I’M Not Giving Up On Her

It’s been months since I’ve heard from birthdad…

He moved hundreds of miles away last summer for work.
We stayed in touch for a while, texting multiple days a week.

Then around my birthday, he just stopped communication..

I kept trying to check on him, but it was hard when I got nothing back and knew nothing about what was going on. He’d never just disappeared without a reason like this before.

Thanksgiving passed and I still hadn’t heard from him. It had been almost three weeks by that point, so I chose to stop reaching out.

It came time to start planning the next visit with our daughter, which I had been delaying in hopes that I’d hear from him – which didn’t happen. So I went ahead and emailed adoptive parents, telling them that I hadn’t heard from him for weeks now but I was still including him, just in case.

About a month after I’d stopped reaching out to him, I drafted an email on Christmas Eve. But I knew I couldn’t hit send immediately. I sat on it for about 36 hours. I read it, rewrote a few things, read it again, and finally hit send.

New Years came and went, still no word from birthdad.
The visit got delayed first due to major snow we got, and then delayed again because I tested positive for covid.

When we did finally make it to our visit, I was able to find a small silver lining to birthdad being absent – we’d had to reschedule twice, and that might not have been possible if he’d flown in from where he moved to.

When I had a moment alone with adoptive dad during lunch, I asked if they’d heard from birthdad. He said they’d reached out and hadn’t heard anything back. I told him about the email I’d sent a month prior giving birthdad six months before I stop including him on visit emails. I wanted to tell him for honesty sake, what I’d done, but I still nervous about how adoptive dad would react to what I’d chosen to do.

To my surprise, but also not surprising at all, adoptive dad was totally supportive of what I’d done.

That may partially have been because I told him I would never speak ill of birthdad to them or to our daughter. I will always encourage him to have a relationship with our daughter if he comes back into the picture. If adoptive parents want to invite him to a visit if he’s in town, I’m open to us being there together.

My decision to give six months had nothing to do with birthdad, and everything to do with me. I knew that I wouldn’t be okay sending planning emails every six months and never knowing if he would respond or show up at our visits. I knew I had to let go of him and to to start walking away for myself.

Now that we’re over four months into the six I gave, it’s gotten a lot easier for me to talk about him being m.i.a. I still have no clue what’s happened to him though.

I don’t know if he’s okay.

I don’t know if he started dating someone new and doesn’t want to bring up the complicated past with me and the fact that he has a kid he has no rights to because we made an adoption for her.

I don’t know if he’s just busy with work.

I don’t know if he got covid and had crazy complications.

I don’t know if he was in an accident and wound up in a coma.

I honestly don’t even know if he’s alive or dead.

For weeks, my worry about what happened to him was all-consuming. I knew that I couldn’t change the situation, no matter what I wanted, so eventually I had to put his absence in a metaphorical box in the corner and ignore it.

It hasn’t been easy to move on not knowing what happened to him or what’s going on, but something my therapist had me do really made a difference. They had me write a “goodbye letter” to birthdad. I had to put into words why I was letting go, and force/allow myself to remember the good things from all the years he and I knew each other. Remembering the good doesn’t negate the struggle I’m facing because of his absence, but it reminded me that the good memories still exist even if he doesn’t come back into the picture.

So, I don’t know if I’ll be disappointed on Mother’s Day that he’s still out of contact, or if I’ll be grappling with his return. But that’s when I will officially stop hoping he comes out from whatever hole he’s been in for months – even though I’m kind of already there. I’ve had two visits with my daughter without him and planning them was always my thing even when he was around, so not a whole lot will change anyway.

Total Shock & Awe

I got off my monthly Bethany birthmom group call and took my coffee mug back downstairs. I had a piece of mail from BraveLove on the table, and dad asked what BraveLove is.

I didn’t know what to say. He’s never really been one to want to know about my adoption. So I said I wasn’t sure how to tell him cause it’s a difficult subject. It’s a birthmom education group.

There was a discussion about how he didn’t want to know anything about my adoption in the beginning. He admitted that was true. He was glad I didn’t have an abortion, but he was distressed I “gave it away”. I was somewhat offended and said “‘it’ is a girl”. I didn’t go into the whole “I didn’t give her away I placed her” correction, but maybe another day. Somewhere in the future.

I figure since we’d already blown open the adoption doors, I told him I would be getting off early next Friday and getting in a Zoom with my adoption agency to speak to couples who are hoping to be approved to adopt.

He then blew my mind and said he would like to meet her one day. So I shared her name and just a few pictures – the first was from our visit last month and the first words he said were “she doesn’t look like you.” (I wasn’t even sure what to say to that. Mom said she sees more of David in her as she grows up.) Dad asked how often I see her, and where they live, and if I buy her birthday/Christmas presents. So he can help me buy the presents.

Then mom said that adoptive dad is a pastor. I said he used to be at a church up here on 123 but now they’re building their own church down there. They bought the land during lockdown and should be breaking ground soon for the building.

Dad asked me if I talk to them a lot after I shared about their church. Well, I follow their church’s Instagram account.. That didn’t answer his question. We email every now and then.

I’m in total shock and awe…

I spent most of 2019 (subconsciously) letting go of the expectation he’d come around, and had finally accepted that he wouldn’t be involved in her life. 14 months later he drops this information on me. I had fully released those expectations, so now he’s exceeded anything I had.

It’s a lot to take in.

It’s a MAJOR thing to process.

It means that things aren’t the same anymore.

I have to adjust to a whole new reality.

I used to stop talking about adoption-related things if he was around. I would out my phone down or change apps if I had a picture of her up on the screen and he walked by. These are behaviors that have been ingrained for six and a half years. Now they’re not really necessary. And I don’t know what to think, or what to feel, or what to do.

I mean, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

I would have never expected that from him.

Ever.

200

Due date: June 30 (today)
Birthday: July 8
Placement: July 18

We’re coming up on a difficult time of year for me – the end of June and just the whole month of July. Especially this year – it’s like a repeat of May 2019… All the running around, and dogsitting, and so few nights in my own bed, along with everything else happening.

Don’t get me wrong… I love the dogs I take care of, and I really love their people too. But when I’m only going to have a max of eight nights at home in my own bed in a month, I’m starting to feel burnt out and exhausted just thinking about it before it even starts.

The most difficult part of being on the go and away from home so much during when things like this are happening is finding the time to take care of yourself and do things that make you feel better.

I’ve talked with multiple people (birthmama friends, adoptive mama friends, the pregnancy counselor who leads my birthmom group, friends with no connection to adoption) about this and tried to come up with a list of things that I can do for myself while being on-the-go so much.

In all the coming and going, and moving from one house to another, and living out of a suitcase… I’ve figured out some things that make bits and pieces of my life just a little bit easier lol.

  • I’ve decided that I’m going to pick up a new bathing suit top from Target this weekend so I can lay out in the sun and get a little color before I go see my daughter and “hike” through some woods the following weekend – plus it will be nice to have at one of the houses later in the month since they have a pool and hot tub.
  • I’ve got some leggings with pockets on the sides coming in so I can have my phone more readily available for pictures, rather than having to awkwardly get into my backpack. (They’ll also be good for a friend date I’ve got with an adoptive mama friend on Friday night.)
  • I’ve got my daughter’s birthday gift – she wanted an LOL OMG doll, so birthdad and I agreed on one and I ordered that.
  • I have a lightning to aux input cable for my car so that I don’t have to keep moving my lightning to headphone adapter from my actual headphones to the aux cable in my car and run the risk of losing it…again.
  • Plus there’s a coffee grinder coming, which is for the coffee beans I ordered from what Shawn Johnson and Andrew East have started – UniQorn Coffee – which should be arriving soon too 🙂

The insanity starts on the 2nd. I’ll maybe do an update halfway through the month, and then another at the end. But for now. I’ve gotta take the last two nights I’ve got to relax and mentally prepare for the crazy that I’m walking into.

…July…

It’s almost July…!!

This means that it’s almost Peanut’s birthday and placement month. And that means that I’m about to be dealing with one of my most difficult months of the year.

As I’m writing this, my due date is 8 days away, her birthday is 16 days away, and placement is in 26 days. My daughter’s birthday is also the day I started the job I’m currently at. How can I ever forget that date? lol

This year for the month of July, I’ll only be home for about a week. My dogsitting clients all decided to book me almost back-to-back for week-long trips they’re taking. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love all the dogs I take care of. I really do. But I can tell you, actually, pretty much guarantee you, that I will be exhausted and burnt out by the time we get to August.

Especially with starting back to a more consistent schedule in the office now. It all requires a lot of adjusting to the new “normal” that we have for everything.

Send me positive vibes, good juju, lovely thoughts, prayers, whatever you like. But I’m going to need it all during the month of July.

New Tattoo

The day after Valentines Day I drove out to Winchester and finally got my second tattoo.

People love to ask me why I went to a shop that’s so far away. It’s a familiar, trusted place. And I thoroughly admire the work of both artists there. Plus, sometimes you simply want to go for a road trip, and there’s just something about taking one with a clear destination. 

It’s a design that I had been looking at for nearly three and a half years. And I was originally going to get it almost two and a half years ago. But at that point, I was let go from my job, all my money went to things that needed to be paid, and then I totalled my truck two days after I had planned to get the tattoo.

This design (insert image later) is the adoption symbol with the Celtic Knot used as the triangle, all done as one line. I have Scotch-Irish heritage, on my mother’s side. The one great-grandmother I knew is where the Irish heritage comes from. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I placed my daughter for adoption just over five and a half years ago. And something I remembered a few months ago is that my great-grandmother was also a foster mom. So, the two aspects are wound together tighter than I had realized.

South Dakota

South Dakota recently passed legislation that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQIA couples. It passed, 43-20-7.

I know there are people in the world today who have very different opinions about the community than I do, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to share with you my feelings and opinions about the bill that SD has passed.


 

I talked with my sister about this and she said, “I wish this was something no one had to feel any way about because I wish it wasn’t a thing that happened.” And that’s how I feel about it too. But as a birthmom, maybe I have stronger feelings than someone who doesn’t know the adoption process or have any connection to it.

I feel that adoption should be available to anyone who wants to expand their family that way, LGBTQIA couples included. I honestly don’t understand why people would say that they’re not worthy of being able to adopt. It pains me to think that. LGBTQIA couples can be amazing parents, just like heterosexual couples.

Why are they different? To me, they’re not.

When I chose the family to place my daughter, I felt it that they were right. It wouldn’t have happened with the agency we used, but if the family I fell for had been part of the LGBTQIA community, it wouldn’t have mattered. At all. I knew they were right because I just felt it in my heart and my gut.

But South Dakota passing this bill that legally allows discrimination against these couples is preventing prospective birthmoms from having that same moment when looking through profiles as they just connect and know they’re right. It’s forcing couples to go through lawyers, which can be more expensive and take more time and effort.

I have a good friend, Courtney of Living Queer, who is part of the LGBTQIA community, so I asked them a few questions.

Q: As part of the LGBTQIA community, would you and your partner consider adoption?
       A: Yes we would

Q: Because you can technically pass as female, would you make it known to the agency that you are an LGBTQIA couple or would you fear discrimination and not tell?
       A: I honestly would probably fear discrimination and not tell unless I had continued my transition and couldn’t pass anymore


 

In doing more research, I’ve discovered that other states (Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia) have similar bills that allow discrimination without fear of retribution. I wasn’t aware of this, and it bothers me. I live in one of those states.

It will also allow agencies to discriminate against single and divorced people, couples who engage in premarital sex, interfaith couples, and anyone else whose behavior or identity violates an agency’s “religious belief or moral conviction.”

Sen. Alan Solano is a Republican from Rapid City. He wrote the bill with help from a staff member of Catholic Social Services. They are an agency who will only place infants with couples who are opposite sex, married at least two years, and unable to conceive children on their own, among other requirements.


 

I don’t know why I thought that this was something new, or that similar things hadn’t already happened in other states, but even days/weeks later, it makes me upset. I hate the idea that there are couples out there who are being denied the chance to adopt. There are so many couples (straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, of differing faiths, it doesn’t matter) who are wanting to adopt, but there are these rules that are preventing them from doing so with certain agencies.

And yes, I understand that there are other ways to adopt than private agencies. But that could require going through the state foster system, and that can cause more stress than necessary.

Yes, every child deserves a loving home, but some couples just don’t have it in them to handle the foster system. Especially if the child is older and can go back to their case worker and say they don’t like the family they’re with. That may be something the couple isn’t emotionally ready to face.

NaBloPoMo – Day 11

stream of consciousness 


The things that are most likely going to happen in this country under the rule of President Elect Donald Trump are truly scary to think about…

The things that he intends to do to women’s healthcare, the LGBTQIA+ community, immigrants, and Muslims, just to name a few have so many people afraid for their lives.

One of my best friends is part of the LGBT community and, because of where they live, they’re afraid for their life when they leave home sometimes. Me? I’m lucky that I’m a cisgender, heterosexual female in that sense. (But there will be more on that in a collaboration post with them later.)

But I am afraid of what Trump will do to healthcare, in repealing Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) and specifically women’s birth control and abortion laws. Birth control could become extremely difficult to get, and if he manages to find a way to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortions could become illegal. The thought of abortions being illegal makes me feel sick.

I’m sitting here fighting back tears as I try to write this, because, 20/20 hindsight, I kinda wish I’d waited till the election to make a decision about my birth control. But I didn’t and I can’t change what I did now. I had my IUD removed because it was causing pain that I technically could have, but really just didn’t want to deal with anymore, so I’m on the combo pill again. But I’m wondering if staying on the pill is really a good option with everything that could happen once he’s inaugerated.

My next option was originally the mini pill, but I’m thinking that something longer term would probably be the better route given what Trump seems to want to do.  So I need to call my new insurance and see what coverage would look like with Nexplanon and then see about contacting my OB/GYN to discuss things with her.

This whole thing is just scaring me..

NaBloPoMo – Day 6

Write the words you need to hear


happy birthday to me


Just because what you are feeling is different, does not mean you are broken.

Everyone deals with things differently.

You are loved – even if you don’t feel like it.

Just because you don’t match societal beauty standards doesn’t mean that you aren’t beautiful.

No matter how weak you think you are, you are one of the strongest people I know.

Pull inspiration for your makeup and clothes from the shows you love to watch and what you think your favorite book characters look like – experiment.

 

How NOT to Handle a Break-Up

A little over four years ago, I went through an absolutely terrible break-up. To be quite honest, it left me kind of scarred when it comes to the possibility of a new relationship today…

It was difficult for both parties involved, even though I was the one doing the breaking up. (Why does everyone so often think it’s easier to be the one doing the breaking up than being the one broken up with? It’s still hard to be the one to end it.)

Things were going okay in the beginning of the relationship, but about three months in he got mono. So he was quarantined at home.

Before this, he had been very possessive about me and who I spent time with – he didn’t want me spending time with guys he didn’t know or guys that he wasn’t friends with. Naturally, while he was sick, I re-discovered my freedom. I went to hang out with whoever I wanted to without feeling like I had someone to answer to for once. Unfortunately for him, when he recovered, I refused to give up said freedom.

My decision caused things to take a turn for the worse. He wouldn’t stop texting me when I wasn’t with him. He called me all the time. It got to the point that I would leave my phone in the car if I was out with friends because he was trying to contact me so frequently.

I went to a movie once, left my phone in the car, and came back to something like nine calls and twenty-some text messages. Granted, I didn’t exactly tell him the truth about where I’d been – I told him that my phone was on silent and had gotten lost while I was cleaning my room. I know, looking back, that I probably should’ve told the truth, but I was really just trying to avoid a fight with him.

I understand that communication is key in a relationship, but I wasn’t raised that I was supposed to be in constant contact with whoever I was dating at the time. It wasn’t, and still isn’t, in me to be in constant contact with someone who seemed to essentially wanted to track my every move. I felt suffocated.

I know I absolutely should have broken up with the guy in a better way, and I do regret having done it the way I did. But, I text him saying that things weren’t working out anymore and I thought we should break up. He responded via text for a few minutes, in what seemed like a fairly calm manner, and then things began to escalate. Until now he had been asking me why I was breaking up with him.

I told him that things just weren’t working anymore. I no longer felt the same connection I did when we got together five months ago. And his lack of planning when it came to picking me up from school that day had been my last straw.

He was supposed to pick me up from school and take me back to a friend’s house so I could take care of their dog. When he left his house, he forgot his phone, so he couldn’t get in touch with me. The school Wi-Fi wasn’t (and really still isn’t) the most reliable, so even “relying” on our iPods wasn’t good because if you walked too far away from a building then you would lose signal. So after waiting around for about half an hour, I reached out to my grandparents and had them come get me and take me to the friend’s house so I could care for the dog.

Back to the break-up. Apparently I was no longer replying quickly enough via text, so he decided to call me. This is when he started trying to guilt me into taking him back…

He was screaming at me. Saying that he’d gotten into a minor accident on the way back to his house from the school. That all of these things were completely out of his control. That he didn’t know his license had expired until the cops arrived to the accident. That he was trying to do the best he could for me. Everything he said was about him.

Eventually I got fed up with the verbal and emotional abuse from him on the phone and hung up. He tried calling me back, but I rejected it every time. I text a friend of mine who had been encouraging me to end the relationship (because they could see emotional trauma and other problems it had been causing) saying that I’d finally done it. They came over to make sure I was okay. Took all of my electronics away. Did everything they could to calm me down. Refused to leave until they knew I was gonna be okay.

And even when they did leave, I just sat around staring at walls and the dark outside until I went to bed. I really didn’t have the energy to do anything after what my now ex had just put me through.


Could I have handled the break-up better than I did?
Definitely.

Do I regret having done things the way I did?
Honestly, I don’t know that I do.

Am I to blame for the way that the relationship so painfully ended?
Possibly.

Is there anything I could have done to prevent the ending from being so violent?
Yes.

Do I believe that there is some reason, whatever it may be, that I went through this?
Absolutely.


Now, over four years later, I’ve been faced with the potential of a new relationship. And it’s terrified me. I feel like I don’t know how to be in a relationship now. Things don’t make sense.

For a lot of girls, relationships are exciting, and they seem easy. But it’s not like that for me. I’m not ready for a new relationship. Even now.

I just don’t think I’m ready to get into a relationship any time soon.
That’s just the way it is for now.
And that’s totally okay.

I Don’t Know How

A wonderful friend of mine wrote this one night while struggling to deal with her daughter who was having a meltdown. It is exactly the way I picture myself when I have kids in the future.

Sometimes,

I just don’t know how to console you,

Reassure you that you have validity,

Not get impatient or angry when you disobey me,

Or allow you the amount of independence you claim you have.

Sometimes,

When your sweet little self

Shows her grown up attitude

I feel….

Defeated.

Small.
Inconsolable.
Panicked.

Like whatever comes out of my mouth is a bargaining chip

Or as if I said the most awkward thing one could say to a child.

Sometimes…

When we are not listening to one another,

My heart swells and fills with anxiety, and I can’t hear what you need.

My eyes cloud over and I get stuck in a foggy loop of emotions and tears. My voice raises and you cry harder.

Sometimes…

I feel incapable of saying what you want to hear,

Or finding a happy medium.

I dislike being cross and upset

But with you, most especially.

As you grow and become your own person, I see more and more of myself behind your eyes.

I want to give you the world,

Hear you giggle,

Watch you paint your universe in color.

But I am not a teacher like your daddy.

The ability to calm and sooth you is not inherent for me when I am upset.

For that, sweet child of mine, I must confess, troubles me deeply.

But we never go to bed angry,

And we will always talk it out until we are comfortable again.

This is my promise to you sweet girl.

I hope you understand.

I just want what’s best for you

Even if my version of that is not what others have in mind.

It’ll be you and me kid,

And we are going to rule the world!

Here’s a few pictures of my friend and her daughter:

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Side-by-side comparison of mother and daughter at around age 3

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