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It’s a new year and a new Open Adoption Roundtable…I’ve missed a couple, but it is what it is. The truth is, I was really looking forward to having another OAR to respond to. I love having topics or themes provided for me. I was always really good at those writing assignments.
Of course, even then, every topic wasn’t a home run for me.
And I’m afraid this installment of the Open Adoption Roundtable is just that kind of topic.
One year ago many of us answered the question, “How will you be proactive in the area of open adoption in 2010?”
If you participated in the January 2010 discussion, revisit your post and give us the one-year-later update.
And whether or not you participated last year, tell us about your open adoption hopes or commitments in 2011.
And I don’t want to answer.
I did participate in the January 2010 discussion. Yesterday, I went back and read what I wrote. In re-reading it, I can’t tell if I really believed I would do all of those things, or if I just was putting forth a valiant effort to sound like the person that would do those things. Because as I sit here today, I feel a little bit like a failure. Yes, I completed the ridiculous goal of reading 50 books, but I didn’t do shit to move our open adoption forward.
I was supposed to get a schedule together. Or at least push Dee for one in some last grand effort where I lay my heart down and explain to her the comfort that I would find in a schedule. And I might have tried on this one a little. But I didn’t do enough. I didn’t open myself up to her, like I so thought I would one year ago tomorrow.
I didn’t do much better on my updates to be sent every other month. I sent her emails here and there, but not in the consistent way I would have liked. I didn’t send the casual, “hey, here’s what’s new with me! I’m a presence in your life!,” emails. I got scared. In last year’s blog post, I wrote down that I was aware that my plan could backfire, and maybe that wrote it into my subconscious as well. So I sat back down and made a secret resolution to not rock the boat. To speak when spoken to, and once in a while at other intervals, but not regularly.
My last resolution was to not be fine with being fine. If anything, I did the opposite here. Instead of speaking my mind and pushing back when things weren’t fine, I just accepted that it is what it is – and that has to be fine. I don’t know, maybe that’s not what I did for the whole year, but it’s what I feel today. It’s how I remember the last year, mostly probably clouded by the past couple of months really.
I don’t know, I suppose in a year of what felt like successes – a new job, a new fiancé, and yes, even those stupid books – I feel like adoption was stagnant.
So what’s the plan for this year?
Maybe my resolution is to just let the open adoption happen. To not try to schedule someone that’s opposed to schedules. Try not to hold myself to a standard of updates that no one else in this OA is anywhere near committing to. To feel how I want to feel – whether that’s “fine” or not fine or actually fine.
I think that’s at least a resolution that I can keep for the year….
Okay, so I suppose it wasn’t my ONLY success of 2010, but it certainly was the only resolution that I made that I stuck to and accomplished – through the entire year!
It wasn’t a publicized goal, and only a couple people knew of it – Mostly so that I didn’t have to answer to anyone when I didn’t achieve it. But now that we’re safely in 2011 and I’ve made it through with flying colors, I can let y’all know that my goal for 2010 was to read 50 books. I love to read, but there are always things that get in the way. Being busy, going to bed, a new episode of the Real Housewives of DC. But I wanted to make reading not just a hobby that I enjoyed, but a priority.
A few months into the year I was on track averaging one book a week. So I thought, what the heck? Let’s up the ante and change the goal to 52 books this year!
Of course, that was an unofficial amendment to the original goal, so I could definitely go back if I had do.
As the end of December drew near, I checked my log. 51 books – right on schedule! I scrolled through the log, to compile my master list (I’d kept it on a forum, so the list wasn’t all in the same place exactly). I was moving on to book #19 when I realized something wonderful – I had TWO book #18’s! Make that already at 52 books! Mission accomplished!! When I finished my current book, I would not meet my new goal of 52 books, but I would actually BEAT IT!!!
I was very excited.
Until I reached a book in about the 40s and realized……OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN!!!
With about a quarter of my last book left, I braced myself for the New Year and the realization that I will have read 54 books in one year! I know for some people (like my Dad) this is not an amazing feat. But I was pretty dang proud of myself.
Of course, Long Board tried to take some of the wind out of my sails when I didn’t actually finish book #54 in 2010, but rather at about noon on Jan. 1 after attending the Rose Parade, but give me a break! It was truly a few pages – maybe 20, tops! So I maintain that I read 54 books, unlike his suggestion of 53.9.
And so, in case you’re curious, here’s the list of the books I read this year! (Oh, and no mocking some of them. I’m completely aware that this is by no means a list of classics!)
1. Altogether Dead by Charlaine Harris
2. Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
3. Dune Road by Jane Green
4. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
5. Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan
6. Invisible by Paul Auster
7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
8. Murder in the Name of Honor by Rana Husseini
9. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
10. Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
11. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
12. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
13. The Soloist by Steve Lopez
14. Stories from Candyland by Candy Spelling
15. The Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin
16. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
17. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
18. The Secret Diary of Anne Bolyn
19. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Closterman
20. A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
21. Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation
22. Alcatraz; the True End of the Line by Darwin E. Coon
23. The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
24. The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
25. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
26. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
27. Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel
28. The Stranger by Albert Camus
29. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larson
30. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
31. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
32. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
33. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
34. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
35. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
36. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
37. Some Girls: My Life in a Harem by Jillian Lauren
38. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
39. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
40. The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer
41. The Beach House by Jane Green
42. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
43. Day After Night: A novel by Anita Diamant
44. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
45. Without a Map by Meredith Hall
46. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
47. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
48. Her Last Death by Susan Sonnenberg
49. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
50. Secrets in the Cellar by John Glatt
51. Mockingbird by Suzanne Collins
52. LA Candy by Lauren Conrad
53. 13 ½ by Nevada Barr
54. Knife Music by David Carnoy
And yes, I’m starting on #1 for 2011 🙂 But please let me know if you have suggestions of books that I should add to my must read list! (Especially if they’re cheap or free on the Kindle!)
Long Board and I went to a wedding this weekend for one of his friends from college. I’ve met this friend once before and he’s been a character in several of LB’s “wild college days, boys will be boys” type stories. If you need further description of the groom, his nickname for the past decade has been “Jack@ss.”
According to all accounts, Jack@ss has improved over the years….his friends affectionately call him Groom 1.0, Groom 2.0, and Groom 3.0 as he’s progressed in becoming more….manageable.
But the moniker remains.
Of course, at a wedding you don’t go around calling someone, much less the groom, Jack@ss. Everyone’s on their best behavior. They’re dressed up, drinking at appropriate levels, and not dancing too close.
But what struck me most were the toasts. First, the best man, the groom’s younger brother, spoke eloquently about how wonderful his brother is. He recalled fond memories from their childhood, highlighted his athletic and academic accomplishments, and focused on the man he’d become, and the excellent husband and father he would be.
Other speakers supported these sentiments, sharing stories of their own that paint the picture of a Saint.
At some point, I realized that these toasts didn’t quite jive with the version of Jack@ss that I’d come to know through stories. It was as if these toasts really represented the best version of him, which is how it should be on your wedding day I suppose.
But it got me thinking about the best version of myself. What people would say about me on my wedding day? What people should leave out of their toasts?
The best version of me does not spend time at work constructing blog posts.
The best version of me does not secretly harbor a tiny bit of jealousy over LB’s ex girlfriends, who are firmly represented in his past through pictures, memorabilia, and most college experiences.
The best version of me keeps the house clean all week instead of frantically doing as much as I can when LB’s on his way up for the weekend.
The best version of me goes to the gym three nights a week and doesn’t get out of it by “reluctantly” going to happy hour with the girls.
The best version of me did not give away her child.
Many parts of the “best version” of me aren’t impossible to attain. I can stop blogging at work (don’t worry, I wont!) I can get over the jealousy. I can try to keep a cleaner home. I can actually go to the gym (but not tonight….tomorrow J).
But I can’t undo the last one.
I can’t be the best version of me.
The only thing I can do is create a new best version. A TG 2.0 if you will. I can be the best first Mom I can be to Cupcake. I can follow through on promises, send letters and gifts, schedule visits and not let myself get so down that I stop trying. I can be an advocate for ethical adoptions. I can be a sounding board for other women that have placed or are considering placement. I can speak to adoptive parents that have questions, need support, or guidance along their journey. I can be there for adoptees that need an ear that can offer my perspective.
Now, this isn’t to say that I am or am going to become some amazing and profound person in the land of adoption. It’s not to say that most of these things will matter to anyone but me. But I think at some point I realized that I’m not where I thought I’d be. That this was not my life plan. That somewhere along the line, the best version of me got lost and can’t be found again. And sometimes, I have to remind myself that good things can come out of that. I have to remember that I will construct a new best version of me. And that it can still be pretty darn good.
Well, thanks to an unexpected lack of the internet for a few days, I made y’all wait a little longer than I intended before getting to share the whole story with you. But now that I’m back to reality – aka back to work – I’ll fulfill my latest almost broken promise!
As some of you might recall, Long Board and I were going to Hawaii the day after Thanksgiving for our first real vacation just the two of us. Now, I don’t need to tell anyone that’s been in this position that it’s a very delicate place to be….because you don’t want to get your hopes up and have what should be an amazing vacation ruined from disappointment…but on the other hand, you can’t help but wonder if this is it.
Also, having every single family member at Thanksgiving ask, “Sooooooooooo do you think you’ll be getting engaged next week????????,” doesn’t help.
So Friday afternoon we got on a plane and set off on our vacation.
Saturday morning was beautiful and we spent most of the day getting settled, doing a little exploring, and stopping at Costco for essentials to stock our timeshare condo. I didn’t think that essentials required four bottles of wine and a whole bottle of tequila, but who am I to complain?
That night, I was taking Long Board to the Mauna Kea Resort where I had been when I was little. I loved the hotel and it held a lot of really wonderful memories for me. They were having a clam bake on the beach that night, and I wanted to treat LB.
While our reservations weren’t until 7:00, all I wanted to do was make it there for our first vacation sunset. So when we had to be there in half an hour and Long Board was just getting out of the shower, I started to get a little nervous. And that’s when he started getting a little fritzy. Like freaking out that his pants weren’t ironed and bumbling all over the house trying to get ready in time.
Finally dressed, pressed and ready to leave, I noticed through his white resort pants (yes, he pulls of this look) a telltale outline of a small box. So at this point, I know it’s game time. Of course, I have not and will never let LB know that the jig was up at this point. He takes a lot of pride in thinking that he was very sneaky and slick – and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him.
We drive to the resort, both awkward and nervous – he for what he’s about to do, me because I have way too much time to think about what he’s about to do. We get there in plenty of time for sunset and take a walk around the resort. This proves increasingly awkward as he’s got both his hands shoved in his pockets – one to conceal the ring, the other to make this look normal. It doesn’t. He’s never put his hands in his pockets in the year and a half I’ve known him, but he doesn’t seem to realize how out of place it looks on him.
Earlier, he suggested we kill time by getting a cocktail at the bar on the beach. I think he could really use a stiff one right about now, so I offer to get him a drink. He’d prefer to take a walk along the beach. He leads me to my favorite part of the resort – an overlook where at night, large lights are shined into the ocean, attracting plankton, which attract the giant manta rays. When I was little, I would spend hours watching their gentle dance in the sea. This memory isn’t lost on LB and he has purposefully created this moment.
At this point, I toy with him a little.
I bat my eyes at him and lean in towards him indicating that he should hug me as we overlook the beautiful ocean. His eyes strain as he wonders how to maneuver an embrace without pressing the box against me. He leans his right half toward me while leaving his left hip behind.
I let him have the “win” as I pretend not to notice.
But as the sun dips closer to the water, I know that the time for jokes and teasing is coming to a close and I realize the seriousness of what’s about to happen and I return to a more nervous state. I don’t know where to look, what to say, what to do. This is “his” moment, at least until he brings me into it.
At which point a kid with a laptop joins us on the overlook. He’s apparently Skyping with someone, showing them how cool this place is. I think LB might slug him if he doesn’t leave soon. Thankfully, the kid leaves and this is LB’s moment.
Of course, this is also where it gets a little fuzzy for me. I remember us looking at the ocean. I remember him taking a quick assessment of our surroundings, making sure there were no onlookers to spy on this private moment. I remember him saying a private little joke that we share – one that closely relates to our impending engagement, and that signifies that this is happening. I remember him dropping to one knee. I remember him fumbling with the box. But that’s about it. I don’t remember his words exactly, I don’t remember the order of much that happened next, but I know that it ended with us leaving that overlook, happily engaged.
Maybe this wasn’t the best time to start up, haha! With shopping and family in town and a house to clean, the week before Christmas gets a wee bit hellacious. But I suppose this is also a great test of commitment! If I can blog through Christmas, I can blog straight into the new year and through all the madness to follow!
Anyway, it’s been a few months, and if you’re reading this now, you likely deserve some sort of update of substance. Something that says more than, “Hey, I’m going to write again!” And you’d probably appreciate an update a little more substantial than an announcement like, “Since I last blogged, I put a PlayStation 3 in my room and I now stream my Netflix to my TV and I LOVE it!” (Which I did, and for the record – I do love it).
So let’s see…..what can I offer?
I could tell you about how I got a Disneyland pass and went a few times and had a great time!
Or….I could tell you about the traveling I’ve been doing with my new job and how I got super lost driving around Dallas and Fort Worth! That’s exciting, right??
Or maybe the problem is that words won’t appease you at all! Should I go with pictures? Something to really capture a moment? Hmm….let’s see. How about this?
Details to follow 😉
At first, I didn’t know why I hit the pause button on blogging, only that it felt like the right thing to do at the time. I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired for the most part. Sometimes I felt like there was something that I was “supposed” to write about, and at one point that feeling reminded me of doing homework. And I was never a fan of homework.
As my hiatus extended into the next month, I just didn’t miss blogging. I missed reading some blogs, but apparently not enough to launch into an all day marathon of catching up on my faves.
It was around Cupcake’s birthday that I realized what part of my problem had become: I didn’t feel like an adoption blogger.
When I started my blog, I was this shell of a person that was writing to make some sense of what was happening in both my world and in the greater adoption world. I was awkward and uncomfortable even in my own writing. Soon, I found my voice. I figured out what I wanted it to sound like. And I fell in love with blogging. I would find myself being inspired by conversations, articles, experiences, and stories. I was excited to share my perspective on things with my newfound bloggy friends. My personal non-adoption life quickly crept in and then one day I realized I was just blogging.
Part of not being an “adoption blogger” was comforting. I didn’t HAVE to write about adoption. I could write about anything I wanted! But sometimes I felt torn…like I was disappointing someone by not constantly addressing issues in adoption land. Or by not giving my own adoption story the print space it deserved.
It just got tiring writing about something that was going nowhere, or only going around in circles. I got to a point where I couldn’t go back and where I wanted some things to be private. Where I needed some decisions to not be judged, commented on, or up for debate. I realize this was something I often asked for, so the change in my response to it was no one’s fault but my own. I hadn’t looked ahead.
So I took a few months. I thought about what a blog of mine would need to look like, and viola.
But I’m decidedly NOT an adoption blogger.
I’m just a blogger – whatever the hell that means.
Will I still write about things in adoption land that piss me off? Absolutely! But a LOT of things piss me off, and they’re not safe from my critique either! Will I still write about my adoption journey? Sure! This blog is going to be about me, and I can’t take that part of me out of the equation. Will I still write about Long Board? You know it!
And I think I’m ready to get back to writing about all of those things.
So to those of you the followed me here – thanks for being patient!