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.


Heather K. said...

Hi, I have looked at your blog a few times now and I am so inspired by your strength.

About this post, I do not think you are a liar at all for not mentioning that you placed Roo for adoption nor does it question your belief in adoption. The lady was under the impression that Roo was yours and you probably didn't mention anything so it wouldn't make the lady feel awkward.

I am a mother to a baby who was born with heart defects so I look at several heart mom blogs too. For several of them (including me) they never told someone right out when they were asked how the pregnancy was going that their baby was going to be born with heart problems. Sometimes its just easier to not say what you want to to avoid awkward silences, questions, etc. I think the same goes for you in your situation as well. You'll find a way in your own words to tell people about your adoption. And this blog is a start. Everyone who reads this blog knows how you feel about adoption and how you love your baby girl so much!

BobandColista said...

There's nothing wrong with what you said. I have come to the decision that no one needs to know more than is necessary. Some things are private. You can decide when and to whom you tell your story.

One time when we were having a visit with our birth mom at her workplace she introduced my daughter to her co-worker by saying, "This is my daughter." Surprisingly, it didn't make me feel jealous or upset at all. My husband and I looked at each other and smiled. Our birth mother was simply introducing my daughter to her co-worker in such a way that she would understand who the sweet little girl was. She meant nothing by saying it and wasn't trying to hurt anyone. At the time my daughter wasn't old enough to know what was going on.

I am very open that we were fortunate enough to adopt our sweet kids. Everyone I know has heard our adoption story. But, there have been times when I've been with a group of ladies who are all talking about their pregnancy issues, labor problems, and all the fun stuff associated with the first months of their babies lives when they turn to me and ask to share my experiences. Most of the time I tell them my adoption story. But, there was a time when I just didn't feel comfortable in sharing our story. I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed, it just wasn't the right time or place. So, I told them what I knew about my kid's first months and said the pregnancies were pretty typical. I wasn't lying. I wasn't hiding. I was choosing who I invite into my family's world. No one needs to know.

I remember while my husband and I were looking for a gift for our birth mother the clerk at the store asked us if there was any special occasion for this gift. At first I hesitated in telling her simply because I had received negative comments on "birth mother gifts." One person actually said to me in a bitter voice, "So, you get a baby and the birth mom gets a quilt." I pushed that memory to the side as I stood in front of the clerk and decided to tell her exactly what we were doing. To my surprise she got a huge smile and told me about how her daughter had just placed her daughter with a family. That clerk did everything she could to help us and even gave us a sale price which wasn't supposed to start until that weekend.

I think you have to listen to your heart.

We were placed with our kids when they were 15 months old and 8 months old. They are both from the states.