Monday, November 30, 2009

The End … and the Anniversary of the End

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Church Presentation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Secret

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

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

Thanksgiving and My Crazy Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

On Being a Daddy’s Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009


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

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

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The End is Near!

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How To Irritate a Birth Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

Button, Button ...

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

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

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

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

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

Hoping to Adopt

Jeremy & Leslie

Hoping for Another Miracle!

Utah Adoption


Dustyn and Kamie are hoping to adopt!

kelly and lechelle



Our Adoption Blog

Clayton & Angie


Alternative Name


Hoping to Adopt


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

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

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Thoughts of the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy National Adoption Day!

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2009


There’s a part of my story that I’ve kept quiet about for a while, but I feel that this is the time to share it. I’d actually forgotten about it for a while, but the DVD release of Disney/Pixar’s “Up” put it back in the front of my mind. My mother and I saw “Up” in the theater when I was heavily pregnant, two days or so from my due date. P and M and I all owe a debt of gratitude to “Up.” It is part of what changed my mind about adoption.

“Up” tells the story of Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old man who sets his house aloft with a passel of helium-filled balloons. The beginning of the movie introduces us to a young Carl, who stumbles upon an imaginative, freckly girl named Ellie. We watch them grow up together, become friends, fall in love, and marry. In a wordless montage, we see Carl’s and Ellie’s lives together, including their desire to become parents. They happily decorate a nursery. Then a scene shows a doctor’s office, the doctor speaking, Ellie sobbing into her hands and a worried-looking Carl with his hands on her shoulders.

I don’t think it had ever hit me until that moment how devastating infertility must be for a couple. At this point in the movie, early on, I had already fallen in love with the characters and when I saw them decorating the nursery I got excited. The scene in the doctor’s office hit me like a blow to the head. I sobbed as Ellie had, crushed that these wonderful little characters wouldn’t be parents. What a cruel twist of fate! I thought. I was angry at the screenwriters. How could they do this to Carl and Ellie? Poor, sweet, adventurous Ellie. I forgot for a moment that she wasn’t real. I thought how awful it must be to get such news. I tried to imagine it. I thought that I would likely feel betrayed by my own body. A woman was designed to grow a baby. To discover that mine couldn’t do that? I think I’d hate myself. I’d hate God. I’d feel cheated, angry, depressed, desperate.

I realized then that I was clutching my rounded belly for dear life. My attention wandered from the screen for a bit. Jill, what are you doing? I asked myself, thinking of the crib tucked in a corner of my bedroom. Carl and Ellie aren’t real, but there are hundreds of thousands of real people out there just like them, just as wonderful and just as sad.

I let myself think on it for a while. It sounds awful, but I couldn’t picture either of the couples I’d met with months before as Carl and Ellie. I knew that they must have been dealt similar blows to have been led to adoption. But I didn’t like the thought of either couple raising my baby.

But still, I thought, there are so many couples out there who would give the world for the kind of bad news you got in October …

I thought on it, and I pushed it aside so I could focus on the movie (which is amazing, by the way). But that brief scene haunted me all the way to the hospital. I couldn’t get Carl and Ellie out of my head. Their devastation, their sadness and grief. And then I had Roo, and nothing else in the world mattered. I forgot my life before her.

When adoption forced its way into the front of my mind in August, I had certain characteristics in my mind for Roo’s parents. I’d long since forgotten “Up.” I searched and searched and no one felt right. Then, of course, P and M kept coming to mind. And when I met them, there was something about them that I liked, something that drew me to them. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I handed Roo over to her daddy. Then it hit me.

I’d found my Carl and Ellie. Something about P and M reminded me of that cartoon couple, although to this day I can’t pin down what it was. But when I looked at them, I could picture them in a doctor’s office, getting some of the worst news a doctor delivers, grieving together and then, like Carl and Ellie, finding purpose and hope. It sounds awful but when I met those two couples back in February, I didn’t have any kind of overwhelming sadness at their infertility. But when I met P and M, the thought of them finding out they couldn’t have children just killed me. I hated the thought. I was as indignant as I’d been at the movie. How dare God do this to them?

But like Carl and Ellie, P and M are not bitter or angry. They had faith and they moved forward with adoption. Now they have two beautiful girls and they are a family. I’m so blessed to be a part of that. In short, adoption is awesome, and I highly recommend “Up.” It could change your life!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I was watching TV with my mother and a commercial came on for Pampers Sensitive baby wipes. It showed a newborn baby in the hospital, crying for a moment before his mother calmed him down. The commercial made me sad, as so many ads with newborns and older babies in them do. It was different this time, though. Before, I’d see a baby and miss my Roo terribly and wish I still had her.

Today was different. I miss Roo, as I always do and always will. She grew in my belly, and she was mine for nine weeks. I love her dearly. How could I not miss her? But when I saw the baby on TV, I said to my mother, “Oh, I want a baby.” And I realized as I said it that I did not mean Roo or want her back. I wanted to have my own baby. Roo is not mine. She was not meant to be mine. She is P and M’s baby. They are her parents. Although I miss her, and I want a baby, I would never take her back from her parents. What I felt was the desire to have the baby that is meant to be mine. A baby I can keep in good conscience. A baby whose father loves me and married me and will take good care of us both.

It was strange to realize that, much as I miss Roo and love her, I would not take her back. I’m not saying that if something happened and she was offered to me, I wouldn’t take her. I would take her in a second. But in missing her, I no longer wish she were with me. I no longer feel as though my baby has been taken and given to others, and I realized that I haven't felt that way for nearly nine weeks. I no longer feel that she is mine in the truest sense of the word. I am blessed beyond measure to be her birth mother, and I am content with that. I have a wonderful relationship with P and M and I know that if I need it, I can ask them and get a picture or an update or arrange a visit.

I want a baby, but I want more, not just a baby. I want a family – a husband, a home. I want a child who isn’t just mine but my husband’s as well – a man I love more than anything. I don’t want to go to prenatal appointments alone. I don’t want my mother to be the other adult in my baby’s life. If my experiences with H have taught me anything, it’s what I’m looking for in a man. I get discouraged because I feel like maybe I’m too picky, my standards too high, and I’ll never find the kind of man I’m looking for. But as S reminded me, it’s better to be alone than to be with the wrong person. If I have to be alone, so be it. I’m willing to find my life wanting until I find what I want.

Final Thoughts on H

I wanted to get out my "What I wish I could say to H" list and drop the subject for a while - and I will - but I had a few more thoughts on the whole sordid affair, and I have learned something, and I want to process that before I stick H back in my subconscious where he belongs.

I thought that something must be wrong with me, to have this sudden compulsion to look him up on-line. It had been two months and I hadn't cared a bit whether he was even alive or not. I thought that my actions were a sign I hadn't made any progress and that I had, in fact, been moving backwards. But I think I've got it figured out now. I think he came to my mind precisely because I have been making progress. Working through some of my issues with H are a sign that I'm moving forward. Were I not, I'd still be pretending he didn't exist.

What it came down to, I think, is that I needed to know three things about H. I wanted to know 1) if he ever seemed to think about or tangentially mention me or Roo, 2) whether he had changed at all - could he have been a good father after all? - and 3) whether he was seeing someone new.

The first is understandable. He hasn't contacted me since August 22nd. He never once asked me how Roo was, if she was healthy, how the birth went, or if she had any horrible defects from his alcohol-drenched DNA. The second is likewise reasonable. I haven't seen the man in a year now, when he pushed me out the door for saying no. Although what little communication has taken place this year hasn't been encouraging, I had this morbid curiosity about whether he has decided to grow up yet. And the third, I think, is perfectly normal for any woman who's been dumped. Has he found someone better yet? Does she look like me? Why her and not me? Et cetera. I hate that insecurity.

The answer to the first question seems to be maybe, just a little bit. Once specifically in the beginning of September and never again. Good to know where his priorities and affections lie: in the liquor department. The answer to the second is no, he hasn't changed a bit. I'm disappointed but not surprised. And the answer to the third seems to be a no as well. Did I screw him up emotionally? Good, I hope so. No less than he did to me.

I feel I'm in a good place now. I'm done with him again - I have been H-free on-line for nearly a week now. It feels good. My curiosity satisfied, I can once again move on with my life. I feel I'm in a pretty good place with things now. H will always occupy a brain cell or two, simply because we are forever connected by Roo. And I think I'm finally okay with that. I'm okay with not being okay with H. Does that make any sense?

I don't care if it makes sense. It makes emotional sense. H messed with my head, and I will never be the person I was before. But it's okay. I am ready to be done with him for good, as much as it's possible. I'm done letting him hurt me in absentia. Roo and I are both so much the better without him, and I am happy with the way things have turned out overall.

So thanks, H, for the donation of your DNA. No, really, thanks. And goodbye.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Things I wish I could say to H:

That I’m sorry about the way things turned out between us.

That we made a beautiful baby together.

That she has his nose, his ears, his dimple. That sometimes I look at her from a certain angle and she looks so much like him that I want to cry.

That she is absolutely perfect, the most perfect baby in the world.

That she defied genetics, and her eyes are pale blue-gray like mine, and not deep brown like his, and they are the loveliest eyes I have ever seen.

That her hair is dark like his but reddish like mine and it looks lighter every time I see it.

That when she smiles, her whole face lights up, and the whole world disappears.

That I’m sorry about so many things. That I wish things had been different. That we could have been happy together and she could have been ours … but that I’m glad that isn’t how things went, because I believe that things worked out the way they were meant to, and she is where she belongs.

That I think that maybe, someday, if it was important to him, he could probably be a good father.

That the adoption wasn’t personal, not about him or me or us. It was about her.

That despite everything that happened, a little part of me still loves him and maybe always will.

That as much as I want to hate him, I can’t, because whether he meant to or not, he gave me the most precious gift in the world.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Insecure and Lost

I checked the Google Analytics for this blog this morning. I always like to see what keywords people searched for that led them to my blog. One person found me by Googling "feeling insecure and lost" which made me raise an eyebrow. I suppose it's entirely possible that I've used that phrase before but if I have I don't remember. It was also an eyebrow-raiser because lost and insecure are two words that describe how I've been feeling today.

I still have bad days - plenty of bad days, if I'm honest. I prefer to put on a brave face most days but the fact is that things still suck quite a bit of the time, and I just want to give up and crawl back into bed. Today was one of those days. I have felt distinctly discouraged, from the time I woke up this morning from a horrible dream, to a few minutes ago when I happened upon one of Roo's soft toys.

I've missed Roo today. A lot. I think that it's yesterday that did it - telling my story all day long brought a lot of emotions up that I'd had buried for a few weeks. I miss seeing her and holding her. I miss knowing funny little things about her and about her day, what cute things she's done, seeing fleeting emotions cross her little face. I even miss changing diapers. It's a funny thing, because I don't soo much miss the Roo of today, the Roo whose parents are P and M, but I miss the Roo who was my Roo. I miss being a mommy. I don't feel like I'm ever going to get a chance at that again.

Gosh, I miss her. It hurts - it hurts so bad! I'm tired of hurting. I've been hurting for years. Where are all those awesome blessings I was promised for doing right by Roo? When will the tide finally turn my way? I feel like all of my efforts lately have been for nothing. Nothing has changed. Nothing is better. I want to just quit. At everything.

I'm starting to feel like I'm wasting time blogging, too. I hate feeling this insecure but that doesn't keep me from feeling insecure. I've lost a few followers lately and there are several websites that used to link to me that don't anymore. What did I do? I wonder. Have I offended people? Am I boring? I like to think I write well but I guess I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I'm not blogging for acclaim or attention but I do like to hear every now and then that I'm appreciated, that I'm doing okay. That I've made a difference. I don't feel like I'm making a difference. I feel like placing Roo is the only good thing I've ever done in my life, and that it's going to be the only good thing I ever do. I don't think any of the kids I spoke to yesterday got a thing out of my presentation. S asked some of them what they'd learned and no one could come up with anything. It made me angry and sad at the same time. Hadn't I said one single thing that stuck with any of them? Am I wasting my time presenting? Does it matter to anyone on earth but my mother that I exist at all?

Ugh. I hate sounding so juvenile and needy. I don't want people to think that I want attention or that I'm fishing for complements. I'm not. I'm just feeling frustrated and slightly invisible. I was standing with a group of people yesterday and after about ten minutes, someone said, "Oh, Jill, I didn't realize you were there." Am I invisible? I'm not overly talkative in public (unless I get going on something) but I don't think that alone should be enough to render me invisible. I hate feeling invisible, unnoticed. I hate feeling that it doesn't make a difference whether I'm there or not, that my presence has no impact on the space around me.

I don't even know if I'm going to post this. I hate sounding so insecure and lost and ... blah. I'm tired of crying. Am I too negative? Is that the problem? Should I try to be happier, to write happier things? I'm certainly not attempting to be miserable, but I don't always focus on the positive. I worry that that's what repels people from me. I worry all the time that I was far too depressed when I wrote right after placement, that I sort of ruined things for P and M at first, that they couldn't enjoy having Roo because I was in such a bad place. I hope I didn't ruin things. I'm tired of ruining things.

I hate looking into schools and applying for jobs. Aside from the fact that I can't even get an interview, it just feels wrong somehow. This isn't what I should be doing. I'm 26! I should be staying at home with my children. I should be a mom. That's what I want to do - not school, not a job. Mothering. That's all I've ever wanted. Will I ever have a chance again? What can I do?

I'm at a loss. Maybe things will look better in the morning.

I Think, Therefore I Need Therapy

I hate that I’ve been devoting so much time and mental energy to H lately. I want him out of my head. I told this to my therapist on Thursday. I explained my sudden, compulsive fit of Twitter-stalking (which I have since halted) and how I’d been unable to get H out of my mind.

John (my therapist) asked me why I thought that was. I hate it when he does that. He’s the one with all the training. How should I know why my mind works the way it does? But I told him the same things that I wrote here, about how it was H’s birthday, and how it’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen him.

“But that’s the point,” I said. “It’s been a year. Why can’t I just get him out of my brain? I don’t want him in there.”

“Well Jill, this might sound a little obvious, but you had a baby with him. Do you really think you can just forget about that?” he asked.

Yes, I told him, and I would be happy to forget. But John was right. As much as I want to forget about H forever, I can’t. We will always be connected by Roo (even though I like to pretend she has nothing to do with him and that he’s not her birth father). I can’t do anything about it. And as John pointed out, it is normal to have H in my head. We were in a relationship for nearly five months. We created a child together.

I know that, I told John. But why was H in my head now? Why couldn’t I stop thinking about him? Back of my mind? Okay. Front of my mind? Less so. I want H on the backburner. I think that it’s because of how things ended. There’s unfinished business there, things that never happened that should have, conversations that never took place, things that need to be said.

“Well, what would you say to him if he were here?” John asked me.

I thought about it for a moment. “I don’t know that I’d say anything so much as I’d kick him hard in the crotch.”

John raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, I don’t know!” I said. “There are a lot of things I’d like to say to him but I don’t know that I’d be able to get any of them out.” Which is true. I can’t think well around H. That’s probably why I ended up with him in the first place.

But still, I have this strange compulsion at times to track H down, to confront him. To text him or call him or e-mail him, to show him a picture, to say, “Look, this is your daughter. Do you care at all?” But I could never do that. I wouldn’t. I don’t want him to know her, to know anything about her. He doesn’t deserve it.

“Well,” said John, “What would you do if you ran into him somewhere, out in public?”
“I was actually thinking about that earlier today,” I confessed, “And I think I’ve decided I’d probably shriek and run in the other direction.”

John covered his eyes with a cupped hand, clearly wondering if I’d gotten anything at all out of the past four years with him.

But I honestly think I would scream and run. Either that or freeze, stand rooted to the spot while my brain runs a mile a minute, wondering if he’ll acknowledge me, if he’ll talk to me, if he’ll maybe just pretend he doesn’t see me.

I doubt very much that I’d be able to say to him any of the things he needs to hear from me – or rather, the things *I* need him to hear from me. I’m not even sure what they all are. I wish I could figure them out. Maybe then I could say them to him somehow – one of those letters you never send – and push H to the back of my mind where I want him, instead of the front of my mind where he can hurt me again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Outreach Presentations

Today's post might be a little incoherent, so allow me to apologize in advance. I didn't get enough sleep last night and exhaustion messes with my language skills.

I had to get up early this morning, but it was worth it because I got to do more presentations! I spoke to four classes today at a high school in Tempe. I was a little sick of myself by the fourth class but I think overall it went very well.

I don't know if I've ever really explained presentations before. We (me and S, or S and whoever's speaking) go to classes in child development or social work or whatever it is they're calling home ec these days. Any class where childbirth and infancy is discussed, pretty much. S will briefly explain what LDSFS does and then a birth mother (me, in this case) tells her story, about her pregnancy and how and why she chose adoption. S will briefly discuss how the birth mother's story dispels a lot of adoption myths out there, and then an adoptive couple (or, usually, just an adoptive mom) will talk about how they chose adoption and what led them to it, and how they met their kids' birth moms, and what placement was like. Then there's a bit of time for questions before S points out a few more misconceptions.

I'm never sure how much any of the kids are getting out of it. I'm reasonably certain that most of them at least learn that adoptions these days are open, and that openness is awesome, and that adopted kids aren't scarred for life.

I don't mean to brag, but I think I do a pretty good job of presenting. I can be sort of quiet at times but when I'm speaking to a group, I get rather animated and funny and I don't think anyone gets bored by my story. It helps that the filter between my brain and my mouth shuts down when I'm telling my story, and I blurt out odd things that, if nothing else, put people at ease. My story isn't a fun, happy one at the beginning. I don't want things to get too heavy. I'm not going to lie or gloss over the hell that was the first weeks after placement. But I try to emphasize that I got over the pain, that I'm happy now for the first time in my life. That I love Roo more than anyone else on earth, and that I did this for her.

If I'm honest, I do these presentations for myself as much as for anyone else's benefit. Not for attention or acclaim or admiration. For catharsis, for peace. I find it therapeutic. Every time I tell my story it gets a little easier and a little less painful. Sometimes I'll actually listen to myself talk and I think, yes, someone might learn from my story. This might be helpful. I hope it's helpful. I know that presenting has helped me.

There are certain parts of my story I won't tell in presentations. Some things are too sacred to me, too special to repeat to just anyone. I'm always aware when I'm presenting that it's not just my story I'm telling, it's Roo's. I try to do her justice. I want to make sure she knows how amazing her story is. I want her to be proud of me someday, proud that I am her birth mother, happy that I chose this for her, that I did this for her. I know I'm happy I chose adoption for Roo. I think it's the only good thing I've ever done in my life.

I am just so thankful for the chance I have to speak to people about adoption. It is a wonderful thing, and the world needs to know it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My mother …

... is awesome!

A few days ago she got junk mail from Planned Parenthood, soliciting donations to fund their nefarious purposes. Neither of us can figure out where they would have gotten her address to send her anything. The only baby-related mailing lists either of us is on are ones for new moms, since I signed up for things when I was pregnant and when I first had Roo.

And yet there it was, in the pile of junk mail, an envelope bearing the Planned Parenthood logo and address in the upper-left corner. Had it been left to me, I would have ripped it in half and tossed it in the recycle bin, the same thing I do to every other piece of junk mail I get. But that wasn’t enough for my mother.
She was angry, indignant. I don’t remember exactly what she said but I remember clearly the tone she used when she spoke. She was offended that such a thing had found its way to our mailbox. It wasn’t enough, either, to simply request to be removed from their mailing list.

My dear, sweet mother, who so rarely unsheathes her claws, wrote “Abortion is murder!” on the donation form before stuffing it in the envelope and sending it off.
“It’s not enough to be taken off their list,” she told me before she mailed it. “They need to know why!”

I concur. I know more than a dozen birth mothers who have changed lives and created loving and eternal families by choosing adoption. When I think that any one of their babies could have been aborted, I feel sick. And I think of my own mother, whose birth mom could have found a doctor to terminate her unplanned pregnancy. And of course, my sweet, sweet Roo. Although he said it was up to me, H favored abortion. He would have snuffed out her tiny life with no more thought than he would give to a zombie on his stupid video games. Think how many lives have changed for the better because Roo was born! I can’t bear the thought of a Roo-less world.

The envelope my mother mailed was marked “No postage necessary if mailed in the United States,” but there was an inked note nearby that “your gift of postage helps fund reproductive rights!” Rights? What about the rights of the unborn? What about the rights of a woman to know exactly what she’s getting into by choosing abortion?
I would like to state emphatically and for the record that I am wholeheartedly opposed to violent opposition, such as bombing abortion clinics and the recent brutal murder of an abortion doctor. But neither can I condone abortion.

I know I’ll probably attract a lot of venom for so plainly stating my convictions, and I’m okay with that. I think that abortion is probably the single most polarizing social issue in the world today. I don’t want to make someone else’s decision for them. But neither can I stand idly by and pretend that it doesn’t bother me that women are getting abortions. I can’t pretend that oh, even though it’s not for me, it’s fine for someone else. I don’t think it is, and I will shout it from the rooftops.

Abortion is NOT the only option for an unplanned pregnancy, and it certainly isn’t the best one either. Adoption may not be right for everyone, but it should be considered at the very least. I am a better person for having placed my baby for adoption. My life has changed for the better in so many ways, some of them imperceptible as yet but all of them worthwhile. I am a better person, P and M are better people, and Roo will be as well. I know it. My mother knows it. And, if she has anything to say about it, so will Planned Parenthood.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Openness = Happiness

I spent most of yesterday on sort of a Roo high from my visit. I think just about anything could have happened during the rest of the day and I still would have been happy because of the visit in the morning. I can't even begin to explain how much good visits do me, or what a difference they make in my emotional and spiritual well-being.

I love that I can hold her and snuggle with her for two hours and then happily buckle her into her car seat. I have never once done the latter and thought that it should be my car she was in. I have never once left feeling like Roo should be going home with me, or that I didn't want her to go home with her mommy and daddy. I leave every visit feeling certain that I have made the best decision and knowing that Roo is exactly where she is supposed to be.

She is the sweetest baby I have ever known. She is very quiet - I hardly heard a squeak out of her the whole time. She is curious, blinking those big beautiful eyes as she looks around and takes the world in. She kicks her chubby legs happily while she's eating and she was so busy checking things out around her, turning her head from side to side, that for a moment I had a hard time keeping the bottle in front of her so she could eat. Loud noises and chaos don't seem to bother her, she takes it all in stride. And words can't describe how beautiful she is. I think that Roo is, quite simply, the most perfect baby ever made.

I hope that if I ever have another child some day, it is exactly like Roo - just as sweet and happy and beautiful and smart. I am happy that P and M have such an amazingly perfect baby. They deserve it. And I think that, if I ever have kids, I deserve it too, for doing what I did for Roo.

I am so very thankful for an open adoption. I can't imagine trying to cope with a closed one. I think it would have been twice as hard for me. I truly believe that openness benefits everyone involved. When I pray, there are three things I never forget to thank my Father in Heaven for: Roo, P and M, and an open adoption.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fifth Visit

I just got back from a fantastic visit. I met with Roo and her mommy and sister this morning and it was great. I held Roo the whole time. She wasn't sure what to make of me at first. She looked at me like, "Do I know you? I'm not sure you're allowed to hold me." She wouldn't eat at first either because she was too busy scrutinizing me, deciding if it was okay that I was holding her. Then she sucked down all eight ounces, with a brief pause halfway through to spit up on me.

She is just perfect. I realized I am slightly biased here but I honestly believe she is the most perfect baby ever. She is alert and strong and clever and sweet and happy and absolutely gorgeous. She's fattening up nicely, too. Her legs are getting longer and longer but they're still adorably chunky. I got a few smiles out of her as well. Roo smiles with her whole face. It is the most delightful smile I have ever seen.

I can't even begin to describe how good it felt to hold her again, to feel her warm weight in my arms and feel her soft skin and hair and breathe in that clean baby smell. I did my best to soak it all in so the memories will sustain me until I next see her. I could have held her forever, I think. But not in an I've-made-a-mistake-and-I-want-my-baby-back sort of way. Just in a she-is-my-favorite-little-person-in-the-world sort of way.

I am so thankful for open adoption. I am thankful for P and M for sharing their sweet baby girl with me, for never making me feel like they resent my presence in their lives or in Roo's life. They are so good to me, and I don't think Roo could have better parents. She belongs with them, and I'm happy she has them. I love her more than I can say and I am so glad I got to see her today. Every second I get with her is precious to me. I know that P and M will never take for granted that they have children, either - that every second they have Roo and her sister is a miracle to them. It's a miracle to me, too. Adoption is such an amazing thing and it has blessed my life in ways I am only just beginning to understand.

Oh, it was good to hold her! And I love visits because each one is a confirmation that I have made the very best decision, that all my pain and sadness have been worth it. She is happy and healthy and smart and strong and content and beautiful and everything I could ever want her to be. When I strapped her in her carseat for the ride home, I was sad for me that the visit was over, but I was happy knowing she was going home to a mommy and daddy that love her and would give the world for her just as I would. I miss her already, but I am glad she is where she is. I wouldn't change a thing about how things have turned out. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

By the Way ...

I just bought one of these for Roo:

You can get them here and not only are they cute, proceeds go to help the amazing Mrs R in her fight to keep her son. Go. Shop. Now.

Thoughts on H

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about H. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it was his birthday a few days ago. He’s 28 now. Maybe it’s because it’s coming up on a year since I’ve seen him. Maybe … I don’t know. But he’s been on my mind a lot, and I’m not sure I like it.

I want to be done with him. I want that part of my life to be over. I want to forget about him, forget that I ever knew him. But I can’t. Because no H = no Roo. Which I hate.

But then I wonder. Have I been unfair to him? He has never seen Roo. Ever. Some of that is his choice, because if he’d been nicer to me when I was pregnant things might have turned out differently, and I might have invited him to the hospital to see her, or something like that.

Then I think, how unbelievably hard would this all be on me if I never got to see Roo? I made the choice to have an open adoption. From H’s POV, it’s not open. I made that choice for him … but sort of based on choices he made earlier. I don’t know. It’s all a bit confusing.

But then, it’s like I said, it’s not as though he ever even held her for a second. I’d imagine that her existence is, to H, more … oh, I don’t know. Metaphorical or something. I don’t know. I feel like I have a hard time expressing myself properly where H is concerned. I can’t think straight.

Like last night. I knew I shouldn’t. I didn’t want to. I hesitated before clicking on. Did I really want to do this? The answer was no. After all, I hadn’t seen him in very nearly a year, and I hadn’t looked him up on-line since the end of August. When I chose to place Roo, I told myself that I was done with H, that I’d wasted enough time and mental energy on him. I told myself I was done.

But I am stupid, so I did it anyway. I checked H’s Twitter feed. If I’m totally honest, I have to admit that the impetus for me was an unquenchable curiosity about H’s love life, more specifically whether he has replaced me yet. It doesn’t look as though he has, which is fine by me because I think that if I can’t be in a happy relationship right now, neither can he. I want him to be lonely and miserable. So I clicked. Nothing new – same cursing and crude humor and immaturity. I mostly scanned. One Tweet did catch my attention, however. September 4th – “If I have a daughter, I want to meet her.”

Is it possible he wanted to be a father after all? I felt sort of bad reading that. Not bad as in, I wish I’d kept Roo and let H see her. Just … bad for him. Because his life probably hasn’t turned out the way he wanted it too either, and because maybe if things had been different for both of us, in that proverbial other life, we could have been happy together, and he could have been a good father. But I gave him plenty of chances at it when I was pregnant, I think, and he didn’t seem willing or interested.

I felt sort of sad about it at first, to be honest. Sort of guilty for … well, for whatever. But then last night, I was thinking about it again, and I got a bit indignant. Because he never told me, never once, that he wanted to meet her. He never said or typed or texted those words to me, not once.

One could argue that I should have known, that he shouldn’t have had to tell me, that it’s common sense. Of course he wanted to meet her, right? But he never gave me that impression. He never gave me any clues that he was the least bit interested in me during my pregnancy, and right after Roo was born and he found out, he didn’t ask if she was healthy or how she was doing or how I was doing or anything. It was all threats and anger and legalese. He never said to me, “Look, she’s my daughter. I’d at least like to see her, to hold her.” He never said any of that. And it angers me, in retrospect. It irks me that he couldn’t put his problems with me aside long enough to express care or concern for our baby. That tells me exactly how mature he isn’t.

Ugh. I’m sick of thinking about him. I don’t want to think about him. I don’t want him in my head. I want to be done with him. It’s been a year since I’ve seen him, why can’t I be done with him? I worry that I will never be done with him, and I hate him for it. I’m not sure what to do to get him out of my head for good. I find that in odd moments I have this compulsion to call him or text him or go to his apartment. Make him talk, make him say something to prove to me that he does care, that he is capable of feelings like a normal human being.

How grateful I am that Roo isn’t in the middle of this mess. And she never will be. Her mommy and daddy are in love and they love her. She will never have cause to wonder about either of those things. What a blessing to her. And what a blessing to me to know that she’s sheltered from my emotional turmoil. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, especially my sweet Roo. She deserves so much better. I’m glad she’s getting it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nine Weeks and Eternity

Today marks nine weeks since placement. It’s sort of a strange day for me, because now P and M have had Roo for as long as I did. From this point on, they’ll have had her for longer. It’s sort of a relief in a way. Before, I felt as though I had some undeserved advantage in having had her for longer. Now the advantage is theirs, and I think I prefer it that way.

I’m still not sure how I did it, how I drove to the LDSFS office with a baby and drove away without one. I took m y baby, my best blessing and my whole world, the baby I’d grown and birthed and cared for, and I handed her to a woman I barely knew. And I walked away. How did I do that? How could I have? It defied instinct and logic and my very heart. I don’t know where I found that strength, that courage. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly strong or resilient person. And yet I did the unthinkable, the unimaginable. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty proud of myself.

Some people think that having a baby makes you grow up, and fast. I won’t deny that; certainly it will do that for some. But I know that in my case, I didn’t feel that having Roo made me grow any. I only felt I’d truly grown, truly become a mother when I put aside what I wanted most in the world for the sake of my baby. That grew me up in a hurry, I’ll tell you that for nothing.

I like to think that my mom is the best mother in the world. I wanted to be for Roo what my mom has been for me. I realized that part of what made my mom a good mother was being married to my dad, who was a great father. No, I’m not Roo’s mommy anymore. But her mommy and daddy love her more than I think they could ever say. I gave them to her. I think that makes me the best mom in the world. And how blessed is little Roo? She’s got not one but two mothers who love her dearly – one who gave her life, and one who will give her the rest of her life. We should all be so lucky.

I think part of the reason I’m so glad that P and M have had her as long as I did is that I personally feel that she’s more theirs every second they have her. In my mind I see it as this sort of 9-week hourglass, where time flowed from my half to theirs. It probably sounds stupid, but I sort of feel like, okay, now she’s really theirs.

I cannot wait for Roo to go to the temple with her family and be theirs for eternity. What joy! What more could I want for her at this point in her life? I can’t think of a thing. Part of me lived in fear that something will happen, some tragedy will befall their family, before Roo can be sealed to them. I worried about that for a week before I mentioned my concerns to my dear mother.

“Jill,” my mother said, “Heavenly Father would not let you go through what you’ve been through only to let something happen to Roo before she’s sealed. Don’t you think He wants her to have an eternal family just as much as you do?”

How awesome is my mom, seriously? I felt better when she said that. I haven’t worried much since. And I’ve been doubly proud of myself for a time as well. My decision will help Roo to live not just the life that I want for her, but the life that her Father in Heaven wants for her as well. Having an eternal family isn’t just a blessing in the sense that it brings togetherness. It will help Roo to return to live with God again someday.

The decisions we make in life have eternal consequences. I’ve often thought that fact was a negative, but I’m beginning to see that it can be a positive too. These particular eternal consequences are the sweetest blessings anyone could hope for, and I’m looking forward to them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What a Mess

Roo's crib has been taken apart, but if you looked in my bedroom you'd still think I shared my space with a baby. Or, at the very least, you'd know that I had at some point. Where the crib once was are stacks of blankets and boxes of clothes, folded but disorganized. I was looking at them a few minutes ago and at the bottom of a laundry basket was my favorite Roo sleeper - brown with pink polka dots. I called them her gingerbread jammies, because she looked just like a little gingerbread baby. All she needed was a little hat. I loved her in those jammies. She was wearing them when she met her mom and dad.

The sight of those jammies made me sad. I asked myself why, two months later, all of Roo's belongings are still crowding the better part of my room. There's no need to have things sitting out in the way. I don't have a job yet, so I've got no excuse for not taking the time to pack everything away neatly and put them in the garage. So why haven't I done it yet? Staring at the gingerbread jammies, tears in my eyes, I think I figured out why.

So many of Roo's things have been taken apart, packed up, put away out of sight. My time with Roo seems so long ago, seems almost like a dream at times. Sometimes I think if it weren't for my c-section scar, I'd think I made it all up in my head. Did I really have a baby? Was I really a mommy for nine weeks? I don't want to forget. I don't want that time to disappear. And so my room is a mess. Because if I can see Roo's things, her toys and blankets and jammies, I know she was here, she was mine, and I was her mommy. I see these things and I remember, and as hard as it can be, as tough as it was to see those soft pink polka dots, it was also a comfort. Bittersweet, a happy sad. I almost feel that I need to keep these things right where they are, where I can see them, see them and remember.

Part of me worries that if I pack everything away, I'll have nothing left of Roo and our precious time together. That without a visual reminder, the memories will fade. I worry that packing things up will be too hard, like placing her all over again.

I think that eventually I will be able to do it. But not yet. And I'm not going to rush myself. If I want a mess of baby clothes and toys in my room, I'll have one. Whom does it harm? It's not as though the stacks and piles are doing me any kind of emotional harm. On the contrary, as I've said, I think they help me at this point. I like going into my room and seeing Roo's things. If it means being a mess for a while longer, so be it. I'd rather be a physical mess right now than an emotional one. And I'm feeling good today. So the mess remains.

I like to think of it as sort of a monument to my Roo. A freshly laundered shrine to the sweetest baby I have ever known. I see it and I am happy. And that's good enough for now.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I just got the most awesome e-mail from P and M! I got a video of my sweet Roo laughing. She has the sweetest little laugh I've ever heard. She is such a happy girl. And I got a great update about how much she's grown and how she's doing, and pictures of her looking adorable as usual.

I so needed this today, and I am so grateful that my Roo has such awesome parents. They didn't have to send me a video. I'm going to see them this weekend. But they did, and I have watched it about sixty times. I could watch it over and over on a loop for the rest of my life, I think. I love to see how delighted Roo is with her daddy. I hope she will be a daddy's girl. She smiles so big for him.

I am having a hard time being coherent or interesting right now. I am just so happy! This is exactly what I needed today. All of my sadness and anxiety from earlier are gone, just like that. Roo is growing like a weed, and she is healthy and happy and she has the most amazing parents in the world. They are such a blessing to me. I'm sure it's not the easiest thing in the world for them to have me blabbing about them and their daughter every day, but they've never complained about it. And I feel like I'm probably a bit needier than a lot of birth mothers are, because I had Roo for so long. But they have been kind and generous and accommodating, and I love them for it. I honestly don't think Roo could possibly have better parents in all the world.

Roo is laughing! It is the sweetest sound in the world. When I heard it, I felt like the Grinch, my heart growing at least four sizes. Roo is happy, so I'm happy. All is right with the world.

Two Months

I can remember exactly what I was doing two months ago today. September 9th, 2009, the shortest day of my life. I was sitting where I am now, on the couch in the living room. My computer is on my lap right now, but two months ago, Roo was there instead.

I was giving her a bottle and she was looking up at me with those big blue eyes, preternaturally wise. She seemed to know that something was going to happen that day. I think she knew the day before as well. Roo is a very mellow baby, but she was even more so on the 8th and 9th. Almost as though she knew I needed that time to be peaceful and calm. Normally Roo would have gotten sick of me holding her and she'd have fussed until I put her down for a little wiggle time. Not so on Tuesday and Wednesday. I scarcely put her down those two days. My arms ached from the constant weight of her but I refused to put her down. I knew my time to hold her as her mommy was finite, and I wasn't going to miss a second of it.

On the morning of the 9th, Roo woke up hungry at 8am. We'd both slept for four hours, 4am being Roo's preferred bedtime. I gave her a bottle and burped her and rocked her to sleep. I was tired but I couldn't bring myself to put her back in her crib. I got back in my bed, Roo still in my arms, and held her as she slept for the next four hours. Tired as I was, I couldn't fall back asleep. I knew I could sleep later, would sleep later. This time was precious. I tried to memorize the exact feel of her in my arms, the weight of her, the sound of her soft breath, the feel of her silky skin and hair, the curve of her cheek, the shape of her nose.

That is one of my favorite memories from my time as a mommy. I will treasure those quiet hours for the rest of my life. My arms feel empty just thinking about it. I think I'd give the world to have just another minute like that with her.

I haven't seen Roo in two weeks. It will be three at my next visit, which is this weekend, maybe. I've never gone so long without seeing her. It's hard. Hard, too, is the drop in e-mail and pictures from P and M. I used to hear from them several times a week. Now seven or eight days will pass without a word. When I was Roo's mommy, I swear I spent half the day taking pictures of her sweet little face. It's hard to go from that to a couple of pictures a month.

Oh, how I miss that little girl! Has it really been only two months since she was my baby? It seems like an eternity. She's changed so much since then. So have I. Both of us for the better, to be sure, but in my case there's some bad with the good. I've struggled with depression my whole life. I wonder now if those respites from the pain that I would get when my medications were adjusted perfectly, or when I made breakthroughs in therapy, are a thing of the past. If because I placed Roo, I will always, always have this undercurrent of sadness that I've had for the past two months. Will I ever feel whole again? I hope so. I hope that I can make something of myself and my life. I try. I try, because I want Roo to be proud of me, to be glad that I am her birth mom. I don't want her to think that placing her destroyed me and feel guilty for it.

Somehow, some way, I will learn to be happy, I will do something with my life. I will make her proud. I placed her not for me, but for her. And if I have to make something of myself for the same reason, I'll do it. I will make sure that when she's older, she knows that I've had a good life not because I placed her (because I feel I'd have had a better life had I kept her because I love her so), but in spite of it.

I am tired and my heart aches and I want to crawl back in bed and cry. But I won't. I'll get my exercise for the day, eat my veggies, and go to my ward FHE tonight. Not for me or for my sake. I'll do it for Roo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It Never Ends

I'm starting to wish I hadn't taken Mrs R's National Adoption Month challenge. I think I'm all blogged out. What more can I possibly say about adoption than I've said already? And it's only the 8th. There are three weeks left in the month. I feel like I've been repeating myself a lot already, and I just don't have the emotional energy to finish my story yet.

I miss my Roo. I thought about her all day yesterday and I've been thinking about her all day today. I miss being her mommy. I miss holding her and kissing her chubby little cheeks and hearing her babble and coo and sigh. It's been two months since she was my baby, and they've been the longest two months of my life.

Here's what I hate about being a birth mother: it never ends. Placing Roo was twice as hard as my father's death and I know exactly why. His death was the end. He's gone, and that's that, and it's never going to change. Placing Roo was just the beginning. That journey is just beginning, and as she grows and changes, so will how I feel about her placement. There will never be a point where I can just forget that I had her and that I was her mommy. Every day for the rest of my life I will think, as I do now, that Roo was my baby once, and now she's not and never will be again.

I may marry someday, God willing, and have more children. But my past experience will color any future experiences. I will compare everything to how things were with Roo, and I will mourn. I will miss her. She won't miss me. She won't even really know me. Sometimes that all just feels like too much. I don't know if I can handle that. But what choice do I have? None. What's done is done and there's no going back.

I hate this downside that I'm dealing with, one that I never considered when mulling over the factors that went into my decision. I had it in my head that placement was an ending, a termination, a deadline. Once the 9th was over, that was it, and I would be ... oh, not over it certainly, not in a million years, but that things would be in a sense over. But they're not over by a long shot. They are just beginning, and I hate that.

I hate that my c-section scar still hurts sometimes, that my stomach is numb near the incision still, and that I don't have anything to show for it. I have pregnancy pounds without a baby as a reward. I hate it! I hate that she's not my baby anymore. I miss her so much! Most of the time anymore I can miss her and live with it, but other times, like right now, I'll sit on the couch and it will hit me forcefully that I once sat on this couch with Roo in my arms, holding her while she slept, that she was my baby then but she isn't now and never will be again.

I'm so sick of the pain. I wish it would go away for a while. I'm afraid it never will, and I don't know what to do with that fact.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today ...

Today was sort of a happy-sad day for me. Happy because my Roo is four months old, and sad because she is four months old and I am not her mother. Happy because I had a great day with my niece, sad because while we were out my brother took apart Roo's crib.

I'm glad the latter happened while I was out. I'm not sure how well I'd have handled watching her crib being disassembled. Especially today. Although it was a bit of a shock to go into my room and see boxes where once there was a bed, I think that was easier than it would have been to be in my room, the room that was once both my room and Roo's, and watch my brother break the crib down while I stood nearby with an Allen wrench and a Kleenex box. I'm going to shed enough tears tonight over things as it is.

While I was out with my niece today, I kept imagining what it would have been like to take Roo out in a few years - what sorts of things she might have enjoyed, what her little voice might sound like, what sort of personality she'd have as my daughter, the daughter of a poor, stressed-out single mom.

I'm glad I don't have to find out what effect my life choices might have had on Roo. I'm glad that if she ends up with some sort of social or emotional problems, they won't be a result of my selfishness. But knowing that she has the best possible start in life is cold comfort when all I want in the world is to be a mom, to be her mom, to hold her when she cries and to smile back when she offers a gummy grin.

Roo is four months old, which means I placed her almost exactly two months ago. P and M have almost had her as long as I did, which is an odd (but not altogether unpleasant) feeling. I think I'll be happy when she's been theirs longer than she was mine.

I have nine nieces and nephews, so I know what babies are up to at four months. I know what I'm missing out on. And it hurts - I hate to think of all of those important milestones that are no longer mine to witness. When she learns to say "Mama," she won't be saying it to me. I know that Roo will grow up knowing who I am and what I did for her and that she will in all likelihood love me as much as anyone can in her circumstances. But she will never love me the way a child loves their mother. She will never love me a fraction as much as I love her. I love her so much it almost physically hurts me. She'll never know just how much, and she'll never return the sentiment.

I hate that. I was Mommy for nine weeks. Shouldn't that count for something? But she'll never remember that time. She'll never know me as mom. She'll never remember our short time together, the hours I spent just holding her and watching her sweet face in repose.

I miss her. I miss being her mommy. I miss being a mommy, period. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance again. I hope I will. I pray that I will. In the meantime I try to appreciate the blessing it is to have had Roo for nine weeks - to have given her life, really. And I never take for granted the amazing blessing of open adoption. Roo isn't mine anymore, but she isn't lost to me, and some days that's enough.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What to Do?

I should preface this by saying that I loved every second I had with my little Roo. I would not trade any of it for anything in the world. Not any of the crying at 4am, or the poopy diapers, or the projectile spit-up. I loved all of it and that time is so precious to me.

But there are times that, purely for practical reasons, I wish I'd placed sooner. Like, at the hospital. Because things would have been a bit simpler. There would be fewer things for me to have to work out, fewer things to do. I wouldn't be in the awkward situation I'm in now, wondering what exactly I should write in the thank-you notes for my baby shower.

I need to write them soon, because the shower was on August 1st, which is three months ago. My mother taught me better than that; I feel guilty that I don't have them sent already. But I had a newborn baby to take care of, and I couldn't seem to find the time to write them. And then when I might have found a moment, I made the decision to place, and I couldn't justify spending time writing notes when my time with Roo was so finite.

And then I placed her, and I was too upset to even think about my baby shower. It's still hard to think about, actually. When I was in Jo-Ann the other day I was looking at cake decorations, and I looked left instead of right to see more, and my eye caught on the decorations and favors for baby showers, and I stood there for about five minutes, crying silently. It hurt to think of it - of the joy and excitement that most women feel at their baby showers. Mine was a little different. I didn't have any friends at the time, so all the women there were my mother's friends, not mine. And some of them weren't even friends, just women from church who know her. It was awkward, because I couldn't imagine why these women I scarcely knew would throw a baby shower for an unwed mother. And people wanted to hold Roo, to pass her around, but she wasn't quite a month old yet, and I was worried about germs and that sort of thing so I said no, and a few people seemed kind of irritated about it.

But I digress. I have about two dozen thank-you notes to write and not a clue as to what I should say in them. I think most if not all of the gift-givers know by now that I placed Roo. But do I mention it? What do I say, and how do I say it?

These are probably going to be the shortest thank-you notes in history, because all I can think to say so far is "Dear ____, thank you so much for the _____, and for coming to my baby shower." Is that enough? Should I mention anything else?

It's going to be hard enough to write the stupid things. I know I'm going to end up crying before I finish even one of them. I wish I could snap my fingers and have them done. I don't want to have to think about the shower, or about all the lovely little gifts I never got to use or put on Roo. Clothes she will never wear, toys she will never play with, baby shampoo that will never touch her head. I want to cry just thinking about it. I still haven't put away any of Roo's things. My room is a mess of baskets and boxes of folded baby clothes. The crib, still assembled, is also full of clothes and blankets and toys. I have plastic storage tubs to put them in, but I haven't had the mental energy to organize them and put them away. I haven't had it in me to pick up the tiny outfits I put on my baby and pack them out of sight. It hurts too much. It's too much of a goodbye for me.

It's ridiculous, really. My room is a mess and I need to put things away. It's not as though having Roo's sleepers and Onesies is the same as having her here with me. Why can't I just put them away? Why can't I just write "Thank you!" and be done with it? I feel that I've made a lot of emotional progress lately and so it's terribly frustrating to me that there are things like this that I can't make myself do yet. If not now, when? I ask myself. I don't know when, though. I only know not yet.