Bio Family Update

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The past two and a half months have been a whirlwind of emotions for myself, my family, and my bio family. Mostly they have been positive emotions, except on the side of my (adoptive) family. I have continued to build a relationship with my bio family, and I have never been happier in my whole life. I finally feel like I am somewhere I belong naturally, rather than somewhere I am forcing myself to try to fit in.

Back in May, the weekend after Memorial Day, with the help of my siblings, I drove to Akron on a very stormy Sunday afternoon and surprised my bio mom. I met BD, his wife, and Texas at the restaurant around 3pm, and Sissy brought mom once they texted her to say I’d arrived. I could see out the window into the parking lot, and when I saw them walking in, I thought I would faint. Sissy walked over to our table, with bio mom in tow. She stopped, and bio mom kinda looked around like “Why did you stop?” Then she looked over at the table, it took a second for her to realize who I was, and then she put her hand over her mouth and just said “Oh my god oh my god oh my god” over and over. I got up and gave her a hug, and it felt so comfortable, and in the back of my mind I was thinking that the last time she gave me a hug was 33 years ago. I wondered what it felt like for her, and I imagine she must have been thinking the same thing.

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Me and Bio Mom

We had a lovely meal, Mexican of course, and a good time catching up. We were at the restaurant for about three hours! Afterwards we went and visited my bio grandma (Gigi). She was very surprised to see bio mom, and even more surprised to see me. It was an interesting visit, to say the least. Finally we went back to bio mom’s place. We sat and talked with her housemate, talked about everything under the sun, and I finally left around 10:30pm. It was the craziest twelve hours in my recent history! Ranked right up there with Squeaks being born ahead of schedule!

Because they weren’t able to come to the baptism, bio mom arranged for the boys and me to go up to Akron for the 4th of July weekend. She came down and picked us up on Friday afternoon, Poke came up on Sunday afternoon, and we headed home on Monday.

Friday we got delicious authentic pizza, and Sissy brought her girlfriend to the hotel to meet us. JI acted like a maniac after the car ride, and bounced all over the place. After a couple of hours they left, and somehow I got the boys to sleep! Saturday was the big day – meeting ALL the family. Bio mom picked us up in the afternoon, and we headed to my aunt’s house.

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Clockwise from top left: Texas, Bio Mom, Sissy and Me, Gigi

Have I told you guys yet how big my bio family is?! It is HUGE. My family always consisted of me, Scrod, and my parents. My dad has two brothers, one who was never married, and one who passed away, but his wife still comes to family holidays. I have no cousins. My grandfathers died in 1977 and 1981, and my grandmothers passed in 2001 and 2007. So for the past few years, it’s only been the four of us plus Poke and the kid(s), and occasionally my uncle and aunt. That’s it. My bio family? Completely different! My bio mom has three sisters and a brother, and I have nine cousins. There’s also four spouses/fiances with the cousins, three of bio mom’s siblings are married, and bio mom’s mom is still alive as well. Not everyone was at the 4th of July party, but it was very much a culture shock.

Despite being in a totally new situation with a whole crowd of people I’d never met (except my sibs, bio mom, and Gigi), it was awesome. From the very first minute, I was completely at ease. My bio aunt was worried about JI, the first wee little kid to be around in a while, getting into trouble or in a dangerous situation. They live on a big plot of land with lots of holes and trees and rocks and dog piles, so I got it. JI had a blast though, playing with my youngest cousin, who is twelve. They chased each other around, they chased the dogs, and thankfully they stayed out of trouble! Everyone wanted to hold Squeaks, but he was mostly comfortable in bio mom’s arms. He didn’t even want me! While JI ran around like a crazy man and Squeaks charmed everyone with his flirty faces, us older kids played cornhole, drank beers, and ate tons of delicious picnic food (which just happens to be my favorite food to eat in the summer!). It was the perfect day, culminating in a huge bonfire at the end of the night. So happy!

Sunday Poke came up around 1pm, and we met up with bio mom for some different authentic Italian food…. unfortunately the restaurant was closed due to the holiday, so we ended up at a Chinese buffet. Holy cow, it was great! Poke and I used to take JI to all these different Chinese buffets around Columbus, but most of them have closed or the quality has gone way down. The one at Chapel Hill was so so so good – quality food and lots of variety. I could have stayed another hour! Afterwards bio mom drove us around North Hill, the section of Akron where she and my siblings grew up. I got to see the house where I lived for a month after I was born, the houses where my siblings lived/live currently, and a few other landmarks, including the hospital where I was born. It was really special, knowing that all these spots had a real meaning in my life.

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My brother is the one in all black

When we got back to the hotel, JI and I went in the pool for a little bit, and then we all headed out to watch BD’s volleyball championship games. He is really good! I never thought volleyball was interesting until I watched these amateur (professionals?) play. It was fast paced and really fun. Even JI, who hates sitting still, sat and watched most of it! We went simple and hit up Applebee’s for dinner, which was actually pretty tasty! I don’t think we’ve eaten at Applebee’s for about two years and their menu has changed a lot.

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The boys at the hotel

Monday was checkout day, and I was up by 9:30am to get everything ready to go. Poke loaded up the van while I got the kids ready. Bio mom came by around 10:30am to check us out, and then we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Poke had never been to a Cracker Barrel before! I love it; one of my favorite breakfast places. JI was a bit salty for some reason, and actually broke a plate when he pushed it off the table. I had to draw on all my woo-sah and calmly implement the 1-2-3 Magic system that we’ve been using. After a four minute time out, JI was back in business and ended up being a lot better after that. Kids are so weird sometimes.

I was sad to leave, but I had such an amazing time that I know I will be able to get through the next few weeks until I see my bio family again. JI’s birthday is coming up in mid July, so we will probably head up there to celebrate. I can’t wait!

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Summertime Rules

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There are quite a few articles going around right now about how parents need to let their kid have the “1970s Summer”, and I could not agree more! I remember summer being an amazing time of playing outside with my friends, riding my bike all over the neighborhood, creating adventures and fantastical stories, putting on plays and using my imagination in the most amazing ways. I had a computer, and I would use it on rainy days, and we had a TV, and sometimes I just wanted to stay inside and watch TV all day or play with my Barbies for hours. Regardless, my mom and dad basically did little to entertain me. My dad would take me to the park after he got home from work or on weekends, but otherwise I was left to my own devices. When my brother Scrod was old enough to play, they had a harder time with him because he wanted to do EVERY SINGLE SPORT in the world (except soccer), so they had to run him all over the place and go to practices and games and all that crap. Not me!

But I digress.

Having a four year old is a little different from having a five year old, and having a kid period is very different from it was in the 70s, 80s, and even 90s. These days everyone is in everyone’s business, and not in the good way like it was back then. Now, instead of the village helping raise the children and looking out for each other’s families, the village is poised ready to attack when they see another parent doing something they disagree with. You have probably heard recently about somwpid-20150530_121405_20150602000413349.jpge parents who ran into trouble with the law – twice! – because they let their kids walk home from school and go to the park alone. The kids were ten and almost seven years old! If I thought he’d come back at a reasonable time and could pay attention to traffic, I’d have no problem sending JI to the park by himself. He’s just a bit too young and irresponsible this summer – maybe next summer.

My point is, though, and I think the point of the other parents writing these articles, is that we really need to disengage from the idea that children run our world or our lives. I have a few more posts coming up that will be discussing this subject, and I look forward to discussing with my readers about the subject. Back in my childhood, my parents were #1 – not me. Yes, I got everything I needed and practically everything I wanted. I was not neglected in any way. But my parents didn’t bow to me, they didn’t hover over me to ensure success, they didn’t pave the way with pillows so that I’d never get hurt. I had to take my lumps and learn my lessons just like they did. I don’t know when the shift occurred from family centric (ie, do what is good for all involved) to child centric (ie, make sure each child gets exactly what they want/need at all costs).

This brings me back to the idea of an 80s summer (I wasn’t alive in the 70s hehe), which is what I want for JI, and what I will be doing my best to accomplish for him. Yes, that statement sounds like I’m being child centric, but let me lay it out for you. I wpid-20150530_092849.jpgwill not be planning many activities. I will not be driving him to COSI, the Zoo, a hundred play-dates, museums, classes, etc. etc. etc. Yeah, we will probably go to the Zoo once or twice a week – because I LOVE the zoo and we have a membership and it is free. Sure, we will hit up COSI a couple of times every month, because we have a membership and it is free. I’m not going to go broke trying to entertain my child. I want him to get dirty. I’m going to let him eat lots of popsicles. I want him to get scraped knees and bruises because he is playing so hard. (Disclaimer: I don’t actually want my kid to get hurt! But if he does, it won’t be the end of the world.) The way he climbs without fear makes me worried that this might be the summer of a broken limb. I’m going to utilize The Bored Jar. I’m going to send him out in the morning after breakfast, let him in for lunch, send him back out until snack time, and then maybe I’ll sit him down for an activity. If I feel like it. I’m going to let him get sticky and filthy and have black bare feet. I want him to remember this summer as an amazing, awesome, wonderful time when he got to grow up and be a real boy instead of mommy’s baby.

But he’ll always be my baby, we all know that.

So the rules of this summer are as follows:

  1. No whining.
  2. No begging.
  3. If it looks fun, do it.
  4. If you get hurt, tell me.
  5. Be brave.
  6. Be strong.
  7. Use your brain.
  8. Use your muscles.
  9. Drink from the hose.
  10. Have fun!
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This is what adults do for fun in the summertime…

Square Peg

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As it turns out, I’m not a weirdo. Well, I am, if you know me *wink*

But let me explain.

I have always been the odd one out in my family. Nobody likes the things I like, nobody understands me, nobody gets me. I have always felt so alone and lost and “filled with the angst”. My mom and I have had a tumultuous relationship because I never lived up to her expectations or desires as a daughter, and I never will, and that makes her sad. She can’t help the way she feels, and neither can I. I’m the square peg in this round hole called my family.

Well, as I told you guys on Sunday, I just connected with my bio mom, and WOW. Never have I ever felt so close to someone that I have not known and do not remember and only spent a month with when I was freshly out of her womb. (I don’t really want to say “never met” LOL) We have been emailing back and forth a couple times every day, long intense emails with questions and answers, and I have spent so much time laughing and smiling and crying out of happiness and relief. I honestly cannot explain to you in the right words how amazing it feels to know that there is someone out there who is just like me. She called me her carbon copy! And it is true! At least on paper – I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but it is practically impossible.

I cried for about an hour earlier, just thinking about all the strife I have been through trying to force a mother-daughter relationship with my mom, and how relieved I am to know that all the things I have always been told made me the weird one, the things that made me the wrong and different one, all those things are normal to my bio mom. I feel so great right now.

wpid-collage_20150419161449026_20150419161532232_20150423220914465.jpgI want to go on, I want to talk more about this, and I will. Right now, I am so exhausted in so many ways that I can’t even get my thoughts together properly. I just wanted to give you all an update, because the last I left it, I had no clue what was going to happen after I reached out to her. I am so happy and thankful that it has been a positive experience so far, and second only to the births of JI and Squeaks, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The coolest part is that I had no expectations! Ever! I never even fantasized about my bio parents as a child, and now that she’s been in my life for four days, I don’t want her to leave.

Every mother’s dream and nightmare.

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I’ve known my whole life that I was adopted. I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t know, but I don’t remember having a talk with my parents about it. I just always knew.

Earlier this year, the state of Ohio opened all the adoption cases from 1964-present, which formerly had been closed and under a lot of red tape. It wasn’t impossible to get your original birth certificate, but it was very expensive, you had to have a lawyer, and it took a long time. Five weeks ago I mailed in my notorized forms and a check for $20.00 and that was that.

I got the copy of my original birth certificate in the mail yesterday, and opened it today when I got home. I’ve been crying ever since I laid my eyes on the line where my name is listed – Samantha Nicole. I never knew that my bio mom took the time to name me! My mom didn’t know either. The foster home I was in before my parents got me had called me LeeAnn, but I ended up being Kelly in the end. I think I am more overwhelmed by the fact that I had a name than I am by actually knowing her name. I guess I always figured that she knew she’d give me up, so she probably didn’t want to give me a name and risk becoming attached.

I have never really wanted to find my bio parents. I never had a desire to have a relationship with them. My mom always insisted that she was competing with my bio mom, but I repeatedly told her that she couldn’t because I had nothing on which to base any comparison. The only thing I did want was to see people who look like me. In 2013, however, I was diagnosed with high triglycerides and even after doing everything I could do to lower them (lose weight, quit smoking, quit drinking, give up all partially/fully hydrogenated oils, etc.), they were still incredibly high. My doctor said it was likely genetic, so since then I’ve been interested in finding out some medical history. That’s why I went ahead and requested my birth certificate, in case I needed to reach my bio family to get information if something happens to me medically.

Of course, being the tech-savvy person I am, I immediately looked up my bio mom on Facebook. There she was, looking like a skinny me, with three kids who look like me too. Well, I got what I wanted – I saw people who look like me. There was a photo of an older man, likely my bio grandfather, who looked just like me as well. Now I don’t know what to do, and here’s where the title of this post comes in:

Every bio mother’s dream is to reconnect with the child they gave up for adoption, to become a part of their life, to know their grandchildren and extended family, to introduce the child they never knew to family members who may wonder whatever happened to them.

Yet, every bio mother’s nightmare is to reconnect with the child they gave up for adoption, to become a part of their life, to know their grandchildren and extended family, to introduce the child they never knew to family members who may wonder whatever happened to them.

How can I reach out to this woman? How can I just drop her a line saying “Hey, it’s me, the baby”? What can I possibly say to this woman? I don’t even know. I really have no idea where I could possibly begin. I wish there was a template. I wish I could just say “Do you know a Samantha Nicole?” and have her figure it out.

I wish I could have a clue about how she will react. I kinda want to get it done before Mother’s Day, so maybe I could send her a card or something. I don’t want this to be a thing though. What if she wants nothing to do with me?

Update: I sent her a message tonight, Sunday night. All I can do it wait it out!