Monday, February 27, 2012

Music Monday: 1000 Oceans by Tori Amos

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quote of the Week: Smallest Things

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." 
- Winnie the Pooh

Friday, February 24, 2012

Changing my Mind

Image credit
A comment I received on my last blog post caused me to do some thinking.  The commenter stated that I had entrusted my daughter’s adoptive parents with her and it seemed odd for them to not trust me with something as simple as their last name, address, and phone numbers.  I addressed her and said that especially at this point that it was mostly due to their respect for their parents’ opinions on open adoptions, which is true. 

However that’s not the point to this post.  Though I no longer feel this way, I felt the same way at one time.  I thought that it was weird of my daughter’s parents to not trust me with basic information about them when I had given them my daughter.

Obviously something changed.  I think the major reason for the change in my own feelings about it is that they’ve continued to extend their hands to us to keep the relationship open and working.  If they didn’t trust us at this point, I think that though they might have continued the bare minimum that they wouldn’t be making the extra efforts that they have been.  My daughter’s mom wouldn’t be emailing me, nor would she be suggesting visits out of the blue.  At our last visit, they left their daughter with us for a short period of time.  If they didn’t trust us, that wouldn’t have happened.  That only served to cement the understanding that they do trust us but they still have to balance that with their respect for their parents’ wishes.  I have hopes that at some point in the future their parents will trust us with their granddaughter like their son and daughter do.

This change in thinking caused me to think about what else has changed in my thought patterns and feelings in adoption.

I honestly used to think of adoption as kind of a bad thing.  Not that it was bad to be adopted, or to place a baby for adoption – just that it was different and could be bad for the children involved.  I now understand after living an open adoption and seeing other working open adoptions in action that differences do not always equal negatives.  I had this opinion because I grew up knowing that my dad had been adopted and saw the things he blamed on being adopted.  I saw the feelings of abandonment that many adoptees I’ve read (especially from closed adoptions) struggle with feeling.  Though I still unfortunately see many broken adoptions, I also see the thriving open adoptions and know how much it benefits all involved, but especially the children.  This has worked toward changing another thought process in my head surrounding adoption.

Have thoughts and feelings changed for you as well?  What specifically?  Have they changed for the better or have you changed your opinion negatively due to your own situation?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Hunt

My family and I are searching for a new house. My husband and I have lived in the same house since we got married. He actually bought the house long before he met and married me. But now that our family has grown, it's time to move in to something that better fits our lifestyle.

My 'free' time is now full of looking at prospective homes online, reading about their age, construction and looking at pictures taken to accentuate their positive features.

I hate to think of choosing which child to adopt or which family to place your child in as shopping. At the same time I understand the desire to find that child that will fit in with the family. My friends have adopted two children from the same country and are quick to tell them they are special because they were chosen.

At the time of my closed adoption, I chose my birthdaughter's family based on a one-page, typed summary of the couples' yearly income, hobbies, pets and whether or not the woman desired to stay at home. I had no pictures, and the only letters I had were handwritten 'Dear Birthmom' letters.

My how times have changed! I've seen the glossy portfolios families put together now in order to "sell" themselves.

Adding that special someone to your family or deciding what family your child will go to takes a huge amount of courage and faith. A house can be sold and another one found. But a child and a family is for life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quote of the Week: Story of Your Life

"When writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen." 
- Unknown

Friday, February 17, 2012

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Danielle

Today's featured blogger is Danielle of Another Version of Mother.  Let's find out a little more about Danielle....

First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).

My name is Danielle and I am a birthmother.   I am 26, almost 27. I love reading, writing and coffee.   I live in Canada, with my husband, and two parented children. 

When I was 17, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. I had been using contraception to prevent, but still wound up with a positive pregnancy test. The birth father and I had broken up about a month before I officially found out about the pregnancy. Our relationship, due to circumstances and our being na├»ve, was not repairable.  He was very much absent from the entire pregnancy; it wasn't until a year or so after that we began to speak again. 

I wouldn't say that I chose an adoption plan personally, as much as I was guided, and demanded to do so. My parents are highly religious and it was pushed on me from the moment I told them I was pregnant. Being so young, and feeling like I had to be obedient to my parents’ wishes, I complied. I knew my only real options were parenting or adoption.  Abortion just didn't feel like the choice I could make at that moment (but I am very pro-choice!).   I was told in certain terms that if I parented the child, I would be on my own entirely.  So I went with adoption.   It's taken me years to come to terms with how my adoption plan was really not even mine to begin with.  It will be something I struggle with likely for the rest of my life.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I've always written things regarding the adoption.  I just never shared it with anyone.  This past year, thanks to other inspiring birthmothers, I have finally taken the brave step in talking about my experiences in the adoption process. This has been an incredible part of the journey for me as a birthmother. It has been therapeutic to dig deep and write about these intense and raw moments in my life, ones that I had repressed for almost the last decade.  It's definitely empowering!
Tell us more about the title of your blog.  Why did you choose it?

My blog title is "Another Version of Mother" because I am another version of mother. So often birthmothers are not recognized properly, or even as what they are: a mother. We are another version of mother. Even after relinquishing parental rights we still remain a mother.  We are always a mother. 

Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?

They’ve been positive, which has been brilliant and encouraging for me!  I'm sure it won't always be this way, but for the time being everyone has been "welcoming". It's been really incredible to have people say to me, "Keep writing, keep sharing! Your voice is needed!" I truly feel blessed to have had such a positive response so far. 

What post on your blog do you consider a “must read” for people visiting your blog for the first time?  Or what post(s) from your blog is (or are) your favorite(s) and why?

This post is more recent, but I love it.  When it was featured on BlogHer, it made me cry. To know people see the beauty in it, despite the tough feelings of loneliness, and regret, is so amazing! I am actually proud of myself for being able to relive this memory for the sake of putting it out there.  This one goes through the day I found out I was pregnant, the waiting game I played, and the internal dialogue I had with myself.  This post talks about discussing my personal experiences in real life with others, and I still feel strongly that no matter where you are in your journey, it's your choice as a birthparent, adoptee, or adoptive parent to share the story as you wish. 

However, some of my favorite blog posts are not always the most well written. They are the ones where I piece things together for myself, where I recognize traits that I have picked up along the way, and am able to grow as a person. 

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog? 

Just do it. I spent so many years terrified to share my own experiences. I felt like I couldn't, that I shouldn't. But I'm seeing that it's impacting not only me for the better, but also inspiring moments of epiphanies in others. I love the camaraderie that comes from sharing experiences like this through writing.

Thank you for allowing us to spotlight you, Danielle!