June 29, 2009

Day 7, Wherein Our Heroine Is Driven Mad from Boredom

I am (fingers crossed) past the hardest part of my recovery and feeling a lot more like myself again. I still have a week to go on the bedrest, which means I'm am bored out of my ever-loving mind. It turns out there is only so long one can go without being (a) sick or (b) productive without feeling like a giant sloth. I'm hoping to put some of this pent-up energy to good use over the next few days.

I miss my babies. They come in to visit me, but it's not the same.

June 25, 2009

The Confinement

Why, hello! I'm here in day three of The Confinement. Day one, the first day after the surgery, was fantastic. I read two books, I emailed, I twittered, I talked pleasantly with people. This recovery is going to be a breeze, thought I! Then day two came and, holy frak. Day two was awful. Total nausea and the closest thing to a migraine I've ever experienced. (Maybe it was a migraine? How do you know?)

A story for you:

I was sent home from the hospital with a catheter. (I can't quite believe I just told you that.) This was my #2 fear, my #1 fear being that thing from Dateline where the patient is totally awake and aware during surgery but can't tell anyone because of the paralyzing drug they give you as part of general anesthesia. So if I had to choose, I'm grateful it was my #2 fear that came to pass and not my #1. Although a catheter is pretty much as awful as you would expect it to be.

I was supposed to go in to a local clinic yesterday to have it removed. And even though that ended up being in the middle of nasty day two, neither hell nor high water was going to keep me from making that appointment. My mom dropped me off at a side entrance to the clinic and, looking back now, I'm pretty sure I was supposed to wait for her to park and come back to help me. But all I could think at the time was Must. See. Doctor. so I took off on my own down the hallways.

I must have looked like death warmed over, lurching along, bracing myself against the wall with one hand, the other hand holding my pee-pee bag in a kicky little tote. (Always accessorize!) I could see the seats of the OB/GYN waiting area just around the corner. In my drug-addled mind I thought that if I could just make it there everything would be okay. So I hurl myself forward like Frankenstein's monster, collapse into the closest chair with my pee bag in hand, and immediately empty out the contents of my stomach in full view of everyone else in the waiting area. With all ladylike delicacy, of course.

In the middle of my heaving, I hear one of the woman lean toward her companion and ask nervously, "Is that what morning sickness looks like?"

That's all I've got right now, folks. Your entertainment recommendations have been excellent. I think you've convinced me to finally read a Jodi Picoult book. Let's talk about that next time, yes?

June 19, 2009

Open Adoption Roundtable #2

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don't need to be part of the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even have a traditional open adoption. If you're thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table.

Publish your response during the next week--linking back here so we can all find one other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. If you don't blog, you can always leave your thoughts directly in the comments.

Our second assignment on this Father's Day weekend (at least here in the U.S.): Write about the father(s) in your family's open adoption(s). Our experiences are too varied to narrow it down to one specific question to answer. But every adoption involves at least one father. Write about his presence or his absence, record a memory or write him a letter. Tell us about the dads and the adoption-related choices they've made.


Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working confronts her feelings about having to share motherhood of a daughter who will only ever have one father.

Ginger of Puzzle Pieces talks about her very different relationships with her four daughters' fathers: three by adoption and one by birth.

Spyderkl at Evil Mommy honors what her daughter's two fathers have given to her.

Lavender Luz of Weebles Wobblog sends out a Father's Day message to her children's fathers--both the ones present and one absent.

Tammy at You Just Never Know Where Hope Might Take Ya... confronts the absence of her children's birth fathers with painful honesty.

Arcadia of Look Beneath the Skin looks through the many dads in her complicated family tree: the father who raised her while keeping her adoption a secret, the birth father with whom she reunited, her placed daughter's adoptive and biological fathers, and the intended father of her surrogate baby.

Cindy.psbm looks back at her son's birth and placement and considers the role his birth father played.

Tracey of Grace Comes By Hearing acknowledges the anonymous men who fathered her husband and son, and the dads who stepped in to take their place.

Jenna of The Chronicles of Munchkin Land considers the different blessings her daughter receives from the many fathers in her life.

Mama2Roo at Letters to a Birthmother writes a touching letter to her son's absent birth father, longing to know more about him for the sake of her son.

Thorn of Mother Issues writes about her partner's first dad, a man who was present enough to be known but not enough to be a father.

Leigh at Sturdy Yet Fragile wonders about her daughter's birth father could have shown lack of interest in the eight years since her birth and placement, and worries about what that may communicate to their daughter one day.

Valerie of From Another Mother honors four fathers: her adoptive dad and the birth dad who never forgot her, her son's adoptive father and the birth father who showed his care for him.

Robyn at the Adoption.com Domestic Infant Adoption Blog creates a tribute to her husband's loving care of their son.

Andi-bo-bandi of The Many Faces of KJ struggles honestly with her feelings about the birth father who wanted nothing to do with her adopted son.

Jess at The Problem With Hope expresses the hurt that comes when a father's words don't match his actions.

Okiemunchkinsmom at But, Aren't You Afraid? writes a lovely tribute to her children's father.

Lassie of Eggs Benedict Arnold takes stock of her feelings about her daughter's first father. "...I don’t like or dislike J. I respect him, I’m grateful to him, I honor his place in my family, but I don’t know enough about him or the year he spent raising LL to say I like him. I am, however, open to liking J."

M de P of Reservado Para Futura Mamá talks about her approach to the difficult topic of her daughter's anonymous birth father.

And I remember the night my son's first dad became a father.


I've had a couple of people ask why I took down the blog, wondering if something awful has happened. It's still here, I promise! You just can't get to it in certain browsers (like Internet Explorer). Others warn you it might be a spam site (Firefox). Small details, right?

Sadly, Blogger is being a poopy-head right now about custom domain addresses. It's a giant technical issue that's affecting a lot of different sites. They say they're working on it; in the meantime, you should be able to see the site just fine if you go to www.productionnotreproduction.com (instead of unproductivereproduction.blogspot.com). And I promise it's not a spam site.

Thank you for your patience! And Wordpress users, I envy you.

ETA: The feed isn't working, either. Same Blogger issue. Sigh.

June 15, 2009

You Rock, Pictures and a Request

I am just blown away by the responses in the Open Adoption Roundtable. So much honesty and thoughtfulness is represented there. You guys rock.

I think I'm all caught up adding posts and blurbs to the list. If I accidentally skipped over yours, please let me know and I'll get right to it.

The one thing I would tell myself from a week ago is that I need to write my own entry before I post the writing prompt. It felt like I was scrambling to keep up with the rest of you all week! Lesson learned for next time. My plan is to post a new roundtable topic every other week for the time being, so check back next weekend for Round #2. I'll keep posting submissions through today, then close Round #1 down.


Firefly had her pictures taken on Saturday and, for the first time ever, made it through a whole two poses before bursting into tears. Progress! Behold her cuteness at the not-so-secret blog.


I've lately discovered that there is no graceful way to introduce one's upcoming convalescence into a conversation. "Did you see the local strawberries are out at the farmer's market now? So tasty. And by the way, I'm having surgery soon and will be in bed for two weeks."

Sooooo...I'm having surgery next week. And that's all I think I'll say about that, other than to admit that I am simultaneously scared senseless and grateful that in the grand scheme of medical issues, this problem isn't so bad. Annoying and daily-life-effecting, but not deadly.

I'm bringing it up at all because I need some suggestions. When the doctor first said I'd need to be in bed for two weeks post-surgery, I was bummed, but then thought about all the things I could at least get done whilst propped upon fluffy pillows. Finish the kids' baby books! Finally clear out my email in-box! Write blog posts! Then she clarified that I would need to be in bed on my side for two weeks. So far the only things I've come up with that I can do on my side are (1) read, (2) watch television, and (3) peck at a keyboard with one hand. Maybe I'll figure out a way to roll around the house, à la Violet Beauregarde?

But to get to the point, I'm looking for reading/viewing suggestions. Have you read/watched anything lately that you thoroughly enjoyed?

P.S. I don't do vampires, romance novels, or romance novels involving vampires. Just so we're clear.

June 10, 2009

Atomic Love

Todd and I shared our first kiss one warm autumn night on a sandy beach in Southern California. We were driving home from visiting a town a few hours south of us when we spontaneously took an exit toward the coast and spent some time, um...enjoying the location. It was a dark, dark night and we could hardly see a thing around us save for the moonlight sparkling on the waves. It was all very sweet and lovely.

Until the light of day, that is.

"Last night, do you know what beach we were at? It wasn't San Onofre, was it?"

"I'm pretty sure it was. Yeah, it was."

"Wow, that's...romantic."

Now, the San Onofre beaches are decent enough. Particularly by night when the beach has grown dark and you are left alone with the sound of the crashing surf. By day, however, you must ignore the enormous nuclear power plant smack dab in the middle. And not just any nuclear power plant. Oh, no. The one that looks like this:

And that is the story of how we had our first kiss in the shadow of the nuclear boobies.

See more fun Show and Tell posts here! Photo by onebob.

June 07, 2009

Introducing the Open Adoption Roundtable

I'm so excited for this post!

When Open Adoption Bloggers started a few months ago, I noticed a bit of a theme running through a lot of the emails people were sending me. Blogger after blogger told me she'd love to write more about open adoption, but just didn't know where to start.

So I started tossing around the idea of offering up a semi-regular open adoption-related writing prompt. I love the thought of a bunch of us occasionally writing around the same topic or question, each of us veering off into our own personal take. A showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. I threw out the idea to the other writers on the list, thinking I'd find a handful of people who were up for it (or maybe just an awkward silence). But instead there was a huge wave of people saying, "Yes, let's try it!"

So welcome to the inaugural Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable! To kick things off, we're taking it personal, with a post to yourself.

We each had a starting point in open adoption, a point in which openness entered our lives and our lexicon. For some, it was definite--you knew you wanted an open adoption before you ever picked up the phone to call an agency. Others fell into it as your relationship with your child's other family grew into something far different than what you had planned. Maybe you never even considered open adoption until a counselor brought it up. Perhaps you resisted the idea in the beginning.

Your first assignment is to think back to who you were when open adoption first entered into your life. As with so many things in life, thinking about open adoption without having experienced it and actually living it out are two very different things. What do you know now that you wish you knew then? Has the reality of open adoption as it's looked in your life matched your expectations? What one thing about open adoption would you tell your past self, if you could? (If you're still in the beginning stages of your adoption journey, flip the question around: What one thing do you wish you could ask your future self about open adoption?) Be as creative or straightforward as you wish.

Publish your response during the next week--linking back here so we can all find each other--and leave a link to your post in the comments. You don't need to be on the Open Adoption Bloggers list to participate, or even have a traditional open adoption; everyone who wants to play along is welcome. If you don't blog and would like to join in, feel free to leave your response in the comments. (Or start up a blog at the shiny new Open Adoption Support--it's easy and there's no pressure to post a lot, because it's part of the larger site.)

I'll create a list of links to your blogs here at the bottom of this post as they're added. Remember, the point is to listen to and learn from each other, so write, visit other people's posts and be sure to comment!


M de P from Reservado Para Futura Mama realizes that openness doesn't always look like what you hoped for--and that that can be okay.

Thorn at Mother Issues looks at open adoption from her unique perspective, as she navigates relationships with the biological family of her partner (who was adopted as a child) and prepares to adopt from the foster care system herself.

Spyderkl at Evil Mommy lays out all the things she wishes someone had said to her. I love this line, "As long as you’re a parent, there is a choice you’ll have to make between love and fear."

Tammy at You Just Never Know Where Hope Might Take Ya remembers her journey from rejection of open adoption to wholehearted acceptance, and reflects on what she has learned from again needing to adjust her hopes to reality.

Dawn of This Woman's Work tells herself that while parenting in open adoption may be different in many ways, it isn't something to fear.

Valerie at From Another Mother reflects on the key role trust played as she prepared to place her son in an open adoption.

Anonymous talks about the realities of raising children who are not genetically related to you.

Tracey at Grace Comes By Hearing tells herself things aren't as black and white as she thinks they are--nor as scary.

Ginger at Puzzle Pieces gently reminds herself not to lose sight of her own needs as she deals with the aftermath of placing her daughter. Openness may be for the benefit of the child, but the adults need tending to as well.

Jane of Jane's Calamity, who grew up in an open adoption, writes about the new perspective she gained when she entered into an open adoption with her own child's adoptive parents.

Karen of Clio declares that open adoption is a state of mind--it won't threaten your parenthood unless you let it.

Jenna at The Chronicles of Munchkin Land searches for the one piece of advice that would have made a difference as she considered placing her daughter.

Jeannette looks back and wishes she had better understood how much she had to offer her daughter in those early years.

Ashley of More Than Dog Children realizes none of the worries she had about open adoption were necessary.

Andy at Today's the Day! looks back with the wisdom of hindsight and wonders if there was more she could have done to keep her son's first mom in contact.

Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working writes two moving letters, one to her past self on the cusp of entering into the unknown of open adoption and another to her future self wondering what path her relationship with her placed daughter took.

Deb of Waiting on Life speaks honestly about the interplay of emotions and decisions as they figure out the parameters of a semi-open adoption.

Jessica of Here's to Hope honors the power of personal stories in preparing ourselves for openness.

D at The Mommy Journals reflects on how the very things you once resisted can become surprisingly normal.

Jess at The Problem With Hope celebrates how adoption has expanded her family in ways she never guessed it would. "What started out a relationship I thought I was obligated as a parent to keep has become an extended family....and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Debbie B at Always and Forever Family comments on both the importance of communication and of not giving in to fear. "When you see your child smile upon seeing her birthmother any fears you might have still had will melt away."

Andi-bo-bandi of Our Adoption Adventure wrestles with the reality that the openness she so readily embraced may not always be matched by her son's first family.

SocialWkr24/7 of Eyes Opened Wider uses the moving story of one multi-branched family to show the potential benefits of openness in adoptions from foster care.

Rebeccah at Chasing a Child thinks about the circumstances of her son's placement, speculating on what the concept of openness may have looked like from his first mom's perspective.

Lavender Luz of Weebles Webblog remembers back to when she learned that everything she thought she knew about adoption was wrong.

Leigh at Sturdy Yet Fragile shares the reasons she chose a semi-open adoption when she placed her daughter and why she wishes she had thought more about the future.

KatjaMichelle of Therapy Is Expensive at first struggles with just what she would say to her 17-year old self, then arrives at this realization: "I would remind myself that the child I was carrying was not only my son, he is also my parent’s grandson, my sister’s nephew, my future neices’ cousin, and my future children’s brother."

Bethany at Our Adoption Journey honestly faces the fears she has about open adoption as she and her husband wait to adopt.

Kathleen, Kat, Kate, or Katie...depending on when we knew each other stumbles into openness and discovers it's not what she feared--and maybe even influences a pro-closed adoption agency for the better.

Brown at Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom wishes she could tell herself to push through the hard times for the promise of the freedom she might have had with her daughter.

Britney at Beauty from Ashes wishes she knew how much placing her son would affect the people she loves the most and how pre-adoption contact might have helped them.

Erin of Seeking God Knows What finds freedom as she embraces the fluctuations in her family's open adoption.

June 03, 2009

I'm in Africa Moment

Long ago, while I was still a college student, I spent the summer in West Africa with some friends. We were there long enough that we settled into a semblance of a routine and the sights and sounds and foods began to grow familiar. Eventually we stopped talking about all the new things we were experiencing and instead went about our day chattering and laughing about the small things of life. If someone were to only have audio for our conversations, they would have never guessed we weren't just walking across the quad back at school. It is how human minds work, I suppose. The familiar, or even semi-familiar, fades into the background.

I remember so clearly one afternoon late in our stay when we were waiting by an empty school playground for our transportation to arrive. The school was on the edge of the town; to one side of us was a dirt road leading back to scattered brick buildings, to the other side and ahead of us stretched empty land and community fields, seas of broad green leaves of the crops. We had waited like that, in that spot, dozens of times before, and we were just killing time, joking around with each other about who knows what. Except one woman in our group, who stood with a distant look on her face. "I'm in Africa," she suddenly said, apropos of nothing. "We're in Africa." And immediately all of us were aware of the red earth around us, the broad purple sky stretching endlessly above, the feel of the humid air on our skin as we collectively took in the amazing privilege of standing on a continent nearly half a world away from where we were born.

Ever since then, Todd (who was one of the friends on the trip) and I have used "I'm in Africa" as our personal shorthand. It stands in for those unexpected, defining moments we have every now and then. Not the exceptional moments that are of course burned into your memory (your wedding day, seeing your child's face for the first time). But those otherwise ordinary occasions when you briefly step back from the flow of life and think, "Wow, I'm suddenly aware of how hugely significant this time is." When you realize you're in the job you love, or are now somebody's spouse, or are standing in a place you always wanted to visit. After we moved, I was flipping a light switch one night and thought, "Holy crap, I own a house." In those times, "I'm having an 'I'm in Africa' moment," is all Todd and I need to say for the other one to understand what's going on.

I had an Africa moment last night. It was at the beginning of the end of a long day, right as the sun was setting. I sometimes feel like my whole parenting day is about keeping us on certain trajectories: out the door in the morning, toward dinner in the evening, to bed after dinner. Not that we don't often enjoy ourselves along the way, but I'm always keeping the schedule in the back of my mind while focusing on whatever task or shorties' crisis is at hand. But last night I was next to Puppy in his bed, reading a story aloud like I have countless times before. We sat together, our legs stretched out under his sheet, his tiny blond head bent down toward the picture on the pages as twilight took over the room. And out of the blue I was overwhelmed with the thought, "I am this awesome little boy's mother and we're reading together the way I used to dream about doing." It was such a rejuvenating, uplifting flash. I'm still humming with the happiness of that tiny moment, hours later.

Have you had an "I'm in Africa" moment lately?
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