Monday, March 28, 2011


I miss my little Roo today. I didn't miss her all day, but my apartment is quiet and lonely, and on nights like this when I don't have anything to do, it's a little harder to see pictures of other people's pregnancies and babies and not miss my newborn Roo and the time I spent as her mother.

I wish I could go back in time, just for a few minutes. I'd go back to when Roo was about six weeks old. She was very snuggly. She'd rest her little noggin right on top of my heart, cheek squished against my sternum, and sleep for hours. I think that part of the reason she has such a nice round head is that she only slept on her back at night. I nearly always held her at nap time, listening to her breathe while she slept. At the time I felt a little guilty for idling so much, but I am so thankful now for the dozens of hours I spent holding her while she dreamed. I couldn't have imagined then how precious those memories would be.

I wish I could inhabit one of those moments right now. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago that I was pregnant, that I had a baby, that I was a mother. I can hardly believe it was only two years ago that I was pregnant.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my pregnancy, too. Fibromyalgia aside, pregnancy agreed with me. I enjoyed it. I loved the feel of Roo's tiny feet kicking at me from the inside. I miss that. I miss knowing that no matter what the future might hold, at that moment my baby girl was safe and warm and mine.

Not that I worry about Roo at all. I know that she's safe and warm and well-fed and happy, in addition to being darling and sweet and the cleverest toddler in the world. But the Roo that I miss and the Roo who will be two in a few months are different Roos. I love Roo with my whole heart and I always will, but she's not mine.

Newborn Roo was mine. That's who I miss. But it's okay, you know? I can miss my itty-bitty baby and I still feel okay. I mean, it's not fantastic fun, but I haven't even cried my eye makeup off. I could totally still leave the house without scaring people.

It's nice to be able to miss baby Roo and not be devastated by it. I suppose I could be devastated by it, if I allowed myself. But I don't. It's no longer a productive part of my grief. In the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, "It does not to do dwell on dreams and forget to live." Missing Roo is a part of living. It's just not the biggest part.

I miss my little Roo today. And I'm okay.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I don't remember the exact date, but I know that it was near the end of March three years ago that I first met H. I was thinking about that a few nights ago. The weather was just the same as it was that night, ever-so-slightly cool, a gentle breeze, and a bright, almost-full moon. It was a beautiful night. I was so naive then. As time passed I wised up a bit, but on that lovely March night I couldn't fathom how drastically my life would change in the next several months.

I don't know how many times I have replayed the night I met H over and over in my head, wondering if I could have said or done anything differently to keep myself from heading down the path I took, if there's anything that would have made a difference. Sometimes the scene plays in my head like a movie, and I cringe as each moment unfolds, charmed even in retrospect by how lovely the night was and how well H and I got along, but a little nauseated knowing where everything was eventually going to lead. It's like watching a scary movie and shouting at the lead, "Don't open the door! The killer's in there!" The past is a movie, and I'm just as powerless to change it.

But I've come to realize each time I take that particular stroll down memory lane that I wouldn't change it if I could. If anything had been different, I never would have ended up pregnant, and if I hadn't gotten pregnant, there would be no Roo. Wouldn't that be sad? I don't like to think about a world with no Roo. I don't like to think about a me without Roo. Heaven only knows who and where I would be.

I feel like I've finally reached the point where I can look back on some of the time I spent with H and not feel like dry-heaving. (I know, I'm quite the romantic.) We were happy for a little while. It's not always easy but I try to remember those times instead of the darker ones that followed. We were happy the night we met. Maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old age, but despite everything that transpired three summers ago, I can look back on that moonlit night and be grateful, because it led me to Roo, and I'm grateful for her most of all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear M,

I wasn't very eloquent earlier. I guess I got nervous. I don't know why, but I did just the same. There were things I wanted to say but I couldn't get them out. I do much better with a keyboard and a few minutes to mull things over. I don't know if you'll ever read this, but I thought I'd write it out anyway on the off chance that you might at some point.

Congratulations! You made a beautiful baby, absolutely perfect. I know that all newborn babies are cute, but some are really squishy or splotchy or have lumpy heads. Your little one is exceptionally cute. You should be proud. You did something amazing - you grew a person! And you did a really good job. I am proud of you. I know that the past several months haven't been easy, to put it lightly. I couldn't have handled things as well as you have when I was your age. You are a strong woman.

I think part of my speechlessness earlier was because I wanted so desperately to find the right words for a situation where there are no right words. What comes next is going to suck, no two ways about it, and there's nothing that I or anyone else can say to make it suck less, or to help you understand that it won't always be this way. You've got to figure that out for yourself, in your own way. Oh, M. My heart hurts for you already. It doesn't matter how prepared you think you are, you're not prepared for what comes next. There's no way to plan for it. I wish it didn't have to hurt. It seems unfair that doing such an amazing thing should hurt so much, but that's the way of things. I know that you can do it, though. You'll find your way through and you will be a better, stronger person for it.

I guess I'm not doing much better now than I did earlier. I still don't know what to say. Just know that you're in my prayers, and you've been before, and you will be in the future. I'm here if you need me. I know people like to throw that phrase around a lot, but I really mean it.

Take care of yourself. You are still important. You were important before this all came about, and you're just as important after it. You are an amazing woman. Don't ever forget it.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Story Time

I thought I would take a break from adoption-related blogging to share a personal story. I've had a bit of writer's block lately and I'm hoping that telling this story will help get the words flowing a bit better. Anyway.

Today I am going to share a story about balloons.

I moved into my apartment on January 1st. It is a beautiful apartment, much nicer than I had any right to expect, but it's mine just the same. One of the things I liked about it is the sliding door in the living room that leads to a surprisingly spacious patio. The patio is shaded by a roof but also by this big gorgeous tree right outside. So I can open the curtains and let the sunshine in without raising the temperature of my apartment by 15 degrees (which is a hazard here if you've got an un-shaded window).

The day after I moved into my apartment, January 2nd, I opened the curtains to let a little light in. I discovered that three mylar balloons were attached to a tree branch outside my patio.

"Oh, how nice," I said to myself. "It's someone's birthday." They looked to me like the sort of balloons a little girl might have at her party, and I thought that perhaps my downstairs neighbors, who I hadn't yet met, had a little girl, and that they'd put the balloons in the tree for her birthday. I pictured a small party on the downstairs patio, with party hats and a pastel-iced cake and a pigtailed birthday girl.

I went to church that morning with that delightful image in my mind. When I came home from church several hours later, the balloons were still in the tree. "Perhaps," I said to myself, "the party was just this afternoon, and they haven't yet got around to taking down the decorations." When my family came over for dinner that evening, I pointed out the balloons with a smile.

The next morning, I opened the curtains so my houseplant Rufus could get some sun. To my surprise, the balloons were still in the tree. This puzzled me. Didn't the birthday girl want her balloons in the house where she could be a nuisance with them? I squinted at the pink ribbons to which the balloons were attached. To my surprise, the ribbon was not neatly tied, but rather a tangle - knots tied in knots. Closer inspection (in the form of my leaning dangerously far over the edge of my balcony) showed that the balloons were not tied to the tree branch. They were stuck to the tree branch, and it didn't look intentional.

Well, this was interesting. Some little birthday girl had lost her balloons. But I told myself, a storm was in the forecast, and the wind would certainly remove the balloons from my tree. I went inside and closed the patio door. I noticed a splash of pink on my floor. I poked at it with my foot, which turned pink. I turned around and saw the sunlight catching on the heart-shaped balloons, causing the pink to bounce from the surface of the balloons to the surface of my living room floor.

This vexed me. And as the sun rose higher, my living room was bathed in a rosy glow. This vexed me further. But, I thought, the wind was coming in a few days, and my problem would be solved. I learned to be careful in my living room when looking up, to make sure a ray of mylar-assisted sunshine didn't burn my retinas.

The storm came, and the winds blew. A large branch of the lovely tree snapped, and hundreds of leaves were blown away. The tree no longer provided quite the degree of shade it had before. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that the weather had failed me. I kept my curtains open the night of the storm, which gave proof through the night that my balloons were still there. Oh, the rain had hit them, certainly, and other storms did as well. They looked shabby indeed by the middle of February. And at this point, one of the heart balloons had conceded defeat and, deflated, was carried away by a breeze. The other heart balloon, which had by now lost a great deal of its luster, had more room to wiggle with the absence of its twin. Now I found that it was impossible to sit on the sofa and not be blinded by a piercing beam of sunlight. I couldn't predict when they'd hit. The breeze was fickle. Just when I'd convince myself it was safe, the wind would shift.

It was quite the inconvenience, but I grew used to it. After a few weeks, I even began to enjoy the flashes of blinding pink on my living room. It reminded me a bit of a suncatcher I had as a little girl. I'd enjoyed the rainbows my suncatcher made, and I learned to enjoy the pink graffiti in my living room. Where I had once checked the balloons each morning for signs of wear and tear, I now simply averted my gaze when I opened the curtains.

A few weeks ago, after a late-winter storm, I arose one morning to find that the dark pink balloon was gone!

I hardly knew what to do with myself without that last heart balloon fluttering at me in the breeze. But as the weeks passed, I grew accustomed to a single annoying balloon in my tree. I re-learned what times of day it was safe to sit on the couch or at the kitchen table. I adapted, and I marveled at the tenacity of that balloon that should have blown away ages ago.

This morning I opened my curtains as usual. I didn't think to glance outside. I was busy getting ready for work. But when I got home from work and sat down on the couch to relax for a moment, I looked out the sliding glass door to my patio, and much to my surprise ...

... the birthday balloon was gone. Only a knot of filthy ribbons remains.

And that's that.

Oh, I suppose there ought to be a moral. Good stories have morals, right? Well, let's see ...

In many ways, my experience with the balloons is a lot like life. Life is full of annoyances, some of which we have to face every single day, but if we stick it out ... um, the weather will get rid of them? Something like that. Sorry, morals aren't my forte.

But the dang balloons are finally all gone! Isn't that exciting? I'm excited.


Maybe I should stick to writing about adoption.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I am not usually a very jealous person. My life is imperfect, but I am all too aware that everyone else's life is imperfect as well. The more I learn about other people, the happier I am that I'm myself.

I know of several couples who have had babies placed with them recently. I am so happy for them! One couple in particular were my unofficial favorites (I love you all, but sometimes I was hoping they'd be matched with before anyone else). I cried happy tears when I saw pictures of their beautiful new daughter.

But I was surprised that I also felt a little twinge of jealousy. I was confused at this emotion. I know plenty of women who are pregnant or who have newborns, and I don't feel any particular sense of envy there. Maybe it's because I've been pregnant, and I've had a baby. For some reason it's different with most adoptive couples. I've been thinking about it, and I have a theory as to why it is. I'm probably going to repeat myself because I think I've blogged about this before, so bear with me.

When I was pregnant, no one was happy for me. I can count on one hand how many times congratulations were offered. I can count on one hand the number of people who came to visit me and Roo at the hospital. What I heard most were judgments, of both my character and my fitness as a mother. These judgments weren't rendered by strangers, either. They were given by friends and family, the people who know me best. They had considered my maternity and found me lacking. The people who knew me better than anyone else felt that I had no business being a mother.

Consider now the course trajectory of the adoptive couple. People hope and pray for them to become parents. A caseworker, someone who was a stranger a few months ago, signs a sheet of paper that says they would be amazing parents, that any child would be lucky to be in their home. They may never be parents in this life, but they have been found worthy of that task if they are ever blessed with it. When it's announced that they've become parents, there is jubilation. There will be multiple baby showers, more gifts than triplet babies could ever need or use, professional photography. A wonderful couple has finally received the blessing they wanted most!

Twenty months ago, I received the blessing I wanted most, too. Where was the jubilation on my behalf?

I feel like a petulant child for writing that. Really, the world wasn't awful to me. There were people who were kind and loving and supportive. I guess I just wish there had been more than a few. I wish that it were easier for me to see myself as a mother again in a few years. Being very much single certainly doesn't help. And I suppose that's another part of the jealousy, isn't it? These couples who are certified to adopt - they may never be chosen by a birth mother, but they've at least got each other.

Don't mistake me. I really don't sit around and cry about being single. It happens on occasion, as I referenced in a previous post, but not too often. In the words of a bumper sticker, "I feel so much better since I gave up hope." It's just that my apartment is very quiet, and I get lonely sometimes, and if I'm honest this isn't the life I pictured for myself a decade ago when I started planning for my future. I thought I'd be married by now. I'm not.

So I find myself jealous of adoptive couples here and there. It's nothing I'm proud of, and I hate it when I'm this petty and self-centered. I'm happy for these people, all of them, I really am. I just wish I had a bit of what they have - a bit of any of what they have.

I'm working on it. This counts as official notice to my friends and family that when the time comes that I adopt either a highway or a zoo animal, congratulations are both expected and in order :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

18 Months

Today marks 18 months since placement. I had to count back a couple of times to make sure the number was right. That means that Roo is 20 months old, which is just crazy. How could she possibly be almost two already? My tiny baby isn't a baby any more. Of course, "my" tiny baby isn't mine any more, either, but that's okay.

An acquaintance asked me the other day about Roo, and they called her my daughter. Those words threw me off a little. My daughter? I don't have a daughter. The issue of how to refer to Roo is sort of a tricky one. I've heard some birth moms use the phrase "birth daughter" or "birth son" but that never felt like a good fit for me. She's always just been my little Roo. Mine not because I'm her mother (I'm not), or because I'm her birth mother (which I am) but because I love her. I think that, no matter how old she gets or how tall she grows, she'll always just be "my little Roo" to me.

I wish the English language had better words for relationships. As much as I love English, sometimes I find it lacking. I wonder if the Germans have done any better. They have a lot of good words for which there are no English equivalents. Maybe the Germans have a proper word for what Roo is to me, or for what I am to her.

I digress.

18 months ago, my heart broke. I smashed it to bits with my signature in triplicate. I did it on purpose, and I'd do it again. Not for me, or because I enjoy suffering, or because I feel like it made me a better person. I'd do it again for Roo, because she was worth it. I was asked once, "How could you place your baby?" All I can say in response is, how could I not? How could I look at all the things she could have with P and M and tell her no? I couldn't. I couldn't settle when it came to Roo.

I am so very happy with the life Roo has. I couldn't ask for anything more for her. Well, maybe a baby brother at some point. (Roo would be awesome with a baby brother. She's very sweet with her dolls.) But, babies aside, Roo has everything I wanted for her. She has an amazing family and a delightfully happy life. How could I not be happy when she's doing so well?

My heart shattered 18 months ago.

It's better now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No News is Good News

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog lately. I used to blog much more frequently, and I had a lot more to say, and I felt very passionately about the things that I wrote.

I don't mean to imply that I feel any less strongly about what I write anymore, but it's true that I don't feel the burning desire to blog as much as I used to. I've started ten different posts in the past month and I haven't finished any of them. I just don't care as much.

Let me hasten to assure you that this is a good thing. Blogging is a wonderful outlet for me when I need to work things through and when I have something I want to say. I just don't have as much to say or to work through these days. I'm probably a more boring person for it, but I really am very happy with the adoption part of my life lately. Roo is flourishing (have I bragged yet about how she learned to count to ten ages ago?), I'm pleased with the level of openness I have with P and M, and I haven't had an adoption-related crying fit in weeks. Those times when I miss Roo - Roo today, newborn Roo, or the Roo who might have been - or get to thinking too much about how hard placement was, or think about the heartbreak faced by people I know and love who want to adopt, those times don't come up as much anymore.

Which isn't to say that I haven't cried. I'm going to be brutally honest here and confess that every time I hear of the engagement or (planned) pregnancy of a girl who is not old enough to rent a car, I go into a little sad downward spiral and if it happens two or three times in a week, I'll sob into a tray of marshmallow Peeps for a few minutes. I've hidden a lot of these people on Facebook (19-year-olds, all) because their constant chirping about stupid things ("Soooo glad I'm getting married so I don't have to finish college!") brings out Crabby, Bitter Old Jill, and I'm trying to tramp her down until I'm at least thirty.

Where was I?

Right. Adoption. I am in such a good place with adoption right now! I am very happy with how things have worked out for Roo and for me. I cannot even begin to say what a perfectly wonderful, amazing, sweet and clever toddler my little Roo is. I am so happy for her and the life that she has. If someone had told me 18 months ago that today I would have the peace that I do, I would have snapped at them and told them to keep such comments to themselves, only not that nicely. For sure, not that nicely. And then I would have cried about it.

I'm not sure what the turning point was for me. I'm not sure when it got easier to the point that it was just easy. I've tried to look back over the past few months and see what's made the difference. I can't say exactly. To be fair, life is not all unicorns and rainbows. I am perfectly miserable about a lot of different things right now, and a few days ago I cried for a few minutes at the sight of something that reminded me of when I was a mother. But it passed. It always does.

I placed my little girl for adoption, and I am happy. Roo is happy, so I am happy.

I'm not done blogging. Not by a long shot. Neither am I naive enough to think that because I've got such peace now, my days of adoption-related sob-fests are over. But my lows aren't nearly as low, or as frequent. So, the times when more and more days pass between blog posts? Those are good things. No news from me is good news.

If you read this right after I posted it you'll notice that I've edited this post. Someone sent me a super nasty message about it a few hours ago and to keep my migraine at bay, I cut the offending sentences. For the record, I don't hate anyone who marries young (Aubrey married young and I seriously heart her), and I am not a malicious, mean, sad little woman. But thank you, message-sender, for your vitriol. I found your opinions highly amusing.