Posts tagged ‘diary’

Small Update

I mailed my Dad’s Father’s Day card, which included my letter to him asking him to adopt me back, today.

Now I’m nervous, but it probably won’t even get to him for like a week or two. I’m contemplating asking him to let me know when it arrives before he opens it. I wanted tracking, but it was an extra £5, so I couldn’t afford it.

In other news:

  • I’ve had 3 of 6 counselling sessions with an adoption-trained counsellor. This is to meet the requirement for adoption-specific counselling to ask for my adoption file to be unsealed and given to me. I still have to come up with a good reason to want it. Any suggestions welcome.
  • I had an interview at a coffee shop near my house. I hear back about it on Monday. I also have another interview on the 6th. As nice as the coffee shop people were, I hope I get the one I interview for on the 6th. It pays better, and it’s office-based.
  • Which is especially good, because we had our financial low the other day. We ran out of food/money and had to visit the food bank. The people were nice, thankfully, and now we have some food. Yay.
  • I may, or may not, have my first breastfeeding counsellor client. I’m very happy I’ve had an enquiry, even if it doesn’t pan out. If it doesn’t pan out, that means she got the help she needs without me, and I’ll be glad for that.
  • I think that’s it.
  • Oh, yes, my mother finally responded to my asking if she’d ever want to visit me. She said she would, so, woot. Hopefully by next year (I’d love to have her visit over the Paschal Triduum) we’ll actually be living in a place that can host visitors.
  • Dom might be pregnant. He refuses to have any hope, but I can’t help but be cautiously optimistic. He’s gonna go to the crisis pregnancy centre for a test in a couple weeks if nothing changes.
  • That’s really it, I think, lol.

🙂

Midnight Mass

Though I don’t consider myself a Christian, and I don’t even know where I  stand on whether or not a god exists – I lean to not existing, I love Catholic Mass, especially Midnight Mass on Christmas Day. I don’t remember it at all, but I grew up in the Catholic church until I was about seven. Then we moved to being Southern Baptist, but that’s a different story. When I got older, and we used to come  back to Texas to visit relatives, my agrandma, who is still Catholic, would take me with her to Midnight Mass. I love the ritual, the candles, the incense, and, on Christmas especially, the music of the church. I love the symbolism and the history, the connection to antiquity. The Church doesn’t change much, and if it does, it takes it centuries. So some of these rituals are things that have been done for over a thousand years.

So I went to Midnight Mass. The church was really old. I looked it up later, and it had been (re)built around 1400. The service was interesting. I could tell I was in Britain and not America when the vicar used the word sex several times in his sermon. …I don’t think they call it a sermon in Catholic churches, but whatever. Unfortunately, the service was different from the ones I’ve been to in the States, and the differences were just enough that it was disconcerting and I found it not nearly as comforting as usual. Every Catholic Mass I’ve been to in recent years has reduced me to tears. Not this time, though, not even when they sung Silent Night, because the words of the song were different than the ones I knew and it threw me off. (For the record: My aMom used to sing me that song every night when I was a kid. It made it hard to hear after she died.) The minor, nagging difference made the service a bit uncomfortable, as they made me feel like I didn’t know what would happen. If there’s one thing I really love about the Catholic church, it’s the predictability and routine of it. You’re supposed to be able to go anywhere in the world and experience basically exactly the same service. And if masses were still in Latin, it’d be the same language, too. But this was different. Not stable or secure.

Excepting that and the trigger-time when one of the official church people (possibly a priest, but I have no idea) used the word adoption to describe how people get into God’s family [uhm…no. You’re (re)BORN into God’s family. And you’re even made in his image, so no genetic mirroring issues there, either!], it was pretty nice. I enjoyed it.

When I got home, I talked to my husband about it, and he informed me that I’d gone to the Church of England church. I looked it up, and sure enough, I had. Oops. The Catholic church and the Church of England church are right next door to each other, and I accidentally went to the CoE’s service. I’m assuming (hoping) that’s where all the differences came from. (Sidenote: They spell Noel as Nowell. O.o Had never seen that before in my life.) I wish I’d realised beforehand, because going to the wrong service also meant I missed all the carols. The music is at least half of the reason, if not more, I like to go.

So by the time midnight mass was out, obviously it was past midnight and officially Christmas Day. In the afternoon, Dom and I went over to his parents’ house for Christmas dinner and presents. I had a great time. I’ve been wanting to learn how to knit, since I can’t afford to buy a sewing machine, and Dom got me some yarn and a book entitled The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss. My father-in-law joked around saying, “Now you’ve got to knit us a grandchild.” He and my husband also got me The Knitting Book by Cath Kidston. It’s a beginner’s knitting kit, including a how-to-knit booklet, instructions to make a scarf, needles, and yarn for said scarf. I haven’t tried yet, but I will soon. Maybe it will be my reward for getting my coursework done…

Later that night, I tried to call my Mom, but she didn’t answer. I left a voicemessage, though. In the next few days, I got the best present ever. In the mail came two cards, one which was from my Mom. She wrote my (original/real/current) name and a nice little note and signed it “Mom”. 😀 I was so happy she called herself Mom in relation to me, instead of by her first name. (Also, I love her handwriting. Is that weird?)

I normally try to call once a week on Saturday afternoons, but the next time I called was just after it turned to 2012 here. She didn’t pick up then, either, and I didn’t get the voicemail this time. I think I might have not dialed correctly, supposed to press the # key after pressing the number, but I don’t think I did. So I’m torn on whether or not to try to call again or let it wait until my usual time, and then, if I do call again and talk to her, would that mean I can’t/shouldn’t call at the weekend? *sigh* Reunion is complex.

New Year’s

Happy New Year’s, everyone! I hope 2012 brings some joy and happiness to you all. In the spirit of the season, I’m going to post my New Year’s resolutions. I have never ever finished all of them before. Maybe I should make that one of my resolutions. But this year, the list is less idealistic, so I think I may have a chance of doing them all!

My 2012 New Year Resolutions

  • exercise once a week
  • write diary once a day

My maternal great-grandmother who died recently (never got to meet her) apparently kept a daily journal for several decades, just a page a day. I believe she started when she was 17… They’re now all in the custody of my great-aunt who told me about them. I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea, so I want to get in the habit of doing it, too. I love personal historical records like that. Maybe that’s why I love facebook and blogs. I love mundane details about people’s lives.

  • get hair cut again
  • find a job
  • graduate
  • go to school every (or almost every) day
  • learn to knit

I’ve been really wanting to learn to knit, so I can make clothes and blankets and things. I can sew, on a basic level and make basic things by following a pattern, but that requires a sewing machine. Knitting only needs yarn and needles, so I thought it’d have less initial investment. For Christmas, my husband got me a book of knits for baby and some yarn, and my husband and father-in-law got me a beginner’s knitting kit that has needles, yarn, a how-to-knit booklet, and instructions on making a scarf. So I’m all set to start learning! 😀

  • win 3rd nanowrimo
  • self-publish mind the gap
  • do christmas cards on time

I did Christmas cards this year. But apparently the mailing date was the 9th of December. And then I ran out of motivation/money. So they’re all still sitting around my house, waiting to be mailed, which probably won’t happen until February. So, this year, I’ll know to start doing them in November. Lesson learned.

  • get British driver’s licence
  • change name on birth certificate

I changed my name back to my true name by court order six months ago. Apparently I can use that to change the name on my birth certificate, which I didn’t realise you could do. But when I sent it in the first time, or rather NC’s Dept of Vital Statistics sent it, the TX Dept of Vital Statistics returned the copy of the court order to me saying it wasn’t valid – despite having a raised seal – and also noting that I’d forgotten the money. So, in February, I’m going to send it again, with the same court order, with a note stating that the pink slip is valid because it has a raised seal and signatures. So get over it being pink, take my money, and change my falsified records.

That’s most of my resolutions. If any of y’all do resolutions, good luck!

My (Public) Adoption Story, As I Know It

Since I just joined an adoptee social network, and they asked for a story, I figured I’d modify my password protected one to make a version I don’t mind being totally public. It’s practically the same as the private version.

WARNING:  I’m not certain how much of it’s true. Parts are what have been told to me by my Mom, parts are what have been told to me by my Dad, parts are what have been told to me by my aparents, and we all know how much they lie, or more to the point, how much the agencies lie to them. So I really don’t know if I can trust what they’ve told me. I trust what my Mom and Dad have told me more. But, either way, I don’t have the full story. I really want to ask my Dad questions, but I just don’t feel like I can, even though he’d probably talk to me about it. It’s awkward and complicated.

Anyways. On my lovely boards that I never post on, there are support categories for closed adoption adoptees and open adoption adoptees. They forgot the semi-open/semi-closed adoption category, which is what I generally consider mine to have been. 1987 was in the transition period of moving adoptions from being closed to being “open”, and I think semi-open was relatively standard. As established by the wonderful countries who don’t really do adoption, the vast majority of mothers don’t actually not want their kids, so why in the world would they voluntarily choose to have no contact or knowledge of how their child is doing? Now that we’re not strapping mothers down and drugging them and stealing their children from the moment they’re born, the agencies had to do something to keep supply up, leading them to the concept of “open” adoption.

I digress. According to both parties, my adoption was supposed to have been closed. A Catholic agency handled my adoption. I know that my parents saw me in the hospital and even held me, as I have a picture, but I have no idea how long I was there. For all I know, it was only the day of my birth. After that, I went to a foster family and was there until I was 19 days old. I have no idea if my Mom knows that I was going to go to foster care.

So at 19 days, I went to my future adoptive parents. Unsurprisingly, my Mom went a little insane after I was born and relinquished. At the time, my grandma attended a grief support group at her (Catholic) church. According to my Mom, the nun was supposed to have put me with a family in a different city. The more I think about that, the more I think they just told her that and never really meant it. By stroke of luck and that nun’s “mistake”, my eventual adoptive grandma also attended this support group. What must’ve happened is that my eventual aparents got me, eventual agrandma shared with the church, and my grandma put the pieces together and told my Mom.

Cue mother going mental because she went against millions of years of human instinct. Yes, she did track down my eventual aparents. She drove past their house and peeked in windows to see if she could see I was alright. Yes, my aparents went kind of classic adoptoraptor and were terrified of “the birthmom” and how she “might want me back”. Oh, the horror. The mother of a child might want their child back where they belong. They should have given me back. I wonder if she even knew she could get me back. I wonder if she could, I don’t know when relinquishment became final back then. It’s still my fantasy that she snuck through the window and stole me back. But anyways. They were actually considering moving to another city because of this.

They didn’t. They contacted the agency. The agency contacted my Mom and told her to cut down on the stalking (though I don’t consider finding your own child stalking). Through the agency, they agreed to open the adoption a little with letterbox contact, which made it a semi-open adoption. My eventual aparents sent letters/pictures/what have you to the agency, the agency passed them on to my Mom, and vice versa, and the agency cut out anything they considered identifying. So I’ve got letters with pages and words missing.

I think this went on for a few years. For the longest time, she always addressed her letters to me with my real name, the one she gave me at birth. I wish she hadn’t stopped. More to the point, my adoptive parents had no right to change my name, and I resent that they did. Not even three years later, she had another kid, my first half-brother. My half-brother went to live with just his father’s family, and she had my half-sister.

It was after my sister was born that it moved to sort of an “open” adoption. I don’t know when we first met in person, but I think it was the time I also first met my sister, when I was about six or so. I don’t remember it. If we had any other visits, I don’t remember them. I do remember fantasising heavily about her and my unknown father. All I knew about him was his name, and I would stare at my one picture of me, my Mom, and him when I was a newborn all the time.

For my thirteenth birthday, I went back to my hometown and spent a nice day with my Mom. She took me to her house and I met my then-youngest half-brother, we had lunch, and she bought me a present. Not too long after that, I was told by my aparents that she didn’t want to have any contact with me anymore. My Mom says that’s true. She doesn’t want her in-laws to find out about me or my oldest half-brother.

So my thirteen year old response to her rejection was “well if you don’t want me, I don’t want you!” Totally false, but that was my coping strategy. I turned my energies to my nDad. I’d been wanting to find him, and when I told my Mom that on my 13th birthday, she gave me his first and middle name. Still not sure why she didn’t give his last name… I didn’t really do much about my desire to search until after 9/11. After that, I scoured the passenger lists for his name. I had to find him. Eventually, I found a little letter than had my paternal grandma’s first and last name on it. Her maiden name is Smith. Luckily for me, she’s a little hippy and changed it to something totally unique. I’d been warned not to contact her, but she was my only lead. It was easy to find her, and she talked to me on the phone and told me how to find my paternal grandfather and through him my nDad. She was really nice, even said she loved me on the first call.

By design, she hadn’t known about me until the day I was born, after my nDad came home from visiting me and my Mom at the hospital. He’d been abused by her when he was little, and he was afraid that she’d try to get custody of me. Given her mental state back then, it’s entirely possible that could’ve gone wrong. So I think her unstable abusiveness was part of the reason I was put up for adoption. Not entirely sure why my nDad didn’t step up to the plate, though…

So, I called the paternal grandpa. I think I first talked to my…to be honest I don’t remember who I talked to first, haha. All I know was that he wasn’t there the first time I called. He worked at sea and was currently…at work. So I had to call back when he came back, which I did, and I know I was playing Journey’s “Open Arms” when I called to talk to him. I couldn’t verbalise it then, but I wanted him to love me and not reject me, and he didn’t.

We had a very up and down relationship after that, staying in touch via very sporadic e-mail. My search and reunion with my nDad didn’t sit well with either of my aparents, particularly my adad, and he mostly stopped talking to me. Which by that point was fine with me.

Fast forwarding, lots of stuff happened in the next couple years. We met in person once and did the classic staring at each other thing. I was a stupid, idiotic teenager and wore my pro-life shirt that I’d had since I was 2 (ugh). I definitely had the mindset of “Adoption, not abortion!” when I was still brainwashed by society. Then in 2004 I went out to stay with him for a week. During that week, we drove up North to go to the big family gathering. I don’t think I could possibly describe how overwhelming and utterly amazing it was to be in a house filled with people who looked like me, acted like me, and had similar interests and talents. It was incredible, and I’d dearly love to repeat the experience.

Within days of going to stay with him, he offered to allow me to move in with him. I accepted the offer. I was sixteen. I moved in with him, started college, and lived with him until early 2008.

I moved out, and he continued being terrible. In addition to that, my amom was dying of breast cancer. She died at the end of June, and my nDad got back in touch with my Mom and told her and gave her my contact info. She called and left me a message about how she’d be there for me. I ignored her, because she didn’t want me back then, so I didn’t want her now. That’s what I tried to tell myself.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I started looking at adoption issues and everything else, and that’s when I got back in touch with my Mom and found my siblings on facebook. We started to talk, and then I must’ve said too much about adoption or something, and she didn’t want me anymore. Now I’m trying to figure out how I can open the lines of communication between the two of us. As for my nDad, I’m cautiously testing the waters to see what kind of person he is now. I’d like to start over with him and build up a new father-daughter relationship, and I think that’s possible for us. I hope so. It’s just getting past everything… I don’t know how to do that.

Safe Haven

This is a bit of a rant. There are far better critiques of Safe Haven out there. Like the one Fugitivus did here.

Safe Haven has good intentions but is a more than terrible idea. Anonymity should NEVER be promised or granted, because every child/eventual adult deserves to know who they come from and who their parents are. Now we’re going to have yet another generation of human beings who have no idea where they are from and will likely never know, even with DNA testing. Not only that, but it’s dangerous and negligent to leave them with zero medical history or contact with the other parent or relatives. If a baby is relinquished through Safe Haven, every option should be given to the mother to help her through whatever situation she is facing that is making her so desperate and to help her keep her baby. The fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of mothers want their babies. Some just need help to enable them to be good parents. Barring mother/child preservation, relatives should be found and considered. Stranger placement should be an absolute last resort.

Besides that, how can you actually be certain it’s a parent dropping the child off? Another problem is that two people are involved in the creation of a child. Why is it that only one (if you are assuming it is indeed a parent dropping the kid off) is needed to get rid of it? No parent has the right to relinquish the parental rights of the other, possibly non-consenting, parent.

Safe Haven is nothing but a band-aid. It does nothing to address the actual causes of why people abandon or abuse people, and in its history it can already be proven that the people who dump their child in the river are not the same ones who will surrender to Safe Haven.

And as an aside: No parent is a “birth” anything. They are the child’s parents. They may be terrible ones, but that is who they are. If a child is brought up in substitute care, the kid may end up with one or two (or more) other parents, but that does not change the fact that the people responsible for the child’s conception and birth are, and will always be, his/her parents. To deny that bond and connection is to deny the child’s very existence and invalidates his/her origins and heritage.

Broked

I think I’ve finally broken under all the stress of the last three years, and this visa application is what pushed me  too much. I don’t even know how to feel right now, other than vaguely sick. I’m trying to turn my mind off so I don’t think or feel.

I submitted my visa application on Monday. Took it to the mailing place and shipped it UPS next day air. It arrived at the British consulate in New York at 10:12 yesterday morning, signed for by Blythe in the mail room. I received an e-mail later that day saying it had reached the UK Border Agency and that I would get another e-mail when an ECO (decision makers) was reviewing it and another when then decision was made.

I spent all Monday night tossing and turning because I couldn’t stop obsessing over my application and trying to think if I’d done anything wrong. I ended up waking up far too early because I did, in fact, think of something I’d done wrong. All in all, what I realised I hadn’t done right was only a very minor mistake and not something anyone thinks they would refuse a visa over.

However, I didn’t make any mistakes like that last time. And I’ve been making a lot of stupid mistakes in recent months, so I was now even more concerned that I’d fucked up something else, something far more important. Usually, I have these concerns, and they’re unfounded. Just me worrying and obsessing. This time, however?

Yeah, I did fuck up something more important than a fill-in-the-blank box on an appendix sheet. The dread started to choke me last night as I tried to sleep, and I had to get up to check.

I left off one of my trips to the UK in the immigration history field. We left the UK to go to the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last August and then came back. You don’t have to give trips back to your own country, but you are supposed to list any that come to the UK (or any other foreign-for-you country).

Now, that may not sound important to you, but to an ECO… if that ECO thinks you left that off on purpose or are potentially trying to lie about it (they can and do check that field with their files on you), not only can your visa get automatically denied, but you can get banned from the country, possibly permanently but the usual term is for 10 years.

As we all know, governments are not particularly known for being fuzzy, warm, kind souls who make allowances for things like human error or who assume the best of people. That is why I’m worried/scared shitless. Besides hopefully getting a kind ECO who will think I didn’t intentionally leave that off, the only other thing I think might save me is the fact I listed 01/09/09 – 30/10/10 as my “in the UK for study” trip. I have the time listed on that sheet, I just forgot the Vegas trip.

I can’t even cry over this, though I’ve come close. I don’t have the emotional energy left. I hope I’m making this all bigger than it is, a mountain out of a molehill, but I have no hope left and I’ve seen stories of others being denied for stupid things, too, things similar to this.

Whether wonderful news or devastating news, I should have the decision by the end of the week. Hopefully I’ll survive the wait.

Belonging

I think this is something every human longs for, belonging, but especially every adoptee. Whether it was the intention or not, every adoptee’s first experience is one of rejection and abandonment by the very person that’s supposed to love you more than anyone else ever. When you’re adopted, your own mother doesn’t want you (feels like, at least, if not in actuality). If your own mother doesn’t want you, the game’s kind of up after that point, isn’t it? That one person, supposed to love you and want you and be there for you more than anyone else, has given you away, because she doesn’t want you. How can anyone else possibly want you, really? More than that, even if you can more or less trust that some people do want you, that can never make up for the first and most devastating rejection, so every wanting after that pales in comparison. The original rejection will always be there, and I don’t know if it can ever be forgotten. I don’t know how to get over it. I’m still waiting for her to want me.

A little while back, I had to work the gymnastics meet we were hosting. I always love working the meets. It’s the next best thing to competing or coaching at them. Gymnastics is a very close-knit sport, because it’s really not that big, especially once you start getting to the upper levels. Everyone knows all the good gyms, coaches, and gymnasts. It’s like one big family. Rhythmic gymnastics is even more so, because it’s so much smaller. My gym is the only gym in the state that does rhythmic gymnastics, and they have to go up and down the Eastern seaboard to compete, because so few other gyms do this type of gymnastics.

Everyone knows everyone else. They all talk, they’re all friends. It’s easy to be drawn into it. I was running back and forth between my office to keep up with tabulating scores and the gym to watch the routines, wanting to support my friend. At the end of the meet, it was time for the awards ceremony and a special performance by a Special Olympics group coached by my friend. I sat on top of the low bar and watched, apart but there, feeling everyone coming together and supporting and cheering on one another. I starting crying, because I’m more apart of this family than any other. I feel like I belong in that family, but I also feel/know that I’m growing away from it. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve been losing that family, and soon I’ll be fully on the outside again. I keep trying to hold on, but it keeps slipping away.

I guess that’s the bottom line. No matter where I go or what I do or who I’m with, I’ll always be on the outside looking in. I just want to belong, feel like I belong, and never have to leave. The family I belonged with was forcibly made not mine by a seventeen year old’s signature on a piece of legal paper nearly twenty-four years ago. Now I’m still searching for one to fully belong to. Maybe I’ll find it one day.