Friday, July 13, 2012

Spotlight Blogger: Monika

If you have been reading this blog for long, then you already know Monika as she posts weekly. She also interviews other birthmom bloggers for the Weekend Spotlights every other week. Monika has a personal blog, Monika's Musings, as well and I thought it'd be fun to turn the tables and ask Monika some questions this week!

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 Monika, and I currently live just south of Tacoma, WA with my partner and daughter’s birth father, Nick.  I was 34 when I relinquished, and I’m 36 now.

I didn’t know I was pregnant until my daughter was delivered via emergency c-section on November 10, 2009.  Nick and I had just met at the end of January that year and he deployed to Iraq in July.  I was staying near Corvallis, OR with a friend, and though Nick and I had talked about marrying someday at that point, I didn’t know if we’d be together after his return or not.  When my daughter arrived, I thought that even if Nick and I stayed together, he’d be deploying every other year for a year, for who knows how long.  I had no desire to single parent for those years and not only deal with my own sadness but deal with our daughter’s sadness too.  I know lots of people that have made excellent single parents.  I just knew it wasn’t the choice for me, or for us, and Nick agreed.  I also knew having been in childcare before high school graduation and being a nanny after that exactly what went into the care of a child.  I felt neither emotionally or physically equipped to handle her care the way I wanted her to be raised, so I told the hospital that I wanted to relinquish her to adoption.

At that time, I had no concept of open adoption, so I didn’t name her or hold her in the hospital after she was delivered.  I figured if I wasn’t going to see her again for at least 18 years that it would be too hard to bond with her and then give her to someone else to raise.  What I didn’t know was that despite the fact that I had no idea I was pregnant, the bond between us had already been created.  Not holding her or naming her in the hospital are the two things I regret about the way things turned out.  Due to my own physical complications surrounding her birth, the state did not believe I was mentally able to make an adoption decision so they put her in state foster care.  During the wait for court dates to prove I was capable not only of raising her should I decide to do so, but I was also capable of making an adoption plan, I was introduced to the idea of open adoption by my adoption caseworker.  I chose my daughter’s adoptive parents and after a final court appearance on January 4, 2010, I relinquished my rights to my daughter and gave her to her parents.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I started blogging January 4, 2011, exactly a year after my daughter’s relinquishment.  No, I didn’t remember that date.  I looked at my post history on my blog.  My blog didn’t originally start out as a solely adoption-related blog.  In fact when I first started I didn’t believe I had any talent for writing at all.  I started my blog because I’d been chatting in the BirthMom Buds chat room and several of the birth moms suggested that their blogs had been great for them to process their emotions.  I figured that I’d post a few blogs about my emotions after visits or getting updates from her parents, but I thought it would be mainly a place to post odd things I’d run into online or in my life offline.  Oh, how I was wrong!  My blog has now become my platform to speak out for positive change in the world of adoption, and to voice my opinions about all things adoption-related.  I don’t regret that change at all.

Tell us more about the title of your blog.  Why did you choose it?

I chose “Monika’s Musings” because one of my favorite blogs then and now is Coley’s Corner.  I loved the alliteration in the title of her blog and wanted something similar for my own.

Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?

The response overall has been very positive.  I’ve met a multitude of very supportive people from every side of the adoption triad and their comments show how supportive they are.  Of course since my blog has become so focused not only on my own adoption situation but adoption in general that brings out a lot of passionate opinions.  I’ve had a few comments that one might consider negative, but I can respect those opinions for the fact that they’re coming from different experiences and differing opinions.  I really don’t mind an occasional “negative” comment because it gives me a different point of view and allows me to learn more about adoption in general.

What post on your blog do you consider a “must read” for people visiting your blog for the first time?  Or what post(s) from your blog is (or are) your favorite(s) and why?

A must read post is the page I created to house the story of my daughter’s birth and relinquishment.  This will give new readers an in-depth narration of how I became a birth mother and I hope a little insight into why I’m so passionate about adoption. 

One of my favorite, more recent posts is entitled “Oh the Legalities.”  I have strong opinions about legally enforceable contact agreements.  I was inspired to write this particular post after one of my friends, who also happens to be an adoptive mom, voiced to me some of her issues with their agency forcing them through their contract to send updates to their son’s birth parents.  They would want to do this anyway as she and her husband feel strongly that their son should have a relationship with his birth parents, but the updates are just sitting at the agency because their son’s parents aren’t accepting them.  That whole situation causes me immense sadness. 

A “crowd favorite” happens to be arecent post I wrote and published shortly before TLC aired a show called “Birth Moms.”  This post has been my most well-read post in the entirety of my blog and inspired a whole discussion in the comments section as well.  Because of the popularity of the post and the subsequent discussion in the comments, this has now become another favorite of mine.  I also did a follow-up post after the airing of the show.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?

Especially if you decide to make your blog adoption-related: Be consistent and careful.  This does not mean I’m suggesting you not be honest about your feelings or that you hide when you’re struggling.  Just keep in mind that what goes on the internet is there forever.  Your child or even your child’s adoptive parents may stumble upon it someday and if your message isn’t consistent with what you’ve told them, that could cause issues.  This would apply even if your blog is not adoption-related.  Also if you’re blogging about your relinquished child and his or her parents, I would suggest nicknames, fake names, or even initials.  This respects their privacy without robbing you of the ability to tell your story from your point of view.  Be open.  If you decide to blog about anything you’re bound to run into differing opinions from your own.  Expect that and it won’t surprise you when it happens.  However, a blog can be a wonderful tool for giving you access to that feeling of community.  I know that my blog has opened up my world and that’s a great feeling.


  1. What a surprise to see the interviewer become the interviewee! :) very good idea. I enjoy reading your blog and our little chats we've had outside of this blog, and I really do look up to you!

  2. I just saw this comment, Elizabeth. :) Coley decided she wanted to interview me so this wasn't my idea. Thank you for telling me that you look up to me - that's very sweet! :)