Friday, March 30, 2012

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Debbie

Deb with Monkey, the son she placed
I have to admit I was pretty excited to feature Debbie.  As a long-time blog follower and friend, I've knowledge about her story.  I love her insights and the way she writes her blog.  Without further ado, my interview with Debbie.

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). 

I am Debbie, 25 and living in Seattle. My adoption plan was born from a lot of different thoughts -- first, I had always 'known' I would have a baby for someone else. Then was the incredible broke-ness I was living in. There was also the (emotionally at that point) abusive boyfriend and a rocky relationship. I was just not ready to be a mother, and especially not with him as the father.

When and why did you begin blogging? 

I had to look that up -- January 11, 2011. I just missed my blog's birthday, BOO! Initially it was a way to just get my story out there, back when it was a good story to tell. I knew there were not many birthmother voices out there and it is a side (as all sides are) that needs to be reachable.

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

'Marginally a Mother' was originally 'Complications of a Mastermind' after a Red Hot Chilli Peppers Song. The lyrics go : 'Complications of a master mind, last temptation of my kind. Interplanetary sign, when will we collide?' It was kind of a nod to how alone it felt, how much I felt like this was all meant to be but we would eventually collide -- B's family and I. The title became 'Marginally a Mother' because I did not want people to think I was stuck up, thinking of myself as a mastermind. It more perfectly fits anyway, especially now when I am marginally a mother to Monkey (my placed son) and marginally a (step) mother to Sugar Butt (my boyfriend's son from another relationship).

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

Positive, thankfully. I have gotten a lot of support, but also a lot of chances to just get my reality out there. It has allowed me to somewhat educate people about how it feels to be the birthmother in a closed(broken) adoption and how to best connect with their child's birthmom.

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?

I would say 'Whatever You Do, DON'T' is my favorite post right now.  It is informative and real -- and useful to the world.  A must read? Well, obviously my story (the whole first month, really).

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

Do it. Do it for yourself, and for the adoption world. Get your voice out there and you will learn from others, they will learn from you. I think it is super worth it, even if you only post twice a month. Adoption is a close knit world, even online.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Get Connected

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting my feet grounded in a solid church and with solid Christians all around me. Today's is about establishing a solid foundation.

Get connected. Are you part of a church? A bible study? It’s important to receive regular Biblical teaching. It helps us grow our faith and opens our eyes to what God may be doing in our own lives.

It is also where we meet other women who believe the same things we do. Some will be stronger in their faith and further down the road. Others will be newer to the faith than we are. Many women will be dealing with issues similar to ones you have and will be trying to find healing with God’s help. Why not join them?

After college I had such a hard time finding a church. It seemed to me that church was a place people went in their nicest clothes and prettiest smiles. While I was involved in a church in college, starting out on my own seemed like a whole new thing. I bore the scarlet letter of an unplanned pregnancy whether or not anyone else could see it. But I persevered and finally found a place I fit in and was able to grow in my faith.

It didn't happen overnight. I was silent about my own hurts for a long time. But then I just started letting the truth come out a little at a time. No one called me names. Or threw me out of the group. That gave me confidence to share a little more and a little more.

Get connected. Try out churches. Visit Sunday school classes and Bible studies. And then commit to one place and put down roots.

Photo credit

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quote of the Week: Be Glad for Life

"Be glad for life, because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play and to look up at the stars." - Henry Van Dyke

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: Because I Loved You

Image credit:
Today I’m reviewing “Because I Loved You: A Birthmother’sView of Open Adoption”, by Patricia Dischler.

It’s a relatively short book, and an easy read for those of us who’ve been in the adoption world for some time, especially as birth mothers.  It’s well-organized, and I love the way that she intersperses her own story with practical advice. 

I would say this book would be best for expectant mothers considering adoption.  The story begins from the moment she found out that she was pregnant and her circumstances at that point, so that’s when the advice begins as well.  Patricia describes her book the best at the very beginning of chapter one when she says, “This book is about being pregnant when you hadn’t planned to be and about making a decision to keep your baby or place your baby with an adoptive family.”  She goes on to say, “This is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make in your life, and there is no single right decision for every woman or girl who faces an unplanned pregnancy.”  I very much appreciated the latter quote as society as a whole still tends to dump two choices in our laps when we’re faced with an unplanned pregnancy – abortion or placement, and even those aren’t compatible choices.  There isn’t one right choice when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and I strongly believe society as a whole shouldn’t ever force someone to make a decision like adoption if it’s not the right choice for them.  Adoption was the right choice for me, but I’m not assuming it is for everyone.  On this, Patricia and I are in wholehearted agreement.

I particularly liked her analogy when speaking of beginning an open adoption.  She brings to memory the game that a lot of counselors can make you play where you close your eyes and fall backwards into someone else’s arms, trusting that the person will catch you and not let you fall.  She then says, “This is what open adoption can feel like in the beginning, except you have no reason to trust the person who is supposed to catch you because it’s a stranger.  They haven’t done anything to gain your trust, and, likewise, you’ve done nothing to earn their trust.  A birthmother blindly trusts strangers to love her child as their own, to let her know he’s happy, and to never deny her existence.  Likewise, adoptive parents trust a stranger to give up her child, to make them a family, and to never tear them apart.”  I truly appreciated that she not only brought in the birth mother’s position, but also the adoptive parents’ positions.

Patricia actually gave me not only the copy of her book that I read and am reviewing for you now, but she sent an extra copy for me to give to my daughter’s parents.  I thank her for her generosity!  My daughter’s mom just told me that she finished reading the book and that she agrees with my sentiment that it’s definitely a book geared toward expectant moms that are considering the choice of adoption.  I would add that brand new birth moms would benefit from reading this as well to give them some idea of the road ahead, and potential adoptive parents and their families might also benefit if they’d like to see open adoption from a birth mom’s point of view.

Thanks again, Patricia, for allowing me to read your book!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Healing our Past

After my closed adoption, I struggled with many issues. While there is no magic pill, God showed me some very specific things to do in order to bring about healing. Some had to do with drawing closer to him, others had to do with getting my feet grounded in a solid church and with solid christians all around me. Today's might seem obvious, but it has taken me a long time to get it.

Tell God everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I know how tedious this sounds. But go with me for a minute. You’re not going to tell him something he doesn't already know. He knows all about you – he created you - and is crazy in love with you regardless of your faults. But he wants to hear it from you. It is amazing the power that is taken away from our deep dark secrets when we speak them out loud. Name your sins to God. Call them for what they are. Repent and start a new path.

The step of naming my sins was so hard for me. I mean, I knew he knew all about me, but the shame of an unwed pregnancy and what it did to my family was overwhelming. I couldn't start praying without just bawling my eyes out.

So how did I finally do it? Probably out of anger or frustration. I got so sick of carrying "the big secret" around all by myself. I just couldn't do it anymore. So in a state of exasperation, I kind of just flung it at him. I learned that he would rather I speak from my heart than follow some religious model.

Name your sins. Name your hurts. Name the people who inflicted the pain on you. Scream, cry, yell, whatever is most appropriate given your situation. Get as much out at a time as you can. You may need to rinse and repeat this step as many times as necessary to get it all out.

Then stop and listen. Just be still. Silence can be deafening at times. But be still and know you have been heard. Let the angels pray over you. Let God whisper words of hope and healing to your heart. Give yourself time to recover before moving on to your commitment.

Tell him everything. No matter how small. He wants to know you intimately and wants you to rely on him for everything.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote of the Week: Never too late

No matter where you are in life, no matter who you are, no matter how old you are - it is never too late to be who you are meant to be. - Esther & Jerry Hicks

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spotlight Blogger: Meet Katelyn P

Today's featured blogger is Katelyn of "Letters to You."  Let's find out a little more about Katelyn....

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 Katelyn. I am 22, and I live in Utah. I'm currently getting my Master's degree in Social Work.  I found out I was pregnant in September of 2008. I was just starting my 2nd year at college and was about a month away from my 19th birthday. The birthfather and I were having some serious issues by the time I found out I was pregnant, but we still tried to make it work for a little while. We were going to LDS Family Services for some counseling and birthparent group. By December I had given up on him and had decided I would just single parent.  In January of 2009, I agreed to look at adoptive profiles through the agency. After a long and torturous few months, and with some divine intervention, I decided I really would place my baby for adoption and picked an amazing family. We spent March, April, and May getting to know each other, and I placed my son in an open adoption the end of May, 2009.

When and why did you begin blogging?

My blog is kind of unique, in that the idea originated as just me posting the letters and emails and journal entries I had written during my pregnancy. I wrote a lot during my pregnancy, and from the first part of January 2009 on, I wrote a journal specifically to my son. I have a journal like that from my mom when she was pregnant with me, just detailing her pregnancy and what my siblings were doing and how they were reacting to having a new baby, etc. It is one of my most cherished possessions, and I decided early on that I wanted all of my children to have the same thing. Because it was written to my son, I wrote a lot about my feelings for him and about the entire process, from deciding to place to picking a family to the day of placement and a few entries post-placement. I wanted to share that story with the world, so I started posting them in about September 2010. Now it's just a place for me to write my adoption thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 

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

The title of my blog is "Letters To You," and given the story behind my blog, it seems pretty obvious why I chose it :)  I started every journal entry to my son with "My son," and ended with "Love, Mom." They were journal entries, but they were really more like letters from me to my unborn child. Because I knew I would be including a lot of other e-mails, conversations, and personal journal entries, I decided to keep it generic, with Letters to You, rather than Letters to My Son.

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

I haven't had much response to my posts :)  Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's a bad thing. I haven't done much to put myself out there in the blog world, so not many people have read my blog. The few comments and responses I have had were almost all positive. I did get into a blog and comment 'war' with someone who had very differing views on adoption than I did, which was interesting. I am extremely welcoming to all feedback, as I really have enjoyed getting to see the other sides of adoption as well. 
I have had the opportunity to remain anonymous through my blog posting, due to some interesting circumstances, until mid-January of 2012 when I decided to finally really own my story and admit that I am who I am, and it's a big part of me, and anyone who has an issue with that will just have to take it up with me directly. I'm a little more afraid of critical feedback now, as I cannot hide behind my initial!

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?
This question is impossible to answer! I love them all, as they all chronicle my story, so I think they're all important. I wouldn't have written them if I didn't.  A must-read would be my first-ever post, since it explains why I decided to start the blog in the first place.  This post explaining to my unborn son why I was placing him for adoption was the hardest entry I ever had to write.  My post about the day of placement was almost as tough.   More recently I did a post about no longer being anonymous, and my favorite-to-date post with a picture that sums up my adoption experience.   Because my story is written through letters, each and every letter is important to understanding the full experience.

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

Just do it! If you have something you want to say, just go ahead and say it. If you think you need to remain anonymous, go for it. I did for the first year and a half I blogged, until I really became comfortable enough with myself to claim my story and experiences as mine. Don't worry about not having readers or not knowing how to publicize your blog. If you really want things to happen, they will. It's only lately that I've been featured on a few adoption sites, and I am glad it took this long. You have to really be ready for those things to happen. Also, just be honest. Don't pretend to be something or someone you are not. There is no point in blogging if you're going to blog about a fairy tale experience in a fairy tale world. This is the real world. So write about it!