Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who am I kidding lets be honest...

I'm gearing up for a visit with FM on Monday...we're meeting at a library. Which hopefully will be perfect since Emery's way into books right now. Let's be completely honest, I think this visit might be a train wreck. Emery is very very attached to me right now and if she hasn't known you for the last nine months she honestly won't give you the time of day. Long stare, turning away and saying "no" is usually part of the equation. The last visit we had was in APRIL! Which isn't for lack of trying on my part at all, it just so happened the three weeks I was down in Florida FM was on an extended vacation with her foster family. In Indiana. In fact only about 40 minutes away. She even made a trek into Warsaw one day...believe it. So yeah, I'm afraid. I'm sort of feeling inconvenienced because it's a two hour drive, by myself with my currently very impatient 18 month old. Dread is more like it. So it's time for me to get the heck over myself and stop being selfish. This girl epitomizes unselfishness and I see it every day in the face of my little love. So I'm giving myself a verbal smack in the face and saying, "MOVE ON, GET OVER IT!".
Whenever I come up on these types of "norms" my wheels get to turnin' on some things which in turn makes me love my little blog space here so much. It is, for me, like a nice long run to clear my head. Sometimes my mind just piles up with things and I have to remind myself that I have this outlet. Ideas come to me at random times and right now folks I have about six different blog posts lined up! So anywho...thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being a part of this small but incredibly essential mind emptying abyss.
A few weeks ago I started to feel really convicted about the not making that great of an effort to have Emery "know" her birth mom. Then I realized that I just need to formulate a plan. A plan that Tyler and I agree on, that we're both comfortable with and we stick to it. Because our situation is very limited as far as direct communication goes we have to be realistic on what will be our normal. Right now, these visits are for FM plain and simple. Emery is not getting anything out of them for certain (eventually she will), I'm getting ulcers (j/k) worrying over whether or not FM's feelings will be hurt with the unpredictability of Princess I Want My Own Way All the Time, and Tyler is just managing the chaos of my tears, insecurities and general ridiculousness. So what does one do in our situation? The "beauty" of an open adoption is that Emery will have contact with her birth mom and that those questions she'll eventually need answered will come directly from the source. So what can I do right now at this moment in her one and half years of life to teach her who her birth mom is? I haven't figured this out yet. I know that I have to do it, I have to figure out a system otherwise I'll regret it. I need to do my due diligence and ask FM what she's expecting specifically from this relationship. Do I keep a photo of FM in a frame and have it accessible to Emery? I hope to get some of these questions answered from her on Monday. It's time for me to use the 120 uncomfortable minutes to discuss the elephant in the room, and lets face it. I may as well make the best of this "norm". There should be a manual for this!
For now, I pray that the visit goes smoothly. That FM's social worker preps her for the inevitable disappointment of this impending visit because friends...when your very own child whom you carried for nine months belongs to someone else forever and she doesn't know you, that's definitely a disappointment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Alone...

One thing you must know about me is that I'm a reality TV watching fool. Seriously. Even if it looks like the most ridiculous show ever created in life (Sister Wives, All-American Muslim etc.) I'll give it a watch at least once, and usually that means I'm hooked. Surprisingly enough one reality show that I hadn't gotten sucked into is Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. I always felt like they were somehow glorifying teen pregnancy and just providing a way for these girls to be "famous" in a way by being on television and I just couldn't jump on that train. The story line is obviously something that hits close to home and perhaps that was maybe an underlying reason as to why I didn't want to watch. However, last week I gave it a go and boy was I hooked! Then again today I caught an episode where the end result was an open adoption and oh my stars was that an emotional moment for me. It chronicled the birth mom (who is adopted herself) going back and forth between keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption. She waffled on this decision for at least the last five months of her pregnancy and didn't have full support from the birth father either. Her mom was a nagging mess that was basically forcing her into choosing adoption and the poor girl was just a train wreck. There were two things she said in the episode that stood out to me.
First, "He's (the baby) is my only blood relative, and now I'm going to give him away." So true and heartbreaking. Not only did FM give her baby up for adoption, she gave away the only piece of family that she has left. Unreal the sacrifice this kid made for her kid. I watched through tears as the girl on Teen Mom wrestled with the fact that she knew she couldn't give her son the life he deserved. I watched her give birth and sob, and hold him and know that she was making the right decision. I cried even harder when I saw her hand the baby over to the adoptive parents. That was me over a year ago, and while I can't remember every last detail I do remember feeling connected to FM in a way that I don't think either of us understand. Her trust in me, while it's sort of weird given the fact that I'm 15 years older than her, didn't go unnoticed.
Second, "I don't have my birth mother here to tell me why she chose adoption, but I know that because of the openness in adoption I chose for my son I'll be able to explain to him with my own words one day why I chose it for us." So wise for a 17 year old! I will tell you that's always one of my top three reasons for being ok with an open adoption. I want that line of communication to be available to Emery whenever she's ready for it. I want those questions answered mostly by the one who made those decisions, and for Emery to have that is priceless.
There are many times where I wonder how lonely FM is. She has no parents or family besides a sister that randomly pops up every now and then so I just can't help but wonder how she gets through life. Who is on her side? Who can she trust? Who does she love and who loves her? Will she be the minority and come out on top? Or will she age out of foster care and just get lost in life and into things she shouldn't? It just plain sucks. As watched this show I saw this girl being supported by her parents, they were there for the delivery and post delivery. They were there when she came home without a baby. FM tried to parent Emery after she was born, and she just couldn't do it. That just shows her strength and tenacity which I see in my little love every single day.
That episode not only gave me insight but visually it allowed me a sneak peek into the thought process and truly difficult struggle that every birth mom faces when they choose adoption. I don't care how they got to that point, and I don't care how many times they've done it. They all have their own stories. They don't choose the easy way out, and most importantly they chose life for their child even if they aren't planning on being the ones to help them live it.

Maurice Sendak and the weirdness of motherhood...

I'm all about full circle moments...the kind that give you major dejavu but also allow you to be truly thankful for what you've been given. You should know I love to read, it's so stress relieving and stimulating and exciting and million other fantastic adjectives. I'll go through phases where I'll bust through like five books in six weeks and then I'll read nothing for months yet every time I return to my good friend, literature, I am amazed I waited that long to return "home". I'm also a huge advocate of reading to your kids. The benefits are endless! Many many years ago, I started to pick up children's books here and there. Garage sales, Amazon, Scholastic book fairs and I because of that I built up quite the collection. When Emery was a baby I was so excited to read to her and get into a routine of reading as well...we started with Goodnight Moon when she was probably five months old. It did my heart good to engage her in that way. Now we're in the stage where she loves to be read to so much that we literally spend EASILY an hour a day reading books...and I can't think of an hour better spent than curling up with her and watching her mind exploring. She's so smart and perceptive and so very funny. When I first became a mom I remember having these expectations (incredibly unrealistic expectations if I say so myself) of what it would be like to finally be a mom. Would I immediately "feel" a change? Would I stop laughing at farts, seeing people fall down stairs or my personal favorite...tripping? The answer is, no. No I didn't feel the change right away and to this very day seeing someone trip makes me laugh uncontrollably! It wasn't necessarily a personality change, but more or less a purpose change. My purpose became something entirely more worth while than before. I'm responsible for her well being, her education, her social interaction her entire future really, and you know what I'm finally at the point where I'm not paralyzed with fear because of it. God has blessed us with such an amazing little life. So this evening as I read her my favorite book in all the land of favorite books I drank it in a little bit longer. Her smell, her curiosity, her intelligence...she roared her terrible roar, gnashed her terrible teeth, rolled her terrible eyes and showed her terrible claws. I can't get enough I tell ya, she's my absolute favorite.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Eight months...

It has officially been eight months since FM has seen Emery. Eight. This breaks my heart in many ways. First way, this was not how our arrangement was supposed to be. We were supposed to be living a few hours away with a visit every few months and some contact via email and photos in between. Second, these visits right now are more for FM than they are for anyone else involved. Whether Emery sees her every month or every six months she still will not be familiar with her at the visits. (Which will lead me to another blog post saved for later). So I'm sad for her "loss of plan" really. I guess. Third, I canNOT imagine life without my girl for one day let alone 244. I can't imagine it one bit. The thought of her not being by my side is nauseating and unsettling. FM choosing a lifetime of not seeing her every day just wrecks me. I still to this very day have an insurmountable amount of gratitude for this child who had a child. For her very grown up decision that helped make me a mama. There are so many things about "our situation" that I think I wish we're different. The amount of direct contact we have with her is not very much and honestly when people ask me how we are dealing with an open adoption I have to start off with, "well ours isn't typical". Whatever that's supposed to mean. A typical open adoption? Yeah, that doesn't exist. So many extenuating circumstances play into how it works for each individual family that really, in my ever so humble opinion, that's a really hard question to answer.
So...as I begin to ponder the next visit, which will hopefully be at Christmas time, I must pray for smoothness in the transition for FM. She'll probably continue to amaze me.