Wednesday, May 25, 2011

adoption cult

if you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that i went to the adoption reunion support group on march 14, and that within the hour following the meeting, Julie the social worker had contacted Susan and told her that i was searching for her. if you are good at tracking details, you also know that by the time the next Adoption Club meeting occurred, Susan and i had already met and spent several hours together. at that time, i was worried that Susan was completely freaked out by the whole process and the reunion support group seemed the obvious place to process whatever reaction she was having to meeting me. so in april, Susan attended the meeting and met some other birthmothers and listened to their stories.... i think she enjoyed it. by the time the second monday in may rolled around, we had already spent a lot of time together, she had introduced me to some family members and co-workers, and we had spent a wonderful Mother's Day together. so on may 9 Susan and i attended the reunion support group together... wearing our puzzle necklaces, of course. a detail that Julie the social worker observed right away.
we had so much fun attending together, providing an update on how our reunion is going, offering some support when we could to others who were scared and overwhelmed. i hope that we can continue to be in contact with the others from the group. apparently the village family service center is suspending the support group for the summer, but i do hope they start it again in the fall. the experience of adoption and then reunion truly comes with its own terribly unique set of emotions and reactions and anxieties and it is really quite wonderful to have a place to visit with other people who understand those issues. besides that, it is just a damn lot of fun to talk about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

surprise, it's a girl!

i was still all crazy in my head when i was last maintaining this blog, so i imagine there are not many details about what we have actually been doing during all of this time that we have spent together... perhaps i should provide a brief summary of activities and introductions.

since the initial and immediate introduction to Grandpa on April 4, i have met several more significant people in susan's life. most of whom will likely become or have already become significant people in my life....

April 12 i went out for dinner (and margaritas) with Susan and met her husband, whom we will call D. it was a lot of fun and happened just in time- before we both went completely nuts with the rejection worries. i remember that the conversation between Susan and me that night began with more talk of fears and worries that we would be disappointed in what we find/learn about each other, blah blah blah... but that truly didn't last beyond that night (or at least that week) because worrying really is a dumb thing to do. especially if you don't have to do it. D was fun and funny and told a really lot of stories. he was kind to me and showed an impressive degree of excitement for this reunion. all in all, it was a great evening that ended with a lovely stroll through a beautiful neighborhood. and the moral of that story... wanna tear down some barriers, just add tequila... apparently.

April 22 i got to meet Susan's very best friend in the whole world... we'll call her... Lulu. because i like to say Lulu. we met at one of my favorite places to drink beer/scotch/bourbon/whatever... and had a terrific time! well, at least i did. i can't speak for Susan or Lulu :) but based on the size of the smiles on their faces in the photos from that night, i think it is fair to say we all had a lovely time. Susan and Lulu have been friends since about 3 years after i was born-- which is a long long time if you do the math-- so i imagine the news of a 35-year-old daughter was a bit jarring. it is always fun to talk to the people i meet and ask them about that moment when Susan first told them about our reunion. there is a lot of shock, some confusion, many tears. these days i often get to be there to watch her tell people who i am and i can't think of many things in my life that have been more fun than those moments! but i am getting ahead of myself. Anyway, Susan's best friend is a wonderful woman and a lot of fun! really everything a best friend is supposed to be. i hope she wants to be my friend too.

that's enough for now...

Catch-Up Time...

my intention when i started this blog was that i would keep it up-to-date and document the reunion experience honestly in all of its glory and terror. it is still my intention to do something like that, but there are new issues to consider. first, i started this as a person who was preparing to meet a stranger. i could tell the story in my words, from my perspective, with full ownership of my reunion story. that was easy when i didn't know the other person whose life i was about to twist and mangle and ignite. but now i know her. now she is my... friend? yes. family? indeed. mother? certainly. lest there be any doubt, i promised her i would quit smoking and i even bought a motorcycle helmet, for crying out loud! she has motherly powers, this one! :) but the point, and i do have one, is that now i am telling a story that we truly share. and other people are involved. i can and will leave their names out of this blog, of course, but it still feels kind of weird to blog the details of our journey when it is no longer just my story to tell. not to worry, though. i will still try to do it. i will do it until she asks me not to. :)

the other issue that has arisen is a simple matter of time. i have known Susan for 50 days and we have spent time together on 21 separate occasions. the only complaints about this schedule come from disappointed blog-followers... and maybe from her husband, but i am not sure. at any rate, we have been very busy girls! there is limited time for such things as documenting and summarizing.

i have added a couple of photos to bring some illustration to this little story. the first, obviously a tattoo, is the mark i chose to honor this moment in my life. as has been disclosed previously, Susan named me Julie Hope. among the many similarities we have discovered about ourselves over the course of the last 50 days, one of the first was that we have very Very similar handwriting. so, knowing that i wanted to use the middle name that she so beautifully and symbolically assigned to her tiny treasure 36 years ago, i played around with some fonts and ideas and decorations and finally settled on the simplest and most truthful way to honor this time in our lives: the anticipatory middle name that she gave me, in my own handwriting, in a location always visible to me. (with a tiny spiral to symbolize "life" and "creative healing"... a symbol i wear and use a lot.) so on April 20, i stamped this moment into my wrist. and i love it. every time i look at it, i love it more! and here is the kicker, on May 26, her 56th birthday, Susan is going to get the same tattoo on her ankle. i can't wait!

the other photo is pretty self-explanatory as well... i bought these necklaces on April 6. hoping that our reunion would continue in a way that would make it reasonable for me to give her this gift for Mother's Day. it did, i gave it to her, and we have both been wearing them every day since. i may just give away all my other necklaces... :)

more later... i promise.