Adoption in the City. She jumped into the blogging world in September. I love finding her thoughtful reflections on her open adoption experience in my feed reader.
Please take a few minutes to get to know Racilous and leave her a comment!
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
I am 30 years old, I live in New York City and have for five years. I am a midwesterner at heart though, I grew up there and even went to college in Chicago. I moved out to the East Coast right after college to get my Masters, then moved to New York City five years ago for a job at the company where I still work.
My connection to open adoption is I'm a birth mother - I had my son 9 months ago and placed him with an amazing couple two days later. We have had several visits since - the most recent was two days ago.
What has been the most unexpected or surprising aspect of open adoption so far?
Prior to placing, I saw adoption from the other side, friends and colleagues adopting children, and you never thought of the birthparents. You just assumed that once they placed their lives continued, yes maybe they would think of their child sometimes, but in general a placement was the end for them. I didn't realize how naive that was, whether it ended up being an open adoption or not, the feelings of loss and hope were going to be in my life, and whether I tried to suppress them or not, at some point I would have to face what this decision meant for me.
When I first was looking for a couple to place with I told my social worker I didn't want OA. My expectations for what it would be were that the parents would feel like I was looking over their shoulder, that I was complicating my child's life further, that my presence would be unwanted, and that it wouldn't let me move past feeling like the parent of this child. All four of those things were flat out wrong for me.
I think J's life will seem simpler for him because he'll have access to all parts of what makes him him. I was surprised when I went to a picnic with adoptive parents how many were jealous of my relationship with M&P and J and I think that cemented that they (and many adoptive parents) really want me around, I'm a part of J's world and they appreciate it. And for me seeing him made it clear immediately how I wasn't his parent anymore, he's not the newborn in the hospital, he's a different kid and it's so obvious for me my place in this relationship. It's helped me start to heal, and even when it has been hard, it's more than worth it.
How did you start blogging?
After being a birthmom for about three months I realized I was still really grieving, I had no one to talk to about it, I felt really alone. I started going on adoption forums, but really was embarassed to write much or say anything. I had so much in my head so instead of finding a therapist I started writing. I pretty quickly turned my writing into writing a blog. I think in part it made me accountable for what I said, I had to think through what I was writing, which helped me think through how I really felt about situations. Writing my blog is really my version of therapy, I try to write something everyday just to keep balanced. Honestly blogging gave me my voice about adoption and now I feel comfortable talking about it both on the forums and even more in real life than I did previously.
What influence has the blogging/online world had on your adoption experience?
If you couldn't tell from the last question - HUGE. For me finding safe places and people I could be open with online was easy, finding those same safe places in real life was really difficult. The first fellow birthmom I talked to about my experience was online, the only adoptive parents I've talked to about adoption aside from my son's parents are online. This was the start of my support system and although I'm working every day to extend that support to my real life and other birthmoms who live near me, it all started online.
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Be assertive. I was more assertive in the adoption than I probably would have been if it had happened when I was younger, but I still think I could have been (and still could be) even more assertive. There are certain things I did insist on, but there were a lot more I let go. What I didn't realize is for the others (SWs, Doctors, PAPs, aparents), they just did the status quo, many times it wasn't that they were against what I wanted, it just wasn't the norm so it took a little more work or thought to do it another way. In the end when I spoke up and gave an opinion in both the adoption process as well as the OA, more times than not my opinion was met with a positive result. There are many times I think what I want (even today in the visits we have or how often we have visits) isn't so far out there, but might not coincide with what would happen if I didn't speak up.
Pick a few of your favorites to share with us:
Favorite post from your blog - For me my favorite is http://racilous.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/the-shoe-on-the-other-foot/ not because I think it's particularly well written or really insightful, but because I get into that place where I forget, where I wonder why they (M&P) haven't written, why I haven't heard. It's my favorite post because I find it the most useful, it helps me remember what they might be going through.
Favorite book - To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite non-adoption blog/online diversion - Honestly I'm not big into blogs, but online diversion is definitely Hulu, especially because I don't have an antennae or cable for my TV.
Favorite thing to do in your free time - I work with a theatre company in my free time, I call it my second job because they pay me a little money to do it, but it's a lot of fun for a job. I also love swimming, cross-stitch, reading, movies, watching theatre, and baking.
Favorite movie - Usual Suspects
Favorite meal - Recently I've been really into Cobb Salads, but in general my favorite would be a grilled pork chop and mashed potatoes.