Saturday, January 24, 2015

Coping 2: Get Creative



I'm sure many of you have been told to "get creative" when it comes to coping.  And there are several specific things people will bring up: scrapbooking, collages, writing letters or poems, all pretty much about the child we just placed for adoption.  All of these are good things.  I'm not saying they're not.  And if these things help you, by all means, go forth.  I simply would also like to make the case for just getting creative because you can.

I like to knit.  After my son was born and all that happened, I got back into knitting with a vengeance.  I learned every stitch.  I found patterns and more patterns and more patterns.  I got yarn.  I got needles.  And I went at it.  Knitting, for me, is almost a meditative kind of activity.  It gets all my thoughts in order and calms me down.  People often asked me if I was making something for my son.  And I have made things for him, but I wasn't at that time.  At that time I just needed something TO DO.  So I settled on knitting.  And for me, knitting is a lot of fun.

The other thing I like to do is write.  And not just blog posts like this.  I like to write stories.  I have been making up stories since I was a little kid.  I've written them down from time to time.  I like to write poetry, too.  But I've always really loved writing stories.  I think what I like the most about it is getting to be someone else for a change, even if it's just in my head and only for a little while.  Doesn't really matter.  I like writing science fiction and adventure stories.  I like people heading off on quests.  I like big battles.  And I like moral ambiguities that make me think.  After placing my son, I also started writing.  Wrote bits and pieces mostly, fiddled with a couple things that turned into novels and have been writing more and more ever since.  It's just so fun for me to make up stories and worlds and people and find millions of ways to play with them.  My son's adoptive father is also a poet, so we have connected there on a personal level.  J has started making up stories and telling them to his parents.  And his adoptive father is constantly amazed by his creativity.  I have to admit, this development makes me very very happy.  Hoping one day I might get the chance to collaborate with my son on something.  That would make my entire lifetime.

I didn't write about my son and the feelings I had about it all until much later.  And I think at the time it all happened, it was just too much.  I was having a hard time holding it all together in my head, much less writing it down on paper.  So I knitted a blanket.  And I wrote a short story.  And I got along with a number of creative projects like that until I could get the words out.  When I finally did, it still hurt.  But it did help a great deal.  But I didn't write until I was ready.

I hope everyone reading this is doing well today.  May you find your own ways of getting creative and expressing your thoughts.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Music Monday: Dream a Little Dream by Mama Cass


"Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me"

If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quote of the Week: Solving Problems



"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."











If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!





Saturday, January 17, 2015

Coping 1: Taking a Break


Since I've gotten back into a local support group and have met a couple of new birthmothers, I've started thinking about the different ways that we cope with what has happened to us and how we cope as time goes on.  So I flipped through a few ideas and I wanted to talk about a few of the things that have worked for me and others that I know.  So, here we go.

First thing is taking a break.  Right after I gave birth to J, I wanted to be anywhere other than where I was.  It didn't really matter where I was or who was around or what was going on.  And I didn't really know where I wanted to be.  It was at a loss.  So, I did what I have done before, I disappeared into books and writing and Netflix.  I'm a second generation librarian who was often told that I could disappear into any book that I wanted.  I'm also a writer.  And building my own worlds is sometimes how I cope with the rest of the world.  And, well, let's face it, Netflix is just awesome.  I was watching whole seasons of shows and finding new movies and watching all manner of new things.  For me, it was a break: a break from reality.  This is something I'm practiced at.  So I knew the ways back.  But for a while, this was my break.

I have known a few other birthmothers who, in the aftermath of everything, decided to take a break in one way or another.  One took a job in another state.  One took a job on a cruise ship.  Two went to college.  One went back to work.  Others did like me and hid away from reality for a while one way or another.  I think for every birthmother there needs to be a time right after everything has been settled where we take a break.  Just a time to step back, step away, come back to ourselves, and find a place where we can start to think about what to do next and where to go next with our lives.

Taking a break is something important to remember later on, too.  After each visit, I always take off at least a few hours where I don't talk to anyone or just dive into a movie or TV show for a few hours so I can just take a break from everything I'm feeling at that moment.  So take my advice, if you need to, take a break.

I have a few ideas on what to do next.  But if you have any certain coping ideas that you want me to write about, let me know in the comments.  Hope you all have a great day!


Friday, January 16, 2015

BMB Reform Blog: Meet Robyn!

Hello again readers!  This weeks Reform Blog Interviewee is Robyn, an adoptive mom with a lot to say! We thought it would be interesting to interview an adoptive Mom and see if what she feel needs to be changed in adoption is similar or different to what some of the birthmoms interviewed in the past had to say.  So let's jump right into it shall we?

1.  Please tell us your name and a brief intro to your story.  

 Hi!  Thank you for allowing me to participate.

I'm Robyn, and I'm a mom through adoption.  I always wanted to adopt, instead of having bio kids,
and it's a good thing, as I ended up with a medical condition that requires me to take meds that are incompatible with pregnancy.  We adopted our son, Jackson, in 2006 and our daughter, Cassie, in 2011.  They were both private domestic infant adoptions.  We have open adoptions.  My children are mixed race (black and white), and my husband and I are white.

2.  Are there any aspects of adoption you would like to see changed?  This can be within your own journey or adoption as a whole.

The biggest thing I would like to see changed is to have national adoption laws, instead of this state-by-state, county-by-county nonsense.  I believe we could create a much more ethical environment.  Adoption agencies wouldn't be able to fly expectant moms to a state with more "favorable" laws for adoptive parents, or to a state where biological fathers have no rights.  All states would be the same.

For the most part, I'd like to see facilitators banned.  You're either a licensed agency or an adoption attorney.  I'd like to see more agencies be full service, for all parties.  I'd like to see counseling required for all parties.  I'd like the focus to be on ensuring that if a mother wants to parent, and has the mental capacity to parent, then the agency should be helping her find resources before finding a match.  If there simply aren't resources, or the expectant mom doesn't want to or truly can't parent, that's where matching comes in.  Matching happens at the expectant mom's (and expectant dad's) pace, not the agency's or PAPs'.

I'd do away with closed adoptions entirely.  I would encourage, though probably not mandate, open adoption agreements.  When it comes to placing, I'd ensure that bio fathers have at least some rights.  I do believe that expectant moms should have slightly more, about 60%/40%, just because women take on more of the risks.  I don't want to see men lose their kids, but I also don't want to see men trap women by refusing to give away "their blood" when they have no intention of stepping up as parents.

I think it should be stressed that the time between birth and when TPR can be signed is a MINIMUM.  I'd make the minimum TPR time 3 days after birth, but stress that a new mom (and dad) can take as much time as needed to make that decision, and ensure that agencies had resources in place for that to happen.  After TPR, I believe there should be a 1-2 week revocation period, to allow the new parents to ensure that their decision was the proper one.  This revocation period could not be waived, unless social services is involved.  That is, social services was going to take the child (for whatever reason) but the new parents decided to place privately instead.

Oh, and fees would be regulated and capped.

3.  What does adoption reform mean to you and why do you think it's important?

Adoption reform means that adoption is more ethical for everyone involved.  That adoption becomes less of an industry and more of a service.  It's important because children's lives are at stake.  I'm really not sure that any state actually takes the children into consideration when making their laws.  I think it's all about the adults, and that's not OK.  Sure, the adults have to be protected, but so do the kids.

4.  This is your space to write any additional comments, link to your blog, etc.  Anything you would like to share!

I do have blog, here.

I actually wrote a series on what I would do if I could make all the adoption laws, here.



Thank you Robyn!


If you or anyone you know would like to be interviewed for this section, or if you have an important reform topic you would like discussed, please feel free to email me!  I look forward to hearing from you!




Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Tale of Two Pregnancies



For quite a while now, this thought has been bouncing around my head. It's true we don't always get to see the immediate impact and results of our choices, but eventually we do. Eventually for some of our choices we get a glimpse of the bigger picture.

This post is a tale of two pregnancies. My dad passed away about 10 years ago and my mother has since remarried. I did not know her new husband while I was growing up nor did I know his daughters. But while I was having an unplanned pregnancy, one of his daughters was having one, too. The circumstances were different as were our ages and many other variables, which I think is important to note. But we were both unmarried and unexpectedly pregnant.

Our families took radically different approaches on how they handled the crisis. Darcy was an adult, but her family moved her into their home, took care of her, and supported her in every way while she continued her pregnancy, gave birth and parented her child. My family moved me to a maternity home, kept their distance, and waited for me to deliver so they could bring me home and forget it ever happened.

Fast forward 27 years. I placed my child with an adoptive family and they divorced. My birthdaughter dropped out of college, got married, got divorced, dropped back into college and got her degree. She married again and has a child of her own. She is a successful actuary, they bought their first home this year, and seem to be happy.

Darcy's child experienced her second unplanned pregnancy this year with her second baby daddy. She was about to finish nursing school but flunked out. She is still being supported in every way, including financially, by her mother and extended family members. She has moved in with her boyfriend who has children of his own.

I know this isn't a fair comparison and I won't try to convince you that it is. There are so many differences in these two stories that it's like comparing apples to oranges. But this is my true family story. And while I made the hard choice and did what I thought was the absolute best I could do for my child, I have been put down, called names and ignored by the ones who say they love me, including my own mother. Darcy's child can do no wrong, is the apple of everyone's eye and gets overwhelming support even with her poor choices, even from my own mother.

Life isn't fair. It just isn't. There are days I would love to cut off any kind of relationship with my mom and other family members. But that is not what the God of the Bible has called me to do. He has called me to love those who hate me, to love those who hurt me. And what is love you ask? Love is patient and kind, it does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.





Monday, January 12, 2015

Boucing Around the Room by Phish



"For when my hand was holding hers
She whispered words and I awoke
And faintly bouncing around the room
The echo of whomever spoke
I awoke and faintly bouncing round the room
The echo of whomever spoke."

If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quote of the Week: You Judge Your Worth



“You alone are the judge of your worth, and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.”














If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!






Saturday, January 10, 2015

Families

Sorry for the silence past couple of weeks.  The holidays have been a little bit rough.

If you're reading this, congratulations, you survived the holidays and have made it (hopefully) safely into the new year.  I do believe that everyone deserves a round of applause for that.  After all with travel, weather, various kinds of insanity, there are a great many things that can, and sometimes do, go wrong.  The one thing that I have found is constant in life at those times is family.

When I say family, I don't always mean the people that you are related to by blood.  I have a few different families.  Most would call them social groups, and that's a valid name.  But some are close enough that I do call them family.  I spent my holidays with my parents and we had a very nice, calm, relaxed Christmas.  Exchanged a few presents, made some great food, and had good and hilarious conversation.  I learned of problems in our extended family and in particular one of us that I'm going to try to reach out to as much as I'd like to just let her go.  But she is family.

Before I left though, I was in attendance at a party with friends.  A few of these friends I have grown very close to over the past year.  Close enough that soon I will be giving one a ride to pick up her car and then having dinner with her.  This is the family that I've formed here in Athens.  They're the people that I hang out with, go to dinner with, have late-night philosophical conversations with, and the ones that I whisper my secrets too and let them whisper their secrets to me.  They're as close to me as the people I grew up with.  They're the family of friends that I have gained here in Athens.

I hope that I will get to visit my family of friends in Columbus this summer.  I spent nine years of my life there and the connections made there have refused to fade over time.  One friend, who owns a book shop, almost never leaves my thoughts.  And I know when I step into his shop we will probably pick up the conversation we were having the last time I was there.  Sometimes it feels like I have never left once I find the people I knew for years.  Recently, we've suffered a tragedy in our little close-knit family.   And like all families, we are reaching across the lines of communication and assured each other that we are all still here.  We are still family.

Later this month, my son, J, and his parents will be coming over to my parents' house for the "Christmas visit."  It's been pushed back a little because of illness and problems in their family.  But his mother assured me that they are looking forward to seeing us, and I do believe her.  They have just had a difficult year, and I know it.  My son lost two grandparents this year.  And I know one was a much tougher loss than the other.  I know one was expected and one wasn't.  But like all families, they have bonded together to see each other through.  His father and I have talked every month at the poetry readings.  We hang out together afterwards and I get to hear how my son is doing on a very intimate level.  And this is the family I have made with my son.  I'm very lucky in this, and I'm no idiot, I know this doesn't always happen.  But sometimes it does.  It's different from every other family I've had.  They're closer than friends.  Yet not as close as family.  But we share a life together.  We share one life, J's life.  We both watch him grow and am amazed by it every day.  We are learning together what to do and what he may be one day.  And this family I believe will always be a part of my life just as my blood family, my Columbus family, and my Athens family always will be.

Here's to you all and your families wherever they may be.  Hug them tight, let them know you're there, and I hope you all know that no matter what happens in your lives, you are loved by someone.

Photo Credit

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Visits

Hello there everybody!

I have been very busy these last few weeks with school and work and somehow in all the chaos I got to have an amazing visit with my daughter who just turned one last month.

This was my third visit since she was born and the weeks and days leading up are always nerve wracking. It has been about seven months since our last one, so we were all pretty nervous. This time the visit was going to be even more stressful because it was going to be a lot larger. My boyfriend and I were going to be accompanied by my mother and his mother. The plan was that our parents could meet her at a coffee shop for a little while and then my boyfriend, the adoptive parents, E and I could go to an aquarium.

Our parents have been very flip floppy on this whole adoption. My mother started out crazy and by the birth she understood my decision. My boyfriend's mother started out extremely supportive and then by the end was going crazy. She oh so conveniently forgot that she was not going to be able to go to the aquarium with us and she would have to leave after the coffee shop. She has had a lot of these moments in the last year and somehow she can make everything about her. I'ts frustrating and I could go on about that for days, but I won't bore you guys with that.

We ended up having an amazing visit. Of course there were a few bumps in the road with my boyfriends mom pretty much demanding that we open the presents with E instead of having her open them later. Anyone who has visits understands how scary and nerve wracking it can be. I never want to do anything to make her adoptive parents uncomfortable because they are her parents and even though we have a contract, they are the ones who help make the visits and the pictures happen.

My boyfriend's mom didn't make a scene and after some uncomfortable small talk we all felt comfortable. We got to take her out to an amazing day of fun and I got to see my eyes and lips on another little person. It is an amazing feeling to see yourself in someone else in pictures, but seeing this in person after waiting so long is indescribable.


Open adoption for me is amazing but I know that there are so many of us out there who never had that option. We all made the choices we thought were right at the time so you should never make yourself feel upset. My new philosophy for life is "everything happens for a reason". I am not religious so saying this makes me feel good at the end of the day.When I saw my daughter I knew that this placement and her birth had all happened for a reason. She was meant to be here and they were meant to be her parents.

I am wishing you guys all a happy and healthy new year!



Photo credit

Monday, January 5, 2015

Music Monday: Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield



"Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Quote of the Week: Don't Just Preserve Your Ship




“If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.”  













If you have any suggestions for quotes to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Monday, December 29, 2014

Music Monday: I Don't Wanna Be by Gavin Degraw



"I don't wanna be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do is think of me and my peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms wondering what I gotta to do
Or who I'm supposed to be, I don't wanna be anything other than me"



If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quote of the Week: Room to Grow






"Dreams must be larger than your current position so you have room to grow."












If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!







Monday, December 22, 2014

Music Monday: I Miss You Most at Christmas Time by Mariah Carey


"I gaze out the window 

This cold winter's night 
At all of the twinkling lights 
Alone in the darkness 
Remembering when you were mine 
Everybody's smiling 
The whole world is rejoicing 
And everyone's embracing 
Except for you and I."