Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I will be back to blogging in July, I promise. All work and no play make Jill a dull girl, and lately I have been too dull to write anything relevant. But stick with me, okay? I've still got a lot more to say, and I plan on saying some of it very soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I haven't blogged much lately at all, and I feel the need to empty my brain, so here goes, in no particular order. Also, I'm tired, so this is probably going to be more moody and introspective and goofy than usual, but here it is.

I've been missing Roo a bit more than usual lately. I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because her birthday is coming up. Maybe it's because I've been seeing more babies than usual at work. Maybe it's because I've been able to spend more time with my brother and his family these days, and seeing his kids makes me wonder what it would be like if I had a kid, too.

Whatever the reason, I find myself thinking more about her than I usually do. Two years ago she was still snug in my belly, kicking and stretching at odd hours and making me perpetually uncomfortable. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days, physically miserable as they were. There was a peace in knowing that she was always with me, that she was healthy and happy and had everything she needed,

It's not that I worry about such things now. Although I don't get the updates I used to right after placement, I know that Roo is well. She has wonderful parents who love her dearly. I don't have any reason to think she isn't the happiest little girl in the world.

But this happy little girl isn't mine, precisely. She's P and M's. I love her, but the more time that passes the stranger it feels to love her so much. I suppose that some part of me thought maybe I would love her a little less as she got older and became more of a stranger to me. But my heart doesn't work that way. I don't think it will matter how old she gets or how she changes. I love her just the same, just as much.

I find myself thinking a lot about my birth grandmother lately, too. Sometimes I wish I could talk to her, to ask her questions and borrow some of her strength. I often wonder where she got it, how she was able to place her baby girl and pick herself up so quickly, never speaking of what happened to anyone. I wish I could ask her if her love ever changed, if she ever stopped wondering.

Is it strange to miss a relationship I never had? I think I do. I miss Roberta. I like to think, in my more fanciful moments, that she would have understood me, that she would know just the right things to say to me when I miss Roo too much. I don't know why I think she would have any special insight. I mean, I'll talk about things at my birth mom group and no one there has ever shared a mind-blowing insight that made things all better. But group is funny that way. I don't go because of what people have to say. I go because of the feeling there - that even if no one knows what to say, they know how I feel - maybe not exactly, but they get the idea.

Usually they do, anyway. But sometimes things come up and I think, who on earth can I consult about this? For instance, after placement, I just boxed everything up and put it away. I have all of the accouterments needed for taking care of a baby. The only thing I'm missing is diapers. I put it all away hoping that I would meet someone and marry and have another child within a few years of placement. But the more time that passes - the more I get a sense of what the next several years of my life are going to be - the more I think it's foolish to hang on to things. I'm obviously never going to marry, which means no children, which means I have no use for Onesies and blankets and a crib. I have these moments where I think I should just list the lot of it on Craig's List and be done with it. But I don't feel like I'm quite ready for that. It would be nice if I could talk to someone about it, someone who would understand, someone who could say to hang onto things for four years but not past five.

Although I suspect my mother would be happier if she didn't have all my Roo things in her garage through 2014.

I think I'd be happier if she didn't, too.

There was a time, probably a year ago, when I thought that I could never leave my mother's house, because that's where my memories lived - of my dad, and of Roo. I thought it would hurt too much to live someplace memory-free, somewhere no one I love has ever been. But I think moving out was a good thing, because I find more and more than the real pain comes in being in the same place as those memories. When I go to my mom's house, I'm crushed by them. I think, here's where I showed Roo off to my grandmother. Here's where my father sat to listen when I played the piano. Here's where Roo's crib was. Here's where I gave her a bath, and here's where I paced the floor with her when her tummy hurt too much for sleep.

It's overwhelming. Sometimes I can't breathe in that house. It feels haunted. My apartment is much safer. There are reminders of Roo, but they're mostly tucked away, or if they aren't I know exactly where they are, so I don't have to confront anything I don't want to. I don't have to grieve when I want to be happy. It's easier to avoid the pain. Things will sneak up on me at my mom's. I'll be minding my own business, picking up my mail or catching up with my mother, when a memory will catch my eye or tap me on the shoulder.

It's exhausting.

I wonder sometimes if that's why I've slept better since I moved. There are no memories here. My apartment is a blank slate, nothing hanging around waiting to invade my dreams. Not that I've been sleeping great, but you know those nights where even though you're tired you can't fall asleep no matter what, and you lie there for hours and hours until finally it's time to get up and you're still awake? I've only had one of those nights since I moved.

But at the same time, there are moments where the emptiness of my apartment is a little lonely. Here, where no memories live, it's almost as though I never had a father, never got pregnant, never brought a baby home and was her mother. Here it sometimes feels like Roo was never mine at all, and the love I feel for her is that much more puzzling.

I need to create new memories here - happy ones, so that it's okay if they decide to intrude. I've never been very good at creating happy memories - why is it so much easier to remember unhappy things? - so I'm going to have to practice.

Maybe I'll start with my houseplant, Rufus. I think he's gotten complacent. I'll re-pot him, give his roots room to stretch, and watch his leaves perk up. As the weeks pass by I can look back and think, remember when I re-potted him, and I was worried he wouldn't like it? See how happy he is now, how much better he is. He only needed a little breathing room.

Just like me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unrealistic Expectations, Take Two

I was asked once if I felt like my blog gave couples unrealistic ideas about what to expect from an adoption. You can read about that here. Here's the flip side of that question.

Are you worried that a birth mom might read your blog and get the wrong idea about adoption? It's not a happy-sad, it's a sad-sad, and I think you are making a mistake by not telling that part of it.

Um, have you read my blog?

If you think my view of adoption is a bit too rosy, I suggest you go back in my archives to September of 2009. I was NOT happy. I was a wreck. It was not sunshine and ponies. It was hell. It's certainly not anymore, but I was very unhappy for quite a while.

I can see where you might think that I mislead people about adoption if I were to set myself up as the official birthmother spokesperson. If I claimed that I spoke for others, then yes, I would absolutely be guilty as charged.

But I've never claimed to speak for anyone other than myself. My blog is about my experience with adoption. Yours may differ, and that's fine. Yours will differ, in fact. Each adoption is unique. No other birth mother is going to have the exact experience I had. Adoption can be a wonderful thing, but much like a weight loss program, results may vary.

I credit my readers with being smart enough to know that this blog is just one person's story - mine. I've never once had anyone tell me that my story misled them or gave them incorrect ideas about adoption or what placement is like. If anyone has felt that way, they've kept it to themselves. But I think I've made it abundantly clear that adoption is hard. I certainly don't think anyone is going to read my blog and think that placement is one big party.

If you have a burning question for me, e-mail me at thehappiestsad AT gmail DOT com or use the Formspring widget in my sidebar.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Today's post is lifted from my Formspring because I've been too lazy to write out anything new. But I thought it was a good question, and I don't know how many people ever look at my Formspring (I forget sometimes, myself) so I thought I'd borrow (also, I may have edited it a bit).

Anyway. Here's today's question:

Did you and P&M have a formal discussion about boundaries or did everyone just get it? How do you guys handle behaviors or situations that make the other feel uncomfortable?

We've never had a big talk about boundaries that I can think of but I also don't think we all just "get it." Little things have come up here and there and when they do we very respectfully say, "This isn't working for me/us, this is why, this is what would be better."

Communication about this sort of thing can be very awkward and intimidating, you're always worried about hurt feelings or saying the wrong thing (or maybe that's just me). And in the interest of brutal honesty, in a couple of instances my knee-jerk reaction was to take it personally, but I got over it because I know that it's not meant to be anything personal. I know that P and M love me no matter what, and they want the very best for Roo (which includes her having parents who don't feel uncomfortable about things with her birth mother).

I know that before placement, and during placement itself, we always hear that adoption is about love. Well, it's about love after adoption too. P and M have been very good about addressing things and at the same time emphasizing that they still love me and care about me. I try to do the same. When I start to feel awkward or worry about things, I remind myself of that. And I remind myself that they're not just a couple I placed with. They are Roo's parents, and she loves them, and they love her. It helps keep things in perspective.

Allow me to state, as I have before, that our relationship certainly isn't perfect (whose is?), and that your results may vary. But, short answer, it's sort of a situational thing. I trust them to let me know if I overstep my bounds.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Few Things ...

And by a few, I mean ... oh, let's say, three followed by seven, and here they are.

1) My deep dark secret is no more! Ladies and gentlemen, I have a library card.

[As soon as I can find the cable that connects my camera to my computer, I'll put a picture of it here. "It" being of course my library card, not the cable that connects my camera to my computer.]

One of my co-workers, with whom I am Facebook friends, found my blog, read my post about my secret shame, and offered to help me out. So last Saturday, when no one was looking, she re-activated my account and gave me a new card. It was all very stealthy, and I expected to be caught several times. I am just not cut out for espionage.

Thanks, Alexia! I'm glad you're back :)

I cannot even say what a relief it is to have that little matter taken care of. I no longer live in fear of being found out, and I won't have to endure the humiliation I would certainly have faced if I'd been found out.

2) I recently had to submit a detailed outline of my FSA presentation to the people who are in charge of that sort of thing. In the process of researching some of the things I wanted to discuss, I ended up sobbing about my dad's death for about twenty minutes. Am I wrong in thinking it bodes poorly for me that I'm supposed to be talking about grief and I seem to be struggling with it myself?

But it's not the same kind of grief, really. Death and placement weren't the same kind of pain at all. It's not that one was worse than the other, because I think they both rank pretty high on the rottenness scale, but the pain was definitely different. So maybe my presentation won't be so bad, after all. I mean, I do feel at least moderately qualified to talk about making placement grief useful. I don't feel remotely qualified to talk about grieving the death of a parent. I'm still trying to get the hang of it.

Onward now to happy thoughts, like the fact that for some reason,

3) People seem to like me. I'm always sort of surprised when people like me. But Mary likes me well enough to give me a blog award! Mary blogs at Genuinely Jarman and is an adoptive mama. I think the title of her blog fits her because she is a very genuine person. I love her thoughts on birth mothers; you can read them *here.* Mary gave me this:

Wasn't that nice of her? Thank you, Mary! It looks so pretty in my sidebar by Captain Cluck and friends.

There are rules with this but as usual I'm weaseling out of some of them. Well, I say some, but I mean most. I'm already blathering today so I'm going to do the bit where I tell seven things about myself, and here they are in no particular order:

1) I've had four surgeries in the past eight years. All four made my life a million times better, particularly the fourth one, which brought Roo into the world!

2) My biggest fear is fish. I think they are the nastiest, creepiest things in the world, and I have no sense of humor about them.

Let's change the subject.

3) My driving record is immaculate - not so much as a warning from a police officer. (This is a happy consequence of being a good driver.)

4) I have an Arizona cosmetology license, and I used to work at a children's hair salon.

5) I grew an inch taller between my 19th and 20th birthdays. I hadn't grown before that in nine years.

6) I started my first blog in 1997, before it was even called blogging. You think the internet is full of whiny emo crap now, you should have seen it in the days of Geocities and Tripod.

7) I don't know what I'm going to do if I have another baby girl someday, because I gave Roo the only girl name I really like.

Anyway. That's probably a lot more information than you ever wanted about me, but there it is. Thanks again to Mary for the blog award!

I'm supposed to give this award to at least five other people, but I can never choose, so as usual, if you're reading this and you've always wanted a blog award, it's yours for the taking, because you are all awesome.