Monthly Archives: October 2007

Some Hard Stuff

 Papa2Roo’s brother ,Uncle2Roo (U2R), is a pretty special person around here. He lives pretty far away and when he comes to visit the family, usually stays at our house.  He’s 10 years older that Papa2Roo and has always been there to give advice, listen without judgment, talk about his wilder days, help with household projects, and all that.  He is single with no kids.  He’s been gone so long that he wasn’t really around much when his other neices and nephews were growing up.  Since he stays at our house, though, he’s gotten to know the Woob pretty darn well, and really, really enjoys spending time with him.  He brings him crazy toys when he comes to visit–screeching monkeys, stuffed animal dogs, dragon, RAT, and most recently a crazy laughing duck.  Woob loves him.  He loves Woob.  They play together and U2R is amazed at how brilliant and fun a toddler can be. 

The Thanksgiving before Woob was born, almost 2 years ago now, U2R was diagnosed with a weird form of liver cancer.  He had some surgeries, lots of chemo and radiation, some with success, some not.  He’s been sick on several occasions with pneumonia because the chemo has compromised his immune system.  He’s had a pretty rough couple of years, but always hopeful. 

The last time U2R was in town he told me about one day during his prayer time, he felt it on his heart to just pray and pray for Woob, for his health and safety, for his future, for his family, because he just thought he was such a special little boy and he loved him so much.  He said while he prayed he just cried and cried, he just loves him so much.  And he got tearful while he told me about it.

This week we learned that the doctors will not be pursuing further treatment for the cancer as “they’ve done all they can do.”  The treatments are not effective, and they just tend to make him sick and miserable.  They’re choosing quality of life over quantity at this point.  Papa2Roo’s family isn’t good at talking about this stuff…about what it means as far as time, comfort, how things will realistically end.  I can’t say I blame them, though I have a different way of doing things.  I like to prepare myself for the worst and hope for the best.  But to them, they’re holding on to anything they can to keep hope going. 

I’m bummed.  I’m saddened so much, certainly for all of us, but also for Woob.  Who will have another loss in his young life.  He won’t know it or understand it, but I know what he’ll be losing.

Please keep U2R and the family in your thoughts and prayers as we enter into this weird time in our lives.

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9 Comments

Filed under adoption, grief

“Letters to a ‘Birth Lady’??”

Nonononononono…I don’t think so.  This is being written about HERE, and it just seems so dismissive and icky and disrespectful towards the woman that mothered and cared for her child for those nine long months in the womb.  The woman who will likely think about that child and the implications of placing in some form or another for the rest of her life.  The woman who likely believes her child will be cared for by loving parents because for some reason she didn’t feel like she could do it herself at that time.  Birth Lady.  (Avon Lady?  Lunch Lady?  Old Lady?  Hey, Lady!)  Odd thinking.

The name we use around our house for Woob’s mom is “Mama N.”  When I’m talking to others not really connected and use “Woob’s mama,” I am always quickly corrected (as if I’m WRONG)–“but YOU’RE his mom!!”  Yeah I am, but so is she, but thanks for trying to enlighten me.  And other times I don’t feel like fighting the fight and just refer to her as “N.” or Woob’s birthmom.  Again, labels seem so important to folks and we wouldn’t want anyone to be confused about who’s who, would we?  In time, Woob will decide what he wants to call N. and they can have those discussions together.  Regardless of what that happens to be, I can assure you, it will not be BIRTH LADY!

Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to “Letters to Another Mother.”  Feedback??

5 Comments

Filed under adoption, birthparents, motherhood, semantics

“Mama2Roo Needs…”

I just read this meme over at www.lifeisjustsodaily.blogspot.com and thought it looked like fun.  You enter your first name into Google search with the word “needs” and see what kinds of phrases come up.  Here’s what I came up with when I put in my name (substituted here with my online name)…

Mama2Roo Needs:

  • to give Tim food.
  • a new computer.
  • to be told no and to be whipped into shape by nanny 911 (! ! !)
  • female roommates.
  • our help picking out undergarments.
  • your support.
  • to learn how to deal.
  • help getting ready for a date.
  • to work harder this week.

Pretty funny, heh?  Try it yourself and see what YOU need today! 

3 Comments

Filed under adoption

Still Mulling the Ethics Conference in DC

I’d like to boil down all the information, discussion, and debate for those of you who weren’t at the Ethics and Accountability in Adoption Conference in DC last week put on by Evan B. Donaldson Institute and Ethica, but ya know what?  I just can’t.  I’m swirling it around in my head the sheer diversity of information.  It was unlike any professional conference I have ever attended. 

Here’s how it worked:  The main focus, as stated before was ethics and accountability in adoption.  Simple and to the point, right?  Well, that topic was further broken down into three separate components:  Accountability to Families of Origin, Accountability to Children/Adopted Adults, and Accountability to Prospective and Current Adoptive Families.  For each segment there was a large panel meeting for everyone to attend, followed by smaller panel meetings to choose from.  For example, the Main panel of Accountability to Children/Adopted Adults was followed by your choice of: 

  • “Protecting Racial/Ethnic/Cultural Ties in Transcultural/Transracial Adoption”,
  • “Alternative Routes to Permanency,”
  • Adoptee Access to Records History and Searches,
  • Supporting Adopted Persons Post-Placement,” and
  • “Marketing Children for Adoption”

Each panel had four panelists which included a moderator that initially addressed some main questions (i.e.”Is legal permanency the best option for every child?  Are there more informal forms fo permanency that should be considered in some cases?  What alternative forms of permanency should be considered internationally?”).  Each panelist came from a different viewpoint which mihgt have included Adult adoptee (international adoptee), Adoptive parent, child welfare adoption worker, agency adoption worker, Ethica rep., Donaldson rep., attorney, First parent, advocate, etc…. so you can imagine while answering a few questions from a few perspectives, that’s gonna raise some REALLY great thingking in the audience.  Once the panel finished, each discussion was opened to the audience to make comments, ask questions, show evidence or what have you that dissects the topic even further.  Just some real eye-opening stuff being said throughout the whole conference. 

I was surprised by a few things–at how firmly some folks are set in their beliefs that even with such great evidence and people willing to make themselves vulnerable to tell their stories, and research and all, that they still can’t even consider a different point of view.  I am convinced there were some people there that left amazingly  unchanged.  Likewise, I was surprised at some of my own reactions to the information presented.  Of how little I really know, of how fearful I am to learn more.  Of how this effects my family, Woob’s family, my work, my life.  Because with all this comes an accountability that I don’t feel ready or equipped to conquer.  I feel small and weak.  And I’m not really even talking about some of the BIG QUESTIONS, but thinking smaller about right here in my own little box.  I don’t see myself as an activist.  But I do feel the need to DO something.  Where in the world to begin?

As I’ve been contemplating all this, my mind keeps going back to a post Paragraphein wrote called “Everyday Activism“: a little while back that has just stuck with me here and there, but seems to be screaming to me right now.  Check it out.  If you already read it once, go back and read it again.

And I was terribly happy to either be introduced or gather the courage to introduce myself to Margie, Suz, Claud, and Brenda while I was there…people who use their voices to make change every day.  A bunch of beautiful women facing some huge issues with compassion and grace.

Hehe, when I started this post, it was with the purpose of bringing up a point that the adoption attorney on one panel used to explain how they get expectant parents making an adoption plan to give accurate information about themselves.  She stated she uses three main “tactics” (of course after building positive rapport and a trusting relationship with the mother).  And I quote: 

  • 1. The “voice of reason”,    (where she explains the good that comes from truthfulness, for the baby and the aparents)
  • 2. The “stick”,  (where she tells them if the parent lies or withholds info, there could be serious legal consequences)and
  • 3. The “carrot” (a letter from an aparent that talks about all the bad things that happened to them and their child when the child’s birthmother did not give good info).

That whole thing REALLY made me uncomfortable.   I agree that information is important if the adoption is going to happen, but I don’t really think there’s any room for adoption professionals to use terms like “the stick” or “the carrot” if they want to be perceived as ethical.   Perhaps she should’ve just stopped at the trusting relationship part.  And she had more to say, not all of it really comfortable to listen to, but a great illustration of how there does need to be change in our system.  BTW, that was a really FUN audience to sit in.  The more she spoke, the more air seemed to just be sucked out of the room.  You could hear the frantic scribbling of questions, comments, foul language on note cards from around the room.

I have no idea if any single word in this post has made sense.  Thoughts, comments, questions, dissention…they’re all welcome here.  I’ll be happy to clarify if needed.  I just couldn’t go and not write ANYTHING…I’m sure there will be more to come.

Have a good Monday, everyon!

7 Comments

Filed under adoption, ethics, reflection

Baby Dust/Baby Lust

I believe that there is no comparison between the pain of infertility and the pain of relinquishment.  I’ve only been through the infertility part.  But relinquishment pain has got to be more excruciating, especially when a person’s been told they will eventually get over it, or have been pretty much demanded to get over it.  For all the things I’m probably pretty naïve about and unaware of, I do get that.   

I’ve not suffered through miscarriages, I’ve not (thus far) undergone any procedures more horrible than a laparoscopy.  I haven’t had severe reactions to the hormones and other medications I’ve tried.  Heck, the nurse at the RE even told me time and again that I have a “nice, fluffy uterine lining.”  Wow, how’s that for high praise…and way too much information?  Point is, even though I’ve had it relatively easy in this department, and I know many women haven’t, infertility has been and to some extent continues to be a big deal to me.  It affects my life.  It effects my emotions.  It effects how I relate to other people.  It impacts my work and my understanding of others.  At this moment, thank God, it does not rule my life.  I pray it doesn’t in the future.  It doesn’t wholly define me, but it is one part of who I am.  One little part.   

If I am going to be truthful, I’ve gotta say that I don’t feel done mothering babies yet.  There’s something in my heart and brain, something organic that drives that feeling.  Nature tells me that I’m a mother, even though my body disagrees. 

Some folks don’t understand that drive…they don’t “get” why someone like me, who has plenty of other people in her life to love and care for, feels the need to have/parent a(nother) baby.  It boggles their minds why someone like me just can’t get over it.  If I adopt, I may be accused of causing trauma to lots of people, and perhaps I have.  Perhaps I hope to avoid that in the future by not adopting again.  If I pursue infertility treatments instead, I may be accused of having baby lust.  Perhaps instead, some think that people like me should just chuck it all and just get over it.  Maybe find a job in daycare.  Some of those folks that might tell me this are the same ones that either lost their babies or their parents through adoption.  When they’ve been told to get over their loss–that they’re not entitled to it…well, that’s a big deal, and it makes total sense to me why this would be more than upsetting to them, and why they speak out against it.  Their loss is cellular.  Getting over it doesn’t make sense.  Nor would it be kind of me to say to them to just go work with kids, volunteer at a pet center, hug your nieces and nephews…those things might enhance their lives, but certainly doesn’t replace that core emptiness.   

And FINALLY, on to my point… 

Loss can come in varying degrees, different people have different skills for managing grief after loss.  Loss is personal.  Each person’s perspective is different.  We all get there at different times.  Some of us hang on to our grief because it is a comfort to be able to stay angry—anger is energy and energy pushes change.  Some of us don’t like the way the anger has changed us, so we look to find a different way to cope.  But some losses, as you know, you don’t get over.  You find a way to work it into your life, move beyond it, turn it to something positive, or at least whittle it down so its not so negative.  You live with it and hopefully accept it, but sometimes getting over it just doesn’t happen.  Its not wrong, its not right.  It just is.   

What must be done among us to be able to recognize one another’s pain and loss and respect each other, if not for our resulting actions or beliefs, but for the humanity that we all share in the experience of loss?

16 Comments

Filed under adoption, birthparents, grief, infertility, adoption, mamahood, motherhood, reflection

Time Flies

I’m still playing over so many of things that happened over the weekend, things we discussed and maybe a few still left to discuss.  But still…amazing we are where we are today.  My heart is very full.  You’ve given us and Woob many gifts just by your presence, not to mention your ability to just be straight up and honest about so many things. 

But what touches me the most, and leaves me feeling so…sad?…undone?…sorry…is your sentiment that you just don’t know what took you so long to get in touch with us.  That one little statement is so packed with information, isn’t it?  On one hand, I’m happy to hear it, because its you saying, “hey, you guys aren’t scary after all, this isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.”  I love that.  But in typical adoption fashion, for every cool thing that happens, there’s loss behind it.  In order for you to make a statement like that to me, you had to lose big time.  A whole year of your baby’s life.  Gosh, I’m grieving his swiftly passing babyhood and I’ve been here the whole time watching it, I can’t imagine the loss of not having been there at all.  I heard you make the comment, “I want him to be a baby again…”  I do too, for my sake and for yours. 

But he’s growing.  Happily and healthfully.  And he’s wonderful and smart and loving and good.  And perhaps if we can remember the losses from before, it will help us to prevent more in the future.  I’m so glad you’re here now.

6 Comments

Filed under adoption, birthparents, mamahood, motherhood, open adoption