When I started the process to adopt from Guatemala, I knew that there was a strong possibility that I would meet the birthmother. The majority of Guatemalan adoptions are relinquishment cases where the birthmother gets to know the in-country facilitator or attorney. I was excited about the prospect as I thought it would be good for my child to know something about her birthmother.
Unlike some other countries, Guatemala has no minimum-stay requirement. All of the processing has been completed prior to the arrival of the adoptive parent and the adoption is legally complete. All you need is a day in Guatemala City to go to the U.S. Embassy and apply for a visa for your adopted child. The visa is issued that same afternoon and you are free to return home as soon as you can catch a flight. With such tight timing, there’s not much room for a … Continue reading
An experience I had this evening left me thinking about how far I’ve come from the scared (okay, terrified) almost-40-year-old woman who started tentatively on the road to single motherhood 4 years ago and I wanted to share it, since many of you may have had similar experiences.
When I decided to move forward with this crazy plan, the thing that scared me most was what on earth I would tell people about my “status” as a single, pregnant woman. I see similar posts on the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) organization’s “Thinking” section of the online Forum and my heart always goes out to those women. I want to reach out to them and reassure them that in the larger scheme of things it really won’t matter after a few days or weeks or months. At least, it didn’t for me. I embraced my pregnancy with such joy that … Continue reading
…..how I am destroying American civilization as we know it.
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am not a girl known for being in vogue. I’m not the kind of woman who, when you pass me on the street, elicits words like ‘hip’ or ‘stylin.’ I’m not big on trends. I generally have no desire to be the first person to have the latest gizmo or gadget, preferring to wait til they work out all the kinks…and the price goes down. I often will not do something I was considering if it becomes trendy in the interim, like getting a tattoo. I rather consider myself the anti-trend.
I also consider myself an ‘armchair feminist.’ I believe in women’s rights. In equal pay for equal work. That women are still treated unfairly and in some cases detrimentally in many sectors of our society, and certainly around the world. … Continue reading
Lately, the subject of single mothers by choice has been all over the media because of a movie that recently came out, starring Jennifer Lopez, in which her character becomes pregnant with the help of an anonymous sperm donor, only to fall in love with Mr. Right immediately afterward. I haven’t seen the movie, and, as a “real” single mother by choice, I’ll never have the time to see it, but I have viewed some of the recent TV news stories and discussions about it. And while it’s nice to have a celebrity like J-Lo showing single women that they do have options, I can’t say this movie is anything like my life—nor is “back-up plan” an appropriate term for the process by which I came to have Jayda.
I never pictured myself as a single mom; but then again, I didn’t always picture myself as a mom, period. Unlike … Continue reading
It’s been a tough week. Two huge projects at work have left me stressed out and exhausted. And it’s my son’s first week back to school as a newly minted first grader. He seems to be doing ok, but it’s a major adjustment nonetheless, for both of us.
Our rituals soothe us, particularly at night after a long day. And for even more comfort, we’ve retreated into the past. This week’s bedtime selections have been our old standbys, the board books I started reading to my son when he was an infant, the ones I still know by heart. A Color of His Own, The Runaway Bunny, Are You My Mother?, and tonight, Goodnight Moon. Although my son can read these books to me now, we both still enjoy it when I read aloud to him, it’s part of the ritual.
We snuggle in together in his bed, me carefully … Continue reading
Since I was a very young child I’ve dreamed of holding you in my arms…. looking into your face and seeing some of myself in you…watching you grow and develop some of my characteristics (good ones, hopefully). It seems now that that will not be the case, and I am extremely sad about that.
I’ve tried so hard to create you, but my body will not cooperate. Each of the nine times that I’ve tried, I could sense your presence with me…your little soul ready to come into being. I’ll never understand why it could not happen for me. Each time I was devastated and cried because I felt I had really lost you…even if you were only in my dreams.
Now it seems that I will say goodbye, but only to part of my dream. I need to mourn the loss of a biological connection to you. But, in … Continue reading
This summer, my 9-year-old son lets himself into our apartment after getting off the camp bus. He goes upstairs and plops his stuff down and calls me at work. I get home within an hour, so he’s not home alone for very long. He says he’s fine. He says he can handle it. His friends ask their parents why they aren’t being left home alone. He’s only cried twice.
Don’t ask how many times I’ve cried. How many times I’ve questioned the wisdom of this decision (which, honestly, has been based on monetary concerns but also factored in that he’s a very responsible boy who has handled being home longer than this—it’s the letting himself in part that makes me somewhat concerned). My son is self-reliant for his age. And he handles this responsibility with bravado. He has his own cell phone now—so he can call me when he gets … Continue reading
I’ve always wanted to have children, always wanted to mother. I’ve been an au pair to other families, spent time with all of the kids of friends and family. I hoped and assumed, of course, that I would have a family of my own when the time came.
I suppose that’s the tricky part – that time thing. Like many, I’ve been in a series of long relationships that have not withstood the tests of time. A long medical training that I started when I was twenty-eight ended ten years later. And there I was, at thirty-eight, for the first time seriously thinking of having a child on my own.
So many questions came to mind – how could I do it? How could I make it work in time and money and love? And most importantly, would it be, could it be fair to bring in child into the … Continue reading
On the first weekend of December 2002, I was finally able to announce on the Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) online Forum, “Cristina is home!” My son, then almost 9 years old (conceived via donor sperm), and I had just returned from the airport in Washington, D.C. With us was my almost two-year-old daughter adopted from Romania.
I was exhausted from the four-hour car ride and from the emotion of the day. But then I saw her—my beautiful little daughter was being wheeled toward me in a stroller by my agency director. He placed her in my arms and left. I expected bliss—I was wrong. She started screaming at the top of her lungs, “Nu! Nu!” (“No! No!”) and slapping me on the face. We walked through the airport with her screaming and hitting me and me telling her everything would be alright. Later my agency representative would tell me … Continue reading
Just when I think I am a absolute freak of nature, defying all sorts of social standards and practices (usually by going under, and not over, the bar) something transpires that speaks to me, saying “Tara, you are *not* so bizarre or unique after all.” So, there. I cannot promise I’ll share anything like that with you today, but I’m just saying…
Being a member of Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) has been one of the most valuable and meaningful aspects of my life. Although I am awkward to connect and put out disjointed, sporadic posts on the private online Forum, the generous, informative women on there help to alleviate my seemingly irrational feelings or quell the ridiculous tsunamis of fear in which I try to keep above the water. Some of the concerns I see on the Forum are internally referred to as “Standard Issue Issues”- pretty much … Continue reading