Get to Know Me Better?

I’ve had this blog for quite a while (it used to be coffeetattoos.wordpress.com but I decided to upgrade recently) and never really introduced myself. So maybe it’s time for me to do that…??

I’m the middle of three kids – my sister is four years older, my brother is seven and a half years younger (he was an oops… lol). My sister also has two kids (ages 11 and 12).

I’ve been diagnosed with Depression with Manic Elements (which was originally misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder Type II), Anxiety, and PTSD. I have taken medication at various times for the bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety but have not been on anything since early 2018.

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was probably 12 or 13, granted back then it was in the equivalent of a frappuccino so I couldn’t really taste the coffee. I started drinking coffee (with cream and sugar) in high school when I was probably 15.

I got my first tattoo in I think December 2011 when I was 19 – it’s on the right side of my ribs. I got the Scorpio symbol, but it’s got vines coming off either side so it sort of all blends together.
Then I waited about 8 years before I got my second – on the left side of my chest – which has more meaning behind it than my first. It’s the adoption symbol crossed with the Celic knot, aka triquetra. I have adoption connections (this will be talked about later, and I have several posts about it) and I have Scotch-Irish heritage on my mom’s side, so it blends my future in adoption and my history together in one piece.

I was going to be an ASL Interpreter until I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in December 2015 (officially in February 2016) and chose to withdraw. It just wasn’t something that I thought was intelligent to continue moving forward with since it is something that can push interpreters out of the field. And I didn’t want to have to look into surgery because even that isn’t a guaranteed fix since it can come back again.

I had people telling me I shouldn’t because they said I’d never go back if I did, but I took a year off of school at that point. I had to figure out what I would do since I had only ever gone to school with the goal of becoming an interpreter.

I worked at a trampoline park, which didn’t last too long. Then I worked at in the headquarters office of a fleet car transportation company (think cars pharma reps have, dealership loaners, that kind of thing).

While I was in those places, I was scrolling though the degree programs my community college had and trying to decide what on earth I wanted to do now that a career in ASL was done for me. Nursing? Everyone tried to tell me they thought I’d be so good at it – and while I do find it fascinating, I simply didn’t/don’t have the science grades for that. Teaching? I don’t have the patience for all the parents – I’ve seen that push teachers into other positions or early retirement.

Eventually I decided that when I eventually go back to school, I will go into the paralegal studies program. My mom worked as a paralegal when I was younger. I’d made a handful of friends who are paralegals in California. And my daughter’s adoptive mom was a paralegal before she chose to resign and stay home with Peanut. It was also the only thing that seemed interesting to me and like something I’d actually be good at.

I’ve made mentions of adoption a couple times above, so let’s just get into that… I am a birthmom. I placed my daughter for adoption 6 years ago. We have an open adoption. She knows who I am. We see each other twice a year – birthday and late Christmas.

Oh, I’m forgetting something… BOOKS. I am a bookworm. I always have something – be that a physical book, kindle, iPad, or my phone – with me to read.

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.

Mother’s Day Weekend As a Birthmom

My life has been a hectic so I’m just getting a chance to write this out *rolls eyes*

Mother’s Day weekend as a birthmom is an interesting time, to say the least… A lot of times, birthmoms aren’t recognized as mother’s – even though we absolutely are.

Now, not every birthmom is treated the same way – some birthmoms are recognized on mother’s day, and some birthmoms aren’t. Personally, I’m kind of in both groups. I have family who don’t know about my daughter at all, I have family who do, and I’ve got lots of friends both in the adoption community and not who recognize me as a mother and honor me.

On Birth Mother’s Day (which for those of you who don’t know, is the Saturday before Mother’s Day) this year, I had the opportunity to have a Zoom call with my daughter and her parents – which lasted quite a bit longer than I had expected.

On Mother’s Day, I woke up to a text from an adoptive mama friend that I’ve made. She wished me a happy mother’s day, told me that I’m strong, loved, and should be honored with all the rest of the moms out there. It was something I’d never had before.

I watched my church’s service online, and I actually had some issues with the message that our pastor shared. I talked with my therapist about things, and wound up having a discussion via email with my pastor about what had been said and how I felt like he didn’t look at things from the perspective of all moms so I had come away from the worship experience feeling uncomfortable.

Worshiping from home on Sundays has been very strange for me – I’ve been struggling with being at home, alone in my room, watching my church service online. Online worship on Mother’s Day was even more strange. I wasn’t able to see the people important to me, the ones who I know absolutely would’ve recognized me as a mom if my family didn’t …and majority of them didn’t.

Overall, if I had to be generic about how the weekend was for me, I would say it was both better and worse than previous years.

…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.

Quarantine Day 72…

I had a post from a year ago pop up in my IG stories, and I realized something… trying to compare May 2019 and 2020 is impossible!! Because life is nowhere near similar enough to begin playing the comparisons game!

Click here to see what May looked like last year.

Now, in May 2020… I’ve spent a LOT of time at home and solo “celebrating” the fact that I’m a birthmom.

I have spent more time on Zoom than I could’ve imagined I would – but by doing so I have met multiple birthmoms in other states (plus Canada).

I spent (virtual) time with my birth daughter and her parents on Birth Mother’s Day for the first time.

Mother’s Day weekend/mommy season is it’s own thing to talk about, and I touch on it some in this post. Let me know down in the comments if you want a separate post with (this) birthmom’s experiences with mother’s day.

My last full day in my office was March 16th, and I still haven’t found any kind of “normal” or routine in what my life is now, and that’s honestly been extremely difficult for me.

Nearly the entire month of April I was out of the office because one of the people I work with tested positive for coronavirus. So we were all asked to stay away for at least two weeks. Then my boss just had me stay at home for another two weeks before resuming the “schedule” from March of going in three days a week, but I was only gone in every other Wednesday and every Friday – someone else had Mondays and the other Wednesdays. But when I started going back to the office, I got handed all three days.

I told my boss (last week?) that I feel like I’ve been busting my butt the past two months (having all work mail delivered via courier to my house in April, and then being the only one going in throughout May) while someone else is just skating by doing a whole lot of not much. Thankfully I have a boss who is honest with me and said that I’m not wrong in feeling that way because it’s true. I reiterated that I wasn’t complaining because going to the office does get me out of my house, I love my job, and I’m honestly okay with being there.

But there are times when it gets extremely overwhelming when I’m at the office… because the list of things to do never seems to end and I never feel like I have enough time to get everything done when I’m there.

But one thing that hasn’t changed from last year to this year are the frequent feelings of being overwhelmed, burnt out, exhausted, raw, and emotional.

There is always someone else in the house.
I have no real schedule.
I haven’t been to church since mid-March.
I haven’t seen friends in months.
I’ve gotten ONE hug from my mom while we’ve been quarantined.
I’m hitting a mental (and probably emotional) wall, but I’m clueless as to how to get around/past it…
I’m honestly not sure how to recharge in the current place I’m in.

May 2020 I’m ready to see you leave, because, to be quite frank, you sucked!

I’ve had to deal with so much in silence this month that it feels a tad miraculous that I survived…

Boundaries | Draw Your Line

In the past I preemptively sent someone to the moon – before working through things with this person. Then I allowed this person to come back from the moon…

When I allowed them back, things seemed to go well at first. But then I started to realize that I didn’t want to play their games anymore, and I put my foot down about it. They weren’t too thrilled with me for that…

Before I had enough game playing, we dealt with the things we hadn’t before I’d sent them to the moon. So when I sent them back to the moon, I knew that’s where they belonged.

I put up boundaries, not because I was trying to change them, but, because I could only handle so much of this person.

The decision to put the boundaries in place wasn’t easy. It was difficult and painful, and even a little ugly. Unpleasant names were used by both of us and insults were hurled. Contact with them was completely severed.

It’s been almost a year and this person is still on the moon. I don’t think about them unless the SOUL HOUSE and/or BOUNDARIES are brought up or discussed. I feel like I’m a bit better of a person because I civilly worked through things with them and then put them where they truly deserved to be.

Boundaries aren’t usually easy.

Boundaries aren’t always pretty.

But BOUNDARIES are absolutely necessary because you need to know where to DRAW YOUR LINE.


  • Who is allowed in your house?
    • You permit these people to see all sides of you – the good, the bad, the ugly, etc.
  • Who is on your porch?
    • You allow these people to be very close to your core, but you still keep a little bit of distance
  • Who is in your yard?
    •  You are close with, but you prefer to keep it light and more superficial
  • Who is just on the other side of the fence?
    • Who do you talk to, on your terms, and at a specific distance?
  • Who is down on the corner?
    • You are friends with them, but they’re more like acquaintances do you keep them at more of a distance than your fence
  • Who is at Starbucks?
    • Who do you have in your life that you need to limit your time with to something like thirty minutes to an hour?
  • Who is up on the space station?
    • Who do you really have to limit your time with? Who makes you just feel worse after being around them or talking to them?
  • Who is on the moon?
    • Who was toxic that you have you cut ties with? Who has absolutely no place in your life anymore?
  • Who SHOULD be on the moon?
    • Who is toxic in your life? Who do you need to cut ties with? Who can you realistically cut out of your life?

Take some baby steps

  • Tune into your feelings
  • Name your limits
  • Be direct
  • Give yourself permission
  • Practice self-awareness
  • Consider your past & present
  • Make self-care a priority
  • Seek support
  • Be assertive
  • Start small

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.

Ten Steps to Blogging When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

1. Get a cup of tea and whine about how blogging is hard for as long as it takes to drink it. (You could even turn this whining into a blog post… *nudge*nudge*)

2. White down ideas you have. They don’t all have to be used. I’ve had ideas that I’ve looked back at later and wondered why I thought I could write about that.

3. Look at what kind of posts you enjoy reading – write down what you like about them and how you could do something similar.

4. Take a few simple ones and start making the lists or trying to bullet point a draft.

5. Look at pictures of nature and imagine what you would be doing if you were there. Write it out.

6. Make a list of your favorite authors, books, artists, songs, tv shows, movies, etc.

7. Review a product/service that you think other people are interested in or should know about.

8. Tell a story of something you’ve been through that could potentially help other people.

9. Make a playlist of songs for a certain activity or feeling. Either list the songs and artists or link your Spotify.

10. Forget you were making this list for over a month… Then come back to it, look it over, and decide if it needs more work (I think we’re good), and post.

Voila!!

Birthmom Q&A – part two

Q: How do you navigate birthday and holiday gifts?

A: Her birthfather and I do give her gifts, but really only when we see her twice a year for our visits. Those visits coincide fairly well with her birthday and a holiday, so that’s what we like to do.

We try to talk with her parents about what she likes or something like that before we buy her presents, but they tend to just be things that are age appropriate and that she’ll enjoy.


Q: Does your child and their parents give you gifts? Do you do the same?

A: We have received a couple of gifts from them over the years. But, no, they typically do not give us gifts. Some people might take issue with that, but I don’t. They are committed to honoring us, loving us, and praying for us. That means more than any tangible gift could.

I think we have given her adoptive parents one gift since placement. And that’s not because we don’t love them, I promise. Right now I think we’re just focusing on loving her and that’s something that can be addressed in the future if we choose to go that route.


Q: Have you ever spent extended time with your child and their family – for example, a long weekend vacation?

A: I have never spent more than a few hours with my daughter and her parents. I think I would like to do a vacation of some sort with them, at some point. But with our daughter only being 4 right now, it’s not something that’s on the radar for the near future.


Q: Is there something you wish you had known about adoption prior to placing your child?

A: This is kind of a difficult question for me. I’ve learned so much about adoption since planning my daughter. I think the one thing I wish I’d known before placing, was really just another birthmom. A woman who had gone through this before who could tell me what she’d seen, heard, experienced.


Q: Did your anxiety get worse due to pregnancy hormones?

A: Not really. Before my pregnancy, I wasn’t really dealing with anxiety like I am now. But I did notice that my depression kind of disappeared while I was pregnant, which is not entirely uncommon. My body was producing different hormones and they were, I guess, leaving me with more serotonin than before. So I definitely noticed a decided slide back down after, but that was also exacerbated by placing my daughter.

Birthmom Q&A

Okay, I’ve waited like two weeks, and haven’t gotten any more questions. This is what usually happens though… I’m going to go ahead and post this – because I can always edit it later or make another Q&A post if people ever do come back to me with questions.

So, here are the three questions people asked me, and what I could say to answer as best I could.


Q: How do you deal with your child aging so much so quickly between visits?

A: I’ve never actually been asked this question before. But even from the beginning, I was getting updates every three months, so I still was getting pictures of her between our visits every six months. Then last year after I mentioned something to them about setting up an Instagram, they created one a few months later. Even going three months in the beginning seemed like a long time, but I knew that I would see her again.

Now, I feel like it’s getting slightly more difficult. I think it’s because I know how much of a personality she has, how independent she is, how sassy she is, how brilliant she is. But I can’t really complain because I do get to see her, and we do have an open adoption.
However, I’ve learned that I need a couple of days before I see them to mentally prepare and after to emotionally decompress/recover. How I do that each time looks different.


Q: Did you experience assumptions about your experience or micro-aggressions during the process of finding adoptive parents for your child? (Like people making comments on what is/what they assume to be things like your economic status, relationship status, mental health status, etc.)

A: I didn’t tell very many people about my pregnancy. I was able to get away with it because I carried very small, and was able to hide it with hoodies. The few people I did tell, were incredibly supportive. I think I told even fewer people about the process of choosing the adoptive parents. That was something that no one but the birthfather and I had a say in.

Plus, a lot of people who don’t know much about adoption (this included myself before I was in contact with the agency I used) aren’t aware that the birthmom can choose the family to raise her child. They make profile books for the agency so that birthmoms have something to look though and help them make their decision.


Q: How did you navigate post-pregnancy conversations with people who assumed you were parenting a child (if these conversations even happened)?

A: Pretty much everyone who knew about my pregnancy knew that I was going to place my daughter. So I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t really had to deal with anyone assuming that I was going to be parenting and then having to tell them different.