November 19th, 2006

I can't hit the suggested word count in this post, because some events are just too good to be covered up in a lot of talking. But I am thankful for two very important things right now: 1. That I summoned the courage to call my son's family on his birthday; that I had a warm, friendly, productive conversation with his mom; that his health and behavior seem better; that he got to tell me about his birthday party and his presents in his own words; that he is so very smart, asking all kinds of penetrating questions about my recent trip to China and why I chose for him the gifts I chose; that he FINALLY knows who I am to him, and that he said "I love you" twice… [more]

Love Thursday from Heather

October 26th, 2006

Love Thursday - what a great way to take a break from all the seriousness of my normal posts. Here are side-by-side shots of my son and I, taken when we were both 2. (He's 8 now.) We look pretty similar, yes? What I like about these pictures is that they show the undeniable tie between birthparents and their children. We have certain links that no one can take away. The next photo is another favorite, because it shows how much I love him--although it makes me a little sad, too, because at this point in our story, he had no idea who I was. Still, it's a photo I like and am happy to have. I'll always be grateful to his Mom for taking it… [more]

More on adoption and hospital memories

October 13th, 2006

My co-blogger Coley has just written an excellent post about hospital memories, and I’d like to expand on the subject, because it resonates so deeply with me. Prior to becoming a birthmother, I never had a hospital phobia, but today, I can't stand the places. This newfound anxiety is all thanks to the adoption memories. Recently, I moved to a new state, so I no longer see the hospital where I lost my son. But I used to have to drive by it daily, and for many years afterwards, I actually started to feel a little panicky whenever I would see it. Some days, a quick glimpse was enough to send me spiraling into deep sadness and tears. If driving by was bad, going… [more]

Small moments of difficulty

September 23rd, 2006

A continuation from the last post... And then there are the moments that are not crushing, but more disturbing or annoying, such as: --Hearing the many adoptive parents in my office talk about their children and the adoption process, while never acknowledging the existence of people like me (or worse, making derogatory comments about birthfamilies). All parents are justifiably proud of their kids, so again, I do not begrudge adoptive parents their pride. It’s what they say, and how they say it, that matters. Whenever it’s insensitive, I always want to speak up and say, “Hey, I am a part of this, too—why do you ignore me and people like me? If you knew that I (a colleague you respect) was one of… [more]

Small moments of grief

September 23rd, 2006

If you become a birthmom, there are many small moments of grief that may sneak up on you, things you never anticipated being an issue before you surrender your child. I pretty much knew to expect the Big Grief (although I definitely underestimated just how big it would be) but I certainly never thought that the small pangs would add up in quite the way that they do. In some ways, these tiny pinpricks wear you down more than the regular grieving process does – because unlike the main grief, they don’t progress through logical stages, and they don’t reduce in intensity. Here are a few such instances from my own life: --Two months after my son’s birth, receiving a free sample of baby… [more]

Unphotographable: Open Adoption

September 10th, 2006

Another in the series of posts describing "unphotographable" moments in adoption - those times that stand out in memory, but aren't captured on film. My son’s family is coming to visit for the first time since his birth. I’ve waited eight long months for this day—prayed for it, in fact. I have two carefully-chosen presents for him, and I’ve bought a new outfit for myself. The still camera is loaded with film, and I’ve assigned my sister the role of videographer. I’m not going to miss a minute of this day. I wait by the bay window looking for the car to come down the street. When it finally does, my heart is in my throat. That’s my baby who’s coming my… [more]


August 22nd, 2006

A few of my fellow bloggers here at have been writing a series of terrifically poignant posts called “Unphotographable,” intended to bring to life those hard-to-describe moments in adoption. Some of the Unphotographables have been about the happier moments in adoption—things like the first time an adoptive parent sees their new child, or vivid scenes from travel to foreign countries. Unfortunately, as a birthparent, my memories are mostly not that great. Here are a few moments that stand out in indelible detail…things I will never forget no matter how much I'd like to. 1. Sitting at the kitchen table one night with my father, feeling utterly powerless because the adoptive parents have once again backed out on their promises. (What they said… [more]

Unplanned pregnancy around the world

August 2nd, 2006

As I've mentioned before on many occasions, I love to travel. When I go to a new country, I always like to talk to people about issues that are most important to me, including adoption. In Egypt, I met a young man named Ashraf. We kept in touch after my travels, discussing politics, religion and other touchy subjects. I'll never forget the response I got when I told him about the circumstances surrounding the surrender of my son. He listened to my story, and then said, with great emotion, "You Americans are crazy. In my country, the family would work together to help its own." He told me that in Egypt, most women don't view unintended pregnancies as unwanted ones. Some… [more]

Before and After

July 11th, 2006

I’ve been thinking lately about the way having a baby radically changes you. It doesn’t matter whether you ultimately raise your child or not—you will never be the same person you were before you became a mother. Looking back on my own pregnancy, I can see that I had the impression that as long as I gave up my son, my life would go back to the way it was before I got pregnant. This is of course not even remotely close to how it actually plays out. In reality, the moment you deliver, you become a new person. You stop looking at the world only through your eyes, and start seeing through your child's as well. The things that were important to you before motherhood (for me, this… [more]