BOO! Look, I started blogging again!!! Watch out world and prepare to be offended.
The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggers to participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points--please feel free to adapt or expand on them.
Write a response at your blog--linking back here so your readers can browse other participating blogs--and share your post in the comments here. Using a previously published post is fine; I'd appreciate it if you'd add a link back to the roundtable.
Write about grandparents in open adoption.
Alright-y then here goes ....
I do not have a dad, well, I did and I love him very much, but he died(March28,01) so of course that really leaves only my mom. I imagine that my decision to place would have been more secretive if my dad had been alive during the time that I was pregnant with Parker.
As it was, I hid my pregnancy from my mom. Even the point of lying about a found bit of pregnancy test wrapper and moving away from home (I had lived on my own several times for several years, but after my dad died, it was just easier to live at home).
I kept my plans for placing Parker from my mom until everything was almost certain because I know that my mom is kind of controlling and would try to sway my decision to make a decision that she would want me to make.
I ended up telling my mom about being pregnant on Christmas Day.
That is, I showed up at her house being 34 weeks pregnant, and well, it was obvious.
The weird thing is that she did not freak out or anything about it, she just said 'I thought so'
I guess she didn't buy the lie about the tiny bit wrapper on the bathroom floor (seriously I did not know how that happened, I totally got rid of everything, I thought. Too bad my mom is a neat freak)
I don't know why she did not question me more about it then.
Probably because even living at home, I was rarely home, I made myself really really busy(went to church six times a week, worked odd hours, etc) and did a good job of avoiding her at all costs(hanging out at the grocery store at midnight...etc)
I often feel the need to avoid my mom because she sometimes treats me as if I don't have a mind of my own and need caring like a tiny tiny infant or something. I mean, sometimes it's sweet when I'm sick or hurt or whatever, but in normal life, it is usually troubling and leads to many many fights. I don't like fighting with my mom, it kills me inside, so instead I avoid her in the hopes that she will give up trying to run my life, not that she really does, much of her advice is OK, but very much too little to late.
Back to when I was making my decision to place Parker. I would have chosen not to show up on Christmas if I hadn't yet found the parents that I wanted for Parker, but I had, I was just waiting for Jacob to agree with me and for the agency to call me back about setting up a meeting.
Apparently agencies can take a few weeks to even get back to a birth mom asking to meet pre-adoptive couples, weird right?? I had been going to this agency regularly and did have upcoming sessions and stuff, so really, it was just a matter of time.
The thing I remember most about this time in my life was just a couple days (weeks?) after I showed up on Christmas day, pregnant, (it was a good Christmas BTW, no drama) that my mom called me (I was living in a secondary suite) to try and convince me to place Parker with a random couple she had heard about from my youngest (and favorite)Auntie who 'really wanted to adopt a child', because at Christmas I had not gone into the details because I was still waiting for the call from the agency and for Jacob to agree with me. I think I had told them (my siblings and my mom) some vague things, but they have a habit of not really listening to me, even when I am trying to tell them something really important.
To my family, I am the silly crazy one who should not be taken seriously because my devotion to my faith in Christ looks so different from their own nominal actions towards what they say they believe.
I am the one who tells crazy stories and reads way way way too much. I am the one that they do not understand and often just dismiss just because they can, I never protest their rejection of all that I am.
My moms call to me about a couple was laughable because - to her - it seemed I had a problem that needed her help, she again did not expect me to have figured anything out on my own, I had, but she is the type to believe me, remember, she thinks I'm just a crazy silly silly girl.
When I told her that I already had a plan, and that the plan was to still be in my son life, her response was incredulous, she could not believe that I said that I wanted to do adoption AND still know my son.
To her, and sometimes to me, decisions like adoption are an all-or-nothing kind of thing.
A compromise on the part of adoptive parents, to my mom, seems illogical and impractical.
She wanted me either to parent my son completely, or completely separate myself from his life.
To her, that was the only way that adoption happened.
I believe my mom does not have a interest in knowing Parker, partly because my sister, Lydia, who is one year younger than me, already had three children.
I have heard from others that after a first grandchild, the idea of having more becomes sort of routine, it's no longer a big deal anymore.
When Lydia had my first niece, Jessica, there was much drama about it, and not only because of certain health and lifestyle issues, but because of this big change that occurred when she was born.
My sister became a mom, my mom became a grandma, it was a big deal.
Honestly I think that with other birth moms, they have problems with birth grand parents because they are the first to have a grandchild and the act of surrendering a first of a kind seems to hold more meaning than a fourth or even a second. I know this is not always the case, but it was for me.
Even though I am the eldest daughter(my brother Mike is older than me) the fact that I knew I was pregnant with a boy, and my sister gave birth to her first and only son(after two daughters) the day I found out I was pregnant meant that my experience was over-shadowed by all the gains to the family through Lydia and her husband.
Nowadays, this is still the case, the grandchildren that are present in my mom's life are more important to her than Parker. Even given chances to visit, and when I show her pictures, her reaction is often indifference, which is not completely unusual. My mom's reaction to many things in my life is indifference. She only really wants me around to validate her life, to be a friend to her ! But when I need a friend she gives me the brush off, or barely disguised impatience in order to unleash the well of anxious thoughts and feelings on me so that she can feel better about herself. Now, I am willing to be a friend, even if it means that most of the time, she will never really be listening or caring about me, unless it is to try and assert herself and needlessly take charge in mostly inappropriate ways. I know it's just the way she is and the way I am is too weak to refuse even the vaguest chance that she will care about things that are important to me and should be important to her.
My mom DID get the chance to meet Parker once, when he was just 17 months old.(he is 6 now, how time flies!) and only because she had brought me along to my cousins wedding. She needed me as a plus one, because going alone to a wedding is just kind of uncomfortable and weird in the huge extended family that I have (my dad had 18 siblings, my mom 8, almost all are married with multiple children my age) so I got her to bring me to see Parker because my cousins live near Parker and his adoptive family.
It was mostly about her wanting me along for the wedding, and she knew that for that to happen, she had to bring me to see Parker. I mean, there is a photo album she created and the pictures she took of Parker and I, and also his adoptive mom are in that album, so I guess that means she cared about seeing him then.
Her general attitude about it seems indifferent though, and her spoken opinion is that she saw him once, that was enough for her. Even during that visit, she repeatedly called him Austin, my nephews name. It was very embarrassing, I know she did not mean to do it, but she did. Probably because Parker and my nephew are very similar and remain so. I know also it is because my nephews name is the name she was getting used to and I guess when you are older, things sort of take a while to 'click' like names and such.
Anyways, I wanted to also tell you a bit about Jacob's mom, whom I met twice while I was pregnant, and once after I had given birth and placed Parker.
Her name is Maria, which is a very comforting name as I have a grandma named Maria and a few aunties as well as a favored Sunday school teacher. She and I really got along to the dismay of Jacob who seems to want to keep his mommy all to himself somehow. She was a real advocate for placing Parker in adoption and was really upset with Jacob for considering parenting as he did in the days after I gave birth.
She was the one who probably convinced him of the futility of considering a different plan than the one that I had told her about. She knew about her son's life and that neither one of us was in a good place, financially, or emotionally, etc, to be parents to our son.
I must say, at the time Jacob's sister was pregnant with twins, fraternal twins, boy and girl, and she had them just about four days after I gave birth. So.. to Maria, they were the first grandchildren - to her - because her daughter had been pursuing infertility treatments and of course, Maria had been more involved with her daughter than she had with me. Maria liked me and everything, but I totally understood that her daughter was the more important bearer of new life. I had come to be pregnant by the poor decisions of her son (from her POV) and her daughter had been planning to parent all along.
So again, it was about this newness with becoming a grandma, and myself, not being the first known grandchild bearer, my situation was seen as a issue of inconvenience and possible disaster.
Now, Maria seems to have no interest in meeting Parker, although Jacob has tried to advocate her to visit with us all (because Jacob and his wife and kids and I, we all visit together, but our lives are separate)
One thing, both she (Maria) and my mom did, and I know that neither of them is even vaguely aware that they BOTH did this, but they sent me the most lovely Mother's day and birthday cards (my b-day is May 23, very close to Mothers Day). I still treasure them, but I'm kind of a hoarder... soo...
This is my entry for the OAR, I really hope that it's OK.