Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Most of this is lifted from my Formspring but I'm still without Internet access so I thought I'd cheat a little to tide y'all over until I can post regularly again.

There's a question that I seem to be getting a lot lately - why did I choose adoption after nine weeks? What changed for me? I've probably been asked at least three times in as many weeks. I'm not saying it's an unreasonable question. I can see why people might be curious. Of course, I've always felt like my blog was pretty self-explanatory. But then I went back through some of the archives – not much of it, because I hate my own writing in retrospect, but the pertinent stuff – and I discovered that I've been a bit nebulous about this particular issue. I apologize.

I got the question in my Formspring a few weeks ago but I sort of let it float for a while because for some reason, I didn't like the way it was asked. I'm not blaming the asker. I think I was in a funny mood when I read it, and I get a bit defensive about my placement story. I think to me it felt a little accusatory – like I'd changed my mind about wanting to be Roo's mother after having the job for a while, which absolutely wasn't the case. I didn't feel differently. If there was a difference, I wanted it even more than I did right after she was born.

This is a topic that is very dear and precious to me, and so I want to say this carefully and not write down the wrong thing. It's important! How can I best explain this without sharing things that are sacred to me?

Let me phrase it thus: I always knew what Roo deserved, and what she needed. My biggest obstacle to choosing adoption was my fear that it would undo me, that the pain of placement would be more than I could bear. Of course, nine weeks of motherhood is only going to sharpen that kind of pain, isn't it? And I reckon it did, although it's the only way I know. I don't know what it would have been like to place right after Roo was born.

I wanted to be Roo's mommy as soon as I knew she was growing in my belly. I want to make that much abundantly clear. It was never an issue of me changing my mind about being a single mother. Rather, the more time that passed, the more my love grew for that little girl, and the more I loved her the harder it became to deny her what I knew she needed the very most.

When Roo was seven weeks old, I came to realize something important. I realized that although adoption might mean abject misery for myself, not choosing adoption meant abject misery for Roo and for me. I had caught glimpses over the weeks of what Roo's life might be like as she got older, and they terrified me. I came to the point where I knew I would never be able to forgive myself, to live with myself, if I didn't do what was best for my precious baby.

There are other factors and elements that are too personal and private to share, but that's the short version. Basically, I'm a little slow - sometimes it takes me a while to do the right thing. But I did eventually, and that's what's important. I have never regretted it for a second. I would place Roo with P and M again in a heartbeat.


AubreyMo said...

Have you seen Ashley's story on 16 and Pregnant? Not to draw comparisons - but she also got a lot of "you found out motherhood is harder than you thought eh?" type of comments when she placed and I think it's different than that. It's like you said - you loved Roo enough to sacrifice your own selfish wants.

As always you are my hero. I'm excited for you to have internet again!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Thanks for that Jill, I think you put it into words perfectly. :)

Karin Katherine said...

As an adoptive mom who had our daughter placed in our arms at 12 weeks of age. I got teary reading your account and thought of our daughter's birth mom and our daughter's situation.

The grief V. is going through right now breaks my heart. That she won't accept the help that is available to her breaks my heart even more. That my joy is the source of her pain...well, that is something I don't like trying to verbalize. But it's there. The part about adoption that you don't hear. Adoptive mom guilt.

BobandColista said...

@Karin... I have felt the adoptive mom guilt too. We adopted our first child when she was 15 months old. We have adopted 2 others from foster care.

I've learned so much about our birth moms through reading Jill's blog. Adoptive moms have no idea what the birth mom is going through, even with all the birth parent panels and other adoptive classes.

It was the birth parent panels that gave my husband and I a desire to have an open adoption. It was Jill who showed me how wonderful an even more open adoption can be. Thanks for everything, Jill.

Sarah Buttenwieser said...

You really are shining a light on how hard but also how happy open adoption can be--for a first mom. I hugely applaud your strength & your openness; how can Roo not benefit from both? SHe already is!

ME said...

I'm not going to attack Aubrey but I don't think wanting to parent your child is a selfish want. I think it's more of an innate humanness. It's having to go beyond the natural man and accepting that your child will have a better chance of having a happy full life with two parents, that is what made me place. Thank you for sharing your blog.

Ashley said...

I also went through what's officially called "Post Adoption Depression" or "PAD" after we brought our daughter home. I felt guilty to the point of feeling suicidal.

I never felt like we took Julia from Carri; she placed Julia in our arms and called me "Mommy" so I know we never forced her decision. What broke me was knowing that the child I was kissing and loving and holding was the child that Carri's arms ached for. When Julia got sick right after we brought her home, then got colic and started losing weight, I freaked because I felt like Carri would find out and think we weren't taking care of her.

Then Mike (my husband) started traveling, I had no help and was paranoid every time our phone rang that I wouldn't be a mommy when I answered it. I was tired, I wanted some help and some sleep and I felt like I didn't deserve this baby that Carri was heartbroken over because I wanted four hours to myself to sleep.

I also had someone *tell* me that because I felt that way, I didn't deserve my daughter.

It took a few months but I had to realize that punishing myself and being depressed for Carri wouldn't take Carri's pain away or lessen it; in fact, it was a slap in the face to her because it meant the woman she'd handed her baby to wasn't loving Julia the way she'd be loving her if she could. I was keeping myself from being the mother that Carri wanted me to be for Julia. And I was blaming Carri's pain for doing so.

I'm so not cool, I know.

So it's not just you.