Monthly Archives: March 2007

The “REAL” Mom’s Heart

N.-

Lots of talk is going around about what it means to be a ‘real mom’ (see the meme) , so I thought I’d chime in with my two cents on the matter.

The way I see it, what makes a woman a real mom is what lies in her heart.  A real mom’s heart:

  • Feels joy at the presence or sight of her child
  • Feels pain when her child is in pain
  • Feels hopeful for the future in all that her child can possibly be
  • Breaks when her child’s heart breaks
  • Sings with pride with each new accomplishment her child makes
  • Worries about her child when she can’t be nearby
  • Strikes out at those who try to hurt her child
  • Laughs when her child laughs
  • Finds peace when her children are safe
  • Allows her to do things for her child she’d never do for anyone else
  • Loves her child no matter where he or she is

Everyone does their mothering differently.  Some are the day to day caretakers and some are the day to day worriers.  Others are fortunate enough to be both, but it is the mother’s heart that makes her “REAL.”

Be well today.

E. 

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, mamahood, memes, reflection

Big Fat Grouch

Okay, so today, this week, I have been a big fat grouch.  Such a beautiful birthday party, lovely weather, and a great conversation with you…well, of course these were the highlights of my week.  And it all went downhill from there.  Daycare is closed, and I am the equivalent of a single parent for the week. 

It seems our boy, now that he’s one, has decided that big boys don’t sleep.  Ever.  Or at least he thinks its very grown-up to sleep for one or two hours and then wake up screaming for an hour after that.  This has been going on for the past week or more, and we are at a total loss for how to cure it.  I have changed my pattern with not much different results–instead of picking him up to comfort him, I just sit in his room and make calming shshshshhh noises.  It just ticks him off worse.  He does this at nap times, too.  I am tired, like down to my toes and deep in my bones tired.  Yesterday as I tried at 3 pm to get him to nap, while he screamed, I cried too.  And that got his attention.  As tears were streaming down my face, he looked up at me with his beautiful blue eyes and literally LAUGHED at me.  Fine, naptime over.  By the way, he decided he was tired enough for a nap at 6p.m.  Did I mention that we’ve been having trouble sleeping at night? 

Tuesday night at about 10p.m. as I tried to brush my teeth,  I found that there was no water coming out of the tap.  No water.  We are on a well, and no water means just that.  No sink, no shower, no toilet.  Crap.  So some quick calling first thing Wednesday morning successfully netted us a new well pump. The workers were prompt, curteous, quick, and… expensive.  “Ma’am, that’ll be $1,000.  Thank you very much.”

And have I mentioned the ants?  I believe that when our home was originally built in the early 80’s, it was built upon the sacred mating grounds of King Ant himself.  But his offspring don’t like to stay outside.  They want to be inside with us.  In our kitchen.  In the nursery.  In the living room.  In the basement.  And sometimes they build nests and lay eggs.  Seriously.  So, with all the enthusiasm I am capable of, which is quite a lot, I want them dead.   Despite the fact that its not their fault.  I like being in my house, too.  But I want them dead.  So the man came yesterday to spray an amazing amount of deadly poison around the outside of the house. I can feel the carcinogens seeping into my bones as I write this.

And back to the sleep thing.  Because I’m bone tired, and because I have been edgy, and because I am at my wits end as to what to do, my Mother, bless her little heart, feels the need to reflect back to me how I’m a person who just takes things too seriously, that I’m not as laid back as other people when it comes to our boy (read:  “you’re overreacting, take a chill pill”).  “Oh, don’t get me wrong, you’re a wonderful mother…blah, blah, blah.”  It isn’t nice to punch your mother…so it was nice that this conversation was by phone.

I write all this because, well, I have to put it somewhere.  And I may as well let you in on some of what goes on around here.  Pray for restored sleep of our little one.

Can’t wait to get the package this week!  One thing to look forward to.

–E. 

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Filed under adoption, mamahood, not much, vent

First Birthday…

About 6 months ago, I dreamed about you.  It was one of those rambling dreams that when you look at the whole thing from beginning to end, you get kind of confused, people aren’t always who they are in real life and places aren’t really accurate, either.  But there was one thread that was quite clear.  One chapter of the dream was about Woob as a little baby, and I was trying to keep him from terrible harm.  Another chapter was at one of his birthday parties.  You were there with us, and in the excitement of the day, I realized you were gone.  Lost.  And I wasn’t able to find you.  I was terribly upset, but had to keep going with the task at hand.  In the third chapter of the dream, I went to meet up our son, who as grown.  I saw him from a distance and remember being breathless at how handsome he was…but then as I approached, he disappeared, too.  I couldn’t find him.  I woke from this series of dreams scared, sickened, sweating and heart pounding.  I later spoke to a friend about this as she likes to interpret dreams.  She told me that the first part was my “momma bear” instinct stepping in and the third part was just fear that someday the Woob would leave me (but don’t all little boys eventually grow to leave their mamas??).  But she said the dream about you was a statement that there’s no connection between us, between you and Woob.  That those ties were severed.  So NOT what I wanted to hear.  So I don’t take my dreams to her anymore.

Anyway, that dream has been with me all this time.  It has made me really sad.  I can’t believe that there is no connection here.  As I was doing some reading the other day, something about conjoined twins, I flashed on a visual image of us–“E. and N., Siamese Twins Joined at the Woobie.”  (Not a politically correct image, but an image nonetheless).  We’ve survived for the past year this way; if we were separated now, one of us would surely perish.  We both need him to live.  He is the thing that connects us no matter what, throughout our lives, regardless if we were to speak every day or never again. 

Well, this dream was on my mind as we celebrated the Woob’s first year of life this weekend.  You were not at the party.  Not in person.  But you were THERE.  In my mind and heart, and as I blew out Woob’s candle for him and made a wish on his behalf that you were doing well on what must have been a really crappy day for you.  You were there. 

To hear from G’pa G. on the very next day, well, my heart sings at the gesture.  He was able to verify for me that you WERE there, not “severed” from us, not disconnected.  Hurting and confused, yes.  But not disconnected.  Know you’re in my prayers and I think of you daily.

E.

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Filed under adoption, birthdays, birthparents

On God’s Will

N-

All through our day’s of infertility craziness, the phrase “if it’s meant to be, it will happen” was something I held onto for some form of comfort.  As a Christian I had been taught that God has a plan for all of us, we just aren’t always let in on the secret until He’s ready for us to play our part.  So we held on.  Eventually, as it was obvious that we would NOT conceive, not without some fancy medical intervention, we came to the conclusion that it must not be God’s will for us.  He had other plans.

Fast forward to adoption.  We prayed to God that he bless us with a baby to love and care for.  Constantly.  We held on to “if it’s meant to be…”  We looked for signs and prayed some more.  One Sunday, wrestling with God’s will, I knelt in Church and asked my God that if it was His will for me to be childless, to please help me accept my childlessness and move on.  Quite literally, at that moment,

my cell phone rang 

Not even kidding.  It was T. calling to tell us about you.  Asking us if we’d talk to you that day.  Telling us about a boy that was due to be born in just one month. 

a sign from God–God’s will–this was meant to be

The rest of that story is the past year’s history.  A year to live as an adoptive parent.  A year to talk to others, learn and grow, change my thinking.  A year to try to understand God better.  After all that, I’ve come to a few conclusions about God’s will as I’ve tried to relate it to adoption, that somewhat surprise me.  I’m no theologian, however, and my thinking is often faulty and circular so bear with me here.

First, I’m not even sure you can really talk specifically about adoption being God’s will.  I still believe that God has a plan for us, but I think its a general plan rather than a quite specific one.  I picture it this way…We make specific choices based on our own human will.  Somehow He allows us to do this, for better or for worse.  He asks us to make choices that will benefit us and others both in this world and in the next.  Choices that include compassion, love, caring, forgiveness, all that kind of stuff.  I think that His will lies in how he wants us to live within the choices we made.  If God’s will was more specific than that, (like I was predestined to adopt THIS particular child at THIS particular time…) then somehow God’s good will toward me cancels out His good will for someone else.  For my predestined good fortune to occur, that would mean that God had also predestined someone else to have to take a fall, go through pain, suffer indignity…  My faith doesn’t allow me to think in those terms.  Instead, you made a choice for whatever reason to make an adoption plan with us.  We accepted this plan and this child. 

And yet, I feel incredibly blessed that we were brought together, that our family was formed with THIS particular child.  I feel that God’s hand is definitely in there along the way, but I’m still struggling with exactly how.  Perhaps his hand is there on my shoulder and on yours, just guiding us through the decisions that we both made, helping us to be the best parents we can be to the Woobie, each in our own way.  I welcome and need that hand on my shoulder.  And I hope that you feel like His hand is on yours as well.

Peace,

E.

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Filed under adoption, faith, God's will, infertility, adoption

Strange but True

Okay, I’m “it.”  Today mom2one over at Just Enjoy Him tagged me to talk about 10 things that are weird about me (in an attempt to lighten things up??).  I prefer the word “quirky,” or even “interesting” as opposed to weird, but you, the reader will have to be the judge.

  1. I count things.  The number of steps it takes to get from my car to my desk.  The number of stairs from the first floor to the second.  Train cars.  (There are 115 characters in those three sentences, by the way.)
  2. I’m an avid reader, but strangely drawn to Oprah’s book club selections.  I have rarely been disappointed.  To many of you that may not sound too strange, but I am one who actually bought the three book William Faulkner series (As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and The Sound and the Fury) and read all three during the dreaded “Summer of Faulkner.”  Have you ever waded through those three books one after the other?!?  Don’t tell Oprah, but it extended into the Fall and Early Winter of Faulkner as well…
  3. I have a freakish need to finish a book once I start it, even if I’m in over my head (see Quirk #2).
  4. I used to cry when I walked anywhere near a baby/toy department, so sad that I didn’t have a little one of my own.  Now I seriously get choked up anywhere near a baby/toy department, because I’m so happy that I can be there without having to be sad.  Read that again.  I’m sure it makes sense…
  5. If there’s a TV marathon on, I’ll totally watch it.  and watch it.  and watch it.  I have seen every episode of All in the Family, Soap, Mary Tyler Moore, and WKRP in Cincinnatti.  To name just a few.  (All Hail, Nick at Night).
  6. I’d wear pajamas to work if they’d let me…need I say more?
  7. Despite all the OCD tendencies I’m revealing here (I know you were thinkin’ it…), I strangely have NO genetic predisposition to keeping a clean, neat, orderly house or car.
  8. This isn’t weird about ME, per se, but just sounded too weird at the time.  When I was going thru infertility treatments, the RE said that in order for me to get pregnant, I’d have to take a month off the fertility meds and do a round of birth control pills.  Huh?  It was right about that time that infertility became way too surreal for me and I got off that crazy ride.
  9. I drink a Coke for breakfast every morning on the way to work.
  10. I am one of the seemingly few people in the world that doesn’t watch E.R.  I know because I have been yelled at weekly for the past howevermanyyearsitsbeenon…”Whadya MEAN you don’t watch E.R.??!?”

There you have it.  All my weirdness fun qualities in ten easy steps.  And 40 lines of print.

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Filed under memes, personal quirks

What’s a Picture Worth?

Dear N.-

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but are they the right words, the most accurate?  In the past year, I’d guess I’ve sent you 100 or more pictures of Woob.  I’ve wanted to capture his goofy smiles, his chunky legs, his quick growth, and his gorgeous cherub face.  I’ve wanted you to see him happy, playing with his toys, in all his cutest outfits, while he eats, crawls, sleeps and bathes.  These pictures are fun and easy to take and I do it as much for myself as for you.  Someday when I have the time, I will lovingly place each one in a scrap book, make it pretty, and tell the story of Woobie’s first year, his second, his third.

But there’s so much I can’t capture for you with a camera.  The pictures don’t illustrate what it feels like the moment his body relaxes and he finally drifts off into a true deep sleep.  They won’t let you know the frustration he feels when he’s told “no” for the 100th time, or when he tries over and over to pull himself up without success.  You won’t be able to see the love in his eyes for his “rag” when he grabs it with his chubby little hand at naptime, or the thrill he gets from crawling down the hall when he knows you’re going to chase him, the determination and pride on his little face when he learns something new.  There are so many details in a day, those things that make him who he is, that you might never know.  A year has gone by and I fear so much has been missed. 

Even if I could find a way to pass these things on to you in pictures and letters, I’m not even sure it would be fair to.  I fear that if you truly knew what had been missed this year, the sorrow might be too fierce.  In one year so much happens. 

I’m so conflicted right now–caught between a true wish for you to be able to experience some form of motherhood with this child and the frustration of not knowing if you even want that experience yourself.  Am I putting way more effort and emotion into this than I should?  Did you make your decision and never look back?  My heart tells me no.

But despite what my heart is telling me, soon you’ll receive the next letter:  light, conversational, and upbeat with pictures to match.

Hope to hear from you soon.

E. 

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Filed under adoption, birthparents

Dear Me, Please Send Flowers

miscmum2.jpeg

Dear Me of March, 2006:

You are about to get the call that says your son is being born.   I know you did the best you could with everything at the time, but looking back, things could have been done differently.  When you get that call, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and honestly, take a nap, because the next few days will be so frought with sleeplessness and emotion, and you really do need your wits about you for what’s to come.   And when its time to pack your bag, by all means, feel free to pack clothes and shoes that are comfy–nobody really cares all that much about what you’re wearing, and eventually the baby’s gonna pee on it anyway.

Don’t be snappish with B. about how slow he is in getting packed and getting ready to leave town.  He’s a little scared and hasn’t put in all the same time and energy into researching how all this is supposed to work, who we’re supposed to talk to, and he certainly doesn’t know what to do with a baby or how to be a daddy…its no wonder he will be dragging his feet a little. 

When you get the call at the hotel early in the morning that FINALLY labor is progressing, take a moment and pray for N., that she feels some relief soon.  You know now that she’s been in pain all night and is just plain worn out.  Say a prayer of thanks that she’s had family with her through it all–not everyone does.

And when you’re sitting in the waiting room and you get a call on your cellphone from G. letting you actually hear your new son’s FIRST CRY after being delivered (!!), savor that brief moment.  You didn’t have much time to register what was happening then, and by the time you realized what it was, it was over.   He and L will come down to meet you soon.  Try so hard not to be guarded, nervous and stiff–HUG THEM!!  They are the ones who are hurting over the impeding loss of their grandson, the first boy in the family for years and years.  Right now their hearts are breaking not just for N., but for themselves.  They are just as nervous about meeting you as you are them.

As you’ve been told hundreds of times before through this adoption journey–be patient, even though you think your heart might explode.  Don’t be childish and hurt because N.’s not ready to meet you yet.  She’s exhausted above all.  She just bore a child she will not keep.  Give her the time to heal physically so she has the strength to deal with all the emotional stuff.  Just go back to the hotel, see a movie, do ANYTHING but sit and stew over the timing of things.  You will have the rest of your life to touch, hold and love this baby.  Another few hours will not kill you. 

Later that evening, when you’re called back to the hospital to meet N. and your new baby, try to loosen up, even a little.  Your agency has put fear in your heart and it so limits you from living in the moment.  And people can tell, they can see the fear and the resulting wall you’ve built, and that just adds to the stress of the moment for everyone.  They need to see who you really are so trust can develop.  Who knows?  That trust could’ve meant more openness between you and N. today.  You’ll never get that first few minutes back.

So many things to consider over the next day or two when we’re all sharing the same spaces, both taking part in the care of this new precious boy.  First, just back off.  Remember all this is a privelege, not a right.  There is such a thing as BOUNDARIES, and N. isn’t in a position to feel like she can openly defend hers at the moment.  Ask her, listen to her, talk to her a little bit more.  Find a way to hear what she wants even if she’s not saying it out loud.

On that last morning at the hospital. let N. have the whole morning with her son.  She needs more time to say goodbye and all too soon she will be checking out.  She has already signed the papers and doesn’t realize she can ask for this time.  Don’t make her even think she has to ask…just offer.

You will do many things right in that time, too, don’t get me wrong.  But the one thing I really wish you’d consider that you’ll not get the opportunity for in the future, don’t forget to send her some flowers.

Love, E. of Feb., 2007 

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, reflection