Category Archives: friends in cyberland

New Year, New Surprise

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on FB, talking to a first Mom friend of mine, venting about some things that annoyed us. Things that frustrated us. Things that exhausted us. The sort of things that used to inspire posts of mine, but that I’ve shied away from recently. I was just starting to think that maybe it was time to get back into exploring the ugly thoughts, the frustrations, and the things that I just don’t “get” when a sudden urge overtook me.

I thought, why don’t I check Dee’s FB and see if there’s anything new!

Now, much like mine, her FB is on pretty tight lockdown. On her page I can see her main picture, her basic info and a very basic wall (as in, just updates to her info). It only took an instant for my eyes to hone in on what was a pretty big piece of info for me: her city had been updated just one week ago BACK to where I live!

My mind and heart raced as if in competition. Would I be seeing them again soon? Why didn’t I know? Does she not WANT me to know? What does this mean for our OA?

I stopped, shared the info with my friend, and tried to take a breath.

Next step – email another first Mom friend of mine that I haven’t kept up with as much as I’d like – who is always good with advice and perspective.

Next step – dwell. Overthink. Ponder.

I wrestled myself back and forth from, WHY wouldn’t she email me to let me know that she’s moving back??? to She must be so busy, I should just sit it out and wait and then back again.I took myself on my own emotional roller coaster that I created in my head. Then, I took it to the boards. Asked some forum folk to see what came back.

Verdict: I have no clue.

In any given moment you might find me excited, scared, joyful, hurt, happy, angry, confused and probably a bunch of other emotions that I can’t even identify right now in my frazzled state. And I don’t think I have to choose between those – I can feel all of them somehow. They’re all true to the experience, though I wish I could simplify it.

But for now, I wait. I wait until I can be in a place to clearly figure out my next step. Do I email Dee out of the blue as though I don’t “know” this information? Do I give Dee her space and wish on shooting stars that she calls me? Do I potentially creep her out and say, “Hey, did you know I check for you on FB sometimes?? Guess what I found out??”

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So today, I work. Tonight, I think. Maybe tomorrow, I do.

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Filed under all things adoption, blah, cupcake, friends in cyberland, me and Dee

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2.0

As most of you know, I’ve fallen right off the face of the bloggy planet for a while. I trimmed down my blogroll and regrettably stopped reading a lot of the blogs (meaning I missed out on some pretty awesome stuff that was happening all over the place. Not even reading the blogs I regularly follow, I REALLY wasn’t venturing off to new blogs, “meeting” new people, and reading their stories.

Big mistake.

Thanks to the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project, I’m getting back in the swing of things and was fortunate enough to be paired with a blogger that I’d never met, and a blog I hadn’t yet read. It’s really helped to rejuvenate me (I hope) by making me think of different questions and issues for myself, and got me back out there reading as well.

Now before I go on too long and REALLY sound like a bad infomercial for the project, I’ll just get straight to the introductions! I present to you, I was Anne, author of Tears of/and Joy. “Anne” is a Mother of two, a son (bio) and her daughter (adopted), and wife to one ;). She is two years into the open adoption scene, and seems to be taking to it like a fish to water! I’ve been so inspired and refreshed by her take on adoption issues, and it’s been very cool to see. She’s relatively new to the blog scene, so after you read her responses to my questions head over to her site and introduce yourself 🙂 I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!!

1. Why did you have a fear of blogging? (You’re pretty great at it so far, so I’m curious!)

There are a few reasons. First, I felt uncomfortable with the idea that “anyone out there” would be able to read my intimate thoughts. Second, I can’t really write about my experience without writing about other people in my life, and I felt torn about whether I would be invading their privacy by writing about them in a public forum. Of course my blog is anonymous and I don’t use any real names and I’ve only told one person in my real life that I’m writing the blog, but I guess I worry that someone could figure out it’s me. Last, I worried about making myself vulnerable to judgment. Ultimately, I decided to start blogging because it’s the only community I’ve found that is supportive of open adoption. Even though I live in a large metropolitan area, I haven’t found that type of community here, and when it comes to open adoption, my family and friends range from unsupportive to neutral to “coming around” to the idea.

2. From your first post (and subsequent posts as well) you seem more…..enlightened (?)…than some folks in Adoptionland. What kind of preparation did you and DH do for adoption? I’m guessing you had a relatively short amount of time to prepare for open adoption, but what kind of prep did you do there?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept – what experiences, preparation, or personality traits makes one more likely to be “successful” in Adoptionland. Before we adopted, we went to a lot of agency informational meetings where we heard from adoption professionals and adoptive parents. We also attended a two-day adoption workshop sponsored by RESOLVE.  I read several books and a lot of articles. When we were pursuing an adoption from China, I frequently read the “Rumor Queen” web site where the blog writer tackles a lot of tough adoption-related issues. But honestly, I don’t really think I was “enlightened” by any of that. I think it was being in the situation—specifically meeting my daughter’s first parents and grandmother—that really shaped my views on adoption in general and open adoption. And ultimately, I think one has to be open to accepting the loss surrounding adoption (more about that below) in order to fully embrace open adoption.

3. You have 6 hours to yourself – no kids, no husband, and $1,000 – how do you spend your time?

Good question! I’d have to say a day at the spa – facial, massage, and pedicure. However, I’m not sure the $1,000 would cover the cost. They are ridiculously expensive around here!

4. Your second post is AMAZING. From the mouths of babes!!! And I adore that you were able to consider this possibility rather than just reject Ferb’s suggestion. Why do you think you were so open to his perception of that event?

I don’t know how open I was to it the moment he said it. I think it initially felt like a punch in the gut when he said “maybe she misses her real mom.” But those words kept playing in my head, and I definitely could tell that Ferb was very confused as to why everything was jumping all over him with explanations as to why I was Lily’s “real mom.” As I said in the blog, right then and there I did recognize on an intellectual level that I was just some woman who picked up Lily from the hospital a few hours earlier, but I didn’t want it to feel that way. Over time, however, I definitely came to believe that Lily had a connection to Fiona that was developed while Lily was in the womb. The second time that we had a visit with Fiona and Nate, Lily was about six weeks old, and I remember Fiona walking to the area where Lily was lying and Fiona said something and Lily’s eyes opened wide and went right to Fiona. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lily recognized Fiona’s voice. And the connection that Lily has with Fiona and Nate is undeniable when you see them together.

5. What is one of your less than proud moments navigating open adoption? What did you learn from it? How did you grow?

The hardest time for me was the period between our first and second meeting with Fiona and Nate. Our first meeting – which was also our first visit because Lily was a week old – was highly raw and emotional. It’s up there as one of if not the hardest day of my life, and it had to have been easier for me than for Fiona and Nate. We left the meeting without much closure in terms of our open adoption. That meeting took place within the revocation period, and in that sense they “confirmed” (?) that they wanted to go forward with the placement with us as Lily’s parents, but there was no talk of what our open adoption would look like in terms of communication and visits. During this period (between our first and second visit), Fiona sent me an email that I didn’t react well to. It freaked me out for a lot of reasons. I’d rather not include what was in the email, but the bottom line was that I wasn’t able to separate her grief and the problems she was dealing with from myself. So I basically wrote a very short and cold response to the email and suggested that we set up a meeting at the agency to talk through things. In some ways, I felt that I wasn’t equipped to advise (?) her or myself on some of these complicated issues that were directly and indirectly related to the adoption. But I’m not proud of the way I reacted because I think I really shut Fiona down at a time when she was reaching out to me. I still feel terrible about that. My biggest challenge has been accepting that there is tremendous loss surrounding adoption, and no matter what I do or say, I can’t make that go away. During the episode I just described, the loss was too much for me to bear. I was overwhelmed, and I just wanted it to go away. Now, I’m able to do a better job holding onto the loss and sadness without internalizing it or making it about me. It’s not always easy, but I definitely have a better handle on it now.

6. What is the last book that you read? Did you like it? What book would you recommend I read next?

I love Diane Chamberlain books. The last book I read was on vacation last summer – Breaking the Silence. I would recommend any of her books (there are a lot). I like that her characters have so many dimensions, never all good or all bad.

7. You wrote, “I regret that I let our adoption agency bully me into thinking I was powerless over certain issues that bothered me.” Now, I’m known to get a bit peeved by adoption agencies, so this piqued my curiosity. Can you elaborate?

Sigh. Our social worker was a lot like Amelia Bedilia. (For those who aren’t familiar, she’s a children’s book character who worked as a housekeeper and always misunderstood her boss’ directions. For example, her boss would tell her to “draw the curtains” and she would draw a picture of the curtains. Anyway, I digress.) This social worker tended to talk in circles and she frequently got cases and situations confused. There was an issue related to the hospital bill that was unresolved between our first and second meeting with Fiona and Nate. I was really pushing the social worker to help me communicate with Nate and Fiona – to facilitate, which I thought was her job – but instead she kept telling me that she needed to focus on this hospital bill situation (which involved getting some paperwork from Fiona) and if I did anything to rock the boat then the hospital would start billing us thousands of dollars. I really felt that this social worker wasn’t giving Fiona the support that she needed, and the SW kept telling me that MY desire to communicate with Fiona was not in Fiona’s best interest and basically she is the professional and I should stop telling her how to do her job. It got so bad that I even yelled at and then hung up on the agency receptionist because he wouldn’t put me through to the social worker. I was definitely not in a good place, and things never really improved with the agency.

8. I LOVE FERB! The more I read about him the more I just adore this little person! Can you share a story about Ferb from your pre-Lily days? (NOT that I don’t love the one’s of him and Lily, haha, I DO!)

Here’s one of my favorite stories; I hope it’s not too morbid! I was very close with my grandparents growing up, and my last two living grandparents were alive when Ferb was born – Grandma A (paternal grandma) and Grandpa B (maternal grandpa). When Ferb was almost three, Grandma A became very ill and went into hospice. Ferb knew Grandma A, but we lived in different states, so he wasn’t aware of her decline. I went to visit her a few times in hospice, but Ferb was young enough that he didn’t really need to know where I was going and what was going on. When Grandma A passed away, I didn’t think that Ferb was ready to learn about death, so we didn’t tell him what had happened. And even after Grandma A passed away, I continued to talk about her and show Ferb pictures of her – just because she was a very important person in my life. Fast forward two years; Ferb is almost five, and Grandpa B’s health starts to decline. This time Ferb is old enough to realize what’s going on, and he knows Grandpa B quite well. After Grandma B passes away, Ferb shows outward signs of sadness, and I ask him how he’s feeling. He tells me that he’s worried that Grandpa B is under the ground all by himself. I explain that his soul in up in heaven now and he’s with Grandma A looking down on us. Ferb looks up at me wide-eyed and say, “WHAT?! Grandma A is dead too!?” Poor guy lost both great-grandparents in one fell swoop! That’s what I get for trying to sugarcoat the hard truths of life. I like this story because both Grandma A and Grandpa B liked dark humor and I know they would have found this story hysterical and I secretly hoped they were listening in and cracking up.

9. How did you and G meet? You said you’ve known him for quite a while. How did you start dating?

We’ve known each other for 23 years and we’ve been married for almost 12. We met our freshman year in college, but we didn’t date in college. We were in the same group of friends, and I actually found him a bit annoying – loud, obnoxious, and drunk a good part of the time. We stayed somewhat in touch after college, but not much. About five years after graduating, I ended up moving back to the area where he was living and we reconnected and soon after started dating. We got married about two years later. Even now when I look back at old college pictures I think to myself, “Did I really marry THAT guy????” Seriously, though, I got very lucky.

10. What’s your favorite part of being a Mommy?

It’s hard to come up with one favorite. I love cuddling with them, watching them laugh so hard that they can barely breathe, and seeing them learn to do new things and then being so proud of themselves. I always tell my kids that I don’t know how I got so lucky, but somehow I ended up with the two best kids in the world. No offense to anyone else of course, but I really do believe it. There was a period when I thought I may never be mom and I know it’s not something that everyone who wants to experience gets to experience. Even though there are days when they drive me absolutely crazy, I try not to take a single day with my kids for granted.

11. What three pieces of advice would you give to a wide eyed couple seeking an open adoption?

I think this may be the hardest question to answer. I would tell them 1) Always remember what an amazing gift you are giving to your child if you enable  him/her to build a real relationship with his/her first family. 2) Expect open adoption to be harder than you think it will be—expect regrets, doubts, raw emotion, heart-break, hard questions, and periods of silence, but don’t let any of it scare you away or make you think you’ve made the wrong decision. You haven’t.  3) Learn from the experiences of other people in open adoptions. If you’re like me, they’ll be a lot of unsupportive people in your “real life,” so find ways to connect with other people living open adoptions who understand its value.  I am a big fan of Production Not Reproduction, and I often come back to this blog entry, especially when things get tough. It captures my feelings more beautifully than anything I could ever express myself!

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Filed under all things adoption, friends in cyberland

Another Night, Another City, Another Hotel

I’m making my third stop in Texas in 22 days. I’ll make a fourth stop in December. And while I sit in another Texas city in another hotel, I don’t mind it. I mean, I miss Long Board – and there’s a part of me that is sad that our life as a married couple that never spent a night apart was so short-lived. He actually came along with me on my first trip, perhaps just to avoid reaching that fate even more quickly. But alas, last weekend I was apart from him, and as I sit in my Hy@tt watching CNN’s coverage of the Penn state scandal, Long Board is far away camping somewhere. In the rain.

Call me crazy, but I’d take my lonely hotel over a rainy tent just about any day!

And the truth is – I really enjoy traveling alone! Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. I do not have to consult with anyone else on what I want to do. I’m not sure where or what I want to eat tonight, but I’m going to decide without having to consult anyone else. And I enjoy that. I like reading on the plane without having a companion to talk to. I like being on my schedule, no one else’s. I’m even one of those losers that doesn’t mind eating either alone with a good book, or sliding up to a sports bar and watching the game by myself. I’m so rarely alone these days, that, well – it’s not all that bad!

2. Let’s face it, these are work trips first and foremost. The whole point is not about going out on the town (though sometimes that’s a perk: see reason 3!) I have a job to do. So when I walked into my room tonight my eyes honed in on the DVD player attached to the TV and visions of RedBox and chinese takeout danced in my head…..ah, a night in at a hotel. Get plenty of rest to get up bright and early and work all day. And if my volunteers call me and there’s an emergency, the only person who’s night get’s ruined/canceled – is mine. And that’s okay. It’s what I’m getting paid (sort of, ha!) for.

3. Being alone gives me a prime opportunity to hit the town and meet up with people! Okay, this sounds quasi-creepy. I’m not talking about some weird cheater-nonsense. I’m talking about many of you fabulous bloggy/internet people! I’m hoping to set up just such a meet up tonight/tomorrow. Now I just need to get my volunteers to give me the green light that everything is kosher tonight and that I won’t be needed….but I digress. Now sure, I can technically do this if I’m traveling with someone else, but not quite so easily.

I’m not sure how I would explain my internet friendships to my colleagues. There’s a sort of unspoken assumption when we travel together that we’ll hang out together. And since I’m friends with my colleagues, this plan usually works out just fine. We’ve met up with friends, family, etc. and it always goes just fine. But I’m not sure how, “Hey, wanna meet up with my friend that I’ve actually never met but know because I blog/write on forums about how I gave my kid up for adoption?” will go over with colleagues, or, say, my boss.

Long Board knows about my internet hobbies and has been with me on one of those “first meeting” situations. Since we had a second meeting with this person, I know that he wasn’t totally freaked out by it, but I think it threw him just a bit. I’m not sure he “gets” why I make actual friendships with people through this medium. And frankly, it’s just more comfortable for me to meet and spend time with these friends on my own. Maybe that’s wrong or whatever, but it is what it is for now.

So, I could mope about being stuck in this hotel room alone, or I could celebrate the solitude. Dream of RedBox and chinese food. Scheme to meet old friends for the first time. And be extra okay with this arrangement because it’s just temporary and I’ll be home on Sunday.

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Filed under friends in cyberland, life is good, sometimes I AM working

Overwhelming Wedding Support

Someday I’ll stop blogging about all things wedding, but not today.

And don’t worry, not until I post some of those pictures I’ve promised you. 🙂

A few days ago, a dear friend posted this picture on her F@cebook:

I immediately “shared” it and commented that not only did I not update our relationship status for a week, but that I didn’t check F@cebook at all on my wedding day. (Nor did I check my Blackberry – a huge accomplishment in itself!)

Wanting to confirm that I wasn’t a dirty liar, I went to my profile and scanned down to October 8th.

My heart was warmed as I re-read all of the posts of congratulations and well wishes, and I realized how many of the amazing people that commented were folks that I’d never met in real life, but knew from my time online in adoptionland. Folks that I have met, but that were friendships that were foraged almost entirely online. It was a really cool moment, and I let it go without commenting. And I didn’t want to keep it that way.

So to anyone and everyone that wished us well on F@cebook – thank you. Truly, genuinely, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I could not be more touched that so many people across the country were thinking of us on that day. It’s beyond awesome.

Oh, and I confirmed that my first post was two days later, safely nestled on our Honeymoon, and I indeed updated our relationship status on October 15 – one week later, just like I thought. 🙂

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Filed under friends in cyberland, life is good, life with long board, short and sweet, things that make you go wow

Hints to Friends on F@cebook

Dear Hipster,

I became your friend on FB because we are, you know, friends. We’ve known each other for over a decade, so I like keeping up with you. However, I am really close to deleting you because all you ever do is post about what an important poet you are. I do not need to go to every reading you have. I do not need to hear you brag incessantly about your little book that’s coming out. About how you found out that your poem is a ringtone. I’m happy for you. I am. It’s just a LOT easier to be happy for you when you’re not clearly so damn happy for yourself.

Also, if you ever called.

Miss you, friend!

***

Dear Friend of Little Sis,

PLEASE stop posting dramatic/vague song lyrics when referencing your roller coaster romance with your fiance/daughter’s father/ex. I’m sorry if you and he are going through (fill in the blank as insinuated by the lyrics). I completely understand your need to not share these intimate details with the world. However, maybe you shouldn’t post something on F@cebook that’s just going to make everyone ask questions you don’t want to answer….

I’m just sayin’.

***

Dear World Traveler,

I get it. You live in France.

You freelance and earn money here and there (though we all know Mommy and Daddy keep sending you checks) and are living the American (French?) dream. But you talk about France SO MUCH, that a part of me thinks you might just be living in your hometown in Central California and not letting us know you came home….

And if you are living there still, please talk about cheese and independent films and the Eiffel tower a little less. Your experience does not need to be pure stereotype in order for us to be entertained by it.

Au revior!

***

Dear Insta-Updater,

I say this from a place of love.

I want to let you in on a little secret:

Even if you don’t update an accomplishment immediately on F@cebook….it still happened. You don’t have to make it your status to make it “real.”

Now I know that’s your style, and that’s how you are. That’s fine, I suppose. I’ll just block your updates if I don’t want to see them. But when our friends boyfriend flew here from overseas to surprise her for a visit, your first response probably shouldn’t be, “Oh my gosh, really?? Why didn’t you post that on F@cebook?!?!?!?”

My guess? She was actually enjoying her time with her boyfriend rather than telling all her acquaintances about it. Living life can be pretty cool. I think you’d really like it.

Let go. The world will still be there when you log off 🙂

***

Dear Chris,

STOP POSTING “WITTY” QUOTES AS THOUGH YOU CAME UP WITH THEM, WHEN THEY’RE DEFINITELY FAMOUS QUOTES.

If you wanna use it, that’s fine. But give credit where credit is due.

***

Everyone,

Please do not update your relationship status the moment you start dating someone. Heck, I’m a big fan of not updating it at all when you’re dating someone. LB and I didn’t even have the discussion about becoming FB official until after he put a ring on it.

I have seen WAY too many people have to awkwardly change their status post breakup. One whose status literally went from “single” to “in a relationship” and right back within about an hour. Save yourself the grief.

And it’s ugly. You’d be dealing with enough without having to share it publicly.

And really, if you’re anything like me, there will be enough pictures of the two of you filling each others albums this his ex, your ex, whomever will definitely know that you’re together, even if your pages aren’t linked together signaling your love.

***

Dear Almost Brother-in-law,

You know you don’t have to post something political/controversial every day right? I really want to like you. You’re going to be my brother! But it would be a LOT easier to ignore our…..differences…….if you didn’t like to them on a daily basis.

And let’s be real. You already got kicked off FB once for some of your less than tolerant postings. Let’s not go for two okay?

Peace.

***

I think that’s it for now!

And now that I’ve given fair warning, I’ll wait a few days before sending out the Ninja. Any additions?

(PS Some of these read a little bitter. And I’m not. I swear :))

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Filed under friends in cyberland, nonsense

Wedding Wednesday: Save the Date! or To Invite or Not to Invite

With the wedding just over six months away, we’re sending out save the date cards way behind schedule, but sending them we are! Partly because I found a Save the Date card that I really like, and partly because we have a great picture from the engagement shoot to go on it.

Of course, you can’t send save the date cards if you don’t have a somewhat finalized guest list. This, I have found, is the biggest headache thus far in planning a wedding. I’m the kind of person that has a small handful of very close friends that I would want to invite to a wedding. LB is the kind of person that has tons of “friends” from college that travel in the same groups and stay in contact. He’s been invited to many of their weddings and in turn wants to invite the whole crew. Add that to his recent grad school friends and his friend list is astronomical. Not wanting to look like the lame loser, I added most of the girls I work with to the list (whom, in fairness are now very good friends that I would certainly want to invite anyway).

Then there’s family…..OH the family. My family, of course, I don’t see a problem with. Because I’m really focusing on inviting my immediate family. OF COURSE I’m inviting my siblings, their spouses and children! OF COURSE I’m inviting my Aunts and Uncles and cousins! OF COURSE I’m inviting my Nana. Beyond that? I’m set. LB’s immediate family is MUCH smaller than mine, so his family guest list extends to relatives like “second cousins once removed.” Which is fine…..except that some of these are people he hasn’t spoken to in years, seen in longer. He’s also a little on the fence about a few very distant relatives that attended his sister’s wedding a couple of years ago that didn’t bring a gift (and certainly have the means to). Not because he NEEDS a gift or is having a wedding to get gifts, but I think he’s offended by the idea that family members wouldn’t give something, even if it’s not from the registry, of great value, etc. I don’t care – invite them if you’re close to them. But again, if you’re not? Eh.

I can truly say that every single person that I have added to our guest list, is someone that I would want there on that day. Someone that has supported me, been there in my life, and someone that would want to be there as much as I want them there. Of course, Mom got to the list and added some people with the argument that, “They’ve known you since you were born!” My response of, “Right….and I haven’t seen them in 24 years,” didn’t dissuade her.

And so our guest list isn’t quite complete yet. We’re working on paring it down to fit our maximum capacity while making sure that our top tier “must have” attendees are included. After that? Bring on my Mom’s parent’s neighbor from 1986 and LB’s Great Uncle that he’s never met.

Now, back to the save the dates: I realized that I have a list of people in my mind that I would like to send a save the date to, not because I expect them to fly out and attend, not because I want anything from the, but just because I want to share in the experience with these people! Of course, many of them I can’t actually send the card to, because I don’t have their addresses! Which bears the question, who are these people??

Well many of you of course!!!

I must admit, it seems very strange to have a wedding without some of you there. Parts of being a public person online (even if somewhat private) have their downside, I will admit. But I have made such amazing connections, and yes, friends, through this medium, that I can’t deny it as being something that I cherish. I can remember back to those first days of internet community, before I even considered blogging, and the people that reached out to me and made me realize that I’m not alone, that I would get through this, and that they would be there for me. That was so incredibly powerful. And it’s only gotten stronger with more people and more connections through the years.

So yes, it’s hard to imagine this next step without those friends right there with me. But I know they won’t be, and that’s okay. I’m just glad that I can include so many of you in the little ways that I can. Even if that means posting an electronic save the date once the real ones get mailed.

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Filed under friends in cyberland, life with long board, wedding wednesday