Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pants On Fire, Part Two

What on earth is wrong with me?

I did it again. I had a chance to talk about adoption - no, a chance to just be honest - and I blew it.

I had a dentist appointment today. I have a visit with the dental hygienist every three months because I have problem teeth. So last time I was in the office, I'd just had Roo, and I happily showed the hygienist and the receptionist pictures of my new baby.

It wasn't something I thought a lot about, honestly, when I went in to the office today. I was a bit distracted by the traffic I'd just been through on the drive, and the fresh oil on most of Val Vista, and the fact that I'd had to break at least three, maybe four traffic laws to get there on time.

The hygienist, Brittany, called me back and got me settled, and her assistant got my file open on the computer. I was more concerned with the state of my gums than anything, so it caught me off guard when Brittany asked me how my little girl was doing.

"She's doing great," I said cautiously, trying not to sound too enthusiastic lest Brittany take my response as an invitation to ask more questions.

"And how old is she?" Brittany asked.

"Sixteen weeks. Almost four months," I said.

"Oh, how fun! Getting bigger, I bet, and getting more of a personality."

I thought of how Roo was during my last visit. "Absolutely," I said, "but she really is the very best baby. She sleeps through the night and she's very sweet."

And her parents love her dearly, I added silently. Come on, Jill, say it.

But I didn't. Why didn't I? I opened my mouth to say it, I really did. But no sound came out, and just when I thought I'd gathered my nerve, Brittany had poked a sharp metal implement into my gums.

Once again, I was left to wonder, what's wrong with me? Why can't I just be honest about adoption? And this wasn't like before, with the lady in the jewelry store or the aesthetician in Tucson, where I know I'm never going to see the person again and it doesn't matter what I say to them. This is a dental office I'm in at least four times a year. What am I going to do next time? Am I going to lie to Brittany for the next eighteen years?

But then, what's the alternative? Say I decide to be honest when I go back in the beginning of February. How do I say it? I'll mention that Roo was placed in September, and Brittany will realize that I omitted something important about my baby the last time she inquired.

I'd like to blame society. I'd like to pretend that my problem in talking about adoption is a result of this lingering sense of shame and embarrassment that our culture puts on birth mothers. But I know that's not the reason, and even if it were, that would only give me more reason to want to be open and honest, to change societal mores and help remove that sense of shame.

I've been thinking about this, though, and I think I know part of what my problem is. I feel very protective of my Roo. I feel very protective of her story and her parents and everything that has happened since I found out I was pregnant. I don't want anyone judging me, or worse, judging my sweet baby. I don't want to have to hear anyone's opinions about my motives or reasoning. I don't want to worry about what negative thoughts or thoughtless comments people might make. I don't need that in my head. I have enough junk floating around there already.

I don't want anyone thinking that I placed Roo because I don't love her, or because I couldn't take care of her. I don't want anyone saying things like, "Oh, I could never do that," or "Well, I'm sure you did what was best for you," or "Didn't you want her?" I've heard all those things, those things and more, and they've bothered me and I hate trying to respond to them. I think that part of my reluctance to open up is my aversion to people's unintentional insensitivity. If only there was some way I could gauge someone's response without having to open myself up to criticism or ridicule!

I wanted Roo more than anything. She is sweet and beautiful and lovely and absolutely perfect. I didn't think I could do it either, and placing her certainly wasn't what was best for me. It was best for her. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. And yes, I do talk openly about adoption on this blog and in school presentations and in other places. But that's a choice I've made, and I feel comfortable opening up in those situations. Other times and places? It's nobody's business but mine and Roo's and her parents'. It is special and it is wonderful and it is ours. Is it really a problem that I don't blab about it to anyone and everyone?

I've decided that maybe it's not. Maybe I should go a little easier on myself. Maybe I'm the only one making a big deal out of my hesitance in speaking up. I'll talk about it when I'm ready. And right now, I'm not ready. And I think that's okay.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pants On Fire

Two weeks ago I accompanied my mother on a trip to Tucson for a business conference. The conference was held at Loews Ventana Canyon, a luxury resort in the mountains. Next to the hotel is a salon and spa. My mother arranged for me to have a massage and a facial there as an early birthday present.

My aesthetician introduced herself and asked me a few questions. One of the things she asked was whether I'd ever had a massage before. I told her that I'd had a prenatal massage when I was pregnant.

"What was that, like, five years ago?" she asked. I knew what she meant by the question - once you have a baby, it's almost impossible to find a moment to yourself until they're old enough for school.

"No," I said, "I had the massage in December. My baby was born in July."

"Oh, wow, still a newborn then," she said.

This would have been the perfect opportunity to bring up adoption and how awesome it is. I considered it briefly. And just as quickly I decided against it.

As my aesthetician worked a few kinks out of my shoulders, she asked me questions about my baby. I don't know why, I can't explain it, but I answered all of her questions as though Roo were still mine. I spoke cheerfully about how cute she is, about her cutting teeth, about her sleeping habits and what a happy girl she is.

As I spoke, I mentally kicked myself. What was wrong with me? I still can't answer that question. I still don't know what's wrong with me. Obviously I have no problems discussing adoption. Obviously it's something I love and feel strongly about. So why is it that every time the opportunity arises for me to talk about it, to spread the good word as it were, I freeze? Why do I say nothing or lie?

I'm certainly not ashamed of my decision. On the contrary, I think it's amazing and I have moments where I want to tell the whole world. Why is it so hard for me to talk? I have done three different school presentations, talking to complete strangers about fairly personal things in my adoption story. I haven't had the least bit of trouble doing it, either. I enjoy presentations, I look forward to them. But two or three times now, one-on-one, I've had the chance to tell my story, and just let the moment pass. What on earth is wrong with me?

I haven't a clue. I will say that it was nice to pretend, for an hour or two, that I am the mommy of such a sweet, pretty, perfect little girl. It was nice to pretend that she is still mine, and that she was waiting for me back in the hotel room with my mom. Strictly speaking, I don't suppose I lied exactly. Everything I said about Roo was true. I just left some of the story out. Like the fact that I'm not Roo's mommy. But really, is it that important that an aesthetician I'd never before met before (and will never see again) knows that I'm not a mother but a birth mother? I didn't think so and I've tried not to feel too guilty for lying.

But if I'm honest, it's not the lie that's been bothering me. It's that mysterious subconscious motive that hurts my head and makes me think something must be wrong with me. If only I knew what it was!

I've been telling myself that next time the chance comes up, I'll be open and honest and to heck with what people might think of me. But I can't shake the feeling that instead, I'm going to keep making myself a liar.

Because what do I say? How do I even begin? Do I say, "Yes, she's still a newborn, and her mom and dad sure love having a baby to cuddle with" or "Well, do you know what a birth mother is?"

I suppose the first thing to do is to figure out what to say and how to say it. I just wish I knew where to start.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fourth Visit

I got so distracted by yesterday's anniversary that I almost forgot to mention Saturday's visit. I got to see my Roo! This was visit number four since placement, which is just awesome since it's only been six (almost seven) weeks.

P and M brought me a birthday cake and several different flavors of gelato. The cake was decorated for Halloween, and it looked and tasted wonderful. I'd had gelato before but I wasn't a big fan. Turns out, I'd just not had very good gelato. This stuff was amazing!

I shared Roo with my mom for a bit so I could eat and take some pictures, but I hogged her most of the time. I could hold that little girl forever. She is so happy and so sweet. She napped on me for a little bit, as she usually does on visits. When she woke up she looked so confused because she saw both her parents on the couch and I think she wondered who was holding her. It was very cute. I think everything she does is cute, of course. She gets these little puzzled eyebrows and sticks her lower lip out just a tiny bit.

She smiled at me just a little bit but saved most of her smiles for her mommy and daddy. This is one baby girl who absolutely loves her mommy and daddy. She smiles at them as though nothing in the world would make her happier than seeing their faces. It does me so much good! I love to see her turn her head to follow their voices and give a big toothless grin when she finds them.

I had a great time talking to P and M, too. I feel so comfortable with them. We talk about so many different things, some relevant and some random. I love it. It was a great visit and when they left I felt fine, happy to have seen them and Roo.

She is doing so well, my Roo. She has new fat rolls and her head is very steady. Her eyes are a lighter shade than they once were, which I love. I wasn't sure if they'd darken to the rich brown of H's eyes. I don't have anything against brown eyes, but Roo's big sister has blue eyes, and I wanted Roo to have blue eyes, too, so they'd match. I think they look so much alike already. They look like sisters. I love it. They look like their parents, too. I don't think anyone would look at Roo or her sister and guess that they were adopted. It's not necessarily important that they look like a family, but I like it just the same.

I know that a lot of potential adoptive couples worry about openness. I saw at the adoption academy that it's not something they feel comfortable with. They are afraid, perhaps, that if they are open, the birth mother will be overly involved and call herself mommy and try to take the baby back or something strange like that. But in my experience, and from the experiences of birth mothers and adoptive families I know, openness has the opposite effect. It's mutually beneficial. Visits confirm to me that I made the very best decision for Roo. I never feel the urge to steal her back, and I am not her mommy. I know it and Roo knows it. I'm good with that. I love seeing how happy Roo is with her mommy and daddy, and seeing how happy they are with her. With every visit I feel better and better about the adoption.

And P and M have told me that it's beneficial for them too. They know what kind of person I am. They will be able to answer any questions Roo might have about me as she gets older. And I don't mean to brag or exaggerate or anything, but I did do something pretty amazing for them and their family. Why wouldn't they want to know me or see me or talk to me? I have never felt threatened by or jealous of them. I would never take Roo from them. She is theirs, just as she was always meant to be. We will be forever connected. They have become very dear friends. They love Roo just as much as I do. How could I not love them?

I am so blessed to have these amazing people in my life. They are the very best parents, and they are so very good to me. I could not ask for better people to raise my Roo. I could not ask for better friends.

I call Roo my baby, my Roo, my little girl. But I don't mean that in the sense that she is mine. I grew her and carried her and birthed her and mothered her for two months, and I will always love her more dearly than I can say. But she is mine, my Roo, in the same way that my nieces and nephews are mine. They are family and I love them. But I would never elevate myself to the level of mother to any of them. So it is with Roo. She is mine, but not mine. She is P and M's baby, their precious daughter, and she will always be theirs. I am thankful for that. They can give her the world. The only thing they couldn't give her was a body, and I am so thankful that I could do that for her, for them.

I never wanted to be a birth mother - never. I didn't think I had it in me to be that selfless. I didn't think I had it in me to give up my baby. I couldn't imagine how awful I would feel if I had to do such a thing.

But I found it in me, and I did it, and although it was awful at first, it has also been an amazing blessing. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Being a birth mother has been the hardest thing in my life, but it has also been, in some ways, the best thing. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One Year Ago ...

October 25, 2008, 3:42pm:

I know I've written about this before, but since today's the anniversary, I thought I'd revisit it briefly ...

I think I knew I was pregnant before I took the test. I can't explain how, I just knew. I waited for the test to settle but I already knew what it was going to say. I was still shocked, though. I'd been hoping desperately that I was wrong, that I'd felt odd because I had a cold or the flu or food poisoning. Or that it was just my fibromyalgia wearing me down.

But there were two lines instead of one. And I freaked out. I vaguely remember shouting "No!" at the test, blinking to clear my eyes and make sure I saw what I thought I did. It felt unreal. I've read back through my journal for that day and the phrase I used over and over was, "This cannot be happening."

I wrote that I wanted more than anything in the world to go back in time and not have ever met H. I wanted to take everything back. "Okay, God," I wrote. "I get it. I've messed up. Lesson learned. Now make this go away! I'll be good, I swear."

It seems so stupid and juvenile now. I was angry with myself because now I couldn't go to Scotland in the summer, or go back to school, or get married and live happily ever after. I wrote about stretch marks and sagging and how it wasn't fair, I'd only just gotten back down to a size 12. How selfish of me to be concerned only with myself! I know why I felt that way, but I'm still amazed that it was only a year ago that I was so self-absorbed and shallow.

A lot has changed for me, besides the obvious things like having Roo and placing her. I have grown up so much. And I have a greater understanding of Heavenly Father's love for me and the plan He has for my life and for Roo's.

I do have stretch marks and sagging, and my c-section scar isn't pretty. But I don't hate my body. Instead, I marvel that my body was able to grow a perfect, healthy baby girl. I created her! I grew her! It's absolutely amazing. I did that. I gave that to her.

And I gave her the most wonderful parents on earth, fantastic people who love her every bit as much as I do, and who love me as well. I would never, not in a million years, take back the things I've done. I regret that I sinned, that I made mistakes. But had I not made them, there would be no Roo, and I simply can't imagine that. I can't accept that. I don't want to live in a Roo-free world. I have learned so much, grown so much. I learned to put someone else first, and it has made a world of a difference for us both.

One year ago, Roo was just a tiny speck, and I was just a selfish, scared little girl. Now she is a healthy, happy, perfect 3-month-old, and I am a grown woman who has done something amazing. If I took back my actions, not only would I not have had Roo, but P and M wouldn't have her either, and the thought of them not getting to be her parents breaks my heart. I had to mess up in order for one of God's precious children to get a body. I'm okay with that. Because of Christ's atonement, I can take back the sin without losing Roo. The Atonement makes ugly things beautiful and bitter things sweet. I sinned, but out of my sin came the answer to someone's prayers and the biggest blessing in my life.

I am so thankful, so blessed to have been Roo's mommy. And I am immeasurably blessed to be her birth mother. I still have that positive pregnancy test, tucked into a drawer somewhere. I take it out every now and then and look at it as a reminder that just because life doesn't turn out the way we'd like it to, doesn't mean it can't still turn out well.

Friday, October 23, 2009


If you look at any of my past birthdays, today was comparatively rather strange. It was the least birthday-like of any birthday I've had. And yet, in some ways, today was the best birthday I've ever had.

I think that a big part of it is that I had no expectations for today. I knew that today wasn't going to be the day I'd planned, so I figured, whatever happens, happens.

I got up early to do another school presentation. I spoke to two classes at Campo Verde High School this morning. There were 5 students in the first class and 3 in the second. This was the first time I'd spoken to such a small group. I was a little intimidated at first but once I got used to it I found I enjoyed the change. It felt slightly less formal and slightly more comfortable. I think I did a better job today than yesterday. I know I enjoyed myself more. I'm really starting to love doing school presentations.

After the presentation, S took me out to lunch. We went to Denny's and my lunch was free because it was my birthday. We haven't really just had time to talk about things in a while, so it was good to catch up.

I felt pretty good when I got home. I finished my laundry and relaxed for a while. Even though I'd already gotten a few bigger things for my birthday, my mom likes for me to have something to open, so she got me a few things, including this handbag that I've wanted for a month but didn't feel I could justify buying. Then my mother and I went to Jo-Ann for a bit of fabric and then to Red Robin for dinner. I had a coupon for a free burger for my birthday.

This sounds like the dullest day ever, honestly, but I think dull was sort of a good thing. And the only parts of my day that weren't particularly dull were also not particularly cheerful. I miss my dad, and because I'd spoken about adoption earlier I really, really missed Roo. I can't even begin to explain how much I missed her. I've tried to distract myself with a TV show or two and that's helped a bit. I'm not sobbing desperately like I was earlier today in Jo-Ann when I happened upon the baby shower favor section. I stood there for about five whole minutes, crying silently and feeling terribly sorry for myself.

It was only a few minutes ago, though, that I actually stopped to wonder what my day would have been like with Roo here. I had a hard time picturing it. I remember how I had things planned out in my head, but I can't picture them the way I used to be able to. I can't imagine how the day would have gone if I were a single mother. No presents, most likely, but if I had to choose I'd have Roo instead of presents. But I can't have Roo. And so I have presents instead.

Despite the crying, today was, as I said, one of the best birthdays I can remember. I don't know what that says about other birthdays I've had, but even so. At dinner, my mother wondered aloud where we would be in a year. I can't even begin to imagine it. I know where I'd like to be, but I can't control every factor that might lead me there. All I can do is my best and see where it leads me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Story Time, Take Two

I realize this isn't exactly news, but I miss my baby. I got to tell her story twice today, and telling it always makes me miss her.

I did another school presentation today with LDSFS. I spoke to two child development classes at Gilbert High School. I don't feel like I did a great job, to be honest. I think I did better last week at MCC. S said she liked today's better. So I'm not sure.

I think part of the problem is that today I was faced with teenagers. At MCC, it was people around my age, some a bit younger, some a bit older, and some more than a bit older. But teenagers make me nervous. They've always made me nervous, even when I was a teenager. Being on a high school campus made me a little insecure, a little anxious. I felt like I was fourteen again, and I should mention here that I would never be fourteen again for anything in the world.

Teenagers are sort of a tough crowd. I don't know that they got my sense of humor, which just ruins things because I am snark personified. I tried to make things interesting (not that I feel Roo's story needs anything added to it to make it interesting) but I'm still not sure that any of the students were particularly interested in anything I had to say. I hope that one or two thought about it at least. I think maybe a couple of girls got something out of it.

I know I did. One thing I've noticed over the past couple of weeks is that the more I talk about adoption, the more comfortable I feel with it. Public speaking has never been a problem for me, and in fact when I was younger the trickier thing was shutting me up. So I was never worried about that aspect of presenting. What concerned me was the content, the emotion, the freshness of it all. I want to make sure I do the thing properly, that I do Roo and her story justice, and that I emphasize the blessings that come from putting your baby's needs first.

I think I've done that. I don't pussyfoot around the pain and heartache because I think that does a disservice to my audience. Adoption is hard and I don't see a need to pretend otherwise. But I've tried to stress that the fact that it's hard doesn't mean it's not worthwhile or right, and that I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Part of the problem for me is taking God out of the picture. I find it difficult to properly explain my decision without talking about eternal families and prayer and fasting and the Holy Ghost. I hate that that's the hardest part to explain because I think it's maybe the most important part of the story. I've struggled with that. How do I describe how and why I chose P and M without mentioning religion? How do I tell people that I knew they were her family without bringing up my faith?

Fortunately (if you'd call it that) I have the H angle to play up. And he was part of it. I didn't want his problems to become Roo's problems. I didn't want her growing up around alcohol. I didn't want her to be torn between two parents who don't like each other, not knowing where her loyalties should lie or where she should call home. What a horrible thing for a child to go through! I couldn't put my sweet Roo through that kind of thing. I wanted her to grow up with a mommy and daddy who were very much in love, who would keep her safe from the bad things in the world while she is small, who would teach her to be gentle and kind and patient and good.

P and M are a bit more difficult to explain, because that was my Father in Heaven guiding me 100%. I say this with all the love in the world, but I'm not sure I'd have chosen them out of all the profiles I looked at. There was nothing extraordinary about them, nothing to jump out at me and say "Here we are! We're Roo's family!" I'm just grateful that I was in a place where I was able to be so guided in my decision. But how do I explain my choice without mentioning God?

I do the best I can, and if it's not enough for my audience, so be it. Strange as it sounds, I am not doing these presentations for the students. I am doing them for myself, and for Roo. They hurt, but they heal, too. Each time I get through Roo's story, I feel just a little bit better.

I'm speaking again tomorrow. Telling Roo's story makes me miss her. But I think a part of me is always going to miss her for as long as I live. I miss her, but it's nothing I can't handle. It's a pain that I can live with. For Roo, I am glad to live with it. She is healthy, she is happy, and she is loved. How could I not be happy too?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Six Weeks

I've been feeling a bit depressed lately.

It's not got much to do with Roo, I don't think. It's mostly just me. Friday is my birthday. I always get depressed around my birthday. I know that most people don't like getting older. That part doesn't bother me so much. It's just that I have a bad track record with birthdays. I haven't had a good one since I was a little kid.

A few months ago, I thought I knew what this birthday was going to be like. I could picture it in my mind. It was going to be my first birthday as a mother. I even bought a special outfit for Roo to wear. I thought that Roo would probably take an interest in my discarded gift wrap, and my mom would take a lot of pictures of me with my baby girl. Maybe we'd go out to eat, but we'd have cake at home, same as always. And I would remember it as my best birthday ever, because I would spend it with Roo.

Now I can't imagine Roo being here for my birthday. Not because I don't want to (I'd love to still have her, of course), but because it seems strange now that I was ever her mother. Every week that passes seems to feel like a month. September 9th seems like a lifetime ago. I keep thinking that Roo must be older than she is, because placement feels like another eon.

I still miss her. Gosh, how I miss her. I miss being a mommy. I miss the future I thought I might have. But the pain isn't as acute. When I see Roo, she doesn't feel like mine anymore. She belongs to, and with, P and M. She's their baby, not mine.

This isn't going to be the birthday I had planned. I will still wear the new sweater I bought for the occasion, but I won't be coordinating with Roo. I'll be getting up early and going to a high school to speak about my adoption experience. I don't know what the rest of the day will bring. I'm probably going to have a visit on Saturday. I'm looking forward to it. Not the birthday I'd planned to be sure, but that's probably a good thing. I think it's going to be better. I won't celebrate my birthday as a single mother. I'll celebrate as the birth mother of an amazing little girl who has two families who love her. All I've ever wanted was for Roo to be happy. She is happy with her family. That's the only birthday present I need.

The past six weeks have been the hardest of my life. But I have grown more and learned more in them than I have at any other point in my life. I can't wait to see what the next six weeks bring.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I get lots of awesome e-mail from people who read my blog. I LOVE e-mail, by the way, and comments too. I’ve noticed that certain questions and statements seem to come up a lot, so for clarification purposes, here is my first (and probably only) Happiest Sad FAQ.

Q: Where did you get the name “The Happiest Sad?”

A: I came up with it after I first met P and M. I was devastated that I wasn’t going to be Roo’s mommy, but at the same time, I was incredibly happy that P and M were getting a baby – I was so happy for them, in fact, that I almost didn’t care that it was my baby they were getting. I was trying to describe to my mother how I felt. I was sad, but happy-sad. It was, I said, the happiest sad I’d ever been. I liked that turn of phrase, so I stuck with it.

Q: Why did you name your baby Roo?

A: I didn’t. Roo is a nickname I gave her when she was a few days old. She didn’t look like she’d quite grown into the name I gave her, so I decided she would be Roo until her name fit her just a little better. It stuck, and I rarely call her anything else.

I refer to her as Roo, and use initials for other people I mention, for privacy reasons. P and M adopted Roo, they didn’t adopt me. I want to respect their privacy as much as I can. I don’t know that they would necessarily mind if I used their names or Roo’s, but I feel very protective of all of them and it feels better to me to be a bit vague about personal details.

Q: Why don’t you post any new pictures of Roo?

A: For the same reason that I don’t use her real name or the names of anyone I refer to: Privacy. There are only two pictures of her you will ever see on my blog: the header picture, and the little one below it. I don’t want complete strangers to know what she looks like (although in my completely unbiased opinion she is quite a looker), or what her parents and sister look like. That’s nobody’s business.

Q: Do Roo’s parents read your blog?

A: They do, and I’ve been told that it has helped them to understand what I’ve been going through and why I chose adoption, and it will help them to tell Roo her story when she gets big enough to ask about it. When I blog, I try to always keep in mind that they will read it, and that someday Roo will read it, and I write accordingly. I don’t shy away from the truth of how I’m feeling or what I’ve been through, but I think that’s been helpful, if painful for all of us involved. I don’t think I’d be doing anyone any favors if I tried to sugarcoat things. When Roo reads this someday, she will know how very much I love her, because I was willing to put myself through such hell for her.

Q: How old are you?

A: I was born in 1983, which makes me 26 this Friday.

Q: Have you considered writing a book about your experience?

A: I have, and I’m working on it. I feel like a lot of what I’ve written is pretty rough at the moment, and I still have more of my story to tell. Once I’ve got everything told that needs telling, I’ll organize things a bit better and see what I can do with it.

Q: Is H involved in your life or Roo’s at all?

A: No. I haven’t seen him since late November of 2008, and I haven’t heard from him since August 22 of 2009. Roo and I are both much better without him in our lives.

Q: What church do you go to?

A: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, often called the Mormon church. My faith is a big part of the reason I placed Roo. Mormons believe that families can be together for eternity by partaking of the sealing ordinance in the temple. I wanted Roo to have an eternal family like I do. If you have any questions about what I believe, please e-mail me or visit for more information.

Q: I was raised by a single mother and I turned out just fine. You could have kept your baby and she would have been okay and you wouldn’t have had to hurt so much.

A: Kudos to your mother. Being a single mom is hard work. Having two parents is no guarantee that a child will turn out fine, too. But statistically, children of married parents are better off than children of single parents. And I wanted Roo to have a good daddy like I did. I wanted her to have an eternal family, to be well-provided for, and to have every chance in the world at happiness. I could have kept her, and I wouldn’t have suffered. But Roo might have, and I wasn’t willing to take that chance.

Q: Do you think that all women facing unplanned pregnancies should choose adoption?

A: Absolutely not. I think it should be taken into consideration, though, and I wish more women would realize it is a viable, amazing option. Of the 11 million unplanned pregnancies in America every year, 50% end in abortion (49% of women single parent and 1% choose adoption). It is a wonderful way to make something good out of something bad.

Adoption was right for Roo and for me, but I would never say that it's right for everyone. I just don't think it should be immediately ruled out.

Q: Why did you wait so long to place your baby for adoption?

A: I ask myself this question all the time. I can’t rightly say. The short answer is that I hadn't found P and M yet. Part of me feels like I wasn’t ready to place her so soon after she was born. I knew what I should do, but knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. I wanted her so badly, and I hadn’t found a family for her that felt right. I knew that adoption was always an option, so I didn’t rush myself into a decision. I took the time to think about it and pray about it and consider my options and what my life and Roo’s would be like, and what we would both have and have not if I kept her. It took me a while to decide. But I think the most important message in my story is that it’s never too late to do the right thing.

Q: Did Roo have any problems because you waited so long to place her?

A: Not a one. She doesn’t seem to remember me at all, and she slept through the night the second night P and M had her, something she never did with me. She has always seemed to be comfortable and happy with P and M. I think she knows they are supposed to be her parents. She doesn’t appear to have suffered a bit. She is happy and content and healthily attached to her mom and dad.

Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy?

A: Remember that people make mistakes, God doesn't. Every child is precious and perfect. Your baby is not a mistake, and you are not a bad person. Take the time to consider all of your options. Don't rush into a decision and don't let anyone else make the decision for you. Find someone impartial to talk to - LDSFS has fantastic counselors who won't pressure you, but I know that there are other agencies and resources out there. Know that you are not the first woman to go through this, and you won't be the last. Take care of yourself and get good prenatal care. Stay close to God. Most important, don't give up on yourself. You can get through this and no matter what you do (marriage, single parenting, or adoption), you will be a better person for it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Five Weeks

I totally forgot on Wednesday that it was 5 weeks since I placed Roo.

I'm not shocked that I forgot, really. I left for Tucson on Wednesday night so I didn't go to the birth mother support group at LDSFS like I usually do. Being there tends to remind me that it's another week since I was a mommy. But it isn't as though I haven't been thinking of my Roo. She's been on my mind a lot. I think maybe I forgot because it seems I placed her so long ago.

I know I say this every week, but I can't believe that so little time has passed. It feels like months ago. Not too surprising, really, since the first week felt like a year, and the second week felt like a month.

I am doing so much better than I ever thought I would, especially after only 5 weeks. I remember thinking during the first week after placement that I would never want to eat again, never sleep without an Ativan, never laugh at a TV show, never get over no longer being a mother.

And yet, here I am, back to as normal of a life as I'll ever lead. I've always hated that word, normal. I was never normal as a child. Actually, I don't think I've ever been normal in my life. And from a situational standpoint, who's to say what is normal? Normal is just how things are. It's not normal to have a father die of brain cancer, but that's normal for me. It's not normal to place a baby for adoption when she's nine weeks old, but that's my normal.

I miss Roo terribly. I think that's going to be normal for a while. But I don't miss her with the same desperation I used to have. I miss the baby that I had, not the baby that P and M have. She is their baby, not mine (even though I will always call her my Roo). I miss the plans I had for her that I will never see fulfilled. But I am looking forward to seeing what plans her parents have for her, to see what fun things she does and what clever things she says and what incredible things she learns.

I miss her, but it's okay. And so am I.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Learning, Happiness, and Moving On

I miss my Roo today.

I miss her, but I think what I miss most today (Wednesday, I don't care that it's after midnight) is being Roo's mommy.

I loved holding her and feeling her little body relax against mine, sure that she was safe and loved. Her perfect trust in me was overwhelming and lovely and I miss it terribly.

I miss being the one to feed her and burp her and rock her to sleep. I miss being the one to pick her up when she fusses or cries, the one who changes diapers and washes tiny clothes and gives baths and answers to the name of Mommy.

I wonder sometimes if it would have been easier for me if I'd placed Roo at birth, if I hadn't had the chance to be her mother. It was terrible to go from being a mother to not being a mother, to go from a million wonderful little responsibilities to none at all. But I don't think I could have placed her when she was brand-spanking new. I think I needed to be her mother for a little while. It's selfish, but she needed me as well, and I took the best care of her, and I did do the right thing by her, even if I waited a little longer than most do. And being Roo's mommy was the most amazing thing in the world.

I learned so much from being her mommy. I learned how very much I am capable of loving someone else. I learned to be selfless, to put someone else first, to put all of my energy into making another person happy and how to forget about myself. I learned that when you love someone that deeply, you will do anything in the world for them, even if it means breaking your own heart to do it.

Because my sacrifice was so great, so has been my new-found strength. And I think that some day I'll hold every bit as much joy as I've held sorrow. I miss Roo, but it's selfish. I miss being her mommy for my sake, not hers. It's okay. I was her mommy for nine weeks, after I carried her and grew her for nine months, and nothing can change that, and no one can take it away from me. It will always be mine. The rest of her life is for Roo's parents. And Roo could not possibly have better parents in all the world. If any couple was ever meant to be parents, it's P and M. I don't feel they could possibly love Roo any more than I do, but I am certain that they love her every bit as much.

I miss my Roo, and yet ... it's okay. I'm okay. It's easier than it was. A few weeks ago I was crushed under the weight of how much I missed her. I am so thankful that I can miss her and not lose it. That I can miss her and still be okay.

And I am. Roo is the best, happiest, sweetest, most content baby in all of the universe. I will always be her birth mother, her almost-mother. Every mother wants for her children to have peace and joy. How can I not be happy when my baby is doing so well? She thrives. And so shall I.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Story Time

The adoption academy on Saturday was the first time I have really told my story in front of a group of people. I was a little nervous, but I knew that I could do okay, and I think that I did.

What I was more concerned about were the scheduled school presentations. How, I thought, am I supposed to tell my story without mentioning religion? My faith is such a huge part of the decision I made.

But, I thought, I have time to figure that out. My first scheduled school presentation is in ten days, on the 23rd (which happens to be my birthday). I have sat in on a school presentation and I got a fairly good idea of what to expect, what to say, what not to say, and how to downplay the religious aspects of my decision.

In the past, LDSFS has only done presentations in high schools. But this week they've got two college presentations scheduled at Mesa Community College. The first one was this afternoon. A birth mother I know was scheduled to present, but she got sick. So last night I got a call from S asking would I be willing to speak today?

I said yes. I was nervous, but I figured the only way to get past my nerves was to rip off the metaphorical Band-Aid and speak sooner rather than later. So early this afternoon, I told my adoption story to a social work class.

I think I did great, if I say so myself. Nerves tend to loosen my tongue, and I found myself saying absolutely ridiculous things that made me feel an absolute fool, but my audience seemed to appreciate my candor and honesty. And I actually managed to do a good job of explaining my decision without mentioning God. Fortunately, I had the birth-father-is-an-emotionally-abusive-alcoholic angle to work. And the financial angle. And the I-had-a-great-dad-and-I-want-the-same-for-my-baby angle. And myriad others. Eschewing religion was easier than I thought - although all things being equal, I preferred speaking at the adoption academy and telling a more complete story. I feel that it's a much richer, more compelling and well-rounded story that way. And that's the whole story. I felt a bit cheated having to leave out some of the more awesome spiritual parts of the story, like how I found Roo's family.

But I do feel much more confident now about speaking on the 23rd. And I think that teenagers will be a less intimidating crowd. A college class was more or less a group of my peers. A high school child development class is, comparably, small potatoes.

What amazed me the most was what telling my story has done for me. It is cathartic, therapeutic. Every time I talk about Roo's adoption, it hurts a little less. Every time I tell my story - even just a bit of it - I feel better. Stronger. In every telling I learn things about myself. I come to new realizations about how right this adoption is, about how much I have already healed.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, and I want to shout it from the rooftops! I am so excited to speak again and spread the word. And I feel a bit more motivated to finish writing out my story for this blog. I've sort of left it hanging in November, and I need to finish it before I get too far ahead of myself.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I was reading the scriptures last week and I came across this verse - Moses 5 verse 11:

"And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient."

I read it a few times. It seemed counterintuitive for Eve to be happy. She and Adam have been cast out of Eden. They have sinned against God. But Eve was glad.

As I read it, I saw parallels to my own life. I don't mean to imply that I am as vital or impressive a woman as Eve was, but bear with me here. As I read it, I thought, yes, I have sinned, and there are consequences. But were it not for my transgression, I wouldn't have had Roo, and by extension, P and M wouldn't have had her, either. My life before I met H was very boring and church didn't mean a whole lot to me. It's only been through my journey back to being a worthy member of the church that I have really understood right and wrong, and that I have felt, as Eve did, the joy of redemption.

Before I made mistakes, I didn't fully understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I understood it in an abstract sort of way, but I had never had cause to be personally acquainted with its nuances. Now that I have, I can appreciate my Savior so much more. It is only because I have made the mistakes I have that I have the testimony I have now.

Certainly it would have been better for me not to have sinned, and to come to understand the gospel more fully while keeping God's commandments. But our Father in Heaven knows us. He doesn't want us to sin, but He knows that we will, because we are not perfect. So he designed a way for us to be made whole again after we have sinned.

I am not grateful for my sin. But I am grateful for the things it has taught me, and for how much closer I feel to my Savior because of it. There is none of us so lost that we can't repent and become better people. I am so thankful that the Lord can make bitter things sweet, and ugly things beautiful. I made mistakes and I shouldn't have. But because I have - and more importantly because I have learned from them - one of God's precious daughters has a physical body and an eternal family.

And because I had Roo, I found myself wanting to be a better person, and making better choices - for her and for me. I am a better woman, and I have a stronger testimony and a greater love for my Savior. I know the joy of redemption, and it is as powerful and deep as the pain of sin.


I went to the most amazing fireside last night. The speaker was a former member of the Cuban military - a former trained assassin. He joined the Mormon church nine years after he came to America in 1989. I have never before in my life heard such a compelling story. This man has been to hell and back more than any human should ever have to. He has seen the worst that humanity has to offer.

As much as anything, his was a story of redemption. He bore the most amazing testimony of the Atonement and the difference it has made in his life. He has the most perfect faith in the power of Christ to make us whole again. I've been thinking a lot about what he said during the past 24 hours.

I write almost exclusively about my experiences since I found out I was pregnant, but I have purposely avoided discussing the sin that led to my pregnancy. It's between me and the Lord, and it is something I have put firmly behind me in my life.

Except that it is always with me, in my mind. It isn't something that I can forget, and the bad decisions that I made last year have crushed my self-esteem. I have a hard time forgiving myself. And that makes it hard to believe that God will forgive me. I have struggled with this for the better part of the year. I know that God loves us, and that we can be forgiven of our sins through the Atonement of Christ. But I also know what the scriptures and the prophets have said about this kind of sin. It's hard to reconcile those two things.

The speaker last night was once a trained killer. But he spoke with a surety of the Lord having forgiven him his sins. I thought, if he's been forgiven, mightn't I be forgiven as well?

I know that, even though I made terrible mistakes, one of the results was that the world now holds the most beautiful, perfect baby I have ever known. The Lord has ways of making ugly things beautiful. How wonderful that is!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Am Feeling Better Today.

Well, by today I mean the 10th, even though it's technically tomorrow already as it's after midnight. I digress.

I have often joked that God is like a ten-year-old boy: He loves me, but He has a strange way of showing it at times. I hope that's not blasphemous. I don't think it is. I've always liked to think that our Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor.

Yesterday was so rotten for so many reasons. It seemed like one thing after another went wrong, and just when I thought I'd had it, something else went wrong, and I'd had enough. But today was a much better day. Exponentially better. So much better that I can't believe it's only the day after yesterday.

I got to attend and speak at the FSA adoption academy today. I went with my mother, since she was on the adult adoptee panel. It was great to hear her tell her story. I know she was nervous, because this was the first time she'd ever really talked about being adopted. She did such a good job and I am so proud of her!

The adoption academy is an absolutely awesome thing, and if they let me I will attend every one there is. There was such a good spirit there. I was super nervous to speak during the birth mother panel, but I think I did okay. I tried to get in the things that I felt were most important, and I tried not to overshare but I think I failed in the latter pursuit. Nerves loosen my tongue in certain situations, and public speaking is one of them. I don't think I made a complete fool of myself, but the couples there certainly didn't need to know that my Chevy isn't running. Oh well.

Afterward, M asked if I wanted to see Roo. So I got another visit with her! It was wonderful. I got to cuddle her for a few hours and talk to M and P and generally enjoy a lovely afternoon. We cut teeth early in my family, and poor Roo is already teething at three months. It was so hard to see her fuss and gnaw on her fists. At the same time, part of me was terribly relieved that I didn't have to deal with a teething infant all by myself. It was a comfort to me to know that Roo has two parents who can take turns consoling her when she is sad or hurting.

I absolutely love visits with Roo. I always know that she gets all the love and care in the world, but there is nothing quite like seeing for myself exactly how chubby her cheeks are, how happy and healthy she is, how soft her skin is, and how very much her parents love her. It is wonderful to snuggle with her and cuddle her and kiss her little cheeks as much as I want to ... and then to hand her back to her mother. Roo gave M the biggest smile when I handed her back before I went home. That baby girl knows exactly who Mommy and Daddy are, and she loves them. Seeing her does me such good.

I said something during the adoption academy earlier today that I only really realized as I said it. An adoptive mom asked if there was ever a time, on a hard day for instance, when getting pictures of or e-mail about Roo (she asked all 3 of the birth mothers, but this is my blog so I'm going to make it about me here). I said that the only pictures of Roo that make me cry are the ones I took when I was her mother. The pictures I have from P and M are the best things in the world for me, and when I am sad, they make me happy. There has never been a time that I can recall that a picture of Roo from P and M has done anything but given me peace and joy. My absolute favorite, in fact, is their family picture. Roo fits with them perfectly. She is their baby, not mine.

I feel that I learned a lot today from the academy. I think I have a better appreciation for the leap of faith that adoptive couples take in pursuing adoption and being open. A few of the adoptive couples seemed very apprehensive about openness. I tried to convey that openness is the best thing in the world - not just for the birth mother, but for everyone involved in the adoption.

Between the academy and my surprise snugglefest with Roo, I felt fantastic when I got home. And then my friend (who is my Relief Society president, but also my friend) called and asked if I wanted to get together with some women from the ward and watch movies. So I had a great night, watching two silly movies and painting my toenails and eating ice cream.

I am so blessed. I feel that for every thing that went wrong this past week and yesterday in particular, something went very right today, even if just a small thing, and it has made a big difference for me. I know that God loves me, and I am so thankful that He has given me the opportunity to be a part of Roo's life, and that He led me to her parents, to her eternal family.

It's impossible to know what any day will bring. Tomorrow could be awful again, or the next day. Or I could have a week of good days. I can't predict it. But I can control how I react to things, and what I choose to do with the challenges that I am faced with. I know now more strongly than I ever have before that if I do the very best I can with what God gives me, He will take care of the rest.

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Always Something

I am having sort of a Joseph Smith moment.

I don't believe for a second that my struggles today are a drop in the ocean compared to the things the prophet went through when he was in jail. But I am having one of those days when I want to cry out, like Joseph, "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1, by the way.)

I am supposed to expect great and wonderful blessings for both my obedience to God's commandments, and for the sacrifice I made in placing my sweet baby for adoption. While I don't expect the life-changing blessings to start right away, it seems just cruel that instead of even small blessings, one thing after another goes wrong in my life.

Since I was fired from my job a year ago August, I have applied for seven jobs, and I have been turned down every time. What little savings I had were spent on Roo. I had around $300 in my Wells Fargo account until about a week ago, when someone stole my debit card number and spent $486, effectively wiping out my savings.

Wells Fargo told me they would investigate and give me provisional credit to cover the fraud. Not only have they not done that in the past week, they charged me a $35 fee for not having the funds in my account to cover the fraudulent charges! I got a notice today that if I don't pony up in the next 30 days, there will be legal action taken and my credit will be ruined. My credit already took a hit in this past year because I made two late payments and accidentally went over the limit on my credit card.

On top of this, I think I may be coming down with something, and I am almost positive I have a cavity, and I need a refill of one of my prescriptions, but I can't take care of any of those things because my insurance company just dropped me.

There's kind of a story here. Insurance for Roo was a thousand bucks a month. My insurance is about $400. I've got COBRA coverage through my dad's employer for another year and a half or so. My mother and I, for the most part, could not afford to insure Roo. So when I decided to place her in September, we didn't pay for Roo's coverage for September, we only paid for mine. As a result of this so-called non-payment, my coverage has been dropped.

I am uninsured, unemployed, and broke. And my car hasn't run since May, and despite my new exercise program I have gained weight, and I am having nightmares again, and one of my best friends in the world is unsupportive of my decision to place Roo, and I've had a migraine for two weeks - complete with occular floaters, and my mom's financial situation has been better, and it's my birthday in two weeks and I am miserable.

I don't expect the blessings to just pour in because I've been obedient and done what was best for my baby. But is it asking too much that things not be completely terrible?

I'm sorry to rant so much and sort of deviate from the normal purpose of this blog. But I am frustrated and angry and writing always helps.

I need to not be frustrated and angry. I need to count my blessings. I need to remember what is going well in my life. I have a new calling in my ward, and I am meeting new people at FHE, and I am going to tell my adoption story tomorrow at a workshop for adoptive parents. Roo is chubby and happy and healthy and content and there are dozens of people who love her very dearly. She has a mommy and daddy who are going to have her sealed to them.

And God loves me, just as He loves Joseph Smith. I know that God doesn't show His love by making our lives easier. He shows His love by being there for us when our lives aren't easy, and I know that He is here for me now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Four Weeks

It has been four weeks since I was a mother. I miss my baby.

It feels like years since I placed Roo. How has it only been a month? She is three months old now and holding her head up like a pro. What happened to my teeny-tiny little newborn? She has grown so fast.

Every Wednesday I think about her, about how long it's been since I placed her, and about how different both of our lives are. It seems a bit strange to go back to LDSFS for the support group every Wednesday night - the place and the day that I signed away my rights.

Like a war veteran, I have flashbacks. I walk out to my car in the parking lot after group and all of a sudden, I am holding Roo, sobbing, looking from her parents' car to mine and back again and realizing for the first time exactly whose car Roo was going home in, and to whose home that car would take her.

Or I will be sitting in group and S will use a word or phrase that takes me back to that night, to the ninth, and I forget which room at LDSFS I'm in and what exactly is happening and why I'm there.

In a way, I am a war veteran (although I apologize if that seems an unfair comparison). I fought a war against my instinct, against my heart, against my very being. The problem with fighting against yourself, of course, is that whether you win or lose, you lose.

I won and I lost. I won in the sense that I was able to set aside my every instinct to mother my precious baby, and I lost in that in doing what was the very best for Roo, I lost her. No, I didn't lose her. I hate that phrase. I hate it when people refer to a death as a loss. "Oh, you lost your father?" That sounds so irresponsible, as though I have misplaced him. I didn't lose him. I know exactly where he is.

And I didn't lose Roo. Had I not been strong enough and kept her, I think I might have lost her. Maybe not this year or next year or in five or ten years, but I think that at some point, whether emotionally or spiritually or physically, I would have lost her. In placing her with her parents, she was found. I found out who she is, who she is meant to be. Not my daughter but theirs.

I miss her dreadfully. I ache with it. Every so often the gravity of what I did will fall upon me and I almost can't breathe for the weight of it on my soul. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. Being a good mother means doing what is best for your child, no matter what it does to you. I'm not Roo's mommy anymore, but I feel like because I did what I did, I am the best mother in the world.

A lot of people I know seem to think that when adoption is the right choice, there will be a certain peace and joy in it. And to a small degree, they are right. I am so happy for P and M. I am happy that they got the baby they were meant to have. And I don't wrestle with my decision so much anymore. I made it, and it is done, and it was right. But for the most part, when adoption is the right choice, it's not the birth mother whose peace and happiness indicate the rightness of the choice. I think it's the peace and happiness of the adopted child and the adoptive parents that matter.

Which isn't to say that a birth mother's feelings aren't important. But I know that I made the right decision because Roo is happy and loved and content, not because I feel all hunky-dory about adoption. I don't yet have that exponential degree of peace that I had hoped for. I'm still praying for it and working on it. It sounds cliched but I can say in all veracity that that kind of peace is a journey, not a destination. There are good days and there are bad days. I'm finally getting to the point where there are more good than bad.

I think the biggest difference between now and four weeks ago is that while I have always known that P and M were meant to be Roo's parents, I am no longer devastated that that means I am not meant to be her mother. I have learned to be grateful for the time that I had to be her mommy. I would not trade it for anything in heaven or earth.

I am not Roo's mother anymore. I am her birth mother. And I'm starting to appreciate what a nice thing that is to be.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spreading the Word

My mother and I went shopping today.

It was sort of for my birthday, and sort of as a post-placement thing. We went shopping for something pretty to commemorate Roo's adoption.

The saleslady was very kind and helpful. She asked if I was shopping for any particular occasion, or just because. I didn't answer right away.

What should I say? Should I explain to a complete stranger that I was a mother for two months and then I gave my baby girl to someone else? For the most part, people have been supportive of me and my decision. But I never know how people are going to react.

And even if people are supportive - or at the least, not unsupportive - I know I'm going to hear some of those phrases I hate to hear. Phrases like, "Oh, I could never do that." Or "You made the right decision." Or "Don't you love your baby?" Or "Why didn't you keep her?"

In the end, I told her it was just because - because I wanted something pretty. I didn't have the mental energy to get into it. But I wonder if I made the right call?

Maybe I should have told her my story, even if just the short version. Should I have made more of an effort to promote adoption? I feel this strange sort of responsibility now, like I need to be an adoption ambassador and tell the world how awesome it is.

But my grief is still a little too fresh. I'm not ready to go one-on-one with a stranger at the mall. I wonder if I ever will be. As anxious as I am to talk about adoption at schools and the like, that's a different audience. It's harder, more strange, when I'm not sure what to expect from people. And I think, too, is it really anybody's business?

I don't know. So I think, in the meantime, I will keep it to myself, and stick to polite smiles and short answers. I'll talk more freely when I'm ready. If I'm ever ready. I'm in no rush.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another First (and a bit of introspection)

Today, I glanced in the backseat of the car and saw Roo's car seat.

And I did not cry. I felt sad, but the pain was bearable.

You're probably wondering why her car seat is still in the car, nearly a month after placement. I haven't been able to take it out yet. I'm not sure where I'm going to put it, and I don't have to see it too often right now because it's in my mom's car, not mine.

There is an old shirt stuffed around the straps to keep the buckles from clattering as the car moves. That sound nearly undid me on the drive home the night I placed her. I used to think about the seat every time I got in the car. I don't so much anymore. I know it's there, but that knowledge is in the back of my mind, not the front.

Yesterday I sorted through a bit of Roo's laundry. Normally, just seeing a tiny Onesie would be enough to bring me to tears. But I felt okay. I picked up a sleeper, and I folded it, and mostly what I thought was that I was looking forward to putting that sleeper on my future child or children. It reminded me a bit of Roo, but I know that she is happy and healthy and loved. And though I miss her dearly, she is not mine, and I am happy for the life she has now.

I feel at times that I will probably never marry, never have more children. I try to be optimistic, but it seems that men are too stubborn or shy or nervous to ask most women out. And I think, with my past, who would choose me over a woman who has made better life choices? Even though I have repented and turned my life around, I feel unworthy of a good man sometimes - especially since good men seem uninterested in me. I hope and pray that there is a good man out there for me, who will understand that the things I have been through made me the woman I am today. I just wonder where he is, and how long it will take me to find him.

I have to have hope. I've said it before and I'll say it again: placing Roo gave her an amazing future. And it stands to reason that for my sacrifice I'll be blessed with an amazing future as well. I just need to be a little patient.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Note to My Readers

When I started this blog, my motives were selfish. I thought that it would be therapeutic for me, and that someday it might help Roo understand why I couldn't be her mommy - why I am *not* her mommy. It never occurred to me that anyone other than P and M and maybe my mother might read it.

But in recent weeks I've heard that I have many readers, and that they appreciate my honesty and my sacrifice. I was at first disbelieving, since I don't get many comments and because I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to read what I have to say. But I have come to realize that my story is important, and that it has touched people, and I am grateful for that.

I've been told by adoptive parents that my blog helps them to understand what their babies' birth mothers might be feeling, and by birth mothers that I was able to put into words exactly how they'd felt after placement. What a thrill! I've always felt that I might have a gift for writing, but I never imagined that I would devote my time to writing about adoption. It has indeed been therapeutic for me, but I am glad that it has helped other people, too. I find that now I write as much for others as I do for myself.

I want the whole world to understand how amazing adoption is, and how much good it does for all parties involved. I am excited to tell my story, whether on this blog, or in schools, or to other birth mothers. So whomever you are out there, thank you for reading, and for sharing my blog with others.

It occurs to me that sometimes I'm a bit too negative, a bit too introspective, a bit too wrapped up in how hard this has been for me. I don't want that to be the emphasis here, although I do think it's important to be honest about my feelings, because some people still think that adoption is the easy way out, or means that I don't love my baby. But I want the message I send to be one of hope and joy and peace.

I have hurt more than words can ever say. Missing Roo is like a constant toothache. The days after placement were the darkest of my life, and they were nothing short of hell. But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, because in the end it can't be about me. If it comes down to doing what was best for me or doing what was best for Roo, she wins every time. Adoption was hard for me, but the best thing in the world for Roo. I placed her because I love her. I will always love her, and I will always love her parents.

This has been hard, but the hurt will heal. I am a better person because of the decision that I have made, and so too is Roo. Adoption has changed both of our lives in ways I can only begin to imagine. It is an awesome thing, and am thankful every day for the blessing that it is.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Second Visit

I had a wonderful visit yesterday.

I got to hold and cuddle my Roo for nearly two-and-a-half hours, and it was fantastic. She really is the very best baby in the world. And absolutely the most beautiful. I could stare at her for hours. She has the most exquisitely expressive little face. She smiled at me several times. She is a very happy baby, very content. P and M are taking the very best care of her - her bumpy rash is gone, as is her cradle cap, and her skin and hair feel silky soft. She has new fat rolls and her wrists are deeply dimpled thanks to the roundness of her forearms.

It was so good to hold her again! And there was good news, too. P and M have hired a private attorney to finalize the adoption, so it's going to happen before Christmas instead of in five months. Roo will be sealed to her parents this December! I wish I could be in there, but I want Roo to have an eternal family as soon as possible. That is why I placed her, what I wanted most for her.

I felt great after my first visit. Yesterday was a little bit harder, for some reason. I don't know exactly why. I missed her a bit more. I think maybe it's to do with my latest project, which is printing out nearly every picture of Roo that I have ever taken - Walgreens must be sick of me by now. I've been sorting through around a thousand pictures, putting them in order and remembering.

I miss her. I miss her dreadfully. It is a constant ache. I wish at times that I had her back - not for her sake, but for mine. I know that she is so much better off with P and M as her parents, and for so many reasons. But I miss being her mommy. I miss having her to cuddle and love and take care of. Sometimes I wish I could summon her to me, just for a minute or two, for a quick snuggle or a kiss.

As much as I miss her, as much as I cried last night (not much, actually, all things considered), the visit did me so much good. The first one did, and this visit did, and I know that every visit to come will do me good. I need visits. I need to see that she's happy and healthy and loved. I need to see how happy P and M are, and how much she means to them. I know I made the right decision for my baby. But there's a difference between knowing it and seeing it, and seeing it goes a long way towards healing me.

LDSFS does school presentations for child development classes. They have an adoptive couple speak, and a birth mother. I am going to do my first presentation next week. I am excited to speak. I want to tell my story. I want the whole world to know how amazing open adoptions are. I placed my baby for adoption, but that wasn't the end of things. I have seen her since, and I will see her again. And we will both be happy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Finding Roo's Family

I have had a few people ask me how I chose a family for Roo. I can understand the curiosity. Out of all the families out there who would love to adopt a baby, how do you narrow it down? What criteria do you use?

When I was still pregnant and looking at couple profiles, I thought that it was going to be the hardest decision of my life. I had certain things I was looking for in a family, and I found them in more than one profile. In February, I met with two different couples and in my mind, I was going to choose between them for a family for Roo.

And then I decided to keep her, and I put them out of my mind as much as I could. I still thought about them, and wondered if any other birth mothers were interested in them, and whether they had pinned their hopes for a child on me.

When I thought I might need to place Roo, I tried to choose between the two couples I had met. Neither one felt right. Well, shoot, I thought. What am I supposed to do now?

I looked at more profiles, but none stood out. At no point did I have the experience that I have heard birth mothers speak of, where a heavenly choir sings and you just know you've found THE family. I decided to think on it for a few days.

I should explain at this point that I strongly believe that birth mothers do not choose their baby's families, they find them. I believe that adopted children end up with the families they are meant to be with. How was I to know where Roo belonged? I wanted so strongly for her to belong with me. I didn't think I'd ever find the right couple.

I spent a lot of time on-line, looking at various adoption websites and blogs. And on every single one, the names of one couple kept showing up. Their names would jump out at me from the list as though they were in boldface. It didn't seem to matter what site I was on. In the midst of every list of couples hoping to adopt, there they were.

I thought I was probably just noticing them because I had liked their LDSFS profile. It was written well and I couldn't find any spelling or grammar errors. That must be it, I told myself.

But that night, as I rocked Roo to sleep, their names came to me again.

And again, when I fed her the next morning.

And again, when I changed her diaper.

And again, during her bath.

And again, when I watched TV.

And when I held her again, and when I fed her again, and changed diaper after diaper. It got kind of annoying, to be honest. I wished their names would leave me alone. But they didn't. And when I made the decision for sure to place Roo, I knew which couple to choose. In the end, I did not choose them for Roo. Heavenly Father chose them for Roo. In His infinite wisdom, He knew where she needed to be, and He knew how stubborn I am, and that I would need to be hit over the head with the information.

As I sat in S's office at LDSFS, sobbing and holding my baby tight, I knew what to do. S asked me if I had any couples in mind. She knew of a few who would be willing to be very open, she said. But they weren't right. I told S I knew who Roo's parents were supposed to be.

A few minutes later, M got the phone call that answered a thousand prayers. That was on a Monday. I met P and M on Thursday. I had heard birth mothers say that when they met the right couple, they felt as though they had known them forever. I have to say, I didn't feel that. But I don't think that means anything. That isn't what's important. What is important is that I felt comfortable with them instantly, and they answered every stupid question I could think to ask without making me feel stupid for asking, and when I let them hold Roo for the first time, my arms didn't feel empty. I knew, just as surely as I know my own name, that she was where she belonged. Roo gave her daddy the biggest smile I had ever seen. She, too, seemed to know that she had found her family.

I don't think a birth mother can possibly choose a family. I think that the best that she can do is search and pray and have faith that God will lead her in the right direction.

P and M are Roo's parents as much as if she shared their DNA. Heavenly Father wanted her to be theirs before any of us were born. I am so thankful that they let me borrow her for a little while when she was brand new. I am thankful that I was led to them. They are amazing people, and I am thankful for the privilege of bringing their daughter into the world. I know that God loves me, because he provided me with that awesome experience, and he has blessed me for it.

The scriptures say to seek and ye shall find. I sought, and I found. And Roo and I are both better for it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

At the Moment ...

I miss my baby.

But I feel okay.