in my life. I am more keenly aware of their absence than I could have predicted.

Maybe that's part of why this morning was so hard for me. It can't have helped to have my familiar surroundings packed up. I don't mean to keep obsessing about this morning but it's a worry for me. If I can't figure out why today was so hard, I might do poorly again the next time I present. I don't want to risk that. Today was bad enough. I'm just glad the second class went easier.

I still felt strange after the second class, though, so I went up the street (and up and up and up) to the zoo. There's nothing quite like the zoo to put things in perspective. It was a beautiful, clear, cool day, and the air was invigorating. I headed immediately for the new Komodo dragon exhibit, but the weather was a bit too cool for them. One of them (the male, I think) was on display in a little warming room. Komodo dragons are amazing creatures. They are so large, so powerful. They are capable of running around 10 miles per hour in short bursts. This one wasn't running. He didn't need to. His movements were slow but deliberate (except when he snatched a white mouse from a dish). If he'd run around his enclosure, he might have slipped on a branch or a rock. But he took his time moving, assessing his surroundings and very purposely placing his claws on sticks and sand. His movements were slow, but sure.

The glass was a bit foggy (it must have been warm in his little room!) but I spent a good 20 minutes watching him anyway, and taking a few pictures. I decided there is a lesson to be learned from the Komodo dragon. My life seems to be going nowhere at the moment. I am moving forward so slowly, I hardly seem to be moving at all. But I am trying to make progress. And I think that as long as my progress is deliberate, careful and planned, I'll be okay. I won't make any missteps. I won't get hurt. I'll be cautious, placing my metaphorical claws on sturdy objects. I might not get where I'm going very quickly, but if I'm patient, I'll get there. It's only a matter of time. And if there's one thing I have in spades, it's time.

A Different Sort of Empty

I am feeling a bit better today. I've only cried six times. I don't know if I feel better today because I took two Ativan last night (and man did I sleep well once they kicked in at 5am) or because my brain needed a break from the misery.

For months now (almost three, if you're counting) I've had a room full of Roo's things - tiny clothes and toys, pink-and-yellow bedding, burp cloths, blankets, a picked-over diaper bag. And today ... it is all packed away.

Empty. My room is empty. No, not empty in the strictest sense of the word. The pile of Roo accouterments has been replaced by a few stacks of purple latching tote boxes, each organized and neatly labeled. The only real evidence that a baby ever lived here is the dismantled crib and upright crib mattress in the living room. And, certainly, if you were to look in the garage you'd see a folded-up stroller, a boxed-up car seat. But the most basic, lovely little reminders of Roo are gone now.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. I cried a few times when I came to a favorite pair of jammies or a particularly sweet little stuffed toy. But for the most part, it felt almost ... good. There was something cathartic, something healing and relieving about packing things up. It felt - dare I say it? - liberating. There is a space in the garage already reserved for those boxes. It will be good to get them out of my room.

I think. I should probably reserve judgment on that until I've slept the night in my room without seeing Roo's gingerbread jammies and play blanket from my spot in bed. Will it be easier or harder not seeing her things?

In any case, it's a relief to finally have things cleaned, folded, organized, sorted and packed away. I feel like maybe it's the first step in getting some semblance of a life back. I'll start with small things - putting baby clothes away - and maybe that'll help me get bigger things done.

I know it's going to be strange to go upstairs into my room and see a different sort of pile in the corner - not stacks of clothes and blankets, but two neat towers of purple plastic. It's going to take a bit of getting used to. But it's done, and it's a start. It's a better empty than I've been feeling.

Roo turned five months old today (the 7th). Where has the time gone? What happened to my teeny-tiny newborn? I'm not sure if that's why I've been so down lately. Is it because she's growing so fast, and I'm missing it? Is it because the adoption will be finalized soon? I wish I knew why. If I knew what the problem was, I could do something about it. But right now, for this little part of today, I feel okay. I hope the feeling lasts. I'm going to need it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Right This Second

Empty as I feel, I know one thing for sure: I did it because I love her. And right now, this very second, that's enough.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I had hoped that the misery I've felt in the past few days would ease up a bit, become more tolerable. If only it had! Instead I feel worse, much worse. I can't seem to stop crying. I am more miserable now than I've been at any point in my life besides right after I placed Roo.

I miss her more than I can bear. It's killing me. It's a tumor, slowly growing and eating up my will to go on. I feel like I've got nothing. Nothing to look forward to, nothing to do, no reason to eat or breathe or take up space here on God's green earth. My life has never felt emptier. I don't know what it is I'm supposed to do anymore. What do I have? I can't think of anything I've got going for me. Despite my best efforts, I have no friends, no love life, no job, no money, no reason to get out of bed in the morning, or afternoon.

I have spent hours on my knees in prayer, asking God to give me direction, to give me hope. All I can surmise is that He must be a little too busy for me at the moment, because my prayers go unanswered. I know that sometimes God doesn't give us the answers we want, and I'm okay with that. I'd be okay with any answer at all, because it would be something. I'm not getting anything. I know I have to have faith. Believe you me, I have faith. If I didn't, I'd never have placed Roo with P and M. And after placement, in that fresh hell, I had faith that things would get better.

How long am I supposed to live on faith? When will God reward my faith with something, anything, even a morsel, a scrap of hope or joy? I am moving backwards, it seems. Instead of things getting easier as placement recedes into the past, they are getting harder and harder until I can't even think of Roo without bursting into a fit of tears. In my grief I am selfish enough to want her back - not because she's better off with me, but because I feel I can't bear to be without her. I love her too much, I miss her too much. How am I supposed to go on without my baby, my most precious, perfect blessing?

I have done everything I can. I have repented of my sins, I have been obedient, I have gone to every church meeting every Sunday, every fireside, every FHE, every Institute class. I have prayed, studied my scriptures, paid my tithing, served others, shared my testimony. Isn't God supposed to bless us when we're obedient? I have gotten more priesthood blessings than I can count. They help for a moment, but only for a moment. I feel I am adrift in the ocean, alone on a ship ill equipped to handle the storms and waves and weather. What am I to do? I wish I knew. I wish I didn't miss Roo so desperately. I wish I had something to hope for, to look forward to, to live for. I have nothing, and I am empty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nothing to Do

I don't know why, but I've been having a really hard time lately. I miss Roo like crazy. I know that's probably kind of stupid of me since I just saw her yesterday, and I'm going to see her again very soon. But stupid or not, it's how I feel. I miss that little girl. I missed her as soon as I strapped her into the car seat in her mommy's minivan and kissed her goodbye. I missed her on the drive home. I missed her as I had a late-morning snack, and when I wrote about the visit, and although I'm not sure it's possible, if it is, I'm certain I missed her when I took a catnap in the afternoon.

I feel lately as though I've been going backwards instead of forwards - it's getting harder again instead of easier, and I'm not sure what to do about it or even why it is. I wonder if it's because the adoption will be finalized soon. But when I think about it, that doesn't seem like it, and I'm just at a loss as to what the reason could be. Maybe because she's getting bigger, getting older - nearly 5 months now - and I'm not there to see it, to see all of those little firsts. Not that I should be there. I'm not her mommy. But I used to be, and I miss it. I miss being a mom, period. I was good at it. I enjoyed it. I worry I'll never get a chance to do it again. Secondary infertility happens to women every day. And that's assuming I actually manage to find a husband to have children with, a possibility that seems less and less likely with each passing day.

I'm sick of people telling me to be patient, that there's a good man out there somewhere for me. Where on earth is he? (Perhaps I should check the International Space Station.) I'm looking, I promise I am. And I have, quite frankly, run out of places to look. You name it, I've tried it. Where is this great man? It's easier to believe that he simply doesn't exist than it is to believe that there exists a place he might be that I haven't looked at. I'm at a loss.

But I miss Roo. And it's hard. And there isn't a thing I can do about it - just endure, keep going, have faith that some day, somehow, things will get better and easier, and I'll be able to live the life I've always wanted - as a wife and a mother.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sixth Visit

I am a spoiled girl. I got to spend the morning with my Roo. Today was my sixth visit since placement. And I'll see Roo and her family again next weekend.

I can't even begin to explain how awesome visits are. And not just because they mean a few hours of holding Roo and snuggling with her. They're a chance to get to know her parents better and appreciate what great people they are. I like to see them interact with Roo's big sister and see that they are wonderful parents, very patient and loving and kind. Roo's sister is incredibly well-behaved, which I love. I don't want Roo growing up to be a brat. I like visits because I get to see, in person, the joy on Roo's face when she spots her mommy or daddy. That little girl knows exactly who her parents are, and she loves them. I got a few little smiles out of her, but they were nothing compared to the delighted gummy grin her mommy got. Roo knows she's loved. And I think she knows I love her. Babies can tell.

She was content to be held - she snuggled in and fell asleep in my arms for a catnap, which was wonderful. One of the things I've missed the most is having that sweet little girl snuggling with me and napping while I hold her. I used to spend hours on the couch, holding her while she slept and staring at her perfect face.

She has gotten cuter. I don't know how she manages it, but Roo gets cuter and cuter every time I see her. Her hair is filling in a bit on top, and her eyes are the loveliest that I have ever seen. She is chubbing out nicely, but she's gotten longer, too. I think she's going to be tall like her daddy and sister.

I love her so much. I am constantly amazed at how very much I love her. I'm so blessed to be able to see her regularly, to get pictures and e-mail and videos. I can't imagine how my mom's birth mother did it - just handing her baby over and never, ever knowing what became of her. Where did she find that strength? I had a hard enough time of things knowing that Roo's adoption was open. How did Roberta make herself do it? I don't know. I'm just grateful she did. It changed my mother's life, just as my choice changed Roo's life.

Roo is so blessed! She has a wonderful family and they love her dearly. They will never take her for granted. She is a miracle to them. She's a miracle to me, too. I know that we're supposed to pray for missionary experiences and for the prophet and that sort of thing, but if I'm honest, my prayers are about 99% for Roo and her family. Heavenly Father must not mind too much because He answers them. Roo is happy and healthy and content and smart and safe, and so is her family. I get to see that, and I am so thankful. I am excited for Roo to finally be sealed to them. What more could I want for her that she doesn't already have?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Twelve Weeks

I miss my Roo.

I haven't seen her in three weeks. I know I am a spoiled, spoiled girl because I get to see her so often, often enough that three weeks feels like an eternity for me.

Yesterday was twelve weeks since placement. Roo will be five months old in a few days. How did my teeny-tiny newborn get so big? I was looking through my Roo memory box yesterday, and one of the things in it is a newborn-size diaper. So tiny! It seems like just a few weeks ago that I changed her tiny diapers and fed her two ounces at a time. Now she's wonderfully chubby and I imagine she'll be eating rice cereal soon. She is the most amazing little person. So sweet, so happy, so clever. She's my favorite person in the world, as a matter of fact. Sometimes I get jealous of her parents. They can kiss those soft chubby cheeks any time they want to. I miss that. I miss snuggling with her and holding her while she slept, watching her sweet, beautiful little face in repose.

I miss being a mom. It's all I ever wanted out of life. It's hard to feel like I'm ever going to get the chance again, too. I am 26 and I have never in my life been asked out on a date (I realize that sounds odd because I had a baby, but H never actually asked me on a date. We just hung out). It's hard to be patient.
I wonder when it will finally be my turn to get married and be a mom. It's hard to see people at the mall or the grocery store with babies. I see babies everywhere. There is a constant bombardment of advertisements and TV commercials and magazine articles about babies and parenting. Constant reminders of what I'm missing.

It's frustrating. I know more than a dozen single women who kept their babies, and I think, why them and not me? Why do they get to keep their babies? But I know it's not about me. It's not that I couldn't have kept Roo. It's not that I wasn't good enough for her. It's that she deserves more than good enough. She deserves two parents, a mommy and a daddy who will have her sealed to them in the temple, who will teach her the things she needs to know, take her to church, provide her with everything she could possibly need.

It's funny how I know that, and I know that Roo was always meant to be with her parents, that she was only meant to be mine for a short while, and yet I still miss her terribly. I wouldn't take her back - I have never had the compulsion on a visit to take her back home with me. She belongs with P and M - they are her parents as much as if she had their DNA. God meant her for them. But sometimes I wish I could snap my fingers and summon Roo here, just to hold her for a minute or two and tell her how much I love her. I'd give her back after a minute, I really would.

I'm still trying to figure out - has it gotten easier for me as time has passed? Or have I simply gotten used to the ache? I think it's maybe a combination of the two. It gets just a tiny bit easier as each week passes. And the pain is like anything else - you learn to live with it. I get migraines that often last for two weeks or more. The ache is always there, but by the ninth day or so I don't notice it so much. I get used to the constant pain and pressure until eventually it recedes and then disappears completely.

I don't think this pain will ever disappear completely. I'm not sure I want it to. It's made me a better person, a stronger one. And I love Roo. The day the pain is completely gone is the day I cease to love her - a day that will never come. It helps to know how happy Roo is, how wonderful her parents and sister are, and what a great life she has and will continue to have. Roo is content. I'm going to try to be content, too.

And Seriously ...

... how awesome are Roo's parents? They sent me a picture from Thanksgiving today. They almost always seem to know when I need a picture. Roo is so blessed to be their baby. They are amazing people and I love them dearly. I can't wait until Roo is theirs for good!

Speaking, and Happiness

It feels strange not to be blogging every day. I feel as though I'm forgetting something important.

I spoke at group tonight, as scheduled. Only a few people came, which sort of irritated me. That nasty little insecure part of my brain thinks it's because no one likes me and no one wanted to hear anything I had to say. I sit and listen to everyone else talk every single week and no one could be bothered to come the one week I'm actually going to say something?

On top of that, one woman in group just had her baby and placed her a few days ago, and another gave birth a few hours before group, so the people who were there were excited to talk about those women. There was talk of going to visit one of them in the hospital. Part of me wanted to say, "Fine, y'all go see her, I'll just go home since no one cares about me anyway." No one was very excited when Roo was born. No one jumped to come visit me at the hospital and tell me I was wonderful and brave.

I hate it when I get that way. I hate feeling small and insecure and unimportant and petty and jealous. But I felt that way just the same. I was super nervous. I'm a bit odd when it comes to public speaking. I could comfortably address the entire United Nations, but put me in a room with a handful of people with whom I am acquainted, and I panic. I don't like people staring at me and analyzing my every word. I don't like being the center of attention. I cried a few times. I knew I would. I passed around pictures. Everyone said Roo was beautiful (not really news to me, but always nice to hear). After I spoke, we all sat around and talked for a while. It was nice to talk. I don't get a lot of human interaction. It's easy to forget how nice it is to talk to people about silly little things and to laugh and ... relax. I'm not very good at relaxing. I'm good at being lazy, but that's not the same thing. Even when I'm being lazy, I'm not relaxed.

I always worry when I open up to people like I did tonight. My experience has been that when I open up to people, they decide they don't like me, or they use something I've told them against me. That sort of experience isn't too good for the old self-esteem, and mine was never great to begin with. It was strange to open up, to be myself, and have people tell me they like me, that they think I am clever and funny. My first instinct is to brush them off, assuming they're lying to be kind. I decided I'm going to try something new, though. I think that when I get a compliment, I'm going to repeat it to myself until I start to believe it.

So here goes: I am amazing. I am an amazing person and I have done amazing things and I am a better person for it.

I'm still not sure I believe it. I want to believe it. I want to be happy. I'm not sure I've ever wanted that before. Depression has always been normal for me - not just normal, but comfortable and familiar and consistent, like mental Tupperware. I didn't like being depressed but I was used to it, and it was hard to want to be happy because I didn't think I could be. I think I'm starting to believe that I can be happy - I want to be happy, and I can get there. I do know that I am almost happy now. It's funny, because I've never had less to be happy about in my life, but I've never been happier. It's nice to be happy. I want to keep it up.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The End … and the Anniversary of the End

I made it! It’s the end of the month and I’ve blogged every day. I’m proud of myself. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

I don’t know why, but I am the sort of person who always remembers dates. I can remember dates from seemingly insignificant or odd events. I can tell you my childhood best friend’s birthday. The date I graduated from high school. The last time I threw up. My first day of college. And I can tell you that today marks one year since the last time I saw H in person.

I know I said I was done with him but I think it was stupid of me to think that, okay, I’ve figured out this issue and that one, and now I’m done. I had a baby with him! I will never be done.

It seems strange to me that a year has passed. But then sometimes it seems like I hardly remember seeing him at all. I’ve forgotten exactly how tall he is, the exact shade of brown his eyes are, what his voice sounds like. And the more I think about him the more I realize how very little I ever knew about him. When I was putting together information for P and M, I was embarrassed to realize how much I didn’t know about H. Some of it’s not my fault. When I found out I was pregnant, I tried to get information. My doctor wanted a health history for both of us and I asked H if anything ran in his family. He never told me. He didn’t seem to care. I don’t think he ever really cared – about me, or about the baby.

I’m almost glad a year has passed. Every week that went by without seeing him helped give me perspective and strengthened my resolve to keep him and his alcohol-soaked apathy out of my life. I think in a way my relationship with H truly ended a year ago when he shoved me out the door for saying no. His actions betrayed who he really was, and I realized then that I didn’t like who he really was.

Whether he knows it or not, H’s ultimate cruelty turned out to be the best thing that happened in our relationship. It helped me to see what kind of father he’d be, and it paved the way for adoption. So here’s to being physically H-free for a year! And here’s to turning pain and heartache into resolve.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Church Presentation

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from an LDSFS Agency Representative. She wanted to know if I would be willing to speak about adoption during the third hour of church at her building - it's the fifth Sunday, so it's combined Priesthood and Relief Society. I said of course, I'd love to.

I'm not sure what I was thinking. I think I was thinking that since I've presented in schools a bunch of times, church wouldn't be a problem. Also, the AR was Susan, and I really like Susan. How could I say no? I couldn't. And I wasn't really too concerned about presenting until yesterday. And then I started to panic.

Presenting at schools is one thing. I've got my story down - what parts to play up, what to gloss over, what jokes I'll make, that sort of thing. I've gotten good at keeping religion out of it. And as odd as it sounds (since religion plays such a huge part of my story), I wasn't sure how I'd do. Faced with speaking in a dedicated church building, to church members who would (I hope) actually be listening, I found myself feeling dreadfully unprepared. I panicked. I wasn't sure what to say. With such a different audience than I'm used to, it seemed appropriate to alter the way I tell my story. And I wasn't sure how.

I stayed up until 4:30am, trying to type out my thoughts, editing and re-writing and trying to figure out what to say all over again. I had to downplay things I emphasize in school presentations, figure out what religious aspects to mention and when. And honestly, I think I did a horrible job this afternoon. Then again, I always feel like I do a horrible job of presenting. I feel like I get up there and ramble on and on and overshare and talk too fast and mumble and use too many big words. I must have done okay, though. Several people thanked me for sharing.

The thanks always make me uncomfortable. I don't want people thinking I do presentations for acclaim or attention. I'm sure it sounds odd, considering how openly I blog about things and how much I enjoy public speaking, but I don't necessarily like a lot of attention. Or, I guess what I mean is that I don't like people to think that I seek out attention. I know some birth moms who want to do presentations because they want to talk about themselves and have everyone think they're wonderful and brave and selfless. That's just not me. I talk because I think my story is a good example of ... well, several things, really. One is that it's never too late to make the right decision. The other is that adoption can be an amazing blessing, and that when making the decision, it's what's best for the baby that's most important, not what's going to be easiest for the mom.

I'm rambling again. See, this is what I'm afraid I do when I speak. Blah, blah, blah, me, me, me, no real substance. But Susan said I did great, and told me in no uncertain terms to stop second-guessing myself. See why I like her? She didn't give me a simpering, "Oh, you did amazing! You're wonderful!" Just a straight to the point, "You were great. Don't say you weren't." Susan is awesome (hi, Susan!).

I think it was good for me to shake things up a bit, to talk in a different setting to a different audience. I'm glad I did it. I think people got it. Some of them were crying, anyway, which I try to take as a good thing.

It was sort of a relief to be able to tell the whole story, really. I've always felt that my story lacks something important when I leave religion out. Talking today got me excited (a little, anyway) to speak at the birth mother group on Wednesday. I've never told my story there before, and I wasn't really looking forward to it before, but I'm at least not dreading it now. I think that'll be my toughest audience yet.

National Adoption Month is almost over, which would make me sad except that December is Roo Adoption Month. Her adoption will be finalized, she'll be sealed to her family, and she'll be blessed in church. I am super excited! I can't wait until Roo is theirs officially and for good. It will be such a blessing for all of us. And I'm looking forward to doing a presentation after all that's happened. I feel like it gives my story more of an ending, if you could call it that. More of a conclusion, or a place to stop talking anyway. As it is, I mention visits and openness and sort of trail off. At least in church today I could end with my testimony. Then my mom talked about what it was like for her, especially as an adult adoptee. She did great. My mom is awesome (hi, Mom!). It was nerve-wracking, but I'm glad I did it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Secret

I don't know if it makes me a terrible voyeur or not, but I have always been a big fan of Post Secret. Every so often, there will be a secret about adoption. The latest group of secrets had one, too.

I wish every birth mother in the world could know that about her child - that he or she is happy, healthy, and loved dearly by Mom and Dad. I am so thankful that I know it about my Roo. I've heard from birth mothers who aren't so lucky. My heart breaks for them. It is such a blessing to me to have a great relationship with Roo's parents. I have never doubted for a second that she is happy or that her mom and dad love her more than anything.

Thanksgiving and My Crazy Family

This Thanksgiving was certainly not the one I had planned a few months ago.

I had this picture in my mind of how great it would be to have Roo with me this year. Finally, I thought, my family can't ignore me or treat me like I'm mentally retarded or a child. I imagined showing off Roo, how pretty and sweet and smart she was, having everyone fuss over her and tell me she was just perfect, and fight over who got to hold her.

Instead, I brought pictures. When I first arrived I had to endure nearly every relative putting a hand on my shoulder and asking me in a terribly concerned voice, "Jill, how are you doing?" And no one seemed to believe me when I said I was doing well. Why would they? They all seem to think I am emotionally stunted, abnormal, slightly less than human.

I showed off my pictures and chatted happily about Roo - how big she's gotten, how happy she is, how well she sleeps. My words were met with looks of amazement - whether because my child was perfectly normal or because I was cheerfully talking about her, I can't say. Perhaps a combination of the two. After those who were interested (some lost interest rather quickly) finished looking at the pictures, they thanked me in soft, sad, speak-gently-to-the-mentally-ill-person tones. I found the whole thing rather irritating. I'm getting sick of people pretending that I never had a baby, that she doesn't exist at all. She exists! She is perfect and lovely and I could talk about her until my voice gave out. Only one relative bothered to ask me what my plans are now. I guess everyone else figured I'm just going to go along being pathetically unemployed and uneducated, living with my mother and being my usual abnormal, slightly-retarded self.

I'm not stupid or manic or crazy! I wanted to shout. I am perfectly normal and fine and so is my baby! Talk to me like a normal person for once! But I just smiled tightly instead.

I'm not sure what my family thinks of my decision to place, actually. They said things like, "Oh, this must be so hard for you," but no one said anything about how wonderful it is for Roo, or how they admired me for putting her first, or that I had done something amazing. They all spoke as though she were dead. Lost. Is that how they feel? I wonder. I'm certainly not feeling that kind of grief anymore. I know that I have done a wonderful thing. Roo is where she belongs, with her family. But how do I explain that to them? How can I make them understand about eternal families, about God's plan for us all? I know that years ago, when my father first joined the LDS church, his family's views were distinctly anti-Mormon. They tried to ply him with literature and I'm sure they prayed for his soul. I don't know if, having had thirty or so years to get used to us all, they've changed their opinions at all. I certainly hope so. I'd rather not have my only remaining grandparent think I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity.

Part of me wishes I could have had Roo with me, for just a few minutes that day. So I could show her off and say, look. She is perfect, and I grew her, so I've got to be okay too. She is beautiful, she is smart, she is happy. And here are her parents. I found them for her, I picked them out with help from God. They are awesome people, and she is their baby. I'm okay with that. I'm happy about it! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But that isn't how it went, and I'm not sure it would have made a difference. So instead I smiled tightly, resisted the urge to shake their hands off my arm and snap at them that they don't need to tiptoe around me and the topic of adoption.

Every time I endure a family gathering, I remember a snippet of dialog from an episode of "Frasier." Daphne asks, "Oh, Dr. Crane, why is it so easy to love our families, yet so hard to like them?"

Frasier's reply is genius. "Well, Daphne, that is one of those questions that make life so rich... and psychiatrists richer."

Friday, November 27, 2009

On Being a Daddy’s Girl

I will admit it: I was an unapologetic daddy’s girl. Not always. Like a lot of kids, I was closest to my mother for years because I spent more time with her. But I was always ecstatic when my dad got home from work.

I was a very curious child and from the time I learned to talk I had nothing but questions for my mother. She answered as best as she could, but frequently my questions (“How does gravity work?” “Why is water wet?”) were too much for her.
“Ask your father when he gets home,” she’d say. And so when my poor father came home from a ten-hour shift at the power plant, he was greeted with a rapid-fire stream of questions from his youngest child. And you know what? He answered every single one. He tried to make things simple for me but he never lied to me or brushed me off. And I asked some odd questions. How did he make electricity at the power plant? And what was electricity made of? How come some cars had a stick shift and some didn’t? Why, once they made the first automatic, did they ever bother making any more stick shifts? Why did some people’s homes catch on fire? Where did the fish in the lake come from? He could always tell me.

The older I got, the better I got to know my father – not just as a dad, but as a person. He was a fascinating man. He knew everything, it seemed. I know that a lot of kids go through a phase where they think their parents are idiots, but that never happened with me. I have always felt that my dad was the smartest man I’d ever met.
My dad taught me so much. Not just about trivial things, like automotive transmissions or voltage. He taught me important things, things about life and death and God and the universe. And he did so much. He could fix anything and everything. He could find anything I lost. He could solve almost any problem. I don’t think I really realized how much he did and how much I relied on him until he died.

When I was considering adoption, my dad was actually an important factor. I didn’t have a choice in losing my dad. He had brain cancer and I was powerless to stop it. I realized as I thought about it that I’d had the most amazing dad in the world … and I was choosing for Roo not to have that. I was choosing for her to be fatherless. A little girl needs a dad! And a big girl needs a dad – as does a teenage girl, and a young woman, and a not-so-young woman. How could I deny Roo a good daddy?

I love M dearly. I think the world of her. I trust her to be a better mom for Roo than I could be. But I would love for Roo to be a daddy’s girl. When I met P and M, and it occurred to me that they might like to hold her, I handed her first to P. And she gave him the biggest smile I had ever seen on that sweet little face. It was a look that said, “Daddy! It’s really you! I’m so happy to meet you!” Roo LOVES her daddy. She loves her mommy, too, of course. But I confess, I’m hoping to hear in a few years that when P gets home from work, Roo runs through the house to greet him at the door.

I had the best dad in the world, and I am so blessed to be sealed to him and my mom for eternity. It is an amazing feeling to know that I’ve given the same to Roo – a wonderful mother and father who are hers, and she theirs, forever.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today is thanksgiving. As hard as the past few years have been, I don’t think I’ve ever had as much to be thankful for as I do this year. I have been so blessed by my Father in Heaven. I have very little to complain about, really.

Today, like every day, I am thankful for Roo. I am thankful that I got to be her mommy for a little while, and that I get to be her birth mother forever. I am thankful that she is healthy and happy and safe and smart and beautiful. I am thankful to be in her life. I am thankful for P and M for being her parents and for being my friends. I am thankful for the miracle of adoption, and for an open adoption. I am thankful that Roo’s sister’s birth mom placed her baby with P and M, too, so the two girls can be sisters. I am thankful that Roo’s adoption will be finalized soon and that she will be sealed to her family for eternity.

I am thankful for a loving God who can make ugly things beautiful and bitter things sweet. I am thankful that out of sadness and darkness came the wonderful blessing that is Roo. I can’t imagine the world, or my life, without her. I am eternally grateful for that sweet, wonderful little girl, and how her life has changed mine. I’m just glad I could return the favor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The End is Near!

It’s the 25th of November! National Adoption Month is nearly at an end. And I have blogged EVERY DAY! Sometimes two or three times a day. I’m proud of myself. I wasn’t sure I had that much to say. I thought I’d blog every day this month and be done with my blog, because I couldn’t possibly have anything more to say than all I’d blog about for thirty days.

But I find I’ve still got a lot left in me. I STILL haven’t gotten any farther along in my story. I left off a year ago, as I recall, just before I went to LDSFS for the first time and met S. So I’ve got plenty more to write about. And the thing about this all is that there will always be more. I will always be a birth mother, and I will always miss my Roo. There will always be more to say, more to feel. Even as I’m going back a year and telling my story up to the point where I started this blog, I will have more thoughts and feelings, more visits, more presentations. More to do, more to say. I’m sort of looking forward to it. I don’t think I’m quite crazy enough to commit to blogging every single day again, but taking Mrs. R’s NAM challenge has been good for me.

It’s going to be strange not going to group tonight. I’ve been going to LDSFS’s birth mother support group every Wednesday since I placed Roo. But tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, so we’re not meeting. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually going to miss it. Even though the conversation tends to be dominated by the same two or three people every week and I sometimes feel like no one would notice if I got up and left the room, there’s something about being with people who can relate to you in some way that is comforting.

It’s strange to think that I was pregnant a year ago. Roo was still a tiny speck in my belly. Now she is a beautiful, chubby, happy 4-month-old. I placed her 11 weeks ago today. How time has flown! A year ago, I never could have imagined myself where I am now. It makes me wonder where I’ll be in a year. I’m almost looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How To Irritate a Birth Mother

I love being a birth mother. Knowing that I helped to create an eternal family, that my sweet baby won’t want for anything including a father, means the world to me. Adoption is such an amazing thing and I am blessed to have it (and Roo) in my life.

But there are times when I wish I didn’t feel the burden of responsibility, the need to educate the world about adoption. I wish I didn’t have to be an adoption mythbuster and tell people why they shouldn’t ask the questions they do.

I believe that for the most part, most people are mostly good. I know that people don’t mean to offend me or other birth mothers when they say the things they do. But the fact remains that they have offended me, or bothered me, or irritated me, or made me want to smack them.

I know that there are a number of similar such lists floating around the internet, but I feel the need to add my two cents’ worth. So here is my list of things one shouldn’t say to a birth mother.

1. “Didn’t you want her?”
“Are you serious?” is how I always want to respond to this. I don’t know a single birth mother who didn’t want her baby. I wanted Roo more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. If I had to choose between breathing and Roo, Roo would win every time. I wanted her, and I do want her, and I love her. But this wasn’t about me or what I wanted. It couldn’t be. It had to be about what was best for Roo, and adoption was it.

2. “I could never do that.”
This one is infamous in the adoption world. I think this of all statements is the one that most would consider harmless. But when I hear that, I want to ask, “Why? Why couldn’t you do that? Wouldn’t you want the best for your baby?” So often the tone in which it is said implies that the birth mother has erred or acted impulsively or been careless, or that she did it because she doesn’t love her child. Adoption is not a choice made lightly or impulsively, and it is certainly not made because of a lack of love. Adoption *is* love. As my friend Tamra says, if I’d loved my baby just an ounce less, I would have kept her. I placed her because I love her.
I also liked Tamra’s advice to me on dealing with this comment. She said to tell people, “No, you probably couldn’t,” in a tone that implies that I am a much stronger person than they are.

If you would say to a birth mom, “I could never do that” to try to tell her that you admire her strength and courage, consider phrasing it differently. Just tell her that you admire her strength and courage and that you can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her.

3. “I’m sure you did what was best for you.”
Someone actually said this to me and I wanted to hurt them. Does anyone really, truly believe that I chose adoption for my sake? It wasn’t best for me. What was best for me was keeping and parenting the daughter I loved so very much. Placing her was hell for me, certainly not best for me. If it was about me, I’d still be a single mother. I did what was best for Roo. Period.

4. “Will she call you mom when she’s older?”
Of course not. Why would she? I’m not her mother. M is her mother. She can call me whatever she wants to. “Jill” would work just fine.

5. “Won’t she be confused about who her mom is, having you in her life?”
Well, let’s see. One of us will feed her, dress her, bathe her, read to her, sing songs with her, play with her, teach her, give her hugs and kisses and tend to her boo-boos and take her to primary and listen when she talks and make sure she’s happy and healthy and smart, be married to Roo’s father and live in the same home, in short, be her mother; and one of us will … visit from time to time. Nope, sorry, I don’t see any confusion there.

Roo will know that she grew in my tummy before she was born, and that I made sure she got to her mommy and daddy. I don’t think she will ever, for a second, be confused about exactly who is her mother.

Going along with that question, people will opine that openness must surely mess with a child’s identity and sense of self. Well, how on earth does having more people in Roo’s life who love her, mess with her? You can’t spoil a child with love. Roo has two families who love her. She will know exactly who she is. Studies show that open adoption is mutually beneficial. All members of the adoption triad find peace and joy in openness.

6. “Oh, you took the easy way out.”
This is another statement that makes me want to hurt the speaker. There hasn’t been a single easy thing about adoption. I didn’t place Roo because being her mother was too hard. Being a mother wasn’t something I wanted out of! What was hard was placing her for adoption. I have never felt sorrow and despair so deep as I did when I drove home from LDSFS without Roo in the car. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and the pain nearly undid me. Don’t think for one second that adoption is the easy way out. It’s not easy and it’s not an out.

7. “Well, now that she’s been adopted, you can get back to being young and having fun.”
Oh, honestly. I couldn’t believe it when someone said that to me. Did they really think that I placed Roo because she was interfering with my social life? I would take Roo over fun and youth in a second. But I can’t have Roo. So I go out with friends instead. That doesn’t mean I placed her so I could go out and have fun.

8. “You made the right decision.” (said with an air of judgmental superiority)
Well, thanks. I’m sure glad to know that you thought I made the wrong decision when I single parented for nine weeks. And thanks for judging me and deciding what’s right for me and my baby, too. Because that was totally your call to make.
Adoption was the right decision for Roo, but not right away, and I don’t think that it’s the right decision for everyone. When someone says this to me, I wonder what they say to single mothers, women who chose parenting over adoption. “You made the wrong decision”? How rude and judgmental!

Yes, I made the right decision for Roo. But the rightness of it was for me to determine, and I don’t need anyone else to confirm it for me.

9. “You know, you could have sold her for millions! People will pay a killing for a healthy white baby.”
People will say this jokingly, but it always makes me sick. A child is not a commodity to be bought and sold. I didn’t place her for any kind of physical gain and I never, ever would. No one should. Period.

10. “Will she know that you’re her real mom?”
Sorry, I’m not her “real” mom. M is. And what’s a real mom, anyway? I didn’t place Roo with a family of cardboard cutouts. Calling me Roo’s real mom implies that M is … what, her fake mom? Uh-uh. I am Roo’s birth mother, not her real mother. Same goes for the phrase “natural mother.” What constitutes an unnatural mother? There’s a lot of negative adoption language out there I’d like to change, like …

11. “Oh, what made you decide to give your baby away?”
Excuse me, but I didn’t give her away. I didn’t put up an ad on Craigslist, “I’m giving away my baby, does anyone want her?” I placed her for adoption, but I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t ever give her away. I gave her a family. People who ask this question always want to know when P and M will tell Roo that she’s “not really theirs.” That’s funny. I was under the impression that she was really theirs. Hmm. That’s news to me! Whose is she then?

I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention a few other words and phrases that I loathe hearing, but this is the list for now. One last thing that bothers me is how many people pretend I never had Roo at all. So many people ask how I’ve been, but so few ever think to ask how Roo is doing. I don’t want to ignore those 9 weeks of my life. They are precious and wonderful. I had a baby, and I placed her for adoption. Please don’t pretend none of it happened!

And for the record, I think the best thing to say to a birth mother is, “What a brave woman you are. You must love your baby so much to have done that for her.” And leave it at that, folks, unless she wants to talk.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Button, Button ...

Yesterday I did something that I’ve been putting off for eight months. Yesterday, I wrote back to both of the couples I met in the beginning of the year when I was trying to find Roo’s family.

I hardly knew what to say. I spent probably twenty minutes on each letter, struggling to find just the right words, to say the right things – to explain why I didn’t choose them. That I couldn’t choose them – that God had someone else in mind.
They are all wonderful people and I love and respect them. But I couldn’t deny what I knew. When I first chose adoption, both couples came back into my mind and I resolved, as I had in March, to choose between them. But it soon became obvious to me that I couldn’t choose either of them. I still wonder about them. I’m pretty sure one couple has since been chosen by a birth mother. I couldn’t be happier for them. I don’t know about the other couple, but I feel certain that their birth mother simply hasn’t found them yet.

It’s sort of strange, actually – I feel guilty for meeting them and getting their hopes up. Part of me wishes I hadn’t met them because I think I’ll always feel bad for not choosing them. I hope they can understand that I didn’t choose Roo’s family – God did, and I only found them. She wasn’t meant to be with them. She was meant for P and M.

I’m sure that’s cold comfort to a couple who want a child more than anything else in the world. I’ve found that I still think about both couples a lot, and wonder how they’re doing. I wonder if the second couple has had any contact with birth mothers lately, and I pray that they will. I check both couples’ blogs every so often. I find myself drawn to adoptive family blogs, fascinated. It’s the side of adoption I’m less familiar with, and there are a number of “We’re hoping to adopt!” blogs that I check regularly. It amazes me how many absolutely great couples there are out there who can’t have children.

In honor of them and other “paper pregnant” couples, here are a plethora of buttons for you to click on. Each one links to the blog of an adoptive couple, and they are all cool people. In clicking around to find buttons to post, I was floored at just how many people out there are looking to adopt to grow their families. It’s heartbreaking! Check them out – if not for yourself, then for someone you know. I’m proof that sometimes, when something doesn’t feel right, you just have to keep looking until you find not what you were looking for but what God wants you to find.

Hoping to Adopt

Jeremy & Leslie

Hoping for Another Miracle!

Utah Adoption


Dustyn and Kamie are hoping to adopt!

kelly and lechelle



Our Adoption Blog

Clayton & Angie


Alternative Name


Hoping to Adopt


(FYI, I chose all of these buttons because the blogs they link to had a handy "Add our button" sidebar with an html box to copy and paste. There were several others where I would have had to save the button to my hard drive and I had to tweak the html in my blog post to make it work. I recommend making it as easy as possible for people to add your button. There is a fantastic tutorial here on how to get that little html box.

Also, if you have a button and you want me to put it on my blog, e-mail me your URL [jilleb163 AT gmail DOT com] and I'll get on it. I'm working on a kind of "Hoping to Adopt" button directory.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Thoughts of the Day

I missed Roo like crazy yesterday. I'm not sure why. I just saw her a week ago and I've gotten a picture and a video in the past week. But still, I missed her. A lot.

I think part of it is that I just miss being a mom. I miss being Roo's mom, but I also miss being a mom in general. It was nice to have a purpose, to know that every day I was doing something important and worthwhile. I guess I haven't really felt that since placement.

I've been applying for jobs left and right but no one seems interested in hiring me. I thought that maybe not getting hired was God's way of telling me to go in another direction. So I looked into going back to school for a degree in social work. I figured that since I've already got an AGS it wouldn't be too much work to meet the prerequisites for a specific course of study. I was wrong. Only about eight of the thirty or so classes I've taken will actually cover social work prerequisites. I'm looking at another two to three years of lower-level classes before ASU will even think about admitting me for their social work program.

I'm at a loss. As I was waiting in the MCC advisement office, the thought came to me that I'm too old for this. I'm too old for 100-level classes, for gen ed requirements, for all of it. The students I saw in the office all looked like they were fresh out of high school. I had thought that being on campus again would light a fire under me and get me excited about school again. That didn't happen. Just the thought of getting a class schedule book and registering for classes made me tired. I've done all that, for years and years, and I'm sick of it. I've had enough.

But if I don't have a job and I'm not going to school, what am I doing? If I'm honest I'd rather not do either. I always thought I'd have children at this point in my life. I always wanted to be a mom, not a student or a bookseller or a hairstylist. I think part of me missing Roo is missing what could have been, what I wanted so much to have and to do.

But it would have been wrong of me to keep Roo simply because I wanted to stay at home and be a mom. It would have been unfair to her to say, "Sorry, I know you'd probably like a father, and to be sealed to your parents in the temple, but I'm 26 and I think it's time I was a mother already." In the end I couldn't do that to her. And so she has two parents who love each other, and who love her. She will soon be sealed to them for eternity. I'm overjoyed! It's what I want for her more than anything else.

I guess I'm just not sure where that leaves me, or what it is that I'm supposed to do. I'd still like to be a mother more than anything else, but it's going to be on the Lord's timetable, not my own. At 26 I've never been asked out on a date. I realize that sounds odd since I had a baby four months ago, but H never actually asked me out. We just ... hung out, I suppose. And my feeling is that if I can't even get a date at this point in my life, how on earth am I ever going to get married?

But then, I think, if I'd kept Roo, I'd be in the same place. And I'd have less hope, and more worry and caution. I wasn't looking forward to trying to date as a single mother. I was worried that I'd bring the wrong sort of man into Roo's life, and that she would suffer for it. And then I worried that I'd never marry, and Roo would never have a father, and again she'd suffer. I'm so grateful that my sweet little girl doesn't have to go through this mess with me. Her parents have their lives figured out. Her mom's only job is to be a mom. That is such a blessing for Roo. I love knowing that she's not being shuttled from daycare to a sitter. I love knowing that she spends every day with her mommy, the person who knows and loves her best.

I've still got so many things to work through and figure out. I am so thankful that, no matter what else goes on, I never have to worry about Roo. She is safe, happy, healthy, loved. As long as I know that, I can relax. As long as she's okay, I know I will be too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy National Adoption Day!

Today is National Adoption Day. I think it's pretty cool that there is such a thing, since there's already a whole month for adoption. In Arizona alone there will be more than 200 adoptions finalized today. How awesome is that?

Roo has a little bit longer to go before her adoption is finalized. I can't wait. Once it's finalized, she can be sealed to her mommy and daddy in the temple, and blessed in church. I'm looking forward to it. My mom will be there for the former (and I'll be right outside) and we'll both be there for the latter.

It's strange, really. I never thought I'd have such peace about this. When I was considering adoption, I thought that it would just kill me to have her legally and spiritually belong to other people. But I don't feel that at all. I am excited for her, and I am excited for P and M. It's the same as it was after I met them. I'm so happy that this is happening for them that I almost don't care that it was my baby they've got. She is their baby now, as she was always meant to be. I'm excited for them, and I'm excited for her. Roo will have an eternal family! What joy! That's what I want more for her than anything else right now. I know that P and M probably can't wait, either.

I can only imagine the smiles and tears at the courthouse today as hundreds of children become, at last, part of a family. It's got to be an awesome thing for a judge, too. It seems that too often, in juvenile court, a judge is having to pull families apart. It's got to be a good feeling to be putting them together for a change.

I'm sure that there are parties and celebrations in the Valley for the occasion. I don't know of any and I'm not sure I'd go if I did. I'm content to watch one of the videos P and M sent me, to see the delighted, gummy grin of my Roo as she catches a glimpse of her mommy and daddy. Placing that baby girl with her parents was the best thing I've done in my life, and I am eternally grateful for the blessing it is to have both her and her parents in my life.