First off, before I dive into the conundrum of thoughts I have about how exactly to honor my daughter on her actual birthday, I want to share this list with you. It's a list of "What Not to Say to a Birth Mother" and while it's short, it's to the point. Please read it (especially if you're one of my friends who reads this and hasn't placed), I would greatly appreciate it. It's directed to absolutely no one in particular, but I'm sharing it just the same.
Side note: I am still uncomfortable with the term 'birth mother,' I just don't know what else to say. 'First' mother makes me feel like I'm referring to myself as someone who comes first while her adoptive mom comes second (which is so far from the truth it's not even funny - it's been the reverse since the day I signed the papers). Simply calling myself a mom also isn't true, because in my heart I feel that a 'mom' is someone who is taking care of and providing for her child - which I am not doing. I suppose I could simply call myself a mother, but that's not entirely true in every sense, either. So I'm left no other option, I suppose, other than to just give in and think of myself as a 'birth mother.' I just feel as though I did so much more for my daughter and that I had a much more significant role in her life than just the task I was given of giving birth to her. I feel like I'm stuck in the middle, as are all of you other women who have placed. We were more than just a warm belly for our children to grow in and their passageway into the world, we were their nurturers for 10 months, no matter how long we knew we were pregnant with them for. I was her sole provider and responsible for her life in every way, shape and form, during the most formative months of her life. I made her. I loved her more than life itself, and still do. So no, I'm not just a birth mom. I'm not her mommy, either. She won't come running to me the first time she scrapes her knee, she won't bring me home pictures she draws in kindergarten, she won't take G to father/daughter dances. But this is the way it was meant to be. I think words and labels make it harder. I know who I am to her, I can feel it in my heart, but there are no words to express it, because I didn't just birth her, but I'm not taking care of her.
I will never refer to my daughter as my birth daughter, though. I don't mean any offense to anyone who has chosen adoption and chooses to refer to their child as their birth child, but personally, I will never do it. I have so much respect for the people around me, because while I've never personally told them not to call her my birth daughter, no one ever has. I cherish each and every single one of my friends, because they call her by her name, they ask how she is, yet still respect that I might not always want to talk about her, and there are things I may have to omit out of respect for her family. While I consider her my daughter, I also consider the information I am blessed to learn about her on a monthly basis to be information that is not mine to fully disclose. I don't know who reads this, I don't know if only one of you does or if all of you do, but thank you all for the respect you've had towards me and the situation. I love you all.
I've decided against doing a butterfly release. It may be too cold in November, and I feel bad for the butterflies (this is the animal lover in me coming out). I don't like the idea of them being 'raised' in little boxes, only to be shipped out and then set free into the wild, where they're destined to die. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a beautiful idea...but like I said, the animal activist in me is telling me that I'd feel overwhelmingly guilty. So - balloons it is. Orange, black, pink, and maybe white balloons. And if you're wondering why I'd incorporate orange and black if her birthday's in November, please refer back to my 835 other posts about how I went into labor with her on Halloween and how much I love Halloween, hahaha.
One last thing! I got an A on my paper that I wrote for my psych class this past Wednesday. I went back and forth on the idea of posting it here, and decided not to. But I still may, who knows? The paper was on who or what I'm most committed to in life and how this commitment has shaped and molded my identity. Of course I wrote about my commitment to my daughter and keeping in touch with her family and how this has given my identity a complete make-over. I also incorporated how she, herself, has given me a whole new identity - the identity of a 'mother,' whether I'm providing for her and nurturing her or not.
I wonder if I got an A because of my writing skills and content, or because my teacher was afraid that I'd cry if he gave me a bad grade on such an emotional, sensitive paper... :)