The Time I Turned Down A TV Show

I want to tell you about the time I got an interesting email, it was from a tv production company and they wanted me to be on their show. Um, say what?! I checked it out, it was legit, I had my husband check it out and it was still legit. So crazy. Someone had found my blog, loved my adoption story and my birth mom story and wanted me on their show. Crazy!

So when will you see me on TV? You won’t. I turned it down. I know what you are thinking… UM WHAT? CRAZY!


Yes, it was a once in a life time thing, probably, who really knows for sure! Yes it would have been an amazing experience. Yes it would have been great to be able to talk about adoption on such a large platform. But was it right for me and my family? No.

After much thought and many many conversations with my husband, who kept telling me to go, I decided it wasn’t right. As much as I would have loved it, as great as it would have been, as fun as it would have been, and scary and totally worth it, it wasn’t the right choice.

Saying yes to this would have meant time away from my family, as I would have had to go alone to the states. Is my husband capable of running the house on his own? Yes, of course he is. Would my boys been totally ok with me gone? Probably. Would my 3 year old have been ok? No. This happened right before my daughter was scheduled to have surgery a few months ago. She wasn’t in a good place her health and her sleeping.

It came down to, was it worth it the amount of stress this would cause on my then 2 year old before experiencing the added stress of surgery? Would this have been worth it for the added stress that would have caused on everyone else? No. Not right now.

I have to believe something better is coming. When one door closes, another opens. And any other cliche things you can think of.

Sometimes the hardest answer to give is the best answer. Sometimes a no is needed when you really want to say yes.

Now to look out for the next great opportunity.

~ Michelle

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The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane – Book Review

I recently read The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, and I just have to share it with you.

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I was drawn to the idea of this book because it is about adoption, which as an adoptee  and birth mother, adoption is a huge part of my life. I was scared of this book when I first got it, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how adoption was going to be shown in this book. I scared that this book would completely break my heart. I was scared that this book would show adoption as something horrible – which it is not, not always. This book surprised me. This book made me laugh and it made me cry, for many different reasons. This book is beautifully written.

The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane is an amazing story about family, traditions, love, family separated by culture, and great distances, adoption and the love a mother has for her child. Li-yan’s mother for her, and Li-yan for her daughter, and her daughters adoptive mother’s love for her adopted daughter. A mothers love is strong and never ending.

Lets start the with the premise of the book. The book is about a girl named Li-yan and her family. They live in the tea mountains of China. They live a quiet life in their village away from the rest of the world. They are very much about traditions, traditions set long ago. The way Lisa See describes it all, the village, the forest, the tea, you can see it all. You can taste the tea, you can smell the tea. Lisa See paints such vivid pictures of Li-yan’s life you are left feeling as if you actually knew her and visited her. The way she goes into Li-yan’s family traditions, so much detail. I was left feeling like I had actually met all these people from the book, and was sad when I finished the book. Thats how you know a book is good- when despite the ending, you are sad its done.

But it was not the talented writing that drew me to this book and kept me reading, it was the story of adoption. If that makes sense. I was so invested in finding out what happened to Li-yan and her daughter.  It was being able to connect so strongly with two very different characters. I felt so many emotions reading this book. I could relate to two special characters on so many levels throughout this book.

From a birth moms, and mothers, point of view my heart broke for Li-yan during her pregnancy and as she gave her baby away, and all the days after that. From an adoptees point of view I could relate to her daughters story. I felt the struggle of both of them. I felt the heartache of both of them. I felt the longing of both of them. I couldn’t help buy think of my own story while reading this. When Lisa See describes Li-yan watching her daughter get taken away, I couldn’t help but remember the day I walked out of the hospital and watched someone else hand off my son to his new family. When she writes about Li-yan’s daughter returning to China for the first time I remember my first time going to the city where I was born. My own adoption is considered local, so I could not relate fully to the cultural differences that Li-yan’s daughter experienced. But I still felt her struggle and feelings.

Adoption is tricky to write and talk about. Not everyone is happy about it. Not everyone likes it. Not every one agrees with it. Yes this book was one of the best books I have read about adoption. Could parts have been improved on? That depends on who is reading it and their point of view on adoption. To me, the book was beautiful. The whole book, not just the adoption aspect of it. The background story, the detail, the other characters. The writing was fluid, the writing was beautiful.

This book left me wanting more. I actually spent some time researching China, tea making, adoption in China, the tea mountains in China, the history that Lisa See talked about in her book. I started this book strictly interested in the adoption story line in it and left loving every part of this book.

I will say the ending upset me! I won’t tell you what happened, as I don’t want to spoil it. But I could have kept on reading. I wanted to keep on reading. I needed more. I’m sure the author, Lisa See, left it that way so you could paint on your picture, write your own story. But I didn’t want to, I wanted to keep reading her story.

If you read this book, which I recommend you do, please share your thoughts and feelings of it with me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this book.

~ Michelle

*I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster, all thoughts are strictly my own. 

Adoption And The Holidays

Being a Birth Mom is never easy. It is not glamours. It never leaves you. It changes you forever. Your heart is forever missing a piece. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes it hits you like a brick wall. Sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe with the missing piece. Sometimes you feel like you are falling apart.

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I am a Birth Mom. My son was placed for adoption right at birth. His mom was at the hospital during my labour, heck, she even stood by my side while I pushed. I ended up in an emergency c-section and she was actually able to see him first and spend time with him before I was. They were always meant to be a family. I love my son. But he was always destined to be her son. But that doesn’t make it any easier. I miss him every day. I think about him every day. I always think “what if?!” Always. All my children are always on my mind, every day, every single day. I sometimes even set a place at the table for him. Its hard.

I am so incredible thankful that he does have the family he has. As much as I miss him, as much as my heart breaks, as much as I feel like I am missing out on everything, I also feel connected. My sons mother has always included me. Sent me photos, videos, visits, phone calls, FaceTime, anything that connects us. I am forever grateful.

Last week she went above and beyond. Although I am not sure she knows just how above and beyond it was. How much it truly meant to me. How much it completely broke my heart, shattered it, and yet made me feel whole all at once. This incredible woman, whom I love so deeply, sent me videos and pictures during his school Christmas concert. It was the most beautiful thing. She didn’t have to. She could have waited till it was over. She could have just told me about it. She could have just enjoyed it for herself. But she didn’t. She included me. She shared with me.

I sat there and cried, I cried sad tears, heartbroken tears, proud mom tears, happy tears, so many different emotions. I held my daughter as we watched together. She didn’t grasp just how important all of this was, but I sure did. It was a moment I will never forget. A moment I am forever thankful for.

I wasn’t able to physically be there, I hardly ever am, but I was and always am there in spirit. This made the connection for me even stronger.

Being a Birth Mom during the holidays is extra hard. When you are surrounded by family, and someone is still missing, a part of you is missing, your mind is always wondering what that person is doing, wishing you could be with them. This little action of her sharing with me made me feel so connected and complete during such a hard time.

It really is the small things that mean the most. Small acts that have the biggest impact.

~ Michelle

 

Talking To My Kids About Adoption

Something was brought to my attention and I felt the need to write this down. I am adopted, and I am a birth mom. There is no denying or hiding it. Its a major part of me. And really it is something I would never try to hide or deny. There is no shame in adoption, in being in any part of adoption. And there is also the  minor detail about having an adoption tattoo on my arm in plain sight that I show off proudly.

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Growing up I don’t remember any single moment that I was told I was adopted. It was a simple fact that I grew up with. When I placed my son for adoption I knew without a doubt that any future children I had would grow up knowing all about him. Fast forward 3 children later and they all know about him. My daughter is only 2, but she has spent every summer of her life with him, and sees him on FaceTime, and sees his pictures around the house. She may not understand, but she knows he’s her brother.

No, telling my children that they have an older sibling that was placed for adoption did not hurt them, or scar them in any way. No I did not tell them “too soon”. Well unless you mean I talked about their older brother even before they could talk, then sure, maybe it was “too soon” as they couldn’t talk about it and join in the conversation.

My children have grown up with the fact that they have an older brother. Being that my oldest son was placed into an open adoption. My oldest son was able to meet my 3 younger children all before they were 6 months old and been able to visit them every few years.

Adoption isn’t something to be hidden away, kept in secret, only talked about in dark corners in the middle of the night in whispers.

I am adopted. I am a birth mom. Why should my children grow up not knowing these things?

Yes, my children miss their older brother. Yes, I miss him. Yes, it hurts me to know they miss him. Yes, I have answered many, many, many questions over the years and will probably continue to do so. Yes it is hard, some days harder than others. Yes, we have all cried countless tears. Is it worth it? Yes. My children all know each other and get to grow up together and create their own special bond together. Seeing all four of my children together, I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Adoption should be talked about. All the time. Adoption is not a bad thing. It is nothing to be ashamed about. Adoption is a beautiful thing. Adoption is all about love and family. Because of adoption my family has grown in numbers and love, a love that crosses the oceans.

Just as my kids grow up knowing that the sun rises and sets, they know that they have a brother who has another family and has his own life path to follow, but that he is still their brother no matter where he lives.

~ Michelle

Three Years After I Found My Birth Mother

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Roses my Birth Mother gave me the one and only time we met in person

3 years ago, yesterday actually, I found my birth mother. Or she found me? We found each other?

I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a cold winter day, I was about 10 years into my search, I had made a break through and actually finally found people that knew her, one problem, no one seemed to know where she was at that time. I was trying to clear all the stress and drama while I walked to school to pick up my boys. On the walk back home my phone rang, as soon as I saw the area code my heart stopped, it was the area code from where I believed my birth mother was. I tried to calm myself, telling myself it was probably just some numbers calling me back after I left messages. I took a deep breathe and answered the phone.

On the other end of the phone was a woman asking for me by my birth name. It was her. She was real. She was alive. She was actually on the other end talking to me.

I screamed.

Then I verified her information, made sure it was really her. It was real. It was really her.

I screamed again.

When I got home I didn’t want to attempt to get the boys in the house, since they would be so loud, so I sat outside in the cold. (If you know me, that is a BIG deal) I was outside for over an hour. We talked about everything, mostly just shooting off question to question at each other.

The first few days and weeks we talked all the time. There were good morning and good night text messages, phone calls, a constant string of texts, I had to re-charge my phone countless times during the day. I have never used my phone so much or talked on the phone so much.

The “honeymoon” stage was such a blur. So much information was exchanged, so many questions were asked, so, so, SO many feelings were running around. Then something happened. The phone calls stopped, the text messages slowed and stopped.

3 years later I sit here, trying to figure it all out. Trying to piece together what happened. Trying to figure out why. Why it went this way. Why this all happened. Did I do something wrong? Was I not good enough for her? Was I not what she imagined?

3 years later and she has become a stranger again.

In all the questions asked, I’m left with a million more.

I don’t know what will happen, I don’t even know what happened!

This whole journey has been such a strange, crazy, unpredictable, emotional, rollercoaster. Sometimes I can’t even tell which direction I should be facing.

Should I have found her? Yes. Did I ever imagine that something like this could happen? No. Would I change it? I don’t know. Because I don’t know what I should change. I don’t know where things went ‘wrong’ to lead me to this path. I don’t even know if this is the ‘wrong’ path!

What I can tell you is that I never dreamed it would be like this.

Growing up I had a million different scenarios in my head, none of them even close to this.

In an adoption everyone wants a happy ending. Most birth mothers hope that if and when their child comes back it will be happy. Most adoptive parents want it to go well because they don’t want to see their child hurt. Most adoptees just don’t want to be hurt, they want answers.

When I think of my adoption journey I almost feel like a failure. I was lucky to finally find my birth mother, I was lucky she wanted to find me. But some where, some how, something, maybe, went wrong. Or maybe this is just how it was meant to be. I don’t know.

I imagined that we would have some sort of relationship, friendship. I didn’t imagine I would meet her and lose her again. I never thought she would become a stranger. I never knew someone and a situation could cause such confusion, and bring on so many questions, and so many different feelings all at once.

I found my birth mom 3 years ago, and I have even more questions than when I started.

This journey has been so much harder and emotionally draining and confusing than I would have dreamed possible.

Maybe the next 3 years will bring some more answers. Maybe. If there are even any answers to be had.

~ Michelle

I Am A Birth Mother, That Does Not Make Me A Bad Person

I have an Adoption Tattoo on my arm. I don’t try to hide it. I am proud of it, and I am proud of what it represents.

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I am an Adoptee and I am Birth Mother and I will share my story with anyone who asks and will listen.

When people see my tattoo they are always interested to know what it means. As soon as they find out I am adopted it brings on a slew of questions and remarks, always good things. Some such remarks I have heard are “Wow that is amazing. You are so lucky you found a good home. That is such a beautiful story.”
However when those same people that get so excited and happy that I was adopted as a baby find out I am a birth mother everything changes. Those same people will suddenly take a step back, look me up and down, shake their head and walk away. Sometimes they will even say things like “How dare you! How could you do that to your baby?” and storm off.

As long as someone views me as some helpless baby that got “taken in” or “rescued” its sweet and cute even. However as soon as they learn that I gave up a baby for adoption I am suddenly a bad person. I am here to tell you that that is not the case, not even close.

Birth parents are not bad people. We are not heartless. We do care. We do love our children. We did what was best for our children, even if that wasn’t what we wanted to do, we had to put our children first.

I had my son when I was 17. There was no way I could give him the life he deserved. I wanted the best for him. I wanted to give him a better chance at life. I wanted him to have a life that I knew in my heart that I could not give him.

Did I want to keep my son? Did I want to be the one that he calls Mom? Did I want to be the one he cries for when he’s scared, hurt or sick? YES. A million times yes.
Did my heart break into a million pieces every day of my pregnancy knowing how it would end? Did my heart completely destroy itself when I had to walk out of that hospital empty handed while I watched another woman walk away with my son, her son? YES. A million time yes.

I sacrificed my own heart, my own feelings and my own dreams so that my son could have what he deserved. So he could have more than what I could give him.

I am not heartless, I am not mean, I am not a bad person.

I am a birth mother. I put my sons needs before my own.

I sacrificed everything so my son could have a better life.

So next time you find out someone is a birth mother, think before you speak, find out her story.

~ Michelle

I Met My Birth Mom. What It Is Like Two Years Later.

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Roses my Birth Mother gave me 2 years ago

Two years ago I met my Birth Mother and Birth Grandmother for the first time.
Two years later and honestly I still feel just as confused as I did on that day.
On that day I could not find any of the right words that even resemble what I was feeling or thinking. I just could not seem to put this into the right words, and I still can’t. This is not an easy situation, it is a lot more complex and confusing than I would have ever thought possible.
So please bear with me through this.

I met my Birth Mom and Birth Grandmother.
This should be a happy moment. Right? Cloud 9. Jumping up and down. Happy dance. All of that right?

Let me back up a little bit. I spent my entire life, for as long as I can remember with certain beliefs about my birth mom. I knew it was silly, and I shouldn’t assume things about someone I knew nothing about, but I also felt I was right. Something I knew in my heart to be true. Like we had a connection or something. As I grew older and heard horror stories about Adoption Reunions I knew to always “expect to the unexpected” so to speak. So I tried my hardest to expand what I believed. There were just certain parts that I could not let go of. My heart just told me they were true. I hoped for the best and prepared for the worse.
My first mistake was thinking my search would be easy. Of course she would be looking for me. All of them would be. Of course there would be an easy trail for me to find. Turns out it was not easy, or quick. My search took nearly 10 years.
Then reality came knocking on my door, more like destroyed it actually. Out of the 100,000,000,001 scenarios I thought of none of them were true.
I realize this was fully on me, I only have myself to blame. But after believing for so long in something, trusting your heart for so long, and realizing it was all wrong, to have your beliefs’, hopes, dreams, thoughts, all crushed… It was hard. I had to re-evaluate everything I thought and believed about myself, about her, about everything connected to my Adoption. That connection I believed I had, that I was somehow special because I felt this, was gone.

Throughout this I did, and still do, feel so blessed and lucky that I have been able to actually find my birth mom. That’s the important thing here. I actually found her. I am one of the lucky ones. My search was finally over. A whole new journey is before me now.

When it came time to actually meet her, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to feel. I was confused before she even stepped foot in my house. Which took me by a giant surprise. I thought I was ready to take this step. I thought I knew what I wanted, how I felt, everything. I thought meeting her would be the next natural step and everything about it would be natural and free-flowing.

As I looked into the eyes of the person that gave birth to me, as I looked into the eyes of my birth grandmother for the first time, my blood…. I don’t know. In that moment in time, I didn’t know what to feel, think or expect. I was shaken to the core from this meeting.

I looked into their eyes and it really hit me, there is a whole family history there that I’m connected to it. But I don’t feel connected. I should feel connected, right? Should it be an instant connection? We are blood after all. There should be a bond? Something small there at least? Where did that connection go that I thought I had with her growing up? Was that really gone? Or was it just my beliefs that were gone? I thought it was just my beliefs. For sure some connection should remain?

I never thought I would be this confused, I never thought I would feel like this. I never dreamed the emotional roller coaster this would be. I never dreamed it would go on for years.

I want to be able to tell people that this meeting was what dreams are made of. That it went perfectly. That it was wonderful. That it left me with no questions at all. I want to say that we had a connection and are now involved in each others lives. I want to be able to say that, because a part of me wanted it to be like that.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I met them. It was a good experience. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

But the truth is here I am 2 years later after meeting them and I am just as confused and lost as I felt on that day.

Our relationship has not progressed the way I thought it would, and honestly I am not sure where that leaves us, or what it means.

I spent 28 years without her, I spent 10 years looking for her, I realize a relationship will not be built overnight, related by blood or not, this is going to take a lot of work. A lot more than I thought would take for people related by blood, for a daughter and her birth mother.

Thanks to all those who have supported me throughout all of this! Your love and support means so much to me!
~Michelle