Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BMB Reform Blog: K's Thoughts

Hello again everyone!  I'm back with another reform blog.  This time I have another interview with a very good friend of mine, who wishes to go by "K".  She is a wonderful, smart woman who has been
through a lot and has a very valuable story and voice in adoption reform.  Here we go!

Please tell us your name and a brief intro to your story.  
I placed my daughter at birth in 2012 in what was supposed to be an open adoption, and after a lot of family and agency coercion. The adoptive parents decided just three months into the adoption that they didn't want it to be open, and I have not seen my daughter since she was eight days old.

Are there any aspects of adoption you would like to see changed? 
Yes! There are so many misconceptions about adoption, and about every member of the triad. There are many inaccurate stereotypes about birthmothers.  For many mothers, they were heavily coerced when pregnant, or outright lied to in order to convince them to place their child.

What does adoption reform mean to you and why do you think it's important? 
Adoption reform is so important, because every woman facing an unexpected pregnancy deserves to know her rights and her options. So many people assume birthmothers are either selfless saints for doing something so hard, or are awful people who didn't love their children, and neither stereotype is completely accurate. It is important for agencies to change their ways, and for adoption to go back to what is was supposed to be about, which is finding homes for children who need them. It should have never become what it is today in a lot of situations, which is finding newborns for couples who want them, and convincing the original mother she doesn't deserve her baby. It is immoral and unethical, and I wish people would understand that many of us did NOT have a choice in placing. There are some “good” adoption stories, but even with those, there is still a grieving birthmother missing her child. I really wish people would just understand about agencies’ tactics to get women to place;
about the lies many birthmothers are told while pregnant; about our loss being a very real thing that we have every right to grieve over; and the fact that our children do not automatically have a better life as adoptees, just a different one.

This is your space to write any additional comments, link to your blog, etc.  Anything you would like to share!
 Here is a link to my blog here.

My three most recent posts talk about the stereotypes about adoption and birthmothers, and some misconceptions the public has about adoption.

Thank you so much, K, for your insight!

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, September 29, 2014

Music Monday: Lemon Drop by Pistol Annies

"My life is like a lemondrop
I'm suckin' on the bitter to get to the sweet part
I know there are better days ahead"

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quote of the Week: I Am A Dreamer!

"Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn before the rest of the world."

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Picking a Family

Deciding on a family is one of the hardest parts of the adoption process. I know for some birthmoms before adoptions became more open there wasn't even a choice in who your child went to. I am thankful because we now have a choice in who our children are raised by.

I absolutely love the family I chose. They are amazing people who had been on a long road of loss and infertility. They lost two little girls both at 21 weeks. They had been trying for years and when I met them I knew they were the ones. We had met another family but I just had a feeling about them. We were so similar on so many aspects. They reminded me of the kind of people I want to grow up to be.  

 We had two meetings with both families before coming to a decision.  On our second meeting  we spent hours talking. We all just got a long so well so fast, A and J were just the right people for us. A mentioned that she had a dream the other night and they decided that if they were to adopt she really liked the name E because it was the same name of a little girl in a dream she had. It was a jaw dropping moment for me because the only name I had liked when I was pregnant was the same name! We had come up with the same name without even knowing it. I knew then that it was just meant to be. 

My best advice for interviewing families and meeting them is to just breathe. It can be extremely nerve-wracking but just imagine how nervous they are! I also suggest coming to the meeting with a list of questions you want to ask. It might seem kind of awkward to have a physical list but it really helped me ask all of the questions I wanted to ask.. Another suggestion that made it a lot easier for me was to bring my adoption agent with me for the first meetings. It was nice to have someone there to help keep the conversation flowing if there was ever an awkward moment. It is also an opportunity to help ask questions that I might have felt uncomfortable about asking. It also might help to meet over a meal or coffee if possible, its a conversation starter and I think that everyone out there loves to eat! Take your time meeting the families, it is a very important decision that only you can make!

What concerns did you have when deciding on a family? What helped you make a decision? What advice would you give to someone trying to decide on a family?

Photo Credit

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music Monday: The Song Remembers When by Trisha Yearwood

"I guess something must have happened
And we must have said goodbye
And my heart must have been broken
Though I can't recall just why
The song remembers when"

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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quote of the Week: Forgiveness

"The only way to learn forgiveness is to be betrayed. You might understand the intellectual concept of forgiveness, but you will only learn how to truly forgive when someone has done something that requires you to love them and let it go. Life demands these hurtful experiences for you to learn how forgiveness feels, it could be no other way. If there is anyone in your life that you must forgive, instead of seeing them as someone who has hurt you, try to see them as someone who was sent to teach you forgiveness and thank them for this precious gift - then forgive them, and let it go."

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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Good Drama

There's a show that was once on television called "Northern Exposure" about a tiny little quirky town
in Alaska.  During the run of the show, the character Shelly gets pregnant.  At her baby shower all the other women are talking about their horror stories and it freaks Shelly out.  So she goes for a walk in the woods and meets Mother Nature.  I said it was a quirky town, remember?  She, Mother Nature, Queen Victoria, and Medea have a big talk about motherhood and how it changes everything in a mother's life.  But Mother Nature makes a very good point.  She tells Shelly that the other women talk about the horror stories so much because "they make good drama.  I mean you never hear about the baby who just popped out."

After being pregnant, giving birth, placing my child for adoption, and then going out into the world to carefully tell my story, I found that people were surprised over and over again.  Most of them had never heard a "good" adoption story.  All they had ever heard were the bad ones.  The ones were there is a fight over the kid, or the kid tries to find his parents only to be rejected, or even just the plot line of the latest Lifetime made-for-TV movie.  Everyone was shocked by my story because it was a good one.  And it continues to be a good one.

At some point, a friend told me once again about how all they ever hear are the bad stories about adoption and that it was so rare to hear about the good ones.  I was badly confused because ever since I placed my child for adoption, I've only heard more and more good stories.  Then I remembered this quote: "they make good drama."  That's when I realized why so many have heard the bad stories, but very few of the good.  It's a very simple reason.  Those stories make good drama.  The stories like mine about the adoptive parents and the birthmother who always get along aren't good drama.  People in general see it as a good reason to still have faith in humanity.  But not much more.  And my story is not fodder for a made-for-TV movie the will have everyone biting their nails and wondering who should get the child.  There was no struggle, there was no last minute change of heart.  My son went from my arms to theirs and that was it.

I still go about and tell my story to many who are often surprised over and over again.  A few have heard good stories or were even part of a good story.  And those people are the best to meet.  But I find they are often few and far between.  Most everyone else has heard the bad stories, the horror stories, the ones that get passed around and around and are eventually accepted as the one and only truth.  Which isn't fair to the many many stories that are good.

I encourage everyone, if your story is good, please tell it.  You'll hear lots of people say how they heard about this terrible story or that.  But just be patient.  Some have just never heard the good stories.  Not their fault.  They're just not considered "good drama."  But that doesn't make them any less viable or any less important.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I've been reminded once again how God puts all kinds of people in our lives if we will allow it. I was with a friend yesterday, someone with whom I have built a relationship for years and years. In fact, it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly a time when she wasn't in my life!

But I do remember the way we met. She was a graduate student in marriage and family therapy. I was working as the client care director at a pregnancy center. She wanted to come and intern with me in order to get her clinical hours to graduate. I wasn't the least bit interested in investing in her. And truth be told, she wasn't that interested in the pregnancy center as a placement site.

In the end, though, we each accepted the challenge. And here we are ten? twelve years later? Still friends, we both have children of our own and we're both homeschooling. We actually have some important things in common even though our backgrounds are vastly different.

Kind of reminds me of the BirthMom Buds community. There is no way I would have the pleasure of knowing so many of you were it not for this group. Some of us are so different from each other  that we would never cross paths. Yet, here we are bonded together by a common experience. And I'm so thankful to have this group that knows what it's like. You guys get something about me that no one else on the planet can understand. And for that, I am thankful.

Photo credit

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Hospital Experience

When I was pregnant and going through my adoption plan the one thing that scared me the most was the hospital stay. First of all, I had never given birth before and I had no idea what to expect. I obviously knew it was going to be extremely painful but no matter how many videos you watch, classes you attend or personal stories you hear, you will never be prepared. I was also terrified, as most of you are, of what happens after the birth.

I had decided to let the adoptive parents in the room while I gave birth. This was an important moment for me, but I felt like it was also important for them. They had lost two babies at 21 weeks and so I knew that their experiences with birth were filled with trauma and so I wanted them to have this amazing birth experience with me. I know that this is not possible for every birth mother and I understand that some women want the moment to be private and I totally get it. I just loved the feeling of having everyone in the room who loved her and were going to love her forever, while she came into the world. 

 I had to be induced and for any woman who has been induced you will understand my pain. I had preeclampsia and my doctor said there was no way around the induction. The pain was extremely intense and and I convinced myself that I wasn’t progressing all night. Until about 1 am when I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom and felt like I had to push, but I just thought it was a bowel movement. I pushed and nothing happened and eventually that urge to push went away, so I went back into bed. The nurse came in and checked on me and all of a sudden I felt the oh so familiar urge to push, and when I told the nurse that I had to go try and make a bowel movement because I needed to push I remember her look of panic. It all went pretty quick after that and when she checked me I was at 9 ½ centimeters. They had checked me a two or three hours before and I was still only at a 4. It came quick and at 2:09 am my little girl came into the world.

It was a close one and my best friend and I still joke that she could have been a toilet baby, which honestly would have been the most terrifying thing I could imagine at that point. I can’t believe I ddidn'trecognize that urge to push from all of those videos I had seen. And of course after all the pain what they tell you is true, it was all worth it. I would go through it again and again just to bring that little girl in the world. And quite honestly once you see your baby, you would have died if it meant bringing that little baby into this world.

I got to spend the next two days with her in the hospital. If you feel as though you want to and are able to  I highly recommend caring for your child in the hospital. I had decided toward the end of my second trimester that I wanted to take care of her in the hospital but before then I wasn't sure because I was scared I would change my mind. I didn't think about the fact that if you want to change your mind you can. As a mother you have every right to change your mind and make the choice you believe is best for your child. Never let anyone talk you into signing the papers and don’t let anyone change your decision. This has to be up to you.

I decided to take care of her in the hospital because I wanted that time with her.  I knew I wasn't going to change my mind and so I wanted every minute with her that I could. The adoptive parents were there with me and the birth father for the first several hours.  They bought me jack in the box because it was 2 in the morning and I couldn’t remember the last time I ate. I was scared that when they held her I would feel jealousy and hate them for being there. You never know how you are going to feel.

When I saw the adoptive parents holding her, I felt so much love for all of them. They looked like a family that was finally complete. You could just see how much they already loved her, and it made my decision more clear. After two days I signed the paper work to release her into their custody and we were able to all walk out together. We got into our separate cars and I cried the whole way home. I was so lucky to have the birth father with me and my best friend. When I got home my family was there to make sure I was okay. That night I slept like I have never slept before.

If at all possible with your adoption plan I recommend setting up some kind of immediate post placement contact with the parents, if you feel you are able to handle it. I requested at the hospital that they message me when they arrived home and 2 days later after they took her to her first checkup, being able to have that peace of mind that she was okay, healthy and safe at home was a big relief.

 The hospital stay can seem extremely intimidating at first and it is one of the hardest things you will ever go through, but it is also beautiful. There were some of the best days of my life. I got to welcome my little girl into the world and let her know just how much i love her. The pictures i took during this time are something i treasure and look at often. You have options and choices and you have the right to decide what ever you want to when you are in the hospital. Don't let anyone coerce you into doing anything you don't want to. This is your time to make what ever decision you want.

How do you guys feel about your hospital exp[experience? Did it go smoothly or was it a little bumpy? Who was in the room? What would you recommend to girls about to go through this experience?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Monday: She Will Be Free by the Josh Abbott Band

"When I look into her eyes, I grow still
How else can I process all these things I feel
And when she smiles, Lord, she knows that shes won
And I come undone"

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quote of the Week: Stand Tall and Shine Brightly!

"Only by its own roots does a tree stand tall and only by its own light does the sun shine brightly and bring life to our world. So it is with you - only when you're trusting, loving and rooted in your true Self will the life that is your highest potential begin to manifest. Only when you are walking on the path of your highest potential will you ever be able to shine brightly and bring light to the darkness in others."

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Grief Cycle Part 5: Acceptance

A few weeks ago, my son J and his adoptive parents came to visit my parents at their house.  As happens with these visits, his mom went into the kitchen with my mother to help with lunch, his dad went into the living room with my dad to talk about esoteric topics that they actually have in common, and I was left in the dining room alone with my son.  He was eating crackers out of a little bowl my mother had given him with a pair of child's chopsticks.  I asked him how school was.  He answered the way most four-year-old's would: "Good."  He talked a little about his school.  He asked for a few more crackers.  All in all I'm guessing we had about six minutes alone together.  And it was in those six minutes that I had a thought that I've had for a long time and for the first time felt okay about it, "This kid will never be mine."

Acceptance isn't exactly a nice place to be in as it turns out.  I thought that acceptance would be the moment when the clouds would break and the seas would settle and everything would be just perfect.  Only it's not.  Acceptance is when you finally accept the reality of what you have lost.  It's when you stop denying the realities, stop being angry about the realities, stop trying to change the realities "some how," and stop always being depressed about the realities.  Acceptance, for me, was looking at my son and saying to myself, "This kid will never be mine.  And that's fine."

I didn't see his first smiles.  I didn't see him roll over the first time.  I didn't see him crawl the first time.  I didn't hear him babble the first time.  I didn't see him take his first steps.   I didn't see him run for the first time and fall.  I didn't dry his tears.  I didn't pick out his toys.  I didn't help him play the piano.  I didn't read him a book at night.  I didn't help him pick flowers for his grandmother.  I didn't get him dressed for his first day of school.  And that's fine.

I'm not saying they don't sting.  I'm not saying that at the moment I realized all of these things it didn't hurt a bit.  It did hurt.  A lot.  But I also realized that it was fine.  I don't have to feel bad about missing all of these things.  His parents saw them all and told me about them.  He knows that he's loved and knows that he's taken care of and that's all I ever wanted for him.  It's just the simple and very painful fact that he couldn't have found that with me.  But that's fine too.

Acceptance is not the moment when the clouds break and everything becomes good and right and beautiful in the world.  Acceptance is the moment when you accept reality and all that happened in it.  And acceptance is when you see all of that and realize that you're fine with all of it.  This was the only way to protect my son and give him the life that he deserved.  People got hurt in the process.  People had to put aside their differences and their opinions and agree.  There will be conversations that I will have to have later in life with my son about all that happened.  But in the end, I don't regret what I had to do.  Not for one second.  And for right now, I'm fine with it.

It takes a long time to get to this point.  It took me four whole years to get to this point.  And I don't doubt that there will be times in the future where I'll go through this again.  If you feel like you should have moved on by now or you should be better by now or anything like that, stop telling yourself that.  And if people tell you that you should be better by now, tell them as politely as you can that you are trying to get through this at your own pace.  That is all that matters in the end.  You need to get through this at your pace and in your time.  I hope you're all doing well today and I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  See you again next week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Claim or Not to Claim?

One of the things I hear consistently across different chatrooms and blogs is whether, when, and/or how to claim our birthchildren. This is definitely something I have struggled with over the  years. I can remember being at one church many years ago on Mother's Day. The pastor asked all the mothers to stand up and I did. Be it out of defiance or whatever, I stood up with those other ladies and was recognized for being a mother.

Fast forward a couple of decades. Now I have children I parent, a birth child, and a birth grandchild. And I am still trying in some ways to make sense of it all. So last week I did something I've never done before. I claimed it all. And it felt right.

In a brand new Bible study group of 11 women, I introduced myself as a wife, birthmother of one, homeschooling mommy of two and grandmother of one. It felt weird but right as if I had in some way just told the truth for the very first time. I'm sure no one else in the room had any idea what a monumental moment that was for me.

The only noticeable reaction I got was from the leader who was absolutely sure I was not old enough to be a grandmother because she herself was not a grandmother yet. But jealousy aside, the moment passed and now it's out there. Will those ladies remember that about me next week? Maybe not. But I didn't do it for them. I did it for me.

Photo credit

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Friendships Changing Because of Adoption

One thing I did not initially think about when I decided to place my daughter for adoption was how my friends were going to act and the way that friendships evolve and even end because of adoption. 

When I first found out I was pregnant the only person who was really on my side was my best friend Kari. She listened to me and did her best to help me get through one of the hardest choices of my life. Even though she was hesitant of my choice, she was there for me no matter what. Our friendship has grown through the birth of my little girl and we are closer than ever. She was there for me no matter what and continues to be to listen to me whenever I need someone.

There were other friends however weren't as supportive. The little comments of "why would you do this" and "you could make it work" are so heartbreaking to hear during your time of need. Or even in the beginning when friends tell you that continuing the pregnancy is a mistake. Some friends act this way because they are worried for you, but some just flat out think you are wrong for doing this and those are the hardest ones to deal with.

After the birth of my daughter I had a close friend make negative comments about people who chose to have more children post placement. It was her opinion that the child placed for adoption will become extremely jealous of the children that are parented later in life. It was almost as though she felt that people who place should not have any more children in the future. It really upset me that someone so close to me could say such hurtful things about a choice that was so difficult to make. Yes, I want to have more children some day and I do not need anyone around telling me that I am selfish for having more children. 

Since the birth of my daughter I have limited myself from the people who try to put down my decision and my relationship with my best friend has grown through this choice. I have also had other friends who have rose to the occasion and become extremely supportive and love hearing about the updates almost as much as I do. 

It's not always easy to distance yourself from the wrong people though. During this time I felt like I needed these friends and maybe I was in fact making a bad choice. In the end however I had the realization that I was making the best choice for my child and I, and anyone who didn't think so could just go away.

The most important thing I've discovered is to stand up for yourself no matter what. No one can tell
 you how to live your life, and honestly this is your decision and no one else is going to have to live with the aftermath in the same way you will. The one piece of advice you I wish I had heard earlier was to surround yourself with people who want to help. Be with people who love you and are there for you no matter what. Placing a child is no easy task, and having people around who are putting you down only makes it harder. 

Have any of you had friendships grow through the placement of a child? Have you ever had a friendship dwindle or even end?