Tuesday, April 26, 2011


i have been away for a bit, i am aware. i was busy. :) busy getting to know susan and meeting members of my family and learning about other members of my family. and telling my friends and my other family all about what an incredible experience this has been. i am happy to report that the anxiety and insecurity moments were brief and have fully relented. thank god! i could not have handled that as a permanent or even semi-permanent state. the fears and worries that i will disappoint or will be rejected are all in the past and the last two weeks have been absolutely amazing! i have met some incredible people, i got to visit the family farm-- where susan grew up. i have had wonderful, easy, beautiful conversations with her-- conversations that feel natural and sweet and normal and nice.

i can't believe it has only been three weeks since we met. the time has gone by in some kind of different dimension-- i feel like i have known her forever and to be near her feels so natural i sometimes forget that this is essentially a person who was a stranger three weeks ago. a blaze of glory, indeed. a blaze of grace, perhaps.

on saturday, while we were at the farm, susan presented me with my original birth certificate. i knew that she had it, and i was very much looking forward to seeing it, but i never could have imagined how emotional it would be to hold it and look at it for the first time. for starters, i was not sure until quite recently that it even existed. i wasn't sure if it would have been destroyed or discarded when the amended one was created. i certainly didn't know whether susan would have wanted to keep it even if she could. but she did. and she gave it to me. and i wept. there it was in my own hands... my original name, her name, her thumbprints, a golden seal and my tiny little footprints. for anyone who has always had the same name, the same parents and access to the document that certifies one's existence, it might not seem like a very big deal to receive it. but for my fellow adoptees, i don't think i have to explain the significance of that moment. i framed it, naturally, and will treasure it more than anything else, forever.

there are a million more things to catch up on... easter, conversations with my parents, the tattoo, etc.-- but that will come later.... for now, i am going to sign off and hug my framed birth certificate and continue to stroll through yet another day with a peaceful, easy smile.

Monday, April 11, 2011


my voice cracks when i say things out loud that make me sad. it cracks and quivers and i don't like it. my voice--and my psyche-- did a little cracking while i was talking to my friend chris last friday. there are pieces of this reunion that are exceptionally painful, and i tend to find ways other than my voice to release those parts. but with chris, i could talk about the details because he understands. so as we are talking about reunion and the sheer joy of initial contact and the uncharted territory of things like Mother's Day, all in the context of a not-at-all small flooding situation, my voice broke a little bit. i told him a little story and said, "what do i do with this? i can't change it. i can't go back and make it different. but it hurts my heart every single day." and chris, in his stellar wisdom said, "put it in the blog." brilliant. i will put it in the blog and let it go to the best of my ability and this little piece of loss (that does not feel so little when i am looking at my mother and the river is rising) can maybe be healed.... so here goes. i will put it in the blog. i will put it in the blog, likely without paragraph breaks, because that is how blogger is still behaving. grrr.... i am not shy about the fact that i did not do so well at life in 1997. and i have not handled flooding situations very well since then. i am getting a lot better... but it definitely still makes me twitchy to think too much about it or to experience the cold heaviness of sandbags and observe the red cross vehicles prowling around muddy neighborhoods. i suppose because the loss in 1997 was sudden, unexpected and very personal, i just don't feel at ease with river water so far out of its banks. in 1997, we returned to piles of wet, molding, dirty stuff--mostly in giant black trash bags-- in the front yard of the house i had been living in. digging through all of it would have been, besides traumatic and disgusting, quite futile. i just walked away from most of it, with the full awareness that it would be even more upsetting to see all of the things that had been destroyed. to this day, i continue to think of little bits of my childhood or my previous life and sometimes begin to wonder what ever happened to that book/toy/game and then it quickly occurs to me that it was most likely a part of the massive wet trash pile of 1997. it was around Mother's Day in '97... nope, probably '98... i remembered one bit of flooded rubbish that i would have given almost anything to have been able to retrieve. as i perused the Mother's Day cards and prepared to choose one that is funny and appropriate for my adoptive mother and one that would be set aside for the day that i might one day meet my birthmother, it occurred to me that that stack of set-aside Mother's Day cards was gone. i had been buying them since i was old enough to do so without anyone else knowing about it. i was going to give them to her if i ever got to meet her, or mail them to her so she would know that i had always thought about her and always loved her. but they were long gone and this realization would be the end of that annual practice. i thought about starting it again, but it made me too sad that the set wouldn't be as complete as it was supposed to be, so i never bought another one. i would still look at cards and think of her on Mother's Day, but i stopped buying them. as i began to understand that my reunion with Susan was going to be during flood season and very near Mother's Day, i got a little sad because it has been a long time since i have thought about this little bit of loss 14 years ago. so, Mother's Day of 2011 should have been the day that i could present Susan with a lifetime of greetings on the day that i have always honored her courage and love. but i can't. so i am sad.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

almost normal

susan called today. she said to stop worrying that she doesn't like me. she also said that she has the same worry and together we decided that for both of us to have that worry at the same time is the world's most unreasonable waste of time and energy. so we agreed to let it go. that should certainly help bring back my normal self. she said that she does like me. and we talked about it three times, just to make sure we could truly and legitimately put that silliness behind us. i feel so much better than i did all weekend. and i don't have a mirror in front of me, but i feel fairly certain my eyebrows aren't scrunchy anymore. last night i had really scrunchy eyebrows. stacey looked at me and said, "ick, stop doing that." and then she asked alicia, "does she do that all the time now?" and alicia said, "yeah. you get used to it." stacey also listened empathetically while i worried out loud. for a while at least. eventually she said something along the lines of: oh my god, will you fucking quit that!? i told her i would try, then i tried to accuse her of not being a very supportive friend, but we both knew i was lying. we settled on an agreement that, now that i know i have some weird anxiety about rejection, that she and alicia would nurture me through what would certainly be an ugly time in my world. then we drank a lot of Johnnie Walker. but all of that is moot now, because susan and i are no longer allowed to worry. i am still a dash edgier than i prefer to be, but i am definitely close to normal. so now that my brain works again, i think i'll go read a book...


** it should be stated that i do not do vulnerability so well. and to offer the information that i am about to offer is so against my style. but i have tried all along to keep this blog honest every step of the way and i am going to keep trying to do that. no promises that i won't come back later and delete it, though.** perhaps i should have read some books about this process. i spent so many years getting ready for this moment in my life and as it turns out the only thing i readied for was whether or not i would get to meet her. i did not consider the incredible emotional toll that any of the possibilities would take. i can't imagine how i would be right now if the answer had been "no." maybe more fragile, maybe less. i guess i can't know that. and don't get me wrong, this has been as smooth and sweet as one could even dare hope for, and i am so happy and so grateful for that. but the total domination that this reunion has taken over my thoughts and feelings is way more than i took the time to consider. i don't know how to do "insecure." anyone who knows me at all knows that. and i didn't know that i would have rejection anxiety attached to this reunion, but holy shit!! apparently i do. i am so overwhelmed by the fear that she doesn't like me that i don't even really like myself right now. and that is just stupid. i would like to be able to do normal things again. i would like to have my personality back. it is too much tension in my brain to be so incredibly happy and so anxious at the same time. does this happen to everyone? i am going to go out to eat now and try to have a conversation about something else. we'll see how that goes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


emotions are so dumb. i am for sure going back to not having them after this. i am like a zombie today. coming down from such a wildly fast and high ride is tricky. i was just talking to my friend stacey and she asked, responding to the tone of my voice, "are you okay?" yes, yes i am okay. i probably look like a person who is not okay, but i am most certainly doing wonderfully. just in a really tired way that probably looks like someone would look if they were contemplating suicide. i am not, of course, that person and i still have all the fluttery feelings of glee and child-like wonder, i just don't have the energy to exhibit said glee and wonder. i have exactly enough energy to drive my car and to walk around to some of my favorite little shops downtown. that is all i have really done today. wandered. wandered in my car and then wandered, very slowly, on my little feet. i also got my hair cut today. and i think my next stop will be the tanning store. even a zombie can be vain.

Friday, April 8, 2011


oh, thank you god, my brain is not wonky anymore. the exhaustion and eerie anxiety has passed and i feel like myself again. i spent the afternoon with my dear friend chris who has connected with me in the way that only another adopted person can and has helped me talk my way back to normalcy and contentment. thank you, chris, for meeting me where the worry is and letting me ramble until it sounded as irrational to me as it was to the rest of the world. i am once again even. i am again equipped to take on the confusion and wonder of my current situation. i am back to a place that allows for emotional eruption or emotional bankruptcy, as the case may be. i will rest tonight. i will rest and know that the next step will be the appropriate one... whatever it is. thank you, chris, for your comradery; thank you susan, for your presence and grace. it is time to breathe and let it be as it will be.


i had no idea how this reunion thing was going to go. i quite intentionally didn't try to imagine how the days and weeks and months following our initial meeting would go because that is one of those things that one can simply not predict. our first two meetings have been amazing, joyous, cathartic, even. and the catharsis doesn't necessarily relent when i go home. or to work. or to bed. i have been so over-joyed for the last week and a half since i learned that Susan wanted to meet me that my body has been in a constant state of alert/energy/agitation (in a good way) and i have no idea when it will go back to normal. i have started to sleep again, but everything else is still all wonky. and i am exhausted. but even in exhaustion parts of me are still bouncing. still vibrating. what comes next? how do we do this? do we take an emotion-vacation from the whole thing? do we sort out all of the new information and re-connect at some point in the future? can i ever get through a day without feeling like i have to email her to remind her that i miss her and that i am thinking about her? when will the fear that she doesn't like me relent? that one is the weirdest. there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to think based on her words or actions that she doesn't or won't like me. and i have not been the kind of person to geek out on that kind of thing in the past... but this is all different and i am learning to roll with it.


is it normal to worry that she isn't going to like me? or isn't going to want to keep me around? and when am i going to stop missing her every second of every day? not that i don't enjoy the constant grin and constant state of catharsis, but it seems like that would take a toll eventually... just wondering...

Thursday, April 7, 2011


on this day, all is right with the universe. i spent 5 more hours with Susan last night and every minute of it was superb. of course. she gave me a most amazing and beautiful gift and we talked and talked and told stories and smiled and laughed and i began to feel like i know her. i know what she likes to do, i know about her most significant friendships, i know things about her actual life and she knows about mine. this feels so good. i am still battling a bit of the "i don't want to disappoint" twitchies, but i guess that is all part of the process. i think she likes me. i know that she has loved me forever, but i also think that she likes me. on my way home from our 5-hour dinner-and-drinks marathon, i called my parents to tell them about the reunion. as expected, my mom received the news with all of the grace and joy that she brings to every situation. she is very happy for us and very interested in the details. long gone are the worries and intimidations and jealousies... she is happy for our joy and is very excited to share in it when she comes to visit in August. i still (and for a long time will) get shivery when i think of that first time i will get to sit between Maxine and Susan. so much love and so much joy and so many questions answered... for all of us. there was the one teensy weensy moment of disfavor in my conversation with Susan last night. she was talking about medical history in our family and she noted that there were a number of cancer-related deaths. then she said, "but most of them had contributing factors, like smoking." i began to hang my head just a bit and her lovely, and suddenly very maternal, voice sounded a most displeased, "Nnnnnoooooo." with downcast eyes and a juvenile sense of embarrassment by my transgression, i said, "i will quit by your birthday. i promise." so, now i guess i have to quit smoking. i promised the woman who MADE ME. if ever there was a motivation to quit....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

flutter flutter flit flit

my heart is all wonky. it is beating all fast and weird and my insides are vibrating again. after my completely useless day of inability to function at my job, i talked to Susan on the phone. then i talked to more people about Susan. then i tried to sleep, but i could really only think about Susan. i was going to try to behave like a normal adult today, but then i got to work and more colleagues were prepared to hear every detail about our first meeting and then while i was talking about how much i love her and miss her and can't wait to see her again--for dinner tonight-- i got an email from her. that's when my heart went all wonky. so many things on my mind, so many things to talk about, so many new and potentially awkward things to navigate. like mother's day. that is coming up, right quickly and it will be our first mother's day and i would really like to make it super-special, but will she think that is weird? now that this blog is linked to Finding Jane Doe, there may be some birthmothers reading this... so, b-moms, would it be weird for me to buy lovely presents and ask to spend time with her on mother's day? just one month after reunion? i don't know!! another unfortunate thing is starting to take hold of some of my thoughts: that sinking sense that i desperately do not want to disappoint her. i fear that she has had an idea of who i would be all built up in her mind for so long and what if i am not that? what if i start telling her more about myself and i catch little hints of disappointment in her beautiful, shiny eyes. it has been so long and this is so wonderful and i already love her so much, i can not stand to think about looking in her eyes and knowing that she is re-aligning her idea of me and settling for who i am instead of who she always thought i would be. ok, screw that, that's a crappy crappy thing to think. moving on. more later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

tick tock tick tock

every single moment that goes by feels like another moment i wish i could have talked to Susan. i want her to know how much my heart is bursting right now. i want her to know how much i love her. i want her to see what i look like when i have been crying for two hours. i just want to tell her everything i am feeling on this day. yesterday i was in such a hazy state of shock... today i just want to cry with her. Susan, if you ever read this blog.... know that on this day, all of the emotion that has ever been attached to the idea of you is pouring out of me and i want to see you. soon. soon and very soon.

peace like a river...

i spent six hours with Susan yesterday. three hours in Julie the Social Worker's office and three hours at my grandfather's house. it was surreal. it was perfect. i spent the time being so dumbfounded and overwhelmed that i could barely muster emotion. just kept staring at her, shaking my head, wondering if this is real....

today the emotions are setting in. indeed, taking over. i sat with three colleagues and told them all about the meeting and right in the middle of the conversation i just broke right down and wept. and now i am still weeping. i can't stop weeping and i should be working. but i can't work because my mind won't stop singing "i've got peace like a river" and my eyes won't stop crying.

i miss her. i miss her so much i want to go to the place she works just so i can look at her again and so i can make sure that this really happened and that she still wants to know me. i want to sit next to her again. now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4 hours....

this time i am not even trying to hide the fact that i am blogging at work. door is wide open, soul exposed to the world, brain all a-flutter and that ever-present grin on my face. i can't believe this day is here. for as long as i have had thoughts, i have thought of this woman. i have wondered and imagined and dreamed and hoped for all good things in her life. i have created an enormous cloud of wonder about her that lingers over every place i have lived, visited, rested, dreamed... today, all of that wonder, all of the possibilities, the images, the questions-- all of it will come together in one body, with one face, and one smile in a chair right across from me. today the gigantic question mark of my very existence will be replaced by my mother. Susan. i. can't. wait.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


ok, i posted that last bit and i got an immediate ad for something that "stops panic attacks." sometimes i am creeped out and grossed out by the internet. just sayin'.


i generally do not panic. ever. i don't even startle anymore after those years of employment in residential treatment. sometimes i forget to react at all, even when it is clearly expected.... i don't panic. i don't really worry or get "stressed" either. not often, anyway. flood season tends to have a bit of a negative effect on my psyche, but i am getting over that. to be sure, i am not feeling any sense of panic tonight.... yet. i am going to go to bed soon, and that would be about the time that my mind goes completely wonky with thoughts of all that i could have or should have done or prepared or thought of or arranged prior to meeting Susan. it would be just like my mind to come up with the perfect gift idea at about 3 o'clock am. or to feel as though the meeting won't be right if i don't have a perfectly constructed memory book ready to present to her. but let's be real, i have never and will never construct a memory book of any kind or quality and the perfect gift, the perfect meeting, the perfect words do not exist. i just have to trust that this process will continue to go just as smoothly and beautifully as it already has and know that however it happens is how it is meant to happen. so please, busy mind, let go of the imaginings and rest. let it be. we have the rest of our lives to grow this relationship.... now i must go to bed and lie there, sleepless, with an enormous grin and all of the hope that Susan intended for me from the beginning.


i spent a long and lovely afternoon at barnes & noble. i was in pursuit of two things: a birthday gift for my dear dear friend D, and the perfect book to give as a gift to Susan. the first part was easy. i wanted to give her one of my very favorite novels and she already knows what it is and that makes it a simple success. after finding D's gift and showing alicia what she is going to get me for my birthday in 2 months (The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1) i turned to face the rest of the store and stood quietly stupified for several moments. i slowly began to shake my head and said, "this is not going to work." there was no way, i thought, to find the right gift. i wandered and wandered and wandered the store churning thoughts of beautiful old musty books that can only be found in places that are NOT barnes & noble. i wanted a cherishable considerably earlier printing of A Tale, but there was not time. i wanted the quintessential novel that captures my love of literature, but it does not exist in a single binding. i decided to do what i could to trigger memories of the beginning of my affection for reading by entering the children's book section. initially, nothing happened. just as i was about to walk out, having decided that this was a ridiculous idea, i thought of the little golden books. then i thought of my books on record. then i decided to keep trying to make some kind of connection to my own literary past that would translate to a meaningful gift. it sounds crazy and if someone else told me what i am about to say i would totally call bullshit on it, but this is what happened next: i was walking through the children's section and i thought, i remember Harry the Dirty Dog and i remember Frog and Toad...i LOVED those books! and as i thought of that i approached a display stand that had Harry on one side and Frog and Toad on the other. i kept looking around, trying to not let that be as weird as it was, and i encountered collector's sets of The Boxcar Children (my favorite series as a child) and Nancy Drew (Susan's favorite series, per her letter to me) and i knew then what the gift was going to be. my gift to Susan at our initial reunion is going to be a collection of seven of my very favorite books from various stages of my life. by no means an exhaustive collection of favorites, but a representative one. a bit of insight into the life i have lived, through the lens of my deep affection for words and language. because i cannot get perspective on this situation and i have no idea what type of behavior is normal, i have no idea if this is a reasonable thing to do, or if it just oozes self-absorption, but it is too late to try to think of something better. so a re-usable b&n bookbag full of my favorite literature is the gift she is going to receive. for interested parties, the collection is as follows, in this order:

  • The Poky Little Puppy

  • Frog and Toad Are Friends

  • The Chosen

  • A Tale of Two Cities

  • The Giver

  • Peace is Every Step

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
there is quite an intellectual development gap between 'Frog and Toad' and 'The Chosen' this i understand, but it is difficult to choose any book from the beverly cleary or judy blume line-up that is particularly and uniquely meaningful, so i skipped the elementary school phase. i did really like From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, however.... perhaps i will pull my copy out of my library and add it to the gift bag.... okay. insert Mrs. Basil E. between Frog and The Chosen and we have our list. now it is time for serious feedback, before it is too late and i have handed over the bag'o'books... is this a dumb thing to do??

pictures and presents

i guess i have a lot to say today. i want to bring a gift for Susan tomorrow. what does one buy the woman who is responsible for the fact of one's very existence and who has proven herself as unselfish and loving as humanly possible. (more selfless than firefighters, even! and those are some pretty selfless folks! hmmmm.... do you think if there was a firefighter who released a child for adoption because they believed that the child would have a better life with another family, that would be, like, the most altruistic human ever?? i do. probably instant sainthood, in the right context. but i digress.) so, a gift. susan and i both talked about reading and our love of books in our letters to one another. so the obvious gift is a book, right? i was thinking, like, one of my very favorite books. but which one? and what kind of publication? my favorite books of all time are A Tale of Two Cities (another classic example of selfless love) and Their Eyes Were Watching God... but i am not just going to go pick up a penguin re-print of A Tale and call it a meaningful gift. so perhaps an older printing of the beautiful classic novel, but it might be a bit late to be thinking of this, as i would probably have to have ordered something like that from somewhere far away. and i don't want to pick up some cheesified version of Their Eyes with images from a freakin' Oprah movie that did almost nothing like justice to the beauty of the novel. incidentally, one of my other favorite novels is Catcher in the Rye, but i don't want her to think i am a serial killer so that one is off limits. ( i have never ever understood that association, by the way. there is nothing so particularly anti-social about Holden that crazy-ass stalkers and assassins should feel such kinship to him... but what do i know, perhaps i am missing something. or perhaps i share it and don't even know it. all the more reason to avoid giving this novel as a gift, i guess. but i digress again.) and pictures. i am going to have some pictures of my life with me when i go, and i will determine during our initial conversation if it is appropriate to offer to show them to her. my mom is very dedicated to documenting absolutely every stage of our lives, so i have complete sets of me smiling while propping up my birthday cakes, me blowing out the candles on all of my birthday cakes, me standing by every christmas tree, me standing by every christmas tree next to my brother, me and my brother sitting under the mantle of our fireplace singing christmas carols, me and my brother on the first day of school from kindergarten until he graduated, me in the living room wearing all of my sports uniforms..... a well-documented life.... there are so many pictures. i have no idea what she might want to see, if any at all, so i will just hope my instincts inform me correctly tomorrow. ok. i have to go now. i have to shop for a present. and some new shoes. then i have to go to the tanning store and whiten my teeth and condition my hair. the vanity has not relased me from its wicked wicked grasp just yet. it's my new favorite sin.


why is blogger posting without paragraph breaks? that is annoying as hell. FTR, there were paragraph breaks when i wrote all of these posts... and they were very strategically placed. now i just look like MORE of a rambling idiot than i already did! bleh.


in theory, i have just one more sleep until the day that i get to meet susan. in reality, there will be no sleep. i would like to sleep so i am not a spaced-out, freaky zombie when my birthmother sees my face for the very first time. but based on the last 4 nights, i am guessing there will just be a lot of thinking and smiling and wondering and flopping all night long. were either of my two faithful readers wondering what i am worrying about these days? ok, i will tell you. lately i have been having a lot of guilt about how my incredible excitement is perceived by adoptive parents. i mean, tomorrow is going to be, like, the biggest day of my life and i am saddened a little bit by the possibility that this fact would make adoptive parents feel minimized. of course, the fact that i have wanted to meet susan my entire life has nothing at all to do with my adoptive parents or how i was raised or the family that i know and love. the joy of reunion is not at all connected to my adoptive parents. but it kind of is. and for this, i feel sad. i have a number of friends who are adoptive parents, and i am grateful for their shared joy in my search experience. but reunion does change things. it changes conversations, it changes language. how do i communicate to my parents that this experience, which looks and feels like a pinnacle in my adult life, is not going to result in a relationship that trumps my love for them? how, when this degree of excitement and joy appears to indicate a "return" to THE primary relationship-- mother and daughter-- do i tell them that they are not being replaced, that they were not temporary? it does change things in ways that cannot be ignored. my parents, in conversation about this stage of my life, are now my "adoptive parents." they have never had a qualifier precede their role before. to qualify 'which' mother i am talking about changes things. i wrote a letter to susan to initiate this search; perhaps the next step for me is to write a letter to maxine to tell her exactly what i am doing and why. to remind her that she is still primary, she is still the source of love and generosity and kindness and strength that made me the person who is capable of making this decision and navigating all of the conflicted emotions that come with it. she is still the mother. the one who suffered through the developmental years and shared in the triumphs and devastations. she is still the one who maintains the title. thankfully, she is also one whose strength will allow her to feel whatever pain might come with learning that i have chosen reunion and delight in the joy that it brings me. and she is the kind of loving mother who will know in her heart that Susan is the reason for all of this, and cannot or should not be a source of worry or intimidation. in the end, i have no doubt that one day Susan and Maxine will meet and it will be beautiful.