Adoption Awareness Month – Belonging



November is Adoption Awareness Month. As an Adoptee and Birth Mother, I can talk forever about this, so lets talk again. Remembering that it doesn’t matter if you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, know an adoptee, read a book, or anything else, unless you are actually an adoptee, you will never truly understand. So please for the love of all that is holy, stop telling Adoptees how to feel, that their feelings are wrong, that they are over reacting, or anything else like that. Adoptees have every right to feel everything they feel, all the conflicting, hard to understand feelings, they are all valid. Just because you dont understand something, does not make their feelings wrong.
So lets talk about belonging. Its a strange thing. We simultaneously belong to multiple families, yet dont fully belong to any. We are forever an option. In our adoptive families we struggle to belong, we dont look like anyone, we dont have the same mannerisms, traits, we struggle to fit in and blend in with our families. We notice all the questioning looks we get by people trying to figure out our connections to each other. We have even had to deal with strangers comments and questions. Our adoptions are constantly pointed out to us, when people compare looks, especially at family events. We are constantly referred to as the “adopted children”. When we go to the doctors and asked for medical history, there is a big blank spot, or adoption is simply written there. In school its pointed out every time we are asked to do a family tree, learning about genes and asked to go back in our family tree with eye colour, hair colour and such. We are constantly asked if we will ever look for our families, then guilted as soon as we decided to do it. We are asked what its like to grow up in a home with strangers. We are referred to as being “chosen” or “picked out”. People ask us how much we cost for our parents to ‘buy’ us. When people do family trees there is constantly a symbol next to our names for adoption. More times than people care to admit, adopted children are placed for adoption again because they didn’t “fit into the family”, or some other issues came to the surface. We are considered an option. We are told we will be sent back. When we get in trouble, we are told in must be in our genes and what a burden it must be for our families to deal with us.
Then if and when we are able to find birth families, we are treated an as option. We have to wait to see if our birth families will accept us or reject us, again. Always an option. IF we do get accepted, we rarely ever fully get accepted. Our lives before they met us dont matter because they never knew us. We are never truly the first born, second born, third , or last born, because we weren’t there. When people talk we are separated in speech, like “my kids and you” or “my boys and you” its always “them and you”. There is always a subtle separation in speech. We are told to wait till kids are older to be told about us. We are told to wait because older generations can’t hear about us right now. We are kept secret from some members of the family. We are told to wait till their kids are fully grown before they will consider spending holidays with us. We are told they have their own traditions and things they love, and they won’t grow and evolve those things to include us. We are told that to involve us in traditions would be the same thing to them as throwing away years of family traditions with ‘their family’. Always the separation in speech. Never fully accepted. We aren’t considered ‘close family’ when it comes to family events, birthdays or holidays. We are told that people need time to adjust to our existence. We are told that people that are supposed to be our family need time to figure out if they want to ‘try to be friends and see where that goes’, instead of truly accepting that we are family and include us as such and work towards building relationships that way as sister/brother/cousin/son/daughter or whichever it is. We are always treated as an option. Someone that belongs, but not fully. We are welcome, as long as we stay in our little corner over there, and dont mess with their family setting and traditions. If we dont fit in just right, we are again abandoned, because we will forever be an option for people. An option they can walk away from whenever a single issue arises. We constantly walk on egg shells out of fear of being abandoned again. Many times adoption reunions fall apart after a couple years.
We belong to multiple families, yet not fully and truly. Its a weird sense of belonging, being on the outside looking in, longing for acceptance, longing for connection, feeling at home, being surrounded by family, being loved and accepted, and still feeling alone.

~Michelle

Adoption Awareness Month

November is Adoption Awareness Month. As an Adoptee and Birth Mother, I have a lot to say on the subject. This is however a subject that only Adoptees can truly understand. It doesn’t matter if you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, know an adoptee, read an adoption book, or anything else, unless you are an adoptee, you will never really understand. And every adoptees journey is so different.

Being an adoptee is complicated. We are constantly told that we should be grateful, feel lucky, and be happy that we were “saved” or “chosen”. And here’s the thing, we can feel grateful, we can feel lucky, we can be happy with the life we did get, we can love our life, we can love our family, and at the same time we can still feel angry, hurt, sad, abandoned, long for a biological connection, we can mourn for a life we never had, mourn for the loss of all that could have been or maybe even should have been. And we can experience all of these emotions at once, and not have it take away from feeling grateful, or happy, or hurt, or abandoned. It is so hard to put into words that will ever truly explain what it is like to be an adoptee. To live with such drastically different feelings conflicting with each other all the time.

I’ve lived my life with people telling me how I should feel. Telling me my feelings are wrong if they have ever been anything other than grateful. I’ve had people be mad at my existence.
I’ve been called selfish and ungrateful, rude and mean, for wanting to find my birth family.
I’ve even been called selfish for wanting to then spend time with the people I found after spending my entire life apart from them.
I’ve been told I was never wanted and that they never wanted to ‘waste’ a name on me when I was born.
I’ve been called a home wrecker, intruder, and worse, because I found my birth family.
I’ve had people separate me from “real” family, and put in a little corner off on my own.
I’ve even been told I am too old. When I found who I believed was my birth father, thats what he said to me. This man believed I was his daughter right from the start and even tried to find me when I was 2 years old so he could fight for custody of me. But then when I was almost 28 years old, I found him. And he didn’t want anything to do with me. One of the many reasons he gave me, my age. He said I was too old now. He said I took to long, and I was too old now, and none of it mattered, and I was too old to celebrate anything, too old to care, too old to start building a relationship. He was so angry at me that I took too long to find him. He had other choice words too say to me over the years, but anyway, that was the first time someone complained about my age, used my age against me, told me i’m “too old” for something, but it wouldn’t be the last time. Throughout my journey other people have told me the same thing and used my age against me for various reason.
I’ve mourned the death of a man I believed was my birth father, just to find out years later he wasn’t.
I could go on and on about the things said to me. The way people treat me as an after thought, as an option, mad at my existence, and more.

But here’s what Adoption gave me, besides trauma, abandonment issues, heartbreak and more, it gave me a beautiful family that has loved me so fiercely. It gave me two parents, that at 36 years old I can honestly say they have always been there for me, never missed a holiday, from Valentines Day to Christmas, never missed a birthday, never missed a school event, been there for every milestone in my life, the birth of each of my children, they were there and visiting the hospital every single day I was in there. They have been there for each of my Mother Days, especially my first after my oldest son was born, which I couldn’t have gotten through without them. They even celebrate my wedding anniversary. Always there for me. And in turn they have always been there for my kids. Every birthday, every holiday, every school performance, every event at school, they were there. I’ve lost count of the amount of cakes my mom has baked with my daughter every time she says its a dolls birthday, or a stuffed animals birthday, it doesn’t matter, my mom is there to celebrate with her and make it special. Family trips all together. When my kids were/are sick, my parents were/are the first people I called, and my Dad would sit up with me during the night and the kids while they had croup, or an ear infection or whatever, my parents were there. Because of the parents I got, I was able to live in Kenya. The people I met there, amazing friends that have become family. Not to mention I met my oldest sons birth father there. Without living there, I never would have met him and had my son. And I can’t imagine a life without him. And my husband, who I met through a cousin on my Moms side. And now I have 3 more beautiful children, and an amazing man in my life. And I wouldn’t have had them, met all the people I have, lived in all the places I have, done all the traveling I did, if life hadn’t put me down another path, if someone else didn’t make one of the biggest decisions in life for me, a choice I didn’t make or was given a say in. And I am so incredibly grateful the life I have had so far, the people I have met, my family, my friends, my husband and my four kids. There is no way I could wish that away. But having said all that, I still mourn for what never was. I still feel sadness over missing out on years with so many other people. Its a complicated thing. It doesn’t make sense. And it is so hard to mourn for something that you never even had. But all while feeling grateful and loving the life you did have. So I dont know what else to say in this ramble. Other than its Adoption Awareness Month, and being an adoptee is complicated, amazing, beautiful, trauma filled, beautiful, and every other mixed emotions.When an adoptee tries to explain their story, share their complicated conflicting emotions, dont try to correct them, dont tell them how they should feel. Let adoptees feel what they feel, and not be shamed for it. Listen to what adoptees have to say, even if you dont understand it.

~ Michelle

Gotcha Day

Everyone’s adoption journey and search is different. Everyone has different feelings towards things. And this is mine. Gotcha Day is a something that I don’t like, agree with, or would ever celebrate for myself. And I’m so glad and thankful that my parents never tried to make that a thing in our house.

Gotcha Day is the day of ‘celebration’ when a new child enters a family, whether the day the new family got the child, or the adoption was finalized. It can be called “adoption day” or “family day”. All depends on the family that chooses to do this.

Well yes I am incredibly grateful that I was adopted into a loving family, a good family. I got to experience things I wouldn’t have other wise, like I got to live in Kenya. Those choices that were made for me before I was born put me on a completely different path, but that path lead me to my ex, and my husband, which gave me my children. And I can’t imagine life without them. But lets get something straight; I got all of that because my life was traded for another.

I lost my name, who I was, the chance to know my heritage, my story, my family, knowing who I belonged to, and where I came from. My name was changed, I was handed to another family, and got sent down a completely different path in life. A new family may have got me, but that day is a day I lost myself.

Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where everyone expects the victims (adoptees) to be nothing but grateful and appreciative.
And I am grateful and appreciative, but I also suffered a great loss. A loss that I’ve been trying to figure out, process and deal with my entire life. And just when I thought I had, I got thrown a curve ball.

Adoption is so much more than one family building their own family. There is so much loss behind the scenes. As one family is being built, another family is forever apart. The loss of adoption is felt by the adoptee and birth mother and father and their families. As an adoptee I’ve had to grow up missing people I didn’t know, wondering about them constantly. After I actually found my birth parents, I found myself grieving a life I never knew.

I’m in a unique position. I am both an Adoptee and a Birth Mother. I have experienced loss from both sides of this.

I placed my son for adoption, and I did it in an open adoption so I could know him, be there for him in whatever capacity he needed me to be, and so I could answer any and all questions he ever had, and so he wouldn’t be left alone and wondering like I was. I wanted him to have the life he deserved, but to still know where he came from, his story and to know without a doubt that he was loved, wanted, and that I will always be there for him. He knows who I am and he knows who his siblings are, and he gets to have a relationship with us all. It doesn’t take away from his loss at all, he has his own loss from the choices I made for him before he was born. And I can only hope he sees and knows that I do it all for him, and that I did it out of love for him.

The day my son got placed with his new family, his ‘gotcha day’ so to speak, the day his parents hearts swelled with pride and love as they took home their new son. The day their family was completed. That was the day my heart and soul forever broke and would be missing a piece from that moment on. The day their family was put together, was the day that my world and chance at a family together forever fell apart.

As an adoptee with a closed adoption I felt the loss of people and a life I never knew. I was left feeling ever so slightly like I never belonged. Just ever so slight out of place. Always searching the crowed for someone that looked like me. Always missing a piece of myself. Always wondering where I came from. Always wondering why.

As a Birth Mother, my heart and soul forever broken and missing a piece, enduring a pain so deep and raw, that it still hurts to this day. The day my son went to a home that was my home, was the day my heart didn’t just break, it shattered. It’s a day that I will forever remember, for far different reasons than his family will remember that day for.

There is so much more behind each and every adoption story. There is so much more behind the happy new growing family. There is so much more to all of this.

~ Michelle

Lost Connections in Adoption Reunions

The desire to have a connection/relationship to someone you are biologically related to isn’t something someone can understand unless they have been denied that chance. It is so hard to explain. I was adopted at birth, it was a closed adoption, and I was left feeling alone and always wondering. Yet I always felt a connection and pull towards someone, some where, I just never knew who or where.

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My Adoption Tattoo

Now at almost 35 years old I have all my answers, finally. But part of me is still left feeling alone and wondering. 7 years ago I found my birth mother. It should have been a wonderful experience. But it wasn’t. It started off well enough. She said all the ‘right’ things. She said she wanted me, thought about me all the time, she said she loved me, she said she wanted to build a relationship with me. She said she wanted to be apart of my life and my kids. She said she cared. She said she would always be there. She said we were family. She said all the things I wanted and needed her to say. And then something changed. I can’t even tell you what. I don’t know when it all broke down. I don’t know when it turned to hate. I can’t tell you those things, because I refused to see them when they were happening, I made excuses for them, I took the blame for it all. I must have done something wrong, what that was, I didn’t know exactly. I wanted to be the daughter she would be proud of and want. But I just wasn’t. I fought like hell for something that was never going to be there, the connection and relationship that should between a mother and daughter.

We don’t talk anymore. I know things happen for a reason. I know sometimes we just have to let go of people, despite the pain it is best for us. I know you can’t force a relationship with someone. I know all of these things, but I also know, that all of this hurts. I still grieve over this. What could have been. What should have been. What I could have done, should have done. How could I have been the daughter she would want. What I lost. What my kids have lost. What she has lost. All of it. It is such a mix of emotions, some days I don’t know how to sort them and process them.

This woman gave birth to me. She should want me. She should love me. She should be here for me. I should feel a connection to her, and her to me. But she doesn’t. I’ve tired to work through this, process this, and I tried to move on. But here’s the thing; how can I fully move on from this, from the person that gave me life? Nature, biology, genetics, cosmic pull, whatever you want to call it, it is a strong force. Now when I feel that desire, its surround with grief and so much pain. It is always there. Sometimes its quiet, so quiet I can’t feel it, other times its screaming so loud my whole body hurts. Why would I, how could I, want someone that so clearly doesn’t want me? Why do we put ourselves through such pain? And how do you explain this to anyone else? Unless you have gone through this first hand, it is so hard to explain and have someone else understand.

Despite everything, she’s still there, in the back of my head. When something happens, on holidays, birthdays, milestones. And it hurts. I don’t want the grief, the guilt, the shame, the feelings of intense pain of being rejected every time I think of her. It shouldn’t have happened this way, but it did, and I don’t know why.

~ Michelle

 

Finding My Place In The Family Tree

Finding myself. Finding my place. Finding where I belong.

I never imagined I would be almost 35 and still trying to figure this out. I spent my entire life wondering, dreaming, day dreaming, wishing and hoping. My entire life I felt out of place. Any time I was out I was scanning the crowds for someone, anyone, that looked like me. Searching for a hint of something familiar. Where did I belong? Who did I belong to? Where did I come from? What was my story? What is my family’s story?

I spent nearly 10 years searching for my answers. And when I thought I had them I felt more lost than I ever had. I accepted my fate that I would forever feel lost and out of place, something was missing. I vowed to myself that I would move on. And I did. I let go of my hopes and dreams for a happy reunited family. I let go of the idea that I would find some magical place that was right for me, where I belonged, where I was finally free to be me, to know me, to truly know me. To know where I came from, who I belonged to, and what my story was. I gave up and I moved on. I made my own happy little family. Forever missing a piece of myself, but I was happy, and content. The aching was still there, but it was a dull hum, no longer a loud thunder following me around.

And now here I am. I have my answers. My truths. My absolute truths. I’m learning my stories. I’m learning family stories, my family stories. But here’s the thing; I still don’t know where I belong. What if I never do? What if I am forever feeling split and missing.

I got sent a family tree. My family tree. And it was amazing. It was beautiful. It was absolutely stunning. It was the most wonderful thing, and it completely ripped my heart apart and took away my breathe. This was the family I was robbed of. This is the family I missed out on for the last 35 years. This is the family I lost and I am now just learning about and grieving.

For the first time in my life I could see in writing where I belong, where I came from, my family line, my family legacy. I was able to look back to see MY Great-Great-Great Grandparents. And you know what else I saw, no one I knew and no one that knew me. I saw family connections. I saw family stories. I saw a family legacy. I saw love. But I didn’t see where I actually belonged, beyond where the DNA told me I did.

My entire life all I have ever wanted was to feel whole, to know what it was like to know who I was and where I came from, to know who I belonged to. And now I do, but at the same time, I feel lost. Maybe its because this is all still new. Maybe its because I’m almost 35 and I’ve missed out on so much. I wish I knew. My heart, my soul, my mind, my body are all so tired, it all aches. It aches and longs to know where I belong. To for once, not feel out of place.

As I sit here staring at this family tree, trying to find my place, and realizing just how many family trees I am connected to and apart of. I don’t just have a family tree, I have a whole damn family orchard, and I’m getting lost among the trees.

~ Michelle

I took a DNA test and found out that my adoption journey and search isn’t over yet 7 years after I thought I found my birth family.

If you have been following along with this blog you will know that adoption is near and dear to my heart. I am adopted, you can read about that here and I am also a birth mother, you can read about there here. I even have an Adoption Tattoo.

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I knew my entire life that I was adopted. There was no moment that stands out as “the moment” that everything changed and I found out. My family talked very openly about it. When I turned 18 I began the legal search for my birth mom and hoped that she would lead me to my birth father. As my birth father was not aware of the adoption, or me, he was not on any paper work, or at least thats what my paperwork said. It took nearly 10 years to track down my birth mother (Don’t even get me started on the government and the stupid ways they handle adoption and records). That was about 7 years ago. She was able to tell me about my birth father. Finally I would get answers and learn about my roots and where I came from.

Finding out about my birth father was a hard pill to swallow. Finding out that he did in fact know about me my entire life and wanted nothing to do with me was hard. Dealing with that rejection was hard. But at least through him I did find a half sister. We bonded and got to know each other. For the past 7 years I’ve talked to her off and on, watched my nephew grow. I’ve talked to other relatives, aunts and uncles and cousins. Then my birth father died. I had never once talked to him or met him, but still I mourned his death. I was so angry with him for so long. For years I held so much anger towards him.

And then last year my son I gave up for adoption did a DNA test on one of those sites. He was curious to see what his ethnicity was. Because even though he knows who his birth parents are, both of his birth parents are actually adopted as well. So even though I am in my sons life I can not give him certain answers. A few months later my sons mother offered to buy me a DNA test on the same site so that we would be able to determine which side of the family comes from where. So I did. I didn’t think anything of it really. I didn’t expect much out of it. I figured I knew. I was doing it for my son.

So I got my results. I didn’t really check the DNA matches since I figured I knew what would be there. But then I noticed something as the matches started coming in. No one had the same last name that my birth father had. So I searched through the over 6000 matches on the site, no one had his last name. It didn’t even show up in peoples family trees as a distant relative. The truth started to sink in. The man I believed to be my birth father, the man I had been so angry at, the sister I had gotten to know, they weren’t actually related to me at all. She’s not my sister. He’s not my birth father.

A part of me didn’t want to deal with that. A part of me just said “hey maybe no one in that family has ever signed up on this site. Thats possible. They all know each other, so why would they.”

One morning I woke up to a message “Hi, it looks like I’m your cousin” and she proceeded to fill me in on so much family history that that was clear that she was not related to my birth mother and no possible way to be related to who I had believed was my birth father.

I tried to talk to my birth mom about it. She insisted that he was my birth father, until I told you about the DNA test site. And the truth came out.

And now here I am, at the age of almost 35, and after 10 years of searching, 7 years of accepting what I thought were truths, getting to know people, mourning a death, I am back to square one. I have no idea who my birth father is. I never thought this would happen. I never thought I would search for so long for a family just to have them taken away again and start all over.

So apparently my adoption story is not over. Not even close. My journey continues.

And now I deal with trying to find my actually real birth father, and possibly being rejected again and going through that all over again.

Michelle

Two Weeks Is Not Enough Time

Have you ever had so many conflicting emotions? Feeling all the feels all at once? So many different things pulling at you that you don’t know which way is up? Thats been me the last few weeks. I feel so emotionally drained and raw right now. I feel like emotionally hung over. It is so hard to explain. So bare with me as I try.

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An old picture of all 4 kids together. With my daughter actually sitting on the lap of my oldest sons (adoptive) moms lap. This picture means the world to me.

I got to spend 2 weeks with my oldest son. My son I gave up for adoption. I am so blessed to have a relationship with him. To get to know him, see him, talk to him. I am forever thankful that his mom allows him to come visit us. She is truly the most incredible woman ever.

My 3 younger kids absolutely love it when their big brother comes to visit. They look up to him so much. They all get along SO well. It’s amazing to see them together. It makes my heart so incredibly happy to see them all together. But it also hurts so much. It is so cliche to say that its bitter sweet, but basically, yeah it is. I am so happy to see them all together, to have all my kids under one roof, to sit down to family meals. I feel complete. But I also feel like there is a giant hole in my chest. I feel like my chest is being ripped apart with every breathe I take.

Here is my son. Someone I carried within me for 9 months. Someone who I love so fiercely. Someone who looks like me. Sounds like me. Someone who is apart of me. And yet that isn’t my son. I didn’t raise him. I don’t know him the way I know my other kids. I don’t get to hold him like I can my other kids. He doesn’t call me mom, because again, I’m not his mom. I see a scar on him and I have no clue how he got it. Yet when I look at my other kids I can tell you every story behind every scar. I don’t know his likes and dislikes. I don’t know what those subtile faces mean. I’m looking at my son who isn’t my son. It’s hard. So incredibly freakin hard.

I love having him here. I love being around him. I love spending time with him. I’m over joyed every time he comes to visit. There are no words to properly describe the love and joy I feel. But there are also no words to describe how equally heart wrenching it is. How much it breaks me every time I say goodbye to him. How much is breaks me when he’s here and seeing him with his siblings, sitting at our family table and knowing it won’t last, knowings it is only for a few days.

I got to spend two awesome weeks with all my kids together. Two weeks that went by in the blink of an eye. Two weeks I will forever be thankful for.

~ Michelle

Half a Lifetime in Motherhood

 

As I approach my 34th birthday I am reflecting a lot on my life, on what I have accomplished, what I still want to accomplish, my family, my kids, life in general. And that’s when it hit me; I have been a mother for half my life. Half my life.

For those doing the math, let me help you, when I was 16 I was living in Kenya, I was in grade 11, I met a guy, an older guy from another school, he was a senior. So of course it was super cool to be dating an ‘older guy’ from another school. Well one thing lead to another, and I ended up pregnant. Just after my 17th birthday I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy (ok, 1 of the 3 most beautiful boys, because all my boys were of course the most beautiful ever. I’m not bias at all!).
When I was 16 and pregnant I had to start making choices I never dreamed I would have to do at that age. As my belly grew, my responsibilities grew as well. I made the choice to give my son up for adoption. You can read about that here.

Since that day in a friends basement bathroom when the stick showed two lines, my life and my choices have always had to factor in someone else. Now I have to factor in 4 kids and a husband.

For half my life I have been a mother. For half my life my heart has been walking outside my body. For half my life my decisions have been about other people. For half my life someone else, and a growing number of someone else’s, have been put first ahead of myself.

And do you know what I have learned from all this motherhood-ing (that is totally a word), is that I don’t know a damn thing about motherhood. Just when I think I got a handle on it the kids go ahead and grow up and things change.

I’m still trying to figure out how anyone can really call themselves a “parenting expert”.

I have given birth to 4 incredible humans. Four drastically different humans. Four people that are constantly changing, growing and evolving. Four humans that constantly surprise me, challenge me, push me to be a better person, show me what unconditional love is, push my patience to its breaking point, make me laugh, make me cry (happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, a lot of sleep deprived tears), and make me the proudest mother ever.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I can’t imagine not being a mother.

Half my life has been spent navigating motherhood, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

~ Michelle

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.

adoption

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