Thursday, April 2, 2009

I hope I didn't just do something stupid

I ordered a gift for Sam's birthmom. It's personalized, which makes it non-returnable- obviously- and I'm already questioning my choice. It's a necklace with a sterling silver heart that looks like this except that it won't have that baby's face on it. I don't know that kid. That is a sample baby. It will have Sam's face (from his referral photo) laser engraved on one side and a message from us engraved on the other. The message says that she "will always remain in our hearts and be a part of our family- With love and gratitude from Michelle and Darrell."

Golly, Michelle, would you like a little wine with your huge wheel of cheese? "With love and gratitude"... Gyaaawwwsh... Is that not the dopiest, cheesiest thing to say?

Gratitude? Like, "Oh, yeah, thanks for that baby there, sweetheart. Real nice of you." The word gratitude doesn't quite cut it, does it? I mean, how do you convey to someone- in a one inch space and 130 characters- the range of emotions you feel; how your heart is breaking for her over the pain this has to be causing her, how you've cried over knowing that the source of your blessing and joy is also the source of her sorrow, but gee- you're oh so happy to be getting her baby? How do you tell her that since you already love her baby as your own, you also love her- because, after all, how could you not? She's a part of him- and gosh, you sure hope she'll feel the same way about you? How do you say to someone, "I'm desperate to earn your approval," without sounding... well... desperate?

How do you make her understand that it's going to rip your heart out to take that baby from her arms, but you can hardly wait to do it?

One inch of space and 130 characters is not enough.

Cripes. I'm freaking out here, aren't I? I'm over-thinking it... just a tiny bit? Feelin' a little crazy- and not in the fun way. Oh well, I'm already knee-deep in the insanity- might as well keep going...

Was it a mistake to be so personal? Maybe something more "generic" would have been better. Maybe she doesn't want to be "a part of our family, blah.blah.blah..." Maybe she will resent us. Was it a mistake to put the baby's face on it? Will that just be a constant reminder of what's missing in her life? I was trying to do something that would have a special meaning for her, but was I being insensitive instead? She's giving me a baby and I'm giving her... What? A sterling silver piece of crap? What kind of pathetic trade is that?

So... Tell me, dear friends and strangers- am I an idiot? Did I pick a cruddy gift? Or am I just suffering a little buyer's remorse (albeit accompanied by an itty bitty nervous breakdown) over the necklace because I can't change my mind and return or exchange it?

You would tell me, wouldn't you, if I'm a huge moron?

Actually, I'd rather you didn't.

14 comments:

Chandra said...

Wow. I'm sorry but I have no idea what the "right" or appropriate thing to do here is. I think I would be as confused as you as to what the best thing to do is. While the necklace does of course feel like a tiny thing compared to what she is giving you, I "think" maybe it's good that it's a personal gift and not something generic. It shows you care about her.

Elaine said...

I don't think there is a clear right or wrong in this situation, because every person is different, and it is impossible to know how the birth mother will feel. While I understand your concern over the word gratitude, I also would *think* it would be comforting to a birth mother to know that the people who will be parenting her child are grateful for the opportunity to do so. I think it is a lovely gift. But between cultural differences and the emotions involved with placing a child for adoption, who knows what Sam's birth mother will think? She may also think it is a lovely gift, or she may not. You can't beat yourself up over that, though, because no matter what you picked as a gift for her she could love it or hate it. I think I mentioned though, I love it. Where did you order it?

metaphase said...

I think it's all about the motivation behind the gift. Obviously, your heart is in the right place, and I think that will be conveyed to her. Though I don't know if it's a necklace she would actually wear around all the time, I think it's soemthing she could pull out of her jewelry box and think about Sam whenever she wanted.

mrsbroccoliguy said...

I think it's a very thoughtful gift. I would since I got something very similar for Zeeb's foster mom - only no writing on the back. I think she will appreciate that you cared enough and acknowledged that she is making a very big sacrifice. And if she would prefer not to think about him all the time (or to let the world see him) she can keep it in a special place and pull it out when she wants to.

Nicki said...

I think it's lovely and I think your road ahead of questioning the best way to handle these types of situations is only just beginning! LOL I have to say I really wish I had an opportunity to be confused and not know the right thing to do! The very fact that you care enough to feel these things is a gift to your baby, for sure.

Island mama said...

Not to burst your bubble or anything, but I did something similar for our birthmom and later learned she just passed off the gift I agonized over for weeks to someone else. Hurt my feelings a bit until I realized materialistic things have no real meaning. It's the intent behind the gift that will mean the most to her.

Heidi said...

I think it's great that you're thinking of her. I always assumed there were "rules" about giving gifts to birthmoms. I certainly never got one. But the best gift you can give her is to love her/your child and give him the best life possible--and to raise him respecting her as much as you can.

Rebecca said...

Being so close to my girls birth family I found out that they hung on every little word I said. I wish that I knew back then how much they looked forward to hearing from us. I think that I would have tried to tell them more.

I know that she will love the heart. She may not be able to express it right away but she will love it just the same!

Plow Boy said...

chelle you are totally over analyzing this thing! go with your initial gut feeling and trust that God is directing your words and your steps. He is the one who knows the heart of Sams mom and what it is that is going to make this transition for her bearable.

Plow Boy said...

that post is from me not Charlie, Chelle, I forgot I was on his puter!! Lanie~

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle -

Take the necklace along. But also buy a smaller general gift to have along as well, to give her early on. Then, once you spend time together take your cues from her to see if you feel she's comfortable with a personal gift like that. I would bet by that time she would be. For the other gift you shouldn't spend much - anything is more than they currently have.

See you on the island! We leave this Wednesday.

Kate
(sorry this is showing as anon, my login didn't work).

Michelle said...

THANK YOU, Kate! I think that is a wonderful idea!

Stacy said...

Congratulations on the referral - can't wait to be able to see pictures! Very glad you finally have made this progress, and wow on how fast the rest will go! I very much understand your feelings about the necklace - I've grappled with much of the same any time I sent an update to my baby's Birthmother and picking out a Christmas gift was agonizing. I think Kate's suggestion is absolutely perfect.

Heather said...

Congratulations on your referral!! I think your gift is amazing and wish I would of found the engraved picture locket when I was looking. I gave both my babies birth mothers silver lockets with actual pictures in them. This was actually one of the things suggested by my agency. I understand exactly what you are saying and there is no way we could possibly convey all the feelings and emotions that go along with their loss and our gain. The hardest day of my life emotionally was our G&R in Vietnam. It was such a day of loss for the birth family that filled me with the greatest sorrow but such a day of gain for us that at the same time filled me with the greatest joy I ever felt. Hard to convey to anyone.

Heather- Ap to Meliah and Khai 24 months old from Lang son,Vietnam

P.S. Please help me build a house for a needy family in Vietnam. Every $10.00 donation gives you a chance to WIN a double/single stroller ($250 Value). The real gift is the difference you will make in the life of a family in need. Please come take a look and view the videos of their current living conditions:

http://wwwjourneytoourdestiny.blogspot.com/2009/03/double-stroller-giveaway.html