Monday, October 20, 2014

Music Monday: The Promise by When In Rome



"If you need a friend
Don't look to a stranger
You know in the end
I'll always be there

And when you're in doubt
And when you're in danger
Take a look all around
And I'll be there"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote of the Week: Illuminate

"You cannot hate, argue, reason, fight, complain or yell at a dark room enough to illuminate it - only by shining a Light is darkness overcome. Be that Light."










If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Saturday, October 18, 2014

That's the Dumbest Question I've Ever Heard...



I call myself the queen of the stupid question.  I say this because when I'm learning something new, I often have to have it explained to me two or three times.  And I find it easier to look stupid and say, "Could you tell me that piece just one more time?  I'm just drawing a blank today," than struggle on and on and possibly do something wrong.  But then there are other stupid questions, like the ones I and other birthmothers get.  Sometimes people are well-meaning, sometimes they just don't know, and other times, I'm just not sure what they are thinking or why they are being so judgmental.  Here's a couple examples for your perusal.

"Do you have visitation rights?"

This is one that I heard.  The person was actually trying to be nice.  And granted, that's what happens in a divorce or a custody battle.  And I really had to struggle to not be a jerk.  But I did reply with, "This is not a divorce.  I signed away all rights to my child.  I signed the papers and he's no longer mine; he's theirs."  They looked at me like I had snakes growing out of my ears.  I wasn't sure how I was not being clear or how this didn't make sense.   This was an adoption.  Not a "he'll just stay over there until I get my act together and I can get him back" kind of situation.  This was permanent.  And I've had to spend a good amount of time explaining that, especially it seems to people who are mothers themselves.

"When will they tell them who their "real" parents are?"

Okay, first of all, my son's adoptive parents ARE his real parents.  They have been raising him for the past four years and doing an excellent job of it too.  He calls them Momma and Daddy.  That makes them his parents.  My ex and I are his birthparents.  Very simple.  As for when he will be told, that is a discussion that I've had with them and we are working on it.  With other birthmothers I've heard different stories.  Every kid is different.  Every set of parents is different.  And we all deal with things different ways.  And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  When he knows the whole crazy story is going to be a long way down the line.  Along the way he'll be told he's adopted.  That he was in my tummy.  And that all of us love him very very much.  And for him, this will be his normal.

"Are you sure this is what's good for your kid?"

I beg of you, resist the urge to slap the person who asks you this.  I know it is tempting.  Believe me.  But assault charges are a lot less fun and more expensive.  Now, obviously, this person has never had any experience with adoption and more than likely has bought into the "the family must stay together for the good of the child" kind of myths that we all battle with.  I know that I did the right thing for my child.  Others know this too.  I'm not saying that I don't have doubts.  Every other day I have to remind myself of why and all the reasons that this was the best decision.  But in the end, yes, this was the best thing for my child.  And if they can't see it, then ask them as nicely as you can to keep their opinions to themselves.

(Most often when upset over my child) "Shouldn't you be over this by now?  This was your choice after all."

Again, please resist any and all temptations to do anything other than explain very firmly why this is a situation that will continue to be difficult.  Placing a child for adoption is not something anyone heals over quickly.  And along the way there are more wounds and more things that one misses.  Healing over this takes years, as I've illustrated on this very blog.  And even now there are still bad days for me.  My only suggestion there is to either try to explain this, or relocate and find other friends who have historically shown more tact and understanding when it comes to your situation.

Other choice questions that I collected in writing this were:

"Are the parents afraid you're doing to steal him/her away?"

"Can't you get him/her back one day?"

"Did you get paid for him/her?"

To which the obvious answers are, "No.  No.  And what are you talking about??  NO!"

In the end, some people are well-meaning and don't understand.  Some people just have no tact at all.  And some people just want to push other people's buttons.  I certainly learned that when I was waiting tables.  My best suggestion for every dumb question you get, try to explain as best you can.  If they don't get it, ask them to keep their questions and opinions to themselves and move on.  It isn't fun.  It isn't pleasant.  But it's one of the unfortunate things we have to live with.

Do share your worst questions in the comments or give your best (or craziest) answers to the ones that were listed above.  And I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Be Who You Are



I feel like I write about this all the time, but I promise I looked back to make sure. It doesn't look like I've written anything like this for a couple months at least! 

It probably feels that way because God is always teaching me, and I think this is one of the Big Lessons for my year: Be who I am. 

Just like you, I am special and unique and created for a purpose. God knew what he was doing when he made me stubborn and introverted and all the other sometimes-annoying qualities about me. I am who I am and this has been a year of resting in that. Now that's not to say that I'm always growing and trying to be a better version of myself, but there are just some things about me that I cannot change.

Take my age for example. I am aging and trying to come to terms with it. Last week I went to a different dance class than I normally attend and was pleased to see a brand new instructor. She and I had attended class together many times, but now she would be teaching! I figured she would be good and I was right.

In the middle of class, about the time I think the instructor is trying to kill me, it suddenly occurred to me what was happening. I was following her and doing what she said instead of doing my own workout. In any kind of aerobic exercise there is a wide range in which to operate. I push myself as much as I can while also listening to my body. Well I was not doing that. I was doing her workout. And it was too much!

It's sometimes mentally hard for me to realize I just can't jump around as much as I used to. But the more important issue here is that I continue to exercise and take care of my body. It is not reasonable for me to try and keep up with someone who is half my age. Some ladies can do it, but I am not one of them.

In your life, remember that you are who you are. Rest in the fact that God knew what he was doing when he made you a particular way. Don't wear yourself out constantly trying to be someone else or something you're not. It's ok to be you. You are the only one like you.






Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jealousy

Recently I found out that an acquaintance of mine from high school was pregnant and considering adoption. When I found this out I reached out and told her my thoughts and opinions and gave her my support in whatever decision she made. It was even weirder that we had the same due date (only a year later) and she was also having a girl. I felt happy that for once I might actually be able to talk to and know someone else who was a birth mom. A few months later she had changed her mind and decided to parent her baby. I don't know why it had such a profound effect on me. I am a huge advocate for a woman making the right decision for herself whatever that decision may be. This weekend she gave birth to a healthy baby girl a few weeks early. Seeing the pictures just about broke my heart. It was hard to even look at them. I was so jealous that she had her daughter and was going to take her home from the hospital. She was going to do everything I wish I could do but was not able to at the time. I felt crazy for feeling this way because to be honest I was never really close with this girl in the first place, but I felt so devastated by watching this girls story unfold on Facebook. I kept thinking that it wasn't fair. I wanted to hold my baby and take her home from the hospital and raise her but I was in no place to do so at the time, and it hurt to watch this girl almost exactly a year later who was going to parent.

I spent most of my weekend upset and it just didn't make a lot of sense to me and I felt so crazy I didn't want to tell any of my friends or family about how I was feeling. I know I am not the first birth mom out there to experience jealousy but this was the first time I had experienced it in such a strong way. I wanted to be happy for this girl but it felt impossible for me. I felt terrible in so many different ways this weekend. I have had some time to think and I know that these are just more issues that we birth moms have to deal with and something I am going to have to work on in my life too. I know that the decision I made was right for my daughter and I, and I have to respect that she made the right decision for her. I wouldn't trade the life my daughter has for anything.

What have your experiences with jealousy been like? Is it harder to deal with new babies in your own family?



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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BMB Reform Blog: Meet L!

Hello again everyone!  I'm back with another reform blog.  This time I have another interview with another great friend of mine, L.  She has been a first mom for about as long as I have, and she is an
AMAZING woman and support system for me!

Please tell us your name and a brief intro to your story. 

L, first mom to a beautiful 10 year old who didn't think of adoption until she listened to her ex – boyfriend (boyfriend at the time) that he would only do an open adoption.

Are there any aspects of adoption you would like to see changed?  

“Open” adoption that actually is open and not have 50 different terms as there are states

What does adoption reform mean to you and why do you think it's important?

It means actually having some say in my life and not have it be governed by others


Thanks so much L!  


If you or anyone you know would like to be interviewed for this section, or if you have an important reform topic you would like discussed, please feel free to email me!  I look forward to hearing from you!




Monday, October 13, 2014

Music Monday: Not Ready To Make Nice by The Dixie Chicks



"Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting

I'm through with doubt
There's nothing left for me to figure out
I've paid a price
And I'll keep paying

I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
'Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quote of the Week: Vision








"Most people take the limits of their vision to be the limits of the world. A few do not. Join them."










If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Support Groups


Last night I went to the support group that is run by the adoption agency I placed through.  It's a ways from my home and traffic isn't always pleasant.  But I was determined.  It had been a while since I had been to our support group.  Also, there was a time there when the adoption agency wasn't having meetings.  But I am really glad that they have started these up again.

At the support group there were three counselors and four birthmothers.  One of the birthmothers I have known for three years now.  To say she has supported and helped me through my journey is an understatement.  Her daughter is several years older than my child and thus she understood many of the things I went through in the first few months and years.  She is one of the reasons that I keep coming back to this group.  But I also come back to try to repay that debt and help others just as she helped me.

The best thing about a birthmother support group is that there are other birthmothers are there.  It's hard to find other birthmothers who are willing to talk about their experiences and their lives.  We don't exactly go out wearing signs so we can find each other.  If I've found birthmothers outside of the group, it was quite by accident and most likely because I said something about being a birthmother myself.  We're a very closed bunch.  We play this secret very close to the chest and are always mindful of how others react and what they may say to us.  Because of that, it's hard to find people we can talk to about being a birthmother.

The support of friends and family is invaluable and I am not discrediting that.  I have been extremely lucky in my circle of friends and in my family.  But there are times when they just can't understand.  Usually that's about the time I turn to the circle of birthmothers that I know and vent to them.  There are just some things that only other birthmothers will understand.  Why it hurts when you hear a baby cry.  Why Christmas and kids toys make you a little distant.  Why visits are great things, but at the same time are painful things too.  And how it can break your heart to watch your child grow up over the years as you finally come to terms with everything that's happened.

I hope all of you have not only found support amongst your friends and family, but also in the birthmother community itself.  We're all very different.  We come from many different worlds.  But we all have one thing in common.  And we can understand each other within seconds.  If you don't have a support group near where you live, please reach out online.  This site is very good for finding other birthmothers who will understand you.  If you need to reach out to someone who understands, please do.  Every single one of us has been in your shoes, thinking the same thoughts, and crying the very same tears.  We remember and we understand.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Be flexible!



I have heard this expression more times than I care to count. Whenever I'm in a tight spot or a stressful situation, invariably someone will remind me to be flexible. Many times my immediate reaction is to tell them to shut up. But other times it helps.

So what does it mean to be flexible? The dictionary defines it as capable of being bent, usually without breaking; adaptable; pliable. It's easy to think about this description as it relates to a ruler, let's say, or even the latest iPhone. But how exactly does it apply to me?

Well recently we were on a Family Road Trip, which if  you know anything about me, you know I just love. But things weren't going according to plan. (It's funny how even on a 'vacation' or 'time away' we still have expectations, isn't it?) Anyway, at the moment we were sitting on the interstate not moving, the thought popped into my head to 'be flexible'. Ugh! I wanted that voice to keep quiet! But since I had nothing other to do than to be still and think, I asked myself (quietly of course) what does it mean to be flexible in this situation?

It was then that I came up with my own definition. Ready? Here it is. To be flexible means to stop holding on so tightly to what I want or think I want. Ha! How does that feel? Yep, it was a little startling to me too. But as soon as I relaxed my grip on the plan I had in my head, I was able to stop stressing over the fact we weren't moving and start enjoying the beauty of the mountains all around me.

Try it today. Take one thing you are hanging onto tightly and relax your grip just a little. You may be surprised as what happens.




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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Birth Grandparents

Depending on your situation telling your parents that you are pregnant and considering adoption can be one of the hardest steps in the process. My mother actually found out I was pregnant without me telling her. I had already made an appointment with a a doctor and had planned to tell her when I came home from school. When I came back to visit I was so nervous to tell her. I thought that she was going to explode, I was the first child to go to college and here I am 7 months later telling her I am pregnant by a guy I barely know.

When I returned home she pulled me aside and asked me why she had received an appointment reminder from an OBGYN in the mail that was addressed to me. I was in such shock I didnt know what to say. She went on to ask if she was going to be a grandmother. That moment broke my heart because I already knew in my heart that adoption was the right choice for me. At first she was angry and for the next 9 months there was always tension about the baby. I heard the same things that some birth mothers hear from their parents.  She wanted me to keep the baby or let her raise the baby. Wanting to make your parents proud and listen to their advice is a normal part of being human and it is extremely difficult when your parents are against one of the hardest decisions in your life.

I love my mom but there was no way I was going to let her raise my child. I wanted E to have the life I never could. I wanted her to grow up in a home that felt whole, not broken. I wanted her to have a mom and dad that loved her and had all of the resources that we didn't have. It was hard explaining to the woman who raised you that you didn't want her raising your child. She took it personally and felt as though I didn't think she was a good mother. Most of my pregnancy I felt like I was more worried about my mothers feelings than my own.

Now that my daughter is almost a year old, things have calmed down. My mom loves and appreciates that I send her my picture updates when I receive them and we are planning on including my mom in a visit sometime soon.  She realizes the reasons I made my decision and we no longer hold anything against each other. Time heals all wounds.

If you are pregnant, I highly recommend telling your parents before they find out another way. This way you have your chance to tell them why you are considering adoption for your baby. Being able to tell your parents how you feel and why you feel that way is the best way to start this journey.


How did your parents react when you told them about your pregnancy/adoption plan? How has it effected your relationship in the long run?
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Part of the Family

My post today is going to be part story, part thank you note, and part wish for all who place their child for adoption.

When I was invited to my son's 2nd birthday party, I was nervous, as you can imagine.  One of the first people I was introduced to at the party was my son J's grandmother, who for the purposes of this story I will call Mary.  J was her very first grandchild and I could tell by the way she doted on him that she had been looking forward to having a grandchild to spoil for a very long time.  When we were officially introduced, she was very warm and friendly to me and my parents.  We spent a good portion of the party sitting together and chatting.  When a few were surprised by my presence,  she gave what can only be described as a "don't you mess with my family" look.  She folded me in with all the others she held dear because I was the one who gave them J.

I saw Mary again at J's 3rd birthday which was held at her house.  She greeted me with a hug and together we marveled at how much J had grown.  Again, we chatted for a long time.  She asked about my parents and how my ex-boyfriend, J's father, was doing.  Again I felt like I had been folded into a family I had never dreamed I would be so welcome in.  And I highly respected and admired her for that.

Wednesday night, at poetry night, J's adoptive father informed me that Mary had passed away just the day before.  It had been over a year since I had seen her last, but still I remembered the woman's warmth and love towards me.  I wish that I had thanked her for that when I still had the time.  So I'm writing this to thank you, dear Mary, for making me feel like family and accepting me with grace and love and joy.  I hope by sending this out into the universe, it will reach you somehow so that you will know how much I appreciated and respected you.

To those of you considering placing for adoption, or those in the first raw months of it, I hope that you are welcomed and accepted by those you never thought would.  I hope you find love and grace  and respect from those you meet and those who will be a part of your child's life.  And last of all, I hope you all have a wonderful day.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Music Monday: Let It Be Me by Ray LaMontagne



"That's when you need someone
Someone that you can call
And when all your faith is gone
It Feels like you can't go on
Let it be me
Let it be me
If it's a friend that you need
Let it be me
Let it be me"




If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!






Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quote of the Week: Don't Be Weighed Down by Others





"Don't let yourself be weighed down by what other people think, because in a few years, in a few decades, or in a few centuries, that way of thinking will have changed.  Live now what others will only live in the future."







If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!







Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A New Normal

Returning to life after the birth and placement of your child can be an extremely difficult process. For some women it can seem impossible. It has been almost a year since the placement of my daughter and for everyone out there who has recently placed, I can tell you that it does get better. It takes a while and it is a difficult journey,  but time does help you heal some.

I returned to school 8 weeks after the birth of my daughter. I was in college when I found out I was pregnant and since my due date was in the middle of fall quarter i decided that taking one quarter off school was a sufficient amount of time to take off. In some ways I am thankful I only took  a short amount of time off of school, but in other ways I wish I had taken more time.

I was kept really busy with school, friends and activites and it helped take my mind off of things, which can be really nice after the placement of your child. It is a constant thought in the back of your mind and having something else to take up your time is really nice.

It was hard though, because it also felt as though I didnt have a sufficient amount of time to grieve before leaving home and heading to a school 3 hours away. All the friends I had knew about the adoption when I returned to school and I kept feeling that they didn't know how to react or talk to me. I felt like there was an elephant in the room when I was around.

I had gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and so I returned to the gym once I went back to school. I loved working out because it took my stress away and I was able to think about whatever I wanted to, I could be alone with my thoughts. I recommend working out and exercising to every birth mother. Its an amazing way to stay busy and healthy.

In most ways your life will never be the same way it was before. You have to find a new normal in life. Looking at pictures of my daughter has become a daily activity but also just thinking about her is a big chunk of my time. I don't let it consume me in the ways it has before and I don't cry every time I think about her or see a picture, but there are still days that I do. And the one thing I have learned over the past year is that it's okay to cry. It's okay to hurt and take as much time as you need to grieve the loss. It is your right to take 8 weeks off, 6 months, or however much time you feel is right before returning to school or work or anything else you have going on in your life. Just remember to love yourself no matter what. Placing a child is one of the most difficult things you will do in your life and only you can decide how much time you need before returning to your new normal.

How long did you wait before returning to school or work? What is your new normal and how do you cope with the everyday struggles?


Related Article: Finding your New Normal 


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