Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's time again.

BJ's birthday is approaching. I have started going through photos from this year. There are a couple really great ones from or recent weekend camping trip. It's not a holiday, so I am not sending a card this time. This will be our third offering, and mild attempt at contact with L. I will be out of state on vacation, so either right before we go or while we are there I will send the photos. This time I will be a bit braver. I am going to send them 2-3 day priority with the receipt verification. She still may not respond, but I will know if she got them. Since its not a card, and its photos, I think it won't be too weird if someone who doesn't know about the adoption on her ends sees a priority envelope with photos of a kid. Planning on writing...

Hope all is well with you. Thought you might enjoy these. As always, we would love to hear from you and your news. My email is...

I am going to try and get hubby to agree to let me sign my first name this time.

I know, I know.. its a bit ridiculous cloak and dagger stuff. We searched her out and found out where she lives and know all this stuff - but we don't want to release any info about ourselves until we have some contact and know where she is in her life.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Words from BJ

It was dinner time. We were all sitting around the table. I mentioned an blogger aquaintance had her baby. We cited the statistics - weight, length etc. and commented on big baby etc. BJ asked about a family "story" about daddy being a tiny baby. The phrase repeated is "the size of a five lb bag of sugar". BJ asked how big that was and I reached into the fridge for the sugar to show her. I then told her her weight at birth and my weight at birth. My mother was at the table and corrected me - I wasn't 7lbs like BJ -I was small - I was 5 lbs like dh. Really I said - I always thought I was 7lbs - not small, not large.

BJ said -

"I was born a normal baby" (positive, happy at being normal). And then I had a change in my life. (reflective)

In context and with the tone of voice I took it as a positive statement, recognizing there was nothing wrong with her, she has details of her birth, a healthy weight - and also reflecting on something happening to her that isn't typical, but was significant.

It wasn't until I typed it out that I see the possible "I was normal until that change" - but with the contextual and verbal inflection I don't think that was it.

It was a new way of hearing her talk about it, as something that happened to her, something that affects her - but not something she percieves as making her not normal.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Every Day Life overcomes Worries

Thanks Third Mom and Overwhelmed. Sometimes times sleeping on it eases things. I appreciate the support, and I did pause to think if I am rushing bed time too much. See, we do have story time and chatting and the same bedtime story each night. The fuss is getting up there, and then sometimes (it goes in spurts) after I have left with night lights glowing, its back down the stairs with every excuse and glass of water, and fuss there is. Even so, sometimes just a regular old mom reality check in is helpful and I appreciate the suggestion.

I am taking a little extra time at bedtime and trying not to let my own tiredness show at the end of the day quite so much.

And as to the nobody wants me stuff, I am just trying to trust that all the days of I love my mommy from her, and me telling her how much I enjoyed doing this with her, and how much I love her, and the hanging out with daddy playing, and making dinner together and all that will somehow help. I know it does. That and I am hanging on the fact that she can tell me, and we can affirm the feeling and/or challenge incorrect thinking together - its got to be the best we can do.

So regular mothering and also I am reading adoptees whereever I can to see what they recall from their childhood - what healed and comforted, what was well intended but not helpful.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Tonght during a fairly routine battle over the bedtime, BJ in a rush of excuses about why she was fussing over going to sleep said - No one wants me!

Of course I immediately corrected her - that's not true!, just as I do when she occaisonally says "I am stupid" when she has made a mistake or a poor behavior choice. I correct her, admonish her not to say that because its not true. She is 7, she is learning; sometimes she makes choices that are not right (choosing to stomp up the stairs and scream, you are mean! when I have told her she can not watch another TV show and must go brush her teeth and put on her pajamas)

But I am worried about the lurking self esteem issues. I am stupid is very worrisome in itself - but somehow I feel I can counteract that one. No one wants me, that scares me - that is not a logical conclusion (however wrong the stupid one is, it is directly tied to the feeling of not achieving or knowing something - it can be challenged, redirected, demystified) but not being wanted - thats pure emotion, pure self image.

It scares me. I worry for her.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Before and After

Thanks to all who comment and encourage me in this journey. I am not any better of a mom than millions of women who try to put what they believe to best for their children first.

Anyway, here are two more conversations I want to record - they may not be as wonderfully handled as the last ones, but they are part of the ongoing picture of our family life and BJ's developing sense of self as it relate to adoption.

Last week - BJ and I are sitting on the couch with one of those lap desks in front of us. She is really mad at me because I am making her do her homework (I am such a mean mom). She has a lot of math. I help her by talking her through the first few problems then tell her to do the next couple. Won't let her have the TV, won't let her play with the dog,etc while doing her work. She is becoming increasingly frustrated as I intercept her stalling techniques. She really really doesn't want to do this homework due the next day - she is worried about approaching bed time and missing out on tv.

She says: I don't like you; I never wanted you to be my mom. She is shouting and angry, I believe she is angry about the homework right now. I say - people don't get to pick their parents. I didn't pick grandma. She says before I can say even though I am not adopted - but you were born to grandma. I don't want you, I just want L.

Amazingly this actually didn't hurt, I knew she was mad because she was trying really hard not to do homework and I was being fairly successful at taking away every excuse not to do it.

I didn't say anything and she calmed down and did her homework. She finished, had 15 min of TV before bed. As we walked upstairs she started singing, I love you mommy, My mommy is the best.

I said in my teasing voice - sure you love me as long as I am not making you do your math! She laughed and gave me a sheepish grin.

A few minutes ago, BJ was doing cartwheels across the living room. She layed down a blanket on the floor to do them on, the dog ran over and sat down in the middle. She screeched in a whiny voice - get off. The dog did not move. BJ kicked at the dog. I said - "Time Out!! - get on the couch - now!" She has been told before we don't kick the dog. She knew immediately - and started whining - I know I shouldn't but I wanted. I said "Stop" I started to tell her that the blanket on the floor.. she started yelling - I just want to be a normal kid. I don't want to be adopted. A's not adopted. I don't want to be adopted. I just want L right now.

I said - what does not kicking the dog and doing cartwheels on a blanket have to do with adoption?

She started whining again the dog wouldn't get off the blanket. I said please stop whining. She sat on the couch. THen she said can I get up? I said - are you ready to listen to me? She said yes.

I said it is OK to say however you are feeling. It is OK to say that you don't want to be adopted and that you want L. It is not OK to shout at me that you hate being adopted just because you are mad at me and want to get me off what we are talking about.

She said OK. Now she is doing cartwheels again and watching full house reruns. Jesse and Becky are getting married. She turns around and says, whats the thing after you get married? I say the reception? no, the honeymoon? Yes - do you have to go to that? I said,no but a honeymoon is just a nice vacation. Did you and Daddy? I said Daddy had to be at work on Monday so we stayed in a hotel in Lake Tahoe. BJ - Have I been there? - Me - Its up by grandma's - Oh! I am going to ask if I can go there.

Friday, February 09, 2007

She makes an announcement in public

Taking advice from a commenter, I reminded BJ about her comment that her friend did not believe her about being adopted and asked BJ if it woud be OK if I spoke to my friend (her friend's mom) about the fact that we adopted her.

BJ responded in this very casually adult manner, "I would rather tell her myself"


So, tonight we had a community event and these friends were there and we were going out after to get a bite to eat along with another adult that we haven't seen in several months but who both girls like a lot. BJ asked to ride in the car over with the friends. We do this all the time.

We get settled in the restaurant and start looking at the menu. BJ looks up and says MOM! (names of friends) don't believe I am adopted!

I looked at BJ and said in a pleasant upbeat but cautious voice... "You want to talk about this now?" (mostly because I was surprised in front of this other person after she wanted us not to tell ANYONE.)

She nodded yes. So I said, We adopted BJ when she was an infant.

The other two adults at the table's mouths fell open.

My friend said to BJ, I am sorry honey, I thought you were telling a story like when we tell bigger and bigger tall tales. (or something like that meaning I am sorry I didn't believe you but I didn't really think you were lying).

One of them (I don't remember which, maybe both) asked if there was any contact. I said no- it is a closed adoption through the county.

I said to my friend, I had never said anything because when we moved here BJ asked us not to. She is old enough, this is her story to tell.

Both friends immediately told me of people in their lives who were adopted and say they never want to search.

(I was a little surprised, I am used to the question about contact but not the assumption that not searching is something to be praised or somehow would be an encouragement)

I responded: "Well, I have a lot of information so when the time comes and she is ready, we should be able to have contact - we just don't right now. I actually hope she will want to have a relationship." There was a bit of silence as they digested that - nothing uncomfortable just a new approach for them, I guess. I felt the need myself to add something, and said "You see, I have a brother and two sisters that have a different mom. My brother was in and out of my life growing up but my sisters were raised in another country. I grew up with that feeling that there was this family, - out there - somewhere, and wanting that connecton. So I want that connection for her someday."

The two girls by this time were bored with the conversation and were drawing on menus, playing games and picking their meals. The waitress had been by 3 times and we hadn't really looked at the menu.

I told my friend - "now that you know, you will start seeing things around the house and wondering how you missed it. It's not a secret, its just part of our family story. there are plaques on the wall (the adoption announcement) and scrapbooks that cover the adoption stuff. And you will start thinking about how I have never talked about a pregnancy or giving birth, how I have said when she arrived, etc.

Both of these women care about BJ a great deal and I know they wanted to ask more questions but were very sensitive to the fact that I was letting BJ lead what we spoke about and my checking. They kept a positive tone of voice and were affirming to BJ and I am thankful for that.

I am sure BJ listened to every word, I don't know what she will take away from their first reactions about not searching and my response supporting contact. When we were home and getting ready for bed I asked her how she felt about the conversation about being adopted. She said good,again with an upbeat tone. I didn't ask anymore.

I know my friend and she will have questions when it is just us, and that is fine. I know she was quite surprised. I forgot this in the retelling above, but one of the first things she said was... but she looks SO Much like your husband. I joked and said - gee thanks!

(like and not me? )- BJ does look a lot like me in general, if you look at specific features and compare to either hubby or I, you see that its not there -but most people I have found don't do that - BJ's coloring is smack dab in the middle of hubby and I, her face shape is generally like mine and her eye color is somewhat like his, so separate from adoption people comment on how much she looks like us and I have a couple baby pictures where we look a lot alike at the same age. I think that it might be possibe one of the reasons I have been so obsessed about getting a photo of L, other than having read that is the#1 question teen female adoptees ask (do I look like her), is that I want to see some of those features, and I want to see if we look like L ourselves.

But then I told them that while at first I found it offensive in the abstract, that the sw assigned to her had 5 home study certified families that the staffing had all found as good matches, so she actually sat down with photos and just chose the family that looked most like baby. While in general it doesnt seem right, I was glad we were picked for her - even if it was something as silly as hair color when hers fell out and changed color and mine was died at the time.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

We Just Can't Help It

So, on the way to church this morning BJ says to me, my friend S is small. I reply without thinking, Yes, but so is S's mom. BJ looks at me with her big eyes and this long expectant pause.

I say - do you want to hear this? Do you want to know about L?

BJ says yes. No heaviness, just yes. So I proceed.

L is (height) which is about the same as me, she is very slender - so you will likely be as well. She has (color) hair and (identifying mark). BJ giggles at identiying mark.

I said, I know, I think that kind is sort of cool. I don't personally care for tatoos, but I think that choice is sort of cool.

BJ: How do you know this?

Me: From the form she filled out for you.

BJ says - I want to ask you ONE questions. ONE Quesion?! She is animated and joyful.
OK, whats that.

What is L's birthmark (BJ has a small birthmark that in a place she can't see easily but its come up a few times in the last six months). I don't think she has one, or if she does its not on the paper. When it asks about identifying marks, that is where you would put it, but she just wrote the identifying mark. (confused look from BJ) Not everyone has a birthmark honey, I don't have one.

Conversation ends naturally and peacefully as we pull into the church parkinglot. BJ and I get out of car and she grabs my had as I walk and she skips into church.

I guess following her lead means minute by minute :)