I get lots of awesome e-mail from people who read my blog. I LOVE e-mail, by the way, and comments too. I’ve noticed that certain questions and statements seem to come up a lot, so for clarification purposes, here is my first (and probably only) Happiest Sad FAQ.
Q: Where did you get the name “The Happiest Sad?”
A: I came up with it after I first met P and M. I was devastated that I wasn’t going to be Roo’s mommy, but at the same time, I was incredibly happy that P and M were getting a baby – I was so happy for them, in fact, that I almost didn’t care that it was my baby they were getting. I was trying to describe to my mother how I felt. I was sad, but happy-sad. It was, I said, the happiest sad I’d ever been. I liked that turn of phrase, so I stuck with it.
Q: Why did you name your baby Roo?
A: I didn’t. Roo is a nickname I gave her when she was a few days old. She didn’t look like she’d quite grown into the name I gave her, so I decided she would be Roo until her name fit her just a little better. It stuck, and I rarely call her anything else.
I refer to her as Roo, and use initials for other people I mention, for privacy reasons. P and M adopted Roo, they didn’t adopt me. I want to respect their privacy as much as I can. I don’t know that they would necessarily mind if I used their names or Roo’s, but I feel very protective of all of them and it feels better to me to be a bit vague about personal details.
Q: Why don’t you post any new pictures of Roo?
A: For the same reason that I don’t use her real name or the names of anyone I refer to: Privacy. There are only two pictures of her you will ever see on my blog: the header picture, and the little one below it. I don’t want complete strangers to know what she looks like (although in my completely unbiased opinion she is quite a looker), or what her parents and sister look like. That’s nobody’s business.
Q: Do Roo’s parents read your blog?
A: They do, and I’ve been told that it has helped them to understand what I’ve been going through and why I chose adoption, and it will help them to tell Roo her story when she gets big enough to ask about it. When I blog, I try to always keep in mind that they will read it, and that someday Roo will read it, and I write accordingly. I don’t shy away from the truth of how I’m feeling or what I’ve been through, but I think that’s been helpful, if painful for all of us involved. I don’t think I’d be doing anyone any favors if I tried to sugarcoat things. When Roo reads this someday, she will know how very much I love her, because I was willing to put myself through such hell for her.
Q: How old are you?
A: I was born in 1983. I'll let you do the math.
Q: Have you considered writing a book about your experience?
A: I have, and I’m working on it. I feel like a lot of what I’ve written is pretty rough at the moment, and I still have more of my story to tell. Once I’ve got everything told that needs telling, I’ll organize things a bit better and see what I can do with it.
Q: Is H involved in your life or Roo’s at all?
A: No. I haven’t seen him since late November of 2008, and I haven’t heard from him since August 22 of 2009. Roo and I are both much better without him in our lives.
Q: What church do you go to?
A: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, often called the Mormon church. My faith is a big part of the reason I placed Roo. Mormons believe that families can be together for eternity by partaking of the sealing ordinance in the temple. I wanted Roo to have an eternal family like I do. If you have any questions about what I believe, please e-mail me or visit Mormon.org for more information.
Q: I was raised by a single mother and I turned out just fine. You could have kept your baby and she would have been okay and you wouldn’t have had to hurt so much.
A: Kudos to your mother. Being a single mom is hard work. Having two parents is no guarantee that a child will turn out fine, too. But statistically, children of married parents are better off than children of single parents. And I wanted Roo to have a good daddy like I did. I wanted her to have an eternal family, to be well-provided for, and to have every chance in the world at happiness. I could have kept her, and I wouldn’t have suffered. But Roo might have, and I wasn’t willing to take that chance.
Q: Do you think that all women facing unplanned pregnancies should choose adoption?
A: Absolutely not. I think it should be taken into consideration, though, and I wish more women would realize it is a viable, amazing option. Of the 11 million unplanned pregnancies in America every year, 50% end in abortion or miscarriage (49% of women single parent or marry and 1% choose adoption). It is a wonderful way to make something good out of something bad.
Adoption was right for Roo and for me, but I would never say that it's right for everyone. I just don't think it should be immediately ruled out.
Q: Why did you wait so long to place your baby for adoption?
A: I ask myself this question all the time. I can’t rightly say. The short answer is that I hadn't found P and M yet. Part of me feels like I wasn’t ready to place her so soon after she was born. I knew what I should do, but knowing what to do and actually doing it are two different things. I wanted her so badly, and I hadn’t found a family for her that felt right. I knew that adoption was always an option, so I didn’t rush myself into a decision. I took the time to think about it and pray about it and consider my options and what my life and Roo’s would be like, and what we would both have and have not if I kept her. It took me a while to decide. But I think the most important message in my story is that it’s never too late to do the right thing.
Q: Did Roo have any problems because you waited so long to place her?
A: Not a one. She doesn’t seem to remember me at all, and she slept through the night the second night P and M had her, something she never did with me. She has always seemed to be comfortable and happy with P and M. I think she knows they are supposed to be her parents. She doesn’t appear to have suffered a bit. She is happy and content and healthily attached to her mom and dad.
Q: What advice would you give to a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy?
A: Remember that people make mistakes, God doesn't. Every child is precious and perfect. Your baby is not a mistake, and you are not a bad person. Take the time to consider all of your options. Don't rush into a decision and don't let anyone else make the decision for you. Find someone impartial to talk to - LDSFS has fantastic counselors who won't pressure you, but I know that there are other agencies and resources out there. Know that you are not the first woman to go through this, and you won't be the last. Take care of yourself and get good prenatal care. Stay close to God. Most important, don't give up on yourself. You can get through this and no matter what you do (marriage, single parenting, or adoption), you will be a better person for it.
Q: When you were looking at profiles at blogs was there anything that made a couple stand out? Is there any advice you'd give to couples who are hoping to adopt?
A: You'll find that I am full of advice on this very topic. I once opined at length. You can read my thoughts *here*.
There were a lot of things, good and bad, that made couples stand out. Roo's parents' profile first caught my attention because of their great family picture, and because their profile didn't contain any typographical errors.
Q: Did or do you ever want your baby back?
A: I wanted her back almost immediately. I called up S in a fit of hysterics and demanded that we get Roo back. S asked why, and I said because I missed her and because it hurt to be away from her. S said, "So you want her back for you, not for her." Point taken, S. When I want her back, it is for me. It's a selfish thing, because I love her and I miss her. But it wouldn't be the best thing for her to get her back. The best thing for her is to be with her mommy and daddy and sister.
I miss her, but I know she's where she's supposed to be.