Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quote of the week: Regret or Rejoice

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else;
And for everything you gain, you lose something else.
It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Kathryn

This weekend’s featured birthmom blogger is Kathryn of Letters to my Baby. Let’s get to know Kathryn a little better…..

First of all, Kathryn, please tell us a little bit about yourself. (Name, age, where you are from, what led to you making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfy sharing!)

My name is Kathryn and I am born and raised in the state of Utah with a brief stint in Missouri as a child.  I have anticipation of traveling all over the United States and Europe... one day when I can actually afford it, but for right now just dreaming, haha.  I am the youngest of 8 children and I have 18 beautiful nieces and nephews.  My son is the 19th grandchild for my parents and he was born 7 weeks after his little cousin who is my oldest sister’s youngest son.  So, yeah, our family is full of squishy adorable little babies and children.

I knew from the moment I found out that I was pregnant that I was not in a place where I could raise my son the way I had always dreamed of raising my children.  I was living in student housing and student housing standards where I lived strongly opposed against single pregnant mothers and so I had to find another place to live, so essentially I didn't even have a place to live.  I was in ridiculous debt and in a job that was not conducive to raising a child on my own.  I was in a bad position, not only emotionally, but physically and financially.  As much as I wanted to raise my son, I knew it wasn't a realistic dream, not for any inconvenience to me, but because I knew he deserved better than what I could offer him.  Baby Daddy is also an extremely dangerous man and I didn't ever want him to know about my son, so when I found out I was pregnant, I quit my job and moved far away where Baby Daddy couldn't find me; and trust me, he did try to find me, but I remained well hidden.  I didn't know where to go and then my mom told me about LDS Family Service.  I started to work with a case worker through LDS Family Services to learn about the options I had available to me.  I was about 4 months pregnant when I began making my placement plan.  I didn't start seriously looking in to families until about month 7 and I delivered the news to the couple I chose about 2 weeks before I ended up delivering my little baby boy.

When and why did you begin blogging?
I began blogging very shortly after I delivered.  Maybe about 3 weeks afterwards.  I became zealous over finding people who had experienced the same kind of trauma I had... Nothing can prepare you for the moment you place your child in the arms of someone else to raise.  I had been preparing for that moment for months and it still... nothing can prepare you for that moment.  What I am about to say sounds so dark and depressing, but it truly is the only way to describe that moment... for me anyway, but I literally died on the car ride home from the hospital... my soul died and the birth of the new me began.  It's tragic and quite beautiful at the same time.  The old me died and the new me was created.  It was sacred and to this day... still catches my breath in my chest when I remember it all.  I wanted to find people that understood that feeling.  And then I started coming across all sorts of blogs relating to infertile couples and as I read them I began to realize that they've experienced that same feeling I experienced, only I believe that they have experienced it more often than I have.  They've experienced the loss of that dream child repeatedly... and, I wanted to connect with them.  The only way I know how to write is from my heart.  I'm actually a Creative Writing minor at University and so I've always loved writing, but I never knew what my voice was, and I finally now know my voice and the story I want to share and through blogging I am able to do that. 

Tell us more about the title of your blog – Letters to my Baby – and why you choose to write most of your posts as letters?
My biggest concern throughout my entire pregnancy was that my son, when he was older, would feel abandoned by me.  I have a couple of friends who were adopted and adoption was always a hush-hush topic in their household that was bordering on the taboo and they grew up feeling ashamed about who they are and that was something I never wanted my son to feel.  He is nothing to be ashamed about.  He is not a mistake; he is a gift in the life of everyone he comes to know.  My entire pregnancy, the one consistent question I had was, "If I could tell my son anything, what would it be?"  And so I started writing him letters while I was pregnant with him and those letters haven't stopped.  In fact, all of my siblings have written letters to him, as well as all of my aunts and uncles in my mother's family, my maternal grandmother, and my parents.  I am creating a book of letters for him that will let him know the type of woman I am based on the thoughts of those who know me best, me.  The letters from me to him are things that I've learned (specifically from the moment I found out I was pregnant with him) about life, people, and love.  I love him and I want him to always know that he is loved by more people than he'll ever know.  I also want the voice in my blog to ring true and deep with any adult out there who was adopted and unable to get answers to their questions.  I feel extremely maternal over any adoptee regardless of their age or race.  I want them to know they are loved no matter what the situation surrounding their specific adoption was.  To me there is nothing more personal than a letter from a loved one and so letters is how I choose to share my story.

Has the response to your blog posts been mostly positive or negative or a mix of both?
I am blessed to have experienced only positive feedback to my blog.  In all my interactions with people via the blog or a random stranger in the grocery mart line, my experience has been mostly positive.  I've found that majority of people outside the small circle of adoption simply do not know a whole lot about adoption, especially open adoption and I take extreme pleasure in expressing my feelings and my knowledge with them.  I think that if you approach this topic with a sense of learning and educating that you are going to have better reciprocation.  Then again, there are just really stupid and insensitive people out there who just don't care or want to know.  And that's fine.  I choose my battles and ignorant people are not one I choose.  I've heard of horrible experiences that other birth mothers have had and I've seen how it's affected them and it hurts because it resounds deep within me, but I don't let the fear of what happened to them and could happen to me control my desire to share my beautiful story of open adoption with others.  In fact, it fuels my passion further to advocate the beautiful gift that open adoption is.

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of starting a blog?
Figure out your voice.  What character are you in this novel called life and what audience do you want to appeal to?  Once you figure that out, you won't have a problem writing for them.  It will come naturally.  Also, and this is something I need to pay particular attention to, be aware of the mood you are in when you sit down to write.  You can definitely tell which posts I wrote when I was ticked off, lol.  If you are experiencing intense emotion, be it of joy or sadness, it will come through in your writing... that can be a good thing or a not-so-good thing.

Thank you Kathryn for your voice, your writing, and taking the time to answer these questions.

Be sure and visit Kathryn’s blog, Letters to My Baby

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Am I A Mother?

Today I was driving in the car when my little brother asked "Are you a mother?" This struck me as odd. First of all Matthew was much to young to remember me being pregnant. Second of all he is only 6. I guess yes technically I am a mother, but I guess in all honesty, I don't really feel like one.

I know a lot of people might jump on me for this, but I seriously wanted to disect it and decide for myself.

I looked up the definition of Mother

"The state of being a mother; the character or office of a mother."

I found that definition extremely vague and unhelpful. Because I am currently not in the state of being a mother. I currently do not have a child. But I guess I could be the character of a mother..but that to me still doesn't seem right. Yes, I gave birth to one heck of a beautiful little girl (if I do say so myself :) and yes I am a character, but I am not her mother. I am a birthmother.

I looked up the definition of Birth Mother

"The biological mother of a child; a person's mother related biologically rather than by adoption"

Well this could be a lot of people then. My mom would be a birthmother and she didn't place for adoption, so could my aunts, my neighbors and friends.

So all of this searching did not lead me to any answer. In fact it has frustrated me quite a bit. So I want to know.... What is your opinion.

Are birthmothers : Mothers, Birthmothers, or just girls who placed their baby for adoption.

I hope this post made sense. I tried to make my line of thought understandable. I can't wait to see your comments and thoughts on it!

Hope you all have a fantastic Thursday! Jessalynn

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote of the week: Experience

Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives the test first and the lesson afterward. - Unknown

Friday, August 20, 2010

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Rebekah

This weekend’s spotlight blogger is Rebekah of Sailing my Way through Life

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. (Name, age, where you are from, what led to you making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfy sharing!) 
My name is Rebekah. I was born in California but raised in Arizona. Somehow, through a series of events, I made my way here, to the wonderful state of Colorado.

At the age of 34, I became pregnant with my fifth child. I was already a single mom of four but with the promise of marriage and more love then I would know what to do with, I trusted a man enough to have a child with him. Unfortunately, his love was not as lasting as he promised, and as he ran off with his new flame, I was left behind to be a single mom of now five children. The thought of that was overwhelming.

After much prayer and several weeks of going back and forth, and at about fifteen weeks pregnant, I decided that for the good of the baby in my belly and also my four children at home, I would relinquish my fifth child to adoption.

When and why did you begin blogging?
I started blogging when I was only about six weeks pregnant with my birth son. I did it because I needed a place to just tell people how I felt. I was angry, and confused, and scared. I had no idea that blogging would become a huge part of my life and my adoption story.

Has the response to your blog posts been mostly positive or negative or a mix of both?
I have had a wide range of reactions on my blog. I think my story is hard for people to handle. Most people are supportive but I have a lot of readers who do not agree with the choice I made for my son. I hope that through my blog and through my birth son’s mom’s blog, open adoption can become something that isn’t so scary to talk about.

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of starting a blog?
I would say to someone who is thinking of starting a blog to just do it. Who cares if you don’t have readers at first or if you think you have nothing to say. It is so wonderful to be able to say what is on your heart and to not be afraid of the response. I think the most important thing to blogging is to be real. People can relate to the "realness" of people’s lives. It draws us together.

Anything else you’d like to say/share??
I used to be afraid of what people would think of me when I told them my story. It truly is a "beauty for ashes" kind of story. God used my, what seemed to be impossible, situation and used it for His glory. I’m not afraid to talk about it, and blogging helped me do that. 

Thanks Rebekah for taking a few minutes to answer these questions. Be sure to stop by Rebekah's blog

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Importance of Self Esteem

When I was younger, I had major self esteem issues. I would look in the mirror and hate the way I looked. My hair was frizzy, my body was awkward, my eyebrows were bushy, my butt was too big, and my skin was too dark (compared to everyone else in my family). I literally felt like a black sheep. During high school I changed my name to “Myshel” and swore I was someone totally different than whom I was. I had a different boy every week and would drop them before they had an opportunity to drop me. The attention they gave me felt good, at least temporarily.

A couple of months after graduating high school, I met C’s dad. He swept me away. While I should’ve been focusing on college, I focused on him. Before I realized it, I made him my world. Nothing else mattered to me. My family and I would have huge fights because of him. They saw me becoming less and less of the person I was, and more and more like the person he wanted me to be. He mentally and verbally abused me. He controlled me. The 2 ½ years I was with him were some of the weakest points in my life.

When I found out I was pregnant, I cried. I saw my whole life, all my goals, get thrown down the toilet. He was happy and excited to finally be a “family”. Yet, during those 9 months, he cheated on me and abused me, and put me through a living hell. I felt like I deserved everything I was getting and dealt with it. It wasn’t until C was born that I woke up. He physically abused me two more times and threatened to take my son from me, the last time being under the roof of my parent’s home, and that was the final straw. I was done. I couldn’t have this monster in mine or my son’s life. I finally had the courage to break up with him. Unfortunately, by then the damage was done.

The following year after the breakup, I was at an all time low, self esteem wise. I went from guy to guy to guy. I had just turned 21 and was like a walking ad for Girls Gone Wild. My self respect, amongst other things, went out the window. I no longer loved myself. I looked for attention any way I possibly could. It was disgusting. Before I knew it, a year had passed and I was even more unhappy than I was when I left C’s dad. Unfortunately, it only got worse when I found out I was pregnant from a one night stand. I was ashamed of myself.

During the 9 months I was pregnant with Hope, there were times when my self esteem was so low, I prayed to God to not let me wake up in the morning. I hoped to fall down the stairs or get hit by a car. It was the darkest time of my entire life, possibly even more so since my pregnancy was kept a secret. I went through it all alone in fear and shame of what others would think of me. I was so hard on myself that I never got to see the positives of everything my life had brought me.

Where am I going with this?

While watching Teen Mom, I’ve been reminded over and over of the self esteem issues we all face as teenagers, and even as adults. It’s tough for me to see these girls go through the struggles they do. We saw Maci struggle with Ryan and the way he treated her last season. A lot of us have agreed that Farrah was a terrible mom, but now can see where all her issues stem from after the incident with her mom and her conversation with her therapist regarding her relationship with Sophia’s dad. We cringe at the mental and verbal abuse between Amber and Gary. Worst of all, we continuously see the difficulties of Catelynn and Tyler being in a relationship after placing Carly for adoption.

Teen Mom has been difficult for me to watch lately, as seeing the issues evolve between Catelynn and Tyler’s relationship makes me feel really bad for both of them. When Tyler was being a jerk and Catelynn was crying about how much it hurt her, I wanted to reach through the screen and shake her and say “LEAVE HIM”. No one should be made to feel like they’re worthless, especially by someone who says loves them. The attachment and bond between Ty and Catelynn is strong due to the fact that they went through pregnancy and placement and post adoption feelings together. Regardless, though, there is NO REASON she should allow him to talk to her and text her with the things he was telling her. There’s no reason for any of us to allow anyone to bring us down like that. We shouldn’t have to “settle” with anyone who brings us down and doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves.

Just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to be involved with them. Love is not a bandage to cover wounds. –Hugh Elliott

For awhile, I had labeled myself as “damaged goods”. Personally, I felt like I was a mess that no one would want to be with. I had two children by the age of 22. I didn’t have a degree or a house of my own. I was living paycheck to paycheck. I felt like I had no worth. I dated around, but never opened up about my experiences in life with anyone because of the fact that I was embarrassed by the way my life played out. It was hard for me to trust anyone, let alone trust myself that I wouldn’t go back to my old way of thinking or acting. I was more embarrassed of being me.

It has taken me several years to realize what an amazing person I am. I have become able to see all the good things within myself and be proud of who I am and am becoming everyday. My level of personal growth in the past 5 years since Hope was born is amazing. I have transformed from a single mom with broken dreams and a broken heart to a woman who is selfless, strong, determined, confident, intelligent, goal oriented, and compassionate. I’m proud of myself for how far along I have come in my life and how much more growth I have ahead of me. Granted, I have my off days like anyone else, I don’t dwell on them as much as I used to and have opened myself up for new opportunities, including falling in love. But, that’s another story for another day…

What are some of the things you find you are hard on yourself about and wish you could change? What are the positive things you see in yourself? Focusing on those positives will help get through the bad days. If you ever need a boost, and don't know where to start, I highly suggest this site I read about in Glamour magazine. Try it ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Music Monday: Smile

This song has been playing almost nonstop lately. In my house, in my car, with friends, at yoga class... While it isn't a super peppy song, the words are brilliant. I'm sure a lot of the time you hear people say "just get over it." We all know it isn't like donating an old shirt to Good Will. There is a lot more pain involved than that. Sometimes you just need to put your big girl panties on and deal with what's going on. Other times you need to lock yourself in your room and have a good cry. This song can honestly work both ways in my world. I hope it works in yours too. Just remember that no matter how much you're hurting, the world will smile back at you if you smile first.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quote of the week: Ingredients for life

There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.
- Christopher Morley

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Michelle M.

This week we are featuring Michelle of Not Quite Juno.  First of all, please tell us a little bit about yourself. (Name, age, where you are from, what led to you making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfy sharing!)
My name is Michelle Masterson, and I am a birthmother. Easy to say but not always easy to live as many of you know. I am 32 years old and the proud Mommy of 4 children in addition to the little one I placed in April of 2009.

When I first found out I was pregnant, it was in early October of 2008. I remember sitting in the bathroom in tears for an hour, thinking there was NO WAY I was pregnant. I had been on birth control since my son was born in 2007 and was convinced that the test was wrong. But after taking three more tests, I had to start thinking in reality...what now?

I would love to say that adoption was my first option, but in all honesty, I called the clinics to see what an abortion cost. $483 and I was too many weeks into the pregnancy. I was no hero. When abortion became a non option, I went into a bit of a funk, trying to figure out what I could do. To say we were struggling financially as a family at that time would be an understatement, and I knew that there was going to be no way to raise another child. I remember sitting on my couch, staring off into space, and when things came back into focus, I was staring at the bright orange copy of the movie "Juno", sitting happily on the shelf with about 50 other movies. why hadn't we thought of that??? I called some agencies and it all felt like a huge "supply and demand" type of thing and I wasn't comfortable with any of it. I looked at private adoptions too.

One night, in early November, out of crazed desperation, I typed the words "Baby Adopt" into the search box on Craigslist, and 8 families popped up. I emailed each one a short paragraph describing my situation and waited for responses. Out of those, I emailed back and forth with several couples before finding one I liked enough to meet. Within five minutes, I felt comfortable with them, and chose them a few days later to be parents of my soon to be child. They went to every doctor’s appointment with me, were at the birth, and the Daddy even cut the cord. They took her home directly from the hospital, and the rest is history...right? Wrong!

When and why did you begin blogging? I began blogging in January of 2010, 9 months after she was born. I had run across a few blogs of other birthmothers that really inspired me in the fact that these women had been through what I had, and had survived anyways. (Thanks Kelsey and Desha)  I had settled into a deep, deep depression and found that I had zero support staff in place to talk to. My husband was avoiding the topic altogether, my friends thought I had the plague, and because I was worried "about any more expenses" to my adoptive couple, I had elected to NOT receive any type of counseling. It was just me, and a bottomless well of sorrow, anger, and guilt. I have always liked to write, and a blog seemed the perfect place to just throw it all out there and then let it go. I felt that just because no one wanted to listen, didn't mean that I didn't have things to say. So I started my blog as my own inexpensive version of therapy.

The title of your blog, Not Quite Juno, is unique and cute. How (and why) did you come up with your title? 
I had only seen "Juno" once, about a year before adoption entered into my life. I remembered it as being a cute movie, with a girl who went through a hard situation with a great sense of humor, and came out on the other end of it just fine. In no way did I think that it was an accurate portrayal of adoption, but I could relate to her in some ways. I spent the whole pregnancy in a daze, convinced that I was simply carrying this child for these two wonderful people who really wanted to be parents; who “deserved” it. I was super calm during the pregnancy and spent more time trying to convince them this was really going to happen, that I couldn't change my mind, and trying to help them prepare to be parents than I did worrying or wondering what was really going to happen to me. When I signed the relinquishment papers, all of my delusion slipped away, and that's when the gravity of the situation hit me. What had I done? Why wasn't I happy and moving on? I named the blog "Not Quite Juno" to remind myself, and others, who had seen it, that not everything works out in life quickly. Adoption and especially the road of a birthmother is long, it is hard, and it is constant. But it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Has the response to your blog posts been mostly positive or negative or a mix of both? My blog sat quietly for months, as I wrote and wrote, and tried to work through my issues. Then one day, out of the blue, I wrote a post called, "Always on Our Best Behavior" about  adoptive couple profiles, and the forced "plastic-ness" of them. That's when the blog took off. All of a sudden, people were emailing me, and commenting, and following, and instantly, I had a support network that I never thought I would. The response has been SO overwhelmingly positive, and I am still in awe of that. Once in awhile, someone will say something negative, but I welcome that as much as anything. I know how far from perfect I am, and I have no issues with other people pointing it out to me. I also added a formspring link, where people can ask anonymous questions, and for some reason that seems to be where most of the negativity pops up. I get people who ask me stuff like, "Why weren't you smart enough to use birth control?" or "Why do you think that you should have any contact with that baby....You gave her away?" Somedays, the questions sting, and somedays I answer them.  It just depends.

Do you have any advice for anyone else thinking of starting a blog? I would tell anyone writing a blog to stay true to their emotions when writing their story. I usually add disclaimers reminding people that these are my thoughts, my views, my opinions...of MY journey. Writing what you think people want to read doesn't provide any real therapy or clarity. You have to be you. Even when "you" are wrong.

Thanks Michelle for sharing your heart with all of us who read your blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Grief, Guilt, and Counseling

Don’t you hate the feeling of indulging in a decadent dessert after you promised yourself you were going to diet and lose those extra pounds you’ve recently added to your physique? The feeling of heaviness, not just from the extra calories, but from knowing you did something you told yourself you wouldn’t do. That creeping feeling in the back of your mind is called guilt. We have all felt it at one time or another in our lives; that tightening in our stomach, that tinge of sadness and remorse. It’s a natural feeling when we do something our conscience tells us not to do.

“Guilt is anger directed at ourselves” –Peter McWilliams

Last week’s episode of Teen Mom showed Tyler’s feelings of guilt a few months after placing Carly for adoption. He didn’t want to do anything fun, like go to football games or out with his friends. He told his mom that he felt bad. He said that he was a dad, and he felt like he should be home, rather than out and about enjoying his youth. He said it best by mentioning that he didn’t feel his age. He felt like he needed to be grown up and responsible.|

In Season 1, we saw Catelynn grieve Carly’s adoption by talking about her and attending the birth mom retreat. We always saw Ty as the strong one, the one standing by, hugging and reassuring her when his girl was down. Unfortunately, Tyler didn’t have his own opportunity to grieve until now, almost 9 months after Carly’s birth, and he doesn’t have anyone to be the strong one for him to reassure him that everything will be ok. Part of his grieving process is feeling guilt and sadness and distrust towards Catelynn.
How many of us felt that way after we placed our own children for adoption? I know I can personally say I did. For awhile, I felt that I shouldn’t go out and have fun with my friends. I didn’t feel my age. I felt like I was mentally 10 years older than most of my friends, if not more. I felt like I needed to stay home and take care of the child I already had, focusing on him and becoming a better person for the both of us. I got a better job with more responsibilities and set hours. I finally put my foot down and stood up to my son’s “dad”, setting ground rules for him coming to visit. I went back to school full time and worked my butt off until I was burnt out. No breaks. I did what I had to do and was on a mission to prove to the world I wasn’t the screw up they thought I was… until I realized that I was the only one who thought I was a screw up. Then I was able to relax a bit and enjoy life.

Placing a child for adoption is a big deal. As a birth mom, we have carried our babies inside of us, feeling their every move, kick, and hiccup for 9 months. As birth fathers, they have been there and supported us (or at least, some of us) while we went through every emotion, mood swing, and late night craving. While some of us have gone through the adoption option alone, some have gone through placing their children for adoption as a couple, and it is one of the things that can make or break a relationship.

During this week’s episode of Teen Mom, Tyler and Catelynn decided to attend counseling together to deal with their issues with one another. Since I watch Teen Mom online, I notice the streaming comments about the episode on the right side of the screen. More than once, I saw people say negative things about therapy. They said that only crazy people go for counseling or that they must be really screwed up if they thought they needed couples therapy. Other people commented and said that it’s not worth it and to just move on. My perspective: I am HAPPY the pair is seeking couples counseling. Counseling is a GREAT THING!
In my opinion, therapy is the most effective means to maintaining a healthy and sane life. I don’t just say this because I work at a counseling agency myself, but because counseling has helped me to overcome many things that I wasn’t able to get over by myself. I never thought that spilling my guts about so many things in my life could help me feel so much better, but every week I went in to see my therapist always felt like a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders when I left. While having friends and family and outside sources of people to talk to about your problems is a good thing, there’s nothing better than the unbiased opinion of a therapist to help you seek the answers that are within you, and if anything, just listen to you while you vent about whatever it is that is bugging you that day.

I have learned a lot about myself through individual counseling. I’ve learned how to properly process my feelings and how to react towards them as positively as possible. I have learned how to identify different behaviors and why I act or say or think and feel the way that I do. I have been able to share my family issues, my feelings towards the adoption, my relationship, my job, my friends (or lack thereof), etc. I still struggle, but am glad to know that it’s all normal (according to my therapist). Whether it’s individual or couples or a group setting, I recommend therapy to anyone, especially as a birth parent.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quote of the week: Make your dreams a reality

There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that once unleashed can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality. - Anthony Robbins

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Birthmother Support

“Birthmom Buds are like a good bra, close to your heart and there for support.”

While Teen Mom on MTV shows the difficulties of what it’s like for three girls who have had babies at a young age, it also focuses on the struggle Catelynn and her boyfriend, Tyler, have had post-adoption. It shows the nitty gritty of the raw emotions faced by birth parents after placing their child into the hands of the adoptive parents. This week’s episode brought up how important it is to have a good support system, to get through the feelings that not just anyone can understand.

While Catelynn dealt with her grief last season by talking to her adoption worker and meeting the other birthmoms at a retreat, Tyler never had the opportunity to grieve Carly’s placement. This season shows a different light, where the “loss” of Carly is starting to hit him and he is realizing that he is in a much different situation than others in his age range. He is feeling guilty for wanting to have fun and enjoy his last year of high school, and his emotions seem to be causing a rift in their relationship.

I love that Tyler is able to talk to his mom. She has been supportive of their choice since the beginning, especially when Catelynn’s mom and Tyler’s dad were against it. I think it’s great that she was able to try to motivate him to do things and enjoy his life, rather than make him feel bad for the decision he made. I like that the adoption worker is still in contact with both of them and that she is an amazing resource for the couple, because that’s not always the case in most adoptions. I truly felt happy for Tyler for reaching out to another birthfather who was able to give him the support that only another birthparent could give. The man to man conversation they had was important because it gave him the perspective of someone who has been through it already and the ok to do things and be happy.

As a birthmother for the past 5 years, I wish I had the support that Tyler has from his mom. While my family has been able to somewhat understand my feelings and reasoning for the adoption itself thanks to Teen Mom, they don’t entirely get it and support me. Getting pictures in the mail is only a reminder to them of the piece of them that they never got to know. They say mean things from time to time and it has caused some tension between all of us. My family is more like Catelynn’s family, angry for the decision I made and unable to comprehend why. It has been the biggest source of the pain in my heart, more than letting go of my beautiful daughter, because they’re support matters most.

I think it is great that the adoption worker for Catelynn and Ty is still a part of their lives, following up with them and providing them with the resources for more support. I believe that post-adoption care is so important, and not all of us are as lucky to get that. My original social worker wasn’t the greatest. When I called a few weeks after I had the baby to ask for resources for counseling, she said to just check online or the yellow pages. She left the adoption agency I worked with about a year after Hope’s placement. She never called or emailed me, she just disappeared. I felt “jipped”, like she was there for me when it came to taking my baby from me, but she wasn’t there when I was sad about it and needed someone to talk to. It only made me feel worse.

Having other birthparents to talk to seems to have helped Catelynn and Tyler. I know it has definitely helped for me. For 4 ½ years, I basically lived with an emptiness and had no one to relate to. My friends didn’t know what to say or do when her birthday would come around or Mother’s day would come up. I didn’t ever think there was anyone out there who understood what it felt like to miss a piece of my heart, to wonder what she was doing or if I’d ever meet her. That was until I met the ladies from BMB.

I know I mentioned it in my last post, but I do feel forever grateful for the friendships I have created with the wonderful women all over the country who have become my support system. These birthmoms have become like sisters and are people I could laugh, and cry, and share my life with. One of those women, in particular, has become my go-to person for everything in my life and I honestly forgot what life was like before her. While we are a few states away, we text nearly everyday, and I consider her to be my best friend, even though we have only met each other once. It feels good to have that connection with someone who understands the emotions and feelings that go through my heart and my head. She’s been a b-mom a little longer than I have, and so I appreciate her wisdom when it comes to certain things.

Having the proper support is so important to get through the tough times. Whether it comes in the form of a family member, social worker, church leader, friend, or other birth parent, it helps to have someone to vent to or cry on. A good support system is crucial in processing the grief and guilt and heartache that we may carry. There is no need to go through that alone, especially when there are other people out there in the world who can relate to you.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about choices lately. While at this point in our lives, many of us can do nothing about the adoption choices we made or the adoption choices that were forced upon us. But we can choose how we deal with life and our emotions each and every day. I ran across this quote earlier today……..

I Choose…
to live by choice, not by chance;

to make changes, not excuses;

to be motivated, not manipulated;
to be useful, not used; 
to excel, not compete. 
I choose self esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice and my God,
and not the random opinions of others. 

What kind of choices will you make today? 

Photo Credit

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Quote of the Week: Happiness

"Happiness is not something you have in your hands, it is something you carry in your heart." - Unknown