This year I was fortunate to be paired with someone I already know and like: Momo, of Momosapien! Momo and I have had coffee together, and it was a pleasure to be able to ask her some nosy questions. 😉
1. How were you matched with your daughter? What was your adoption process like?
We were matched with our daughter through a local open adoption agency. We were given a heads up about her mom’s situation two days before QL was born and asked if we would want to be considered to parent this child. We said yes – this was the 6th potential match we had been screened for, the most recent of which was two days before we were told about QL’s mom. To break down that timeline: 5 years ago, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we got a call about a baby girl who had been born and were asked if we would consider parenting in that situation. We said yes, but that birth family chose a different adoptive family. We found that out Monday. On Wednesday of the same week we got a call telling us about QL’s mom and that her baby was due in a week – the Monday after Thanksgiving. We said yes to being considered in that situation. The day after Thanksgiving we got a call that a baby girl had been born to this mom and that the mom wanted to meet us. We drove 5 hours away to meet QL’s mom and baby QL, just 1 day old. By the end of that evening we were planning an adoption agreement with QL’s mom and the next day she was placed in our care. The three of us (Mama Meow, QL and I) stayed one more night in the hospital due to a raging snow storm.
All in all we waited 13 months to adopt. The process was very different for each of us. The wait was hard on both of us. The placement itself was surreal, especially with the backdrop of the snowstorm.
2. How long have you been vegetarian? What inspired you to start?
I never actually identified as vegetarian. Mama Meow did, and I ate vegetarian in her company for a long time while she was vegetarian. I have a partially written short story called Part-time Vegan about my experiences being partnered with someone who was making drastic changes to her diet when I, essentially, was not. Maybe I’ll finish writing it someday. We did raise QL vegetarian for the first 2 or 3 years of her life.
3. Do you ever think about adopting again? What factors affect that decision?
We do think about adopting again. The only way I would consider adopting again is through the foster care system. We can’t afford to adopt through a private agency again, and I am pretty certain I wouldn’t want to go that route again even if we could. Other factors include the strain that parenting has put on our relationship in the last 5 years, and the financial aspect of caring for and raising another child, beyond the initial cost of adoption. We both agree that in most ways QL would love to have a sibling. I am not certain that will ever happen in our family though. Mama Meow really wants to raise another child. I have my moments of sharing that desire, and many more moments of feeling like our lives are already so full with just QL.
4. What is your relationship with QL’s first mother like at this point? You mention a recent visit: How often do you see one another?
Our relationship with QL’s birth mom is the strangest relationship I’ve ever been in. We share an intense connection and bond due to all loving QL to pieces. Communication between us often feels stilted, awkward and frustrating. My overall sense is that she is not interested in answering questions about herself or her life. She also does not ask us questions about our lives, us as people, our relationship, or about QL. This makes communicating very difficult, which is saying something coming from a therapist whose job is to communicate with people. We currently visit about once per year. Part of me wishes it were more often so that the bond between QL and her mom could grow. But much of me also feels so exhausted and overwhelmed from the visits we’ve had that I am not eager for them to happen more often. I wish we lived closer so visits weren’t such a big event. Dinner out together regularly, meeting at a park or having her over for dinner often would feel much more doable than having to drive 3.5 hours away, stay in a hotel and eat out for an entire weekend to be able to spend time with her. I know that I love and respect her. I know that I care about her and I really want QL to be able to know her. I know that I wish we knew more about her and her life, her feelings about the adoption, etc. She has told us many times how she knows we are taking excellent care of her daughter and she knows she chose the right parents for her daughter. This holds a lot of meaning to me.
5. What’s QL’s understanding of adoption and her family these days?
It is hard for me to gauge where QL’s understanding of her adoption sits. The things I hear her repeat back to us about her story include that she grew in her mom’s body, and then her mom chose us as her parents. She knows that process is called adoption. She knows other friends who are also adopted, and that other people also have birth moms. She knows that Mama Meow and I are her parents. She knows she has a dad, but that we don’t know much about him. Lately she is vocal about this making her sad.
6. You mention that you have a tattoo for your daughter; I have a tattoo for my placed son. Without getting any more specific than you wish to, how did you decide how and where to represent her? How old was she when you got the tattoo?
Her tattoo has been a multi-step process. Originally I drew a tattoo that was the letter Q with a star in the middle and had it inked on the right side of my chest. (One of my other tattoos is the big dipper – I like stars). I loved having a tattoo with her initial in it, but never liked the way it turned out. What the artist said looked like motion in the tattoo I thought just looked sloppy and crooked. Also, as time went on and we were more committed to using both of QL’s names most of the time, I felt uncomfortable having my tattoo just say Q. So I had it redone and straightened out, added colors and added the L for her middle name, the name her mom gave her when she was born. It needs to be touched up, but I love it. QL loves it too. Last year for her birthday I had a necklace custom made for her with the same design as my tattoo. It wasn’t the hit I hoped it would be. She liked it, but doesn’t ask to wear it. Maybe when she is older. She does talk often about getting tattoos that match mine and Mama Meow’s.
7. Tell us something new that your QL has been doing lately!
She is learning to write letters. She has been able to spell her name for a while now, but the actual writing of it can vary quite a bit. At her school there is a whiteboard where they students all sign in before entering the classroom. Sometimes she writes her name backwards – starting on the right side of the board and putting the letters in reverse order right to left. Other times she makes 2 balanced stacks of letters, 3 in each row, also usually backwards. She does also write it correctly, left to right, on occasion. Next up is reading I hope.
8. Your old blog nickname for your daughter was Little Bear, so I have to ask: Does she have some/all of the Little Bear books?
No, surprisingly she doesn’t have any of these books. I started calling her Little Bear when she was a baby, and up until recently it has been my favorite nickname for her. However, now that she is almost 5 and is really tall, she protests every time I call her Little Bear because she says she is NOT little. So I have to replace Little Bear as the name I call her most often, and I figured I would replace it on the blog. So far I’ve been lazy about going back and editing out all the times I call her QL on the blog. That might happen someday. Maybe I’ll edit what LB stands for…Long Bear? Lovey Bear?
9. My raised son, Joey, is about to turn one—any tips or memories to share from when QL was that age?
We were doing a lot of sign language with QL at that time, and she was signing back to us more which was a lot of fun. She also didn’t start walking until after her first birthday, so that changed everything. I can’t believe he is turning one already! That feels so fast, and yet I know it isn’t. Happy early birthday to Joey!!
If you wish to read some of the other interviews in the project, click this link!