Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bridging the Gap

So the question on my mind today is this: How do we as birthmoms, authors, and/or speakers share our message without being pushy and without shoving our stories and emotions into another person's face?

Recently I've become part of a new group unrelated to adoption. It's always interesting to see how each person's story will unfold and be told during the course of a group. This particular group will be together for the next 30 weeks and slowly but surely we are learning more and more about each other.

A couple weeks ago, the topic of the group carried on into the weekly blog. And since it was relevant, I forwarded the blog on to a couple group members. And those group members responded positively to what I wrote about.

Here comes the weirdness.... no one mentioned the 'birthmom' part of the blog. No one asked what it meant, what it was for, if I was one, why I was blogging on that type of site, blah blah blah. So now I'm left to assume that although they have read a post of mine on a birthmom blog site, they do not necessarily know about that part of me. Or maybe they read that part of the site and don't care. Or don't know what to say. Or think I'm a total moron.

So that's what's on my mind this day. Of course, the Halloween sugar high hasn't hit yet, so that could change. Have a great, scary night!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday: Hold on by Sarah McLachlan

"Hold on, hold on to yourself
For this is gonna hurt like hell"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Quote of the Week: Doing What You Love

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life."

Thursday, October 24, 2013


My family was on vacation recently. Actually, we were returning from being gone for a couple of weeks. Maybe we were just anxious to get home. Maybe we were feeling a little kamikaze that day. Hard to say which it was, but we decided that we could drive from Williamsburg, Virginia, to St. Louis, Missouri, in one day. That's 850 miles people. Anyway, I digress.

About 700 miles into this little drive, we were all starving and tired and it had started raining, so we were also cold and wet. Hubby saw a billboard for an Amish Buffet, and we all agreed it sounded perfect.

So in we walk, tired, cold and dripping wet. When I say everyone in the restaurant turned to look at us, I'm not kidding. I had the urge to crawl up on the buffet line with a spoon, but I was able to push that desire down for the good of the children.

Once the food started to kick in and I started regaining consciousness, I looked around and commented to Hubby that this place looked kind of familiar. He said, "Well, it should. This is one of the places we ate with Katie and her mom the weekend we met."

Katie and her mom. The weekend that was so long ago. I did remember. We had driven to meet Katie, my birthdaughter, and her mother one weekend. Wanting to be fair to both of us, we picked a place halfway between us, a kind of 'neutral ground', booked a hotel and started driving.

The weekend went well enough. Katie's mom seemed supportive and accepting. Katie herself seemed excited and nervous and everything you would expect from a teen meeting the woman who gave her life for the first time.

That was a long long time ago. It was strange to be somewhere we had been together. Since meeting, I haven't been back to any of the places where we actually share memories. We've been to her hometown once. And we met in this neutral city once. But she has yet to visit us at our home. And I know that day may never come.

It's just strange that the important people in my life whom I share so many memories with will often come to mind as I re-visit places we've been together. Is it strange I didn't immediately remember being there with my birthdaughter? Is that normal? What is normal in this situation? So many questions. So few answers.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm having their Baby Defense Mechanism

A little over twelve years ago, I was in my mid twenties, single, scared out of my mind, and pregnant. For a myriad of different reasons that aren't the point of this post, I’d made the choice to place my baby for adoption. I had chosen a good family and things were falling into place logistically but they weren't in my heart. There is absolutely nothing natural about rubbing your own belly to calm your kicking baby knowing you’ll only spend a few short days with him (or her) before you hand him over to the woman he’ll call Mom. But, I needed a way to cope, a way to be strong enough, and follow through with what I felt was best at that time in my life.

So my defense mechanism became referring to Charlie, referring to my son, as “their baby.” “I’m having this baby for them. This is their son.” I’d tell myself that over and over. I’d use it in conversation with strangers. I’d even go as far as to say “I’m having this baby for friends” because at that point, they had become my friends so it wasn't totally a lie but it wasn't the truth either. I was in big time denial of the way I was about to feel. I was trying to detach myself from my baby. It was my way of coping and it continued until the day I gave birth four weeks early.

As I sat cross legged in a red t-shirt and watermelon boxers in the hospital bed holding a sweet four pound, six ounce little baby boy in my lap, I cried. He wasn't theirs. He was mine. I was his Mother. He was a part of me and he was absolutely beautiful.  I saw my nose in his, our complexions were similar. As I counted ten toes and ten tiny fingers, in that special moment many, many Mothers have with their babies, I realized that I’d just been telling myself he was theirs to make it easier on me. It didn't work. It was silly. I’d tried so hard to not bond with him but the bond I felt with him those moments was absolutely overwhelming and undeniable. I wish I’d fully experienced, accepted, and enjoyed that pregnancy as my own because sadly it will probably be my last full term pregnancy ever and I spent most of it pretending he wasn't mine.

I’m not the only birthmother I know who has told herself this – who used this defense mechanism to cope and make it through the difficult process of placing a child for adoption. Did you do this during your pregnancy? How do you feel about it now? 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quote of the Week: Let it Spring From Love

"The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love. Born out of concern for all beings."

Friday, October 18, 2013

How does your Reality Match Up with TV's Reality?

As I sit here writing this, I have MTV's Teen Mom 3 playing in the background. I've noticed 3 key things about this trilogy:
1. The moms are never content.
2. If the girls are in a relationship, it's never a good one.
3. There are at least 30 solid minutes of arguing between all 4 of the mom's segments.

Even though these girls probably thought their decisions through, the main message they send across is that they wished they would've waited. Sometimes I wish I was going through what they're going through though. Sometimes I regret my decision.

As I've learned from TV and from personal friends, no matter what age you have children, it's never easy. But being a "teen mom" is probably the hardest time. I'm watching these girls go through all of this, basically, on their own. In most segments, the father is no where to be found. In my opinion, if I would've had Micah when I was better off financially and emotionally and with the man I loved, I could have made it work. 

What are your thoughts about this? 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When Dreams Die

As life swirls about me, I am often fascinated by my own life circumstances as well as those of those close to me. Oftentimes I wonder how I would handle such a life event only to remember that God gives grace when it is needed, and not before. So here are a few life circumstances going on around me right now. Maybe you can relate to one.

I have a very good friend who is a birthmom. Her son is in his 20s and has recently told her outright that he doesn't want a relationship with her. This lady is never married and has never borne anymore children. She is out of graduate school, out of a job and back living at home. What now?

My husband was recently passed over for a job promotion. Now granted, his boss did not get to make the decision. Also, he was by far the youngest candidate for the position. But how does this affect his future at the company? What does he shoot for now?

One of my Community Bible Study gals is a dear woman who was looking forward to the next chapter of her life. While she and her husband had battled through many issues over the years, they stayed together, worked through them, and came out on the other side better and stronger. One morning on his way to work, he died in an accident. What is her purpose now? Where does she go from here?

So what happens when we have been living in the land of wishful thinking instead of the land of reality, as in the case of my birthmother friend? How does my husband keep going and set new goals? How do we move forward when we don't want to?

I have no easy answers, ladies. I know in my own life there have been places where I would have been content to just lay down and die. But in each instance, God gave me grace and purpose to go on. Just this week I have been encouraged by Paul in his letter to the Philippians. In chapter one he writes, " If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me... I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account."

If you are suffering today, if you are at the end of something and unsure where to turn next, ask God to show you. Ask him for the grace to get you through to the other side. I'd love to hear from you.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Music Monday: A Song For Mia by Lizz Wright

"And what you think of me, I can't say
I'll take these bad dreams and I'll drove along the way
I'm at the shore now, the shadows at my back
I can feel the waves coming there, heavy and black"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quote of the Week: Love!

"Love conquers all things; let us surrender to Love."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daily Stress = Daily Triggers

My dad was admitted to the hospital earlier this month. He has COPD from smoking a pipe his entire life, so it's nothing new to me and my Mom. When he gets these "COPD exacerbations", he can't breathe. Thankfully, my brother just happened to be flying in the day my dad was in the ER. Long story short, dad's doing well and he's home (for now, at least).

I never realized how much stress impacted my feelings about Micah. That may sound obvious, but it'd never impacted me the way it did that week. I might have been feeling pressure to entertain my brother,  making sure my mom was doing okay, or just worrying if I was going to see my dad the next morning. But I was thinking a lot about Micah, too. I feel guilty about that. I shouldn't be worrying about my son, who doesn't even live with me. I should be worrying about my daddy. Finally, I told myself, "if you let the stress get to you, you'll be no help to your family who need you the most right now." I can't let myself, constantly, get involved with my fears and anxieties. S@!* happens. Sometimes you can't control it. But you can decide to enjoy the ride. 

No matter what your situation is, or what your stress and triggers are, keep pushing forward. Everything happens for a reason. I believe my reason was to come to terms with my true strength and confidence. You can do anything you set your mind to. Something that always helps calm me down when I start feeling sad about Micah, is to think of the original reasons why I decided to make my adoption plan.

Okay, just some food for thought for the upcoming weekend! Why did you decide to make your adoption plan? What are some of your triggers? 

Always remember, you are NOT alone!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Quote of the Week: I Have the Power to Make Me Happy

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."

Friday, October 4, 2013

Life After Placement

Right after I placed, it's almost as if my life was put on hold. I wallowed for quite a long time. I put myself in the "victim" role. I often told myself I wasn't good enough to be a mother, so that's why I placed. I cried for days on end during the summer after Micah was born. I constantly felt sorry for myself. I convinced myself that what I was going through was to be expected. And to an extent, it was. But feeling constantly depressed and angry isn't what placement should be like.

I started seeing a therapist in May of  2012 and attempted to get my life back on track. My therapist and I discussed my resentment towards my parent and towards myself. In that dark time in my life, I kept blaming myself. "If I would've been more prepared... If I would've settled down... If I'd known earlier... If I wasn't 17..." But then we came upon common ground. It was my "fault" I got pregnant, but it was my choice to give him a better life than I could have provided. In a way, I did sacrifice some of my teen years. I went from being a somewhat popular girl in high school, to not knowing where I fit in. I became separated from my friends in high school because no one truly knew what I'd been through. 

In my town there's literally nothing to do. We have a movie theater that's going bankrupt, a bowling alley that mainly just holds tournaments, a few diners, a coffee shop, Elizabethtown College, and the high school. Oh, and we're in the middle of Amish country. Most of the teenagers in my town either become drug addicts by the time they're 16, are obsessed with everything "country", or get pregnant by junior year. A lot of my friends are mothers or college students, so it gives me a catch 22. I don't really fit in with the teen moms, but I don't really fit in with the college kids either. Granted, I'm going to community college, but it's just not the same. I tried going to a 4 year school but I just wasn't ready.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that whatever you decide to do, you have options. Placing your child for adoption gives the both of you a better opportunity in life. Don't let yourself succumb to the "What ifs". Just go for it. I had to learn that the hard way. 

What are your plans in life? Are you in school? What would you like your career to be?

Photo: (wo months after I placed Micah, I graduated from high school.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Forgotten Birthmoms

You know I've been on this kick of trying to find out where the rest of 'us' are. According to research, both mine and others, there are possibly millions of us out there who hold the title of 'birthmom' still living. Yet where are our support services? where are our programs? where is the compassionate response to our grief?

In a traditional, pro-life pregnancy center there are support groups for women who have previously terminated a pregnancy. In those groups they find support, acceptance and hopefully forgiveness for their choice.

In a traditional, pro-life pregnancy center there are support systems in place for women who find themselves unexpectantly pregnant and choose to parent the child. In our local center, for example, ladies can attend classes during their pregnancy that include CPR, labor and delivery and how to care for a newborn. After their bundle of joy arrives, they can stay on for two years to further their parenting education all the while earning points redeemable towards diapers, wipes, formula and clothing.

In that same pregnancy center, there is all kinds of verbal support for adoption. There are referrals to adoption agencies available. And if you're lucky, you may get to talk to someone like me, someone who's been there and can lend support and a listening ear.

But that's it. That's all. No follow up. No rewards. No programming. No two year support group.

So that makes me wonder. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did the support systems come first making the way easier for single parenting? Or did the era of single parenting come first with the need for support systems following?

And does that apply to adoption? Would it make a difference on the number of children placed if more support systems were offered? Would it increase the number of women willing to come out of the birthmother closet and tell their stories?

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