Monday, August 29, 2016


I started this blog exactly seven years ago.

At the time I was almost completely consumed by it. The only thing that kept me going was blogging. I wrote constantly; I didn't know what else to do. I didn't have an endgame where blogging was concerned. The Happiest Sad would, I assumed go on forever.

I think it's done. I haven't updated in I don't know how long. My heart hasn't been in it for a long time. The comments and e-mail and messages became overwhelming and stressful. People expected things of me. People wanted things from me. People felt this connection to me through my writing and it got to be too much. I'm not qualified to give the sort of counseling people were looking for and I've never claimed to speak for anyone other than myself. This blog was only ever meant to be representative of my experiences and feelings and so many people wanted it to be so much more. I've never been good at living up to other people's expectations.

I thought that if I took a break I might reclaim some of my enthusiasm for adoption and blogging and all of the things that used to mean so much to me. But today I'm calling it. That ship has sailed. I'm done.

I am sorely tempted to delete everything or at least make it private. In retrospect I feel I did much more harm than good, both to myself and to others. Beyond that, I feel absolutely no connection to the woman who started this blog or even the woman who continued it when Roo got a little older.

After some really horrible things happened to me in the last few years I went back to my therapist and one of the things that he mentioned is that I have changed so, so much since I started seeing him ten years ago. Things that would have broken me even six or seven years ago are just irritations to me.

I don't identify with the woman I used to be. I have almost nothing in common with her. I don't pity her and I don't envy her but I also don't know her, and I don't want to. She wasn't happy. I am. As terrifically flawed as things are, I'm finally happy.

I love Roo with my whole heart. I always have and I always will. And I'm not her mother, and I am okay with that. I said that to my friend who insisted that she's still mine.

"She's still your daughter. You're still her mother."

I get that a lot, actually, mostly from birth mothers who see their relationships with their placed children in that sense. "My son has two mothers," they'll insist. "I'm still his mom."

Sorry, but I'm not Roo's mom. Roo has a mom.

"But you gave birth to her, you're still her mom."

But I'm not. I'm her birth mom and that's good enough for me. I grew her and I love her and if she ever needs anything from me - blood, a kidney, half my liver, my bone marrow, or help burying a body, I will give it to her in a heartbeat, no questions asked. But as it stands today my Roo does not need me.

That's the difference, I think. If I were Roo's mother she would need me. She doesn't need me.

I'm glad she doesn't! If she needed me I think I'd feel that there was something wrong - that she wasn't getting the love and support she needs from her parents, that she feels incomplete as a result of being adopted. Roo knows I love her and that's all I need out of our relationship. The fact that the last time I saw her she was much more interested in her ice cream than answering my questions about school is the opposite of a problem.

(Ice cream is very, very important, and I'm proud of her for understanding that.)

I've separated myself from the adoption world. I have nothing new to contribute, nothing new to say. I got tired of it. I don't attend any activities or support groups or anything. I removed myself from every adoption Facebook group I was added to. I stayed in a few local ones that I don't follow but something another birth mom posted cemented my decision to walk away from the Christian adoption community completely.

She placed a few years ago - two? Three? I don't know, I met her maybe once. But she has since married and was, at the time, expecting her first child with her husband. She asked for advice from other birth mothers who had "healed and made new lives for themselves." And her definition of that was marriage and family.

This made me wonder, do I not count? Is the life I've built for myself somehow less meaningful because I'm single? Am I not "moved on" because I don't have kids? Frankly, I know too many birth moms who rushed to get married and have another kid after placement and I don't think they're better off for it.

I know that this birth mom, who is a lovely and kind woman, was asking for advice from birth moms who have married and had kids but that's specifically not how she phrased her question. I read it and I realized I was done. I'm done with the stereotypes and the expectations and the stupid standards that are so prevalent in the Christian adoption world.

I have moved on. I have healed. I have clawed my way to a new life and I am proud of it and I'm sorry my definition of healing doesn't look like it's supposed to. But it's mine and it's good enough for me and even if I never marry and never have children I have [expletive deleted] healed, whether anyone sees it or not. I see it. I feel it. And I'm happy.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I would shout it from the rooftops but I don't like heights: I am not a hero. I am not brave. I am not selfless. I am not an angel. I am a deeply flawed, deeply damaged woman who was scared out of her mind and made a desperate decision for the small person she loved most in the world. And I would do it again a million times.

But I don't need strangers telling me I'm wonderful for placing my child for adoption. I don't want that. It is nobody's damn business, and I realize as I'm typing that how absolutely stupid that sounds considering I documented my entire adoption experience for a good five years on a public blog.

But my point is that this blog has unintentionally empowered people to insert themselves in my life and my story. People who I have never met, who only know me through my words here, have sent me e-mail and left comments about how I need to take better care of myself and fix myself or I won't be any better off in a decade. People have attempted to diagnose me and treat me despite the fact that I pay a lot of money to both a therapist and a psychiatrist to do both of those things (spoiler alert: it's working, things are rad).

I've gotten unsettling e-mail that made me worry I was being stalked. I've gotten supportive, lovely e-mail from people who have become friends. I've gotten heartbreaking e-mail from birth mothers, and from women who confided that they wished they'd placed the child they're parenting.

This blog has been a beautiful burden. My refuge and my rage. A full-color catalog of my ups and downs. The happiest sad.

But I think it's time to officially say goodbye. I'll probably never update again. I haven't read a message or comment on my Facebook page in months and I don't want to. I will likely delete it. Knowing that this blog is hanging out here without any sort of conclusion has been one final thread tying me to the adoption community I don't want a part of anymore.

I'll always be connected to adoption through Roo. But I would hope that adoption is a relatively minor part of her life as she grows. There are so many more interesting and wonderful things about her than the fact that her mom didn't give birth to her.

Some of you have been following me from the very beginning and for that, and for your love and support, I thank you. You got me through some tough ish. Those of you who have meant the most know where to find me on the internet, although I think I'm Facebook friends with most of you anyway.

To those of you who have harrassed me, belittled me, condescended to me, and concern-trolled me, I'm sad that you don't have anything better to do. Pokemon Go is pretty popular these days, if you've got a smartphone. I also recommend Neko Atsume, particularly if you like cats but are allergic like I am.

To those of you I have helped, I am humbled and grateful. To those of you I have harmed, I am so, so sorry and if I can't have your forgiveness I ask for your understanding.

To the only reader I had in mind for this blog, the one who has yet to read a word - my dear darling Roo. May you be happy. May you be smart. May you be kind, and may you be well.

Our galaxy's sun is 864,938 miles in diameter (yes, I Googled that). But my love for you is larger. I hope the universe really is expanding because between my love and the sun's growth things are going to get tight in here.

You are my favorite and my best. My jelly and my jam. My French phrase for reason for being. Thank you for being, and thank you for being you. You're wonderful and I absolutely love you to bits and forever, no matter what.

- Jill