Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Year Later

Today is a special day. Today marks one year since I placed my little Roo with her mommy and daddy!

I cannot believe it's been a year already. But then ... I think, it's sort of like Roo's birthday felt. Like only a month had passed, and also like twenty years had passed. It's hard to say how much time it feels like it's been.

I don't often revisit the things I wrote (and, by extension, the feelings I had) just after placement. It's too hard for me. But not for the reasons you might think. When I do read what I wrote, I feel a bit detached, as though what I'm reading about happened to someone else. I can still vaguely remember feeling that way, but it seems like so long ago. I just don't feel the need to go back to that time and relive those feelings.

Sometimes I wish I'd been a bit less honest, a bit less forthcoming about how hard placement was. It can't have been easy for P and M to know the depth of my devastation. For their sake, I wish I'd kept my feelings a bit more private. Placement should be a happy time for new parents, and I hate the thought that I might have ruined some of that for them.

But I try not to dwell on it. The past is past, what's done is done, cliché, cliché. Here's what's important: A year later, I am so much happier and more at peace than I ever could have imagined. I expected today to be a hard day, but so far it hasn't been. I got a nice e-mail from Roo's parents, I've done a bit of reading, a bit of laundry. I haven't cried yet. I might not. But it's okay if I do. It's funny, though. I cried a few days ago, in anticipation of today, but then, as always, I cried for myself. For how hard it was to place, to say goodbye to motherhood. I cried for the teeny-tiny newborn I cared for. I cried for Roo [insert my last name here]. I have never shed a tear for Roo [insert P's and M's last name here]. I cry for my baby. I don't cry for theirs. I cry for what might have been, not for what is.

A year later, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Yes, it hurt. It hurt for a while. But time has dulled the pain, and continues to do so. Roo's happiness is worth every tear. If me being sad for a while is the price of her being happy forever, I'm glad to have paid it.

I know I've probably got family members who think I should have placed sooner, with one of the couples I met when I was pregnant. But I couldn't have done. They weren't right. I was only able to place because I knew I'd found the right family. It was P and M or no one. I'm glad it was them. I'm glad they are Roo's parents. I hope today is a happy day for them - a day they celebrate being a family of four instead of three.

Funnily enough, today's a pretty happy day for me, too. I feel alright. Mostly, I think. I mean, I feel a little sad when I remember this day a year ago - pre-placement, I should say.

I remember how quickly the day seemed to pass - the fastest day of my life. I hardly put Roo down for a second, determined to spend as much of the day as I could with her in my arms because it was my last chance to do so as her mother. The hours slipped away and before I knew it, it was time to put Roo in the little dress I'd made for her when I was pregnant, brush her soft hair one last time, and strap her into her car seat for the last trip she'd make in it. The back of the car was loaded up with things to give to P and M, things I wasn't going to need anymore - formula, a few things from my baby shower, the last of the diapers. I dragged my feet, took a few last pictures, and finally knew, when I looked at the clock, that I couldn't postpone things anymore. I carried Roo in her seat to the car a final time, set the seat in the base gently and held the handle until I heard the click that meant Roo was secure. I walked around the car and got in the back seat with her. I stared at her the entire drive, trying desperately to memorize every bit of her. We got to the agency so quickly.

The pace at which time had passed that day had never seemed more unfair as it did when we parked the car and I had to get out and take my baby inside the agency office.

I don't remember placement as clearly as I ought to. I do but I don't. I wish we'd taken pictures together. I get so jealous when I see pictures from other placements. I get jealous of the professional photo shoots so many birth moms and adoptive couples seem to have done. I wish I'd thought to do something like that. I have a few pictures of me and my mom and Roo before P and M arrived, but none of all of us together.

Well, now I've made myself a liar, because I cried when I was typing all that up, but it's okay. Because like I said, I feel sad for me. I feel sad at the thought of how hard that day was. I don't feel sad for Roo.

She's had a great year by all accounts. Sometimes when I get e-mail and pictures of all the fun things Roo has done and the places she's been, I wish P and M could have adopted me, too (no offense, Mom). My little Roo has so many people who love her! She's so very blessed.

Sometimes - not very often, for sanity's sake, but every now and then - I try to imagine what Roo's life would be life if I'd not chosen adoption. She would be loved, yes. But how hard things would be! I don't want her life to ever be hard. I know that being adopted doesn't guarantee that things will be perfect for her. But I know I've done all that I could to help, to give her the best start by finding P and M for her. Whatever happens now is meant to be, because she was meant to be theirs.

And I was meant to be her birth mom. I'm so very thankful for that. I really do think today is a happy day. Roo is happy. Her family is happy. I think I'm going to be happy, too.


Lara Zierke said...

Beautiful, Jill. I can see your strength in your words. Made me cry. I will go home and hug my daughter extra long tonight.

AnGèLe said...

Hugs! You are a very strong woman!! Happy Placement day to Roo! :)

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

How amazing that time really does change your feelings & that you can separate your loss from Roo's experience.

I stand awed.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...


Audra Owens said...

I've seen so many placements, but yet I can't even fathom how difficult it must be to do what you have done (and all the other birthmothers I've been graced to work with). Not only do it, but to work at rebuilding rather than falling apart. To be healthy rather than broken, happy and confident rather than angry and regretful. You have come so amazingly far. You are a hero and despite how often your self esteem may want to tell you that you aren't a special soul, I cannot emphasize enough that you ARE!!! Well done for all your efforts this last year!

Amy said...

I found you through the blog chain and was very moved by this post. While our stories are different, they are so much the same too.

I share in interesting perspective that balances oddly between the pain of the birthmother expreience and the desire of the adoptive parent experience. You see, our son was born nearly 3 years ago... and died soon after birth. We left the hospital with empty arms and only have our memories of pregancy and our imaginations and love to fill in the empty space that his absence leaves. Now after 2 years of ttc, we are waiting as adoptive parents to find our match and build our family through open adoption.

I read your words and so much of it hit home as to our life without our son... so similar but so different.

Enough of my ramblings... I am glad you found some peace in the day that could have brought heavy tears.

Kelly said...

As a waiting adoptive parent this tugs at my heart incredibly. It actually made me cry. I think about our future birthmom every single day and wonder what she is/will feel. I appreciate this blog so much, as it opens my eyes to HER side, not just my selfish side. Great post.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember if I have commented on your blog, but I have spent several hours reading your posts. I understand so much of what you have shared. It was 3 yrs ago that I placed my little girl with her mom and dad on September 5. She was with me for 2 weeks, nontheless it was two weeks I cherrish.
So many times, I would do anything to hold "my" baby just one more time or just a little bit longer; it's amazing how similar some of the emotions are of a birth parent and an adoptive parent. I have talked with Callis' mom and she says she also misses that little baby, that she wishes she could hold her again, but that she loves who she is becoming.
Nobody can understand I think unless they have been through it, when someone says they feel disconnected. It so makes sense, it is the bizarre emotion to experience as here you have given this human life, yet you feel this barrier. I remember Callis' birthday this year, crying and not sure about what and then watching her at her party feeling like I was watching a movie, then it hit me that all this was happening because of me.
Adoption is a miracle and surreal. Thanks for sharing