Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Jill

We’re starting a new feature at the BirthMom Buds Blog and each weekend we will spotlight a different birthmom blogger. First up, we have Jill of The Happiest Sad.

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Jill, I'm 26, and I live in Arizona just outside of Phoenix. I found out I was pregnant in October of 2008. I considered adoption on and off throughout my pregnancy but I simply didn't think I could do it - I'd been through too much. In the months before I got pregnant, I was fired from my job and dumped by my boyfriend, and my father had died of a brain tumor. I couldn't stand the thought of one more heartbreak. I knew my baby's father wasn't going to be much of a help, but I didn't care. I had made my choice and I was going to single parent. I gave birth on July 7th, 2009, to a beautiful little girl I call Roo for privacy reasons. I took her home, and I was her mommy. But adoption was always there in the back of my mind, and as the weeks went on I finally found the strength to do what I thought I couldn't. When she was seven weeks old, I found the family I knew was meant to be hers. I placed her with her parents, P and M, on September 9th.Roo's is an open adoption. I get regular e-mail and pictures and videos, and I've had six or seven visits since placement. My most recent visit was just after her birthday. I might be slightly biased, but I think Roo is the prettiest, sweetest, smartest one-year-old ever. She is my favorite person in the world.

I absolutely love the title of your blog- The Happiest Sad – how did you come up with that?

My mom and I were driving home from our first meeting with Roo's parents. As scary as the idea of adoption was, I knew I'd found the right family. I loved them already. I was trying to explain my feelings to my mother. I told her that I was so happy that P and M were getting a baby, I almost didn't even care that it was my baby they were getting. I was sad that she wasn't going to be mine any more, but it was the happiest sad I'd ever felt. When I thought about it later I decided the phrase was an apt description of adoption and I used it for my blog.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I started blogging two days after I met P and M, at the end of August 2009. My biggest worry with placement was that my little girl would grow up thinking I didn't love her or want her. I started the blog for her to read as she gets older, so she can see for herself how very much I love her, how I wanted more than anything to be her mommy, and how I loved her enough to do what was best for her, even though that meant placing her for adoption.

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

I'm a lucky girl - the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I've gotten more love and support through my blog than I ever could have imagined. I'm sure there are people who take exception to some of my thoughts and opinions but they've kept quiet, for which I am grateful.

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of starting a blog?

I don't know if I feel qualified to give anyone advice! I guess I'd just say that if you're going to blog, do it for yourself. Don't worry about what other people might think, or what you think they want to read. Write what you feel, or what you personally would want to read.
Mostly, just write!

Thank you, Jill, for taking a few minutes to answer these questions. Be sure and pop over to The Happiest Sad and tell Jill hi!

Friday, July 30, 2010

About this Blog

I just want to make clear to our readers what this blog is and isn't all about.....

What this blog is:
A place for selected birthmother bloggers to post their thoughts, feelings, and experiences
A place where other birthmothers can read the experiences, thoughts, and feelings of those bloggers
A place of understanding and friendship

What this blog is not:
A place for bashing, slamming, harassment, or negativity towards any one triad member
A place where bloggers feel they need to defend their decision
A place of negativity and hostility
A place for debate

While this blog is primarily for birthmothers, we do welcome other triad members as well as non triad members to read and learn from our posts but ask if they comment that their comments be respectful. If things get out of hand, this will become a private blog.

We're not saying that you have to agree with each post or that you should not comment if you disagree, we realize that not everyone is going to agree with everyone (and what a boring world this would be if it were that way!) but we do ask that your comments be made with respect.

Lastly, comments should relate directly to the post on which they are left. If they do no relate to the post then they will be removed by administration.

It should also be noted that each blogger here has her own views, thoughts, and ideas about adoption as based on her experiences. They are not neccessarily the thoughts of all birthmothers involved with BirthMom Buds.

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Pain of being a Birthmother Lasts Forever

"I never knew that it would last forever
....because it never stops."
- Catelynn ( of MTV's Teen Mom)

Wow, was she ever right! ;)

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Michelle, a single mom to an amazing 6 1/2 year old son, and a birthmom to an equally amazing almost 5 year old little girl. Alot of people don't know that I am a b-mom, so when Coley asked me to do this blog, I was almost a little hesitant, but figured, WHY NOT? I have quite a story to share, and if my story could help other people, then it was all worth it.

I come from a very traditional family background, so when I came home 7 years ago at the age of 20 and told my parents that I was pregnant with my son, they almost had a heart attack. They were disappointed and heartbroken, but never stopped supporting me, even after I left C's dad a month after he was born. They helped me watch him while I went to school and did what I had to do to better myself. What they didn't know, was that I was out doing things I wasn't supposed to do, and a year after I left my son's dad, I had a one night stand that changed my life forever.

I hooked up with J on a December day in 2004. I felt disgusted with myself after I left and vowed to make a resolution to make guys respect me and treat me right. I changed my life to revolve on being a better parent and a better person, until I found out I was pregnant again. I felt like my whole world came crashing down. I couldn't have another baby. My son had just turned a year old. I can't be a single mom of two kids! So I scheduled an abortion for the following week.

I pushed everyone out of my life as soon as I found out, so when it was time to go have the abortion, I went alone. On my way, I passed by a church, and even though I went to Catholic school when I was younger, I didn't consider myself to be very religious. I went anyways and had a one on one talk with God. After lots of tears, we came to an agreement that he would forgive me for the mistakes I have made, if I gave this baby the life it deserved. There were plenty of people who would die to have a baby, and yet here I was planning on killing the one inside of me. Instead of going to the clinic, I went home and stayed pregnant.

I kept my pregnancy a secret. I was in denial. Things like this don't happen to girls like me. I am smart, educated, come from a two parent, loving household. How could this be happening? I went to work and lived my daily life as a normal person. I worked retail at the time, and when customers would ask how far along I was, I would answer back with "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat." There were days when I would pray not to wake up in the morning because of the situation I was in. It was the saddest, most darkest time of my life.

When I was about 6 months pregnant, my manager at work sat me down and had a conversation with me. She said "We have been noticing a change in you and want to talk to you as friends. You have been gaining alot of weight lately, are you pregnant?" It was the first time I admitted to anyone, including myself, that in fact I was. When she asked what I was going to do, I told her that I had thought about adoption. One of the ladies at work had a niece who just became an A-mom, and she gave me the information of the adoption agency she had gone through.

Fast forward to three months later, after I had gone to the agency, looked at their prospective a-parent books, picked a family, met them and fell in love with them. I still hadn't told my family. I had decided to tell them on a Friday, when I was scheduled to be off from work. I knew it was now or never since I was due in about 2 weeks. I went to bed on Thursday night, and woke up at 3:30am on Friday morning, thinking I had peed on myself. When I stood up out of bed, water gushed out of me and I thought "O M G - My water just broke." I had to wake my dad up (my mom worked nights), and tell him, "Dad, I'm 9 months pregnant and my water just broke" HOLY MOLY!!! He was in so much shock. He yelled at me for an hour and then took me to the ER. It was nothing like I could've imagined it to be.

I gave birth a few hours later to the most beautiful, healthy baby girl ever. She was absolutely perfect in every way. When I saw her a-parents hold her for the first time, I knew that I made the right choice, but I never expected my heart to hurt so much. I think it hurt even more because my family was so angry with me. I had hurt and disappointed them. I didn't give them an opportunity to even accept what was happening. It was truly a difficult time for all of us.

I gave birth to Hope on that Friday morning, and was released from the hospital on Sunday afternoon (September 11, 2005). It was the last time I got to hold my baby girl in my arms. It was the day I whispered in her ear and made the promise that I would be someone she could be proud of when we met again. It was the day that I had to part with a piece of my heart, but a day I never regretted.

I was in denial for a long time, as was my family. For years, while I hurt on Mother's Day and around her birthday, I never really showed it other than being a little more emotional and alot more bitchy. My family was very angry, and everytime I got pictures of her in the mail, my mom would go on and on about how she couldn't understand why I would do that. It was the cause of alot of fights between us.

While I spoke at bi-annual workshops for the adoption agency I placed through, I never met any other b-moms. I always felt like I was alone in feeling the way that I did, and always felt like I had to be strong and get past those feelings. I never had anyone I could relate to or to show me that it was ok. That is, until MTV aired the show 16 and Pregnant. I never thought a show that followed pregnant teen girls would change my life, especially as an adult. But it did.

When 16 and Pregnant showed the episode of Catelynn and Tyler, I sobbed throughout the whole show. It was the first time in my life that I had seen someone else who was real (Juno didn't count), go through the feelings and thoughts and emotions that I went through. As the cameras followed the pair through picking the a-family and meeting them, all the way to birth and seperation, I felt everything the couple felt. For once, there was a true depiction of what adoption looked like, as well as felt like. I think I watched that episode 3 or 4 times, and I know my mom and sisters watched it as well. They were finally able to understand what it was like to be in my shoes, and understood so much more.

When the show Teen Mom came around, depicting life after pregnancy and birth for 4 of the girls, including Catelynn, there was alot of controversy based on the idea that "she really isn't a mom." Who says she isn't a mom? She gave life, and while she didn't parent her baby, she gave her a better opportunity to be raised in a household of love and care, where things could be provided to her, by parents who had the ability to.

The first season of Teen Mom not only showed the difficulties and drama of being a mom at a young age, but it also showed the feelings of loss and sadness after placement. I felt the feelings Catelynn felt. I wanted to reach through the tv screen and hug her and tell her she wasn't alone, that I felt the same way she felt. The frustrations about not getting pictures when she was supposed to, or of not knowing certain things about the baby. I learned from her, and after watching the episode where she went to a b-mom retreat and met other b-moms, and seeing how much that helped her, it made me want to seek support of my own.

Thanks to Catelynn, I was able to feel the feelings that I had never let myself feel in the past 5 years. Thanks to Catelynn, my mom and sisters are able to understand a little bit more about why I did what I did and how I feel about it, even though I don't show them my emotions towards it. Thanks to Catelynn, I found Birthmom Buds. It was in thanks to watching her that I was able to reach out and seek support of my own. I flew all the way across the country, from Los Angeles to Charlotte, NC, to get that support, and it was life-changing. That girl on tv led me to a whole new world, a world where when someone says "I understand", they truly mean it. It's amazing how much healing I have been able to do thanks to the amazing group of women I met while I was across the country.

While this second season of Teen Mom so far seems to be focusing more on the relationship between Tyler and Catelynn and less on the adoption itself, which is the whole reason why they are on there in the first place, I am sure there will be more adoption issues that will come up as the season progresses. It's not just a show for teens, it's a show for everyone. This will be a place where we can discuss what we like and don't like, and how it relates to us, and our feelings. If you haven't watched Teen Mom yet, you can do so here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Choosing a Family

That cutie right there? Yeah,that's Blake again, which must mean I am back! I can't believe it's time for post number two, and yet here I am nervously typing to you again.

This week I think we shall talk about...hmmm...why I chose the family for Blake that I chose. I know I said in my other post that I just felt it from the beginning, but I guess it was a bit more complicated than that. I have been thinking about this today more than most days because I am in a birthmother group here in Seattle and there is a woman there who is pregnant and considering (leaning heavily towards) placing. She actually asked us last night how we knew we had chosen the right families.Short of God brought them to me (I am not a faith-full person) I actually had to think about it for the first time.
I knew that H & T were very stressed by their inability to have children of their own, as most acouples are. Wait, I should start at the beginning, makes things more logical I suppose. So H (adad) was Erik (biodad)'s boss. Erik went to H one day confused and told him about our situation. After H found out we were considering (really, had decided on) adoption, he gently told Erik that he and T were also considering adoption, just from the other end of the spectrum. H &T are very hard working, down to earth people. Each comes from a big family, where there is no shortage of love. I knew that I wanted my child to go to a home where he would know the value of hard work, not be spoiled for spoiled's sake. Does that even make sense? I hope so. H & T have been together since high school, I knew that this was not a new romance, but something seasoned, that was ready for the struggles of a child.

When Erik and I would make the 5 mile trip to their house for my (almost) weekly visits, there was no awkwardness. Yes, I was pregnant with what could be their child, but they also knew I was a person. That meant the world to me. I actually remember telling them that they could only have Blake if I could tell everyone H was my baby-daddy. I know its corny now, but we were that comfortable. T came to every one of my doctors appointments and was very excited for everything. I knew that she would love Blake. I guess the real reason I knew that they were the family for my son was that they had waited so long, weathered so much together, and yet could still laugh about it. I have told this story a thousand times, but what really cemented it was when I was at the hospital in labor and Erik, T and I had two minutes alone together. T looked at me, and with all the love in her heart, said 'If you guys decide you can't do this, you can have our baby stuff." I knew she wanted this baby, but at that moment, I knew she wanted the best for him, no matter where he was.

I know now that they are the right family because Blake tells T that she is his best friend, that when he grows up he wants to be just like H. Little things like that break my heart but heal it all at the same time.

How did you ladies know?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quote of the Week: Reach High

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal." - P. Vaull Starr

New Button!

We've made a new blog button and would love it if you added it to your blog!! Leave us a comment and let us know if you add it!

Copy & paste the following code into an HTML gadget in your blog layout:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Debbie's Intro

Hello everyone! There is a someone out there reading this, right? I am Debbie, and I am the mother on one side of an open adoption. I am 24 and live in the great (wet, rainy) city of Seattle. Blake, my son, will be 3 on September 15th. He is currently in the custody (permanently, though its a bit more complicated than that) of a wonderful couple in Virginia. That's where he was born. I should back up, I suppose, to how all of this began.

(Do you hear the VCR rewind sound I am making? NO? Imagine with me!)

The year is 2007. I am 20 years old and carefree. Well, as carefree as I could be. I live with Erik (soon to be known as bio dad) in a crappy garage apartment, but its all we can afford. We have been together nine months. As part of what every responsible couple should do (says the high school sex ed teacher in me) we discussed what would happen were I to become pregnant. So here it is, winter of 2007. Erik has the feeling before I do, and off to the pharmacy I go. The first thing I notice is how expensive pregnancy tests are! I think that one test cost us a lunch. For some reason, I still couldn't explain it, we headed off to the library, into the separate mens and womens bathrooms, me to pee on the stick, him to have somewhere to wait the required three minutes and not show the world how nervous he was. Sure enough, there were two pink lines. After the required three minutes he emerged to me sitting, shifting on one of the benches. I didn't have to say anything, he knew.

Frenzied, we begin the search for a family for the alien growing inside me. Neither of us were particularly attached to it yet. We looked at agencies, had some family portfolios mailed to us. There must have been some telephone list we ended up on -- several churches called to ask what we were doing with our baby. The alien was only a baby to us (so far) in that we knew it needed a family, and that the family was not going to come from some church telemarketer.

Fast forward (that sound again!) about two weeks. I am nervous, scared, alone. Erik is talking to his boss at work, just to have someone to talk to about all of this. Lo and behold, boss man and his wife were unable to become pregnant and were looking into adoption. They, like us, are working class people and cannot afford the fees associated with private agencies. It was almost a dream come true when Erik called me at work to tell me that they wanted to meet me. I wanted to meet them, had to I felt. The mix of emotions leading up to our meeting was huge on my end. The alien was becoming a baby, more and more so as we found it a family. All I remember from that first meeting is sitting on their porch, probably 3 months pregnant, and knowing that this was it. I didn't hide it, I told them right away.

My pregnancy was fairly normal, aside from what seemed like never ending vomiting. T (amom) was there for all of my doctors appointments. She took his ultrasound pictures home, to her fridge. I watched T and H build a nursery for the longer an alien. I would visit weekly, walk baby through his room, tell him how excited I was, how beautiful it was and how much T and H loved him already.

About 5 months into my pregnancy, T and H started foster parenting classes. They wanted a fall back plan. They lived in a trailer on H's parents land for years, ate ramen noodles, scrimped and saved to have the money to get a house and have kids. They couldn't. This time, they didn't want there to be a failure option. I was so proud to see them go. About a month before Blake was born, they got their 3 foster kids. What a glorious day it was, but oh how nervous was I. Would they still want my son now that they had a houseful? Yes, oh how lucky I was, they still did.

I will never forget the night he was born. Of course, who does? My water broke, Erik ran to the neighbors. I'm still not sure why! Off we went to the merry hospital. T met us there (H was still home with the kids). I will never forget what she said to me. I got into the elevator with T and Erik, and T looked at me, half scared, 21 years old in labor with their miracle baby, and with all the love and courage in her heart said 'If you guys cant go through with this you can have all of our baby stuff.' I know that doesn't sound big, but it was. It was huge. We were now in this together no matter what.

The next morning there was a baby. H and T hadn't even thought of his name until a few hours before he was born, they were so afraid they would not get their son. Blake Edward. It was a perfect name. Blake is the name of my best friend, someone who is an amazing part of my family. Edward is bio dad's stepfather, that raised him. Perfect.
That's enough details for now, I suppose. Basically, the adoption isn't finalized but we all agree that Blake is their forever son. They have adopted 2 of the 3 foster kids and recently had twins of their own. Each of these topics will be another blog post.

We (Erik and I) moved to Seattle when Blake was 2 months old. It was just too hard on us living 5 miles from our son who wasn't our son. I go back once a year for a visit. Amom is a friend on facebook, I call her whenever I want and she texts me bunches. She's a part of my family now. It's not all rainbows and sunshine, but for this overview it shall be.

New Bloggers

We're so excited to announce that we have some new bloggers who will start posting this week. They'll introduce themselves to you on their particular day this week and then they will each be posting once a week after.

We'll pick back up with 2 of our popular past features. "Quotes of the Week" will be posted on Sundays and songs and videos related to adoption, being a birthmother, and our love for our children on Thursdays.

Every so often we'll be featuring YOUR blogs so if you have a birthmom blog and you'd like to be featured (we'll need to ask you a couple of questions for the feature) please email us at birthmombuds(at)gmail(dot)com.

So stay tuned!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quote of the Week: Progress

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress." 
- Frederick Douglass

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Retail Therapy

I think regardless of whether or not you have issues to deal with almost every girl in America participates in retail therapy! It’s not good on the checkbook but it’s great for my self esteem and ego.
Perhaps you’ve never heard the term “retail therapy,” so let me explain. Retail therapy is basically the satisfaction some people get from shopping.
Looking back, I’ve always enjoyed retail therapy. In high school, it was something small. I’d buy fingernail polish in a funky color to cheer myself up if I was having a “blah” or stressful day. Fingernail polish was cheap and fun. In college, it escalated to hair accessories. Headbands, scrunchies, or clips; I had quite the collection.
Nowadays, its purses, handbags, or pocketbooks; pick your choice of titles; I love them all. I have quite a purse collection. I have big purses, little purses, handmade purses, name brand purses, off brand purses including tote bags, which are not really purses but belong in the purse family. When I’m feeling blue, if I have the extra cash, I go buy a purse.
Needless to say, I probably buy a purse every month to every other month. My favorite “store” as of lately has become eBay. You can find anything, any kind of purse. There are even people who will custom make the purse, embroidery it with your name or initials, etc. And the best part of eBay shopping: you can shop from the comfort of your own home at two in the morning in your jammies! Now it’s not just actual purses, but purse shaped picture frames, note pads, magnets, etc!
I know, I know, retail therapy is not the best kind of therapy. It can not replace traditional therapy and it could get out of hand. But right now, I have the discipline to keep it under control and enjoy buying something new for myself every so often. After all, I do deserve it!

Photo Credit

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Newsletter

We are trying out a new format to the newsletter. You can download it here. If you have problems with that, email us at birthmombuds(at)gmail(dot)com and we can email you the file.