Friday, August 24, 2012

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Tamra

Today's featured blogger is Tamra of “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good.”  I appreciate her positive attitude and her gift with words.  Let's find out a little more about Tamra...

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 Tamra Hyde, and I'm 34 years old.  I recently moved to Salt Lake City, UT but I grew up in Memphis, TN and have lived many places since. I've worked in the wilderness therapy, adoption, and beauty industries.
There were many factors and MANY miracles which led me from being a self-absorbed, reckless 17 year old to being a birth mom. It was not a quick and easy answer.  I think it rarely is. My initial thinking was: but I'm not one of "those girls.”  I imagined that the only person who should place a child for adoption were those who would be the absolute worst of parents, who absolutely COULD NOT do it; the drug addicted, the 14/15 year olds, the destitute, the mentally unstable. None of this applied to me and in fact, I believe I would have been a good parent, certainly better than many I've seen.  I COULD have done it. Truth be told, most anyone CAN with the resources that are available. It's always a pet peeve of mine when people assume I placed for adoption because I "couldn't" do it. I know now that just because you can doesn't mean you should. I came to see that it was a matter of good, better, best. What I'd had, what I grew up with, what my parents had given me- was in most respects better than what I had to offer Justin. Don't we want our children to have MORE, to fare BETTER than we have? How could I give him less than even what I'd been afforded? It didn't seem fair. What I had to offer was enough. But was enough...enough? Not for him. Not when I knew there was better. My adolescent brain would try to twist reason and logic in such a way where it evened out, where what I had to offer could compare to what 2 parents with emotional and monetary experience, maturity, and preparation could offer him. I bargained that if I overcompensated and did my very best... But in time, I had to submit that even stretched to my max...the gap between what I could give and what he COULD have was too broad.

So knowing, at least intellectually, what was best for him was half the battle.  I still had my heart to deal with.  Part of me would still say "right or wrong...I can't.  It would kill me".  There was a sense of entitlement.  "He's MINE, I want him, I love him, and that would hurt ME".  As a teen, and as someone who was responsible for no one but myself and not even fully so, I'd only ever made decisions with the reasoning of what I felt, what I thought, what I wanted, and what I thought I needed. I was right on par developmentally (thus why we should not procreate without a fully developed frontal lobe). It took time and struggle and certainly divine intervention to break that process of thought, to finally see highlighted the "I, ME, and MY" in my rationale and to come to the realization that my mom, doesn't matter, my friends don't matter, caseworker doesn't matter, my boyfriend doesn't matter, TAMRA doesn't matter. What any of us felt or wanted was now irrelevant and could not factor into the equation. I had forfeited my right to self-interest. When I erased all of these factors from the chalkboard in my brain, when only Justin's best interest and the will of the God I'd been petitioning were left, there was clarity, and to my astonishment, even peace.

Now at this point I knew that adoption would mean that Justin wins, he would have a wonderful family with 2 parents who had the stability, experience, maturity, and preparation he would need. I knew that his parents would win when they would receive this precious, perfect child they’d prayed for.  But I believed I would be the loser in adoption, even a victim of it.  That was a deal I was prepared to strike.  I fully anticipated being pretty broken from that point but it didn't matter.  If Justin wins, I win.  

Happily, it has been much to the contrary.  I have my part in the sweet as well as the bitter. The first of that sweetness came into my view as I met his parents. Up until that point, while I'd had tremendous peace to sustain me, it was still something I viewed as tragedy.  I was going to lose a child.  But on this day of days in my life, I sat across from two good and deserving people, who'd cried and prayed and wondered for years, and now, they would have the desire of their hearts and the answer to their prayers. This was silver lining indeed. I was so full of joy for my new and already much loved friends that for a moment, I forgot my own loss. They have mourned with me and a portion of all of their joy has been mine. Every blessing and happiness they have as a family is soothing and compensation for my tears shed. Furthermore, the effort and progress I made in order to benefit my Justin have changed the course of my life exponentially. I grew more in those months than all the years proceeding. I learned so many defining lessons, most significant of which is love, the real kind, the kind that is void of self.

But I've gotten a bit off topic, I can't help myself.

This is an account of not the events (which were also miraculous), but the thoughts and feelings that lead me to adoption. It must be said however, that the MOST influential factor, what it was that got me TO adoption and then got me THROUGH adoption, was the wisdom and strength that could not have been found in me.  It was from He who knows me and Justin better than I do.  It was from He who loves us both more even than that great love which I felt for my child. I asked and He answered. I was weak but He was strong, and when the burden of grief weighed me down, He carried me. These are not just lovely sentiments. This is real and true.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I started blogging in 2009. I'm sure there were a few reasons. Advocacy has always motivated me. It's almost compulsive. I've encountered so many who have expressed regret saying if they’d only known, if they’d only had accurate information that they would have chosen differently.

One of my friend’s mothers confided in me that she wished she had done for her daughter what I’d done for my son.  I've had 2 girls, after having had abortions, express to me after hearing my story that they wished they’d heard it before they made their choice but they didn't know.  Nobody told them.  I almost feel like I'm stealing if I don't give back, if i take my blessings, say "thanks very much" and then bolt.

I was SO stupid about adoption before someone told me, and the difference it has made to me and Justin and his family is eternal in consequence. Because I have been given much, I too must give.  Another part of the compulsion is a bit… selfish? As I've made associations with those who placed in the dark ages of adoption, in those times when we had no forum, no audience, no outlet, when we were told to hide it and forget about it, I've seen all the more the great need we have to process our experience. It is so amazing and beautiful but it is also absolutely trauma. We NEED to talk about both of those aspects of it. I've come to understand my story in the telling of it.  I STILL gain new insights and greater perspective as I share it.
Furthermore my memory ain't so good so I figure I ought to have documentation ;)

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

When I started, I didn't know anything about blogs or blogging.  I doubt if I'd ever even read one besides maybe The R House. I didn't have anything clever to call it. I named it after the hymn “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good” because every time I hear or sing it, I think about adoption. I think about Justin and his family and the impact for good they've had on my life. I also like to hope that through my words I can touch other lives for good as well.

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

Truth be told, I still know next to nothing about blogging beyond that you write (this is evident if you visit).  So I don't know why, but I haven't gotten any of the haters that I hear about everybody else getting. I know they're out there and they are nasty and ruthless but for whatever reason, they seem to be as yet unaware of me. I can't recall ever having a comment on my blog that wasn't very sweet. Lucky, huh? Many of the responses I've received have moved me to tears in fact. Only really, really sweet people read my blog. ;)

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?

My posts are so random, and honestly, shamefully few and far between. Probably only a few of them are what you'd think of as traditional blog posts. Most of it is just pieces I've written for some other purpose. I'm a lazy blogger. It's interesting because I actually have some pretty passionate and current thoughts and views and things I'm processing but I get overwhelmed to think of that kind of blogging though I'm sure it's exactly what i need to do. Perhaps I will...

I think the first thing I ever posted was actually written by my mom. It's a poem called “Promise in the Garden.” I think it's probably the best thing on my blog. Really, everybody should read it. I think I'd also recommend the post entitled "Myths and Misconceptions," particularly to someone who may be fairly new to adoption. One of the few more personal ones is about what I experienced the night before Justin turned 14. I like it.

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

Me?  Nah.  I'm just STARTING to try to use capitalization and proper punctuation. I write like I speak, sloppy and a little southern.  But if anyone has any advice for me… I'd like to evolve as a blogger.

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