First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).
My name is Kelsey Stewart and I am 40 years old. I live in Southern California with my husband and two boys, ages 11 and 8. I placed a daughter in the late 80's and then two years later I placed twin boys, all in open adoptions. (the twins were placed in the same family)
I was young, unmarried and had not finished my education when I found myself pregnant with my daughter. I grew up without a father in my life and I did not want the same for my daughter. I chose to place her for adoption because at that time in my life I could not justify keeping her when I could barely take care of myself.
When I learned I was pregnant with the twins, I was in a relationship that was THE relationship (I later married their father), but again we were so young and just not prepared to embark on parenting two children. I had already been in an open adoption that was working very well and knew that there had to be a reason why God gave me two more children to carry, but not raise. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I decided the best we could do for our children was to place them in a home that could provide them with all we could not. It had nothing to do with money, but more to do with making sure they had the best start in life that we could possibly give them.
When and why did you begin blogging?
I began blogging in the fall of 2009 on the suggestion of a wonderful man who took me under his wing after I sent him a copy of my children's book "The Best For You." He was the President of Tapestry Books, an online resource that only carries adoption literature and because I was so persistent in my pursuit to show him that I had brains and experience in adoption he took me in and told me exactly how to build a fan base that would not only appreciate my book, but also my positive attitude towards life as a birth mother.
Once I started writing, I found it rather therapeutic to release all my thoughts and feelings from the previous 20 years of life without my children. I have met so many amazing women who have told me that they appreciate the honesty, compassion and strength that I write with. I had no idea that there were so many out there that I could connect with, so many who needed no explanation as to why I chose adoption but rather embraced the experience and knowledge that I have. What started as a side note to my book turned into a wonderful blog that has helped so many out there... adoptees, adoptive parents and ESPECIALLY birth mothers ... feel that they are not alone and connect with someone who not only had been on this road for a long time, but also listened to those who had something to say.
Tell us more about the title of your blog. Why did you choose it?
A Birth Mother Voice needs no explanation. When you see the title you know what point of view you are reading. The Voice part came from years and years of not being silent, but rather being reserved. As many birth mothers know we do not walk around with a sign on our chest that says ... "I walk without my children because that is what I chose to do." I have no problem talking with people about adoption, but it does not come up in everyday conversation.
I really wanted people to know that A) I am a birth mother, B) I am not at all ashamed of my life or the decisions that I made for myself and my children and C) I use my voice to help others understand a little better the why's and how's to living life with a piece of yourself missing.
Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?
Very much a mix of both! Like I said, I am a very positive person when it comes to speaking out about adoption and that is not always received with open arms. Most people who read my blog have a similar thought process to mine: they are content with their decisions and have made the best of life since adoption. There are many who check my blog from time to time that do not have the same views that I have and they try to rattle me when I post or speak of my positive experiences with open adoption. It is not easy to hear the negative comments at all, but I also know that there are many, many stories out there that need to be heard in order to really understand this complex issue of adoption from all sides. I keep my head up, listen to what they have to say and then sometimes put my own spin on their thoughts or attacks. All I have ever wanted was for people to really LISTEN to what I have to say and if I don't allow others to do the same then I would be a big hypocrite, wouldn't I? I keep in my mind what my mother always taught me ... Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?
Be yourself and do not let anyone try to convince you of what YOUR thoughts are. This world of online adoption social networking can be cruel, mean and down right nasty. However, if you keep reminding yourself the reason you want to write in the first place then you can always touch base with your inner most thoughts and rise above all that is negative.
Don't take all the comments so seriously. Some folks only attack others because of their own insecurities. Do not take on their anger or their self hatred, they have to learn to forgive themselves and work through their own issues of adoption. My favorite quote that helps me remember to keep it together is .... No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." ~ Elanore Roosevelt
Keep in mind why you are writing. Some write to help themselves. Some write to help others. No matter what your reasons, do not loose yourself in what others think about what you have to say.
Most of all, be honest! Not only with others, but also with yourself. You just might surprise yourself with what you can learn about you from writing in an honest way.