Tag Archives: Birth mother

Happy One Year Anniversary!

11 Feb

Dear Little Man,

A year ago, I had an idea and I didn’t really know what to do with it. I knew that I wanted to tell you things. I knew I wanted to tell you about yourself and your adoption and your beautiful adoptive family. I wanted to tell you about how we all came together. I wanted to tell you about me and my life. But mostly I knew that I loved you and that I loved to write.

Sometimes I would see things and they would make me think of you. I would see a father playing football with his son at the playground across from my apartment and I would think about how you couldn’t even say your own name but you knew how to say “touchdown.” I would see the scar on my cheek (from an unfortunate incident I had with a wooden bench when I was four) and I would think of you and the time you fell on a toy grocery cart that you got for your first birthday. And when I would think of you, I would want to talk to you. I wanted to be able to tell you all of these stories someday. All of the stories of your incredible life — I didn’t want to leave out a single one.

So I talked to a friend who had a blog. And then I did some research. And then I was buying the name “Letters to Little Man.”

And then I wrote you a letter.

That was February 6th of 2012. That was one year and five days ago. Since then I have written you 142 letters that have been read by over 15,000 people. And one day, I hope they will be read by you.

Happy Anniversary, Little Man. I love writing you letters and even when I’m too busy to get them to you right away, I’m always thinking of you. I’m thinking of things I want to tell you. I’m thinking of things I want you to know. I’m thinking of the dimple in your chin and the sound of your laughter. I’m thinking about the moments we’ve shared and the smiles we’ve exchanged. I’m thinking about all of the adventures we have yet to experience that are going to make wonderful memories. I’m thinking of how connected I feel to you even when I don’t get to see you. Even when I miss you.

But out of everything I’ve written you — out of all 142 letters — I still believe that my first letter carried one of the most important messages I could ever share with you: I love you. Love came to mean something entirely new to me after you arrived — you defined it. You embody it. You are love to me. You are love and as long as I have you, I will always have it. Thank you for that gift. Thank you for being you.

Happy One Year :) Here’s to many more years, many more memories, and many, many more letters…

 

One Year Anniversary

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Open Adoption Bloggers

24 Jan

Open Adoption Bloggers

Dear Little Man,

Along with our mention on BlogHer, your letters are now part of a wonderful site I found called Open Adoption Bloggers! It’s a collective of people from all over who are involved (or want to be involved) in open adoptions, and our site has been added!

I’ve found other birth mother blogs (eee!), prospective parent blogs, a “roundtable” for discussions, interviews, book reviews…it’s incredible! It’s like a card catalog for adoption blogs: I love all of the info I’ve found, but mostly I just love the access to all of the other open adoption bloggers out there — you really get the 360 degree view of what open adoption is really about and how others have handled it. There’s even a few blogs written by adoptees involved in open adoptions…something you may think about one day.

However — not that I’m biased or anything — I think you and I and The B’s still top the ‘Awesome Open Adoption Chart.’ Either way, stay tuned. I have a feeling we’re about to learn a lot… :)

A Legacy of Liams

22 Jan

Dear Little Man,

Currently, I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their name is very aptly given (just Google them and you’ll see) but the mountains aren’t just fantastic scenery (which they so are) — they also make for great hiking!

Yesterday was one of the warmer winter days we’ve had in a while, so I got together with a few friends to hit up the trails. Your Aunt S and I joined your Aunt L, her Hubby and their baby…Liam!

Yep — your Aunt L loved the name Liam — just like me — and when her son was born last February, she and her Hubby bestowed the world’s best boy name to their little man too! A lot of women are possessive about their baby names (our gender can be fiercely competitive about really weird things) but I love sharing mine, especially with a friend that I care about so much. We have fun sharing the namesake…although when we talk about “Liam” with our friends, we have to specify which one we’re referring to :)

I always think of you when I’m around her little guy. He’s such a happy baby — he was all smiles, giggles, and playfulness during the hike…when he wasn’t sleeping — and happy little boys remind me of my own (especially since you have SUCH a great laugh). I hope that I can take you hiking through these beautiful mountains someday. The B’s love ’em so I’m sure it won’t be too tough ;)

And when we go, hopefully Aunt L’s Liam will come with us because I’m loving the alliteration in “Legacy of Liams” and now that I’ve come up with it, I’d like to use it as often as I can.

 

It's Little Liam!!!

It’s Little Liam!!!

photo 3

Aunt L and her Hubby :) Cutest couple EVER. And Little Liam’s arm hanging out of the side of the carrier. He was passed out.

photo 2

Your Aunt S and I :) My best friend!

Aunt S's Dog is really good at Hide N' Seek

Aunt S’s Dog is really good at Hide N’ Seek. Me…not so much. Apparently.

photo 3

Aunt S using the wind to determine our location. Except not really.

photo 2

One of the many beautiful rivers in the mountains :)

Brought Together at the NFL Playoffs

20 Jan

Dear Little Man,

Today, you and I are going to be doing the same thing — just not in the same place. And no, I’m not talking about running around in our underwear.

I’m talking about watching the NFL PLAYOFFS!

At 3 p.m. the San Francisco 49ers are going the beat Atlanta (who I pulled for in their last game…but not now. Sorry Georgia) but at 6:30 p.m, I have a dilemma. I was born in Baltimore, but I was raised a Patriots fan. I had this problem last year — the Ravens played the Pats in the same exact game. Last playoff game. Winner goes to the Super Bowl. What to do?!

Last year, the Ravens kicker screwed up and lost them the game. But this year, Tom Brady’s passes remind me of those “trust exercises” where you blindfold yourself and let other people lead you around. Only they’ve ditched you so you keep walking around in circles and running into things. So we’ll see about Playoff Game 2013.

Either way, I know your brother Sports Man wouldn’t let you miss a big football day like today. You probably won’t watch the game (something about having a 5-second attention span), but you’ll be there while it’s on. To me, it’s kind of like being separated from someone you love, but at night you can look at the moon and be comforted by the fact that they’re looking at the very same one.

Only in this case we’re watching football. And that’s way better :)

BlogHer and Blog Bling!

19 Jan

Dear Little Man,

We’re sooooo popular. This past Monday, my letter “The ‘F’ Word” was featured on BlogHer! It’s a lovely site full of wonderful women writers — moms, chefs, college students, world travelers, entrepreneurs, poets, artists — all kinds of women with all kinds of interests.

But our letter was an Editor’s Choice and now “The ‘F’ Word” is a Featured Member post! I mega blushed when they told me. So exciting!

It’s a small victory, but hey…we’ll take ’em where we get ’em. Plus they gave me “blog bling” (check it out on the right hand side underneath Little Man’s e-mail address).

Any day where you get bling is a good day.

 

Beef Burgers and First Words

18 Jan

Dear Little Man,

Since it’s Friday — and let’s face it, everyone’s brain is a giant bowl of jelly by Friday — I wanted to write you a short and sweet letter about something fun.

Today, it’s about your first word.

I’m sure your first word was something like “mama” or “dada.” Almost every baby’s first word is one of those two. But the first word I ever heard you say was different from either of those. In all honesty, you probably didn’t mean to say it and I probably heard you wrong. But I found it funny, so I think I’ll keep living in my fantasy world where you really did say it and I really did hear it.

The first word I heard you say was “burger.”

You were a little over eight months old, you were sick and I was playing with you on the floor in between the naps you took in front of the humidifier. You were rolling on the floor (your go-to method when you got tired of crawling), you grabbed red plastic toy that looked like a doughnut and you said, “burger.” I’m sure I heard it. Like, 75-80% sure.

After all, I love burgers. Like true, unconditional, never-ending love. Thanks to my New Year’s resolution, I’m a vegetarian right now. That makes today my 18th day without a burger, and it’s the hardest break-up I think I’ve ever been through. I’m consoling myself with black bean substitutes. And as with any true rebound, they’re great, but not the same. Sigh.

Anyhow, I was proud of that word, and of you for choosing it to be the first one you spoke to me. It was such a special bonding experience. I will forever treasure our special moment and when the day comes…you and I are going out to big, juicy, burger-and-fries dinner, and the black beans can kiss my booty as I go.

Partners in crime forever, right Little Man? ;)

The “F” Word

14 Jan

As you may have noticed, I get very nostalgic when you hit major milestones: your first laugh, your first words, your first steps, your first birthday, your second birthday, your first big boy bed…the list goes on.

But it’s not just you. I get nostalgic about big milestones in my life too. When you’re younger there aren’t “milestones” as much as there are “days that just won’t get here fast enough.” Time is an unimportant concept when you’re little, except when it’s not going fast enough. The only problem is that time never really slows down after that. Then suddenly you’re where I am: starting your last first day of school.

Yes, I’m aware of how silly that sounds.

But today — January 13, 2013 — is my last first day of school. I graduate from college in May and then…who knows what could happen? (Hint: Jobs and grad school, that’s what).

But before grad school happens, I’m going to see what I can do with my writing. J and I talked about turning our open adoption into a book for future birth mothers and adoptive mothers. We want to give both of our perspectives on the experience so that those women might get some insight and reference into what “openness” can mean and how wonderful it can be. When The B’s and I first started out, we used to joke about how we didn’t know what we’re doing because “there’s no book on this.” We’re going to see if we can change that :)

But grad school is on my agenda, even if it’s a a year or so in the future. And there it is, that scary but enticing F-word — the Future. I don’t know what it holds. I don’t know what I’m in for. No one my age really does. We’re all excited for what’s next but terrified of what it might be. We have dreams of careers and new cities and big opportunities. We have fears of getting stuck or being uncertain or not achieving what we set out to do. We want to make the most of our lives but sometimes, we’re not sure where to start. The journey is the undeniable fun part of growing up but every now and then, it’s almost as if we’re kids again — we just can’t wait to get there (and be settled) already.

My last first day of school is having quite the effect on me…more so than I anticipated. On one hand, the thought of having homework and doing research and studying for finals is such an unwelcome thought. On the other hand, I have no idea what I’m going to do without it come August. I’ve been in school my entire life. It’s what I know. But after May, I’m going a year without it (or more if I don’t get into grad school right away…did I mention that the future can be terrifying?). Some lucky college grads already have post-graduation plans, but aside from a trip to Europe with your Aunt S and my work on your (our) book, I’ve got nothin’.

In some ways, not having plans for post-graduation is the gutsiest thing I’ve ever done. So as much as it scares me, it also makes me a little proud of myself. And that’s where the excitement kicks in. Because when you don’t have plans, you can go anywhere. You can do anything. The freedom is intoxicating because you realize you have the world at your feet and there’s no “plan” that’s going to keep you away from chasing whatever passions you have. All you need is the ambition and determination and confidence to take it on. Luckily, I’m not lacking in any of those categories.

So yes — today is my last first day of college. And when May finally comes, I’m going to cry, and come August, I’m going to miss it. But today, I’ve still got four glorious months of college-life left. It may be my last first day of school but it’s not my last “first.” I’ve still got many, many more of those to go — as do all of my fellow May grads.

As do you :) See, that’s one of the wonderful things about having a child — you get to relive those firsts all over again.

Places in the Heart

11 Jan

Dear Little Man,

A good friend of mine (who also writes a wonderful blog!) sent me this quote earlier in the week. She said it made her think of me, and now, it makes me think of you :)

“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”

The Mentor

10 Jan

Around the time you were born, I didn’t know any other birth mothers. The closest I had gotten to one was a friend who considered adoption, but then decided to parent. I still have yet to meet very many — I think I’ve only met three in my entire life.

But the first one I met — who I will very aptly name “The Mentor” — was such a huge help to me when I was going through my ten-day interim period, and in the many months after.

Ironically enough, we still have yet to physically “meet.” She was a college friend of one of my best friends, Miss Manhattan. Now, Miss Manhattan had told me about The Mentor and her story, but I had never thought to ask for her information. The Mentor had better foresight — she found me on Facebook and sent me a message a few days after you were born. Our relationship remains Facebook-based, but we follow each others lives (and sons!) like close friends would do.

The very first thing she ever told me was that I was a wonderful mother.

She went on to tell me her story about placing her son, and her feelings about her decision. She didn’t sugar coat anything but she wasn’t harsh either. She was honest. She told me about the days when you feel like you made the right choice and she told me about the days where you feel like you’re signing the papers and watching your son go home with someone else all over again. She was very open with me about her post-adoption experience (which was and continues to be a good one!).

We messaged back and forth a few times. I was able to relate to her in a way that I hadn’t been able to with anyone else. So much of what she said she went through was exactly what I was feeling at the time. She knew what it felt like to know you made the right choice, but to still feel broken over it. She knew what it was like to hate being away from your child but to find peace in knowing that he would know you some day. She knew about the sometimes awkward dichotomy of feeling like a mother but not feeling like a parent. It was so refreshing to know that I was not alone — a saying that J and I ended up building our relationship on.

Her son is almost three years older than you, so she had some comforting messages to relay — like how her son kissed and hugged and loved on her. She talked about when her son started to recognize her and how incredible that makes you feel to know that you are known. She said the older her son gets, the more he understands, and that is the way it would probably be with you too. So far, she’s right about that :)

We talked on and off over the next year or so, but whenever I had trouble adjusting to certain aspects of “adoptionhood” I would message her. I messaged her when you started calling J “mom” instead of me (definitely anticipated, but still a kicker at first). She told me how she got through that period and how she spent quality time with her son. She was able to relate, but she also gave me advice.

It was just so…wonderful to be able to tell someone about my conflicting feelings towards motherhood and have them say, “I know exactly what that is like and you’ll be okay.” Our adoptions were fairly similar, actually. Both of our adoptions were open and are with families who want us “up front and center,” as we called it. The B’s have always wanted me involved in your life (and theirs) and The Mentor’s adoptive family was no different. We both lucked out in that department.

But one thing I will always remember is that at the end of her very first e-mail to me, she told me this: “Just know you are not the only one, and know that I think you are an amazing and strong woman for your choice.”

It was that one line from The Mentor that partly inspired this blog. Though I mostly started it for you, so that someday you could know anything you wanted to about your adoption and growing up, I also started it because other birth mothers deserve to have a mentor too. Having someone to talk to — someone to truly relate to —  can make all the difference in the world for a birth mother.

Though I had many (many, many) supporters — The B’s being a huge one — The Mentor helped to pull me off of the ground and onto my own two feet after your adoption was finalized. She helped to feel not alone. Her help has been more than appreciated over the past couple years, though I don’t think I’ve ever told her enough.

And as I watch (ahem, Facebook stalk) her and her son, I see all of the beautiful things you and I have to look forward to.

It looks like fun :)

The Boyfriend, The Baby and Being In Love

8 Jan

Dear Little Man,

I got this picture during our giant family Thanksgiving get together a couple months ago. The Boyfriend was carrying you to the dirt flats (you can see them off to the left) and there was no way I was going to miss that. Dirt + Toddler = Super Cute (Messy) Photo Shoot.

It didn’t get too messy (aside from the one time you pitched a handful of dirt at me, and yes, I forgive you) but I can’t tell you how gooey and melty I get on the inside when I see you with The Boyfriend. I love how the two of you get along — you always have fun together and he always makes you smile.

You and The Boyfriend get along on that “boy level” that I — with my two X chromosomes — will never be able to understand intuitively. Playing in dirt? Not the first idea any girl is going to come up with when taking care of a toddler. But The Boyfriend? He just knows things like that. He knows what you’ll have fun doing and he doesn’t care if he’s going to get dirty (or soaked or cold or uncomfortable) in the process.

He is great with you. He makes time for you when you come into town and he always offers to drive with me when I mention going to visit you. If we have a road trip planned, he suggests swinging by to say hello to The B’s and he reads your letters whenever I write one. He cares about you, and for that, I love him even more that I already do.

Falling in love was always something to look forward to when I was younger. Then it was exciting when it first happened. Then it was devastating when it ended. Then it was a non-issue for a while. Then, after enough time, the hope sparked again and it started all over. None of us can give up for long.

The Boyfriend is the first man I have been in love with since your dad. I don’t take love lightly — I never have. It’s not a word I throw around. I don’t think it should be used when you want something from someone or when you’re simply having fun with someone. To me, loving someone means for better or for worse. It means no matter what. It means when you’re mad at me and when you’re more successful than me and when you disappoint me. It’s not “for now” or “until you make me angry.” It’s for good.

I’ve been called naïve for thinking of love that way. I’ve been proved naïve for thinking that way. Not because my thinking was faulty, but because I failed to realize that not everyone you fall in love with is going to see love the way you do. You may think it means “no matter what” but if they think if means “for now,” you’re out of luck. It was a clarification I failed to make the first time. And I don’t make the same mistakes twice.

I wasn’t looking for love when I found The Boyfriend. I’ve always been a very happy single woman — “looking for love” is not my thing. When I met The Boyfriend in our university library, he was just a new friend of a friend. I think I jokingly challenged him to a fight, though I forget why. But I like that it started out that way. I feel like the best love stories are always the unexpected, almost accidental kind.

Even after the L-word was said (and felt) I think it was a while before either of us let go of the fear and dared to believe it was true. I remember giving him my speech on what love meant to me. I told him what mistake I would never make again. I gave him the do-you-know-what-you’re-getting-yourself-into speech and the don’t-say-it-if-you-don’t-mean-it speech. As brave as I like to think I am, I was scared. I wrote this letter to you when I realized how fearful I really was of the L-word. But as the trust grew, the fear diminished. The feelings grew deeper and our relationship became stronger than any other one I’d ever had.

But most importantly, The Boyfriend is the first guy I have ever introduced to you. He is the first guy I ever brought over to meet The B’s. You and your family are the most important part of my life and though I am not raising you, who I bring into your life…well, they aren’t just “anybody.” Neither is The Boyfriend — he drove up to meet you on your second birthday.

In a few days, I will have been with The Boyfriend longer than I’ve ever been with anyone else. Our relationship is solid — “No matter what” is my saying with him, just like “You are not alone” is my saying with J. And we live by it, he and I. We love each other no matter how frustrated or aggravated or angry or sad or upset we make one another (which isn’t very often, don’t worry). Our friends and family think we’re nauseating because we’re so in love. One of the The Boyfriend’s brothers told me that we act like we’re still in our first week of dating. I don’t mind. I hope we’re still that nauseating years from now.

Out of the many, many reasons why I love The Boyfriend, the fact that he loves you ranks at the top. And oh, how I love him. For so many reasons, in so many different ways, for as long as I can…and he feels the same. It’s incredible. He makes me happy, and someday, I hope that will make you happy.

And just like Dirt + Toddler = Super Cute (Messy) Photo Shoot…

Your Love + The Boyfriend’s Love = The Luckiest Girl in the Whole World.

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