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.

National Adoption Month Posts

November was a bit of a rough month for me. I participated in Ashley Mitchell‘s Adoption Awareness Month Photo-a-Day Challenge. I somehow managed to get all of my posts up on the days they were supposed to go up, even if it wound up being at night. Granted, I did snag the sneak peek preview of Ashley’s prompts when she put them on her Insta-story in like September and started working on them then. So, I definitely had time to prep everything before they went up…

Nov 1 – Accountability
Nov 2 – Broken
Nov 3 – Community
Nov 4 – DNA
Nov 5 – Ethics
Nov 6 – Fake
Nov 7 – Growth
Nov 8 – Honor
Nov 9 – Ignorance
Nov 10 – Jealousy
Nov 11 – Kindness
Nov 12 – Language
Nov 13 – Motives
Nov 14 – Navigation
Nov 15 – Options
Nov 16 – Promises
Nov 17 – Questions
Nov 18 – Roles, Rights, Responsibilities
Nov 19 – Stereotypes
Nov 20 – Timing
Nov 21 – Unknown
Nov 22 – Vulnerable
Nov 23 – Worth
Nov 24 – eXcuses
Nov 25 – Yearning
Nov 26 – Zip It

I’ll come back later once I’ve pulled myself together and share some thoughts on the month.

#AdoptionTalk – Navigating Open Adoption & My Feelings

 

It’s never an easy thing to navigate through open adoption, especially if it’s the first time for all involved.

My birth daughter’s adoptive parents and I are currently navigating our open adoption. We are always re-evaluating things as she grows up. For example, our visits for the first two years were lunches in restaurants. Then we realized that that wasn’t going to work since she was more active an independent. So our most recent visit also included letting her run around a play area in the mall.

Things will continue to change as she gets older, and that’s how it should be. What works now when she’s a toddler won’t be the same as whatever works when she’s eleven or twelve.

I’ve seen other open adoptions through social media that are very different from mine, but that’s the nature of the situation. Every adoption, every family, every birthmom, they all vibe differently and their structures vary.


I was originally scared of open adoption, and didn’t think that I wanted one. I had heard so many horror stories about adoptive parents who would go back on their word about updates and visits and communication. Leaving the birthmom or birthparents hurt and clueless and wondering what happened.

But now, two and a half years into my open adoption, I honestly love it. We don’t have one where we talk or see each other all the time. We get together twice a year. They send updates halfway between visits. If something major happens, I know I can email them and they’ll respond within a few days. I’ve done it when family members were very ill or passed away.

At this point, I couldn’t imagine if I had gone with a closed adoption. The pain of not knowing what my daughter looks like or who she’s growing up to be. It would be too much to bear.

I know that it’s not for everyone one, and that’s perfectly fine. But it is definitely something that I would encourage birthmoms to think about when making an adoption plan for their child.


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