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!


Shane, Meg, CJ, RJ, and AL said...

I love school presentations! I got to go to the high school near our house with Audra and Tamra last year and I loved every minute of it! Very cool.

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

Oh I'm so excited to hear you're doing these! How awesome!

Ashley said...

It is wonderful in so many ways that you're doing this!