Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
If you are in an open adoption, you probably know that often it seems like we walk a fine line when it comes to visits. How often? Where? Will be by ourselves? Will there be a group op people around? Do we just spend the time with our kids and ignore everyone and everything around us? Do we go into a “zone” and forget that there is even anyone around? I know for me, I walk a fine line. I want to spend as much time with Jessica but I don’t want to ignore those people around me.
Here are a few simple tips that one can do to help the visits go easier.
Show up on time. If you are going to be late, call and let them know.
Don’t show up late and expect them to be overjoyed to see you if you haven't called.
Don’t cancel. Especially at the last minute unless of course, something has come up and you can’t help it such as family emergency, car broke down, etc..
Spend time with the adoptive parents. Yes, you are there to see your child but you need to have a relationship with the adoptive parents so include them in the play time and conversation.
Respect their parenting choices and decisions. We may not agree but they are raising the child so it is their decision and schedules.
Be flexible when setting up the visit. Jessica is a busy little bee so Louise’s’ time is limited so I am open to when she has time or an afternoon for us to get together.
Be prepared if their schedule changes. Yes it happens and it stinks but realize that you will get another visit.
Bring lots of film if you don’t have a digital camera. Include the adoptive parents in the pictures. Have someone take a picture of you and your child. Have another one taken of you and the adoptive mom. I have a few of those and they are extra special to me.
We just need to remember that if we get along with the adoptive parents then our children won’t feel pulled in any direction. If we show the adoptive parents respect, hopefully, we get respect in turn and the children realize that they have all these extra people to love them.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
While I treasure the visits I am able to have with my birthson through our open adoption agreement sometimes after a visit, I feel a sense of sadness and “let down.” I’ve nicknamed these feelings “the post visit blues.” I’ve also talked with other birthmothers in open adoptions who have shared with me that they too have the post visit blues after a visit. Since I have been dealing with this for six years now, I have come up with some methods of coping that work for me and perhaps they will work for you too.
1. Acknowledge the feelings. It’s important that I acknowledge the feelings I am experiencing and allow myself to feel them. I have learned the hard way that if I don’t acknowledge the feelings now it will only hurt me more in the long run.
2. Write a letter. A few days after a visit, I always write a letter to Charlie. I tell him how much the visit meant to me, I recap things that went on during the visit, and I include pictures from the visit. Mailing the letter is optional. If you didn’t want to mail it, you could put them all in a box to share with your child one day.
3. Scrapbook. I actually haven’t done this in one in awhile but am already sketching out layouts from my last visit in my head. Scrapbooking our time together makes me feel good and gives me an easy way to look back at good memories when I want to.
4. Journal. I recap the visit for myself in my journal writing down what we did, cute things Charlie said, etc. Then as I feel sadness over the next few days, I write about those feelings.
5. Try not to isolate myself. This is the one I personally struggle with. When I am dealing with my emotions after a visit and feeling down, I tend to want to be myself, turn off my phone, and crawl in a hole. While this can be good for me for a little bit, it also could quickly become unhealthy so I usually have to force myself not to hide out.
6. Talk with other birthmothers. No one quite understands what I am feeling besides other birthmothers so when I am dealing with sadness after a visit, I turn to my birthmother friends for support and understanding.
I should also add that although I do not see an adoption counselor or therapist, if you do, you may find it helpful to schedule an appointment after your visit.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Any questions? Ask me!)
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Talking about it in that perspective, the unwritten chapters of 2010 reminds me of one of my favorite songs, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. The lyrics in the song talk about starting over and how the future is unwritten.
"Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find"
That’s a really great way to look at things at times, whether it is the start of a new year, a new job, a new relationship, or a new adventure.
Of course, even with new starts, we are going to make mistakes. We are only human. Another part of the song covers that.
"I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way
The past doesn’t escape us, the issues are still there, the mistakes still haunt us, but at some point, we have to try and move forward, right? "
Personally, it’s hard for me, I try not to beat myself up for the mistakes I have made in my past, but honestly there are times I get down with myself and I do. But then I have to remind myself that those mistakes are in the past. I can’t rewind life and go back and re-do them. I have to try and forgive myself and accept that the past is the past. However, I can control the future, the unwritten chapters in my life. I can learn from those mistakes, share them with others so they might not make the mistakes, and make changes in my life so that I don’t make the same mistakes again.
So, here’s to the unwritten chapter of 2010!