Monday, November 27, 2006
Putting on a traditional dinner this year seemed too overwhelming to me. So I didn't. Instead, we ordered up six pizzas, made a big salad, and had pie for dessert. One of the beauties of this plan is that we could invite lots more people, spend lots less money, and I could actually enjoy it rather than be exhausted.
Ever since BabyGirl came home, I've always had this dream of a huge Thanksgiving dinner with our family--all of it--around the table. Invitations have been made; her first families never showed. This year, I didn't have the heart to deal with BabyGirl's disappointment since her first mom was a no-show at a special school day just a few days earlier.
With the switch to the pizza idea, I felt a little better about trying one more time. We issued invitations and didn’t let BabyGirl know.
And a miracle happened:
FirstDad came. We got some time to show off school work and for them to have some quiet together. FirstMom, her dad, and his girlfriend came. And FirstMom’s boyfriend, too. It was a little awkward for FirstMom and FirstDad to be together again, but they did it for BabyGirl.
And BabyGirl got to sit on the sofa between them, all snuggled in, and getting loved up.
And one of my grandest dreams came true. I am so grateful to them, for so many reasons.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
My daughter’s birthmother, Mitzie, was 16 when she became pregnant, 17 when my daughter was born. We saw Mitzie a lot when BabyGirl was really a baby, before she and Ramone broke up. We haven’t seen her much at all in the last couple of years despite repeated invitations and close proximity.
After I left at 17, I never lived in my hometown again. When I
returned for short visits, I rarely left my parents’ house. I felt
as uncomfortable and vulnerable as I did when I was 16. But
that was another gift my rapist bestowed—agelessness.
Because I think so frequently of that night in April 1980, my
teenaged self is still strong inside me. Because of my rapist,
I’m forever young.
In an effort to understand her journey more, I emailed a blogging birthmom looking for insight. This blogging birthmom is being effectively shut out of her son’s life by his parents, while we feel like we’re being shut out by our daughter’s first mother. Anyway, she suggested that perhaps Mitzie is kind of stuck in her late teenage-hood, even though she’s nearly 23.
And that got me thinking how much like a rape losing one’s child to adoption might be. There isn’t really a choice in either situation, both are events that stays with the victim for her lifetime, both result in the woman losing a part of her soul.
Yeah, yeah, we all like to say that adoption is a choice. But was it really a choice for her, for them? I’m confident that our agency counsels pregnant women and couples well because Mitzie told me how they had her go to the store to price diapers, formula, clothes, and all the gear babies require. They helped her work out a budget. They helped her sign up for all the assistance programs for which she was eligible and to get a part-time job so she could finish school. They helped her work out a way to ask her mother to help raise BabyGirl, they even helped her to ask Ramone’s mother for help. They explored all the options and angles to make it possible for Mitzie and Ramone to be the mommy and daddy, and I’m grateful the agency made them go through those steps.
But was adoption really a choice for them? They didn’t have any family support—emotional or financial—for raising her, their two part-time jobs and public assistance wouldn’t cover the bills, both families said they’d have to find new places to live. To choose means to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference. They didn’t have the luxury of a real choice, the decision they made was not their preference. They didn’t choose to make an adoption plan for BabyGirl, they just didn’t have any choice not to.
…Because I think so frequently of that [morning] in April
, my teenaged self is still strong inside of me.
Because of [losing] my [daughter to adoption], I’m forever young.
And sometimes maybe being young means blowing off dates, not returning phone calls, and ignoring the letters. We desperately hope she’ll come back around sooner rather than later. But how hard it must be to look into the faces of the ones who have the one thing she’s always wanted: a family with her daughter.
And how do I explain this to a five-year old who wants to know why Mitzie never comes to see her?