Sunday, January 31, 2010

Meanwhile, Back on the Farm ...

I have been slacking off majorly in the story department here. I’m pretty sure I left off just before my first visit to LDS Family Services. I’ll start there, I think.

My mother called LDSFS and made an appointment for me. I did not want to go. I did not want to go AT ALL. I went anyway. It was a Wednesday in November. The 12th, if I’m not mistaken.

I have a notoriously poor sense of direction and I had a hard time finding the place. And then someone tailgated me through the parking lot, which is one of my all-time biggest pet peeves. Then they tried to go around me. In a parking lot! I was unimpressed, to say the least.

I went in and checked in with the receptionist. She asked whom my appointment was with, a detail my mother had neglected to write down (if she got it at all). I told the receptionist I didn’t know who I was supposed to see. She gave me a look like I was the stupidest person on earth and she was more than slightly impatient with me. This did not endear me to the receptionist or to LDSFS in general. Nevertheless, I took a seat in the waiting area.

It turned out that the caseworker I was supposed to meet with had to leave the office because one of her kids was sick. So I met with the other caseworker, and I am so glad I did! I met with S that day. We connected right away – we have about a million things in common. In my journal I described her as “fantastically awesome,” which is a phrase I still stand by today.

My mother had told me not to tell H about my pregnancy until I talked to someone at LDSFS, because she was concerned about what rights H’s family might have, specifically his mother. My mom had heard stories from people about custody problems involving grandparents and she wanted to make sure I had answers before I started talking.

S had answers. She explained that while H had rights, no one in his family did. She told me to tell H, and soon. I wasn’t sure how best to do that, since I had told him just two days ago that I wasn’t pregnant. But when I left that office, I felt better than I had in weeks. I felt sure that things would work out. I didn’t feel pressured to go with adoption, although I wrote in my journal that “I’m beginning to see why it’s a good idea.” But then, I thought, how can I handle going through so much and then have nothing to show for it?

The best thing S told me that day was to stop being ashamed of my baby because there was no need for it. What a relief that was! One of the biggest obstacles facing a woman with an unplanned pregnancy is society’s refusal to separate the behavior that leads to pregnancy from the pregnancy itself. A baby is a wonderful thing. S helped me to see that. Regardless of how my baby was conceived, he or she (I knew it was a she, though) was a precious child of God, and nothing to be ashamed of. I never forgot that, and I never will.

My mother and I went out to dinner after that – to celebrate. It was quite a change from my mother’s incredulity at my doctor’s congratulations a few weeks before. It was so nice to not feel like a horrible disappointment to my mother. To feel, for the first time in three weeks, that my baby was a good thing. It seems funny now that I was ever anything less than thrilled at the prospect of mommyhood. Roo is the best thing that ever happened to me. I think I first started to recognize that possibility when I spoke to S.

Friday, January 29, 2010

So. I'm back. (My knee-jerk instinct was to use the name of an Elton John song for the title, but I refrained.)

I had it in my head that I was going to get back to blogging on February 1st, but what can I say? I missed it. I got this itch to write that I couldn't ignore.

I needed a break. I had a lot of things tumbling around in my head that I needed to work through before I wrote anything else stupid or offensive or inappropriate. I have a bad habit of blogging without thinking, and I'm going to try to work on that.

I've been sort of assessing what I've been writing about and why ... and I've been unable to form any sort of reasonable conclusions. So I'm just going to say this: I hope that the overall message my readers get is a positive one. That adoption is an amazing and wonderful thing. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

And I promise I'll have something worthwhile and interesting to say soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I had a fantastic visit with Roo and her mommy today. It was so good to see them both! I may be slightly biased, but I think Roo is the smartest, most beautiful baby ever. I also happen to think that everything Roo does is an adorable act of genius. Surely no baby has ever drooled as charmingly as she does. She is a prodigious and prolific drooler. And she figured out a way to chew on one toy while holding another - such a clever girl! She is getting so big.

Most important, she is happy. I have never seen a happier baby. She is content. She smiles every time she sees her mommy. She doesn't just look at M. Roo sees her mama, and her whole face lights up, like, "Oh! Mommy, it's you! I love you!" It is the cutest thing ever.

I am so blessed to have an open adoption! P and M are the very best parents, and I know they love me. How spoiled am I to have seen them and Roo as often as I have? I am a very spoiled girl, and I am so grateful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guess who ...

... just got a temple recommend.

Go on, guess.


Give up? I'll tell you.


I'm excited.

(Can you tell I'm excited?)

Take that, Satan! :-P

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm going to take a little break from blogging here, I've decided. Something came to my attention recently that's made me question what I'm doing here and why, and I need some time to figure things out for myself, without making things worse than I already have.

Thanks for reading, folks. I'll be back soon. I hope.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snaps for The Happiest Sad!

Can I brag for a moment? (Of course I can!)

I was bored earlier - something that happens with astounding regularity these days. In any case, I was wasting some time with Google. I Googled myself and, even after adjusting my search to eliminate any results mentioning the Canadian singer/songwriter who shares my name, I didn't come up. I went through over 300 search results and didn't find myself. Which was sort of depressing.

But then I Googled this little blog here, and much to my surprise, I found The Happiest Sad listed on They've rated my blog as one of the top 10 birth mom blogs out there! The link is here:

I am so surprised and so flattered! This totally made my day. Maybe I'm not doing so bad after all!

Missing H

I went to the grocery store with my mother this evening - yesterday evening, I guess, since it's after midnight. A while back they moved things around in the store so if you want to get bread or cheese, you have to go down an aisle where one side is all liquor.

Tortillas were on the shopping list. The tortilla endcap is on the end of the aisle with the chilled liquor. Normally if I pay any attention at all to the booze, it's to give a look of disgust. Most of the time I try to ignore the expensive poison that is so prominently displayed. Today, for some reason, something in the chilled liquor aisle caught my eye, and when I glanced behind me I saw a shelf full of familiar-looking boxes - cases of Miller High Life. H's favorite, as I recall.

Make no mistake, I wasn't really excited about being with a drinker. I've never been a fan of alcohol. But it was something H did, and I accepted it. It was part of who he was, and I loved him, so it wasn't a big deal to me, for the most part.

Something about the sight of those golden-colored beer cases got to me, and I found myself missing H like crazy. It was the weather, too, I think. It was sort of cold and rainy and it reminded me of when H and I were together. That summer was a particularly rainy one, and we used to sit together on his couch, listening to the rain and talking and cuddling. It was nice. I felt loved.

I miss that. I miss him - who he was then, who we were then. I miss the way he made me feel beautiful and important and loved. I liked being in a relationship. I miss that, too.

I have these crazy moments now and then where I want to call him - H, I mean - or drive to his apartment, or e-mail him, or send him a text message. I never would, of course, because the H I miss isn't the H that exists today. But I have pictured, in moments of weakness, crawling back to him and begging him to forgive me (for what, I don't know) and him holding me and telling me everything's okay.

What a foolish little girl I am! I know that if I ever saw him again, I'd probably want to scream and run in the other direction. I'd likely pretend not to see him and make a quick getaway. My therapist has asked me time and time again what I would say to H if I had the chance. I can't think of a thing anymore. I don't think I could say or do anything at this point that would make a bit of a difference.

And yet I sometimes miss him and the way things used to be. For now I'm just going to have to live with that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blah blah blah

I feel like I’ve been wasting bandwidth lately with my blog. I haven’t had much to say of any use lately. I feel like my brain isn’t working as well as it once did.

I had it in my head that I was going to get back to telling my story – the one I started, about my pregnancy and everything. But I couldn’t remember a few things I wanted to talk about, so I went back to the private blog I kept during my pregnancy. I read through some of what I wrote. It depressed me. I found what I was looking for, though, so I went back to my blog archives, to see where I’d left off. Which proved to be something of a mistake. I read through what I wrote right after placement, and it took me back. It was like being there – or then, rather – all over again. I lost it. I cried.

I couldn’t finish what I started writing. I just couldn’t. Even though what I was writing about had nothing to do with the night I placed.

So I changed my tactic. I felt like I needed to finish up a few things to do with H’s mother. So I started to write about that. The words weren’t coming out like I wanted them to. I wasn’t making sense. And reading back through the harassing e-mail I got, I cried again.

I decided I'd turn my pent-up energy into something positive, and write something for birth moms about how to find the right family, or something for families to help them know what birth moms might look for in a profile. I got writer's block. The words weren't coming out right and I wasn't making sense.

I thought then that maybe I’d just write about how much I missed Roo. But I’ve done so much of that. Sometimes it feels like that’s all I do. I write about how much I miss her, or I whine about how people stink sometimes. I’m getting sick of myself.

What to do? I don’t know anymore. I know I need to finish telling my story, about my pregnancy and how I came to choose adoption. I need to do it for Roo. It’s her story as much as it is mine. But how can I finish when it hurts so much? I’m sick of hurting.

I miss Roo like crazy. There, I said it. I haven't seen her in over a month and I don't know when I'm going to see her again and I hate that. I wish I could just hold her for an hour or two, I think I'd feel better. I've been trying to console myself with pictures and videos, but they're all at least two weeks old. I want to see her now. I want to see how she's changed and grown in two weeks. I want to kiss her soft cheeks and rock her until she falls asleep in my arms.

I miss being her mommy. Crazy as it sounds, I also sort of miss the first couple of weeks right after placement. I was spoiled then - I got pictures and e-mail almost every day. It's harder now, not getting pictures and updates as often. In some of the adoption education stuff I've done I've heard couples or ARs ask about pictures and letters, and how much is too much. I don't know if there could be too much. I don't think there's such a thing as too much.

It's so hard to communicate effectively as a birth mom. There always worries and concerns. You don't want to be pushy or obnoxious intrusive or be seen as a burden, as someone else who needs taking care of. You don't want to be inconsiderate of an adoptive couple by bothering them all the time for pictures or information. Me, for instance, I don't even call P and M, even though I have their number. I always feel like calling would be rude because what if I call at a bad time? I don't want them to feel like they have to talk to me just because I called. I don't know when's a good time or a bad time, especially with 2 small children in the house. So I stick to e-mail.

We need to have a special birth mom group meeting to talk about communication. Adoption forms relationships unlike any others. It's hard to know what's appropriate and what's just obnoxious. I wonder if I err too much on the side of caution. And then I worry that I'm coming off as passive-aggressive by blogging about things instead of talking about them with people. I hope not.

But the fact is that I am probably the least confrontative person on the planet. I shared a dorm with a roommate who didn't ever clean up or bathe or do laundry because I didn't want to hurt her feelings or offend her by saying anything. I worry that because my mouth works faster than my brain, I'm going to say the wrong thing and ruin the few decent relationships I have in my life.

I've been in therapy for four years. You'd think I'd have things figured out better by now. And when I go to see John and he asks how things are going, I can't think of anything to say. When I'm there, I feel pretty good, like things are going well. It's only later that I think of things I need to talk about. I've tried writing things down and taking the list with me to therapy, but I get there and I look at my list and I feel stupid, or that the things I wrote down are stupid, so I don't talk about things. Part of it is that my therapist is a member of a different church, and I worry that if I say the wrong thing, he'll think less of my church or LDSFS or something like that.

I am so glad I get to go to the temple soon. I have so much going on in my head that I feel more and more every day that I really need the peace and comfort that the temple brings. I wish I could go today. Maybe I'd get some answers.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I'm feeling better today. I think I just needed to get a little ranting out. I don't do it nearly as often as I used to. I used to be a pity party animal.

What helped me to feel better, I think, was the sight of my temple recommend, signed by my bishop. I'll meet with the stake president in about a week, and then I'll be good to go. I have three temple prep classes left, and I have been reading as many books on the topic as I can get my grubby little paws on (in particular I recommend this one here). I know that my preparation to go to the temple is why I've been having such a rotten time of things lately. I am so blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven to listen to and answer my prayers. I think I've prayed more since having Roo than I have in the rest of my life put together. I'm a better person for it, too.

I've been on both sides of it now, so I can say for a certainty that I'd rather keep God's commandments and be unhappy than be disobedient and think I'm happy. The latter never ends well. With the former, I'm finding, if I'm patient, things will work themselves out in the end. They won't necessarily get easier or better (not right away, anyway) but I feel so much less alone, and I at least have faith that the blessings will come eventually.

Eventually. Some day. When it's right. I've grown to loathe those words. They seem mostly to mean that things are going to stink for the foreseeable future. But again, that's where faith comes in. And I have it in my head that the longer I have to wait for something, the better it's going to be when it comes. I have to go through bad times to appreciate the good.

Kahlil Gibran said, "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain." Eventually, some day, when it's right, I am going to be the happiest woman on earth.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pity Party

WARNING: I am feeling petty and whiny and immature and selfish and crabby, and I need to vent.

I am having one of those days. I hate them. Days like this, I mean.

It's not so much that I miss my Roo (although I do miss her terribly). It's more that people are so imperfect, and don't think, and I end up feeling like some of the people who should care about me don't care at all.

People like my LDSFS caseworker, S; one of her fellow caseworkers, A; my fellow birth mothers at the support group that meets on Wednesdays; and a few other people I know.

If I'm honest, some of what I'm irked about goes back a month. I was scheduled to tell my adoption story at the birth mother group on December 2nd. A few hours beforehand, an e-mail went out to the group saying that group was meeting that night, and that according to the schedule I would be speaking. Then it said to make sure to come for check in at 5. Not for me, but for check-in. I was irked. Especially when only about half as many people as usually come actually came. Four birth moms, an agency rep or two, and maybe three other people. And then S made two announcements - she told us that a birth mom had just placed a few days ago, and then she said that one of the girls who usually comes was in labor, and everyone got excited and talked about going to visit her in the hospital. I know it's stupid and petty and immature, but I wanted to leave then. I wanted to say, "Fine. You all want to go see her? Go see her. Not like anyone cares what I have to say anyway."

But I didn't. And I told my story. I tried to be brutally honest. About how I don't have any kind of social skills, and how people make me nervous because I'm always afraid people are looking at me and judging me and finding me lacking. I had hoped that opening up like that might, if not endear me to people, at least help them to see that I'm not stuck up or standoffish. Just socially awkward. What can I say? I'm an optimist.

The next week, the reminder e-mail that was sent was something like, "[name] is telling her story tonight. Everyone needs to come and support her and show her you care." So apparently it was really important to show support for her but not for me. And when I got there at group that night, the room was packed. Everyone had indeed come to support her. I counted eight birth moms who hadn't bothered to show up the week before.

Now, I know - I KNOW - that it wasn't anything personal. It's not like those birth moms all hate me and didn't want to hear me talk. But it was their absence when I spoke, coupled with the tone of the reminder e-mail, that just made me feel like no one gave a care about me.

And then there's S. How can I explain S? I love her, but she reminds me of ... of a noncustodial parent. A weekend dad. Like, she makes promises and then doesn't keep them. Much the way a weekend dad might promise a trip to the zoo or the carnival and then not show up.

I can't be sure, but I suspect that it's LDSFS policy to have, you know, follow-up meetings with birth moms after placement. I haven't had a single follow-up with S. I have made a few frantic phone calls to S at odd hours, and she's talked me out of a few crises. But when I've tried to make appointments to go in to the office and talk to her, it never happens. Her schedule changes, she has to cancel, or we end up grocery shopping or chatting in the car while she drives from house to house doing her other job.

I needed her - I really, really needed her - when this mess with H's mother came up. I contacted her, frantic. I told her, and I quote, "I am really freaking out here." She said she'd call me as soon as she could. She never called. We ended up hanging out almost 2 weeks later and she seemed not to remember at all that she'd let me down. I really screwed things up with how I handled things with H's mother. I could have used S's help. I never got it. She's too busy for me. I'm not important. It hurts. It bothers me. But, like a child of divorce, I keep forgiving her. I never tell her she's hurt me. I'm just happy when she decides to pay any attention to me.

I got e-mail this morning from A. It was sent to me and three other birth moms. A wanted us to reach out and support this birth mom she knows of - a birth mom I have never personally met. A wrote: "I don't know if she has ever come to group since placement in August but she is trying to get through this emotionally by herself and I think it would really help to have some other birthmothers there for her. Maybe it could help her feel more comfortable coming to group."

This e-mail irritated me more than I can say. First off, as I said, I've never even met this other birth mom. How phony would that be if I wrote to her and acted all supportive and nice? She doesn't know me. And she has a boyfriend, so it's not like she's all alone in this. You know who is? Oh, right. That would be me. Also, why is this one birth mom so special? Is A sending out e-mail about other birth moms? We ALL need support. We ALL need to have other birth moms who are there for us. And I sure as heck don't feel comfortable coming to group. I sit alone there more often than not. Hey, A, read MY blog and see how well I'm doing - or not doing. Send out an e-mail telling other birth moms to talk to me, to sit by me, to make me feel welcome and important and loved.

I'm just feeling like since placement no one cares about me anymore - about how I'm doing or how I'm coping or whether I'm miserable - which, for the record, I am quite a bit since I don't have anything going for me at the moment. I have no job, no friends, no boyfriend, no money, no social life, nothing to look forward to. I live with my mother and I spend most of my time on-line or watching TV or doing housework.

I try - Heaven only knows how I try to be happy, to find peace and joy. But it's so hard! And I feel like no one besides my mother and my oldest brother actually cares about me. And P and M. They're awesome. I know they care.

But what about S? She's paid to care, for crying out loud. A, I suppose, doesn't have to care, which is just as well since I've never gotten the impression that she thinks a whole lot of me. Which is fine, I suppose. I reckon I'm a bit of an acquired taste, and not everyone is going to like me - they don't have to. I'm learning to accept that.

But still, I think ... why am I less important than any other birth mom? Why shouldn't I get encouragement and support as well? Urg. I hate it when I get in these moods. But it's so irritating! It's irritating to feel like, for some unknown reason, I'm less important, worth less time and attention than other people. I've felt that way my entire life and I guess part of me thought that in doing this amazing thing, in being a birth mom, I would finally get someone who knows me to say, "Jill, you are amazing. You did an amazing thing. You are important. I care."

I'm not proud of myself. I'm not proud of feeling so petty and selfish and juvenile. I'm not even sure I'll post this. Part of me feels like this sort of ranting and raving is beneath me, unproductive and brings down the quality and purpose of my blog. And I don't want anyone to think I'm fishing for compliments. I knew a girl in high school who used to put herself down all the time so that people would compliment her, and it was highly irritating. That's not my aim here. I just need to ... to vent. Should I vent on this blog? Maybe I should have a separate blog, just for venting.

But then, I've always striven to be brutally honest about my experience as a birth mom, and this is part of it. It's an ugly part of it, but a part of it nonetheless.

I think I'll just save this as a draft and think about it for a while. I'll probably feel less whiny in the morning.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Same Old Thing

I miss my Roo.

I haven't seen her in a month. This is the longest I've gone without a visit since placement. I'm spoiled, I know. Lots of birth moms don't get so many visits. But the other side of that is that I was her mother for 9 weeks before I placed her, so for a while there every second I spent away from her felt unbearable.

It's been exactly a month today. Roo was blessed by her daddy on the 13th of December. What a wonderful day that was! I replay it in my mind sometimes. I replay lots of things in my mind.

P and M have sent me quite a few Roo videos as well, and I replay those in reality rather frequently. I love to see her in action - smiling, babbling, chewing on a teething toy, sitting up, bouncing, swinging, looking generally delighted and adorable.

I think what's hard these days is that Roo is getting older - and bigger, and smarter, and cuter, and more interactive. When I was her mommy, she was tiny and new. She was adorable and fascinating, of course, but too little to do much or learn much. Now she's so much more entertaining and busy. Part of me wishes I had her with me so I could have that joy in my home - that fun energy that comes with having a 6-month-old. It would be so much fun to see her in my living room in a bouncy saucer.

But I have to remind myself that Roo is more important than fun. I couldn't risk her happiness to keep myself from feeling sad or empty. And I remind myself that, much as I'm the person I am today because I placed Roo, she is the happy, fun baby that she is because she has a mommy and daddy.

Still, I miss her. I miss getting to see that sweet little face every day. I miss watching her learn and grow and play. I miss being her mommy. I have a picture of Roo on my computer desktop, and most of the time when I turn my computer on, the sight of her sweet little smile makes me happy. But when I have a bad day ... when I have a bad day, I sit in front of my computer and stare at her picture and cry.

I know she's happy. I know she's loved. I cling to that when things get rough. I make myself step out of my selfish grief and remember why I chose adoption, and for whom. Roo is worth it. I know that. She is worth the tears and heartache. She is worth the bad days. She is worth missing.

And I miss her, and miss her.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Button-less But Brilliant

Back in November I posted a whole slew of buttons for adoptive couple blogs. I have a link to it on my main page, because I think it's important for adoption blogs to get as much exposure as they can. I liked P's and M's profile on the LDS Family Services website. But their blog did more for me to convince me that I really wanted to meet these people.

Not everyone has a button for their website, of course. I don't have one for mine (although if I can ever figure out this Photoshop thing, that might change). If I wanted one, I would probably use the handy tutorial found *here* to do so.

But just because a couple has a button-less blog doesn't mean they're any less fantastic. So I thought I'd share the love and have some regular old links to the blogs of great people who would love to adopt.

This list is by no means comprehensive, it's just what I put together over an hour or two. If you'd like to be added (to this list, or to my button directory), e-mail me your URL and I'll put you on the list.

Adam and Heather
Alex and Sarah
Barry and Rebecca
Ben and Britney
Ben and Katie
Ben and Kindle
Ben and Sherrie
Bill and Alicia
Bob and Colista
Bobby and Norys
Brady and Karen
Brent and Suzanne
Brian and Christine
Brian and Janelle
Brian and Leisha
Brian and Nicole
Brian and Trudy
Bryan and Suzanne
Cameron and Jenny
Chad and Angie
Chad and Melissa
Chad and Tina
Chad and Wendy
Chris and Becky
Chris and Jamie
Clayton and Angie
Dan and Angela
Dan and Brittany
Daniel and Ashley
Daniel and Jennie
Dave and Annie
David and Kristin
David and Vonae
Davis and Rebecca
Derek and Laura
Devin and Lynette
Don and Kendra
Doug and Marianne
Dustin and Andrea
Dustin and Nicole
Eric and Christy
Eric and Kate
Geoff and Felicia
Greg and Kristen
Greg and Michelle
Heath and Alyssa
Hema and Becky
Jake and Alisa
Jake and Gina
Jason and Adrienne
Jason and Aime
Jason and Emily
Jason and Rachel
Jeremy and Becky
Jimi and Sarah
Joel and Katie
Joey and Nicole
Jon and Carrie
Josh and Andrea
Josh and Nancy
Joshua and Lindsey
Keith and Chantelle
Kendall and Katy
Kent and Tiffany
Kevin and Andrea
Kevin and Christa
Kevin and Danya
Kevin & Tenille
Kirt and Andrea
Kyle and Jessica
Kyle and Shelby
Levi and Sandra
Lincoln and Megan
Logan and Ashley
Lonny and Amy
Luke and Tina
Lyle and Janie
Mark and Nicole
Mark and Tiffany
Mat and Michelle
Matt and Courtney
Matt and Jen<----- I've met them, and they are awesome!
Matt and Karen
Michael and Camille
Mike and Amanda
Mike and Hallie
Mike and Jamie
Mike and Nicole
Mike and Risa
Nathan and Emily
Nathaniel and Karen
Nathaniel and Karlee
Peter and Linda
Rex and Jennifer
Richard and Elesa
Rick and Christi
Robby and Angee
Rocky and Whitney
Rodney and Carrie
Ron and Jessica
Russell and Jammie
Ryan and Alicia
Ryan and Amanda
Ryan and Cyd
Ryan and Jen
Ryan and Juliana
Ryan and Nici
Ryan and Nicole
Spencer and Wendy
Steve and Amy
Steve and Deidra
Steven and Kara
Steven and Jocelyn
Taylor and Lisa
Terry and Linda
Todd and Karine
Tom and Becky
Tom and Shian
Tommy and Annie
Tyler and Jen
Tyler and Michelle
Tyler and Sarah
Tyrell and Tarrin
Tyson and Jennie
Uriah and Melinda

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Four Months/17 Weeks

Wednesday marked 17 weeks since placement, and today it's four whole months.

I hate to brag, but I've impressed myself with how far I've come since those impossibly hard days right after placement. I have grown immeasurably, and I have found strength I did not know I possessed. I'm a better person, a stronger person, a braver person. I'm proud of myself.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Not for myself or any growth on my part, but for Roo. She's the reason I did it in the first place. I wanted her to have the world. Adoption was the best way to make sure she got it. I placed her because I love her. And I'd do it all over again for the same reason. Yes, it was tough. I suffered. I cried. I went through sedatives and Kleenex at a rate heretofore unknown.

But Roo is worth it. She is worth every tear, every second of emotional turmoil and pain. She's worth the worry and the heartache, the harassment by H's mother, the ache of missing what I wanted most in the world. I would gladly be miserable every day for the rest of my life if it would ensure a happy life for Roo.

And I'm not miserable! I'm not going to win any awards for cheerfulness. But I'm not miserable. And Roo is happy. She's happy because I put her first. It's a pretty amazing thing. All that any mother ever wants is for her child to be happy. What a blessing it is to know how happy my Roo is! And knowing how content she is, how could I not be happy for her?

It's a process, to be sure. I have my share of bad days (sometimes more than my share). But I feel like they're fewer and further between. They don't bother me as much as they used to. Perhaps someday they won't bother me at all. I'm making progress, that's what's important. And Roo has everything I wanted for her, and that's most important of all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

6 Months Old!

I can't believe my little Roo is 6 months old today. Where did the time go? It feels like both hours and years. She has grown so much! She is the happiest, most content baby I have ever seen. She is a good sleeper, a good eater, and a good smiler. She sees her parents and she smiles.

I miss her terribly. And yet, it doesn't always hurt as much as it used to. I miss my teeny tiny girl, not the 6-month old who is working hard on sitting herself up. I miss being the mommy of a newborn. I want a husband and a family. I want a baby I can have for eternity. I envy P and M not because they have my Roo, but because they have two beautiful children who are sealed to them. I want that, too.

I can't believe how much I've changed since Roo was born. I thought when my dad died that I had grown up an awful lot. In retrospect, I matured not by losing my father, or even by having a baby. I grew up when I put myself aside and put my baby first.

I am much more mature than I was six months ago. I am much happier than I was six months ago. I am a better person. I like myself more.

Roo would have been fine had I kept her, I'm sure. I was a good mother. I took good care of her, and she was healthy and happy when I had her. But she'd have been an eternal floater. And as she got older, she'd have had questions with unsatisfactory answers.

But neither Roo nor I will have to deal with that now. When the little Primary kids get up on Father's Day to sing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home," Roo will have a daddy to sing to. She won't feel left out. When she learns about eternal families, she'll know that when she was a baby her mommy and daddy took her to the temple so she could be part of their eternal family.

What a blessing that is! Roo deserves it. She deserves the best this world has to offer. I'm so glad she has it. She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. And she's only 6 months old! I can only imagine how adorable she'll be as she gets older.

As hard as things have been, in so many ways these have been the best six months of my life. Roo, just by being Roo, has made me a better, happier person. I only hope that adoption will ultimately do the same for her.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spreading the Word

I got to tell my story again today.

It was a little different from usual. I'm used to teenagers, mostly. Today it was adults, and quite a few of them were older than my mother.

Every stake in the LDS Church has (or is supposed to have) an LDSFS Agency Representative (AR). I think the calling used to have the title of Birth Outreach Coordinator or something like that. Anyway. This morning was sort of a training for them, to get to know what it is to be a birth mother. I was one of three birth mothers telling my story. There was also an adoptive mom to give her perspective.

I could tell that for a lot of the ARs the concept of an open adoption was very foreign. Part of it is generational, I think. Years ago, when my mom was adopted for instance, adoption was very hush-hush and as adoptions were completely closed. I can imagine how strange it must be for people who have that picture of adoption to hear about how open things can be today.

The ARs all seemed fascinated by the birth mom stories. I guess I've been knee-deep in adoption for so long now that I forget that a lot of people don't have any experience with it. It was sort of refreshing. When I do school presentations, the kids aren't any more familiar with it, but they don't seem to care overmuch either. It was nice to have such a rapt audience for a change.

I think what I like best is seeing people's faces when it clicks for them - when they get it, so to speak - that adoption is nothing shameful or strange or distasteful. I love to see minds changed as stories are told. Adoption is a wonderful, amazing thing! I wish more people knew that. I wish the whole world knew it. I feel like there's still this stigma about it. People see it as a sad thing, a shameful thing, something that shouldn't be talked about. It needs to be talked about!

I'm so glad I have the chance to do presentations. I don't know if anyone I speak to gets anything out of what I have to say, but I know that I certainly do. I used to worry that every time I told my story I lost a little part of it - that it lost a little more meaning each time, that it became less precious, less special. Sometimes I still worry about that. But I'm starting to feel more like mine is a story that needs to be told. That maybe I had this experience not just for me, not just for Roo, but because it's going to give me the experience and perspective to help other people. I hope so.

Monday, January 4, 2010

From Joy to Unease ... and Back to Joy

I miss my Roo today.

It's funny. I've gotten to the point where it's sometimes hard to remember at all when she was my baby and I was her mommy. And I was even thinking to myself at church today how long ago it all seems - like a dream more than anything at times.

And then I missed her again. I got pictures and videos from P and M soon after, just when I needed them. She is getting so big! She is such a beautiful baby. Perfect, really. She's working on sitting up by herself, and she is still wonderfully chubby.

And it's funny, because while I miss her, I don't miss ... her, exactly. I mean, I do miss her, every second, and I always will. But I don't miss her in the sense that I want her back. I miss being a mommy. I miss having a baby. I know Roo is where she belongs and that P and M were meant to be her parents. I want a baby who's supposed to be mine. I want a husband and a family and all that cozy domesticity that feminism and the media seem to malign these days. It's all I've ever wanted, really.

I keep seeing all these girls who are 18, 19, 20, 21 years old who are getting married. And while I wouldn't want to marry any of the men they're marrying, I still wonder. When will it be my turn? I wish I knew. It's hard to be patient when there's no endpoint - when it's a potentially infinite wait.

You know what I hate? I hate knowing, as I do now, that H's mother is probably reading every word I write and delighting in my misery because she thinks I'm a nasty liar and that I'm never going to be happy in my life (she told me that, by the way - that I was never going to be happy in life. Nice, eh?). Someone asked about her, while I'm on the subject. I wrote back to her and told her to never contact me again, ever. But I didn't trust that she'd actually leave me alone simply because I asked her to, so I blocked her e-mail address. H's, too, just to be on the safe side. I feel much better knowing I won't have to be subject to that kind of manipulative nastiness again.

But I hate the thought that this woman is privy to any of my thoughts or feelings about Roo and adoption and things. I wish I could block her from my blog as well as from my e-mail. I think I'd feel better without the thought of H's mother reading this and taking delight in my unease and sporadic melancholy. I'm going to try not to think about her. I don't want her having that kind of control, or taking up that much of my mental energy. It's bad enough that I started off writing about my sweet baby and ended up preoccupied with that woman. I'm mad at myself for that.

You know what's amazing, though? As worked up as I may get, and as much as I might miss Roo and being her mommy and as wistful as I might get thinking about being single, I can cheer myself up in about two seconds, and I just did.

I opened up one of my Roo videos and watched it. Just seeing her smile at her mommy and daddy makes me smile. It's instant joy. How spoiled am I? Roo's parents spoil me, they really do. They're so good about sending me pictures and videos and updates, and arranging visits when I need them. I love them dearly. Ruby is so blessed to have them as her parents.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Roo Year

I couldn't wait for 2009 to be over.

It was a pretty rough year, and I'd pretty much made up my mind that, bad as 2008 was, 2009 was worse and I'd be happy to see the end of it. Every time I thought to myself that things couldn't get any worse, they did just that. While there were more individual things that sucked in 2008, 2009 was tougher all around.

I've changed my mind. Which isn't to say that 2009 wasn't rough, or that parts of it didn't suck like a Hoover testing facility. But 2009 is the year that Roo was born. Should anything else that happened really matter in the long run? As far as I'm concerned, 2009 was a great year because the world became a better place with the addition of one amazingly perfect little girl. I don't like to think of a world without Roo. What a horrible place that would be!

This was Roo's first New Year's. And while I'm sure she celebrated by sleeping soundly, arms up by her head like a little cactus, when the clock turned from 11:59 to 12:00, I thought of that sweet little girl, and wished myself a Happy Roo Year.

I am looking forward to this year. Not because it means the end of last year, but because I have decided it is going to be my best year yet. I've got some great things to look forward to. I'm getting ready to go to the temple soon, I've got a good job lined up, I'm going to Ireland in the summer and ASU in the fall (I hope), Roo will turn 1 (a real happy Roo year!), and I will, I've decided, be obnoxiously happy.

Which isn't to say that I think everything's going to go swimmingly and I'm never going to have any problems ever again. That's just stupid. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, something's always going to come up that's going to test your faith. God doesn't reward obedience with a perfect life. But I know for sure, and from experience, that I'd rather have a hard life and be obedient than have an easy life and mess things up.

Here's to an awesome 2010. It's going to be great because I'm going to make it great.