Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Take Your Time

The decision of whether or not you should make an adoption plan for your unborn baby is not one that should be rushed into. It is a decision that takes a lot of thought, contemplation, and soul searching.

I think often times expectant mothers may feel rushed into making a decision of whether or not they will place their baby for adoption. The impending due date may feel like an alarm clock. You may feel like you need to have chosen a family and have everything planned and in place before the baby arrives. 

I totally get that. I was that way during my own pregnancy. I’m a planner by nature, so I needed everything mapped out, planned out, and figured out long before my due date in order to feel ok about things. 

I also get that you may want to choose adoptive parents as quickly as possible so that you can have time to get to know them better, bond with them, and spend time with them for the duration of your pregnancy. For me, I did have peace of mind that I knew Charlie’s parents pretty well by the time they were leaving the hospital with him in tow since I had spent a lot of time with them during my pregnancy. 

But, I also totally understand that this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make so don’t let that impending due date rush you into making a decision about whether or not you should parent or make an adoption plan. And don’t let the time crunch you may be feeling make you rush into choosing a family for your child. Don’t settle. Even if your due date is very close, if you haven’t found a family that meets what you are looking for, keep looking. Keep searching. If it is meant to be, it will happen. 

Just because your baby may arrive is not going to make him or her any less desirable. If your baby is born and everything is not planned and you are moving forward with an adoption plan, it can still be done! Take your time!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Two are Better than One

“Two are better than one. If one falls down, his friend 
can help him up. “
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10

Lani and I both love this verse and had this verse in mind when BirthMom Buds was created. It is a reminder that with a friend, someone to walk the road with you and be supportive, the journey is easier and you are there for one another. 

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

“Giving birth does not make a mother….
Placing a child for adoption does not make her less of one.”
~ Unknown

Friday, June 26, 2009

Songs Related to Adoption

If you know me, you know I love music. I love how I can put a song on and it instantly eiter fits my mood or changes my mood. Since becoming a birthmom, I’ve collected a little list of songs related to either adoption or songs related to a Mother’s love for her child. Sometimes it might not be the entire song that touches me but a particular verse or the chorus.

Below is my personal list of my top 25 songs related to adoption and a Mother’s Love. 

  1. Here Without You by 3 Doors Down
  2. I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
  3. If My Heart Had Wings by Faith Hill
  4. How do I Live Without You by LeAnn Rimes
  5. The Promise by Tracy Chapman
  6. God Speed (also known as Sweet Dreams) by Dixie Chicks
  7. I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan
  8. Lullaby in Blue by Bette Midler
  9. Find your Wings by Mark Harris
  10. My Heart will Go On by Celine Dion
  11. Forever Young by Bob Dylan
  12. Think of Me by Mark Schultz
  13. One Sweet Day by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey
  14. What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts
  15. Hold on for One More Day by Wilson Phillips
  16. What Might Have Been by Little Texas
  17. One More Day by Diamond Rio
  18. My Wish by Rascal Flatts
  19. Held by Natalie Grant
  20. Pray for Me by Michael W. Smith
  21. Butterfly by Mariah Carey
  22. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
  23. Secret by Reba McIntire
  24. Voice In My Head by Dixie Chicks
  25. Everything to Me by Mark Schultz

Now, what is YOUR favorite song related to adoption or your love for your child?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Entrustment Ceremonies

As you are making an adoption plan, you may have heard the words “entrustment ceremony” but not really understand what it is or what it is all about. 

Entrustment ceremonies are becoming more common nowadays. Although, they are not for everyone. It’s something you should learn about and consider but not feel forced into doing it if it doesn’t feel comfortable to you. 

So, what exactly is an entrustment ceremony, you ask? An entrustment ceremony is an adoption ritual that acts as a symbolic gesture of the transferring of the parental role from the birthmother to the adoptive parents. Entrustment ceremonies can give a birthmother the chance to symbolically say goodbye and provide a little closure. There is no right or wrong way to hold an entrustment ceremony – it can be tailored to the needs and desires of the people involved.

An entrustment ceremony also can ease the transition period at the time the adoptive family takes the baby home. This works in two ways: the birthmother does not feel like she is abandoning her baby and is not left in limbo waiting for the final court date, and the adoptive family do not feel like they are “kidnapping” someone else’s child. Adoptive families also have less concern about the “finalization” legally, which is especially important in an open adoption as they will most likely feel less “threatened” by the birthmother, and it may be easier to welcome her into their lives sooner. 

An entrustment ceremony can also take the adoption process out of the legal system and into the hearts and minds of those participating, which is really what adoption is about in the first place.

The term entrustment ceremony sounds fancy but it doesn’t have to be. It could be something as simple as going around the room and saying how you feel or more elaborate with a clergy person present. You can choose to read a special poem aloud, play a meaningful song, or light a candle. Some adoptive parents and birth parents use the entrustment ceremony as a time to state your intentions, hopes, and desires for each others’ future. If a birthmother already has a child or children, they can participate in the ceremony as well by either just being present or perhaps giving the baby a special drawing or a letter.

For more information on entrustment ceremonies visit the Entrustment Ceremony page on BirthMom Buds. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Healing Prayer

A Healing Prayer
-- Author Unknown --

I am capable. I am worthwhile.
I am beautiful. I am lovable.
I shall accept both my strengths
and my weaknesses for they are me.

I shall never again believe the lie
that if I make a mistake, 
I am a mistake.
My mistakes are the learning tools
that I shall encounter on my journey.

When I learn from my mistakes,
I give them meaning
When I give my mistakes meaning,
I can begin to forgive myself,
I can begin to heal.

I shall not use my mistakes as excuses
to give up on me.
My mistakes are not me.
I shall seek the wisdom to nurture
my heart, mind, body, and soul
so that I may feel more centered.

Providing an energy reserve that allows
me to climb the mountains in my own life,
Providing an energy reserve that allows
me to love and support others
who are climbing a different mountain, 
providing an energy reserve that allows
time for friends, play 
and the celebration of life.

I shall allow myself to feel capable
so that I may seek excellence.
I shall allow myself to feel sadness
so that joy may return.
I shall allow myself to feel joy
so that I may be revitalized.
I shall allow myself to feel afraid
so that I may find courage.
I shall allow myself to feel alone
so that I may know me.
I shall allow myself to feel beautiful
so that I may feel free.
I shall allow myself to feel lovable
so that the loving may seek me.
I shall allow myself to feel pain
so that I may heal.
I shall allow myself to feel worthy
so that I may fulfill my purpose.

I take responsibility
for creating my own life story
through the choices I have made;
to blame others is to give away
my personal power.

Who will I allow to write
the next chapter of my life?
I shall seek the courage to believe
in a loving God who will
laugh with me in the sunlight or
cry with me in the darkness.
I shall make a small difference on this planet
through the work I do.
When I leave I will have done my share.

I shall live, love, laugh, 
and learn on my journey.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quote of the Week: A Mother's Relationship

"The proverb out of sight, out of mind, never applies to a mother's relationship with her child."
~ Unknown

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Positive, Now What??

Each Tuesday, we will share something applicable to those facing unplanned pregnancies and considering adoption.  

You have had some of the symptoms, your period was late, and you finally bit the bullet and took a pregnancy test. You nervously waited the mandatory three minutes. You prayed, willed, and demanded that the test only have one line. It felt like the longest three minutes of your entire life. When you finally were brave enough, you slowly opened one eye and then the other. You held your breath as you looked at the test. Your face became hot and flushed as you saw the two lines screaming POSITIVE staring back at you.

Sound familiar?? If you are reading this then chances are it has happened or is happening to you! You are probably feeling very overwhelmed at the moment. You might be feeling shock, guilt, resentment, and dismay. You may be even thinking “now what?” 

If you’ve just finished staring at that positive pregnancy test, I have a few tips for you. 
  • Before you start trying to decide if you should parent or make an adoption plan, give yourself a few days to breathe and deal with the reality that you are in deed pregnant.
  • Find an OBGYN and make an appointment to find out far along you are.
  • Stop any activities that may be harmful to your unborn baby, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, and taking medication.
  • Depending on your situation, share the news with your baby’s father.
  • Tell someone you trust (best friend, family member, etc.) the news.
  • Take care of you. You are probably feeling very overwhelmed and stressed, so be sure to take care of yourself.
  • Get plenty of rest, eat properly, and drink lots of water.
  • Remember that you are not alone. Although, you may feel like you have little support, you are not alone. Many other women are faced with unplanned pregnancies so you are not the first going through this. And you certainly will not be the last. 

Just give yourself a few days to absorb this news. You are going to have some tough decisions ahead of you so don’t rush into anything.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Watch your Words

Each Monday Lani will share a Bible verse, devotion, or her own thoughts as it relates to being a birthmother. 

As a birthmother there are times when our feelings are hurt by an unnecessary or insensitive comments but I also know that although they may not be related to adoption conversation, I may be guilty of making insensitive comments to others at times as well.  

I love you Lord
and I lift my voice
to worship you,
all my soul rejoice.
Take joy my king
in what you hear
let it be a sweet,
sweet sound in your ear. 

Lyrics from I Love You Lord by Petra

When I read the lyrics to this song I think of all my words and how our words can build someone up or tear them down in a split second. As a Christian, I feel a need to build up even when the other person may be insensitive or if it’s a situation I disagree with. 

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV version)  

When we talk in hurtful ways to others they shut down. Our goal is to have others hear us and understand us when we are speaking, right? If not, why would we ever speak at all? 

I hope you find a way to build someone up this week with your words, even in those challenging conversations!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quote of the Week: A Part of us Forever

"What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never loose. For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us forever."
~ Helen Keller

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Quote of the Week: Everything Happens for a Reason

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. Things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they're right. And sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together." ~ Marilyn Monroe

Friday, June 5, 2009

BirthMom Buds mentioned in The Union County Weekly

BirthMom Buds was recently mentioned in the news again. The Union County Weekly (out of North Carolina) did a story about Helen, one of our members. The article is below. 

Buds Have Common Bond
by Kara Lopp

When Helen Smeha unexpectedly got pregnant 21 years ago, her mother was so ashamed she wanted her daughter to have an abortion. Smeha refused. Instead, she chose adoption. 

Smeha, who’s Lebanese, said her family was embarrassed she was dating a black man, which was taboo in her family, and doesn’t like to talk about the adoption even now. The 44-year-old Indian Trail resident had a closed adoption, which means Smeha doesn’t know where her son lives or what he looks like. But through the adoption agency there have been letters from his adopted parents over the years, and Smeha knows her son is in college. She doesn’t know where or what he’s studying. “You know that we did this because we love our children,” she said. “I’ve heard it all through the years. Some people say, ‘You have no heart,’ and it’s like no, we do have a heart. It takes a lot of love to do this. I love (my son) more than me.”

A member of the online support group BirthMom Buds, Smeha joined about 20 other birth mothers at the organization’s fifth annual Birthmother’s Celebration May 1-3 in Charlotte.

It was their first three-day event. Women who’ve chosen adoption swapped stories, celebrated being birth mothers and shared information on how to help other women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. The six-year old organization, started by two birth mothers from Spartanburg, S.C., and Atlanta, has about 900 members and hosts local support group meetings.

The goal? Co-founder Nicole Strickland said it’s to let birth mothers know “they’re not alone” and provide support long after the adoption is finalized. Strickland placed her son for adoption seven years ago. “There are people who have done this before,” the 32-year-old said. “It is something that you deal with forever. It’s not like you place the baby and the pain’s gone in a year.”

Strickland met co-founder LeiLani Downing, 28, in 2001 after Downing posted a desperate plea for support on adoption.com after she placed her daughter for adoption. The two became fast friends and now are the backbone of BirthMom Buds.Breaking birth-mother stereotypes,such as they’re drug or alcohol addicts or simply don’t care about their babies,is a constant battle the women also fight, they say.

Stopping stereotypes
Through BirthMom Buds, Smeha said she’s learned to embrace the fact that she is a mother, though she chose not to raise her child. Now a medical transcriptionist, she doesn’t regret the decision – though that doesn’t mean the decision hasn’t taken an emotional toll. Smeha doesn’t have any other children. “I have suffered,” she said. “I see parents, I see children … and sometimes I get a little sad and tormented. I look around sometimes and I say, could he be my son? Could I be talking to my son? But deep down I (know I) did the right thing.”

Like several other BirthMom Buds,Smeha has found reward – and healing– in mentoring unwed mothers. For more than a year, she’s volunteered at Charlotte’s Florence Crittenton Services,a nonprofit that helps single mothers and their babies, and has been present as two women she mentored gave birth. Smeha said she doesn’t push the women toward adoption but simply shares her story and offers a listening ear.

“I’m very real with them,” she said. “To me, a mentor means a friend. It doesn’t mean to tell them what to do.” 

Smeha hopes to someday be reunited with her son. He contacted the adoption agency about a year ago saying he was ready to write letters to his birth mother. Smeha has been waiting for that first letter ever since. She’s written to him since he was 10.“God has always heard my prayers and my unanswered prayers,” she said. “I know he’s in good hands.” 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

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