Saturday, April 11, 2009

Adoption: Perspective from an Amazing Encounter (birth mother to birth mother)

A few months ago I ran an errand to my local Salon. While I was there I met a young woman and we started to chat. I asked about her Thanksgiving Day and she politely inquired about mine. I mentioned that it was ‘okay’ considering it was the first one since ‘mama’ died (in February). She mentioned that a friend of hers had died in an auto accident recently. She asked me if I had been close to mama (my mother-in-law) and I said yes, and I was like the daughter that she never had. Conversation continued and the subject of children came up. She mentioned a son and I replied that I had ‘two children.’ She asked if I had gained much weight during my pregnancy and the conversation continued…

Then I asked how old her son was, and she quietly replied, “my son was born in September and I placed him for adoption.” I replied, “wow, I did the same thing 23 years ago and my birth daughter found me in September!”

We talked FOREVER and shared our feelings about adoption. The adoption of her son was an open adoption. I explained that my daughter’s adoption was a closed one, but I insisted on naming my daughter, wrote a letter for her, and took care of her for her first three days of life.

We also shared our sorrow at how we were treated by society for having placed our beloved babies into adoption. She and I both had hurtful experiences from total strangers saying things like: “oh, how selfish of you to put your baby up for adoption.” And similarly insensitive comments.

At one point she stopped talking and quietly asked me, “may I hug you?” After we hugged each other, she beamed at me with the most beautiful smile and said, “you are the first birth mother that I have ever talked to, and talking to you like this has meant the world to me!”

This young woman and I connected with a shared understanding of what it is like to love a child so much, that we cherished their future and wanted only the best for them and made the ultimate sacrifice of placing them up for adoption.

A final comment she made to me was, “people have told me that I must not have loved my baby and that’s why I gave it up for adoption!” I replied, “no, you loved your baby very much. You carried that child inside of you for 9 months and then lovingly placed it in the care of another.” I also reminded her that although she gave up the right to raise her child, she did not give up the right to go on loving him.

If you are adopted, it isn’t always true that you “weren’t wanted.” If you were truly not wanted, your birth mom could have simply gotten an abortion, but instead she gave you life.

I just wanted to share this amazing story in hopes of showing one side of adoption. A young woman has hopes that the child that she carried inside of her for 9 months, will have a wonderful life.

If you were adopted, you were given life by one and chosen by another. You are indeed very special.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Celebrating Dancing, Spring, Dogs and a Healthy Life

Yeah, dancing is something I do. I do it in my sleep, while standing in line at the grocery store. I don't listen to classical music to relax...because I find myself trying to choreograph to it!

As I approach my 49th birthday, I don't get to dance as much as I like to do. I'm lucky if I dance 2-3 times a week (instead of the 3-5 times I used to dance). It's harder to recover from injury, and life's obligations take priority.

As cerebral and logical a person as I am, I still have a very strong artistic side. It got placed on the back burner for nearly 20 years, but about 7 years ago I dusted it off and I've been dancing every chance I get now. As I approach my 49th birthday, I'm stronger and more flexible now than at any other time of my adulthood. I'm healthier too. I'm very health conscious and write down the nutritional information for everything I eat (I have a balance disorder, so I have to track my sodium intake anyway...)

Writing down what I eat helps me to remember to eat, and eat the right things. The nutritionist that I saw a year ago told me that I was eating too little fat and calories and that's why I wasn't losing weight! Sounds illogical, but you can't starve your body to get in shape. When you workout 4-6 days a week, you really need to fuel the engine that is your body. It's logical! So, I try to get my two dairy products and my two fruit items everyday along with my non-meat protein, TONS of veggies and very few starches...portion control is key!

So having gone through menopause 10 years prematurely (started at 38, now I'm nearly 49) I have diligently followed a healthy caloric diet that gives me at least 1,700 calories a day (instead of the recommended 2,200 for my activity level...cause 500 calories less a day = 3,500 calories less a week; the number of calories to decrease intake to lose 1 lb a week). So after 9 months, I lost 27 of the 37 lbs that I had slowly put on for the last 10 years. I'm 10 lbs away from my goal weight, but I don't weight myself anymore. I just feel good and keep working out and eating right.

I danced on the Friday and Saturday, but not on Sunday and Monday (give my toes-ies a rest). I did manage 30 minutes on the treadmill and my lower body conditioning at the gym today (along with some core work).

Tomorrow, a dance friend who I've not seen in quite some time comes to visit me and my son, Evan bringing her baby (who is already 4 months old!)

I JUST celebrated the 30 day anniversary at my NEW job. YEAH ME! Work is busy, busy, busy and I hope it becomes full-time within the next 6 months.

SO back to talking about dancing... As articulate as I am, I'm hard pressed sometimes to explain how I feel about dancing. The way it makes me feel is a combination of spiritual, emotional, and physical. There's an AMAZING interview a friend of mine did on Tami Stronach. Tami was best known as the English child actress who played the Empress in movie entitled, "The Never Ending Story." Tami is now a professional dancer, choreographer (who also has her own small dance company). A quote of her's describes EXACTLY how I feel about dancing:
"I think that the reason I'm attracted to dance - and art - is because it's the place where the emotional life is more important than the practical life on some level. It's a sacred space where your inner world is valued and I think most of my work - and most of the reason I'm a dancer - is I want to be in environments and make environments that give people permission to express that part of themselves. In various ways, all my work ties to the fact that forces in society conspire to shut people down and take away their ability to feel. Then as life becomes harder and harder, it becomes scarier to feel because feelings are big and hard. I think emotions are like your ballet muscles. They're like your plies or tendus, if you don't practice them, you become less good at it and less good at engaging with other people. It's not something you learn and not something that in society, we spend a lot of time thinking about. I feel like that piece is a story version of what I'm describing. It's sort of saying that there's a lot of fear in allowing your emotional world to be really full and big. There's that constant fear that you'll lose your equilibrium and you won't be able to be in charge of yourself and function well."

Ultimately, I dance because it makes me incredibly happy on a deeply spiritual level. I experience a harmonious, peaceful contentment of mind and body. Moving to music is the best therapy that I could ever imagine to stave off depression or anxiety.

My Mottos: Passion to Dance Regardless of Age - Age is JUST a Number...So DANCE!