Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quote of the Week: View is Better from the Top

Thursday, September 29, 2016


It's 2016.  Adoption has been portrayed in the media in several different positive lights in recent years, and adoption stories have become less taboo.  Everywhere you look you can see adoptive families, with their radiating smiles singing the praises of the "selfless woman who placed her child with us."

So why is it still so hard to "come out" as a birth mother sometimes?

I am pretty open about my birth mother status.  I tell everyone as we get to know each other, because it is a part of who I am.  However, it isn't something that I shout from a rooftop for every stranger to hear, mostly because of one experience, and one stereotype:

I placed my middle child.  I was a young, struggling, single Mom, and I was in no place to successfully parent two children at that time.  After my adoption decision, I went on to get married, buy a house, and have a planned pregnancy.

When my youngest was born, she wasn't in the greatest of health so she was sent to a larger hospital with a NICU.  Every family was assigned a social worker to help them with whatever was needed, and (apparently) the social worker does an in depth review of everyone's files before even meeting with you.  She asked me about my family, and when I responded that we had one older child, she pushed me, and pushed me, and pushed me some more.  When I told her of my middle child's adoption, she immediately (seriously, there was no hesitation) asked, "Was CPS involved?"

And that, everyone, is the problem.

In this modern society. there is still the long held stereotype that birth moms are somehow unfit.  That we are incapable, and that we are women who have not come to the decision of adoption because we wanted to, but because we were forced to, or else risked having our children placed in foster care.

I want to fix this, but I just don't know how.  I want to scream from a rooftop that, "I am here!  I'm not unfit!  I loved my child, and I wanted the best for them!  I was realistic about my situation and realized that I wasn't the best!  That's it!"  

But no matter how loud I scream, it seems like the long held idea that I am somehow irresponsible is louder.

I made a great choice when I chose adoption, but I feel like sometimes society is punishing me for doing what was best, and that's a real injustice that is done to birth moms every day.

Photo Credit

Friday, August 12, 2016

Respecting Boundaries

Sometimes I feel like being in a semi-open adoption is just more complicated than it needs to be. Since I moved once my birth son was born, I live halfway across the country from him. The agreement since birth has been that I can send letters and gifts whenever I want and I see pictures of him and keep in touch with his parents. However, they want to wait until he's older to do visits. While I don't really like this arrangement, I appreciate what I do have, I respect it, and would never do anything to cross any boundaries, something that I work very hard at.

But sometimes that gets tricky. In a few weeks, I will be traveling back to where I grew up and to near where my son now lives. I'm so excited to go back and I'm so excited to see my family and eat foods I haven't been able to since I left (I can taste the bagels and the pizza now...), but I also have an overwhelming sense of anxiety about it. What if I get triggered by things I'm not expecting to, or worry the whole time that I'll accidentally run into them? I doubt I will, but still. 

Respecting the boundaries that his parents have set is something that I always take to heart and always something that I try to do. While it is something I want more than absolutely anything in the world, I will not ask to see my birth son while I'm there, and I will do my best to avoid accidentally running into them.

But something that I don't understand is why I can't see his parents? I don't know why the 3 of us can't just catch up and grab lunch together or something. I've brought it up with them before and they told me that they don't know if they'd be comfortable with that. I respected and accepted their decision, but it still hurts. Maybe they thought I was asking to see my birth son, I don't know. It's so important for me to try to still feel connected to them. I hate feeling a sense of disconnect or distance. We'll see what happens, but I won't push and I won't ask again. 

Adoption is something that will never be easy, and it will never be fun. But it is doable, and it is a blessing. This has been a difficult season for me, but I know it will change and I know it will get easier to deal with soon. I'm so grateful for his parents, they are truly great people and I do have so much respect for them. I guess I just wish I didn't miss them all so much.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hard Words to Say

Trigger warning: This post deals with post placement pregnancy.....

For the past few months, I find myself to be in familiar territory. Yet at the same time, very new territory. Instead of being cryptic about it like I have been with everyone lately, I’ll just say it – I’m pregnant. These past 12 weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me.

                Despite the fact that this pregnancy was “planned”, and that I am now married, because of the situation I was in just 2 years ago when my son was born, it feels somehow like I’m doing the wrong thing by being pregnant. It has been so confusing for me dealing with all of these emotions. I feel like I’m betraying my son, I feel like I don’t really deserve to parent this baby, and I’m terrified that something is going to happen to take this baby away from me. Some days I feel so scared to connect with this baby because my connection with my birth son was so immediate and so fierce and that has led me to become vulnerable to a lot of hurt and pain. This baby is no more or less wanted than my birth son was, and will be no more or less loved. But I’m not going to lie, it’s almost scarier this time.

                Going to doctor appointments is scarier. Now I have to answer questions like “is this your first child?” or “and how is your other child, is he healthy?” Well, I’d assume so, haven’t heard otherwise! Telling my family was horrifying in a different way this time too. When I first told my parents, I had to say it all very quickly in one sentence so they wouldn’t ask questions that I didn’t want to hear. It came out something like “we’re pregnant but it was planned so don’t worry and this needs to be a good thing so I need you to be happy about it”. I think I was more nervous telling them this time than I was last time (granted, last time I did tell them in an email). Facing the public is scarier. People constantly assume that this is my first pregnancy. They like to give me advice on what to expect, and tell me things like that my baby probably won’t be too big because I’m very small. Oh really? Because my son was 8lbs 12oz, so I’d say that’s pretty big! But I don’t say that. I don’t correct them. It hurts too badly to go down that road. I hate the fact that I'm terrified of telling people because I'm afraid of their reaction.

                Around week 6 or so, the baby is the size of a lentil. During that week, I sent my husband a picture of some lentil soup and told him how I really wanted to eat it, but told him I couldn’t do it because it felt like cannibalism. I was half kidding, but waited to eat the soup. Ever since then, we call the baby The Lentil. I hope that loving the Lentil won’t make my birth son feel betrayed in the future. I know how very much and how very strongly I loved my birth son from the very beginning. I’m almost scared that I won’t be able to love the Lentil enough. I have missed my birth son more in these last 12 weeks than I expected to, and there have been a lot of emotions come up for me that I didn’t anticipate.

                I hate the fact that whether a pregnancy is planned or not matters, but it does seem to matter to other people. Yes, my husband and I planned to have this Lentil (although we did think it would take us a little bit longer than…immediately), and no, my birth son was not planned. But you know what? Both of my babies were wanted. And both of my babies are loved. Mom, birth mom, step mom, all of my titles aside. I will always love all of my children more than they can possibly understand, something my own mom used to tell me, and now I do understand. I hope they know that. I hope I will always be a positive person in their lives, someone they can look up to. I may not have it all together, nobody really does. But what I do have is an endless supply of love. And hugs to give. Just ask my husband. I’m sure it drives him crazy sometimes.

Photo Credit