Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Placement Day

The 20th is my son's birthday, where I celebrate him and his wonderful little life. The 23rd marks Placement Day, where I ponder adoption and the impact it has had on my life.

Placing a child for adoption is hard. I can't even express it. Any birthmother will know what I mean, and any parent will have some grasp of what I'm saying. Even being prepared for it only helps a little. But there is a deep, heartbreaking anguish that comes from parting with a child in this way.

Despite those emotions, however, I have fond memories of placement day. I am glad that I focused on it in a positive way, so that as the pain and grief faded, the joy could shine through the memories. I remember exchanging gifts, and feeling inadequate despite the fact that I was giving them a baby. I remember changing his diaper for the last time, despite Joe's offer to do it. I remember feeling stubborn and clingy for keeping some of the clothes he had worn that I liked best, but sending him in the cutest outfit that I had chosen for him. But I remember in particular the LOVE that I felt. I knew with all my heart that Jen and Joe loved Ian, and that they loved me. I knew that my Heavenly Father loved me, and that He was proud of me for being strong and moving forward with my life.

I guess placement day is hard for me this year, not because of the placement, but because of the emotions. A relationship that I cherished ended last week, and so many of the emotions that are flooding through me ring back to placement. This week I have again experienced emotions of inadequacy. I have felt clingy and stubborn. I have felt a desperate, almost overwhelming sense of loss. But...I have also felt the wonderful and overpowering love from my family, my friends, and my Heavenly Father. I know that I'm loved, and I know that He is proud of me for standing strong and moving forward once again.

Placing my son for adoption has become such a wonderful blessing in my life. I love him, I love his family, I love the relationship that I have with them, and I love that I am able to help others who are now experiencing the same things that I did. So, even though it gets hard sometimes, life does go on, and I can continually seek to move forward and look for the better things to come.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

4 years

Today is my son's fourth birthday.

Four years ago today, this was us:

Now, he's a big, happy little boy who loves camping with his dad, cooking with his mom, traveling with his stuffed animals, and spending time with family and friends.

I am grateful to be a birthmother. I am grateful for open adoptions, that let me take part in my son's life. I am grateful for this wonderful little boy and his amazing parents.

Happy Birthday, Ian.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

some vague thoughts about moving forward

This month, my son will turn 4 years old.

It astounds me how time flies. I'm not sure I'm old enough for this. And yet I feel so very old at times.

Today I was chatting with my missionary-brother on Facebook (I LOVE that, by the way. Not sure it's actually allowed, but whatev!). And he was looking at some old pictures of Ian and saying how big he was, and I was like, "Those pics are over a year old. Want to see some from October?" I emailed him a couple of pics and he was amazed with how big Ian has gotten. Tell me about it!

Every now and then I think back to four years ago. It's not usually deep contemplation, but something will happen that makes me think about it. Like, right after black belt testing, all I wanted was ice cream, so Grady took me to the store and told me to pick whatever I wanted. And I picked out this one flavor that I really enjoy. The first time I had it was when Jen and Joe brought it to me in the hospital the day Ian was born. It's been a favorite of mine ever since.

Hospitals and childbirth in general take me back, as you might imagine. A friend of mine recently had a baby, and I went to visit them in the hospital. We talked about her labor and delivery. And I thought about mine.

I wonder sometimes if those memories will change or fade once I have more children. Will I always think of having Ian once I've also had ________ and _________ ? I think so. I don't think it will be quite as strong, or exclusive. But I bet mothers always remember, in some fashion, the bearing and delivery of their children, each one. Because each child, each experience, is different. Each one is significant. Each one is special.

As I move forward with my life, I want to be very careful to maintain Ian's very special place in my life. Other things are important, to be sure. As I have my own family, my children will certainly take precedence in my day-to-day thoughts and actions, because they will be my primary care and occupation. But Ian will always be important to me. Ian will always be my son, my birthson. I will always care about him and pray for him. I just want to make sure that he always knows that.

I want to be the best birthmom I can be. Normally I take it for granted, being a birthmom. But there is a special effort involved at times, and I'm just discovering how important it can be.