Friday, June 23, 2006
Sending a scheduled update to Giselle.
Before you get too far into this post, please remember to glance at the post below and, if possible, contribute a recipe for my Five Ingredients Friday exchange! Thanks!

Last night I began putting together the update packet for Giselle, the one we agreed to do every 6 months. This time it includes a large assortment of wallet sized, 4x6, and 5x7 prints spanning 6 months in time. It also includes two of Snuggle Bug's handprints. I made extras to send to Giselle when I did prints for Oronzo's Father's Day card and t-shirt. Giselle got a set of hand and feet prints from the hospital the day Snuggle Bug was born and I thought she might enjoy a set of the handprints to compare and see how much he's grown!

Besides the photos and the handprints, I've just tucked a 6-page letter into the packet. It seems that each time I do these updates, the letters get longer. I hope that doesn't overwhelm Giselle. I have to trust that she'll tell me if that's the case.

I spent about 1 page per month in this letter, describing each of Snuggle Bug's monthly milestones, noteworthy activities, and an explanation of what was going on in each picture that I'm enclosing for that month.

I try to put myself in her shoes and write about what might interest her, no matter how trivial it may seem to others. That's the beauty to me of these updates, I can write ad nauseum about minute details of Snuggle Bug's life and I know I have a captive audience. I know that Giselle enjoys hearing about all of these details as much as I enjoy sharing them. Who else would truly feel the same way? Even grandparents usually don't care about that much detail.

I think the updates are getting longer not because there's necessarily more to tell, well maybe a bit of that because he's more active now, but more so because I'm feeling more comfortable in sending these. I'm learning that, although these update packets may be bittersweet to her, what I send to Giselle is treasured and much appreciated. I have the email responses from her to assure me of this fact.

I wonder sometimes, what goes through her mind as she plucks my packets out of the mailbox. Does she stare at it, hesitating for a bit to open it, taking a deep breath before doing so? Or, does she snatch it up, quickly tearing it open, and lingering over each picture looking for similarities and absorbing each written word with an eagerness to know more.

Does she horde the pictures and the letter to herself for a while, giving herself time to savor it uninterrupted? Or, does she call her mom, grandmother, or younger sister, to let them know she's received another update? Does she read the letters aloud to anyone else? Does Quinn ever glance at them, even in private?

I don't ponder these things with a feeling of control or power, I would never want Giselle to feel like I'm holding the power of pictures and words over her head because that is never my intention, but rather from an intense curiosity. What does Giselle really feel when she receives these updates? Will I ever truly know?

No matter what, I will continue to send these updates unless she asks me to stop. And even then I will make copies of the pictures, write the letters, and store the packet away in case she changes her mind. I really don't ever foresee her asking me not to send them any more.

I once asked Oronzo, "If I were to die unexpectedly, you would continue sending the updates to Giselle, wouldn't you?"

"Yes," he responded. "But it wouldn't be long, drawn out updates like you send. Writing long letters is not my thing."

I'm comforted by the knowledge that Giselle would continue to receive updates, no matter what the length, even if I'm not the one sending them. This is so very important to me, for her sake and for Snuggle Bug's.
12:51 PM
17 comments


17 Comments:
At 3:06 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I can only try and imagine how I would feel if I were in Giselle's place and this is what I believe would happen every time I received one of your packages.

I would feel validation 100x over that I chose you and Oronzo to be Snuggle Bugs parents; I would know in my heart that I had made the right decision.

I would know this because your update packages show the love you have for your son, the care you take to include all those details over a 6 months time period. To make sure I was getting the big milestones along with the "mundane every day life" information. Your love, caring, kindness, sensitivity all come through with what you write on your blog that I'm certain if I was Giselle I would be getting those feelings through your updates as well.

 
At 5:59 PM, Blogger MugwumpMom said...

I totally agree with Michelle. It's wonderful that you are doing this for her.
Enjoy your weekend.

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger wolfbaby said...

I think mechelle said it all... what you do shows just how grateful you are to have him in your life and how much you treasure him... like only a mom can... i bet it makes her feel secure in the knowledge that she couldn't have chosen a better mom

 
At 1:21 AM, Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

That is so wonderful that you are putting so much love and care into those packages. It must give her such comfort to not only have the items, but to know that her child has such a loving sensitive mom. It must reassure her so much.

What a blessing it must be to her. Well done!!

 
At 6:01 AM, Blogger Catch said...

I bet Giselle savors the updates and keeps them in a special place to enjoy over and over again. If I had to give a baby up....I would want you and Oronzo to have it...I feel you are the very best Mother and Father. Anyone who reads your blog can feel the love in it for your son. Im sure Giselle rest much better knowing Snugglebugs parents are raising him with all the love and care he deserves. It doent get much better than that!

 
At 6:08 AM, Blogger PEA said...

Your blog friends said it all...you are a wonderful mother and it shows how much you love Snuggle Bug. Gisele can only be happy to know she made the right decision and I'm sure she appreciates all the updates.

 
At 8:56 AM, Anonymous chelle said...

WOW! It amazes me the effort you make for Giselle. It is sweet and loving and totally shows how much you love and appreciate snuggle bug.

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

It's so amazing that you do these updates! You are sucha strong woman. I can tell how much you really care about her.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger Tara Marie said...

What an amazing gift....the gift of snuggle bug that Giselle bequested to you...and the gift of sharing the precious life of snuggle bug back to her.

As a mother I have always wondered what a mother who has given her child to another mother thinks about, wonders about.....and by these updates, I do believe that this mother has her heart filled with such love and joy, knowing how precious the gift of her child is, and how loved he is.

What a blessing these packages are.

 
At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Sheri said...

As I sit here thinking what would I think, if I could have updates, any updates of my children, much less detail updates like the ones you create for Giselle, I have to think that I would treasure each tiny word. Each picture, each little hand print.

My situation of course, was different from Giselle's. As I felt then that I had no choice at all. I did not "give" up my children. They were snatched away from me. But had I been in a situation as Giselle... I guess I would concider myself lucky to have you be my child's mother.

I am so happy for you. That you understand what role you have taken. Not only as Snuggle bugs mother, but as a tiny glimor of hope for Giselle, so she may live with the choice she made and know that while Snuggle bug is in a family of much love, he will always be still apart of her heart. You are a wonderfully compationate person. That compation makes you a wonderful mother and friend.

 
At 2:57 AM, Blogger kim.kim said...

Why don't you ask her? Instead of wondering what the other mother thinks why not open up a dialogue with her?

Ask her how she feels about the things you send, is six months too long, not long enough? Is there anything else she's like to know? How is she coping with her side of things?

Tara Marie that really irks me what you say. Firstly Giselle didn't donate her child as a gift, obviously circumstances in her life made her feel she had no choice. Thankfully she hasn't had the door slammed in her face like with so many other adoptions but to assume that she feels overjoyed and at peace doesn't seem very realistic.

And Catch: "it doesn't get much better than that??"

Again it is good that you send information like you agreed but why does everyone act like you are a saint? I'm sure you don't see it like that.

It bothers me that people think that a mother getting photos and a letter once or twice a year makes the seperation not painful and means that she doesn't suffer any grief or loss. That's what really irks me.

When people think like that it means they don't see the situation for what it is.

Giving a baby up for adoption is not giving a gift, it's not a present, it's an act of desperation when you have no family support and haven't the self esteem to parent, it's not a gift.

And I do think it's great that you send information, my adoption experience was that the parents just broke the agreement to send information so I do think you are decent to do that.

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger Cle and Sylvie said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I enjoy sharing details of Gavin's life and developement with his birthmother. I try to think about what I would want to know if I were her. I feel it is the least I can do.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Kim.Kim- I’d like to respond to your comment where it can be viewed by others (rather than my standard email response) because I think you bring up some very valid points.

You suggest that I ask Giselle how she’s feeling, open up a dialogue with her. I have asked in the past, and we have a dialogue of sorts but I’m just not certain how real it is. When I’ve asked how she’s coping, she’s told me that she’s had some rough times, but overall she’s doing fine with the adoption, that she doesn’t regret her decision. She tells me that she enjoys the pictures and updates and she seems comfortable with the updates every 6 months but that’s all she’ll tell me. I agree, it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing to ask a few more questions when I hear back from her after this most recent update. I’m just afraid of being invasive, but maybe she’s afraid of the same thing.

I agree, Giselle didn’t donate her child as a gift to us. Her decision to place had nothing to do with gift giving to prospective adoptive parents. She was thinking only of what she felt was best for her child. I seriously doubt she feels overjoyed and although she tells me she’s at peace with her decision, I’m not even sure about that, but I just don't know. That's the crux of the matter...is she telling me what she truly feels or is she holding back for fear she'll alienate me with her honesty?

I am uncomfortable with being viewed as a saint for sending updates. I’m not a saint. I’m living up to the moral obligation of keeping Snuggle Bug’s first mother informed of his well-being. She deserves that. I wouldn’t have it any other way. These updates do not make me a saint. They make me a very thankful mother.

I’m not a person that believes that a letter once or twice a year makes the separation not painful and means that she doesn't suffer any grief or loss. I know darned well this is not the case. I know that placing her child for adoption was an agonizing decision for Giselle, I know how much she loves him, and despite the fact that she doesn’t discuss her pain with me (other than in the most generic sense) I know that she’s suffered a lot of pain and that this sense of loss will never leave her. I do hope that the updates that I send her at least assure her that her child is thriving, is well loved, and is treasured beyond belief. I hope that these updates at least provide her with some small comfort in that respect.

I’m sorry that your adoption experience was that the parents just broke the agreement to send information. Knowing how devastating that would be to Giselle, I would never do this! My husband will not do this, if he’s the one sending the updates. I’m going so far as to ensure that my brother and SIL, who would get custody of Snuggle Bug if both Oronzo and I were to die, would continue to send updates to Giselle. I’ve had in-depth discussions with my brother and he knows how important this is to me and has promised to honor my commitment.

I thank you for your comments. It does me good to hear the perspectives of first mothers, so thank you for sharing!

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger kim.kim said...

Thanks for your comment. I knew you agreed with what I said, I never got the impression that you thought otherwise. After all I went to the supermarket and didn't shoplift, does that make me a saint? I just did the right thing.

It was more the other comments that irritated me, well meaning of course but ignorant.

I'm sorry the parents treated me the way they did and still do but what can you do?

Just keep being the decent person that you are, I do so find comfort in the way you are as an adoptive mother, and as a woman.

 
At 10:19 PM, Anonymous away2me said...

When I speak to Jake's birthmom I have a sense about what she is feeling. It would be hard for me to send a packet and not know how it made her feel. Last time I sent photos of Jake she called me and told me how cute she thought he was and she was surprised at how little he looked like her or the birthdad. It gives me comfort to know that she never has to worry or wonder about her child. I'm sure you feel that same comfort.

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger cmhl said...

It is hard to imagine what Giselle's reaction would be-- but I would think that she appreciates your keeping up with the updates. even if she never opens them, or waits, I'm sure it is something that is very real and very personal to her.

is it hard for YOU to send the updates? I'm just being nosy..

ps-- the handprints are adorable.. I have done that with mine, and I know what a mess that usually turns out to be!

 
At 8:53 PM, Blogger momseekingpeace said...

I am wondering if it would be possible to send links of support sights to these mothers who have lost babies to adoption so that they can see that they are not alone and that many of thier feelings are shared by others.

Maybe they could start looking into issues they may be having long before they bury deep into who they are.
I think a true testament to love and giving would be to link them to people who may possibly help them outwardly aknowledge that choosing adoption was a painful choice. Just like supporting a boyfriend or a loved one to a higher road that may or may not include you but would be the best for them in thier life, that is true love. Not bieng afraid of what may come of it.

I had the same feelings and reactions as KIM KIM did.
MSP

 

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It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

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