Friday, September 30, 2011

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Katie

Today's featured blogger is Katie of "A Birth Mommy's Story."  Let's find out a little more about Katie...

First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).

My name is Katie; I am 25 years old and live in Denver, Colorado.   When I was 16 years old I fell in love and decided I was mature enough to make mature decisions; two short months later when I got a positive pregnancy test I realized how wrong I was.  My boyfriend and I spent lots of time talking with our parents about our options.  His mother thought abortion was the only option, something that I never even considered.  My mother on the other hand suggested adoption, at the time we just laughed at that idea but after a few weeks we decided to go ahead and meet with an adoption counselor.  She was an amazing woman who wanted to help us make the right decision, whether that be adoption or parenting.  We continued to meet with her on a weekly basis for the next few months.  By the 5 month mark we both knew that adoption was the right choice for our baby.  We both wanted to parent, but it was unrealistic.  We were both in high school, and needed to graduate.  We held part-time jobs making minimum wage; how could we afford to support a child?  Even if we figured out the financial aspects, when would be get to see our child?  School, then work, then probably a second job to make ends meet….what kind of life is that?  After many adoption profiles we found the perfect family; they lived only an hour and a half from us, had a 3 year old daughter who was also adopted, and most importantly they wanted an open adoption.  We met with them when I was about 6 months pregnant, and we instantly clicked.  After that it was just a waiting game while I continued going to school, working and squeezing in my Doctor’s appointments.  The night of my senior prom I was lying in bed, feeling sorry for myself and my water broke.  We rushed to the hospital only to find out that I wasn’t progressing and needed to be induced.  17 hours later I brought a beautiful little girl into this world.  My boyfriend and I spent two amazing days in the hospital with her, not putting her down unless absolutely necessary, studying every inch of that beautiful face and that wonderful baby smell, hoping to implant that into our brains forever so we would never forget.  Day two was discharge day, and nothing could have prepared me for that.  Saying goodbye to her was, by far, the hardest thing I have ever and will ever do.  Leaving that hospital with empty arms is a horrible feeling, but I just had to remind myself why I made the choice that I did.  My daughter is now 8 years old.  She is beautiful inside and out, full of spunk and an amazing zest for life that I am envious of.  I’d be lying if I said it’s been an easy 8 years; there have been lots of ups and downs along the road.  Today we are in a wonderful place, her parents and I are friends on Facebook, just 2 months ago I got to go see her dance recital, and I know that things will only continue to get better with time.  I’m just very thankful that I was able to provide her with the life I wanted for her.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I started my first blog in my 2009 but didn’t start my adoption blog until late last year.  My original blog was just a mix match of postings about my new life as a new Mom (I’m now a mother to an amazing 2 year old little boy).  At one point on that blog I decided to share my adoption story, I got an amazing response from my readers which was a big surprise.  I started my adoption blog knowing that I’m not a great writer, and that I probably won’t have a huge following, but it is therapeutic to be able to type out whatever is on my mind.

Tell us more about the title of your blog.  Why did you choose it?

My blog is called "This Birth Mommy's Story." I chose that because I’m not creative enough to come up with anything else! Haha, seriously though, the blog is about my life as a birth mother, past and present so I felt it was a fitting title.
Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?

I’ve only had a positive response so far.  While I’m sure there are people who have found by blog who don’t like what I write, they haven’t communicated that to me….yet!
What post on your blog do you consider a “must read” for people visiting your blog for the first time?  Or what post(s) from your blog is (or are) your favorite(s) and why?

Anyone reading my blog for the first time should start out with my adoption story so they understand who I am and why I chose adoption.  One of my favorite posts, is titled "The Grass Is Always Greener" which is about comparing your adoption experience to others in the blog world, how someone else will always have something you wish you had, but you need to learn to be happy for what you do have.  This is something I really struggled with after finding some amazing adoption blogs and struggling with my own “adoption envy”. 

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?

Do it for yourself, and no one else.  Write what you want to write, it doesn’t matter if you have one reader or 1,000.  You don’t have to be a great writer (I’m proof of that) but being able to get your thoughts and feelings out there can be very therapeutic.   And don’t let the Negative Nancies get you down either!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fact, Faith & Feeling

Recently I had a situation in my life that made me whine, "But I don't wanna!!" Can you relate? I was invited to an event that I didn't want to attend. I was invited by people I didn't want to be with. So every time the issue came up, I would flatly state, "I can't go because (insert excuse here)."

But it wasn't the truth. Not really. The truth was I didn't want to go. And for good reason.

But that wasn't enough. God wouldn't let me off the hook. It doesn't matter why. So I asked him and his reply was, "Just because you don't want to go doesn't mean you shouldn't go."

Ouch. I mean really, what kind of answer is that?

Have you ever done something you didn't want to do but you knew was the right thing? Like dieting? or exercising? Maybe adoption was not your favorite option, but you knew it was the best decision for your child. Tell me, did your discomfort with the idea keep you from doing it?

When we are faced with a choice, we really have two options. We can go by what we feel, or we can go by what we know. While it's easy to be ruled by our feelings, the fact-faith-feeling train model is really a good one. We make decisions based on fact, what we know to be true, faith, what God tells us is true, and let our feelings come later. Sometimes much later.

Doing the right thing doesn't have to feel good at the time. The feelings will catch up - or they won't - but we'll have the knowledge of the truth that we did the right thing.

So back to my example. The situation still isn't resolved. But now that God has set me straight, I know what is right and true. I guess I'll wait until the situation arises again - if it does - and go from there.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ignorance....It's What Makes the World Turn

This past week has been difficult to be a part of social networking because it seems that everywhere I turn there is someone with an ignorant thought coming out of their mouth. Through a birthmom support group that I am a part of it was brought to several of our attention that there is this group on Facebook that is called "I love to make fun of Teen Mom". Their goal in life is to make fun of the lives of others, and their defense to this is "well they put it all over television, so it's their own fault". Which, I somewhat agree with, when it comes to the part that MTV is no longer about education, but more about the drama of these girls' lives. It just isn't the same as it was when it started, but no show that documents people's lives stays as an education piece, it is always turned into promotion, and what will profit the network.

On this "fan page" there was a comment made that birth mom's "GAVE UP" their children. And that if we were to make "changes" in our everyday lives then we could have raised our children. (I will address this later on in my post). As well as that "when we choose to have sex, we run the risk of getting pregnant then as women we should PARENT our children". There are several statements made on that page that just really got to me. Other birthmothers tried to educate them and they just weren't having it. That's where it becomes ignorance - if you just don't know the language and need to learn it, that's one thing but if you refuse to listen , then it becomes ignorance.

So, to all those that think that we as birth moms GAVE UP I have a little bit of insight for you. I never GAVE UP Easy. I PLACED him and made a CHOICE for him. I MADE A LIFE for Easy that I could not give him myself. The only GIVING I did, was GIVE HIM the most amazing parents in the world, that I know can give him everything that I know in my heart I couldn't due to my other two small children. I placed my child with people that couldn't have children. So, this addresses the point that "we as women know the risks of having sex and getting pregnant", what about those women and men who can't have children due to infertility? They don't get to understand those risks or they do understand those risks and there is nothing they can do about it.

But reading these comments made by people on this site just makes me sick to my stomach. I'm tired of hearing the words "you GAVE UP your child for adoption". It is like hearing nails on a chalk board. And also hearing, from even people that I know in my family, that "you just could have made some changes, do this or do that".

There were NO changes that I could make to my already stretched lifestyle. I already had two small children, I just started going back to school, my now husband and I just got our relationship back on track, and we just moved in to a two bedroom apartment. What were we supposed to do, just make room in our already financially unstable, emotionally stretched, and unstable support system as a family life? There were so many things I know that I look back on and think to myself "well IF only I could have done this or this", but even when I think about that it comes to my realization that even with those changes, or those if's and buts wouldn't have even made a dent in my life to where I could have taken care of him AND my two other children and given all three of them the life they deserved.

Here is my key saying that I remind myself when I come across people like I did on this fan page: They will NEVER get it, unless they are IN IT. Which rings so true, because the stupidity and ignorance of people these days on what adoption is like and what it's meaning truly is gets overshadowed. Adoption is about LOVE, the most pure, and blessed love that there is. A birthmom is a woman that is SELFLESS in her choice to GIVE her child the best life possible, to be able to hand over her child to two people to take care of for the rest of it's life. We never GAVE UP. We were never SELFISH in our decision.

Please understand that you are amazing, beautiful, and SELFLESS. Birthmothers are selfless and the world turns on ignorance. I'm sorry that this was filled with big RANT written all over it but I just had to get my feelings out there.

How do you deal when someone says the words "gave up"?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the Week: Sun will Rise

"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise."
- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables 

Friday, September 23, 2011


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I spent this last weekend at an LDS Family Services-sponsored birthmom retreat.  I regularly attend the support group and have made some great friends.  What an incredible, healing experience!
If you’ve read my post  "Fear of the Unknown," you’d know that I’ve been struggling a lot lately with fear regarding my possible impending move.  I wrote T & C a letter explaining my fears just so they know what I’ve been dealing with lately.  Nick even read it and didn’t have a problem with anything that I stated, so I don’t think it was guilt-ridden or laden with expectations.  I’ve not heard back from them, but that’s not what this post is about.

Last night after roasting hot dogs and then having s’mores, we participated in a hypnosis session.  I’m normally not much for hypnosis.   I personally think it’s kind of silly.  But I decided to use it as sort of a guided meditation session.  Before I went into it, I kept in mind that I wanted to feel some resolution regarding the situation with my daughter and her parents.  When I “went under,” I overwhelmingly felt this peace and warmth surround me, and a Bible verse came to me out of the blue.   “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27, NIV)  Though I’m not religious about my faith, and don’t like to shove it down others’ throats, it just floored me that I had that particular verse come to me when it did.  I got another affirmation of peace about the situation later on that night.  It was absolutely awesome.

So I’m not going to live in fear about what “might” happen anymore.  I’m going to live on and count on the peace I’ve been given in this situation.  I need to trust that the relationship we’ve built will last no matter where Nick and I might live, because we all love “our daughter” and we love each other as family because of it.  Family doesn’t get ripped apart by distance.  Even if your own situation is such that you’ve been cut off from contact by your kids’ parents, you are still family.  Someday, you’ll get that family back.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Necessary Roughness

Are you addicted to this show like I am? Seriously, I don't know if it's the whole psychotherapy angle or the sports angle, I got totally hooked on this over the summer.

One of the last episodes, Baggage Claim, was about a Martha Stewart-type woman who was well-known for her craftiness and organization. She was required to attend therapy for anger management by her board of directors. After a few sessions the therapist, Dr. Dani, learns that this well-put-together woman is a hoarder! Shocker, I know.

As Dr. Dani works with her to get to the root of her issue, she keeps saying "once you give something away, you can never get it back." We finally come to one of her many boxes that contains a blue cap and some booties. That's right. The root of her hoarding habit is a son she was forced to give away and never grieved.

I thought it was wonderful to see this particular subject matter come up. There are so many women out there who have never grieved for the child that was taken from them. And as a society, we don't even think about it. Nobody talks about it.

What do you think about the portrayal of birthmoms in the media?

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quote of the Week: Out of the Lowest Depths

"Out of the lowest depths there is path to the loftiest height." 
- Thomas Carlyle

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Ashleigh

From left to right: Melanie (holding Robbie), Heather, and Ashleigh (holding William).  
Picture used with permission.

Today's featured blogger is Ashleigh of Not Just A Birth Mom.  Let's find out a little more about Ashleigh...

First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).
My name is Ashleigh, I'm 20 years old, and I live in Atlanta, GA. I've been blessed to give birth to the two most precious little boys in the world (Robbie is 2 and William is 6 months). Due to lack of financial resources, I had to place both boys for adoption. Both adoptions are very open, and I see Robbie at least twice a month and William almost every week. They are in different families, but we call the boys brothers and we all get together on a regular basis.

When and why did you begin blogging? 
After I had Robbie I began seeking out more information and support on adoption online. I found a lot of fantastic blogs and websites, and nearly a year later in April of 2010, I finally decided I would join the online community and start my own blog.

Tell us more about the title of your blog.  Why did you choose it?
It was honestly the first thing I thought of. I tried to think of a few more titles, but I kept coming back to Not Just A Birth Mom. I like that the title describes my blog and also lets you know what member of the triad is writing the blog, and when I started my blog it was the only title of its kind. Apparently other people thought it was a good idea too!

Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?
For the most part I've received very positive feedback. There have only been a few posts that received nasty comments, but I never let them get me down. Adoption is a very emotional thing for all members of the triad. You have to understand that when you write about an emotional topic such as Adoption, you are going to evoke a LOT of strong, passionate, and differing emotions from people.So just be prepared to take the good with the bad.

What post on your blog do you consider a “must read” for people visiting your blog for the first time?  Or what post(s) from your blog is (or are) your favorite(s) and why? 
Well the must read for newbies would be Part 1 and Part 2 of my story. You can find the links on the right side of my blog under my About Me section. As far as favorites go, I love my "Abortion" post because not only do I discuss what is often a very heated topic, but I write about how we can better the alternatives to make them more appealing. I also love "Simply Perfect."  It's more of a picture-filled post, but that day is so special to me because it was the first day we all got together as group at one time.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?
Don't try to be anyone other than you. Write about things that interest you and things that you are passionate about. Be yourself, have fun with it, always be honest, and ALWAYS write from your heart. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Memory Lane

Ever notice how looking back can be dangerous? As we remembered 9/11 last weekend, I too found myself remembering those dark days. More than just the events in NYC and other places, though, I found myself caught up in my own life at that time. My father was still alive. My grandmother had just passed away. My husband and I didn't have any children yet.

And I was still years away from meeting my birthdaughter.

In some respects, maybe that was easier. Maybe it was better not knowing and still having hope of a relationship. It was wonderful fantasizing about the relationship we would have one day when she was older and settled and started having her own children.

That's the trouble with Memory Lane. It's not reality. It's just an imaginary world we hold in our head. But the reality is that it wasn't better then. The not knowing was eating at me and in 2001, I was making some pretty bad choices. I kept thinking that I was fine, that I was good and healthy. But my behavior said otherwise.

Now that I'm on this side of it, that's all changed. Even though she's choosing not to have a relationship with me, I know. I have met her and gotten to know her and her parents. That curious part of me has been assuaged, no matter what the future holds.

God reminds me to keep looking forward. No, I will never forget the things that are past. But I can't live there and dwell on those things. Isaiah 43:18-19 says "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! How it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

I have to be careful when walking down Memory Lane. How about you?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Across State Lines

This is my first blog in a really long time and I apologize for that but I haven't had steady internet. Lately, I have been thinking about how things have been and to me some of my thoughts that have been running through my head seem so selfish. I don't know why these things have been bugging me but I just have to get them out.

As those of you who have been following my story know, E is in Arizona and we currently live in Indiana. I've just been thinking a lot about how hard it's been. I like to say that I'm not missing anything in my life and that I'm fine with him being so far away, but lately it's been eating away at me. I am a part of a new birthmother support group on Facebook and it seems like a lot of the girls are literally a couple hours drive from their birth children, yet I'm a 6 hour plane ride or a 2 days drive away from my birth son. And it seems to be eating away at me daily.

I feel so envious of these women that literally don't have too far to go to see their children. But for me to see E it takes at least 4 months of planning and at least a year of saving just to be able to go. I know that I was able to see him in June, but I got so much flack for that, and it caused a huge strain financially, but I knew that I needed to see him, I needed to visibly know that he was okay and that he was happy (which I had no thoughts that he would be anything but). I hate not being able to call and set up a time to see him at least every couple of months and deep down it eats away at my heart. And I know that this isn't my fault, because I feel like we were divinely directed towards E's a-parents and that it was PERFECT and right. I just am having trouble seeing him grow up through social media and blog posts when I really wish that I could see him grow up through my lens as well.

I've also been dealing with the thoughts and feelings of K and T eventually maybe going "live" again for adoption and eventually another birth mother finding them and them eventually adopting again. It kind of hurts knowing that if it is what God wants then it will happen. I worry that if they find another birth mom and adopt again that I will be misplaced and foreshadowed by this other woman. Not that I don't think that they shouldn't add to their family because of me having these selfish thoughts, but I just keep having this continuing dream that they adopt and I'm eventually cut off. I don't know how to deal with these thoughts and feelings. I know that one day it will eventually happen. K and T have been very open and honest about how they are enjoying E and that their hearts are full and that they are very content in where they are right now but I just can't seem to shake that it's going to happen one day and that in a metaphorical kind of way there will be "another" woman. And I'll be pushed aside.

I know that these are irrational feelings and I shouldn't be thinking like this, but I mean come on, I'm human. As much as I love K&T I feel like my  heart will be ripped out of my chest the minute that I get the phone call, email, or text message stating that they have found another birth mom. As much as I love that another birth mom could have such amazing parents to take care of her child, I just can't wrap my head around the thought that she will be better than I, or that she will have more to offer, or that she will want a closed adoption instead of being like me with my clingy open adoption.

Yes, these might be irrational thoughts and fears but for me they are my real thoughts and because of them being across the country it makes things a lot harder.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Quote of the Week: Who you Are

"You are who you are today because of the decisions and choices you made yesterday. 
- Wayne Goonie

September 11th Anniversary

This post was previously posted on September 11, 2009 but in light of the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our country, I thought it would be fitting to re-post it. 

Every year on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our country, like many others, I find myself re-living those moments of where I was when I found out about the attack on our country. Eight months pregnant with a baby boy I was about to place for adoption and on bed rest, I sat on my couch in disbelief as I watched the towers fall to the ground. In the days that followed, I watched some of the constant coverage. Amongst the tragedy there were stories of triumph and courage as Americans rose above the tragedy to help one another.

If you watched any of the coverage in the days and weeks following the attacks you may remember hearing the name Tom Burnett. He was one of the heroes aboard Untied Flight 93. You may remember that passengers overtook Flight 93 and caused it to land in a field in Pennsylvania. Tom Burnett, who grew up a Minnesotan, was flying home to California from a business trip to New York and is thought to be one of the people who attacked the cockpit which caused the plane to divert its path and crash in a field. Tom called his wife Deena multiple times from the plane telling her what was going on and that he loved her and the three daughters they were raising.

So, you are probably thinking, “Ok, I know all this already…”

But, did you know Tom Burnett was a birthfather?

While in college, Tom Burnett’s then girlfriend became pregnant in an unplanned pregnancy. The two were opposed to abortion and initially wanted to get married and parent. Tom was very involved in the pregnancy, working two jobs to pay for medical bills and present for his daughter’s birth. Eventually, the two decided it would be best for the baby if she was placed for adoption.

Two years after the terrorist attacks, Mariah Mills, turned nineteen and was finally old enough to request her original birth certificate from the state. The name Tom Burnett was very familiar in her area and she quickly realized that her birthfather was one of the 9/11 hereos.

Unsure of what Tom’s wife, Deena, and the rest of his family knew about the adoption and how they would feel about this, Mariah’s mother sent word through the agency that had handled Mariah’s adoption that Mariah was interested in meeting her other birth relatives. It turns out that Tom had told his wife about the daughter he placed for adoption and even showed her a letter that he had been writing to Mariah over the years in the hopes that they would one day be reunited.

Mariah has ended up meeting most of her birth family, including Deena, Tom’s daughters, parents, and sisters. She has been welcomed in by most of them. She has ongoing relationships with her half sisters and Deena. She has gotten to know the type of man and father Tom Burnett was through his family and Deena was even able to give her a letter that Tom had started writing to Mariah when she was younger for the day they would be reunited.

I love this quote from a newspaper article by Tom's (birth) daughter, Maraiah, “Even if he’d never been on that plane on September 11th, he’d still be a hero to me. He gave me life and a chance with a wonderful family.”

I know that Tom Burnett was probably not the only birthparent who lost their life that day and he certainly was not the only one with a direct connection to adoption either. Today, I'm remembering and thinking of all those and their families who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. 

Photo Credit

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fear of the Unknown

I have a confession to make.  I’m terrified right now.  Of what, you say?  Let me explain.

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Most of you know that I’m still in a relationship with my daughter’s birthfather, and that he’s currently in the Army.  He’s also on his way out – or trying to be.  This has been a very long process, one almost a year in the making.  He’s currently in the beginning stages of looking for jobs, and has in fact just had a “getting-to-know-you” lunch with two recruiters from Amazon.  He’s excited about the opportunity, and from what he told me, they’re excited at Amazon about the chance to find out more about him.  The problem with him getting a job at Amazon is that he would be working in one of Amazon’s many fulfillment centers, none of which are anywhere close to Washington.

Normally, I’d be excited for him and the possible opportunity, and I am, to a certain extent.  However, I’m also terrified at the potential of moving even farther away from my daughter and her parents.  We currently live about a 2-2.5 hour drive away from them.  It’s not a bad trip, and the area where they live is a nice area.  However, I know from experience what a strain distance can put on any relationship, much more when it’s one as fragile as a birth parent/adoptive parent relationship.

It’s ironic.  When we first decided we were both in this for “the long haul,” and after placement of our daughter, he was still thinking that he’d be in the Army.  That means moving from Army base to Army base every 2-3 years along with deployments.  I knew then that I’d be moving with him wherever he went, possibly to include moving out of the country.  I think I had less of a problem with it then because it felt like less of a choice.  Now that we might be moving for a job, it feels much more like a choice.  This is because the jobs that would offer him the most opportunities for advancement as well as the biggest salary potential all happen to be out of state.

I’ve seen many originally open adoptions become closed or strained after one set of parents or the other moves farther away.  It becomes harder to visit, harder to keep in contact, and much easier to let life get in the way of the relationship.  Because an open adoption relationship is not a “natural” relationship, there’s nothing that keeps you together except a mutual love for a child.  That can be not enough when it becomes so easy for either birth or adoptive parents to deny the other’s existence.

I know that the same thing can happen to an open adoption relationship even if you continue living within your original distance from each other at placement.  There’s always that potential there because both parties have to make decisions all the time to include the other set of parents (or parent, in some cases) in their lives.  For some people, that’s easier than with others.

I know all this in my head.  But letting my head overrule my heart and worry in this instance is another matter completely.  I’ve had several friends already be so supportive as I prepare for the possibility of moving.  I actually wrote a letter to my daughter’s parents where I confessed my worries and fears regarding this matter.  I hope that I will get the verification that I feel I will get – that they value the relationship as much as I do, and have no intention of letting distance get in the way.  I still don’t know if that will help much, to be honest.  I tend to look for the worst side in people, and know that even the best of intentions can get turned around for one reason or another.  But, hope is always there.  So for now,  I try not to let my worries get the best of me and appreciate all the love and support I’ve already gotten in anticipation of possibilities.

What about you?  Are there any of you out there who have either moved farther away from your children and their parents, or they’ve moved farther away from you?  Have you managed to keep your relationships intact?  What have you done to insure that you still have that relationship?

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I have to admit that while birthmothering is part of the fabric of my being, it is not currently something I live with every day. After going through a time of reunion and getting to know one another, my birthdaughter and I are currently not speaking. So this isn't something I think about very much. I admit even writing one blog a week connecting the birthmother part of me to the rest of my life is sometimes a stretch.

For this reason, things sometimes happen and it takes me a while to connect the dots. Like recently, I found myself without my children. My folks had graciously taken them so my husband and I could get away for a few days to reconnect (and sleep!). It was an awesome gesture on their part and much appreciated.

A couple nights in, I had trouble falling asleep. I had done all of my regular nighttime rituals and yet sleep didn't come. I relaxed. I counted sheep. I read. I read some more. Something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Hours went by. Hours. It was grueling. And as the time went on, instead of getting tireder and closer to sleep, I grew more and more... something. I cried. I prayed. I was freaking out, that much was clear. And although I reminded myself how safe and loved and cared for my children were with my folks, nothing helped.

Finally I connected the "being without my children for a few days" part of me to the "being without my firstborn daughter forever" part of me. Holy cow. I mean, I really thought I was headed straight for the psych ward.

That's what I'm talking about. Since my current life is so disconnected from that part of my life, I sometimes miss out on the total picture. Once the bigger picture became clear, I was able to pray more intentionally and find peace and rest.

Is birthmothering where you live all the time? Or is it just one part of your life?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grief Worse at Night

Have you ever noticed if your grief is worse at night? For me personally, my grief has always seemed to be  worse at night. Night time always seems to be the time that I get upset and have my mini breakdowns. In the beginning, right after I placed my son for adoption they were frequent. Now, the bad nights only come every so often, like if a birthday or a holiday is coming up or just passed.

So, why are nights more difficult at times? I think that during the day it is easier to keep ourselves busy and that often we just get caught up in the everyday busyness of our lives. We have jobs, friends, family, possibly other children, school, etc. to keep us pretty busy and that doesn’t give us a whole lot of time to just sit and think about or deal with our grief.

But at night time when all is quiet and dark, the grief can creep back in, hit us hard, and is unescapable. Late at night, you typically can’t just pick up the phone and call a friend for support like you could during the day. You don’t have the same coping options at night as you during the day so that makes dealing with the grief more difficult.

What you do at night when the grief hits you hard and most of the world is in bed asleep? I have a few coping strategies I've developed over the years.

Sometimes I will just go ahead and cry. Giving in to your emotions is often better than holding them inside. tears are cleansing and sometimes I just feel better after a good cry.

Another coping mechanism for the rough nights is writing. I'll get up and write in my journal or my blog. Writing is another way to release the pent up emotions I may be feeling.

Lastly,  I'll visit our forums. They are open 24/7 so I go in there anytime I feel like it and often feel less alone just reading the words of other birthmothers even if they aren't identical to what I am experiencing at that moment.

What about you - is your grief worse at a certain time of the day? How do you cope?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quote of the Week: Family

Image credit:
A chuckle for this week..... :-)

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." -George Burns

Friday, September 2, 2011

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Marilee

Today's featured blogger is Marilee of Welcome to the Hicks Mix.  Let's find out a little more about Marilee...

First, please tell us a bit more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing).

Hi! I’m Marilee. I’m 22 years old and currently live in Fargo, ND. I’m originally from Okoboji, Iowa. It’s quite lovely. I have an amazing mouse named Mango who likes Star Trek just as much as I do. My youngish age at the time and financial worries led me to make an adoption plan, but one of my biggest regrets is not even considering parenting.

When and why did you begin blogging?

I began blogging when I had hit rock bottom. I was completely empty inside. I had lost my son to adoption and my boyfriend to my horrible depression in less than three months, and I didn’t even recognize myself. Coley suggested I to blog it out. Was it pretty? No. It was more like a 6 year old, some Elmer’s Glue, and lots of glitter than a Steinbeck novel. I’ve changed a lot since I started the blog in 2009. I’m still pretty cynical, but at least my rock bottom has a pillow waiting at the bottom now.

Tell us more about the title of your blog, Welcome to the Hicks Mix. Why did you choose it?

Remember when we still burned cd’s for people? Yeah…I don’t either. I had to burn one the other day and actually had to google how to do it. Thank God for iPods. Back in high school, it was the cool thing to do. My best friend, Travis, and my other half, Andrew, would always write “Hicks Mix Vol. 1” and so on and so forth on whatever cd they were making. I got a lot of duplicates. I probably have 4 Volume 1’s, but life goes on. They thought they were witty. It turns out they actually were. That name always stuck in the back of my mind, and what’s better than a mix of my random thoughts coming out of my blog? It just kind of fit.  

Has the response to your posts been mostly positive, mostly negative, or a mix of both?
You know, one of my problems is that I’m super blunt. If I think someone is full of it, I let them know. I have had a few negative comments, but that comes with being me. I don’t think adoption is perfect. I do think a lot of reform needs to happen before I become an adoption advocate. When I spout off and go on one of my rants, I can’t expect someone to say “oh I fully agree”. Other than that, I have received a lot of positive comments. 
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of starting their own blog?

Use your blog as your canvas, but proofread everything. While I might be a stickler for grammar, I know other people have issues reading a post filled with typos and other major grammatical errors. I don’t expect perfection, but I treat blog posts with love—even when my world is crashing down around me. What would one of my professors think if they read this and realized my blog was filled with comma splices? Perfection is overrated, but a readable blog is going to gain attention. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be quirky. Don’t use capital letters if that’s your blogging style. Write only in bubblegum pink font if that’s what floats your boat. Just make it uniform. Make it your own.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Abraham, Isaac and Me

While I'm away enjoying some vacation time with my husband this week, I thought I would post a devotion from my book entitled Heart of a Birthmom. Of all the devotions in the book, this one is closest to my heart. I hope whatever your spiritual leaning you will take a second and read through it tell me if you see yourself anywhere in it.

God said, "Abraham?" "Yes?" answered Abraham. "I'm listening."

He said, "Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you."

...Abraham told his two young servants, "Stay here with the donkey.

The boy and I are going over there to worship; then we'll come back to you."

Genesis 22:1-5 The Message

As a birth mother, this is the passage of the Bible I have always claimed as my own. Who else on earth can better understand what Abraham was feeling than a birth mother? We have been at that place and have chosen a different life for our children regardless of the consequences. To this day, I get emotional thinking about what God asked Abraham to do. I am awed by the faith Abraham had in order to follow God's direction to the letter.

Notice what Abraham says to the servants. He says that he and the boy are going to worship and then "we will come back." God had asked him to sacrifice his one and only son, yet Abraham's faith was so big that he was sure his son would be returning with him.

When I signed those papers and released my daughter into the care of another, it felt like this passage feels. I had no promise that I would ever see her again. I had no idea what the days ahead would hold. I just did it. In the same way, the Bible says nothing of Abraham's state of mind. We don't hear him complaining. We don't even see him hesitating. What we see is Abraham snapping to attention and doing exactly what God asked of him. God doesn't intervene until that last possible moment. God wanted to know if Abraham was really going to follow through. The Bible says "...he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son." That is when God stopped him - at the last possible moment.

It's interesting that God chooses Abraham for this task instead of Isaac's mother. Obviously, God is preparing him for a higher calling. As a result of meeting this challenge with obedience, God promises to make Abraham's descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. This is a promise that God fulfills throughout the rest of the Bible.

Are you willing to trust God no matter what he asks you to do? Are you willing to follow him despite obstacles and difficulties? Take a minute and reflect on your relationship with God.