Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School Bmoms by Jenifer H.

Today's post is written by guest blogger, Jenifer H.

Deciding to go back to school can be a daunting task for anyone, especially when you have just placed your child for adoption and are going back to school broken hearted or if you are going back after years of a “hiatus.”

Adoption is a touchy subject and is going to be treated differently by anyone/everyone you come into contact with.  I have learned that it’s important not to judge people, because we don’t know their history on why they feel about certain topics that they do.  Adoption brings about emotions in people that I never imagined possible.  When deciding to go back to school, it can be really difficult.  As a birthmom who has recently gone back to college after 10 years, I think there are some important things to keep in mind.

Here are a few pointers as you head back to school:    
  • Foundation - It is important to make sure that you have a solid foundation to step back into ‘normal’ life through counseling, support, and information.  
  • Positive people – It is important to make sure that you surround yourself with positive people.  After my daughters adoption I had people that I thought were my friends, turn out not to be good friends at all. After finding BirthMom Buds and finally being able to connect with others who really knew what I’d been through, I have been able to grow and actually move forward with my life.  
  • Be prepared –  If you are going right back to school after having your baby, people will have obviously known you are pregnant and may have questions. Be prepared for these nosey questions and think ahead of time what you may want to say.  
  • Writing assignments – Occasionally you may have creative writing assignments that may open the door for you to share your adoption experience. Remember you may have to read this aloud and it may be read by many, so only share what you are comfortable sharing with everyone.
  • Achieve your dreams - Perhaps you had to put off your education due to pregnancy, but it’s always good to try and achieve your dreams. Personally, I have finally discovered what I want to do with my life.  It’s taken a long time… but I finally know what I want.
  • Online courses - Taking online courses is a great way to ease back into school.  The time factor is the greatest part of online courses.  I still have deadlines and times to finish assignments, but I can do it on my time throughout the week.   Another great aspect to taking an online course that I have discovered is, it’s less intimidating.  It can be very tough to decide to go back to school, especially being older.  I was proud when I went to the school to get my ID card, but relieved when I didn’t have to step inside of a classroom and face the ‘younger kids’ yet.  Due to my major I will have to go back to a classroom setting to complete my degree, but I can get used to teachers, homework and corresponding with other students online first.
Heading back to school has been tough, but having a goal to focus on is helpful.  I hope that you can find peace in knowing that you are working for something.  Knowing that I have a goal keeps me going.  I never got to sit through a long and boring graduation ceremony, due to my pregnancy, but knowing that at the end of this journey I will be able to do that is a true testament to my ‘moving forward’ and being able to grow from my past.  It is a testament to my daughter and the decision I made 10 years ago, to place her with a loving family for adoption.  May you find peace and success in your decision and journey to go back to school!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the Week: Being Sad

"Being sad is not a personal attack by your emotions - it is a natural reaction to life sometimes."
~ Unknown

Friday, August 28, 2009

Birth Grandparents

When I was pregnant and making an adoption plan, I didn’t give much thought to how it would affect my extended family, like my parents. I forgot to think about the fact that not only was I loosing a son (in the parenting sense of the word) they were loosing the ability to be grandparents to their grandson in the “normal” sense of the word. But thanks to the open adoptions that many birthmothers and adoptive families have nowadays, birth grandparents are sometimes able to have some type of involvement and relationship with their grandchild. (Note: The type of involvement and relationship will differ with each open adoption relationship.)

How can birth grandparents be involved?
It depends on the parties involved in the adoption agreement and ideally is something that should be discussed before the adoption takes place. Birth grandparents can be included at visits, sent pictures, invited to birthday parties and other events, etc. Sometimes it takes time to develop a relationship and for the birth grandparents to become involved. Some birthmoms (I was guilty of this in the beginning) may feel that their time is too precious to share and may not want their parents involved at first.

What should the child call his/her birth grandparents?
Again this is something that should be discussed before hand and will depend on what everyone is comfortable with. In some cases, children may call their birth grandparents “grandma” or “grandpa” or whatever term it is that the other grandkids (if the child is not the first) call them. In other cases, he or she may just refer to them by their first name. It really depends on what everyone involved feels comfortable with.

Birth Grandparents do grieve just as we (birthmothers) do and therefore, support is beneficial to them as well. However, there are not a lot of resources out there specifically for birth Grandparents.  Below is a list of the few resources that I have found for birth Grandparents.
If you don’t think that your parents would be open to checking out the above resources then you may be looking for ways you could help them yourself. In an article entitled Can a Child have too Many Grandmas? Brenda Romanchick shares a few tips of ways that you could help and educate your parents.

Brenda suggests:
  • Teach them what you have learned about the adoptive family. Whether it is important holidays that the adoptive family celebrates, or their style of gift-giving, passing on known information will make contact easier on everybody. Knowing, for example, that the adoptive parents do not allow toy guns in the house will prevent the possibility of an awkward situation. Letting them know the communication style of the adoptive parents and your child will also give them an idea of what contact may be like. If, for example, it takes a long time for your child to warm up to strangers, family members will know not to expect the child to run to them with open arms.
  •  Let them know that all children are created equal. This is especially important if there are other children in the adoptive family. The best way to do this is to remind them that they are accepting the entire adoptive family into their lives, not just your child.
  • Prepare them for possible emotional fallout. All of us remember what those first visits were like. Just as you have had to learn to deal with the bittersweet quality of open adoption, so will your family members. Many of our parents especially may find that visits bring a new dimension to their loss.
So, how are your parents handling being a birth Grandparent? Feel free to pass along these resources and information if you feel comfortable. 

(Photo Credit)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Creating a Pregnancy Scrapbook

Have you thought about or started making a pregnancy scrapbook? You may not feel like making one or feel that you should be making one if you are experiencing an unplanned but as minor as it may sound this is one of my regrets. Even though your pregnancy is unplanned, I encourage you to still try and make the most of it try to enjoy being pregnant whenever possible. Easier said than done, though, right? 
Regardless of what you ultimately decide about either making an adoption plan or a parenting plan, a pregnancy scrapbook can be a great way to remember your pregnancy as well as a neat keepsake item for your child in the future. Plus, it could also relieve some stress by channeling some energy into something positive. Why not invite some girlfriends over, make a “girl night in “out of it, and crop till you drop!
Making a pregnancy scrapbook doesn’t have to be as involved as it may sound. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate (unless you want to do fancy and elaborate) but rather a place to record pregnancy milestones and photos. 
What should you include in a pregnancy scrapbook? Anything related to pregnancy of course! Be creative! Anything goes; you are only limited by your imagination!
Some ideas of things you could include in a pregnancy scrapbook:
  • Ultrasound photos
  • Belly progression photos
  • Photo of pregnancy test
  • Record of stats from each doctors visit (weight, belly growth, etc)
  • Confirmation of pregnancy sheet from doctor
  • Calendar pages that you jot down pregnancy milestones on (like when you felt the first kick)
  • Memorabilia (such as labels from the foods you were craving)
  • Plans you may be making regarding adoption such as when you met the adoptive parents, a photo from that meeting, journaling about how you chose them, etc.
  • Journaling about your thoughts and feelings
Anything else that is meaningful to yourself or that you feel may be meaningful to your child one day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"Tummy Mummy" Book Review by Leah O.

For Kaylee’s 4th birthday last year, I was trying to come up with the perfect gift as usual. It is often is a huge task for me each year as I’m trying to decide what is age appropriate and what message I want to send her through her birthday gifts.  For her 4th birthday, I decided on an adoption book since she was getting older and it might help her understand the dynamics of her twice-the-love family and how it came to be through adoption.  I knew I wanted the book I chose to echo these things: my love for her, her parents love for her, and somewhat reflect our open domestic adoption.

I searched and searched and finally an adoptive mother recommended the book, The Tummy Mummy by Michelle Madrid-Branch.  After reading reviews online, I ordered it and prayed that it would be age appropriate and “fit” our family as much as it could since I could not read it before I ordered. Thankfully, it suited my requirements and I was excited to give it to Kaylee. 

The Tummy Mummy narrates adoption from the birthmother’s perspective, which I loved.  It talks about a woman who loved her baby very much but knew she could not take care of it and then talks about a couple who had lots of love and all the baby things, but did not have a baby.  Therefore it shows that all around there is love for the child even before she was born. My favorite part is how the wise owl in the book guides the Tummy Mummy across the lake and leads her to the family. This to me was especially important because in my adoption, my “wise owl” was God and He certainly led me to Kaylee’s family. For another person, that wise owl could symbolize someone else in the adoption story (a counselor, social worker, a friend, etc). In the end, the message of love from all sides is well known, even from the birthmother afar. I loved that message: that even though I am not with her all the time I still love her.

While no book is going to perfectly match each of our adoption stories, this book of all the ones I’ve fit our story and the message I wanted to convey the most, even including a “God” figure.  If this one does not fit your story? There are more out there, just keep looking! Or, you can make your own.  Also, remember to ask your child’s adoptive parents if they are okay with you giving an adoption related and see what they might already have on their bookshelf!

This review was written by Leah O. To read more of Leah's writings,
visit her blog, O. Momma Writes.

Guest Bloggers

From time to time, we'll have guest bloggers here on the BirthMom Buds blog. Those guest bloggers will share articles and thoughts on a variety of topics all related to adoption, of course.

If you would be interested in sharing something as a guest blogger, leave a comment or drop us an email.

Photo Credit

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quote of the Week: Loving More than One Mother

“If a mother and father can love two children, why is it so hard to understand that a child could love more than one mother and father?”
- Unknown

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

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Monday, August 10, 2009

August Newsletter

The August Newsletter is now up!! Check it out at!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quote of the Week: Pieces

“My mother asked me to find her biological Mother for her. It was then that I realized you can’t have peace until you find all the pieces.”
~ Troy Dunn, The Locator

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr is widely known because Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar twelve step programs use the prayer as a part of their program. Although, it was made popular by twelve step programs, it really works for just about any situations and circumstances in life. It’s actually a bit longer than what is posted below, but the part below is the most well known portion of The Serenity Prayer and the most meaningful to me. 

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference.

It really fits in with being a birthmother, doesn’t it? To me, it’s basically saying that what is done is done. You can not go back and undo the past. You have to move forward and deal with what has already happened and realize that you do have the power and the ability to make changes in yourself and to make changes for the future. 

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quote of the Week: Red Thread

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.”
~ An ancient Chinese belief