Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hey Sanka, you dead?

No Mon. I'm not dead. I am still very much a live but have taken a bit of a blogging break. Right about the time of my last post I moved to a new state and started a new job. I now work as a therapist at a residential treatment center for troubled teenage boys. You know, trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for pool. Yeah, that kind.

I love my job but holy cow has it been an adjustment. I work so much that I am thinking of sleeping in my office. When I call family and friends before 8 pm they always remark on how early I've gotten off work. I love it but when I do come home writing about my feelings....or writing anything in general is the last thing on my to do list.

I have thought a lot about B. I have had a lot of thoughts about adoption, and I have started many great posts I plan to finish. I guess this post is to say I am still here and will post soon. I also wanted to put it out into the universe that I am thinking about B.

You are on my mind tonight. I love you and I hope you are about to feel that. I am sending you a hug through my happy thoughts and hope you sleep well tonight. I love you.
Your birthmother 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ask a birthmother

I received an email a few days ago from a recent birthmother. I was so appreciative that she felt safe enough to share her story with me. She asked me what I suggest to deal with the adoption. What can some one do 3 months after, 6 months after, or 1 year after. Here are some of my late night thoughts.

Dear Friend,

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a simple secret formula that would help get through at least the first year after placement with out that constant deep pain in the heart? What I wouldn't give to discover that! Even a list of Dr's orders that would cure the sleepless nights, and fill the emptiness inside would be nice. It'd be REALLY nice. Sometimes the only way to keep going is to literally make yourself put one foot in front of the other. It's hard. But I can tell you it does get easier.

I don't have that magic formula but I do have ideas. They wont fix it all and they are not scientifically tested. They are only suggestions pulled from my own memories and experiences. Take them for what they are worth.

Talk about your baby. I took every chance I could to talk about B to any trusted ear that would listen. Sometimes I think my friends and family got weary of my repeated stories, but telling other people about B's first blow out really kept him real for me. It was healing. It fulfilled that motherly desire to talk about my child and marvel at every cute little first. The people who would marvel with me will never know how much they meant to me and how instrumental they were in my healing. 

Cry. It's ok to cry. It's good to get it out. There were days I cried until I didn't have any tears left and all I could do was lay there motionless and numb. I was purging that pain until I couldn't feel it anymore and THAT felt good.

Fake it. Put on a smile and tell yourself you are going to pretend to be happy today. Some days I would have to get up and make the conscious decision, "Deborah, you are going to pretend to be happy today." It was all I could to to sit in a room and half smile instead of bursting into tears. I hate it when people know that I am sad. And I hate crying in front of people. So I would fake it. And actually....It really helped. And then eventually I had to pretend less and less.

Make yourself laugh. Release those much needed endorphins. Force yourself to go to a comedy. Spend more time with your silly friends. Or one of my favorites is to stand in front of the mirror and let out your best belly laugh. It may sound strage but it works. Don't be embarrassed because it's just you. Eventually you'll feel so silly that your laugh turns into a real one.

Be good to yourself. Get enough sleep. Eat your vegetables. Eat chocolate. Exercise to work off the chocolate. Sometimes you just need to show yourself some good old TLC.

Do something. Get a hobby, start a class, go out with friends. I had to do something that got me off the couch and gave my mind a break from the hard work of grieving.

Make time to be alone. Even if it is just in the shower. I sometimes took multiple showers a day. For some reason I felt like when I was in the shower the sound of the water would drown out the sound of my sobs. And when I was in the shower people were definitely going to leave me alone.

Journal. Write your feelings. Getting my feelings out on paper made them organized and tangible. After they were there in front of me I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I could close my journal and feel relief for a little while. It helped to understand what was going on inside my head.

Feed your spirit. Pray. Read your scriptures. I believe in God. I strongly believe in God. I know for a fact that on my hardest days when I didn't want to keep going, God came to my rescue. I could not and still could not make it through my adoption journey without him. And actually when there are times that my faith wavers and I wonder if it's all true, it is the the first few months after placement that I look back on and then I can not deny that there is a God because he was definitely with me then.

Feel it. Allow yourself to stop for a moment and feel the pain. Sometimes it's in your heart, sometimes it's in your stomach, and sometimes it's in your whole body. But feel it. Feel it deeply. If you don't feel it then it will be your constant companion.

These are all suggestions that helped me get through the first year after placement and they are things that I still use 8 years after placement.

 My heart goes out to you. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for you. Do what feels right for you. One of the reasons I started this blog was because 3 months after my placement all I wanted was to talk to another birth mom. (Adoptions were much less open then and birth moms were not as accessible to me) I only wanted to ask one question. That question was "will it get better?"  I ached to hear someone who had been through it tell me that it got easier and I would be able to breath again.

Friend, it does get better. You will be able to breath a little more and more everyday. Let yourself feel it right now and the pain will eventually dull. I promise after this you will know for sure that you can do hard things.

I love you,
B's Birth Mom

Monday, June 11, 2012

I did it!! I am officially a Master of Social Work!

I remember my first semester of college (January 2005) thinking it was going to take me FOREVER to finish school! Well it did. But now I can happily announce I did it! On May 18th 2012 I completely completed school! Enjoy the photo Documentary of the fabulous day!

You know you are a social worker when your cap and gown is made 100% from plastic bottles!

My motivation to do more and be better.
Other people decorated their hats on the outside but mine was decorated on the inside. A little closer to my heart. Aw, How cheesy!

My Beautiful Mother

I love these two

10-4 Good Buddy

It is time for Abby's 10-4 Good buddy!
1. When is your birthday?
April 9th

2. What's the best advice your mom ever gave you?
Every woman should own a pair of red high heels

3. What's your number one weakness when it comes to food?
  Steamed Broccoli! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it and will eat it right off your plate if you don't get to it fast enough. 
4. What's the latest recipe you've tried and loved?
Can I plead the 5th on this one? I am embarrassed to admit I haven't cooked for much longer then I am willing to mention.
But a recipe I LOVE is The Chicken Broccoli Braid
On those rare moments I actually make it without burning it, it is WONDERFUL!

5. What is your favorite post from last month? {May}

6. What's your drink of choice in the summer?
I know it's not very exciting but my drink of choice always is water with a lemon. I craved it when I was pregnant and have loved it ever since. Plus it's way more healthy then big gulps!

7. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?
You will never regret working hard but you will always regret not working hard enough.

8. What is God teaching you right now?
God is teaching me how to have faith in him and his timing, and how to rely on him when I am feeling like I am a little lost.

9. What are you looking forward to most about the summer?
Meeting my new little nephew! He will make his debut in about two weeks. 
I am also looking forward to getting a big girl job.

10. What is your favorite picture from last month?  {May}
This was taken at my graduation. The night before I decorated my cap by putting a picture of my birth son in the top. He has been my motivation for pushing myself to do more and achieve the most that I can and I wanted a little bit of him with me that day.

Birth Mother's Day

Although it's been 3ish weeks I wanted to take a moment and write about my mothers day and birth mother's day. Birth Mother's day has never been big for me. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until about 3 years ago. 4 tops. I thought the holiday was a great idea but every year it seemed to sneak up on me. Usually half way through the day I remember that it is Birth Mother's Day and I am already full swing into other activities that I think, "Great. It's birth mother's day and I forgot again. I'll remember next year." Then I continue with whatever I was doing that day.

This year I remembered! This year I marked it on my calendar and was planning on it. I didn't know what I was going to do, but I was going to do something special this year for the first time. The Sunday before BMD I was at church chatting with friends before I went home. The sweetest little 8 year old came running up to me and handed me a square envelope with my name on it. (Actually it said Deborah {Insert last name of my ex-boyfriend from the ward}. But what can I say? She's 8 and there is only a two letter difference between our last names. It made me laugh out loud though)

Oh, you want to know what was in the envelope? It was a personal invitation to her baptism that coming Saturday. Birth Mother's Day. I was touched that she had personally invited me and so I was definitely going to go. That Saturday I made sure I left work in time to make it to her baptism. It was not lost on me that it was BMD and in two months B would be turning 8. It was a beautiful baptism but I could not stop my mind from wondering. As I listened to this 8 year old's mother give a talk and teach her daughter, watched her older sister lead the music, and finally witnessed her father baptize her, I wondered about B's baptism. Would he be baptized on the same day as other children or would he have his own? Will L speak? Will his grandma sing a song? I sat there imagining his special day. I watched the whole thing play out in my mind's eye, from the fabulous talks to the sweet moment when his father baptized him.

This year I have thought a lot about B's baptism. It is one of those hallmark years I talked about in this post. But at that moment on Birth Mother's Day was a moment that I wished so badly I could be a fly on the wall or that I knew where I put my darn invisibility cloak so I could silently sneak in the back of B's baptism, experience the beautiful event, and then silently sneak out.

The rest of the day went really fast and I don't remember it quite as clearly as that moment. I went to the Washington DC LDS Temple visitor's center to watch a Polynesian dance performance (can I just say, I should have been Polynesian) and spent the night at a friend's house. Over all I had a good day and enjoyed spending time with friends I love and adore. Next year I am going to try even harder to take time out of the day for myself. This year I didn't really do that although I actually remembered it was BMD. I have mixed emotions about celebrating Birth Mother's Day because it makes me feel like I don't qualify for Mother's day. I know it is strange. I know it is silly. I know I should write more about those feelings but I will save that for another post down the road. I feel like I am leaving this post only half way done but it's long enough and I want to go watch a movie.

Monday, May 7, 2012

10-4 Good Buddy: Just a fun post about nothing.

Do you feel like this year has been none stop craziness, events, and tests? I do! And it's only May! Maybe it was grad school or maybe it is the significance of this year. I don't really know. But I am looking forward to the coming months full of no homework and much less stress. To kick that off I stayed in bed until 10:30 (I am a little ashamed to admit that one) and answered questions found on Abby's blog for her 10-4 series. Click on the picture of her adorable son below to read her post and responses of many others. Enjoy! And happy reading!

1. What is one quirky thing about you?

I can not stand to hear someone make a request without following it up with "Please". My family used to call me the politeness Nazi. --Or maybe it was the grammar Nazi. That is until I started using Ebonics.-- Either way, anytime I hear someone (usually my Father) make a request with out a certain magic word, I help them out and follow up with a "please". I can't help it. It's a natural reflex.

2. What does your perfect date look like?  {Not the person...the activity} 

The perfect date that comes to mind is one I have already been on. It always must include someone that I enjoy being around and am comfortable with. We were hiking/walking around beautiful trails and paths in the hills of southern Virginia. We held hands and my date listened to me talk and talk and talk and talk about life, my ideals, and what I imagined happened in the abandon shack we came across. He was and still is such a patient man. Then we came to a swimming hole called panther falls.
We laughed and talked and hung out on the rocks. That is until my date threw me in. I was not about to take that I the man was pulled in right after me. We splashed each other and swam around for a while, until an old couple came and thought he was drowning me. It was the perfect day spending time playing and enjoying the company of someone I enjoy.

3. What is your favorite picture from last month {April}? 

This picture was taken by Tessa Cordova. I wont even start on how much I love about that woman. This was taken at my best friend's wedding. We were playing around and being silly while Tessa, the photographer, was snapping away. I love this girl and am so happy she is happy!

4. What are your top 3 favorite TV shows? 

The celebrity apprentice 
The Amazing Race
....I can't think of a third because I really don't watch much TV unless it's Sunday night and I am with my mother. Hence the two listed above.

5. What is your favorite outdoor activity?

It's a toss up between playing at the beach or hiking in beautiful mountains. I get a high from both!

6. What is the last movie you saw?   

Better off Dead....No comment. 

7. Look up from your computer right now.  What is the first thing you saw?  

I will show you. It's not too exciting.
My jewelry, temple pictures, place card from another wedding, family birthday lists, and picture.

8. What area in your life are you working on improving right now?

How much time do you have? I am trying to improve the spiritual part of my life and strengthen my relationship with the spirit and receiving revelation. Oh and I am also trying to learn patience. (Never has been my forte)

9.  What is your favorite post that you wrote last month?  

Confession: I have been a TERRIBLE blogger this year. I only wrote one post last month so it makes my decision easy. Perfect Moment Monday. It is on my personal blog. One day I may merge the two. One day. It was wonderful to take a moment away from the things I needed to do and talk to my best friend.

10. What would be your dream job?

I have my dream job! Unfortunately it doesn't go along with what I just got my degree in at all and I am taking some time off (two years) to get the hours I need to be an LCSW. My dream job: I am staging houses with the fabulous Kristi Birch, owner of Energizing Spaces. I love the instant gratification that comes from making a home beautiful!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Roundtable #37: After a Visit

The roundtable question for this post is: How do you feel after a visit?

My adoption is a semi-open adoption. I have only had a few visits with B, but they all have been great and I loved each one. The first two visits were within the first two years after placement. The other two visits were just last year. There was a distinct difference between my reactions from the first two and the second two.

B was one year old for our first visit. My grandpa and I met him and his parents for dinner at a near by restaurant. I loved seeing them and catching up. I was amazed at how completely ok I was being there with him and his parents. Then we said our goodbyes. My grandpa is more of the "walk it off" type of comforter, so I held back the tears until I was safe inside my own room. I was glad none of my roommates were home because as soon as I closed the door, the tears came. I was absolutely heart broken. I felt like a mother and yet I had no child. My body hurt and my heart hurt even more. I felt like I was starting the grieving I had done all over again. I couldn't breath and wasn't even sure if I wanted to.

The second visit was 7 months later at my sister's wedding. While he was there I did great! It was so wonderful to see him! I felt a little awkward and kept my distance for fear of over stepping my boundaries or seeming like I was too eager to be around him. The result of the visit was similar to the first but a little better. It was a little easier to cope and a little easier to breath. I stopped crying sooner and received more comfort.

The most recent visits happened within the same week. I was very nervous. It is silly because I feel very close to C and L and we have a wonderful relationship! But I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know what was going to happen during the visit. I didn't know if B would know who I was. And I didn't know how I was going to feel afterwards. That was what I was scared of the most. None the less, there was no way I was going to turn down a visit with B. I can't think of a single thing that would keep me from taking the chance to visit with him. Like always, I thoroughly enjoyed both visits while they were happening. And after the visits? I felt absolutely wonderful! Instead of wanting to cry, I wanted to cheer! Instead of my heart feeling heavy, it was light! I was energized and felt great! I was so grateful for the opportunity to be included in the adoptive family's lives for those two evenings.

I've wondered about what caused the two very different reactions after the first and the last visits with B and his family. After months of pondering....I know, it takes me a long time to figure things out. I have decided it is because with the first visits every thing was still so fresh. I was still actively healing from placement. I loved the visits 100% and would never change having them just because I was still "actively healing", but the timing, I feel is the difference. After almost 8 years I feel much more comfortable now with myself, my adoption, and the choices I have made and the way everything has turned out.

So to simply answer that question, I don't know. I am still wandering through this journey called adoption. Sure, I hit bumps or get lost now and then but I am far enough down the road that I don't look back as often. I have much more practice at coping when the memories and feelings from the beginning of my journey come flooding back. Right now I am grateful that I can say I love and enjoy every part of visits! Who knows what the future holds but I sure treasure the memories I have of the visits with B and his fun family.