Seriously?!


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October Reflection

I feel like I’ve lost a piece of my old self.  Blogging used to be a daily ritual; my therapy during my darkest days and my hope during my adoption journey.  I used to love pouring out my heart and soul.  Sometimes I’d offend people (mainly family/friends who assumed a post was about them), sometimes I’d have people in tears, and sometimes/more often, I finally bridged a gap between those that knew me in real life so that they could see just an inkling of the pain my heart was going through.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately.  Two weeks ago marked 5 years since Mikayla, my most difficult loss, grew her angel wings.  So much has changed during those five years.  My marriage has been tested, my body failed me repeatedly over pregnancies that came and went, I became desperate in my quest to become pregnant, I went a little coo coo…and then I found peace.  I don’t know how exactly…but I finally learned to let go.

Letting go of my desire to carry a child was so important to my healing.  It was in fact the very moment that my life started to move forward.  I soaked in as much information as I could about adoption.  I became friends with people in a new circle; ones whose focus on family building was not the almighty quest for two pink lines, strong betas, and heartbeats.  It was different.  It provided me with the peace my heart had been aching for.

Our adoption journey surely did not come without any challenges.  Those who have been following, and continue to read (insert echo: helloooooo, hellooooooooooooo?), know that things have been quite the ride filled with many highs and lows.

Our open relationship ebbs and flows.  We continue to only hear sporadically from Little Miss’s birthfamily.  I suspect this is due to her Birthmother trying to find her way.  At times I miss our connection greatly; especially the little girls.  And other times, I still feel great relief that I am no longer knee-deep in the chaos that surrounded them.  Through this, I’m gaining perspective.  I’m soaking up pages, words, letters of guru’s book; dog earring pages and reflecting as I read….always asking myself: How can I apply this to our relationship?  Will our relationship get ‘there’?  Will our relationship get ‘here’?  And more importantly, reminding myself that sometimes the best thing to do is to sit idle and be patient.  Being idle in the sense of trying to not always have to ‘fix’ things or connect, connect, connect.

During this process, I’ve noticed that the blogs that I used to read have also changed.  Some have disappeared, some have become vacant spaces, and some are still in the midst of writing about their journey of family building.

I have to be honest.  I find that I”m not feeling that craving anymore.  That quest for knowledge about this ‘other world’.  Perhaps that is because time has helped to hear many of those deep deep scars.  And the obvious, I’m now living in that ‘other world’ I once craved to be a part of.   As I juggle teaching and mommyhood, time is sucked from me.  I am content with today.  I no longer crave for more things for tomorrow.  Our adoption journey feels complete.  I am done with waiting, wondering, and hoping for things.  I feel that I actually do have everything that my heart desires.

So that brings me to this space.  I feel like the end is near.  The blog that I once felt so connected with, is now just a book whose pages I barely read.  It is collecting dust.

I’m thinking that it’s time to wrap it up in a neat little bow and call it a day.

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It’s hard to say good bye. I’ve made some wonderful connections with women.  I’ve had my heartache and struggle heard and validated.  I’ve been hugged countless times and have enjoyed hugging back.  And maybe I’m not too sure if I’m ready just yet.  But I suppose it’s also part of letting go.  And we all know that letting go isn’t always a bad thing.

Until next time…

Much love, gratitude and peace to you.

Michelle

xox


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OART #47 – Openness Changes

The timing on this roundtable is incredible.

What to do when the ball is dropped in open adoption…when any one of the people involved just flat-out stop responding? Break-downs, break-ups…when does giving someone space turn into a one-sided relationship? Should you try harder to connect? Should you give up? Any methods to re-start, especially when there was no specific, known event leading up to disconnection?

Have you experienced a stalled open adoption relationship? Have you ever been the one who pulled away? Tell us about that.

I have a heavy heart today. For those who read my previous post, you know what I’ve been struggling with.

Time and discussion with friends and ‘experts’, bless you Lori, have provided some much needed perspective of the current emotionally charged situation my open relationship is currently in.

For those who don’t know all of the details, what I can say is that our relationship with our birthfamily has seen many…MANY…changes this past year and a bit.

When Little Miss was born, 15 months ago, we all made a committment to see each other, share photos, share stories and ‘grow’ our family. Our committment was to Little Miss’s Birthmother, Birthfather, her three other sisters, and Birthmom’s Foster Mom who lived up north.

In the beginning, nobody really knew how to navigate these waters. We had moved their family down from up north. We had paid for things as per the ‘Adoption Act’, in order for the placement to take place. We followed the agency’s lead and then had to make the transition to a ‘normal’ relationship. These changes were a little bumpy in the beginning. There were some transition wounds but we continued to try to think about what was best for Little Miss.

We grew an instant family. I had no idea that our openness would encompass so many people. But as soon as I met them and fell in love with Little Miss’s sisters, I knew that this was a blessing.

Our first few visits last year were fun. We’d meet at a park, put on a BBQ, the kids would play, we’d take pictures, and Birthmom and I would spend some quiet time together talking about her dreams.

I loved it. I absolutely loved it.

I knew that our Birthmother and I had a very special connection. I recognize pieces of myself in her. I recognized pieces one of my best friends in her. I recognized pieces of my at-risk students in her. Fiery, determined pieces – trying to make it in a world where she has some obstacles. I respected that. I admired her for overcoming so many obstacles she had already encountered in her very young age. I was determined to help empower her to make some changes in her life. I wanted her to see her dreams come true.

Over the next couple of months, things started to change. Visits started to get cancelled. Phone numbers started to change or become disconnected. Something was up.

At one point, I finally pleaded for Birthmom to call me. She explained that she was leaving Birthdad. Homelife was not as it had appeared. The relationship for them all was not healthy or safe.

At that point, all contact stopped with Little Miss’s Birthfather.

I immediately felt a massive shift in my relationship with our Birthmother. I dove in. My heart sunk with fear for her and her girls. I got really involved in trying to ‘rescue’. I kept telling myself to ’empower’ her and not ‘enable’. It was a fine line I walked. It was emotional and grueling. We seemed to encounter obstacle after obstacle. And things started to get out of my comfort level.

What was our relationship becoming? Where was Little Miss in all of this?

I desperately needed some boundaries. I was scared to lay them. I felt guilty for wanting them.

I needed to gain some perspective. All it took was simple email for me to get something for her, and I felt a turning point. I had to say ‘no’. I had to lay some boundaries down and redefine our relationship for the sake of Little Miss. I didn’t want her relationship with her birthfamily to always be about having to ‘fix’ their situation.

I had to let go.

And so I did. I felt guilty in the beginning. But what followed was relief. I knew then that I had to let Birthmom try to navigate her waters on her own.

Since that moment, things have begun to pull away. We haven’t seen Birthmom and Little Miss’s sisters since her birthday at the end of January.

Visits have been cancelled. Phone lines disconnected. A move took place. A trip to another province to see if she was going to move there. Talk that she was, then that sizzled. But emails still continued about ‘wanting’ to see us.

The one thing that had remained consistent in Birthmom’s world, is that she continued to attend school. I was so incredibly proud of her. She completed a certificate and wanted to celebrate with us and Little Miss. We were honoured that she invited us to join her in her graduation. She gave us a date, said she had tickets for us, and we had hoped to meet up before the big day.

And then all communication came to a complete halt. Complete. Halt.

I hadn’t heard anything from her in weeks. The school called ‘looking’ for her. Foster Mom said she’d talked to her…all seemed ‘well’. But why was she not responding to me? I didn’t know what was going on. She was not responding to my emails. I had no way to contact her.

I felt helpless and really sad. What was going on here???

Her graduation was held last night. How would we get in? Would she be there? Would Little Miss hold up with her current stomach bug and endless ‘accidents’? With so many unknowns and a long drive ahead, we made the difficult choice not to go. I wanted to give her the day to see if she would contact me about the evening. I checked my email constantly. But nothing came. I didn’t hear anything.

Her Foster Mom said she’d tell her that we were trying to get a hold of her. Why has she not made contact?

I was so disappointed. So disappointed. I wanted to be there to celebrate with her. But I needed to hear from her. It was the one thing hubs and I both needed, in order to go.

Before bed, I sent her an email explaining that we had wished to hear from her but didn’t know what to do given the stop in communication. I explained how incredibly proud of her that we were for this amazing accomplishment and for persevering through her very difficult year. And then I welcomed any contact, email, visit, phone call…whenever she was ready.

I have part of an address she gave me for her new place. I’ll try to piece it all together with the help of Canada Pos.t, and then send off the cards we have hoping they receive her hands.

And so this morning, I sit here wondering how we got to this place. But also, part of me is not surprised.

I’ve received some wonderful guidance from those in our community and will continue to follow it…always being open to receiving contact from our Birthmother.

The irony of the timing of this ‘Roundtable’ is incredible. I am relieved at this opportunity to share my situation, in the hopes of hearing from others who have walked a similar path. I am desperate to feel that I am not ‘alone’ in this.

And I guess part of me needs to know that all of this is ‘ok’. How I’ve handled things might not have always been the best. I’m a newbie at this and our situation has been challenging from the beginning. But the one thing I know to be true, is that persevering through Openness IS in the best interest for us all.

So in the mean time, I stop ‘DOing’, as my dear Guru suggested, and wait and welcome contact when it comes.

To read more posts from others on this topic, please visit Open Adoption Bloggers here.


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When They Call You, Cause You’re The Expert

One of my dearest and oldest friends texted me yesterday.  She wanted to talk…wanted to know when there would be a good time.

My heart sunk.  I knew immediately why she was calling.

Her pregnancy was in trouble.

And I was right.  My dear friend is going through rounds of testing, just entering her second trimester, organs outside of the baby’s body, suspicions of Trisomy 18…and so on…and so on.

If there was ever a time that I hated being 2500 km away from my home town…it is always in a time like this.  I wish my hand could hold hers.

My heart weeps for her.  I’ve been in contact with her several times over the past couple of days.   I recognize the fear of the unknown, the doctor invasions, the countless tests, the desire to have hope….juxtaposed with the reality of the gruesome present.  It is an incredibly hard time to go through.  Nevermind, go through it alone, as I once did.

Who do you listen to?  The genetics team?  Your GP?  Your nurse who had a miscarriage once?  The ultrasound tech who shared a story of her sister???

What the fuck do you do when you know in your heart of hearts…that your baby is going to die?  Even worse?  When you know that YOU have to guide that final decision?!

Damned if I am going to let her travel this journey alone…

I cry for her.

And I cry for me.

I remember this pain all to well.  But I will NOT let her walk alone without knowing the realities of what she may be facing.  She has her brave face on.  And I know how that goes.  But I also know her very well…I know that she will crumble when the truth comes that this pregnancy will most likely meet its end.  She knows that too.  She needs this to be over.  I hear her voice and recognize her pain..so very much.

Damn those doctors for wanting to string you along for rounds and rounds of more testing.  Maybe they are just covering their asses…but I told her that her gutt does not lie.  Always listen to your intuition.  Know what your limitations are and  where your boundaries may be able to stretch.  She knows where this is headed.  She knows what she needs to do.

And while I listen…I cry softly. So many questions she has.  And you bet your ass I”m going to tell her everything.  I want her to know.  I want her to have an idea so that she has some kind of inkling of what her path may be like.  I knew nothing…and that is scary as hell, I tell you.

And so, I speak of what it’s like to deliver a dead baby.  I speak of what it’s like to miscarry and then find the baby to bring into the lab.  I speak of what it’s like to have a D&C.  I speak of how my husband and I travelled this journey completely separately.  I speak of my anger with the doctors.  And I speak of the decision I had to make, to be induced early to bring Mikayla into this world…only for her to leave it right after.

My heart weeps. My heart weeps for her…because I remember.  And yet I’m so grateful that I can be there for her in some way.

Loss is never easy.  It never leaves you.  And it, unfortunately, ties you together with a group of women; whose language only we can understand.

It’s been an emotional past couple of days.

But I will never leave her side….not for one minute.

My scars are deep.  They are a part of who I am. They weep for others, and occasionally, they still weep on their own.

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