Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I know I'm getting ahead of myself as far as the story goes, but today is notable and so I shall make note of it. One year ago today, Roo was due.

Why on earth do they even give women a due date? I don't know anyone who's delivered on their due date. I knew Roo was going to be a week late, anyway, and she was, exactly. The fact that she really should have been six days late and not seven is something I try not to think about. I still remember how stunned my doctor was to see me on the morning of July 7th.

"You're still pregnant!" she exclaimed.

Figured that out all by yourself, did you? I thought. What I said, in between contractions, was, "Looks that way."

And she said that wouldn't do at all, and less than an hour later I was being wheeled into an OR.

But we won't go there just yet. One year ago was Roo's almost-birthday. The end was near, and I was gigantic. Here I am exactly a year ago with a waist only 7 inches less than my height.

I was hot, and I was miserable, and I wanted more than anything in the world to NOT be pregnant anymore. It felt like I'd been pregnant forever. One of the disadvantages of finding out I was pregnant early on in the process was that I'd felt every single day of my pregnancy.

I got back from Ireland last night (longest Tuesday of my life) and I hadn't realized until I came home how nice it was to be away from my house for a month. My flat in Athlone had no memories attached to it - it was just an empty shell, a place to stay for a while. My house ... my house is where my dad lived, and where he pretty much died. It's where I found out I was pregnant, where I grew Roo, where I brought her home, and where I came after placement. If memories were ghosts, my house would be severely haunted.

It was strange, really. Being in Ireland I felt worlds away, not just physically but mentally, from adoption and from Roo and from all of my emotions about that. And coming home, I felt the absence of Roo in the house, something I haven't noticed since the first few weeks after placement. The house seemed so quiet and empty and had I not been completely exhausted from being awake for some 36 hours, I think I probably would have cried myself to sleep. As it was, I crawled into bed and fell asleep in about 15 seconds, something that hasn't happened in longer than I can remember.

It hit me last night, actually, the reality of my situation here and what I've been through. I was standing outside Sky Harbor's Terminal 3, waiting for my mom to pick me up, and something about the stifling heat and the slight breeze and the sounds of the traffic and the almost-dark reminded me of going to the hospital to be induced, and of leaving the hospital with Roo, and of taking her to the ER that night at the end of August because she wouldn't eat (she was fine) ... and I cried as I stood there with my luggage, overwhelmed at both the baggage next to me and the baggage within. The three heavy suitcases at my feet seemed an apt metaphor for my feelings, and just thinking about it now makes my throat fizz.

I don't know if anyone else gets that, but when I've got tears working their way to the surface, my throat feels tight and I swear it fizzes.

But back to reality. Today is June 30th, and for the rest of my life the date will remind me of Roo, and how excited I was to be a mommy soon. I remember that for at least part of the day, I double- and triple-checked Roo's things - her crib with its sweet pink bird bedding, her tiny diapers, the wee little Onesies and socks. I tested the construction of the crib, pulling this way and that to make sure it was screwed together properly so Roo would be safe. I watched a little TV. I waited.

I waited for contractions to begin - I knew I wouldn't give birth that day, but I thought maybe I'd feel a twinge of something. I waited for a baby name to come to me, but none did. I waited for a decision to come to me. I was prepared for a baby but part of me wondered still if I was making the right choice to parent this baby. No decision was forthcoming. The idea returning from the hospital and not having a baby to put in the crib caused a physical ache.

I miss Roo today. I don't know if it's awful or not but when I was away I didn't feel I missed her as much. I guess I had so many other things to do, and places to go, and things to think about, that missing her just wasn't as high on the list. Is that awful? I even forgot to pray for her one night, and I woke up after 15 minutes and remembered and felt like the worst person on earth. How could I ever forget to pray for Roo and her family? Some nights when I'm extra tired they're all I pray for. And yet I forgot.

Being home, I miss her more. There's little to distract me - there's laundry and unpacking, of course, but I don't have any buses to catch or places to see or things to do. It's strange. I've been theoretically busy all day and yet I'm horribly bored.

I miss her. But I think it's okay. I think I'm okay. I can miss her and be okay. It's just a little harder thinking back to how things were, and thinking about how they might have been. I know I did the right thing for Roo. I've never doubted it. It's just that I remember how a year ago I was so excited to be a mommy.

And now I'm not a mommy. And it kind of sucks.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

May 2009, Part Three

Have you ever noticed that once you buy something, you see it everywhere? My parents bought a Toyota Highlander a few years ago. I never noticed them before, but once we had one, I saw Highlanders everywhere. Likewise, once I made plans to travel to Ireland this summer, I began noticing news articles about the country, products that were manufactured there, celebrities who were born there. I noticed Highlanders and Ireland because I had a reason to see them everywhere.

It was the same with my pregnancy. Once I had been only vaguely aware of things like diapers and Dreft. Now, the world seemed to be full of babies and pregnant women. They were everywhere – in movies, in magazines, and on TV. I like to watch “The Office” on NBC. It’s not as funny as it used to be, but by now I have a vested interest in the characters, so I keep watching. The season finale last year ended with Jim and Pam finding out they were expecting a baby.

Jim’s reaction just killed me. It broke my heart, too. It must be nice, I thought, to be expecting a baby with a man you love who loves you. A man who, while panicked out and nervous, is ultimately excited. And plans on marrying you in any case. I cried.

From my journal: "I will never know that. I feel it deep down. Let's face it. It's not like I date or anything. It's not like I'm ever really going to get the chance for that kind of happiness ... It would be nice, wouldn't it? To not have any of these complications I've endured with H. To have people excited for you, happy for you, buying you presents, sending you cards, asking happy excited questions instead of being disappointed in you ... to go to childbirth classes with your baby's other parent, to know he'll be there the whole time with you ... I know what I could have, how much better things could be - should be - and it hurts me. It kills me. And I worry so much, and I worry about after she’s born - I am going to worry about every little thing, I just know it. And it would be so nice to have someone to share the worry with ..."

I was exhausted all the time. Pregnancy and fibromyalgia were a formidable combination, and I couldn’t imagine how much more miserable and exhausted I’d be in a month. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of my sweet baby girl – knowing that it was all for her, for her safety and health and comfort. I couldn’t believe how quickly time was passing me by. My due date was nearer and nearer but I didn’t feel any nearer to a decision.

I missed my father terribly. I wondered, not for the first time, if I wanted to keep my baby to fill the emptiness created by my father’s death. There were, I reasoned, worse reasons to have a baby. And I already loved her so much! But I worried. A baby, I thought, I can handle. But babies don’t stay little forever. Before I knew it I’d have a toddler, a small child, an elementary-schooler. Could I handle that? What would my life be like? What would hers be like?

I’d always wanted to have my children close in age as well – preferably with the same father as well, but that couldn’t be helped now. But this baby might be all I got. I wondered if I could be happy with that – just me and my little girl. I hoped so, because I had pretty much given up on men in general. "They are stupid, selfish jerks who expect too much and don't think they should have to do anything in return," I wrote in my journal.

Again and again I considered the idea of adoption. But I didn’t think I could bear to give my baby up. I knew it made me horribly selfish, but, I thought, okay. I’m selfish. Plenty of selfish people become moms, and things work out okay for them. Surely, I thought, my selfishness would be balanced out by the good it would do my baby to have her with me. She knew my voice, my heartbeat. Any child of mine would be decidedly quirky. I could help her with her quirks and love her anyway.

I finished my childbirth classes. I was a bit nervous about that. In my mind, once I finished childbirth classes I’d feel much more confident about labor and delivery. I didn’t. I knew I’d get through it somehow, but I didn’t like to think about it. Part of that, I think, is that I knew that once my baby was born, I’d have to decide what to do with her, and the thought of making a decision terrified me.

My little girl would be worth the worry and stress, I thought. We discussed newborn care during the last class, and there was a poster of a funny-looking little newborn, all mottled skin and clenched fingers and toes and squishy face and too-big head. Absolutely adorable, as were the newborns in the labor videos we watched. I wrote:

"The newborns at the end were so precious. So sweet. All wrinkly and funny-looking and wide-eyed and bewildered. They just killed me. And I thought, wow. Six weeks and I'm going to have my own precious little bundle of squishy sweetness who needs me, who has kicky feet and a teeny-tiny chin and a wee nose and pretty lips and long fingers and fat toes. My very own little funny-looking newborn with red spots and bendy legs and puffy eyes. Perfection."

I was nervous and excited and I absolutely could not bear the thought of placing my baby. I recalled all too clearly the kind of pain I’d felt when my dad died. I didn’t think I could bear it again. I wished I could just keep her in my belly forever. She was happy and safe and warm and well-fed in there, easy to care for and carry and keep safe. I'd gotten used to being pregnant, and I liked having my little girl with me wherever I went.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Lied

You can't leave Ireland without buying a Claddagh ring, I told myself. It just isn't done. So today after spending a bit of time taking pictures in the bay, I stopped in a small jewelry store on my way back to Eyre Square.

The store was tiny but well-stocked with beautiful jewelry and other fragile, shiny things. I looked around for a few minutes, deciding what gifts I'd buy and for whom if money was no object. Then I went to the counter and the saleswoman helped me find a ring that fit. It took a few tries because I have my paternal grandfather's chunky fingers, but the fourth one was perfect. I admired it for a moment before deciding to buy it.

"Would you like to wear it out?" The saleswoman asked.

"Oh, sure," I said.

"Right then. Does anyone have your heart?"

I knew what she meant, and being very much single I said no, no one had my heart, and she told me to turn the ring around so the crown pointed to my wrist instead of my fingernail.

But even as I answered no, I knew I was lying. Someone very much has my heart. She stole it almost a year ago and I think she'll have it forever.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Have Decided That ...

... Random, just-for-fun Roo pictures are pretty much the best thing ever. They make my day every time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daddy Issues

I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately. There are certain things I've seen here, places I've been, that I think he would have liked. And I think, if he were alive, I'd have bought him one of those ugly woollen golf hats that older men wear here, or maybe a tie with a sheep on it. You have to give a tie for Father's Day, right?

But there's no one to buy a necktie for this year, the same as there wasn't last year. That's part of why I hate these greeting card holidays. They're fine for most people but for quite a few of us out there they're a reminder of what we lack. At the moment, I lack a father on this earth.

I got pregnant after he died. It was, in some ways, a blessing. I needed the distraction. After his death I stopped eating. I lost 20 pounds in two weeks. I hardly noticed. I hardly cared. Pregnancy was a good motivation to start taking better care of myself. But beyond that, it gave me something to focus on other than my grief. And then I had Roo to focus on and, after placement, the grief of placement. But I find more and more lately that some of the things I didn't deal with before are coming back up to the surface, demanding attention.

I miss my dad. I miss him like crazy. I know intellectually that he died nearly two years ago. That he is gone, and he's not coming back. But every so often the injustice of it will creep up. Something will happen where I think, I need my daddy. And it hits me all over again that it doesn't matter how much I need him, I can't have his help.

There are so many things I'm still not accustomed to doing on my own. Decisions I can't make by myself. Things I never learned how to do because I didn't need to learn them. I figure things out when I can. I cried the first time I mowed the lawn. Some things I can't do. Even with a ladder I can't reach to change a few light bulbs in the house. I can change the oil in my car theoretically, but I can't do it in practice.

I hate that he died. He was only 52. When he was first diagnosed, they gave him three years. He told me it was ten. I think he knew I was worried. When it came back, they gave him six months. He got two weeks.

He had the same kind of brain cancer as Ted Kennedy. Sometimes I wonder if my dad would have lived a bit longer if we'd had the same access to funds and treatment that Kennedy did. Maybe so. Life's grossly unfair that way. Brain cancer is grossly unfair. Anyone can get it, did you know that? It doesn't matter how old you are, or where you live, or whether you're male or female, or if you're white or black or purple. Children get it. Old people get it. Everyone in between can get it. If they're lucky, it doesn't kill them. Most of them aren't lucky.

I don't want to stereotype, but statistically speaking a lot of women who have been in my situation (bad relationship, unplanned pregnancy) tend to have daddy issues. That's just not me. The only issue I have with my dad is that he's not here anymore.

It's funny, though, because the fact that I don't have a dad anymore in this life is what helped me to see how important a daddy is. It's what helped me to see how much Roo needed a daddy. Because I had such a good daddy! I'm glad I did. A girl needs a good daddy.

When my dad was a teenager, he didn't ever plan on marrying and he certainly didn't plan on being a father. Then, of course, he met my mother, and things changed. I asked him once how he knew he wanted to marry my mother. When they got engaged, my dad was going to NAU and my mom was going to beauty school in Provo. Most weekends, he'd make the 8+ hour drive north to see her. He told me that one day, driving back to Flagstaff, he realized that it physically hurt him to be away from my mom, and he decided he had to marry her. Isn't that sweet?

My parents had four children in six years - I'm number 4. And I had the best daddy in the world. There wasn't a thing he wouldn't do. He changed diapers, gave baths, detangled messy little girl hair, spooned strained peas into little mouths, searched for lost baby dolls and hair bows, fixed broken toys, and answered hundreds of thousands of ridiculous questions, everything from why water was wet to what, exactly, kilowatts were, and how he made them at work every day. He taught me to drive, helped me with homework, took me to movies and baseball games and dinner. He always saw to it that I was taken care of.

One of the last things my dad said to me, the day he had the stroke was when we'd gotten home and I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating lunch. He wanted to make sure the restaurant had gotten my order right, and that there wasn't anything else I needed. "Are you happy?" he asked. Only when I'd replied in the affirmative did he go upstairs for a nap, with a muttered word about having a headache.

An hour after that, he apparently had a stroke, and an hour after that, he fell asleep on the couch, and he never woke up again, even though I cried and begged and shouted. My mom called 911. I checked his pulse, his breath. The paramedics came. They checked his vital signs. I heard them call out his blood pressure, and I knew then that he was gone. A little part of me died then, too.

I had the best daddy in the world. I wanted the same for Roo. The thought of her not having it broke my heart. When I went to choose parents for her, I knew that her mommy was so very, vitally important, but I was especially careful screening potential daddies, too.

I'd asked Roo's parents to bring their daughter with them when I met them, because I wanted to sort of see them in action. Roo's daddy was so patient with his daughter, so gentle and kind. I was charmed. And then, the first time Roo really met her daddy, the first time he held her, she looked right up at him and smiled. He said hello to her, and there was something in his voice that won me over in that moment, and I knew she was home.

My little Roo has the best daddy in the world. The things that I worried about for her when I was her mommy aren't worries anymore. I wanted her to have good parents like I did, parents who love each other and who treat each other - and their children well. That's what she has. No child on earth could possibly be as loved as Roo.

Because I had a good daddy, Roo has a good daddy. I just wish my daddy was still here so I could thank him.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes the world is a hard place to live in. Things aren't great economically, the weather rarely cooperates, people drive like maniacs, and so often (in Ireland anyway) people will plow into you in a store without so much as a glance, knocking you over because they're in a great rush to get past you and you're not important enough to acknowledge as a human being.

It's easy to list the bad things, and the hard things, and the negative things. I know this to be true because I've done it many a time myself. A few days ago was one of those days. Nothing seemed to be going right, and except for the fact that I'm in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I'd have been thoroughly miserable. And then, Mental Floss saved the day.

If you click HERE, you'll be taken to a short article followed by about 200 comments, all about the kindness of strangers and the goodness of people. I cried all of my eye makeup off reading through the comment section, and I felt much better about my life and about humanity in general.

There is so much good in the world if you're willing to look for it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

May 2009, Part Two – Mother’s Day

May brought my first Mother’s Day. I’d already gotten a great gift – my 3D ultrasound. I wasn’t really expecting much. I don’t think my mom was either, but she got something just the same, something she didn’t deserve.

H’s mother wrote her a letter. She e-mailed her, and she did it on Mother’s Day, first thing in the morning. My mom didn’t want to tell me about it at first. She didn't say a word. But I could tell that something was bothering her. At first I assumed it was me, that she felt a little strange about the circumstances of my first mother's day. I asked her several times what was wrong, and finally she told me.

It was a very manipulative letter. I don’t want to get into it, but suffice it to say that H had lied to his mother and said he’d never heard back from me, and H’s mother had a little pity party about how it must be nice for my mom to spend Mother’s Day surrounded by her grandchildren, and how maybe she should stop to consider how H’s mother felt, not knowing what was going to happen to her grandchild, blah blah blah. It upset me greatly and I cried for a while. I felt like Mother's Day had been ruined for all of us, and it was all my fault.

But my mother – my dear, sweet, strong mother – the one who should have been more upset about it than I, was the one who made me feel better. She said that she wasn’t going to let the letter bother her, and I shouldn’t either. We went to my brother’s house for dinner. He and his wife had gotten a card and flowers for my mom, and a card and a box of chocolates for me.

Their kindness was overwhelming. Cruelty and nastiness, I’m used to. I can more or less handle it. But kindness and understanding were still sort of foreign to me, and brought me to tears much more quickly. It was a lovely card, and the chocolates were my favorite kind. After their kids were in bed we all just sat and talked for about an hour, which was great. I'd worried that my pregnancy would make things awkward and uncomfortable but that wasn't so. It felt good to feel normal.

I was a bit depressed I didn't get a cute mother's day-for-the-mother-to-be card, but then who would buy me one? My mom, perhaps, but it seemed like more of a husband sort of thing to do, and I had no husband. Probably never will, I thought to myself. No one had wanted me before. Why on earth would anyone want me now?

I began to suspect that childbirth classes were a huge mistake. There were so many more things to worry about than I’d ever imagined. On the day we discussed labor, I thought to myself again that, sorry, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t actually want to deliver a baby. The only way I got through hearing about everything was to remind myself that my mother had made it through childbirth with each of her children, and she’s no glutton for punishment. If she could do it four times, I told myself, I could do it once.

More than once I began to have doubts about whether I could be a good mother. I thought that such concerns were probably normal, but that didn’t bring me much comfort. I wondered: Am I too selfish? Too anxious? Too tightly-wound? What if I couldn’t take good care of my baby? What if I lost my patience? I wasn’t certain what you were supposed to do with a newborn. I knew about feeding and diapering and supporting the neck and sleeping on the back, but that was about it. How much crying was normal? How many diapers was a baby supposed to go through? How often was a newborn supposed to eat?

Could I give my baby everything she needed? All the attention, all the love? I knew I loved her, and that I’d love her even more once she was out of my belly. But I thought, was love enough? I wanted to be a good mom so badly. But I wasn’t sure if wanting was enough, either.

I wanted to keep my baby very badly. It felt like the right thing do to about 95% of the time. Was the other 5% nerves and anxiety, or something more? I had trouble stomaching the thought of adoption, the thought of my baby being someone else’s to cuddle and care for. It didn’t sit quite right with me. It was like an emotional heartburn. It wouldn’t digest properly.

I continued to meet with my therapist weekly. I read him the letter H’s mother had written. John was galled. He agreed that the whole of it, especially the timing, was distinctly manipulative. He also said not to let it get to me. My mother met with her own therapist, who helped her craft a terse response to the message. She heard back quickly – H told his mother I’d never responded to his e-mail. Based on what H’s mother had to say, it seemed that H had been telling his mother naught but lies for months. Oh well, I thought. Their problem, not mine. My mother ignored the second letter, and we agreed to put H and his mother behind us.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


A couple of days ago I was walking in Dublin with one of my trip friends, J. When we passed the ATMs in front of a bank, we ran into two of the other girls in the SAI (study abroad Ireland) program. J is good friends with one of them so we stopped to talk a moment.

I don't know either of the other girls very well, so while they talked I did what I usually do when I feel awkward. I fidgeted. I used to twirl my hair or pick my cuticles but in the past year I've taken to playing with my necklace. P and M gave it to me at placement and it's one of my favorite things in the world. I wear it every day. I feel strange without it, really. My mom suggested I leave it at home lest anything happen to it but I couldn't imagine going overseas without it.

The girls talked; I fidgeted. As I fidgeted I drifted, looking at the statues in front of Trinity College, and when my attention finally came back to my immediate surroundings the conversation seemed to have hit a lull. Then the inevitable happened. One of the girls asked me about my necklace.

"That's so pretty!" she said. "We've been trying to figure out what it says."

I wondered how long they'd been staring while I woolgathered.

"Oh," I said, "thanks." I showed them the inscription, then flipped the necklace back over so Roo's initial showed and waited for the conversation to move forward.

"Is that for anyone special?" the girl asked.

Well. This was interesting. What was I supposed to say to that? I quickly considered my options. I could lie, of course, with some detailed story about a boyfriend, maybe an almost-fiancé. But could I lie convincingly with no time to prepare? No one has ever asked about my necklace before so I've never taken the time to prepare an alibi, if you will, for the times when I don't feel like telling complete strangers my life story.

I could say "yes" and move on and hope they left it at that - but what if they asked questions? They were bound to. Young women are a nosy lot, and these two (and J as well) looked curious. I could say "no" and have them thinking I am quite, quite odd, wearing an obviously significant piece of jewelry just because I think it's pretty.

I decided this was no time to be shy, though, and what little I know about one of the girls is what made the decision for me. This girl, C, is also LDS, but I wouldn't have guessed it if J hadn't told me. Not because of any malicious or inappropriate behavior on C's part, of course. I'd heard specifically that she didn't drink or make out with random men at pubs.

But she was going. C is a bit younger than I am and still seems to have that pull to belong to a little group. So she goes out to the pubs every night with her little group of friends, and aside from the beer she goes where they go and does what they do. I don't blame her. I probably would have done the same thing at her age. I know firsthand how hard it is when you're the only one outside a circle of friends, and it's awful. It sucks feeling like you don't belong. But then, C has other options. Neither J nor I go out drinking and we still have plenty of fun. C could hang out with us at any point. But she doesn't. It's important to her to spend time with this group of girls who seem determined to ruin their livers whilst abroad.

J told me that C said it was hard going out and not drinking. That she'd been tempted. Well, of course she was! She's human. It's human nature to go with the flow. I've avoided pubs specifically because I don't want that temptation in front of me (and also because I dislike being surrounded by drunk people). Not to mention that I've heard stories of bartenders giving woolly eyes to people who only order Coke at a bar - here in particular. A Coke is €2 most places. Not exactly a high-ticket item, and not how the pub is making its money.

With J as a common friend, C and I know a bit about each other, so I know that C knows that I'm LDS too. And I thought, she's struggling, and if she's not careful she's going to mess up. I've been there. I messed up.

I felt like C needed to hear the truth.

"Um, yeah," I said finally, after enough time had passed that it felt exceptionally awkward now. I looked up from my necklace, then back down at it. "I had a little girl about a year ago, and I placed her for adoption with this really awesome family. And they gave me this necklace when I placed her, to remember her by."

There was this awkward sort of silence for a second, followed by a murmur of "Oh, wow," and that sort of thing.

"That's neat," one of the girls said finally, and then changed the subject with a speed I'd not have guessed her capable of. (Please disregard the fact that I just ended a sentence with a preposition.)

I don't blame her. What on earth do you say to an announcement like that? When they stepped back from the ATM and commented on my necklace I bet the last thing they expected was to hear that I got into a little trouble a few years ago. It's awkward. It was awkward for me, too. Because once that's out there, I always wonder, what do they really think? What's the judgment? There's always a snap judgment. Whether people have a lot of experience with adoption or not there's always this idea they've got in their minds about what it is to be a birth mom. And I don't think any of these girls necessarily had a great mental picture of birth moms. I could see it in their faces - She looks so normal! She doesn't look like a homeless crackwhore. But she seems nice! We misjudged her - she's a weirdo.

Later that day, over pizza, J asked me about Roo. "I hope you don't mind me asking," she said.

"Of course not," I told her. I explained the school presentations I've done and said I didn't have a problem talking about it at all. She seemed relieved - she must have been curious. She asked why I placed Roo and I explained as best I could ... or that's what I thought as I spoke. But I don't think I did a great job. I was tired and hungry and words came out without a ton of thought. After I explained it I thought to myself, that sounded terrible. I didn't mention love once. I didn't mention what a hard choice it was. I sounded cold and callous and flip as my own words replayed in my head.

But J had already accepted my tale. "Oh, that's neat," she said. "It's great you found a family you like and that they let you see her."

And I thought what I always think when someone says it's nice that P and M let me see Roo, which is, Yeah, and it's nice that I gave them a baby.

But I didn't say that. I just mentioned that yes, it was nice, and that I'd gotten a video recently, and that Roo was darling and sweet and clever and pretty much perfect. I wanted to show J a picture but I don't have one on my Irish cell. It was sort of odd to realize that I didn't have a picture on me. I think I've pretty much always had one on me since placement.

J moved on to another topic, much to my relief. I don't think I've ever felt so awkward discussing adoption before. None of what I said came out how I meant it.

What is wrong with me? I wonder. How on earth could I have told even a truncated version of the Roo story without mentioning how much I love her, how hard it was to let her go, how she's my favorite person in the world? I told the story with as much emotion as I'd use to discuss the vintage designer heels I listed on eBay.

It must be all the secondhand smoke I'm breathing in here. It has to be. How else could I have messed up my explanation so badly? How else could I have done such injustice to my little Roo and the love I have for her? I sounded cold - Roo needed a daddy, I said, and my ex wasn't going to cut it. And I left it at that. The same way that my mum has said my Chevy needs an owner who can keep up with the maintenance, so we should sell it. Just like that.

I am so angry with myself! Angry, and frustrated. I wish I could turn the clock back a few days and do justice to Roo's story. I wish I could go back to the conversation with a picture and say, Look. This is my little girl, my Roo. Isn't she the most beautiful, the most precious little thing you've ever seen? Isn't she perfect? I love her. I love her more than I ever thought I could ever love anyone. I love her so much that placement nearly killed me. I love her so much that I broke my own heart to make her happy. She is happy. Look how happy she is! Look at how wonderful her life is! I placed her because I love her. Oh, how I love her! This trip is the first time I've done anything since before she was born. I placed her 9 months ago and I'm only just starting to figure out who I am without her. I love her, and placing her with her parents is pretty much the bravest and best thing I've ever done. I miss her every day and I think I probably always will.

If only I could. Next time I'll do better. Next time I'll be prepared. Next time I won't let my awkwardness extend to my tongue.

Next time, the first thing I will say is that I wear this necklace because almost a year ago, I fell in love with the most beautiful baby girl ever born, and I'll go from there.

Monday, June 7, 2010

11 Months

My little Roo is 11 months old today. I can hardly believe it.

Her parents sent me a video today, which was an awesome surprise. They're very thoughtful that way, which I so love and appreciate.

It's sort of strange to get a video when I'm so far away. I feel like I'm far away in time and not just distance. It seems like years ago that Roo was born. It seems strange that I was ever pregnant, that I ever had a baby and placed her for adoption.

Last night I had a dream that somehow I ended up pregnant again, and I was devastated because I knew I couldn't parent that baby, either, and I wasn't sure I had the strength to place another baby. In my dream the baby's father was some random guy I met on my trip, and it was horrible (in my dream) to realize too late that I'd done such a stupid thing again, that I'd tossed aside my newfound morals. It was a relief to wake up and know I still had my self-respect, and that I won't have to go through everything again.

I've never been the sort of person to think that dreams have any kind of super-deep meaning but I do think our brains use dreams as sort of an information dump. What I got out of my dream was this: I've come a long way. The distance I have from the events of two years ago has given me a greater perspective, and this was my brain's way of saying, we know better now. We are better than that, and we are stronger.

Distance helps - time distance, that is. I got so sick of other birth moms telling me that time would make things easier. "How MUCH time?" I always thought. And I won't claim to completely be there yet. But the more time passes, the easier it gets, even if just a little bit.

I think, has it really only been 11 months? It feels like forever ago. Because I've come so far! I'm not the woman I was 11 months ago - and I'm glad of it.

And I'm thankful for Roo. She saved me. I'm glad I could return the favor. She is 11 months old today. The world has been a happier place for 11 months. A Roo-ful world is a happier world, I think. I know I'm happier. I know she's happy, too. I can't ask for anything more.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh, by the way ...

... if I owe you an e-mail, I'm sorry, I promise I will write back and I still love you :o)

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It almost didn't feel like I was really here for a few days, because everything's just how you'd think it would be, so it almost felt more like an Ireland amusement park than an actual foreign country. Disney Ireland, sort of.

It's really lovely here, green as far as the eye can see, and while it's cooler than I'm used to in the summer months, it's so beautiful I don't much mind what the weather's up to.

So far, I have:

Stared at this for 12 hours

Made friends with a baby swan or two

Stormed a castle (looks like someone beat me to it, though)

And become a Ring Donut Monster (I adore Tesco)

(and no, that is not Duckface. That is my Ring Donut Monster face)

My dreams of finding a pasty Irish husband have been dashed when I realized, after a day or two, that everyone here, including small children, seems to have alcohol running through their veins. I have a theory that this national obsession with booze is the reason Ireland has never been a major world power.

But it is beautiful here, and I love it, and I'm going shopping in a few minutes with my new non-drinking buddy, Janelle. There's a mall downtown with an H&M and a Marks & Spencer, and all sorts of other exciting stores with ampersands in the titles.

It's supposed to rain this weekend, so I'll be looking for something in a waterproof jacket. And sometime soon, as early as next week, I may or may not become a Jam Donut Monster. We shall see.