Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three Weeks

Today makes three weeks since I placed my Roo.

I feel much like I did a week ago, in that I can't believe so little time has passed. It feels like months. I can scarcely remember what it was like to have a baby in the house. Sometimes it feels like I never was a mother, like I dreamed it all and I've just woken up.

I don't worry about Roo at all. I thought I would worry, thought I would wonder. I don't. I did at first. I wondered if she was awake or asleep, if she was being held enough (though now I doubt she was put down much at all), if she was getting lots of kisses and snuggles and if she was eating enough. But I know she is. I get regular e-mail and pictures from P and M. Roo is doing great. She is an exceptional baby - she sleeps all night, she hardly fusses, and she is holding her head up already. And she is beautiful! Everyone says so.

Roo has the very best parents. P and M are amazing people. The thought of the two of them never being parents breaks my heart. I am glad that they have Roo and her big sister. I am glad that Roo has them.

This past week has been the easiest of the past three. I am on a big obedience kick lately. I have been praying and reading my scriptures and going to all my church meetings. I feel like it has made a difference, as have the prayers offered on my behalf. I still have moments when I desperately miss my baby. I cry more than I'd like to. But by and large, I am okay. For the first time in my life, I have hope for my future. I really feel that things are going to work out, that I will be happy before long, and that I will marry someday and be a mommy again. I don't know when (soon, I hope), but I believe that it will happen.

I didn't when I had Roo. I couldn't imagine trying to date as a single mother. It seemed impossible. It wasn't important to me, because I had my baby, and that was all I wanted. But I placed her because I wanted more for her. And because I wanted more for myself. If I can believe that Roo will have the best in life, why not believe that of myself?

Three weeks ago, I lost my baby. It was, hands down, the hardest, most excruciatingly gut-wrenching thing I have ever done in my life. But for my Roo, I would do it all over again. She is worth it. And we will both be blessed.
I packed up some of Roo's things yesterday (September 29).

Target had these cute little plastic storage boxes that will fit neatly into the bigger latching boxes, so I got a bunch of them for small things. I put bibs into one, socks into another, and shoes into a bigger one.

I thought it would be harder. I didn't even cry. I found it rather easy to sort through things and pack them away. I thought I was going to cry a few times. I didn't. I still have hours more work to do - I haven't done any Roo laundry in three weeks. All of the sleepers and Onesies she wore the last week I had her are still sitting in the laundry basket. I haven't taken the sheet off the crib mattress.

I meant to do laundry. But every time I looked at the basket, I saw a sock or a bodysuit or a sleeper that I had strong memories of, and I couldn't make myself do it. I think I'll have my mom wash them. I'm just not ready yet.

I wonder if I'll ever be.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Telling H, and the Last Time I Saw Him

Warning: this is a long one. I haven't been looking forward to telling this part of my story but it's important, so here goes. You may notice that I don't use my baby's name in this one. I couldn't bear to use her name and H's in the same post.

I had told my therapist about my pregnancy, but one important person still didn’t know yet: H. There is no easy way to tell your (sort-of) ex that you’re having his baby. Especially when said ex has mentioned – more than once – that he has no desire to have children, ever.

My mother didn’t think I should tell him right away. I agreed. H and I had been fighting about stupid things again, and the pregnancy was still so new. I didn’t feel a very strong desire to clue him in yet. One night (November 10th, I think) we were chatting on the computer and I must have seemed odd to him – I don’t remember what exactly I said (I could look it up, since I saved all our conversations, but I don’t want to relive it) – but he asked me point-blank if I was pregnant.
I panicked. This was not how I’d planned on telling him. I wasn’t ready to tell him. I couldn’t.

I sat in front of the screen, frozen for a minute. Then I closed the lid of my laptop. This was not, I realize, the smartest thing to do. My refusal to answer can only have worried him. I composed myself and opened the lid 5 minutes later. I told him my computer had frozen and that no, I wasn’t pregnant. I felt sort of lousy about lying but I didn’t feel like being honest either.

Eventually, though, the guilt got to me. Five days later – the 15th, I did something terribly cowardly – I told H the truth in a text message. He was, understandably, stunned, considering my denial of a few days before. He didn’t have a whole lot to say, but a few hours later he sent me a text message saying that he was strangely excited about things. He said he wanted to try a relationship again, which wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was starting to realize that things were okay without H in my life and I didn’t want my head messed up anymore. And I knew that if I weren’t pregnant, he wouldn’t be making such offers. Pregnancy seemed like a really bad reason to be in a relationship.

But I was pregnant. Was I supposed to just ignore my baby’s father? Pretend he wasn’t there? I saw him in person a few weeks later. I knew it was a mistake as soon as I got there. I didn’t feel about him the way I had before. I wanted to leave as soon as I walked in the door. H knew I was pregnant but he didn’t seem the least bit concerned about it – probably because he was drunk.

I think he was drunk the last time I saw him, too. It was November 30th. I went to his place to watch a movie and have cupcakes. He had made me cupcakes, which I thought was nice. But I knew him better than I wanted to, and so as soon as I walked in the door, I told him in no uncertain terms that absolutely nothing was going to happen physically, period. He pouted. We watched a movie. He seemed to have grown extra arms. I spent the whole movie slapping his hands away from me. I had a cupcake.

The movie ended, and he H got even … grabbier. I jumped off the couch, angry. I told him to stop what he was doing. H seemed to think it was hormones. He sort of slapped my stomach and said something like, “lousy baby.” I told him not to touch me again.

“But I made you cupcakes!” he said.

“You made me cupcakes so I would sleep with you?” I asked.

“Well, I thought they might help,” he said.

I was stunned. He had baked for me to get me into bed? I felt so used, so betrayed.
“Well you were wrong,” I choked out. “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” I dropped down onto the edge of the couch, stunned by the revelation of his true character. I was even more surprised at what happened next: H packed up the remaining cupcakes, handed them to me with my purse, and showed me out the door.

He kicked me out!

I could barely drive myself home. I felt cheap and dirty and used and I wanted to vomit – not because of pregnancy hormones, but because of what kind of man H had shown himself to be, and because I had wasted myself, thrown myself away on him. But a small part of me – the part that allowed myself to be manipulated by H – felt guilty for leaving him without giving him what he wanted. I hated that part of myself. It was evidence of my weakness, I thought, of my defects. I know now that it was evidence of how I’d been manipulated, twisted around by a smooth-talking man with beautiful eyes.

I managed to get in the front door but as soon as my mother saw me, she asked what was wrong, and I lost it. I told her what had happened. I cried harder than I had since my father’s death.

We threw away the cupcakes, it hurt too much to see them. And I made an important decision that night. Nothing like that was ever going to happen to me again, because I wasn’t just me anymore. I was a mother (mother-to-be, anyway), and I needed to look out for the teeny-tiny fetus growing in my belly.

He was not worthy of her, I decided (I always knew she was going to be a she). And although H was, strictly speaking, her biological father, she was not his. He had not earned that right. I have never changed my mind in that, never wavered.

H continued to text-message me on and off until Christmas. Then I went a week without hearing from him. I got a wish for a happy new year. I had him served with paperwork to allow him to prevent an adoption. He ignored it, which turned out to be the most amazing blessing, and the result of a lot of prayer and fasting. H and I chatted a bit on-line in March, but he started criticizing me for not taking better care of myself (although how he would know what care I took is beyond me). I decided at that moment that I was done with him, period.

He sent me e-mail at the end of April. It didn’t sound at all like he wrote it. He mentioned custody arrangements, child support (from me to him) legal this, family court that. I wrote back saying that I planned on placing the baby. I didn’t hear from him again until a few days after the baby was born. He had somehow seen a picture on Facebook, even though I’d blocked him. I think he must have looked at a family member’s page. He demanded to know what was going on. I told him that nothing had changed, and I left it at that.

He didn’t respond until August 22nd, and when he did, I wondered again what sort of man I’d gotten myself involved with. He had, apparently, been cyber-stalking me and keeping tabs on what I was up to. He knew that I had kept the baby, and he was going to fight me for custody.

I felt betrayed, I felt angry, and I felt lost. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. How could this have happened? I had been so careful to keep his damning influence away from my sweet, precious baby. And now I was supposed to hand her over to him? The thought made me realize, for the first time I think, exactly what sort of man I had gotten involved with – a heavy drinker, a smoker, an atheist, a potty-mouth, a man disrespectful of women. H is NOT a bad person, I want to make that clear. But he has made a lot of bad choices in his life, and I couldn’t bear to see my sweet baby suffer because of his mistakes. I didn’t want to worry about what she was exposed to in his care – what she heard and saw and what fumes she breathed in. I worried enough about her when she was in my arms. How could I keep her safe when she was with H, or his chain-smoking mother?

For weeks I had been feeling that my baby wasn’t meant to be mine. This e-mail from H solidified that feeling. I had to keep her safe. I had to make sure that her father was the sort of man who would bless her in church and teach her the gospel and respect her mother.

I didn’t respond to H’s threatening letter, and I have not heard from him since. I can only assume that in his cyber-stalking he found out I placed the baby. I don’t expect that I will ever hear from him again, and that is just fine by me. My baby and I are both better off without his influence in our lives.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch …

I’ve spent so much time processing my emotions lately that I’ve sort of lost track of the story that I was telling. So I’m going to go back to where I left off, which was the end of October, 2008.

My therapist told me something that stuck with me, something that I have repeated probably a hundred times since I heard it. I was lamenting that my life seemed to be a never ending series of horrible mistakes.

“Now, I want to stop you right there, Jill,” he said. “I need to make sure you understand something about all this. You may have made a mistake, but God doesn’t make mistakes. This baby is unplanned, but it’s not a mistake.”

I have never forgotten those words. I was shamed a bit that my therapist, who is not a member of my church, could see something that should have been so obvious to me with my knowledge of God’s plan for His children. I thought about those words, and I knew that my therapist was right. God had a very specific purpose in sending me this baby. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that there was a greater plan for me and for my unborn child.

From that moment on, I viewed my pregnancy as a blessing. I had made a mistake, yes. Don't think that I forgot for a moment the severity of my sin. But God can make ugly things beautiful, and out of my trespass had come the most wonderful blessing. I realized what an awesome responsibility pregnancy is. I resolved to take better care of myself - I had the opportunity to nurture the tiny body I was growing for one of God's precious children.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


In the nine weeks that I had Roo, I took more than 1200 pictures. There are probably a few children who have been more often photographed - Suri Cruise comes to mind - but I think that I may have set a record with Roo because of the space of time in which the pictures were taken.

Since placement, I have looked at those pictures a lot. Not every day, but every other day, I think. And I have cried. It's hard to see those pictures and not miss her desperately. It's hard to see pictures of her in her crib, in her car seat, in the Pack and Play, and think that she will never be in them again. It's hard to see pictures of her in my arms as well, but at least I know I'll get to hold her again plenty. But when I hold her again, as when I held her on my first visit, it will not be as her mommy, but as her birth mother.

Last night, I looked at my Roo pictures. And for the first time, I didn't cry.

I felt that certain acute sadness, an emptiness, to which I am accustomed. But there were no tears. My time with Roo seemed so long ago. It was a strange feeling. It was kind of nice not to fall apart, but at the same time I mourned the loss of such strong emotions. It's hard to explain. I'm glad that I was able to just enjoy looking at the pictures and not cry, but I feel like when things get easier it means I'm losing some of the strong emotional ties I have to Roo, and it scares me a little. But I think that that, too, will get easier for me with time. Soon enough it won't bother me that I don't cry.

P and M had family pictures taken last week and they sent me some of the pictures of Roo. She looked so right with them - they are her family, and she is their baby. She is getting so big. Her little belly hung over the waistband of her skirt, and her cheeks are as round as ever. She looks happy and healthy. They are the best pictures I could have asked for. I have looked at them more than a dozen times. But they have never made me cry.

I have it figured out. My pictures make me cry because they are of my baby, and I miss my baby. But the pictures P and M sent me are of their baby - not mine - and I can't possibly miss someone else's baby. I think I prefer their baby. She's got the whole world open to her, she has two parents who love her, and she is content. I think sometimes I cry for my baby because of all that I wasn't able to give her by myself.

I hope and pray that someday I will have another baby, one to whom I can give the world. And in the meantime, I am thankful that I was able to give my baby the world, even if it meant giving her up.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I painted the living room this week. I think I may have mentioned that. The paint is dry now and I've started to clean the floors and move some of the furniture back into place. Not everything is going back into the room because it was a bit of a mess before, and I want the room to keep the soothing, HGTV feel it's got going at the moment.

The walls were white, now they are blue - Rain Washed, according to Behr. It is a different room completely now. Roo has never been in this version of this room. I wonder if that will make it easier for me. Will I think of her less in here now that it feels so different? I'm not sure. I don't think that anything but time can make me think of her less.

Time has already helped me some. The first week, I spent every second of every day wondering where exactly Roo was and what she was doing. Now I can go several hours at a stretch without wondering in such detail. When I was painting, I passed a lot of time not wondering about her at all. I was too focused on the task at hand.

I did think, from time to time, about what I would be doing if I still had Roo. I tried to imagine painting with a baby in the house, and I have to say that I don't think it would have happened. The logistics simply don't work. Of course, I would rather have Roo than a Rain Washed living room, but I've got a Rain Washed living room, and I'm happy with it.

Looking around the lower floor of the house, you would never know that there was once a baby here. The kitchen table bears a parenting magazine or two, and (for some odd reason) the assembly instructions for the crib. But you'd have to know they were there to see them. Downstairs, the house says that adults live here. It's only as you move upstairs that there are traces of what once was. The first landing has a pile of Roo artifacts - the folded up Pack and Play, a laundry basket full of odds and ends like blankets and the baby monitor and the Boppy pillow. The hallway upstairs holds a few odd items that suggest a baby, and then there's my room, where lies the bulk of the detritus of my nine short weeks of motherhood.

I imagine that it will only be a matter of time before the pile on the landing shifts upstairs as well, or perhaps into the garage for more long-term storage. Slowly but surely, all signs of a baby are being pushed up, away, out of sight. Before long there will be nothing left to ever suggest that a baby lived here, or that I was ever a mother. I wonder what that will be like but I am not too anxious to find out. I'm sure it will happen soon enough. When it does I will deal with it as best I can.

And, in time, it will get easier. When my dad died a year ago I couldn't imagine that there would ever be a time when I didn't collapse under the weight of my grief. It seemed unthinkable that I would ever be able to speak of him without tears, that I wouldn't miss him more than I could bear. But with every month that passed, it got easier, if just the tiniest bit. I got used to his absence. I stopped expecting to hear the door open at 5:15 and I adjusted to being the only one in the house who liked ketchup and baseball and 100-degree weather.

I expect that it will be something similar with Roo. One of these days, I will think of her without such acute pain. It will hurt, yes, but not quite as sharply. One of these days, I will go seven, eight, nine hours without thinking of her. I will learn to be alone again, to be a selfish single woman again, to be unexceptional and unimportant again. I will learn to live my life without her, and I will be okay without her. It's only a matter of time.

I'm praying for patience.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cleaning Up

I have put off doing a lot of things since I placed Roo. My bedroom is a mess of baby clothes and blankets and burp cloths. The sheet is still on the crib mattress. I haven't emptied the diaper pail. I have a stack of plastic latching boxes to put all of Roo's things into, for any future baby I might be lucky enough to have. But for weeks they've been sitting empty in front of the crib.

I decided this morning that I ought to do something to clean up a little, so I neatly folded all of my maternity clothes and put them into one of the boxes. It felt good to get that done. I decided to do a little more. I gathered all of Roo's laundry into her laundry basket. There was a lot more than I thought, and I had to switch to a bigger basket. It will be at least three loads of laundry, I think.

Some things were harder to gather than others. The last week I had Roo I got two or three packages in the mail - presents for her. It hurt to look at them, so I had them tucked away until today. But I made myself put blankets and little dresses and bodysuits into the laundry pile today.

What will be hardest, I think, is writing thank-you notes. My baby shower was on August 1st and I still haven't written a single thank-you. And I have at least a dozen others to write from other gifts. What am I supposed to write? Thank you for the dress. It would have looked darling on my sweet baby, but she's not my baby anymore.

I can't write thank-you notes yet. I can't.

Even harder than the new clothes were the things that Roo wore several times. I found tiny outfits tucked in odd places. I picked up teensy socks and Onesies and I could remember putting them on Roo's little body - pulling bodysuits over her head and watching the funny faces she made as the fabric passed over her face. It was terrible to pick these things up and know that I will never put them on her again.

It probably sounds funny, but one of the strangest things about placing Roo is seeing her, and pictures of her, in unfamiliar clothes. I'll see a picture of her in a dress or pajamas and think, that's not hers. I know what her pajamas look like. I have them here, right in front of me. But the pajamas are no longer hers, just as she is no longer mine.

My brother is coming over on Saturday to take the crib apart. I'm not sure what I'll do then; how I'll feel. What will it be like once all traces of Roo have been packed neatly away? What will I have then? What will I do? I wonder, will it be easier not having reminders of her everywhere I look? Or will it be harder, as though she was never here at all and I only imagined her?

I am in no rush, really. I will do the laundry as I feel like it. I will sort, organize, and put the tiny clothes into boxes on my own schedule. And I will hope and pray that someday in the not-too-distant future, I will have another sweet baby to put those clothes on, a baby I can keep for good.

Good night? If only ...

I miss my baby. I miss my baby, and I am miserable.

I think I would have been okay if I hadn't walked into a sharp corner and bruised my bicep. One second I was headed to the bathroom to brush my teeth and the next second the corner of a large framed painting was ripping into my arm. It didn't break the skin but I could feel the flesh tearing underneath, the blood rushing to the wound, and pooling, forming a fresh bruise.

I dropped to the floor, letting out gasps, sobs, yelps. Tears bloomed in my eyes. The pain was excruciating. Oh, if only I hadn’t walked into the frame. I think I would have been able to hold it together tonight.

But sometimes the mind just needs an excuse to let go, and a minute later I wasn't crying because of my arm. I was crying because I miss my baby desperately, because this has been the worst two weeks of my life, because all I ever wanted in life was to be a mom and even that has been taken from me. It's hard not to feel like I have nothing left, nothing going for me.

I'll be 26 in a month, and I have never been on a date. I don't have any friends. How on earth am I supposed to have hope that I will ever marry and be a mother again? Every married birth mother I know met her husband while she was pregnant. The only person I met when I was pregnant was my ward's new Relief Society president.

I wonder what's wrong with me that I've never been asked out. I wonder what's wrong with me that I don't have any friends. H was a fluke. If I'm honest, I wasn't as devastated as I should have been to find out that I was pregnant, because I figured then (as I do now) that it was my best shot at motherhood. I don't know what I'm going to do now.

I hate that I'm worrying about this at nearly 3am. I wish I could just relax and go to bed. But my arm hurts, my head is throbbing, and I've never been able to relax. And where would I sleep? There's nowhere in the house that doesn't make my sadness worse. There is nowhere that doesn't remind me of Roo. Everything that reminds me of her hurts. Everything reminds me of her. Everything hurts. I miss her so badly. I feel like I am missing a part of my body.

I keep thinking, if placing Roo was the right thing to do, why has this been the worst two weeks of my entire life? Why is this so hard for me? I'm supposed to get these amazing, awesome blessings. Where are they? Where is one teeny-tiny blessing? The only good thing that's happened lately is that I got a good parking space the other day, and if that's God's idea of blessing me for my sacrifice, I give up. I need more than that. I need something amazing and awesome. I need something I can look at and say, yes, God has blessed me, He cares.

I wish I had something like that. I wish I had hope. I wish desperately that I had hope, that I had some inkling that things were going to get better, be better. But it's so hard to have hope when I can't even fall asleep.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two Weeks

Has it really only been two weeks?

Two weeks ago, actually, if you're going by the clock, I still had my baby in my arms. She wasn't, strictly speaking, my baby anymore, but P and M were great about letting me get in a few last cuddles with her, and I think it was closer to 9pm by the time I handed her over.

It feels like two months, at least. In many ways, this has been the longest two weeks of my life. I have had so little with which to occupy my time that the days, at times, seem endless. I have tried to find things to do. I have tried to keep busy. But when you are accustomed to spending your days (and nights) tending to a newborn baby, there is almost nothing you can do that will fill your time in a comparable manner.

I have spent the past three days painting my living room (I am a perfectionist, as well as a slow, lousy painter), and even that fails to keep me busy enough. Five, six hours a day and I'd had it; I needed to rest. It still feels strange to be able to rest. I find at times that I feel like I'm forgetting something, or like there is something that I am supposed to do that I've forgotten about. I still have moments when I panic - where's Roo? - before I remember that there is no longer a baby in the house.

I need a job, I suppose. But I still have too many moments where it's all too much, and I can't trust that I wouldn't, for instance, see someone with a baby wherever I might work, and simply fall apart. I think I need a little more time to get used to not being a mommy again before I seek out gainful employment.

Two weeks. Is that really it? The rough first few days after placement seem eons ago. Maybe that's my brain's defense mechanism. Maybe it's easier to pretend that it was much longer ago that I was in such a bad place, and in such a sad state.

I couldn't sleep without a sedative. I did not change out of my pajamas. I did not shower, I did not wash my face or hair, I did not brush my teeth, I did not eat. I don't know what I did during the day. I have vague memories of reading and watching TV and sobbing uncontrollably.

I feel that I have come a terribly long way in such a short space of time - but I still feel I have a long way to go before I'm anything near normal again. Or, what will be normal. One thing I have learned over time is that normal is a subjective term. What is normal will change five, six, seven times over the course of a person's life. One year later, it still doesn't quite feel right that my father is gone, but it feels a bit more normal for him to not be here. I wonder how long it will be before Roo's absence feels normal to me.

I think it gets just a tiny bit easier every day. I wonder how I will feel in two more weeks, when it's been a month. I wonder how I will feel in six weeks, when P and M will have had Roo for as long as I had her. Better, I hope.

I am going to have hard times, I know. I think that, for the rest of my life, I will have times every now and then when I will miss Roo more than I can bear. But as long as in the long run I feel better and better instead of worse, I think I will be okay.

I know I will be okay. I don't know when, but it will come. Roo's future is so bright. Why shouldn't mine be just as happy? God will bless me for placing Roo. I am sure of it.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Yesterday was Roo's first Sunday at church.

I got pictures of her in her cute little dress. She looked adorable! Of course, I happen to think that Roo would look cute in just about anything because she is so pretty.

I don't think Roo would have gone to church yesterday if she was still with me. Where would I have gone? I would have felt too awkward to go to my singles ward. But I don't think I would have felt any more comfortable in my mom's ward, either. I'm sure I would have gone back to church eventually, but with Roo, I'm not sure how long it would have been. It would have been easier to just stay home.

In a few months (well, more like six months, but still) Roo will be blessed in church. I'm not sure how that would have worked out if I'd kept her. I guess my brother would have blessed her. But who would have stood up there with him? I'm not sure. I think I would have cried, but for the wrong reasons. Not because I was happy that Roo was being blessed, but because she had no father to do the honors.

I am so thankful that Roo has a mommy and a daddy who will take her to church every Sunday. She will never have to feel awkward or uncomfortable at church because of the circumstances of her birth. She has a daddy who loves her, who will give her a name and a blessing - a father's blessing. How special that will be!

She is already so blessed to have such amazing parents who love her so dearly. And I am blessed by her being in P and M's family. They are the most awesome people I know, and they are so good to me. I will forever be grateful to my Heavenly Father for guiding me to them.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is such an amazing thing. I have seen it change lives. It has changed mine. And, thanks to the miracle that is adoption, it will change Roo's life. I love to picture her at three years old, walking hand-in-hand with her big sister to primary on Sunday. I like to imagine her learning to pray; singing a hymn with her family during Family Home Evening; saying a few simple lines during the primary program in church; learning Book of Mormon stories from her parents.

Roo's parents will make sure that she knows she is a precious daughter of God, that she has infinite worth, that her life has a plan and a purpose. Would she have learned that if I'd kept her? I'm sure she would have. But she would have so many questions - about her birth, about her father, about the decisions I've made in my life, about her own self-worth. I don't want her to ever doubt for a moment that she is loved and wanted. And I can't imagine that, had I kept her, she wouldn't wonder, at least once or twice whether she was a mistake, whether I resented her and the course my life had taken because I was her mother. I'm not sure I would ever be able to convince her otherwise.

One of the first things my therapist said after I told him I was pregnant was that humans make mistakes - God does not. Roo was not a mistake. A surprise, yes, but never a mistake. She was born (to me) for a reason. P and M needed her! She was meant to be theirs, but God needed her to get to them in a non-traditional way. I am thankful every day that P and M are Roo's parents. Because of them, both Roo and I are blessed more than I can ever say.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


There is one person who had a big influence on my decision to adopt, and I haven't mentioned her yet. I have never met her - and I won't. That will be a reunion for the next life, not this one. But were it not for her, I wouldn't be where I am, and I wouldn't have known pre-Roo what an amazing thing adoption can be.

Her name was Roberta, and she is my mother's birth mother.

Roberta was a twenty-one-year-old divorcee with a young son when she fell in love with a married Naval officer. Roberta became pregnant. When she told the young man she loved what had happened, he left her, and as far as I know he never contacted her again. She was living in the San Diego area at the time, as were my grandparents. My grandmother's father was, in addition to being the Stake President, an administrator at Quintard Hospital.

As I've heard the story told, Roberta was meeting with my great-grandfather to discuss her impending labor, and what was best for the precious child she carried. My grandmother, who was probably about six months pregnant at the time, saw Roberta leaving the administrator's office and thought to herself, That's supposed to be my baby. My great-grandfather must have thought his daughter was a little crazy, but the arrangements were made.

Roberta gave birth to a tiny baby girl on a Saturday evening in April. My grandparents were called at the party they were attending and told the good news. Roberta spent the night with her new daughter. I cannot imagine what must have gone through her head. I cannot imagine the heartbreak or the emptiness she must have felt, knowing that this short space of time would be all she had with her precious baby.

When the time came, Roberta placed her tiny daughter in my grandmother's arms. She said only one thing that I know of. "You'll have her sealed to you, won't you?" My grandparents promised that they would (and they did, in the Los Angeles Temple). I imagine that there were papers to sign, legal things to take care of. And then Roberta left the hospital alone.

I can't think of her without crying. I can't imagine placing a child for adoption in the fifties. Roberta would never know what became of her daughter. She would never hear from the adoptive family, never know if the child she placed was happy or safe or even alive. I can only imagine the depth of emotion she experienced. Roberta never told anyone what she had done, what had happened. When we tracked down my mother's half-sisters a few years back they were stunned to hear that their mother had placed a baby for adoption in 1957. Roberta had never spoken a word of it, and the secret had died with her years before.

My mother had, by all accounts, a wonderful childhood. She was sealed to her parents and she went to church every week and learned the gospel of Jesus Christ. She had everything in the world that her birth mother wanted for her.

I have always known that my mother was adopted, and I have always known that she was loved. If anything, I got the impression that her parents loved her best! Because of my mother, I have always known that adoption is a wonderful blessing and an integral part of God's plan.

I often wonder where Roberta found the strength to do what she did. How did she make herself do it? How did she walk away forever from her newborn baby? How very much she must have loved my mother do make such a selfless choice. It is because of her strength that I was able to make the choice I did for my Roo. And I am so blessed to have an open adoption, where I get e-mail almost every day and I get to visit with the sweet baby girl I placed. When I try to imagine never seeing my baby, never knowing what becomes of her, my heart breaks. How did Roberta do it?

I don't know how she did, how she pulled herself through it. But I am forever grateful that she did.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Missing the missing, and feeling insecure

I miss Roo.

Part of me wondered if I would still miss her as much after yesterday, after realizing how much she felt like theirs and not mine. Part of me still wonders, actually, because I'm not sure which Roo I miss. Do I miss the sweet baby I saw yesterday, the one who snuggled in my arms and fell asleep? Or do I miss the baby that I knew before, the one who was mine? They are not the same baby, I realized yesterday.

It scared me a little, actually, how different things felt. I didn't feel, as I took Roo out of her car seat, that this was my baby. I wanted to. I hoped to. I was confused by how I felt. But I picked her up and held her and felt very strongly that this was not my baby. This was P's and M's baby girl. Their daughter. Which left me feeling a bit lost, a bit confused. Where had my baby gone? She had transformed, in nine short days, into someone else's baby.

I think I held her a little tighter then, when it hit me. I wanted to cling to the idea that I had a baby out there somewhere. And as I said, it scared me a little that my baby seemed to have disappeared, and in her place was someone else's baby. I felt lost all yesterday evening. My baby was gone. It was almost as though I had experienced a death. I couldn't look at things and think, it's okay that Roo won't wear this Halloween costume I picked out for her, because she will have another costume, and she will still have as much fun as a baby can on Halloween. It felt like, I was going to have a baby this Halloween. That baby is gone. No one will wear this costume. I will not have a baby.

It really does feel like a loss of sorts, a death of sorts. Jill's baby is no longer. I don't have a baby. My baby has disappeared. My baby is missing. And I miss her.

I miss the Roo I saw yesterday as well. I already wish I could see her and cuddle her again, and now knowing exactly when I will have that chance is depressing. I didn't realize until today how much it meant to me to have a date and time to see her set aside - something very specific to look forward to.

I thought about calling or sending e-mail to P and M about seeing Roo again, but I ... I don't know. I don't want them to feel like I am pushy or intrusive. I am sure they are busy people. And part of it is just me. I am used to people not liking me - to people merely tolerating me, or pretending to like me because they have to. Part of me worries that P and M are doing the latter. That I annoy them, that they wish I'd just go away now they've got their baby. I know they don't, but I've been treated so poorly by so many people for so long that I find it hard to trust that people actually like me. I find it hard to be myself because I am afraid that who I am is annoying or repulsive to people.

I am going to be part of a birthmother panel at an adoption event in mid-October. I will see them then, at least. I would like to see Roo before then, but I'm not sure how to ask. I'm not sure how it's best to do this. Should we continue to meet at restaurants? That tends to be tricky, because it's hard to eat and snuggle a baby at the same time. And it gets expensive. But I don't know where else to go - I don't think I'm allowed to know where they live, and I don't know that they'd be comfortable at my house, and there aren't really any places to go and just visit for a few hours.

I got to hold Roo for nearly three hours yesterday. It was awesome.

I hate feeling sad and lonely and lost and insecure. I know I stand to receive some awesome blessings for the sacrifice I made. But I sort of wonder ... when, Heavenly Father? When do I get to see some of those blessings? Can I have a little tiny blessing or two right away? Something to look at and say, yes, things are getting better? I haven't felt particularly blessed these past ten days. I have felt lots of things, but most of them weren't great - lost and empty and lonely and afraid and hopeless and sad and depressed and desperate ... I know people have been praying for me to have peace and comfort. And I've had that. Off and on, for a few minutes here and there. I'll feel fine, and then something stupid will take that peace away, and I will feel again that I've made a mistake, that I should have kept my baby, because I will never have another baby and all I've ever wanted in the world is to be a mommy.

People I have talked to say that they are sure I will marry someday and have more children. I wish I could be as hopeful. H is the only man who has ever been interested in me. And it turns out, he was using me more than anything else, so I'm not sure how interested he ever really was. I have a hard time imagining that any man - any good man, at that - would ever be interested. It's hard to have hope when you are nearly 26 and you have the romantic history I do. I have never, ever been asked out on a date. I have been rejected by 290 men on eHarmony and countless others on LDSSingles. How am I supposed to get married if I can't even get a hello?

This is part of why I miss my Roo. When I was holding her, nothing else in the world seemed to matter. Because I loved my baby, and she was mine, and I was holding her, and we were both okay. I don't have anyone to hold anymore. I don't have a sweet baby to occupy my mind. I'm left alone with myself again, and I'm afraid I'm not very good company.

Sometimes I bundle up the blanket M made for me and I hold it like a baby. I close my eyes and pretend that it is my Roo. I never completely believe myself, but the familiar position of my arms is comforting to me in a way that almost nothing else is.

If you are reading this, please pray for me. I need peace and comfort. I need love. I need to feel okay. I need to have hope. And I need to learn to have those things without Roo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

First Visit

I saw my Roo today!

It was ... amazing. Not quite what I expected, to be sure.

I thought that I would just sob as soon as I saw her. Or that when I held her, I would have to fight the urge to run out of the restaurant with her and never come back.

Instead ... it was odd. I almost didn't recognize her when I first saw her. She looked familiar, but in the sense that, oh, she reminds me of a baby I once knew. I got to hold her right away and feed her, which was nice. But I didn't feel this overwhelming sense that she was mine. She didn't feel at all like mine, or like she had ever been mine. She felt like theirs. It was like I was holding a niece of mine, a favorite niece perhaps, but somebody else's baby nonetheless.

It was so good to hold her, to feel her warm weight and stroke her soft cheeks and kiss her and snuggle with her. She napped on me for a bit, which was lovely. It was good for me to see how content she is and how much she already loves P and M. She knows their voices - she kept turning her head when they spoke. She definitely knows who her mommy and daddy are.

We took a lot of pictures and had a good time talking. They let me hold her the entire time (although I did share with my mother for a few minutes).

I felt so amazingly good when I left. I didn't feel like I wanted to take Roo home. She didn't feel like my baby anymore. I felt like she was going home with her family. I felt excited for P and M to be the parents to this amazing little baby.

I felt a bit worse later on. Evenings and nights are always harder for me. I started to feel more of a loss, I think. Because my baby, *my* Roo, is gone. She has transformed into someone else's baby. My baby no longer exists. It's strange in a sense. It's a different sort of loss. I don't miss the baby I saw today, because she isn't my baby. I miss the baby I cared for and loved for nine weeks. And that baby is gone.

I can't find the words to explain what happened or how or how it makes me feel. In a sense I feel a bit emptier than I did last Wednesday. When I placed Roo, I felt like I'd had something removed surgically without anesthetic. Now I just feel like I'm missing some internal organ. And I didn't find it today.

In a way, it's good. It's good that she doesn't feel like mine. It helps me feel that I made the right decision. She is not my baby, she is theirs. But I still feel sort of empty that the baby I knew and loved is gone.

I still love her dearly. I always will. But I love her differently. And it's going to take a while to get used to.

I am so thankful I got to see her today. She is happy and healthy, growing nice and chubby, with a strong neck and limbs and a sweet, smiling face. I can see that she has the very best care and more love than I could ever imagine. I am so thankful to P and M for being her mommy and daddy. I am so thankful for their love and concern for me! They are the most amazing people, and Roo is so blessed to have them as parents. I am so blessed to have them in my life.


I am so excited to see my baby tomorrow, I can't even begin to explain. I am so looking forward to holding her again, to kissing her chubby cheeks and staring at her sweet face.

Part of me worries (part of me always worries, but there you are). I worry that it will be too hard to let her go again. That it will be like placing her all over again, and that the emotional and spiritual progress I have made in the past week will be rendered void. I worry that I will be too emotional to enjoy seeing her. I worry that seeing me this soon after placement will confuse Roo about things.

But I have to risk it. I can't *not* risk it. It is worth the risk to see my precious Roo again. To hold her. And I think it will be good for me to see for myself how happy she is, how she's thriving, and how very much she is loved.

I will see her in less than fourteen hours. I absolutely cannot wait.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where I'm At

I miss my baby.

That's nothing new. I miss her every second of every day.

But it feels a little different today. I think I'm getting used to missing her, even if just a little bit. It's strange that it's only been a week. It seems like it's been a month, at least. But it's been a week, and I will see my Roo tomorrow!

I have had good moments and bad moments. I'm not sleeping as well as I'd like, and certain things will set me off into an uncontrollable fit of tears - a basket full of tiny unwashed laundry, the pile of blank thank-you notes for my baby shower, Roo's empty crib. I have not been able to sleep in my room since Roo was placed, actually. The empty crib a few feet from my bed is too much for me - and yet, I can't bring myself to unscrew it and store it away.

But there are good moments as well. When I get e-mail and pictures from P and M, for instance. That tiny girl is getting so much love and attention, it's overwhelming. There are so many people who love her, so many people who have prayed for years for her to be a part of their family. And there are people praying for me, which is also overwhelming. I feel like I have been so moody and ungrateful throughout this process that I am unworthy of any prayers on my behalf. I don't feel like I deserve to have any peace or happiness about this. I have had too many moments where I sob and wail that I made a mistake, that I never should have placed my sweet baby, that I don't know what to do without her.

It's true. I don't know what to do without her. Between my pregnancy and the nine weeks I had her, I feel that I have been Roo's mother forever. I don't know who I am without her, and I feel at times that I am simply too distraught to figure it out. I miss her too much to move on. And yet, move on I must.

Because I don't want this to destroy me, to be the only thing that defines me. I want to be a mommy again, and so I go to church, to FHE, to institute. I try hard to have faith that the right man for me is out there somewhere and that I will find him and have a little replacement Roo - one I can keep this time.

It is harder to have that kind of faith than I could ever possibly explain. But in the moments that I have not had that faith and hope, I have been more depressed than I thought I could bear. And so I will have hope, and faith, and I will be and do what the Lord wants for me.

And I will think of Roo, and the wonderful blessings she will receive from my sacrifice - blessings too numerous to even imagine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Week

It's been a week.

One week ago tonight I placed my Roo with her mommy and daddy.

How has it only been a week? I swear it's been months now. I swear, it's been a lifetime since I held her, since I kissed her soft cheeks and tiny nose.

But the calendar says it's been a week, one single week.

In many ways, this has been the longest, and the worst, week of my entire life. I have never been so lost, or so lonely, or so depressed. I thought that the pain would recede with each passing day, but I find that it gets more acute as time passes. The longer I am without Roo, the more painfully undeniable it becomes that she is gone; that she is no longer my baby. Each day stretches ahead of me, interminable and without purpose. What do I do without my Roo? What am I supposed to do to occupy my time, my mind, my heart?

But in other ways, I think, I have learned something - I have become a better person because of my loss. More compassionate, more patient. I have learned things about myself and what I can endure. I certainly wish that I could have learned these things some other way. That I could have become more compassionate by being a single mother. But then, it wasn't until I had Roo - and placed her - that I learned just how much, how deeply I want to be a mother.

It has always been a goal of mine, an ambition. I have never had any lofty aspirations as far as a career goes. All I ever wanted out of life was to marry and be a mother. But it wasn't until I had Roo that I realized just how important it was to me, how vital, how crucial. And I was a wonderful mother!

My biggest fear now, I think, is that I will never have another chance to be a mother. H is the only man who has ever been interested in me. I worry that I will never marry - what man would want me? - and that I have given up my only chance to have a child of my own. I have been praying that I will meet a good man who will understand about Roo, who will love me for who I am, and who will understand that the things I have been through in the past are what made me who I am today. I hope he's out there somewhere. If you are reading this, please help me find a husband :o)

I have had such a ride on this first Roo-free week. I wonder, as hard as this has been, how will I endure the second week? The third? The fourth? The rest of my life?

I pray. I try to have faith, to have hope. And I try to remember my sweet Roo, the reason I have broken my own heart. I want so much for her, more for her than I could ever give her.

And I will see her on Friday! I can't wait. I got a picture via e-mail today and it was so good to see that sweet, chubby little face. I know it will be good for me to see how happy she is, how she's thriving with her parents.

I made it one week. I can make it another. I will. I will, for Roo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

... and my day is complete :o)

I got RooMail!

And three wonderful pictures of the sweetest, prettiest baby in the world. And I get to see Roo on Friday! I am super, super excited.

I am so happy right now. Sometimes it's just the little things in life that make a difference.

Thoughts of the day, part two (not as hopeful)

I just spent the past few minutes with my face buried in my hands, sobbing.

I miss her so much, it is a tangible, physical ache. A burn. A stabbing. I wish so badly I could just hold her.

No RooMail yet. I wish so desperately for news from P and M. I know they are busy people. But it would do me so much good to hear from them more regularly. Part of me, a snide, nasty little part of me thinks, I gave them my baby, my sweet child. The least they could do is e-mail me once or twice a day. Is that asking too much?

I hate that nasty little voice, but still, it's there. Wondering where my baby is and what she is doing, if she's happy, if she's getting enough cuddles. Wondering why I am not important enough to know these things.

I have read every single e-mail I have ever received from P and M twenty times each at least. I have them memorized. I have had little else to do in the past six days.

I miss her so desperately. Part of me would take her back if I could. Part of me feels that without her, I am nothing, I have nothing. I will never be a mother again. No man will ever want me. No man will ever understand about Roo. And I don't want another baby. I want the baby I had, the baby I love so dearly. I think, if I do have another baby, I want one exactly like my Roo, identical in every way, from her big blue eyes with their long dark lashes to her fuzzy head to her chubby legs and cheeks and her wedge of a nose and button chin. I want a clone of my sweet baby. I want one just like her.

I want *her*, really. Six days later, I still think, did I really do this? Did I really sign something that says I am not her mommy anymore? How could I do that? I need her. I need to be her mommy. I just miss her so desperately. I miss knowing every last detail about her.

I need RooMail. I need it now. I check my e-mail every fifteen minutes - sometimes every five. I am desperate for something, anything about her. I wish I knew when I was going to hear from P and M. I wish I knew if I'm going to meet them on Friday or not. I think, if they've read this at all, they must think I'm crazy, and they won't want to let me near Roo.

I have been apart from her for six days, and it has been unbearable. How am I supposed to bear the rest of my life?

Thoughts of the day

I miss my baby.

I haven't gotten any RooMail yet today. I wonder if I will.

I hope P and M know that there doesn't have to be news to write to me. I am fascinated by the littlest things - how many ounces is she eating (even if they just told me two days ago)? How much is she sleeping? Does she seem to have grown? Does she have any new fat rolls? Is she talking much? Fussing much? Have any new people said how gorgeous she is? Has she lost any more hair? Grown any more hair?

I want to know everything. Every second of every day, I want to know.

I had an odd moment yesterday where I almost forgot her face. I spent an hour going through every picture I've ever taken of her, re-memorizing each tiny feature, each eyelash, each fat roll and dimple.

And I cried, because she is no longer mine to photograph. I put up her picture here yesterday and then worried that P and M might be mad, because she isn't mine to post pictures of. But she is a newborn, her looks change quickly. I don't think that one photograph would be enough to violate their privacy. I hope not. I just thought it was the sweetest picture of her, with her big blue eyes and worried eyebrows and soft cheeks.

I wish I could hold her, just for a minute. I might see her on Friday. I can't wait. I don't know where we will meet. At a restaurant? I won't be able to eat. I will sit there instead, and hold her.

Roo has such a wonderful life. I just wish it was with me. I just wish my life was just as wonderful, just as quickly. I have started praying very specifically that I can meet a good man who will marry me. I have never before wanted to be a mother as acutely as I do now. I want to get married and have lots of replacement Roos. Not that I could ever replace her. But I have told Heavenly Father that I want a clone of Roo for my next child, because she is so sweet and pretty and perfect. I think I deserve that. I deserve a replacement Roo.

And I think I am finally starting to realize that I deserve a good husband, too. I just wish I knew where he is! I wish I could see into my future just a tiny bit, and know how long I am going to have to wait to be a mommy again. The wait seems interminable, and long, and lonely.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Such a sweet baby

Such a sweet face, such a sweet baby. How could I not miss her every second of every day?

Good News

I got RooMail this morning!

I read all of my other e-mail first, saving my happy letter for the last. I also got a very sweet e-mail from a relative of P and M, which was awesome. I feel that I can certainly use all the love and support I can get, so it was so good to read her letter.

My Roo is thriving. She is sleeping well, eating well, and getting lots and lots of love and attention. What more could I ask? She is loved. She is happy. She has a mommy and a daddy and a big sister and a lovely home with her own room. She has nearly everything I could ever want for her, and in about six months, when she is sealed to P and M, she will have everything in this world (and the next) that I want her to have.

At first it would sting, the thought that what was best for my baby was for her to not be my baby anymore. It still hurts a little. It makes me think, was I not enough? I was a wonderful mother, truly I was. But, as I've told myself, I was not a wonderful father, and doesn't Roo deserve both? In a second, I can answer yes.

I was her mommy for nine of the best weeks of my life. I learned so much from that tiny girl. And I have more to learn from this experience. But not at Roo's expense. I am so happy for her, for my baby girl. She is going to have the most wonderful life. Heck, she already does!

And I will too, someday. I'm not going to allow anything otherwise. I know that the Lord has amazing blessings in store for me, and I'm not going to let my sorrow or my pain get in the way of them.

You've Got (No) Mail

Since Roo was placed on Wednesday, I have gotten e-mail every day from P and M. It's been great to read about my Roo - how she's eating and sleeping, what she's been up to, what relatives she has met. I read every e-mail at least ten times, at least four when I first get it and many, many times thereafter. And when I get each new message, I read every message over again, in chronological order.

I hadn't realized how I'd come to rely on my daily RooMail until today. I didn't get any e-mail today. I know it's foolish to expect that they have time every single day to send me e-mail. They are busy people, with two children under two, and lots of family visiting. I don't - I can't - expect them to update me every single day on Roo's progress.

And yet I sort of wish they would. Today I feel I especially could have used some Roo news, to make me feel better again about my decision. It's not like there is ever a second of the day that I don't wonder where Roo is, and with whom, and what she is doing, and how she is doing. I think constantly of what she'd be doing were she here with me, and wonder what new routines she has. There is never a time when I don't wonder what she's up to and if she's happy.

I have spoken to S, and to a few birth mothers I know, and the consensus seems to be that in a few weeks the pain won't be quite so fresh, quite so acute. Unfortunately, no one has any suggestions as to what I am supposed to do in the meantime. How do I occupy my time while the pain is still fresh?

I've just re-read all my RooMail and I'm feeling a bit better. But still ... I wonder how her first day at church was. I wonder how many people fussed over her, complimented her sweet face and sweeter disposition, what little outfit she wore, how many people were surprised to see P and M with a new baby (they planned on surprising a lot of people). I wonder if she was good during church. If she tried to sing during the hymns. If she napped at all. Every iota of information about that baby is absolutely fascinating to me.

I wonder if I'm doing myself a disservice, being so brutally honest about things on this blog. I think P and M read it sometimes, and I'm not sure who else does. I don't want P and M to feel like they've got some mentally unstable birth mother they're tied to, or one who is overly demanding or not understanding.

But then, I think, I would be doing myself a disservice if I was dishonest about my feelings through this process. I think that, later on, it will be good for me to read this and see how I've progressed. And maybe there is another birth mother out there, or potential birth mother, who can benefit from my story - not just my story, but my complete honesty about the emotional toll that adoption takes.

I don't want to forever feel so acutely the loss of Roo. It's all very fresh right now - it was only four days ago, for Pete's sake! - but I hope that someday soon I will be able to better control my emotions and share my story. S has invited me to go on what she calls "the circuit," telling my adoption story. I'm looking forward to it.

I'll need to condense it a bit, obviously. The whole world does not need to know about my emotional waffling and gentle sobbing. But I think there is definitely a message in my adoption story. I think it's that it is never too late to do the right thing for your baby.

And that e-mail helps.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Feeling Better

In the midst of my earlier hysterics, I decided to call S. S is my caseworker from LDSFS. She had told me before that I could call her any time, day or night. I decided to take her up on that.

I called her up and poured my messy little heart out. She listened, and she sympathized. She cried with me. She didn't have anything earth-shattering to say, and she didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

But I felt better.

While I'd been talking to S, my mother had called my brother to come and give me a blessing. My brother felt like my bishop should come over too, so my mom called him as well.

I had a good talk with both of them, and I got the most wonderful blessing.

I feel so much better! I know that I did the very best thing in the world for my little Roo. It's just me that I feel bad for. And I will get better. I know I am going to have bad days and tough times. But I'm going to try not to let them get the best of me.

I have decided that (and I'm sorry if this sounds offensive) God is sort of like an 8-year-old boy. He loves me, He just has a funny way of showing it sometimes. I know God loves me. And I know that I have good things ahead.

My bishop said something important tonight, when he was talking about hope. I had told him that I've never had a lot of hope. He told me that hope was linked to faith. If I have faith, I need to have hope.

I will have hope. For Roo, and for the wonderful life she is going to have, and for me, and for the blessings that my Father in Heaven has in store for me.

Missing Roo

I don't even know if I should write this, but it's what's in my heart, and I am trying to be completely honest with myself (and any blog readers) about the whole adoption experience, so here goes.

I have been fasting and praying all day for comfort. I have found none. I have been restless and discontent all day, and my feeling at the moment is a horrible one - that I have made a terrible, terrible mistake. I should never have placed my baby.

I miss her terribly. All I want in the world is to have my baby back. I try to remind myself why I made the decision I did ... and I start to wonder, was it my decision after all? Was I overly influenced by my mother, or by my counselor at LDSFS? I never, never wanted to place her initially. And when I found out that H would have rights, I was devastated. Crushed. I felt I had no choice but to place my beautiful baby.

How I wish I could take it all back! Take Roo back. I miss her so awfully. It's eating me up inside. I wish I could go back in time one week and keep all this from happening. Keep from placing her. Keep Roo with me. I wish the law was different, but I know what I signed. The second I put my name on the line, she ceased to be my baby. I have no rights to her. I can't take her back, take it back, change my mind.

My mother asks me all the time if there's anything she can do for me. I don't know what to say. Can she get me my baby back? No, she can't. So what on earth could she possibly do for me? It is her fault that my Roo is gone in the first place. She told me I couldn't keep her. She said we couldn't afford her. She made me do this. I think I hate her for it. I think that, if my mother had simply kept her trap shut, I'd still have my baby with me, and I'd still be happy. My mother made my choice for me. How can I not be angry?

All I want in the world is to have my Roo. My baby. It would help, I think, if I had some hope of ever having a child again. But H is the only man who ever took an interest in me. I have no hope of marriage. No man wanted me before, when I was still a good girl, before I broke the law of chastity. Who on earth would want me now?

And I think H did something to my head, because I feel like I don't want a husband. I don't feel like I can trust men. I don't think I can ever not be suspicious of a man's motives towards me. I don't want a husband, which is fine because I will probably never have one. But I want a baby! I want my baby ... I don't want some hypothetical future baby with some man who probably won't even love me. I want the baby I had, the baby I grew and carried and birthed and cared for and loved. I want my Roo, my sweet, beautiful Roo. She is the baby I want.

And she's gone. What am I supposed to do with my life now? I don't want to do anything with my life. All I ever wanted was to be a mother, and that dream has been denied me. Why should I bother to dress in the morning? To eat? To get out of bed? Oh, if only there were some way to reverse the paperwork, to take back my signature, to take back my daughter,

All I want in the world is the one thing I can never have back. I feel destroyed.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Upside of My Down

I feel like I have been overly negative for the past few days.

I am allowed, certainly. I was the mommy of a beautiful, sweet baby girl for nine weeks, and now she has a different mommy. How could I not be devastated? How can I not grieve?

But I don't want to be swallowed up in my misery. I don't want it to define me or my decision. So what I am going to do now, just to remind myself, is talk about how absolutely amazing this adoption really is.

A few weeks ago, during dinner, M said to me, "I couldn't be a mom without you." That really got to me. She is the most amazing person, and the thought of her never being a mommy really got to me. I can't imagine how hard and heartbreaking the road must have been that led M and P to adoption. To know that I am the answer to their prayers is humbling. They were an answer to my prayers as well. It amazes me how our Father in Heaven finds ways for his precious children to end up with the families he has chosen for them.

And I absolutely believe that Roo was meant to be with P and M. As much as I miss her, as much as I ache to be her mother, I know - I know - that she is with her mommy and daddy. She wasn't meant to be my baby. She is theirs.

I am thankful for the prayers on my behalf that helped me to make the right decision. I know that I will be blessed immeasurably for my sacrifice.

But more importantly, Roo will be blessed. She is already. My sweet Roo now has a mommy and daddy who love each other, who married in the temple, and who will have her sealed to them. She will be part of an eternal family! She has a big sister who already loves her, and lots and lots of cousins and aunts and uncles who will make sure she is never lonely and that she has a smile or a cuddle if she needs it.

She will go to primary and learn about Jesus. She will sing in church on Father's Day without wondering why she doesn't have a daddy. She has a mommy whose only job is to be a mommy. She has her own room! She will learn the gospel and her chances will be that much better to return to her Father in Heaven.

And while I feel that no one on earth could love her more than I can (her mom and dad can only love her just as much), love simply isn't enough. I want more for Roo than love. And she will have so much more, because I love her enough to let her go.

Roo is going to have the most amazing life! I am so excited for her. I hope and pray that my life will be just as amazing.

What to do?

My mom just left for the temple. As she was at the door, she said, "Okay, I'm off. I love you and ..."

She was going to say, "You and Roo." She just let her statement trail off awkwardly.

"You were going to say 'and Roo,' weren't you?" I asked.

She bit her lip. "Yes," she said.

"I wish Roo was here to say goodbye to," I said.

And I do. Gosh, how I do. I miss her so much it hurts. I don't know what to do with myself, with my hands, with my time. I got a new book yesterday and read it in a few hours, even with as much time as I spent on the computer. What am I supposed to do without my sweet Roo?

I know what I need to do. I need to wash and organize all of Roo's tiny outfits and put them away into the latching storage totes my mom bought. But I don't know if I'm ready yet.

I feel sort of silly waiting. I certainly don't need to keep baby clothes sitting out, taking up space. There is no baby in my home to wear them. But if I wash them, fold them, and store them away, I feel like I am saying, this is it, she is gone, and although I know she is, I can't bear to see a sign of the finality. And it will be too hard to fold things she wore, picturing her in each tiny outfit, and knowing she will never wear it again.

At the same time, I wish I could snap my fingers and make all of my Roo-things disappear. Every time I set foot in my bedroom, I lose it, because of the sight of the empty crib. The sheets are still wrinkled from where Roo slept there last, and I can't bear it. I wonder how long it will be before I can go into my room without crying. I wonder how long the grief will be this fresh, this painful, this unbearable.

As it stands, I've fallen into a funk. No, let's call it what it is - a depression. I have been in my pajamas since Wednesday night, and I've hardly eaten. I have little appetite, and no reason to get dressed. I am tired, but I can't relax, I can't sleep without a sedative. How long am I going to feel this way? How long until I feel I can move on with my life?

This would be easier if I could see into the future, if I could see the wonderful blessings everyone says I must surely be in store for. If I could see how soon I will end up married and having a replacement Roo.

I don't want a replacement Roo. I want the Roo I had.

My only consolation is that Roo is thriving with her mom and dad. They are taking the very best care of her, and she is happy and loved and sleeping well and eating well and doing as well as ever I could have hoped. I've prayed over and over that Roo will know she is with her mommy and daddy, and that she will be happy there. That prayer is being answered.

I just wish that my prayers for comfort and peace were answered so quickly, so surely, so obviously. But I am determined to pull through. For Roo's sake. I want to be someone she can be proud of. I don't know yet how I'll manage that, but I'll figure it out.

Just as soon as I can figure out what I am supposed to do - with my life, with my future, with the rest of today.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's been 45.5 hours since I held her last ...

... and I feel terribly, terribly lonely.

I miss my baby.

I miss the warm weight of her snuggled against my chest as she napped. I miss her chubby feet, her wide little hands. I miss her soft cheeks, her tiny nose and button of a chin, her fuzzy little head with its liberal dusting of dark hair. I miss her eyebrows - so expressive! - going from relaxed to furrowed to relaxed in the space of a few seconds. I miss her pretty pink lips, often parted in her sleep, and the feel of her sweet breath on my neck. I miss her chunky thighs, her innie-outie bellybutton, her round little shoulders.

I miss the sweet little squeaks she made in her sleep, the expressive babble when she is awake. I miss those wide blue eyes staring into mine, eyes ringed by lashes much darker and longer than a baby should have. I miss her gummy smile and her funny, "a-heh" of a baby laugh.

I have a soft blanket that M made for me. I squish it just so and hold it the way I held Roo. I pat it where Roo's back would be. I rest my cheek on it where Roo's face would be. I rock slightly in my seat - a reflex developed over nine weeks of cradling a baby in my arms. I hold the blanket and close my eyes and I can almost - almost - pretend it is Roo that I am holding.

I wonder how I had the strength to do it on Wednesday night. I still marvel that I handed over my baby - my dear sweet baby, the baby I conceived and grew and birthed and loved and cared for - to a woman I hardly know. I handed Roo to M, and I left.

How did I do that?

How could I have? Yesterday as I had a hysterical fit, I sobbed to my mother than I had made a mistake, that I wanted to take it back. Take Roo back. There had to be some way I could fix this. I'd changed my mind! Wasn't I entitled to change my mind?

I knew that, according to the law, I was not. And I knew that Roo was exactly where she was supposed to be. She was safe, happy, loved. It's me that this is hard for. Every second that she isn't in my arms, I miss her. It's a permanent ache.

I pray that the ache will dull with time, that it will lessen. That I will learn to live with it. If you're reading this, whomever you are, please pray for me, too. I need all of the strength I can get.


I am feeling much better today.

I still miss Roo like crazy. I still feel sort of empty, like something big is missing. I knew the second I woke up that she wasn't in the house anymore. And I sort of was okay with it. I mean, I accepted it.

The first thing I did, before I even put my glasses on, was check my BlackBerry for e-mail from P and M. And, happy day, there was a message! I read it five times. Roo slept through the night! I am so glad. And she's met lots and lots of cousins, and her big sister can say her name!

I am so glad Roo has been a good, happy baby, that she's slept. It tells me that she is where she is supposed to be. If my fear was realized and she missed me terribly, she would fuss and cry and not sleep very well. But I have been praying for two weeks now that Roo would know that P and M were her parents, and that she would not miss me. I feel certain that prayer is being answered.

I can certainly feel that I am being prayed for. I am a lot more calm than I expected I'd be. I haven't even had a big crying fit today and I've been up for a whole hour. I did nothing but cry yesterday. I think maybe the first day was the hardest.

Which isn't to say that I don't think I'll still have hard days. I fully expect to have days here and there where I just lose it. But, just for today, I feel almost okay. And my worry, and my tears, are not for Roo's happiness or safety. They are for me, because I miss having her warm weight in my arms.

I wonder when I will start to feel normal again. I would imagine that, much like when my dad died, I will have to find a new normal. A new sense of when and how things are okay, with allowances for whatever grief I need to feel.

I am so blessed to have been Roo's mother for nine weeks. They were the most amazing nine weeks of my life, and I am so thankful for them. But now it's someone else's turn, and I am learning to be okay with that.

So far, so good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I should stop now

It is late, and I have spent about seven hours on the computer today. But I find that I am afraid to shut it off.

If I turn the computer off, stand up, walk away, I will have to think, and I will have to feel. And I am tired of feeling.

It may sound strange, but I don't want to think about Roo. I don't want to think about her for a second. Because it hurts too much. It hurts to think that she isn't my Roo anymore, that she's someone else's baby, in someone else's house, wearing a sleeper I didn't buy for her, sleeping in a crib I didn't assemble on a sheet I didn't wash.

The pictures M sent me were nice, but I found that I almost didn't recognize my baby as I looked at them. She had that quickly ceased to be my Roo. The Roo in the pictures wasn't my Roo, with the first and middle and last names I gave her. The Roo in the pictures has a new middle and last name, and new parents.

I spent an hour earlier looking at the pictures I took yesterday - all 217 of them. Roo in a diaper. Roo in a fairy costume. Roo in a sleeper. Roo in a lime green Onesie. Roo sleeping. Roo's tiny feet. Roo's chubby fist. Roo's hair. Roo, Roo, Roo. The pictures were wonderful to see. This was my Roo, the baby I knew.

The baby in the pictures M sent me? I don't feel I know her.

My heart breaks all over again. I miss my baby so much. I'm sure I'll get to see her again soon. But it will be different. She will be different. She won't be my Roo anymore. It makes me wonder if I should see her at all. Won't it hurt to see such a different baby than I knew?

Part of me thinks I need to sever ties, to move on as best as I can. But the bigger part of me knows I couldn't bear that. The bigger part of me felt her heart leap when she saw the e-mail from M today, and read it three times in quick succession, as well as another four times throughout the day.

I wrote back quickly. I think I may have asked a few more questions. I don't remember. I haven't heard back yet, and I have to remind myself that P and M don't have the liberty that I do to spend the day in front of a computer. They are busy with a toddler and a baby. The baby used to be mine. I'd give anything to have the baby instead of computer time. I miss her so badly I can hardly bear it.

I wish I could just fall asleep like a normal person tonight. But I couldn't last night, and I don't see that tonight will be any different. One-and-a-half Ativan and I might be able to rest, to relax.

And then I'll wake up again tomorrow. I wonder if I'll have that same blissful moment where I don't realize anything is wrong? I had it today. Then I realized what was missing, and my day was ruined.

Is this how it's going to be from now on? Will every Roo-less day be ruined?

I just miss her so much. I'd give the world just to hold her again.

But I can't.


It has been more than 24 hours since I last held my baby.

I feel ... I don't know. I've been at the computer for hours again, wasting time, trying to distract myself from the fact that my arms are empty, that my baby isn't my baby any more.

My mind keeps wandering to Roo, of course. Wondering where she is and what she's doing. How she is, if she's pooped yet, how she's been eating, if she's gotten lots of snuggles and kisses.

Despite 12 hours of sleep, this has been the longest 24 hours of my life, as well as the hardest, and the worst, and the most unbearable.

I'm hoping the next 24 Roo-free hours are easier. More bearable. Contain less hysterical sobbing and screaming and heartache.

If you are reading this, please pray for me. I need it now more than ever.

Blog overload

I think this is my third post today. But I keep having more things come into my head that I want to get out.

I have been using my computer for a few hours now. I keep blogging, and I spent two hours finding pictures and gadgets and links for this blog.

I don't have anything else to do. Plus, it keeps me distracted from the fact that there is no baby in my house. It keeps me from thinking that my arms are empty, that the house is too quiet, that right about now Roo would be taking a bottle.

And now I've gone and brought it all to mind. Shoot.

I talked to Sharon earlier. She is my caseworker at LDS Family Services. She is awesome. She didn't try to make me feel better. She didn't try to tell me how Roo is going to be so happy, or that I'd done a wonderful thing. All she did was let me cry and tell me that she knew this sucks for me, that she was sorry. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

She said she was going to call P and M and set up a time to visit. I told her that I'd thought about it, but I didn't want to bother them so soon. They need time to get into a routine (a Roo-tine, lol) and I can't imagine they want me harassing them this quickly. I don't want to be this constant presence. I want them to have enough time to feel like Roo is really theirs.

I did send them e-mail earlier. I don't remember exactly what I said. I think I probably made a fool out of myself, but oh well. I wondered if I would hear back soon, and I did! M answered all of my questions (even about poop!) and she sent me two pictures. The pictures were wonderful, but made me cry. There was my baby, at someone else's house, wearing a strange outfit and a funny headband, being held by someone else. She looked like a stranger to me in one of them, and it was like losing her all over again.

I told Sharon how rotten the past twenty hours have been, and how low I feel. I told her that I hadn't gotten dressed. She said I was allowed to stay in my pajamas as long as I want. I didn't mention that I haven't eaten today. I tried but my own saliva keeps catching in my throat and I'm afraid I won't be able to keep anything down. I still feel nauseated when I think that my baby Roo is gone. I want so badly to hold her. It is a physical ache.

My mother has tried to tuck a lot of things away, but I still see traces of Roo everywhere. A little powdered formula on the counter in the kitchen, her tiny laundry on the chair, a spit-up stain on the ottoman. There are parenting magazines on the table, next to the accordion file where I keep - kept? - important papers and information about Roo. And there's one of her pacifiers, there on top of a notebook. Over there, a gallon-size Ziploc bag holding the Gerber Nuk bottles Roo refused to drink from. There's the empty photo album with a thick stack of pictures on top that I meant to put in. There's a gift bag that a tiny outfit was given in. And the big things - the swing, the pack and play - are still taking up a lot of space.

I still don't know what I'm supposed to do without my baby. I wonder how long it will take me to figure that out.


Someone has been praying for me. I can feel it.

Because I feel better. I still miss my baby girl more than I can bear, but I feel calmer. I know she is happy, healthy, loved. P and M are the very best parents. I bet poor Roo hasn't been put down since they got her home.

I sort of regret posting such hysterical things earlier. Although I did feel them and think them, and my feelings are legitimate and important.

But after shouting a few more times at my poor dear mother, I felt like I should check out a few adoption/birth parent blogs, and I did, and I still am, and I feel more calm than I did last night after one-and-a-half Ativan tablets.

Over the past two weeks, as I said goodbye to Roo, I knew that there were a lot of people fasting and praying for me, and I appreciated it. And P and M fasted for me yesterday (see how cool they are?) and I felt calm yesterday because of it.

But I wasn't hysterical yesterday to begin with. Today I was. And then suddenly ... calm. And I know - I KNOW - that it is because I am being prayed for. I don't know who has prayed for me and for my strength and peace, but I know that at least one person has.

Thank you, whomever you are. I still miss my baby, but I feel better. For the first time since last night, I feel almost okay. And I am forever grateful.


I slept for twelve hours last night. When I woke up, it was 2pm.

I felt great, very well-rested and calm for about two seconds. My first thought was, Roo's been awfully quiet. She must have been so tired!

Then I remembered. I remembered what I had done the night before, and I understood the eerily calm silence of the house. And I lost it.

I sat up in bed - in my mother's bed. I couldn't bear to sleep in my room last night and see Roo's empty crib a few feet from my bed. I couldn't bear to see it and know that my sweet baby girl would never again rest her soft head there. My mother had to fetch my pajamas last night, my blankets and pillow so I could sleep.

I don't know if I'll get dressed today, because my clothes are piled up on my bed, and I can't go in there yet. I just can't. The thought of the empty crib breaks my heart all over again.

I wonder what my sweet Roo is doing right now. Is she napping, perhaps snuggled up on her mother's shoulder? Is she on her back on a blanket, kicking and wiggling and chatting up a storm? Is she eating? Did she sleep well? Was it in a bassinet or a crib? What did her sleeper look like? Zip-front or snap-front? Size 0-3 or 3-6 months? What Sesame Street character is on her diaper? What does her nursery look like?

Has she been a good girl? Did she sleep well last night? How long? Did she eat in between long stretches? How much did she eat - 4 or 6 ounces? From what kind of bottle? Has she been happy? Did she cry at all? Does she seem to miss me?

I miss her. I miss her more deeply than I can say. My heart aches. I would give the world to hold her snug against me for five minutes, maybe ten. I would give anything. I think, oh, why can't I just hold her for a bit? I would give her back, I promise! I just want to hold my baby. Why can't I hold my baby? It seems so wrong!

My mother tried to console me. Tried, and failed. I yelled at her. I said that this was her fault, that she was the one who told me I couldn't keep Roo any longer, that we couldn't afford to keep her. My mother reminded me of H, of the problem he would have been. I don't care. I could have done something about him, I think. Did I really have to give up my baby, the only thing in the world that matters to me?

My arms ache to hold her. To feel her soft warmth, hear her sweet baby breath, watch her beautiful little face - to see her smile, look worried, furrow her brow, make funny faces. To watch her big blue eyes widen as she sees something interesting, blink quickly as she gets tired, her long lashes fanning out on her cheek. She has the softest cheeks in the world. The cutest tiny nose that I loved to kiss. I wish I could run my hand over her soft hair again, stroke her cheek with the back of my fingers, kiss her little forehead.

But I can't do any of those things any more, and it makes me want to scream, to shout, to break something. I feel so lost without my baby! No, I think. I've changed my mind, actually, I can't do this, as it turns out. I don't have the strength. But I can't change my mind. What I have done is permanent, irrevocable. And that fact saps any strength I might have had to go on.

I am lost. I am empty. I feel as though I will never be happy again. I'm not sure why I even got up in bed this morning. I was only able to sleep with the help of a sedative. Why shouldn't I take another and slip back into blissful oblivion? Being awake hurts too much. I don't like it. I don't like being away from my baby. My baby, who isn't my baby anymore.

How can she not be my baby anymore? I conceived her, I grew and nurtured her, I gave her life. I held her in my arms. I loved her, I fed her, I cared for her. I spent hundreds of hours holding her as she slept. How can I not be her mother anymore?

My mother asks what she can do, what I want. She can do nothing, I want nothing but my baby. I don't want my feet rubbed, I want my baby. I don't want frozen yogurt, I want my baby. I don't want a hamburger, I want my baby. I don't want to get dressed, to get out of bed. I want my baby.

What on earth made me think I could be a mommy for nine weeks, with all the love and attachment that comes with that time, and then just walk away from it unscathed? I am not unscathed. I am empty. I have a Roo-shaped void in my heart, in my arms, in my home.

My pain is unbearable. It is too much. I can't do this! I can't! I have changed my mind. I don't want to do this. Can I take it back? Can I get her back? Oh, dear God above, please say I can take it back. I need my baby back. I need my baby. I can't live without my baby. I can't go on. I need her back. I need to take this back. I need my Roo. I NEED her.

This is all my mother's fault. She told me I couldn't keep Roo. She said I couldn't. I didn't want to do this! My mother made me do it and now I can't take it back and my baby is gone forever. What kind of mother takes away her daughter's baby? I hate her for this. I hate her. I just want to go back to yesterday and stop myself from signing those stupid ugly papers. They can't be irrevocable, can they? There has to be some way to change them. There must be! I can't lose my baby. I need my baby, my precious Roo.

I need her. And she is gone.


I took my pulse earlier. It was seventy-two beats per minute.

I was surprised. I was surprised I found a pulse at all. I thought surely my heart must have stopped beating. How could it still be beating?

And more importantly, why? What is the point in going on when my baby isn’t mine anymore?

I have never felt so low in my life.

My Roo is gone. My Roo. I have never been apart from her for more than an hour or two since she was pulled from my belly. And now it's been more than four hours, and I am lost.

She isn't mine anymore. I signed a paper that says so, one that had a lot of horrible things on it including the word "sever," which has never been so ugly to me as it was tonight.

I held myself together remarkably well until I got into the car without my baby. I felt like I was going to throw up. I wish I had, I might have felt a little better.

I did not throw up. I wailed, I screamed, I cried. I made a lot of sounds like a wounded animal, inhuman sounds I have never made before. The clacking of the unfastened car seat buckles - the Roo-less car seat - undid me.

“Did I really just do that?” I asked a few times. No one answered. I had moments of calm interspersed with screaming fits. I used up about three dozen Kleenexes. I wailed that I wanted to die. I did want to die. I think I still do.

A beep sounded from my diaper bag – my diaperless bag. My BlackBerry’s battery had run out. How perfect. My battery ran out, too. I slumped in my seat, sobbing, clutching the burp cloth Roo had rested her head on as I’d held her earlier.

I couldn't bear to get out of the car when we got home. How was I supposed to go home to an empty house? How was I supposed to go in without my baby? I couldn't. I sat in the car for a few minutes, one hand in the empty car seat, staring at the space where Roo's head should have been. I could almost see her there.

My mother had to pull me out of the car, lead me inside. The house felt wrong. My arms felt empty, so empty they ached. I shuffled into the living room, curled up on the couch in the fetal position, and came undone. I raged, I screamed, I moaned, I wailed, I made more wounded-animal sounds, inhuman sounds. I wasn’t quite there. My eyes wouldn’t focus properly. My mother tried to console me. I scarcely wanted to be touched. I cried out for my baby, my precious daughter. I said over and over that I just wanted to die. My mother said it would be okay. I pummeled the arm of the couch with my fists, kicked out at the air.

“Nothing is ever going to be okay again!” I shouted. I lost my strength, curled up again.
Again, I said I wanted to die. My mother said she understood. I turned on her.

“Don’t you ever say that!” I screamed at her. “You will never understand! Don’t you dare say that!”

I sat up quickly, clutching a wad of used tissues.

I calmed a bit, apologized. I went into the other room. And I cried. Roo’s tiny laundry was stacked on the couch. I re-folded a few Onesies, made a neat little stack.

I clutched the blanket M gave me. I held it like a baby, stroking the imaginary back and fuzzy head.

Over and over tonight, I have said: I hurt. I want my baby. I miss my baby. How could they drive away with my baby in their car? I want to die. I feel lost. I don’t want to have another baby someday, I want this baby, my baby, my Roo. What am I supposed to do without my baby? How am I supposed to breathe, to eat, to go on?

I miss Roo so much I could die from the weight of it.

My grief is selfish. Roo is going to have the most wonderful life with P and M. I know she will be okay. She will be more than okay, she will be happy, she will be safe and loved and cared for. She will get more cuddles than she can stand, more attention than she wants, and more love than she can fathom.

But what about me? What am I supposed to do without my baby? She isn't my baby anymore, either. And on a deep level, I know that, and I am okay with it. I know in my heart that Heavenly Father meant for her to be M and P's baby. They are her parents, I don't doubt it for a second.

But it's so hard! I was her mommy for two months, for nine weeks. Nine of the happiest weeks of my life. I was so blessed to be Roo's mommy. I feel as though that is all I have ever been. I don't know who I am without her. What am I supposed to do now?

I pray that I will know what to do now. I pray that this won't be my undoing. I know that I made the right decision for my sweet baby. I know I found her family. I just hate that what's right for her is so impossible for me.

What am I supposed to do with my life now? I have plenty of time to figure it out, I suppose. The future stretches out before me, endless and interminable and lonely.

I hope Roo is adjusting better than I am. I pray that she is. I have prayed every night for weeks that she will know that P and M are her parents and that she will not miss me.

One thing I have learned about myself over the years is that I can do hard things. But I'm so tired of doing hard things! I wish things could be easy for me just once.

Before I got into the car, when I was still holding Roo, she started to fuss a bit. I tried to make her happy but she got crabbier. I panicked. I didn't want to leave her this way. I kissed her cheek and handed her to M. She calmed almost instantly. She looked content, if a bit thoughtful, not quite sure what was going on. That M calmed her made me feel I had done right.

"You just needed your mommy, didn't you?" I said. I think I said it twice. And I kissed her cheeks, touched her nose, and told her that I love her. Then I did the hardest thing I have ever done. I turned and walked away.

And I am forever changed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It's after midnight, so it is, strictly speaking, tomorrow. Which means that tomorrow is the hardest day of my life. Placement day.

I picked the ninth, as I've mentioned, because it's the one-year anniversary of my father's death. And because it gave me more than two weeks with Roo from the day I decided to place her. Where did that two weeks go? I have more I wanted to do! Will I get it all done? Roo will change outfits about twenty times tomorrow so I can get all the pictures I want - dresses I sewed for her, gifts from family (I like them to see her in their gifts), her Halloween fairy costume.

There is a portrait of me at two months old in a tiny blue flowered dress, on an alphabet-printed blanket. My mother saved the dress and blanket, and I am going to put Roo in one and on the other and take her picture. She turned two months old today - yesterday, technically. I have the seventh of every month marked on my calendar and in the planner section of my BlackBerry. Will it hurt to see the happy faces, the capital letters spelling out "Roo 3-month birthday!"? I imagine it will hurt a little. Maybe a lot. How could it not?

I am unsure what to do with many things. I chose the baby book I did because it has a page for every month's birthday and a space for a picture. Do I keep it, filled in to two months? Give it to M and P? Perhaps they've already got a baby book, and in any case, they won't want one with so many references to me being Mommy. I won't be Mommy anymore.

I saw them today, and their little girl. We met at the temple visitor's center for a bit and then went out for frozen yogurt. It was so good to see them again. I feel good about my decision when I'm with them. It's only later, at home, that panic sets in and I think I'm making a mistake or that I can't do this.

Roo was an angel for her mommy and daddy. She hardly fussed at all, and she relaxed when each of them held her. But then, they handed her back to me (which must be so hard for them to do!) and Roo sort of cheered a bit like, oh, good, back to Mommy. I wish she wouldn't, much as it melts my heart. Things like that make me worry that she will miss me and cry inconsolably, that she will have a hard time adjusting and attaching and that it will scar her for life. I pray every night that she will quickly forget me. That feeling the love of P and M will be enough, that it will comfort her and she will accept them as her parents. I pray that feeling loved and cared for will be enough, that the absence of my voice and smell won't hurt her.

Mothers die, I remind myself. How many tiny babies have lost their mommies and still turned out okay? It must be hundreds of thousands. And Roo has an advantage, because she will still have a mommy, and a daddy to boot. And I will see her sometimes, and maybe that sporadic exposure to me will be enough. I pray that it will be enough.

I am going to miss this little girl so much! How will I stand it? Right now when I feel anxious I turn on HGTV (it's on pretty much 24 hours a day). Will that work when Roo is gone? I worry that things I did or watched or listened to with her will remind me too much of her to comfort me anymore. I worry that the obnoxious "Divine Design" jingle will send me into a fit of tears.

I have been told by my family and by M and P that I am being prayed for. I am glad. If ever a woman needed prayers and help from above, it's me! I can feel the prayers sometimes. Other times all I can think of is myself and how utterly lost I will be without my baby.

I feel that way now, so I'm going to remind myself why I am doing this: for Roo. Because she deserves the world. I am a good mother - no, I am a wonderful mother. But what I am not is a wonderful father, and Roo deserves the same kind of amazing daddy that I had. My dad is dead, but I am sealed to him for time and all eternity. He is still my daddy, and I will see him again. Who am I to deny Roo the same blessing just because placing her will hurt me? Better me than her.

I want her to have a mommy whose only job is being a mommy. A mommy who will read to her and teach her and care for her and love her without worrying about daycare or a job. I want Roo to have a mommy and daddy who have enough money that, if she wants to learn ballet, she can learn ballet. Or take piano lessons, or play soccer, or ice skate, or go to space camp if that's what she dearly wants to do. She couldn't have that with me. She would constantly be watched by others and I worry that as she got older she'd feel like a burden. No child should feel that way. I don't want to come home from an exhausting day at work to a child who missed me terribly and wants to make up for the time I was away.

She will need braces (genetics aren't on her side in the dental department). I will never be able to afford that as a single mother. She may want to go to college, or a trade school. I will never be able to help her out with that. She deserves parents who can. The world should belong to Roo, and I know that it will with P and M as her parents.

I know what tomorrow will bring, in the literal sense of the word. I will sign some papers and leave LDSFS without the precious cargo I bring in. But by letting her mommy and daddy take her home, I am opening up infinite possibilities for a lifetime of tomorrows for us both. That is what I am clinging to.