We Are All Buddies

Cricket’s adoption was facilitated by two agencies; Good Agency (used by Ruth and Nora) and Bad Agency (theoretically representing yours truly). Now that I’m living an area served by Good Agency, I am officially on their list of birthmom volunteers, and I’ve just gotten my first assignment; my contact information has been given to a woman who placed in October, and I am to be her birthmom buddy.

I feel a little conflicted about this. I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do other than listen to her and care about her pain—I can do that, of course, no problem. But am I supposed to give her advice or context? If I give her context, am I supposed to be advocating for her or the agency? If she tells me that she regrets the placement, do I say that that can be part of a process that doesn’t end in regret, or that I’m sorry, or both, or something else? I know that I don’t want to lie, or make her feel bad about her decisions, or tell her what she will or should feel. But she has a counselor at the agency for purposes of listening; it seems like the advantage of a birthmom buddy with no training at all is that she can talk to you from a background of similar trauma. But maybe I’m not supposed to refer to it as trauma.

I had a birthmom buddy (from Bad Agency), and I last talked to her in May; I was doing okay until she told me that adoption was the right choice for me because I was unfit to be a mother. I was pretty upset and offended, as I didn’t (and don’t) think I had given her any reason to think that other than, you know, choosing adoption. I think she was probably working through some issues of her own—she certainly seemed angry at me for staying in a relationship with Cricket’s father. But conversations with her ended up with me trying to support her, which was at the time really more than I had the emotional energy for, especially when I was sort of mad at her for the things she said to me. My mother had a birth grandmother buddy (also provided by Bad Agency), and her buddy told my mom to hope that I wouldn’t place in their one conversation. We don’t really have a model for success, is what I’m saying.

One of the biggest steps toward processing the adoption, for me, was finding a community of birthmoms here in Stumptown—the ladies I ended up in group therapy with, as a matter of fact. And hearing other birthmothers/first mothers in the blogosphere has been a great blessing for me, as well. So I do know that there’s value in these connections; I just am not clear on what my role is. Of course, it’s been about a week and she hasn’t called, so maybe I am brooding in vain.

We’re going up to the Emerald City tomorrow. More on that in a couple of days, I assume.