Thursday, March 30, 2006

More (adoption) Conversations with a six year old.

BJ: Mom, what is arthritis?

Mar: It is a disease where your bones and joints hurt.

BJ: Is that what you have mom?

Mar: Yes.

BJ: Will I get arthritis?

Mar: Probably not honey, it doesn't run in your birthmother's family - that is good for you. Mammaw (grandmother)'s mother had it really bad in her hands and that is why she is so careful to eat right and excercise so she doesn't get it when she gets old.

BJ: But Mammaw still likes to have fun with me!

Mar: Yes She does?

BJ: Mom, do you have a birthmother?

Mar: No.

BJ: Why?

Mar. I was born to Grandma. A birthmother is when a lady has a baby , but she can't take care of a baby so she finds a mom and a dad for the baby. That's what adoption is.

Mar: So you get to have both a mom and a birthmother.

BJ: smile. Can she come live with us?

Mar: Well, she has her own place to live; plus she had a lot of problems with drugs and alcohol and her life was really messed up. That was why she couldn't take care of a baby. I really hope that she has been able to get some help and get better. I am sure by the time you are grown up she will be fine and you will be able to know her and we can all do things together if you want.

BJ: But you still won't like rollercoasters.

Mar: You are right, I don't like rollercoasters. But Daddy does, and maybe L does too - who knows. Then you would have two people to go on roller coasters with!

Mar: I am to find a place to send her a letter. Maybe we can get a picture and eventually find out if she likes rollercoasters.

BJ: Can we go to Toys R Us ?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I went to Target today to buy a card to write my note to L in. Every card I picked up, I questioned and put back. Thank you card, deffinately not. A card that said Hello in several languages on the outside, the inside said only "How are you?" But I felt that might be to familiar. A 'blank' card with a boquet of flowers - looked to much like get well. A single sunflower - very pretty - but did the single flower seem like I was saying she was alone?

Definately way to nervous, though trying to be sensitive. I put them all back. I couldn't find even just a design like stripes and colors that was blank - they all said thankyou or missing you or something on them.

I almost walked away and then worried that I was chickening out, I made myself pick one.

It is a sunflower with gentle sunlight shining on it and a sort of artsy border around it. It is blank inside.

I also called the agency to make sure they had our current address in case L contacts them requesting photos.

I have my message written in my head, it is very short because I am really afraid of the wrong person getting it since I don't know for sure if the address I have is current.

Deep Breath. Here goes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Motives

I adopted because I wanted to have a child. I wanted to be a mom.

I didn't adopt because I was seeking to 'save' someone or do good in the world, though I still get people thinking that is why we went through Child Protective Services.

A lot of the folks working for adoption reform talk about legal guardianship. So, I asked myself how I felt about that; what circumstances would I accept a legal guardianship.

If a family member or someone I cared about deeply needed it until they could get things worked out - I would consider it. I can even name times where hubby and I discussed that if this child or that ever needed it, we would tell the parents the child could stay or live with us.

But would I have sought a legal guardianship through social services or an agency if adoption did not exist or if it was a common alternative?

No, I don't think so.

When I wanted to adopt, I wanted to be a mom. While I was open to a child that was not an infant, and if I wanted to adopt again (which I don't), I would consider an older child - I do not want to face the possibility that the child might be taken from me.

I think that women who have placed a child for adoption might understand that more than anyone. Not wanting to lose the child you love. Wanting the surety that they will be with you through adulthood. Though, I know for some this will just confirm what they see as the "predatory" nature of adoptive parents.

I think reform is required. I think adoption has turned into an industry. I am shocked and appalled at what I have read about babies in other countries being stolen and sold to orphanages who are now making great profit because of parents wanting to adopt. I think that should stop people from adopting internationally. Even though the stigma of signle parenting is gone from society, it seems that once a woman even considers adoption that a well oiled machine takes over and preys on any influence to steer her down that path. Many times with coercion and shame. There are horrendous amoral and illegal things done to women who dared to consider adoption and then decide to parent. Just last month a woman who decided to parent was evicted from the apartment paid for via an adoption attorney by adoptive parents only 4 days after birth. Social services then took the baby and the woman's four year old daughter because she was homeless. HELLO? Where was the outrage? Where was the human rights community? How can you be evicted in 4 days for not being able to pay your rent? What about the rest of the month? How was she evicted? You can't get an eviction order that fast. Why wasn't the rent paid for her at least till the end of the month?

I know I couldn't in good conscience do a private adoption now. I would probably end up talking the woman out of the adoption.

But here is the thing. I don't regret adopting my daughter. I love her with my whole being. And if I had contact with L and found out she regretted it. Or that she wasn't treated fairly. I would regret that, I would hurt for her. But even if she had her life together and could prove it beyond doubt. I couldn't and wouldn't give custody of BJ back to her. I don't have guardianship of BJ, she is my daughter and I am her mom. Nothing can change that in my heart.

If I had guardianship of a child, there is the expectation all along that it is not permanent. That is perhaps why some think it should be the answer. For women who were coerced into "the permanent solution to a temporary problem" would benefit from guardianship. Especially the situation where a woman is trying to keep a child safe. Perhaps, guardianship should be a required option to be discussed with a woman in a crisis pregnancy. But if she is already out of contact or not being supported by her friends and family, I wonder how easy it would be to find someone for that situation.

I have gotten off track in this post and in this blog. I started it to tell my story, not others, and to process how I feel about my family and our situation. But I also started it because reading others stories encouraged me to do this. So, I guess I will still post reactions here. I guess that is part of my journey.

Because my journey isn't over. I am going to send a note to L. I am terrified that a spouse or her parents will open it because I don't know if the address is a good one. Its a small town, but the post office still has the rules right - they won't deliver it to the family address if the one I have is old, will they? But I am going to send it. And I am going call the county tomorrow and make sure they have our current address and inquire about the photos, though I won't rely on that.

Someday, I may realize I have shared to much in public space and take this down. Or I may save it here for BJ to read someday if it will help her sort out her own thoughts about her story, or maybe even L. Who knows.

But I do need to not forget to explore the topics that brought me to this blog in the first place.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

From Adoption Thoughts Blog

Rules for a Search
10 Rules for a Search

Try to stand in the shoes of the people you seek.
Ask the right questions.
Keep recoreds of everything.
Be patient. Don't jump to any hasty conclusions.
Assume anything you have been told could be wrong.

Never assume you are seeking people who dont want to be found. Your birth parents did not seal your records - society did.

- Birthright, Jean A. S. Strauss


As I re read some of the statements in L's forms some of the things jumped out at me differently than they had before - more like echoes of the stories I am reading on line.

things like - this is the most mature decision I have ever made; I am not able to financially or emotionally raise her. I don't judge people.

Oh please Lord, don't let it be that a social worker seeing an infant shamed her into believing she didn't have a right to try and get clean and/or pursue her right to a reunification plan.

Her age, her occupation, other words and phrases she used , not wanting chaos for the baby, the fact that the sw said she didn't name her until the sw convinced her she needed to (could that be true, I need to go look at the date the original birth certificate was signed compared to the date of the first document where a name appears), I took all this and came to the conclusion, trying to make sense of it, that she must have tried to get clean before and knew it wasn't as easy as just deciding to.

I wanted so much to believe that it was a decision based on honest assessment and love for the baby. Now all I hear in her words are the echoes of stories I read online about how personal histories and familial and societal responses combined with agencies that only focused on positive reinforcement techniques for placement (you are so honorable to give up this baby, leaving the implied you would be selfish to parent).

She did not have the option to just change her mind and parent. She would have had to comply with court orders and CPS requirements. But, Oh I hope she was dealt with honestly.

I am grateful for every day I have had with my daughter, that I held her at six weeks old.

But I really hope someone told her she had the right to try if she wanted to. I hope my early placement wasn't at the cost of greed at the sight of an infant. It wouldn't have been for money. But it could have been "an easy case", with "happy endings" forseeable to an overworked, power delusioned if well intentioned social worker.


Complicated family relationships are normal to me. It is a gift my mom gave me. She never begrudged anyone their relationship to me when I was growing up(though she is a bit insecure now about my relationship and BJs relationship with my stepmom).

My father has been married four times. My mom was number two. They divorced when I was four months old. I have two half sisters and a half brother from his first wife. My half brother was around when I was growing up. He is 10 years older than me. My two sisters were raised in another country. I always knew about them and adored them from afar. I met one when she came to visit when I was 16. I met the other when I was 29.

My dad's third wife had a two boys. We lost touch with them when they divorced.

My dad's fourth and current wife has three adopted kids. One my age and two a couple years younger. The girl is 3 years younger than me and when they married when I was 14 (I didn't get to know about them until just before the wedding) I wanted to be close to her. We were until I married when I turned 18.

I am my mother's only child. My mother's two brothers never had any kids - only one married and that was not until I was an adult. I married before he did. My brother and sisters have married but none are currently married and none have children.

Hubby is the only child of his mother. Father absent and little known, though his mother suspects there are other unwed mothers with his half siblings as well as "traditional family" of half siblings

Hubby and I were godparents to three boys. The oldest of which is now married and he and his wife are godparents to BJ.

BJ might have a bio half-sibling one year younger.

Just to give you some background...


I did something when BJ was an infant that walks the borderline of ethics and legality.

Before our adoption was finalized, when legally I was just foster mom - though it was an adoption placement...

I went to the hospital where she was born and requested her medical records. I gave my real name and address and all, and under relationship - I put mother. I also gave them a copy of the custody documents that listed me as the foster parent. I doubt they looked that far.

They gave me the records. I gave them to my pediatrician. I have to go look and make sure now that I have a copy since we moved out of state, but I am pretty sure I do. If not, I will just request the medical records from the peds office - now I do have a right to those.

I also went online to vitalchek before the adoption and requested her birth certificate. Her original birth certificate. I knew full well once the adoption went through we would have enough trouble getting the new one and the original would vanish behind laws and regulations and sealed records.

I went on, put her information, again listed my real name but under relationship, I checked mother. I paid my fee and fedex fee and a week later I had it in my hands. It is filed away. I have no use for it. I wasn't trying to take anything away from L. But BJ will have it regardless of what the states say about open records. She won't have to fight that fight; not for herself anyway.

I don't regret it, though occasionally I used to feel a bit guilty. Reading so many adoptees blogs (I am a bit obsessed these days, another confession). I don't feel guilty anymore. As always, I was doing what I felt was best for BJ.


There are so many voices out there on this webring I am reading.

I seem to be reading each one, looking for clues as to how it informs my adoption experience and that of my daughters.

The blog linked in the title is having some trouble in reunion over expectations.

It hit me, for L and BJ there will be these kind of social negotiations, though I sincerely hope they are not filled with as much angst and misunderstanding as the lady above's reunion.

Between L and BJ, each will have expectations of what reunion will look like - how often contact will be; scheduled or impromptu. How they will introduce each other, what parts of their lives they will share.

I can't help but think two things:

1. If I do get photos and letters going now, wouldn't that inevitably ease the "expectations" becuase of their being some groundwork? I mean, if L sends letters I may not read everyone to BJ immediately, she is only six, but I would certainly keep them for her until she is a bit older, not wait till she was an adult. And if a letter was simple and understandable (because I would expect in the beginning there might be some outpouring of emotions andwhy and how and background that a six year old shouldn't and couldn't deal with) - but if right now we received an "I love you and am glad you are doing well in school" type of letter, certainly I would give that to BJ now. Plus BJ will see a photo as soon as I have one.

2. All adult familial relationships have some of this negotiation. My father has four children. Two of them choose to have no contact with him. One of those won't acknowledge him as father. One contacts only every several years. I have a relationship with him, but it has it's rules and when they are violated - I back off. There is no adoption involved. I talk to my mom every day. I talk to my step mom about once a week. My mom is jealous of my love for my stepmom even though I am closer to no one in this world than my mom.

This Adoptee Blog Scares Me

I can cope if L rebuffs my inquiry now about contact/photos. I don't really have any right to it. It is for BJ, but some for me too.

But I hadn't thought too much about what if didn't go well with BJ as a teenager/young adult.

I guess I had thought about it. That is my whole "willing" thing.

I went back and pulled out the "birthmother information form" out the files earlier today before I found the blog above.

What it actually says is " If she age 18... I will be willing to cooperate to the best of my ability."

L's voice is so strong and endearing when she talks about herself - her likes, her hopes her dreams. Even the , "I have thought about this.." statement.

The willing statement sounds different in my ears. I am going to hold onto the idea of being prepared. But the fear for BJ grows. How hurtful if all my statements of she loves you and wants the best for you would be met by indifference or worse.

Its projecting, I know, I know. More reasons to think it will be good than bad. Not going to worry about tommorrow and all.

A thought today, the stuff about the father information is blank, but she started to write something and crossed it out. From her "voice" in the other pieces, my gut doesn't believe she didn't know who the father was. And she states that the grandparents didn't know of the pregnancy.

What if when she wrote the "willing to cooperate" statement, she was thinking of BJ wanting contact with the others. That would explain the difference in tone.

The part I worry about now as I get closer and closer to trying to make contact is the others of now. If what I found is her, this statement was written BJ was three weeks old, two weeks after the first court date, three weeks before I ever held BJ... two months before L became pregnant again and married the father of that baby (whose name is of an ethnicity that it would be unlikely that L has based on physical characteristics).

What if a current husband who doesn't know opens her mail?

I don't want to make anything worse for L, or ruin anything for the future for BJ.

I also don't want to let fear rationalize me out of contact if that contact could be good and healing for L - and help BJ grow up with a positive self esteem and without questions, wonderings and pain - and pave the way for a less stressful reunion later.

The Might Have Been that broke our heart.

The second situation is the one I refer to as our "failed match". Really, it wasn't a failure. We turned it down. But it broke our heart in so many ways.

I know why we were selected for this little girl. Everything in her heartbreaking story was an "acceptable" on our pink sheet.

The pink sheet is a story in itself I may need to post about. It is a horrible, awful thing -that is necessay I guess in CPS adoptions. You are asked to go down this multiple page listing of all sorts of diseases, tragedies, disabilities, and background factors and mark - acceptable, will consider, and not acceptable.

She was born to a 15 year old mentally retarded girl in the rural outskirts of town. CPS already had an open file on the girl and her family going back years due to chronic neglect. The girl was taken by her sisters to some community event and the girl was raped by an unknown person. They believe it was that rape that resulted in the pregnancy, however the CPS workers stated that they suspected the girl was frequently taken advantage of. The baby was removed from the girls custody at a few weeks old and placed with the grandmother. The grandmother was the party being investigated in the open file. The grandmother continued to allow large numbers of men in and out of the house and left the baby unatttended. So, at 6 months old the baby had been removed from the family.

The little girl was placed with a foster parent who I had the displeasure of meeting when we had our briefing on the child. She was horrid. The baby was nine months old, had been in her home for three months and she couldn't tell me what the baby liked to eat or what music or toys she preferred. The baby had a bald spot on the back of her head from laying down and never being picked up. The woman tried to offer quilts if we would take her that weekend because she didn't want to take the baby on vacation with her. Yuck. I know there are good foster parents out there. This woman was not one of them.

I wrote an essay about this to the mom in the family that did adopt her. It talks about "meant to be". I don't post it now to offend, I really don't. And I do not mean in any way that God intended for the mother to be mentally retarted, abused or raped. I do not mean that God intended for this precious child to be endangered, neglected, harmed or even adopted had she been able to be kept safe in her family of origin.

I do not mean that God makes women give up their babies for adoption just so someone else can have children.

I talk about the pain of the situation a lot. On re-reading it (I wrote it many months ago), I have to say - I don't mean to make it sound like it compares to the loss and pain of a first mother. It was painful for me. It was a loss for me. I very much get that it doesn't even come close to what many of the people reading this blog live with day in and day out.

I do still believe that God can take a tragedy and bring joy in the midst of it. I do believe that God had a plan for each of us. That sometimes people follow his will and sometimes they don't. That he does care about each of us and that it was not his will for me to adopt the other little girl, but for me to adopt BJ instead.

But in light of the fact that the social workers chose us because we weren't afraid of mental illness or unknown info about the father - but mostly it seems because the child had asthma and we lived in a newer apartment complex with central heat and air, no pets and a spare decorating style, God had other plans and being a praying person, I was given the grace to be sensitive to them in that moment.

The family who adopted her, and who was a much better adoptive family for her than we, lived on the other end of the outskirts of town (dustier) in an older home without central air, had a dog and other siblings. But they also had a stay at home mom experienced with dealing with health issues in her older boys when they were younger, it was a family more closely in racial make up than us, and I can't explain it - it was just right.

Of course I didn't know any of that when after holding and playing with the girl for two hours, making plans to take her to specialist on monday for that weird breathing I noticed and suspected awful foster mom hadn't taken her to a doctor )of weeping and crying about feeling it wasn't 'right' but couldn't tell you why. It was a child, what if we said no and had no other chance? But it wasn't right.

I have read a lot of first mothers who regret placing their child for adoption. But even among them, I haven't heard many say they regret the choice of family within the framework of the adoption itself. I liken it to that. It would be better if our world never needed Child Protective Services, just like many times it would be better if the adoption never happened, but since it did - they made a selection of the family they thought best. One prospective adoptive family was better than another prospective adoptive family for that child at that moment in time.

From the original families perspective, I don't know if anything can ever be said to have worked out. I don't mean this to speak to their multiple tragedies in any way. And while I may now doubt some of what I was told in my own daughter's adoption - I don't doubt what I was told in this. It was a small community that I was peripherally involved with. I could have verified, would have known if it were wrong. There would be documentation - the sw knew I would have requested it and new that I knew the pap had the right to see it.

Certainly, if I was asked to speak to prospective adoptive parents today, my story would be different - probably not one that a social worker would ask me to give. I would still tell this story. Within the context of CPS adoptions, I still think the lesson to be honest with yourself, not be afraid to say no to a match, are important ones. But today I wouldn't be so blind to the original mother in all my "meant to be" statements.

So, here is my essay - from one adoptive mom to another:

I have told the story at least a dozen times. I have told it when the listener had something to gain from my experience, or when I was opening up my deepest heart in a burgeoning friendship. There is one woman who I really want to tell this story to, but I don’t know how to reach her. I don’t know if my story would hurt her or comfort her. Perhaps she would wonder why I haven’t simply moved on from it. It is simply so much a part of my experience; so much that captures the grace of God, of the intertwined pain and joy. If it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t know the joy of my daughter. But I would never wish it on anyone. It was the most tragic pain of my life.
I had an opportunity once to talk to her about it. But the story wasn’t done then. In fact the occasion of the missed opportunity was partly what healed me. I didn’t know how much she knew, or should know. In retrospect, I think she had been prepared for that night. I don’t know why I wasn’t.

In June of 1999, after 2 years of “official” waiting for our daughter we were matched with a nine month old girl. Everything in the baby’s profile matched our “pink sheet”. We went to the disclosure meeting. It was unusual from the beginning. The child was in the room with us while the social workers went through the medical and placement history. It was hard to listen while watching this precious little one; holding her, talking to her. We did it though. For two hours we listened and asked our questions. I quelled my anger at the foster parent who was there but clearly knew very little about this gift of God that had been in her care for several months now. We took pictures. We left the Thursday morning meeting with a plan to have a full day visit on Saturday.

But we were unsettled more than excited. On the drive home we began to discuss our reactions, our feelings, our heart. By the time we reached home. We had admitted what we were fighting in the room.

This was not our daughter.

Can you even imagine how painful that was? It is not natural to hold a child in your arms and look into her eyes and say – you are not my child.

We cried. We told each other that maybe after the visit on Saturday something would be different. But we knew. Saturday would just make harder what we knew we had to do. We didn’t understand why, but we knew.

We cried some more and held each other. Then I said “You know, the staffing’s rarely only identify one family. I have heard over and over they identify two for this very reason. If we call them now, they can still have a meeting tomorrow with the other family and that family could have her on Saturday.”

With trepidation and fear and anxiety, my husband called our social worker. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say the words. He told her that while we were in great grief and couldn’t really talk about it at that moment, we could not consider this a match. The wise and wonderful social worker gave a few words of comfort, left us to our grief and went on to what God had set her to doing – making families for His children.

I had to call into work Friday to tell them that no, the adoption had not gone through, and I wouldn’t be taking maternity leave, but I couldn’t come in until Monday. We spent that Friday and weekend in quiet solitude from the world, with tears. Some of the reasons solidified as to why this wasn’t right. It horrified and surprised us some, made us more honest with ourselves and shamed us a bit. But we knew we had done the right thing in not pursuing this adoption.

On Monday we started to pick up the pieces and relied on work and routine to get back to normal. That year, when we drove to Northern California for the fourth of July as we always do, I remember being unable to concentrate or read on the ride. (this vacation and part of our story has a praise aspect to it for our own family, but that is another story for another day). I know that in July I was functioning but still grieving. The trip to family who prayed with us was greatly healing and ultimately prepared us for our daughter. On the way home from that vacation, I was again focused on the wait for our daughter and had let go of the grief. Now it was replaced by anxiety of being matched again (were the social workers mad? Would they choose us again? How would our child come to us, how long would we have to wait?)

In August 1999, on a Wednesday afternoon I again received an “after staffing” call that informed me we had been matched with a 6 week old baby girl. We didn’t tell anyone in our family and friends except one couple we had befriended during our pre-adoption classes some months before. We were too afraid of the pain and having to explain again. This time the introduction was more along the lines of normal – we met first with the social workers and went over the case history, saw a picture and then later went and picked up our daughter.

We were ecstatic with joy.

Our daughter had been with us just a few weeks and everyone had been wonderful. The foster mother was a godsend, helping me in my transition to motherhood. We got a phone call. Could we come in a few days and speak to a group of potential adoptive parents? Of course we would. We could show off our daughter!

When we arrived, we waited in the hallway to go into the room. Also waiting in the outside corridor was the little girl from a few months ago.

I caught my breath. The little girl looked in my eyes like she recognized me. I caught my breath again. She looked different. So much healthier, happier, complete. Then I looked at her mother, father, brothers. I didn’t know what to say. I smiled. I assumed they did not know of the failed match.

We went into the room. I spoke first. I told the story from the match of our daughter. I was caught up in the joy. I didn’t focus on how my history intersected with theirs. It just didn’t seem relevant. I ended my story with.. “I don’t know what else we could have wanted or had better” as I was so proud of my baby.

She said “You could have had her”.

I smiled (shocked underneath). I think the audience took it as a transition… the mother saying, my daughter is wonderful too.

And her daughter is wonderful. And MEANT to be with their family. Seeing the girl with her family gave me such wonderful closure. We did do the right thing. This baby girl was meant to be with them. How any social worker could have marked us first for this baby over them was beyond me. She was so much their child – they were so much the right family for her.

As the mother told the story of their first days and weeks with their daughter, I knew I couldn’t have done what she did. I knew she had the resources in her soul that I didn’t. I watched those brothers dote on that baby girl and I knew God had ordained her for their family.

I thought that was the end of the story.

A few weeks later I got a bunch of rolls of film back from the market. One roll had ½ pictures of my daughter and ½ from the day we held the other woman’s daughter. What bittersweet tears flowed.

I kept the pictures.

I thought I would ask the social worker to pass them on. But even then, I thought – surely she had pictures from only the next day. Why would she want mine – a reminder of an almost went wrong – a reminder or notice that someone else had “rejected” her daughter (for that is still the accusation I hear in her voice when I recall the – ‘you could have had her’)
I still have the photos.

I still want to tell her how I treasured her daughter. It wasn’t rejection. It was knowing before I knew –

“She is your daughter – not mine”.

Do I want to tell her for her, or for me?

I don’t want to cause pain. But I think she knew then.

What would have happened if we had told our story together – how being honest and true to yourself even when it hurts is best –

I told it to another group for the county, when that family was not there. But not all of it. I told them we turned down a match and how fearful that was but how it worked out. It was still so soon.

That’s why I occasionally tell the story now to adoptive parents I meet --- save yourself the sorrow when faced with a real child I say – be brutally honest with yourself and your spouse about your deepest thoughts about parenting and children. Be true to what your Spirit tells you when you hold a child and want to run with her because, she is at least a baby and you want a baby with your whole being.

I tell it now so they can here that we did it and the social workers chose us again, because God ordained it so. I tell it so that I can rejoice in my God and his design and wonderful gifts in letting me see that girl with her family.

Every once in a while I stumble in the files across those photos. Or someone else’s parenting or adoption story triggers that other mother’s face in my mind.

I still want to tell her of the grief I went through. I want to tell her…

I didn’t reject your daughter – I just knew she was yours.

Might have been 2.0

After we had gone through all the licensing and homestudy and all with the county social services, we had two children we were asked to consider before B.J.

In the world of CPS, the social workers have what is called a "staffing". When a child is moved in permanancy planning from reuinification to an adoption plan, the child's social worker holds a meeting with all the social workers(sw) for prospective adoptive parentspap). The pap sw bring the profile books that we made and they sit around a conference table and discuss which family would be best for the child. The child's sw will have made a list of characteristics she is looking for. Paps learn to read between the lines on these things when they are listed on waiting children's websites. "should be the youngest child in the home" or "no pets" means the child has some aggressive acting out behaviours that could be dangerous to younger children and pets. Sometimes it is more a reflection of the sw bias on some issue - such as two parent family or stay at home mom. Though that is not supposed to happen, there are ways to justify it.

The first situation was when our sw asked if we wanted to be presented on a three year old little girl. She had been brought into ER when she was 18 months old with several broken bones, xrays showed previous fractures healed untreated. The child had been in foster care since. We said yes. We were not selected.

Might Have Been 1.0

I don't want to forget, one of my reasons is to tell a bit of my story. Keeping that simultaneous with sorting out the possibility of not waiting for BJ to turn 18 before contact, seems important. For bringing out feelings, for challenging perceptions. And just to get my story down.

So here goes.

There were three "might have beens" in our journey. The first actually started long before we actually decided to adopt.

I had just turned 18. Hubby and I were dating. We knew we wanted to marry, but were not yet engaged. My best friend from highschool became pregnant by her boyfriend. Also a friend of mine. We were "good church kids" so this was very scandaluous even in the late 80s. It was a big secret. She was going to have an abortion and keep that a secret as well. I think the only reason she even told me is that the guy that was giving them the money for the abortion was someone I had been very close with up until I started dating future hubby and she was afraid he would tell me first. I didn't realize that until now.

Anyway, being staunchly and unexamedly pro life at the time(I still am prolife, but I don't think abortion should be illegal), I was appalled and shocked. Not at the pregnancy or the sexual activity - but at the idea of abortion. (I have since matured and been able to show more compassion when a friend confesses a past abortion, not being so judgemental. While today I might still beg a friend not to have an abortion, I know I wouldn't be angry at them the way I was with her).

I offered to "take the baby" if she would carry it. Hubby and I would get married sooner rather than later and raise the child. I didn't think about the awkwardness of the situation (the friendship has waxed and waned over the years even because I 'know' about what she refers to as her 'past'). I don't know if I even thought about it in terms of adoption, guardianship, what if she wanted the baby back, etc. I don't know if she even considered it momentarily. We never discussed it. I didn't see her again until after she had the abortion.

She later had a tragedy involving a rape; the resulting pregnancy miscarried and complications related to the earlier abortion threatened her life. The authorities questioned the veracity of the rape, her family tried to protect her by lying to everyone about the hospitilization (she was on a trip, she had mono, etc). She now has beautiful children, though she remains troubled by what she refers to as "her past". Secrecy can be a powerful communicator of shame.

This was all long before I had any clue that I might not get pregnant easily or before I knew anything about adoption. But I think the experience might have colored my early impressions when I did begin the process. To me, adoption was primarily an alternative, a prevention of abortion.

Alone Time

I talked to hubby today about indirect contact to see if we could send photos. He surprised me with how quickly he agreed.



Mar: BJ, I want to talk with you. Are you in the mood for a serious conversation?


Mar: Do you ever think about your birthmother?

BJ: No.

Mar: How do you feel when mommy talks about her?

BJ: Sad.

Mar: What about it makes you sad, honey?

BJ: That I never saw her.

Mar: How would you feel if mommy tried to get a photo of her?

BJ: (putting her arms around my neck) Is she dead?

Mar: No, she's not dead honey.

BJ: Where is she?

Mar: I don't know, but would you like to see a photo if I can get one?

BJ: nods head.

Mar: Do you want mommy to keep talking about her?

BJ: (shakes head no).

Mar: If I stopped talking about her, would you promise to talk to me when you are ready?

B.J. No and No.
Can we go to King's Dominion?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thoughts on reform

I have been reading an anti adoption board.

I think that in the situations of voluntary private adoptions (meaning not CPS involved) where a pregnant woman is considering adoption


In addition to a required "homework" of making a parenting plan even if they don't intend to parent, just so they know they could the expectant mother should be required to:

Interview 2-3 women who placed children for adoption more than 1 year ago.

Take the baby home for a 24-72 hours before being allowed to relinquish.

There probably should be a method for exceptions if the woman has no place to stay (but the adoption agency could pay for a hotel for a couple days) or if the woman is in an abusive or dangerous situation (again, agency should help her get out of said situation first) or some other unforseen unique circumstance.

But what could it hurt? It might be more painful for the mother, if she does decide to place than not having those days. But its not like it's not painful anyway. If the result is fewer placements, I think (in the abstract) that the extra pain for a couple days would be worth the grief saved for a lifetime of those who didn't.

This doesn't fit every situation. But I mean for the woman who "goes back and forth" can't decide, etc. The woman who is deciding this primarily because she is in an unplanned pregnancy and society immediately thrusts the question: abort, parent or adopt? at her. She should have to write out the solution to any financial or emotional support questions. She should have to hold her baby before she decides.

It has always angered me when women abort because the pregnancy would be an inconvenience -would interupt school, social life etc.

The more I read, I am upset that so many women seem pointed to adoption in an unplanned pregnancy just because they haven't finished college, don't have a job, and aren't married. That is just plain wrong.

When did we come to the point as a society that we started telling women that getting pregnant will ruin their lives?

You know, my husband was born to an unwed mother abandoned by the father. She worked in a factory. She is disabled now with mental illness. His childhood has a lot of horror stories. I guess some could say he would have "been better off" adopted. Well, wouldn't we all be "better off" with more money, education, and nicer homes? That doesn't mean either one of their lives was RUINED. I had never thought of them before now in terms of a potential adoption situation. We have always just been grateful she didn't abort.

I do believe if a woman is considering abortion, adoption is the better solution.

I do believe adoption is appropriate when the mother is truly incapable due to terminal illness, drug abuse, mental retardation, inability to keep herself or the child safe from abuse.

In those cases, my proposals as part of reform wouldn't necessarily all be appropriate in every case.

They are just initial thoughts anyway. But I think the fact that firstmothers are reaching out to pregnant women online who clearly are not considering abortion and asking them to consider that this is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, is a fabulous thing. Reform, woman to woman. What a way to start :)


I was asked why I don't have contact with L.

I never did. It was a closed adoption through Child Protective Services.

That is the easy answer.

Why don't I make contact now? Why wait until BJ is 18?

I have two or three possible phone numbers.
I have an address.

I even drove by the apartment where she lived once.(I don't think she lives in that state anymore and we don't either).

I think my perception of "willing" stopped me. At 18 stopped me.

The fact my husband wouldn't want me to make contact certainly is a factor.

I think if I had an email, I might move a little closer to being able to do it. Somehow an email seems less intrusive than a phone call or letter out of the blue. Also less likely that a party in her life that doesn't know about the past would accidently find it.

Also, keeps our privacy of where we live, just in case she still isn't in a good place with the drugs.

The last couple of days I have started composing a letter to social services in my head:

We stated in our file that we wanted to be advised if L requested photos. We have moved and never heard anything. I would like to send photos. I would also like to have a photo of L. Would the agency be willing to contact L and inquiry if she would like us to send photos? If so, would you also inquire if she would forward a photo of herself through the agency?

I need to talk with hubby about that. I don't know if they would do it. They were pretty adament about the fact that only BJ and L had right to have stuff put in a file for BJ when she was 18 - not me.

I could also maybe mail a letter to the two addresses I have that is cryptic but she would know.

What do you think, how would it feel to you if you received an envelope in the mail with something like this:

I don't want to disturb your life, your name and contact info was in some paperwork from year in city. Would you like photos of our six year old? Please email me at...

too cloak and dagger?

I found a link to the international registry and a bunch of other info last night. Two things surprised me. That adoptive parents of minors are allowed to register, and all the registry does is give you name and any available contact info.

I have that. Except an email.

Maybe I am just being a wimp. I don't want to take a risk. I want to know if she wants to hear from us before I contact. And I want to contact anonymously first, find out how things are before I actually entertain the idea of anything more.

My ideal, from a selfish point of view is this: I want to be able to send her photos. On a regular basis, not just once -though once would be better than nothing. I would like a photo, and maybe actually a letter written directly to and for BJ instead of pieces of thoughts on a government form. I would like to know more about her life now. I would like to be able to tell her how wonderful BJ is and what her personality and interests are like.

I don't want anymore than that though right now.

If I could envision the "perfect" (for me - again selfish) scenario for later. It would be something like this.

A few months before BJ turns 18 and is making her college plans, we talk and she confirms she would like to meet L before she leaves for college. I contact L and she is in a good place in her life and is excited to meet BJ. We arrange a special meeting place, a nice dinner, an amusement park if extensive travel is involved. We take BJ and a few hours before the actual meeting I tell BJ. We meet. Everyone feels connected, we "catch up" and then dh and I go off while BJ and L have some alone time. We come back together later, etc. exchange contact info, etc.

BJ and L continue you relationship and BJ shares details with me in phone conversations and visits from college. L comes to our house for thanksgiving. BJ spends holidays in both places. I am totally cool with L and I both being grandmas to BJ's kids and seeing each other at school plays and birthdays, etc.

OK - even I get how me setting up the reunion could come across as controlling LOL. But its a fantasy.

I could also envision sitting down over a special lunch with BJ and bringing out all the papers and giving them to her. Asking her if she would like me there when she calls? Or would she rather write?

My daughter doesn't like an audience for a lot of things already, so I can imagine her saying no, she would do it when she was ready and taking the papers and thanking me with a warm hug and then not doing anything for a few days or weeks (which would absolutely drive me crazy :).

I do really hope, what would actually hurt a bit would be if BJ never wanted to talk with me about her experience of meeting L or her feelings about contacting or not. Obviously I would live with it. But it would be being closed out of a part of BJs life that I have lived with and dreamed about for many years. I have always hoped BJ would allow me into that part of herself.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How it started

I am not infertile. Neither is my husband. We now know that we both have reduced fertility. With other partners, we woul likely have not had too much trouble. But together equals 18 years of unprotected sex failing to result in a pregnancy. When we had been married 6 years, I took clomid for a few months. We didn't go any further than that. We have supported ourselves since we married at 18, but have never been wealthy. We live paycheck to paycheck, even though I make a decent salary now. We have life insurance and health insurance, but no significant savings, etc. So 13 years ago, expensive, invasive fertility treatments that had been none to destroy more than one marriage didn't seem attractive. We kept trying, I went back to college. Another five years went by and we tossed around the idea of adoption, we timidly looked into orphanages in Mexico. We signed up for a foster care seminar with catholic charities, but never went. By the time we got more serious about it, I knew I wouldn't be able to afford $20-30K for a private domestic or international adoption. We never really focused on that. I never really felt the need for a newborn. I wanted children, not necessarily a baby. But as we researched there was a lot of information about attachment disorder in older child adoptions. We were repulsed by the "trendiness" that was going on in the place where we lived at the time of adopting from Russia and then the horror stories we heard about people abandoning the adoptions because they weren't prepared for the serious mental health issues the severe neglect and abuse that life in the orphanages had wreaked on the children.

So, someone I knew casually at work gave me a phone number for the county adoption services they were using. I called. We got on a waiting list. That was the extent of the research. It just fit. I would pay only for the legal fees associated with filing the paperwork (which turned out to be only $35). The Social Workers would walk us through the process. A 'birthmother' - although even then I knew that it wasn't right to call a pregnant woman a birthmother - wouldn't "choose" us - the social workers would.

We waited for classes, we went to classes, we filled out forms, we went through a horrific excercise of the "pink sheet" where you mark what medical conditions, legal conditions, and situations you were comfortable with, went through interviews, had multiple licensing agencies visit our home and interview us. Finally almost two years after the first call to the county - we were 'ready' - now we just waited to be matched.

We were prepared and waiting for 1-2 children, at least one a girl - the oldest one not being older than 2 (the bonding research).

We had a failed match I will post about later.

I went through a period of distress. I was waiting for my child. I desperately wanted her to be safe and secure. And yet, here I was adopting through CPS. By the very definition, something horrible and awful was going to or was happening to the child. If it was not so, there would be no CPS placement. Certainly, I didn't want something to happen just so I could adopt. But it was a reality, children do not end up in the custody of the state for no reason. I felt compelled to pray constantly for the safety and welfare of my child, and I struggled with how that prayer could be answered because I knew there are/ children in CPS and I was going to adopt one. That meant something horrible they were going through. (It was ultimately an answered prayer in my opinion - the drugs were the danger, and in the long run there were no lasting disabilities or health issues- again another post later about this prayer)

Then we were matched for a six week old that was already in permanancy planning for adoption.

There was no information provided on the birthfather. The mother had arrived in the ER in labor and high. She had no prenatal care. The baby tested positive for meth at birth. The baby had never been on an apnea monitor. The baby had been in foster care since release from the hospital. CPS had taken custody of the infant shortly after birth. One court date had been held.

We brought her home and loved her instantly. We had monthly SW visits - a few health issues requiring court permission to have BJ tested for HIV, and HEP C, along with tests for Cystic Fibrosis because of breathing problems. I openly told doctors of her drug exposure at birth - hubby was uncomfortable.

When BJ was 10 months old, we finalized the adoption.

Then I became involved in online adoption communities.

I was flamed because I tried to tell people that county adoptions were not awful, nightmares that everyone was afraid of.

I was told I must think I am so special that I got an infant - that I was "bragging" that my adoption cost $35. I thought I was trying to tell them, that this was a viable option for them too. They didn't have to do that awful advertising and searching and setting up phone numbers and worrying about being scammed and getting "proof" of pregnancy.

I became insensed, hurt and angry - when people indicated that my daughter was a "drug baby" and they wouldn't consider that.

My daughter is beautiful and healthy and bright -and was loved by her birthmother and by her parents.

Then I found a special small group where I could safely share how I watched the way my daughter held her feet in a unique position and I wondered if it was genetic, did L stand like that? After 8 months or so, the group slowly parted. Then I found a group of adoptive moms and I made some very lasting friendships.

Then the adoptions stuff sort of faded to the background and parenting and working and living daily life just took over. More and more hubby chooses not to discuss the adoption, she is his daughter and the rest is nobody's business. We live in a place where no one knew us when we went through the adoption. So, I talk with BJ about it as casual opportunities come up. I tell myself, now she will have the choice to share with people her story as she chooses and not have everyone - just know. But I can't bring myself to too much denial. If it is someone I don't know very well - I have my generic phrases - when BJ arrived, etc. But if a friend at work asks about something, or I am telling a story and the fact of the adoption is part of it... I tell it. I know hubby doesn't like that. But it is who we are. I can't lie about it. Though I do refuse to put it on school forms and tell doctors now only if it is pertinent. (which because of some genetic diseases is in the new patient history). I am careful about the public schools and their labels and prejudices and notorious lack of confidentiality.

Almost two years ago, I started blogging. A month ago I found a birthmothers blog ring and started reading. Tonight I felt like I should start a place to put this all down, for me, for BJ, and maybe just maybe for some interaction like I had in that small group so many years ago. Adult Adoptees, Birthmothers and Adoptive mothers, all mothers working together to cry together, support together, learn together.

I feel like I am saying the same thing again, and not the new stuff. I need to write through why first mother bothers me - figure that out beyond the platitudes. Natural mother I know bothers me for the natural/unnatural thing. It is first mother that really gets to me, but I haven't figured out why. I want to get away from the birthmother word, though that is the word BJ already knows for L. I don't want to keep using this word that bristles and hurts others. I know language is powerful. It is the way we change thought, culture, and frameworks. by first changing the words. You see all around. In anotehr example separate from the adoption community - though no less controversial. We don't say illegal aliens anymore, have you noticed? It is undocumented workers. The language conveys a shift in thinking. So too with the birthmother word. That is probably why first mother hurts. I don't want to think of anyone else as mother to BJ. L is vitally important. Part of my job as mom to BJ is to convey honor and respect for L - both because she is family, but also because of what that conveys to BJ about herself. But right or wrong -that is how I feel. I am mom. Does that mean I feel threatened? I don't thinks so, though I will think on that and write on that more. It most likely has to do with what I view adoption as - a transferring of parental rights, roles, and responsibilities. I become the mom, there is no other "mom". Even as I right that, I recognize that those are words that will upset and inflame many. But then what is L's role? She is family - yes. She is an important part of BJ - yes. But the adoption itself took away the role of mother from her. Hmm. took away. I guess that is where the beginning of "lost to adoption" comes in.


I have the form L filled out for CPS. It gives her medical history and that of her parents. I am grateful for that.

It also has her Social Security number, her drivers license number, her address, her phone number and her parents address and phone number. I am also glad I have it. It will make searching easy when BJ is 18. But it also makes me nervous. I work in a field that tries to protect that kind of information. How did it get in my packet of paperwork. Was it intentional? Does L know I have it?

It is such a temptation for me. I want to know more now. But what right do I have to that information? There are more issues here as well, what would happen if I did find a way to contact her now, but that is for another post.

It also has a physical description of her and a one paragraph statement in her own handwriting as to why she decided to relinquish.

The baby had been removed from her custody in the hospital by CPS. The next step should have been a reunification plan. It would most likely required in patient detox/drug and alcohol rehabilitation, based on how consistently I saw that court order it in similar cases. L wasn't a young kid. She was living on her own, working, supporting herself. Her statement on the form is vague. She struggled with it, thought it best. A social worker told me on finalization day that L had said, she didn't want BJ to grow up in the mess that her life was.

I have a story I have in my mind about that, I told myself she must have tried to get clean before and knew how hard it was - must have wanted to spare BJ that risk, that her love lifted her above the fog that kept her from getting any medical care during the pregnancy, and smoking, drinking and using all the way through to coming in labor and high. But her love, let her see to relinquish instead of drag out a process she didn't believe would end favorably. but again, that is another post. I have read enough other stories now, that I question. I will explore that in another post.

The line that says she is willing to have contact with BJ when she is 18 if BJ wants it troubles me. It is so vague. What does that mean. Willing.

My hope has been that BJ will allow me the privilege of opening that door for her, to introduce her to L, if you will.

Willing. Why not hopeful? Why not, "would like". Willing. It sounds so ambivalent.

One day I told BJ that I had the information she would need in order to meet L someday. BJ said, I want to meet her now. I said, you can't until you are 18. I told her that L could leave notes with the SW, but I am not allowed to access that for her, only she could when she was 18. It is the rules. I told BJ that if she wanted to, she could write a note or draw a picture and we could send it to the sw who would put it in her file and if L wanted to she could ask if anything was there for her. I don't remember if I told BJ that I doubted L was checking it. BJ is only six. And I don't doubt it because of L, but because if I had been through that, would I really want to continue contact with CPS? How humiliating. BJ seemed satisfied.

I know the one exception to the communication rule that the county/state has set up is photos. We signed something that said if L requested photos that we did want to be notified.

I have a file folder that I put photos in for her. It is marked simply L. There are not tons of photos in it. I admit I forget a lot. But there are about a dozen. Of course BJ will be welcome to go through the boxes of photos and add anything she wants, but this way there is something at the ready when the time is right - not left overs pulled out - but ones reserved for her as they were taken. I bought an album this year for them. I haven't brought myself to start putting it together.

What I really want is a photo of L. I have read that the most common question adoptees ask, especially girls, is "what does she look like?". So part of it started with wanting to have a photo for the very first time BJ asks the question. No waiting and wondering, here - this is what she looks like. This is where you get your green eyes, your dimple. But more and more I want it for me. I want to know what she looks like. This woman who is so much a part of the daughter I cherish.

Though it shames me some, the truth is I don't want to invite her into our lives now. My husband wouldn't want it. If there was strife or chaos, I would feel foolish for bringing it into our lives. But I SO want to be a part of her life when BJ is grown. I realize that it will be up to BJ and L to determine the relationship at that point. But if BJ trusts me or wants me to be a part, I anxiously await seeing what it will be. But for now, I want a picture. and some info.

Late at night, I google her name, hoping to find her on a listserv, blog, or something where I can anonymously get to know her. I found other things. I hospital announcement for a woman with the same name in the same town giving birth toa baby boy almost exactly one year after BJ was born. Did she get married (the father is listed), what is the boy's name? I found an address that is back in the town she grew up in. No more married name. Is it newer or older. Did she move back? Did she divorce? Does she regret the placement? If she hadn't relinquished, would she have regained custody? How is she doing now? What is her life like? I want to know the story of her grief and how she sees it all now.

I envy people who can send photos and letters. I know it is selfish and not sensitive to what L might want or need. Right or wrong that is where I am right now. I wish I knew more about her life now, I wish I had a photo, I wish I could send her photos and I wish that would be all it would be until BJ is older.

A few years ago I toyed with the idea of hiring an attorney to contact her and inquiry if she wanted photos. I was tantalized by the prospect as much as I was terrified by the unknowns of what would happen. I had heard the same horror stories everyone has - the parent in prison who finds the family and tries to extort money under threats of making problems. And now that I hear voices of women who call themselves first mothers and see how while they voice their grief and anger to friends on the internet, they would never never show that to a child not capable of or needing to see the complexity of the emotion - I still wonder - If I knew L was intensely grieving and regretting not raising BJ - what would that mean? BJ is my daughter - I love her with the breath and tears of my life. I couldn't do anything about L's grief. But how would I sit with it, live it with it, digest it? So why open that door? to satisfy my curiosity?

The real reason I dropped it was more practical. I can't afford an attorney.

The reputable registries won't allow minors or parents of minors to register I don't think. And that word.


I really don't want to bring more pain on her if she isn't dealing with it right now. Six years is a long time, but not so long really. Many of the mothers whose blogs I am reading - it was years before they acknowledged their anger, grief and feelings of betrayal. What if L is just in 'survival mode' raising her own almost six year old, working, living, breathing and bringing out her bottled emotions only in the quiet of the middle of the night. What would a letter from an attorney not associated with the county adoption agency or CPS do to her emotions, her life. What if she still hasn't told her parents, what if she never told her husband? Who am I to risk exposing her, because I can't wait.

BJ has that right, I believe. When she is 18, I will ask her, help her, seek for her if she wants me to.

So I keep hoping that somehow I will get a glimpse, an online photo.

I hold onto the things I know. I tell BJ things as they come up.

When BJ asks about menstruation (I know its early, but she asked what it was and I told her) I told her when I started and when her birhtmother started and what that means for when she will likely start.

When BJ asks about why her blonde hair is turning brown, I tell her that L's hair is brown and hers will likely be too. When BJ plays at volleyball in the house, I tell her that L likes volleyball. When BJ asks about ancestors and ethnicity, I tell her mine, her fathers, and her birthmothers and that she is all of them.

Hopefully having those things early, before it is a great "revelation" or the teenage identity crisis, will help couteract the fact that I don't have a photo when she asks what she looks like.

BJ doesn't ask questions or comment when I insert these "birthmother" facts into converstation. So far BJ started with, "but I wish I came out of your tummy, mommy" to which I replied the same each time - "I wish you did too, honey - but a big part of who you are is because you came out of your birthmothers tummy and I wouldn't change anything about you - I love you just the way you are."

She repeated this statement, never deviating until she changed to the next and then always the same again - though it was only a couple times a year -
"is she dead?". "No, honey - she is not dead. She was sick and couldn't take care of any baby, but she loves you and asked the sw to find a family for you and that is us."

Just recently the question changed to the one about wanting to meet her. It hasn't repeated yet, but its only been a few weeks.

So far I have had answers. I wonder when BJ will ask a question I have been asking and how will I respond when she does?

The Beginning or The End

I don't know if I should start at the beginning, where my entrance into the world of adoption began, or start with where I am now? My motives may not be pure in this, while it feels natural for me to start at the beginning, I think that my story and why I am telling it makes more sense if I start with where I am now.

A few, 2 or 3, people online may recognize parts of my story and therefore know who I really am. That is OK. Those would be the people I have trusted with the story in the first place. I know how they feel about this, though I don't know how they will feel to discover I am doing this. They are welcome here too, I do ask they keep my anonymity, as they will understand best of all why I need that in order to write this all.

So, here goes. I will refer to my daughter as B.J. To her birthmother as L, my husband is hubby, and I am marlene. None of the names are real obviously. I will try and not use the birthmother term, and just call her L.

So.. here goes.


Why this blog? Why now?

I adopted my daughter six years ago. I used to participate in several list servs about adoption. When I began my adoption journey, I didn't know anyone who had adopted well enough to even ask them about their experience. After my daughter was placed in my arms, I started getting connected. Mostly it was to other adoptive parents and that felt good. There was one small group. No more than 10 of us, only two adoptive mothers in the group. The others were birthmothers and a couple adoptees. I now know that many women who placed children for adoption do not like the term birthmother. I can accept that, but I haven't yet been able to embrace the term first or natural mother. Nor have I come across any other that seems to feel comfortable to me or the women I have encountered recently. But I am getting off track. That small group. It was incredible - heart wrenching - but wonderful. I shared things I wondered, they told me their stories, they were kind to me, I was kind to them. How we were so bare with eachother and didn't trigger things for each other I don't know.

Recently I have come across a birthmothers blog ring. I have done a lot of reading. I have watched a lot of my friends become embroiled in controversy and flaming. But through it, I have been touched in ways that group of so many years ago touched me.

I feel the longing to share some of my stories. I feel the longing to talk about what I know and don't know about my daughter's birthmother. I want to be honest and explore things that I don't really have anyone in my life right now to talk with about it. For awhile I had an uncanny string of incidents where women I was getting to know confided in me that they had placed children for adoption years ago. They all shared grief, but all also confirmed the peace they had in watching my family. But these were knew friendships, who knows how much was simple civility.

A part of me is looking to interact again, in a kindly but honest way, with women from other perspectives and experiences. Part of this is just to tell my story and have it down for when I need it. Part of it is to sort through some of the new things I am encountering such as a website I found on a link from a blog that had some really good material for women considering adoption, asking them to think about how they would feel if the circumstances (especially financial or marital) changed in the next year. How does that balance with my reactions to some of the anger and expressions like "lost to adoption" that I am encountering in this webring. If I ask people to read, obviously I can't say - react to this and not that. But as I ask myself why do this now, I recognize that I want to hear what others think of the things I say to my daughter and the things I wonder about her birthmother. But when I write about how I feel about what I am encountering - that isn't really for the interaction. That part is to help me process.

The posts may come quickly, or slowly, or be random thoughts triggered by things I am reading. And the ground rules I will lay for myself. I will try to be as sensitive as I can to who my readers are and what terminology or perspectives mean to them; but I won't use phrases that I haven't worked out, embraced or accepted. That would feel dishonest.

Some of the posts I want to write:

I think adoption reform can best be accomplished if women who have placed and women who have adopted join their voice. Their is truth, unfortunately, that the money speaks and adoptive parents usually wield that even if it means it is a huge sacrifice to them.

How my public adoption (CFS) always made me feel I wasn't part of the "industry" but the specific things I have read that made me question what might have been said to a woman facing tpr of an infant that might have made her relinquish. Was it really what she wanted as I always thought? If it wasn't - what does that mean for me now.

What I tell my daughter about her birthmother, now - what I expect later.

The conversations we have, how I try to make casual, every day comments and how while I believe it is right, I don't do it in front of my husband unless it is very blatantly involved. I never do it in front of other family members. Does daughter pick up on that? Is it better even if she does than to evoke an unpleasant response from grandparents, etc who still prefer to ignore the adoption.

The records I have about L. I always wondered if it was an accident they fell into my hands, if L asked, or the sw chose to put them there accidently.

The story of the match we turned down.

Why I never pursued infertility treatment, how I don't grieve not having a pregnancy, how I know that my daughter would not be who she is without the biological connections she has and I am glad for them, how I want to, work to honor her full story including her birthmother, but the truth that there is still a feeling or acknowledgement or longing to have all of who she is without the life complications of being an adoptive family.

How my daughter is silent in my comments about her birthmother, but when she stumbles and tries to phrase around it in other questions, I know she thinks about it.

My interest in knowing more about her, along with my fear of bringing strife into our life, or even just the complication of another human being and why does that feel like it will be ok when my daughter is older but not now.

The difference between what I feel about discussing the adoption and what my husband feels and believes.

The photos I am saving for her. Supposedly if she asked the agency for them, they would pass along the request. What does it mean that she hasn't asked.

What I found on the internet about her and why I don't seem to have any other reaction than the desire to know more. Did she really have another child almost exactly one year later and was married. Did she really move back home? Or is that an earlier address?

Explore my faith that there was divine intervention in bringing my daughter to me, how she is fully my daughter and it was meant to be so, and how that belief may be hurtful to women who have placed and regret it; I think I can reconcile "meant to be" as "meant to be" after the original events took place.. God did not cause the drug abuse, the CFS, but he used the pain and allowed beauty in it that our daughter truly is a joy to us, that we are a family, we have so much love and our daughter is so strong and happy and healthy. Can I reconcile my not knowing how she feels into this belief?

Tell the story of the prayer of protection and the traditions that have sprung around it.

I thought that tonight I might get some of these posts written. Because when I decided to start this anonymous blog some hours ago, it felt so burgeoning. I had to get it out. But now I am exhausted.

I hope the urge, the need to write this out does not disipate.