Sunday, November 27, 2011

Adult Adoptee

I reached out to a couple of my birth mother friends for an adult adoptee and was given Camille's contact info... not only is she awesome because she's adopted but because she has the same name as my mother. haha!  So here is her story.

Hi, my name is Camille, and I was adopted at birth. To give you an idea of how forthcoming my parents were about me being adopted, I don’t have any memories of a time when I did not know that I was adopted. In my prayers each night, with my parents helping me, I would thank my Heavenly Father for my birthmother and birthfather and pray that they would be happy and know that our family loved them. When I would go to sleep, I would get two hugs and kisses from both of my parents, one from them, and one from my birthparents. Growing up I had very blonde hair, but the rest of my family had dark hair, and when people asked me where my blonde hair came from, I told them “from my birthmother.” It was always just known, talked about, and never a secret from anyone. I always liked that I was adopted too; it made me different, and special in a way. Most people only have one mommy and daddy who love them, but I have two mommies and daddies, and twice the love!

For the most part, I never felt misplaced or strange for being adopted, and my (awesome) mom always had the best explanations for my questions. I remember when I was around three, and my mom was pregnant with my little sister, it dawned on me that I hadn’t grown in my mommy’s tummy, but in someone else’s and that was who my birthmother was. I wrote to my birthmother around my birthday every year, including pictures of myself, drawings I had done, and such, and I loved getting letters back from my birthmom. We were pen pals, and I loved getting mail with my own name on it. When I was about to turn eight, I asked my mom if I could find out what my birthparents looked like, and if I could tell them my first name, and ask for their first name too. She thought it was a great idea, and I remember her helping me with my letter. That birthday letter was amazing, I found out their first names, received several pictures of my birthmom, one of my birthdad, and one of a half sister I didn’t know about! I had never seen anyone who looked like me, and it was so exciting to be able to see who I looked like.

After that year, the letters just unexpectedly stopped. I wrote several times after, but never got any replies back. As I got into my teenage years, I felt hurt and angry at my birthmother for just disappearing without any explanation. Many times, I caught myself wishing that I had never heard anything from her at all, because then it wouldn’t hurt so much to suddenly have that contact taken away. I’m pretty sure that all teens go through some sort of identity crisis, wondering “who they really were.” That uncertainty was greatly amplified because of my adoption, and I would get angry about having all these questions, and not being able to talk to anyone who had the answers. I also would occasionally feel guilty knowing that my birthparents were probably scared and hurt by getting pregnant with me, and I felt like it was in a way my fault for causing this pain.

After several years of no contact, my friends would ask me if I ever wanted to meet my birth family. I knew I would be able to open my files when I turned 21, and that the possibility of meeting them was there, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to open that door. I was happy with my family, and I was scared of getting hurt again. I know now, that I wasn’t the only one with uncertainty, pangs of guilt, and the perception that it was more to deal with than we were able to handle. After talking it through with my birthmother, I harbor no resentment toward her and only mention it so that other birthmothers won’t repeat the same course of action.

I met my husband during the Fall of 2008 at the university I was attending, and we were married the next June. I was 20 years old and the age that I could open my files was getting closer. My mother-in-law, who was also adopted, would ask me about opening them quite often. I was happy with the family I had, and didn’t feel like I needed to meet my birth family. My mother-in-law had found her birth family about when my husband was born, and loved knowing them. She encouraged me to soften my heart and consider at least opening up some sort of communication with them. I still wasn’t sure about what I would do, but I had until the next March to decide.

One November morning, I got a call from my mom in between classes. My adoption agency had called and told her that my birthmother had started her side of the paper work, and was wondering if I would be interested in starting my own paper work to open my file. I was shocked. After all this time of not hearing from her, she was back and wanted contact again. Over the next few days I went through a wide range of emotions, excited, fear, anger, but more than anything, nervous. I spoke with a counselor at the agency a few times about my options and the possible outcomes. In the end, I decided to go through with it, and at least write to her again. I sent her a letter with my e-mail address, a few wedding pictures of my husband and me, and then I waited.

The day before New Years Eve, I got a letter. Since I had heard from her last, she had gotten married, had another son, and was running a day care center. I ran inside our apartment to check my e-mail. She had gotten my letter the same day, and had already e-mailed me. We spent the next three days e-mailing back and forth almost constantly, just asking and answering each others’ questions.

Eventually we exchanged phone numbers as well, and started texting. I decided that I wanted to meet her face-to-face, and see how that would go. We set a date to meet at the adoption agency. The whole week I was anxious, and driving up, I was a nervous wreck. When we walked into the room, my birthmom and two half siblings were there already. It was so strange seeing them all in real life. She cried seeing me, but strangely, I didn’t. I felt calm, relaxed, and happy to finally be meeting the woman who had so selflessly placed me within my wonderful family, and had given me the opportunity to have such a great life. We talked for a while, looked at pictures, and watched a video they had taken of me while in the hospital. It was going really well, so we decided to go out to dinner together. She called her husband, who met us at the restaurant. The rest of the evening went exceptionally well; joking around, lots of laughing, and I felt an instant connection with their entire family.

My birthmom had some information about my birthdad, and got his e-mail address for me. I sent him an e-mail, and he wanted to communicate with me as well! I had previously had contact with my birthmom when I was younger, but nothing at all with my birthdad, and it had never occurred to me that my birthdad would want to talk to me as well! We e-mailed back and forth as well, and decided to meet up for dinner a few weeks later.

This meeting was a little more awkward. I knew less about him, and he knew far less about me. Plus, he’s a guy, so it was just different communicating with him. He brought his wife and stepdaughter, who I just fell in love with, and throughout the meal, we all warmed up to each other, and had a good time.

Throughout the next few months, I would meet up with either my birthmom or birthdad for different events. Slowly, we have gotten to know each other, and I have loved having them become a part of my life. My parents have been so supportive of this journey of finding my birth family. My mom put it best—in the end, we’re all part of the same heavenly family, and there is plenty of room to love everyone. I feel the same way, the more the merrier and I love having so many family members to love.

Last winter, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant; we had fun telling all four sets of future grandparent the joyous news of the event that would take place in the fall. For my daughter, I feel she has been blessed with twice as many grandparents to love her, and a bunch of extra aunts and uncles to dote on her as well. Of course, we will have to eventually explain to her who is who and how they all fit together, but my birth family will always be there for her, and with that knowledge, I hope she better understands that they too are a special part of her family. I don’t think she will have too tough of a time…double the birthday and Christmas presents from all the grandmas and grandpas! What kid wouldn’t love that! We blessed our baby girl in our church a few weeks ago, and both my birthmom’s and birthdad’s families attended. It was so special to see the family where I came from, the family where I grew up, and my husband’s family all united together to love and support my daughter.

I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to get to know these amazing people, and that they have chosen to build relationships with myself and the rest of my family. I love each of them so much, and can’t imagine my life being any different.

When I was little, my mom told me she thought when we were all in heaven, my birthparents, my parents, and myself were all best friends and that we chose to go through with the adoption on earth so that we could all be more closely connected when we were all here. Adoption has been such a blessing in my life, and I am grateful for it. I feel so blessed to have so many people that love me, and that I love them. I am especially grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be raised by my parents, because they are seriously wonderful people who gave me the best home I could have ever asked for. It is so gratifying for me to think of how inspired my birthparents were to choose my mother and father to raise me. Also It is such a blessing to have them back in my life and how much we have grown to love each other. To me, family is everything, and when it comes to when it comes to having wonderful parents, all I can say is, “My cup truly runneth over.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I blog

I started this blog because I wanted to help others who are going through or have gone through similar things to me. I've just always felt I needed to share my story. I didn't know why until I was reading through my patriarchal blessing the other night.

 you will be a strength at all times and in all places of the truths and the blessing that come from the gospel; you may be an example of righteous living and the love of Christ in your relationships with the youth of the church; that they may become aware through your teaching and your example of the joy that comes from living the commandments and the blessings from being obedient. 

 It hit me last night that I need to share for the youth of the church. Whether it be a young woman who is currently pregnant or someone that is struggle with living their life right. I need to share. I need to be open about adoption and all of the hard choices that come along with it.  I need to be open about all of the blessings that come from it as well.

That is why I shared my story to begin with.  I now blog because I need to.  I need to get all my feelings out.  I don't know what I would do if I didn't.  I'm pretty sure I'd go crazy with built up rage and feelings. ha!  But I've found something interesting.... The longer I've blogged the more people I've helped.  Sharing my story isn't just therapy for me.  I feel it's my divine purpose in this life.  I believe I HAVE to share in order to live up to the life that God has in store for me.  You may think this is "strange" but I pray about every thing I post on this blog.  I know that God has a purpose for me and I need to fulfill that purpose.  I  have days where I sit and wonder why my life has gone the direction it has.  And then I read my blessing again and know that others will learn from me.  Others will be blessed because of me.  THAT is why I blog... FOR OTHERS!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Adoption Blogger Interview-Meet Lois

I was so happy to participate in the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project. It is such a great opportunity to meet wonderful people who have been touched by adoption. I was paired up with Lois. She and her husband are hoping to adopt. In all of my blog hopping I've never read her blog. I enjoyed leaning more about her and what her and her husband have gone through. Feel free to go check out her blog HERE.

Here is the Q & A with her....

Q:  Are your boys adopted or biological?
A:  We have two sons who are both biological. Our oldest is 8 years old and our youngest is 5 and just started Kindergarten this year.

Q:  How have you prepared your boys for "waiting for a baby"?
A:  We actually talked to them before we even submitted our application to the agency and asked them how they felt about the possibility of adding a new baby to our family because it will have such a big impact on their lives as well. They both agreed they would like that. Since then we have talked about it a lot and what it would mean to have another child in our family. We talked about how we were adopting this time and the baby would grow in someone else’s tummy and then come to live with us. They are very excited about the possibility and often talk about a possible name, buying a cute outfit, or keeping a special book they love for “the baby.” But it’s a balancing act because we don’t know how long the wait will be, and like all kids they want a baby NOW! So we talk about “if” a lot in case we do not end up adopting for some reason. We’ve been waiting for 2 years so it’s hard for them as well as us.

Q;  Do you want to have an open, semi-open, semi-closed, or closed adoption?
A:  We are open to any type based on what the expectant parents desire, but ideally we would like an open adoption. We’ve seen so many examples of how it is much better for everyone involved, especially the child to know their birth families and have a relationship of some sort with them. We hope to be able to develop and build this relationship based on mutual agreement. I’ve gotten to know several wonderful birth moms who are in open adoptions and seen how much having an open adoption means to them.
Another reason, we’d ideally like an open adoption is that my mother-in-law placed her first three children for adoption and it was closed. They were reunited a few years ago and it was so hard for them to build a relationship. There was resentment on their part and guilt on hers and it’s taken them a long time to get to a good place, which is still somewhat stressed. Moreover, she missed out on seeing her granddaughters grow up and being a part of their lives.
I hope that by having an open adoption, it will help ease some of these things, and give our child a firm foundation. Plus, the more people to love a child the better.

Q:  Do you have any fears about adopting?
A:  I think our biggest fear about adopting is just that it will not happen for us and we will not end up adding a child to our family. As prospective adoptive parents, you really have to give up control totally to God and trust that He will bring your little one to you in His time. As a type A person who is a doer/go-getter, this is something that is very difficult to me. I have to accept that although we can do tons of networking, we still just have to wait for an expectant mother to select us, and not just any expectant mother but the one that God has planned. My new favorite verse that is helping me get through this period of waiting is: “Now FAITH is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see.” ~Hebrews 11:1

Q:  If you're choosing to have an open adoption what do you feel is going to be the biggest "struggle" for you regarding the birth mother?
A:  I think the biggest struggle will be to keep the lines of communication open and honest even when it’s easier to not. Each side of the triad comes into the relationship with fear. Prospective adoptive parents fear the expectant parents won’t like them, that they won’t pick them, that they’ll change their mind, they’ll take the child away after placement if their state allows them to revoke the TPR, the birth mom will regret her decision or just pull away for some unknown reason without explanation. Expectant parents worry that this family isn’t the right one, they aren’t making the right decision for their child, that maybe they should parent, and then after placement that they will say or do something that will close the adoption. Communication is such a key to helping elevate these fears and building a relationship that will grow and last.

Q:  Can you describe why you and your husband have chosen adoption?
A:  I had some complications with each pregnancy and wasn’t getting any younger. My husband, Ray and I decided that although we really wanted another child. We just didn’t feel like our family was complete yet, but we didn’t want to risk another pregnancy for me or a child. I had been thinking about adoption for a month or so but figured Ray would not go along with it so I had just sort of put it out of my mind. A week or so later he came to me and asked me if I had considered adoption. Um, yes! We started the process to adopt in September 2009.

You can go and read more interviews HERE

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Q: Tell a little about when you first found out you were pregnant.
A: I found out I was pregnant in March of 2010. I was 22 years old, living with my now ex-boyfriend, who is a psychologically abusive alcoholic. We'll call him DB. DB had just lost his job, which caused him to go on a drinking binges for weeks at a time. I was working 20 hours a week at a local daycare making minimum wage. Because DB had just lost his job, he didn't have money for booze, so he would manipulate and abuse me until I gave it to him. 

Q: What was your boyfriend's reaction to your pregnancy? 
A: At first, DB was shocked. He was convinced he was sterile. Then he was angry, called me a slut and a whore and accused me of having sex with other men. After the initial shock and anger, he still really couldn't believe I was pregnant. 

Q: Did you ever consider adoption? 
A: Of course. That was my first instinct. I knew that neither DB nor  I were in a position to take care of and raise a child. However, when I mentioned adoption to DB, he threatened to kill me if I gave away his child. I didn't think he was serious the first time, but every time I mentioned it, his answer was, "I will find you and kill you if you even think of giving away my child." Of course, I was so emotionally and mentally repressed that I believed him. 

Q: Why was having an abortion the decision you felt was right? 
A: You have to understand that I was in a very abusive relationship, and I was mentally and emotionally messed up. In fact, "messed up" is an understatement for the emotional state I was in.  It's not something you understand until you've been in that kind of relationship. You feel trapped and helpless. After DB threatened to kill me if I gave the baby up for adoption, I had no idea what to do. I knew I couldn't take care of the baby if I kept it and I knew my life was in danger if I gave it away. I started thinking about abortion, but was hesitant to actually do it. About 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I started having dreams about DB killing the baby. In some dreams, DB would be so drunk, he wouldn't hear the baby crying and the baby would die of neglect. In other dreams, DB would get so frustrated with the baby's crying, he would shake the baby or throw the baby against a wall. These dreams were so realistic, I would wake up screaming. After having these dreams for a week, I couldn't take it anymore, and that is when I made the decision to have an abortion. 

Q: After your abortion did you ever have feelings that you'd made the wrong decision? 
A: This might make some of your readers angry, but in my situation, no. I never felt that I had made the wrong decision. I was so emotionally and mentally unstable, and the circumstances I was in were so horrible and traumatic that I couldn't bring myself to bring a life into the world, knowing exactly what I was bringing my baby into. I know that if I had been in a different situation, I would have kept the baby or given him up for adoption. I say "him" because I'm convinced the baby was a boy.

Q: Have you told people about your abortion? If so, what were their reactions? 
A: I've told a few close friends and a family member. I was surprised at the support I received. Most of my friends knew about the relationship I was in and they said they would have done the same thing if they had been in my position. 

Q: What advice would you give to women who find themselves pregnant and are considering their options? 
A: Do what is right for you, but don't think abortion is the only way out. You'll be surprised at how many people will be there for support.  And don't let ANYONE judge you for the choice you make. Those people have no idea what it is like to be in your shoes. 

Q:What advice would you give to someone who has recently had an abortion?
A: If you feel the need to talk to someone, DO IT. There are a lot of support groups out there for women who have had abortions. Don't let the guilt and grief overwhelm you to the point where you can't function. Again, never let ANYONE judge you for the choices you make. They have no idea what your circumstances are and what it feels like to be in the position you are. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Craig and Erin

I met Craig and Erin years ago.  I was friends of a friend of Craig's my sophomore year.  You know I may have actually dated one of his friends....anyway... we had common friends but weren't really friends.  When Daniel and I moved into our current apartment Craig and Erin were in our ward.  I talked with Craig a few times and found out they were hoping to adopt.  We've kept in contact since and they were willing to do a guest post for me.  They are WONDERFUL people.  In fact Erin's mom was my brother's favorite math teacher in high school.  Just a little fun fact for you.

Here is the Q&A with Craig and Erin

Q:  Tell a little about yourselves (your names, age, where you live, when adoption first touched your
lives, and anything else you feel comfortable sharing with my readers).
A:  We are Craig and Erin! We met in High School and dated our senior year. Erin is 26 (just barely) and
Craig is 25. We are both from Layton, Utah and just moved to Nebraska this past summer (July 2011), so
Craig could start Law School at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Adoption first touched our lives with the placement of our nephew. At that time we didn't know we would
have the opportunity to adopt our own children. We are grateful we have witnessed the blessings of
adoption in our family.

Q:  Tell a little bit about your journey towards adoption.
A:  Our journey towards adoption is probably just like many others. We always wanted children and started
trying to have children 1 ½ or 2 years after being married. After 12 months of no success, we finally made
the dreaded doctor appointments. We were very fortunate to learn the cause of infertility before starting
any treatments, but were sad to learn that in-vitro fertilization (IVF) would be the only option of having
biological children. Because IVF is so expensive, we decided right away to start the adoption process.
After a few months, our profile was up and we were excited that parenthood was getting closer.
About 6 months after our profile was up, we were able to do one round of IVF which resulted in a
pregnancy. We opted to keep our adoption profile up until after the first trimester. Unfortunately though,
the pregnancy was lost after about 10 weeks. We were devastated about the loss, but at the same time
were grateful we had felt it was right to continue with adoption.

Q:  What do you feel has been the biggest obstacle for you while hoping to adopt?
A:  Our biggest obstacle probably has been our lack of patience with the process. We are both excited to be
parents and have had a hard time waiting for that day to come. It has been a difficult trial as we have so
many friends and relatives who are all starting families of their own. We are obviously excited for them
and their new journeys, but it also tests our own patience as we wait to begin our family.

Q:  How did your families react when you decided to adopt?
A:  Both of our families were extremely supportive and willing to help us out in anyway. With Craig’s family,
his oldest brother has adopted their two children and so they have been through the experience and have
seen the wonderful blessings that adoption brings. Erin’s family is excited for us to have children and
have loved and supported us through the entire process.

Q:  What is the most nerve wracking thing about waiting to hear from a birth mother?
A:  The most nerve-racking thing about waiting to hear from a birth mother is not knowing when that moment
will actually happen. Once our profile is transferred from Layton, UT to Lincoln, NE we will be anxiously
awaiting to hear from a birth mother. We think not knowing if it will be two months or two years is the most
difficult aspect of the adoption process for an adoptive couple.

Q:   Have you ever had a face-to-face meeting with a birth mother?
If yes what were your feelings in preparing for it and after meeting the birth mother?
A:  We have not had a face-to-face meeting with a birth mother.

Q:  What advice to do you have for couples you are preparing to adopt?
A:  From our standpoint, we think the most important part of the preparation process is to not forget about
each other. Through all of the emotions and challenges that come through infertility it can be easy to lose
sight of life and the joys that come from it. We have found that going on dates and vacations and finding
time to be with each other have been some of the most rewarding times of our lives.

Q:  What advice do you have for couples that are starting the process of adoption (filling out the
paper work type stuff)?
A:  To get it done. We found that it can be an overwhelming process to fill out all the paper work, visit
the doctor, find the right photographs and try to write a profile that truly expresses our feelings about
each other, birth mothers, and adoption in general. These struggles made it easy to put off completing
everything we needed to. But the more we worked at it, the more things fell into place and the quicker it
got done.

Q:  What would you say to women who are pregnant and considering their options?
A:  With neither of us ever being in a similar situation, it is difficult to know what to say other than that we
know it is a challenging time but that it can be also a time for tremendous personal growth. We know that
our Savior has a specific plan for each of us and that as we rely and place our trust in him, he will give us
the guidance we need.

Craig and Erin are hoping to adopt.  Since their recent move their profile hasn't been transferred (I'll add it to this post when it is transferred) but here is there adoption blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Today's blog post is going to more spiritual.  I have my reasons for this.  Mostly because I think I need to be reminded of it.  Over the last few weeks some of my family members have been deeply affected by someone else's agency.  One of my cousins brother-in-law took his own life just before Halloween.  A week later a young man in the same ward also took his own life.  I found out yesterday another one of my cousins had a friend take their own life this last week.  As I was thinking about how tragic all of their choices were I was further reminded of my own choices... My own agency.

I will NEVER forget the look my mother gave me as I walked in the door after I told my mom I was pregnant.  My choices had a HUGE impact on her life.  I didn't realize it at the time.  In fact I didn't realize the full impact it had until this event years after placement actually happened.

Do any of us realize the full force our choices can and have made on our loved ones?  Do we stop to consider how hurtful they could be.

In May 1975 ELDER DELBERT L. STAPLEY said....
"As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we have this gift of free agency to use in our mortal lives. We must be tried, tested, and proved to see if we will choose the right and do all things whatsoever the Lord our God shall command us. As spirit children of God, we have built-in powers of conscience sufficient to develop our free agency in right choices and to acquire qualities of goodness, humility, and integrity of purpose."

While agency can be a great and wonderful thing.  It can be hurtful and hard.  It can make good people do stupid and hurtful things.  It can make the best people look vile.  When agency isn't used for good it can ruin lives.

The Liahona Magazine put out an article called The Fulness of the Gospel: Agency in it it stated

"When we use our agency to choose righteousness, God not only blesses us, but our agency is strengthened and enhanced. When our Heavenly Father sees that He can trust us to make correct decisions, He does as any loving parent would do: He blesses us with new opportunities and more responsibility. Thus, if we use our agency wisely, the possibilities for doing good and blessing others become infinite. Obedience always leads to greater agency and increasing possibilities. It is sin that shrinks our options."

While the choices that led up to Ally were poor and wrong I feel like for my situation I made the best possible decision. I used my agency to do what I felt was best for Ally.  While I know Branden didn't and still doesn't agree with my decision I feel he knew in his heart it was what HAD to happen.

Agency is a wonderfully cursed thing.  I have had days were I wish we didn't have it.  Nights when Cayden wakes up screaming for me to save him I wish more than anything someone else's agency hadn't caused him the pain in the past.  But we have it... It's a great thing... We must as human beings use our agency for the betterment of man.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adoption Walk with Me

This year we added the 6th Annual Adoption "walk with me" 5K.  It was GREAT.  Cold... but GREAT!
 The best part... everything was Orange.  Cayden's favorite color is Orange and he was THRILLED that mommy was wearing orange and that everyone else would be wearing orange.

 Cayden walked in celebration if his birth mom Jordan.  He loved it!
 He also loved the fire trucks that were there... TOTAL hit with him!
I was able to meet a few friends IRL for the first time such as Stefanie and Sonya.  It's great to make connections because of adoption.  And I was able to hang out with Alli and Sterling and Emily.  I LOVE them all dearly!  I am SO grateful for adoption and the blessings that it has brought into my life.  I love celebrating adoption, sharing adoption, and living adoption.  I hope that if you have been touched by adoption you will do something to celebrate adoption this month.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Adoption Stats

Just thought I'd post some interesting adoption stats....
Hope you are educated.  I know I was.

There are an estimated 3.3 adoption seekers for every actual adoption.

Less than .1% of adoptions are contested each year.

‎86% of birth mothers and 81% of adoptees support access by adult adoptees to identifying information about their birth parents.

A comprehensive study in 1998 found that 95% of the adoptees who were surveyed expressed a desire to be found by their birth parents.

A comprehensive study in 1998 found that every birth parent who was surveyed wanted to be found by the child they had placed for adoption

‎72% of adopted adolescents want to know why they were adopted, 65% want to meet their birth parents, and 94% want to know which birth parent they looked like.

As many as 100 million Americans have adoption in their immediate family (adopting, placing, adopted)

Approximately 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year.

Approximately 7 million Americans are adopted persons

Approximately 130,000 foster care children were waiting to be adopted in 2007.

From 1999 to 2010 there were 224,615 international adoptions, 141,324 were females and 83,291 were males.

From 1952 to 1972, 8.7% of all premarital births were placed for adoption.
From 1973 to 1981, this percentage fell to 4.1%.
From 1982 to 1988, it fell further to 2%.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adoption Walk with Me

The Adoption walk is this Saturday!  Can't wait to see you there!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brittany and Tylee

Just a little background.... I went to Viewmont High with Brittany and her sister Brooke.  Brooke was my age and Brittany a year older.  I didn't know either very well during high school but was able to reconnect with Brittany on Facebook.  When I saw her profile picture I had to ask if her daughter was adopted (she's biracial and both Brittany and her husband are Caucasian).  She was great about it and opened up and shared her story with me.  I asked if to share her story with all of you.  Thank you again Brittany for being willing to share!

Q:Tell a little about yourself (Name, Age, where you live, how adoption has affected your life, anything else you want the readers to know).
A:  My name is Brittany,  I currently live in Weber County UT.  First of all my adoption story is different from the standard adoption.  I had the opportunity to adopt my sisters baby.  Adopting my daughter h as been the greatest blessing in my life.  She brings happiness into our lives on a daily basis.

Q:  When did your sister/birth mother start making an adoption plan?
A:  My sister, the birth mother, did not realize that she wanted to place her for adoption until he has parented her for five months.  Being a single mother was really hard for her, and she decided that Tylee would be better off with a mother and a father and thankfully the first family she thought of was me and my husband.  We had been trying to conceive for 3 years.  I was and still am so grateful that she was able to be so selfless and give me the greatest gift in the whole world.

Q:  How old was your daughter when she was placed with you?
A:  Tylee, my daughter, was 6 months old by the time she was able to move into our home.

Q:  Was the birth father involved in the adoption plan?
A:  The birth father was not very involved in Tylee's life, but enough that we still had to get his permission for the adoption.  He was very cooperative.

Q:  Do you have an open or closed adoption?
A:  I would consider our adoption an open one.  My sister can see Tylee whenever she wants.  The birth father as well.  At this time they both are choosing not to participate very much in Tylee's life.

Q:  What is the most unique thing about your adoption?
A:  I think the most unique thing about our adoption is the fact that my daughter has some of my blood. ha ha. She was able to keep the same set of original grandparents.  I think that helped a lot with the transition into our home.

Q:  When you found out your sister/birth mother was pregnant what was your reaction?
A:  Looking back on this now, I do feel very guilty.  My first reaction when I found out my sister was pregnant was jealousy.  My husband and I had a home and jobs and we would be able to provide two loving parents.... my sister didn't even know who the guys was the got her pregnant at first.  So i was angry and mad at God and everyone else because i wasn't able to get pregnant and my sister was.  I was bitter until precious Tylee arrived into this world.  I remember when I would hold her, even before she was legally  mine, the whole world would stop turning.  She was so amazing and perfect to me.  I would joke with my parents all the time after she was born that one day my sister was going to give her to me.  Little did I know it would actually come true!

Q:  How has that adoption changed your family dynamic (if at all)?
A:  Adoption has just made our lives more perfect!  It was a big change at first.  I mean most people get to start out with a baby that just lays in your arms, we got handed one that could already crawl and get into everything.  But after some quick baby proofing and a big change of focus, we got it all sorted out.  Since she was our first, she did change a lot of things, but for the better.

Q:  Do you plan to adopt more children or have them biologically?
A:  At this point in my life I would be happy to have a biological child, but if that doesn't happen in the next year I will adopt again.

Q:  What advice do you have for couples who are hoping to adopt?
A:  I would tell any couple wanting to adopt that it doesn't matter where the baby comes from.  Once they are in your home you completely forget that you didn't conceive them.  I am so happy that I chose to adopt.  It is seriously the greatest gift in the world.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Questions for jordan

I've received many emails from readers asking about Cayden's birth mother. Some of the questions I've known the answers to others I didn't. I only thought it fair I ask her to answer the questions. Before I get into the Q&A I want to give a little background. Jordan and my husband Daniel got pregnant in the summer of 2006. Daniel had just graduated from high school and Jordan had just finished her sophomore year. Daniel had just turned 18 and Jordan would turn 17 in November. Daniel and Jordan parented together for 8 months. And then Daniel had Cayden full time. When Cayden turned 1 Jordan had visits on Saturday and Sunday until he turned 2.  Cayden's adoption was open until January of 2011 when Daniel and I felt it was best to close his adoption.  I still have contact with Jordan and Cayden talks with her on the phone, sends texts, and sometimes emails if he chooses to.  He will be able to see her in person when he is old enough to understand the past.

These some of the questions emailed to me...

Q: When you were pregnant with Cayden did you ever consider adoption?
A: Yes I did. I was only 16. I think I would have been crazy to not be scared out of my mind to have a baby.

Q: Why did you choose to parent?
A: Parenting was what I felt was right. I knew when I saw his face I knew I needed to be his mom.

Cayden and Jordan April 2007

Q: How old was Cayden when you allowed Katelyn to adopt him?
A: I signed the papers in February of 2010, just before my daughter was born. He turned 3 that April.

Q: Who was there when you signed the papers?
A: Just me and the notary.

Q: Would it have been easier to sign if you had family there with you?
A: Ya it would have but at the time my family wasn't exactly supportive of my decision.

Q: Is your family supportive of your decision now?
A: They are now but like I said they weren't at first.

Q: What do you think made them become supportive?
A: I think mainly time. But I also think them seeing me comes to terms with it played a part.

Q: Do you wish things were different in your adoption?
A: Not now but in the past. We weren't exactly nice when the process first started. I wish that was different. I also know that things happen for a reason.

Q: What is the number one thing you want Cayden to know about his adoption.
A: The main thing is that I love him and I did what I knew was right and best for him.

Q: What is the number one thing you want for Cayden?
A: To be happy and loved.

Q: Do you still consider yourself his mom?
A: No, I'm his birth mom now. I was his mom for as long as God needed me to be.

Jordan, Cayden, Me (July of 2010)

Q: What has been the hardest part about your adoption?
A: Letting go and moving on. I couldn't do that until I was ok with the adoption.

Q: How has adoption changed you as a mother?
A: I don't take anything with my daughter for granted. I also realized things I did wrong with Cayden and I'll never do those same things with my daughter.
Cayden and Jordan's daughter

Q: How will you explain Cayden's adoption to your children?
A: Honestly I have NO idea. I'd love some advice in that area.

So... if your question wasn't answer it's because Jordan or I didn't feel the need to answer it.  Also if you have any other questions or comments for Jordan you're more than willing to leave a comment... I have said it a few times Jordan is and always will be a very special person to me.  It doesn't matter what mistakes have been made in the past.  I have had moments where I struggle with the past but then I remember that she is struggling with the present.  My love for Jordan goes deep and always will.  NOTHING will change that.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guest Post

I was asked by my dear friend over at Birth mothers 4 Adoption to guest post about How being a birth mother has affected my marriage.  Honestly I believe I got lucky with Daniel.  Sure we have had moments where he didn't understand things but he always tried his hardest to understand.  I think because he understood what pregnancy out of marriage can do to you I think he had a better understanding of some of my feelings.  I love my hubby!  He's just the best.  When I was pregnant with Jaxson I was very emotional.  He handled things like a pro!  Thank you Daniel for being you.  And most of all... Thank you for loving me... baggage and all!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Most hurtful

I think the most hurtful thing that has ever been said to me about adoption was actually said to me by my 7 year old nephew. "You're not Cayden's real mom."
I guess the first time I heard it I was a little taken off guard but didn't take offense to him saying it. Tonight when I heard it for the 5th time, completely out of the blue, I had to walk out of the room and broke down bawling... My sister-in-law said I needed to explain or to him.  I did, the first time he said it to me.  You see the situation in their family is a little different.  Their oldest is from my sister-in-laws first marriage.  However my brother and sister-in-law have been married since their oldest was 3.  So she told me to tell him that his oldest sister's dad isn't his real dad but she still calls him dad... Sorry but that's completely different. And to be completely honest I don't think I should have to anymore. The first time he said it to me noone else was around so yes, I did explain it to me (as well as the second, third, and forth time).  I think when the parent it their it should be their place to correct their child. Am I wrong?
I then asked my mom how to address it and was told "Oh get over it."  that sent me over the edge!  Why is it that my family doesn't seem to care?  They don't seem to correct the problem.  Yes he's 7 but what he is saying is wrong.  It should be corrected by someone other than me because clearly me correcting him isn't working.  I freaked out and said something I shouldn't have.  I was just asking for support, help, answers.  Instead I got nothing.  I'm frustrated and hurt.  I know I need to say something but honestly right now I can't talk/write about it without crying.  My biggest fear is that people will say that to Cayden.  He's so sensitive that I fear it'll really hurt his feelings.  This is one area of adoption that really isn't all that wonderful.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I sleep at night...

I have received multiple emails asking me how I sleep at night depriving Cayden of the open relationship I have with Ally. I've never justified my decision to close Cayden's adoption to anyone because I've never felt the need to go into detail about the things in Cayden's past. I respect him birth mother too much to do that. But for those who don't know...closing Cayden's adoption was one of the most gut wrenching decision I've made in my life. You can read more about that here...HERE.

However... Regardless of how hard the decision was for me I know without a doubt it was right for Cayden. I can not describe how my heart breaks every night he wakes up screaming for me to "save him". Crying and clinging to me like he's about to die. I would and will do anything to prevent those nights. And since the adoption has been closed the longest he had gone is 3 months night mare free. Three months doesn't sound like a long time but when you take into account when the adoption was open he would have 2 or 3 a night... HUGE progress has been made.  So while I wish more than anything Jordan and Cayden could have a healthy relationship in the next little while.  Last night's night mare proved other wise.  Say what you will but my decision is mine.  As Cayden's mother I have the right to do what is best for him... Even if that is closing his adoption.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Failed Adoption...Cherlyn's story

I have had the pleasure of knowing many wonderful women because of adoption. Cherlyn is one of these women. To be completely honest I can't remember how we connected on Facebook but I am so entirely grateful we did. Cherlyn has helped me through some very hard things when it comes to adoption. It's sad to say we have never met IRL (in real life) but I'm hopeful sometime soon I'll be able to. Up until recently I has no idea Cherlyn and her husband Sean had been through a failed placement. My heart broke as she relayed the following story with me.

My name is Cherlyn and I am always happy to share my family’s journey on the path to adoption. We have a son that we adopted in August 2010 and are currently matched with another due November 22. It has been a path full of so many unexpected surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. I have always wanted to be a mom. It is something that I knew I would be good at, but as my life went along I really questioned and worried if I would ever be a mother. At the age of 39, I was still single and really felt the proverbial clock ticking. But I also knew that I had to wait for the right person. I didn’t want to get married just for the sake of getting married and being able to have a family. Then one day, I met Sean. As we got to know each other we knew that we were perfect for each other and looked forward to a future together. He has 3 children from a previous marriage, so before I agreed to quit dating others, I had to be sure that he was willing to have more children. He was and we were married in January 2009. We were both 40.
We began right away to try to add to our family. After we had been married 4 months we decided to go to a fertility clinic just to make sure that pregnancy would be possible given our ages. We did all the testing and tried 2 rounds of IVF. When the doctor found out we weren’t totally tied to the idea of our children being our biological children she suggested we adopt. We had already reached that decision on our own after a negative pregnancy test following the 2nd round of IVF. We made the decision in October, selected an agency in Utah and started our home study in November 2009. Sean and I went to the Cayman Islands for our first anniversary. While we were there, a lifelong friend of Sean’s contacted us and told us that his cousin was pregnant and would like to talk to us about placing with us. We were stunned and thrilled. We spoke to her while we were there and she and I really had an amazing connection. She asked us many questions about our family. She asked us if we were religious and I told her we went to church every Sunday and tried to make our home a Christ-centered home. We never discussed what specific denomination we were and I didn’t think twice about it. When I got home, I sent her pictures and a profile and she chose us without meeting us. We live in Virginia and she lived in Nevada and she didn’t feel it was necessary.
She and I spoke once a week on the phone. We shared our hopes and dreams about the baby girl that she was carrying. She had had a dream that she was watching the baby grow from afar and knew that adoption was the right choice for her. There was a very strong spiritual connection. She wanted to know what plans we were making for the baby. She wanted me to have a baby shower, so my colleagues threw one for us. She was due in May and we decided that I would fly out for an ultrasound and meet her in March. I was soooo excited and so was she. We met and were instantly friends. We spent the day at the agency that would facilitate the adoption, getting the ultrasound, and eating. Her mother was with us. We talked and had a great time. During the conversation, the subject of religion came up. Her mother found out that we were Mormon and said that unless we accepted Christ, Jane (not her real name) would not be placing with us. She felt that Mormons were not Christians. We spoke about this for over an hour. I explained my feelings about Christ and felt that things had ended on a very positive note. Jane walked me to my car and said that she would still be placing with us and not to worry about her mom.
The next morning I drove to the airport fly home and got lost on the way to return the rental car and missed my flight. While I was waiting for the next flight, Jane’s mother called me and told me that Jane felt horrible, but would be selecting another family for the baby. My first impulse was to go get another car and drive to Jane’s to talk to her. I wanted her to tell me the news not her mother. I called my husband who insisted that I stay at the airport and get on the plane and come home. I was dazed and I don’t really remember the flight home. I know I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Jane called and confirmed that she wouldn’t be placing with us. I couldn’t believe it. It hurt so badly, but I also knew that Jane was hurting about her decision because she knew we were the family.  
I was so depressed for weeks. I would come home from work and go straight to bed. I turned visitors away. I felt such a tremendous loss. In my mind, that baby was our baby. Jane had told me that so many times and I really believed it. My husband and I went to church and I heard a baby crying and ran from the building in tears. I didn’t know how to get over it and didn’t know anyone who had had a similar experience. I also really missed Jane. Two weeks later Jane and I spoke. We talked a lot about our religion and she still felt that the baby belonged with us. She told me to let her handle things on her end and she would get back to us. She had contact with us for a few more weeks and then we didn’t hear anything. My husband’s friend called us when the baby was born. I called Jane when the baby was a day old. I didn’t expect her to answer, but she did. I asked her what she had decided. She told me that since she couldn’t place the baby with us, she was going to parent. She said if the baby couldn’t be with us, she couldn’t be anywhere else but with her. She did want to place with us, but the reaction of her family was too strong. She and I had email contact for about a year after the baby was born. She wanted to know if we had found another baby and how we were doing. But we have not had any contact for about 6 months now and I am not sure that we will. I wish her the best. I understand that she was in an extremely difficult situation. It was one of the saddest cases of miscommunication I have ever experienced.
Living through a failed adoption prepared me for future contact with other birth mothers in a few different ways. I would never ever again assume that the baby was “mine” until the birth parents relinquish their rights. I enjoy the process, I prepare minimally, and I remember that the baby is theirs until legally it isn’t. I am also over the top in the information that I provide potential birth mothers. I never want there to be a misunderstanding like that again. I say anything and everything to make sure they have all the information to feel good about placing with us. I never want someone to feel that they were tricked into placing with us. I also want them to have what they want for their child and if we are not that, then we are not a match. I have also been much more relaxed in the last two matches. If it isn’t going to happen, there is nothing I can do about it and I have to let it be.
One of the worst things said to me after the baby was born was said to me by Jane’s father. He called me when the baby was about a week old to thank me for my role in his daughter’s decision to keep the baby. That was like a knife to my heart. I told him how I felt about that comment and needless to say, he never contacted me again!
There is always a risk for a failed placement when it comes to adoption. I want others to know that there is life after failed placement. It won’t feel like that at the time, but as time carries you forward you will have reasons to feel blessed. We now have one beautiful son and hope to have another in 3 weeks. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Thank you so much Cherlyn for sharing. I can only the imagine the heart ache and pain that is felt in the adoptive parents hearts when a failed placement happens to them. I hope and pray that peace will come to them as peace has come to you.

This was posted via iPhone so I hope it looks ok... Much love!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kim's Q & A about fighting for an open adoption

I was able to have a little Q & A with a birth mother friend who has been with me from the beginning.  Me and Kim have been through the ringer together.  We've both made stupid decisions and yet come out all the better.  I love her like the sister I never had.  I would fly around the world for this girl.  I tell you I'd do crazy things for her.  I have driven many miles to save this girl and I know she will do the same for me.  She is my SheRa!
See what I mean... The most beautiful SheRa I've ever met!

Q:  Your adoption started out open and had a define the adoption talk in the hospital, correct?
A:  Yes that was the initial agreement.  We also said we'd keep in communication and see how to modify as things go along.

Q:  How many visits did you have in the first year?
A:  About 3.  One at for his baby blessing, another extra one, and one at Christmas time.

Q:  When did things start to close off?
A:  When I started dating my ex husband. He wanted that chapter of my life to come to a close. So 6 months after placement

Q:  So was it you choosing to close it or the adoptive couple?
A:  Not at all.... We just lost communication and closeness I felt like my requests didn't pull as much weight after I had him.  They wanted, especially the adoptive Christian (The adoptive father), to feel like they had "ownership".  It was at that point in time I had to fight and be uncomfortably blunt

Q:  Do you feel like they've come to terms with that and moved past needing "ownership"?
A:  Yes I believe after 4 years and especialy since they've moved to Virginia.

Q:  What was the hardest thing for you at first when the contact wasn't what you had planned on?
A:  When I asked for at least pictures for 2 years and no efforts were even made.  I have no idea what he looked like at 2 and 3 years.  I didn't get any pictures for his 2nd and 3rd birthday.  It wasn't until I finally pushed and was very blunt when I talked to him and them on his 4th birthday that I got pictures.  I have however been able to talk with them on the phone every year for his birthday.

Q:  Did they explain why they didn't send pictures?
A:  Nope just was a little flaky and used moving as an excuse

Q:  Do you think there is anything you could have said or done to prevent the drop in "contact" for lack of better wording?
A:  I don't believe I could have done more, comfortably and not feeling like I was being angry...that's the last thing want that beautiful family to experience from me.

Q:  Is there something you'd tell another birth mother who is in a similar situation?
A:  To stand firm and assert them with what you want and how you want it.  Set clear expectations from the get go. Try to visualize how you'll feel. And decide for yourself how you'd like it to be, from the beginning. And trust that they'll be respectful.

Q:  Does the birth father have any contact with them?
A: None whatsoever... even tho I know he'd want to see him

Q:  Is that the couples choice?
A:  More of mine. I planned on him never being in the picture. So I kept it that way. I kind of painted a bad picture of the birth father to Christian and we all tend to do.  I however didn't tell them anything but the truth.

Q:  Do you have contact with the birth father?
A:  Yes we have kept in touch over the years he is married and has a daughter now.  I'm #3 of 4 baby mama's

Q:  Has he expressed to you a desire to see the baby?
A:  Yes he wanted to fly me out to PA and then go together to go see Hudson.  I said no and at the time my husband wouldn't have ever gone for it.

Q:  Would you like for the birth father to have a relationship now?
A:  I would if it meant a great deal to him. I know I hurt him terribly so I'd like to make things better for him and IF it was a good thing for Hudson right now or later on

Q:  What has been the biggest struggle with the adoption when it comes to your family. They were all really supportive at placement and after. Has there been anything that has been super hard for them?
A: No they've all been greatful for adoption and knew it was for the best

Q: Who have been your support people through your pregnancy and after placement?
A:  My mom and one sister who initially remained interested and asked.  The let me talk about it freely

Q:  What about your adoption do you wish you could change?
A:  Not a whole lot just wish to be respected more by everyone and realize I still do and will always have feelings about it.  And just more of an open communication from the get go

Q:  What advice would you give to other birth mothers?
A:  One thing I must say to birth mothers who are expecting is to not let any make you feel shameful. As if this time this miracle this gift of love and HUGE blessing is shameful and to be hidden NO it is one of the most beautiful experiences with my heavenly father

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post

I was asked to be a guest blogger on a little blog called BirthMom Buds (it's really not that little. HA!)  I was honored to be thought of and the topic is something that recently a few of my friends have dealt with as well.  Pregnancy after placement.  There are emotions and birth mothers face after placement that after a while become stagnant.  And then you get pregnant again (even if it's a wanted pregnancy) and all these crazy emotions start coming out.  There wasn't anyone there to tell me what I was going through happened to alot of birth mothers.  There wasn't anyone to tell me it was normal to feel certain things.  SO I'm sharing my story post placement as much as I can.  You can click HERE to read the post I did.  I'd love your feedback!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pregnancy Loss

I have recently felt the desire to talk about things that have an impact on our lives that are not just adoption.  They are things that can lead to adoption and things that adoptive couples may have lived through.  But the topic today is not about adoption.  This is an issue I haven't talked about much.  It hurts and it's real and I know FAR too many people who have dealt with the loss of a pregnancy.  The most recent is someone I went to high school with.  We weren't close in high school but I knew of her and her sister.  I heard about her loss shortly after it happened and was struck by this picture.

It is simply beautiful!

Another friend of mine had an ectopic pregnancy with many complications and was farther along than most ectopic pregnancies when they found out.  She shared this on her blog.

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today
I asked, "What makes a Mother?"
And I know I heard him say
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true
But, God, can you be a mother
When your baby's not with you?
Yes, you can he replied
With confidence in his voice
I give many women babies
When they leave it is not their choice
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for the day
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this God
I want my baby here

He took a breath
and cleared his throat
And then I saw a tear
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing Here

If you could see your child smile
With other children and say
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
of love and life and fear,
but My mommy loved me so much
I got to come straight here!"
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who
had so much love for me
I learned my lessons very quickly
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow is where I lay
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear
"Mommy, Please don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here"

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are okay
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lessons there are through
And on the day that you come home
they'll be at the gates waiting for you

So now you see
What makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start

There is no way to heal a broken heart from pregnancy loss. It's a very sensitive subject and shouldn't be taken lightly. Daniel and I have dealt with the pains of pregnancy loss and there is no way to describe the feelings that a mother goes through during that time. I clearly remember laying on the floor pleading that the pain would stop. It was feelings I'd never felt before. I've known the pain of placement. Choosing a better life for my child but in a form loosing them. Never did I imagine that pain I would feel when I would loose my child without a choice. I've often thought of the little babes that were too perfect for this earth. They have a mommy and daddy who love them very much. I can't help but cry when I read the following poem.

I have not turned my back on you
So there is no need to cry.
I'm watching you from heaven
Just beyond the morning sky.

I've seen you almost fall apart
When you could barely stand.
I asked an angel to comfort you
And watched her take your hand.

She told me you are in more pain
Than I could ever be.
She wiped her eyes and swallowed hard
Then gave your hand to me.

Although you may not feel my touch
Or see me by your side.
I've whispered that I love you
While I wiped each tear you cried.

So please try not to ache for me
We'll meet again one day.
Beyond the dark and stormy sky
A rainbow lights the way.
To read more about stories about pregnancy loss you can read Emily and Danielle's story.  I went to high school with both of these girls and they truly are amazing women.  Thank you both for allowing me to share your story of my blog.

I am also posting links to The R House and the awesome things she has written about pregnancy loss
These are GREAT resources that can be helpful to many people dealing with this type of a loss.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Worth Waiting

This movie was sent to me by my mother.  On of my brother's responded with... Are you trying to make me feel guilty for eating the chocolate chip?  I laughed so hard!  I have SO many days were I wish I would have waited.  I am grateful for the blessing that Ally was in my life and the blessing that Cayden is in my life every day.  It doesn't change the fact that mistakes were made in my past.   My father has been quoted many a times as saying "One poor choice does not constitute another."  I made a choice by having premarital sex but I didn't continue to make poor choices.  I choose what I felt was best for my child and I placed her in a home with loving parents who were ready and able to care for her.  Any way... watch the video.  It's rather eye opening I think.


If you don't know November is National Adoption Awareness month.  So I have decided (or rather come up with the crazy idea) to post 1 post every day about something dealing with adoption or things like that.  Here are some posts to look forward to....
A super cute video about waiting until marriage to have sex
Pregnancy Loss
Fighting for an open adoption (Kim's story)
Surviving a failed adoption (Cherlyn's story)
Placement after Parenting (Amy's story)
Familial adoption (Brittany's story)
Things a birth mother should never hear
From Parenting to Placing to Parenting again (H's story)
Posting about the adoption walk
Hopeful adoptive parents (Halbasch's Story)
Abortion is an option (WB's Q & A)
Choosing an open adoption (Cyd's story)
A new birth mother (Whit's story)
Adult Adoptee (Camille's Story)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger

I have a friend from high school that started a blog called My Yellow Sandbox and the whole thing took off.  She is amazingly talented in so many ways.  You should really go check her blog out.  She does giveaways and all sorts of great things.  While she's on vacation she let me be a guest blogger.  Can I just tell you I've NEVER been so nervous about a post in my entire life!!!!  I wanted to represent adoption well to readers that may not know or understand what adoption is.  I hope I did good and make you all proud.  Go HERE to read the post.  Comment away and let me know what you think!  I'd LOVE some feedback!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teen mother... Jessica's story

As you all know I'm a HUGE adoption advocate.  Probably will be until the day I die. haha.  But that doesn't mean that adoption is right for every situation and everyone.  Yes it was right for me but women who find themselves pregnant have options.  Parenting, Placement or abortion.  I'm pro-life but am hoping to have someone guest blog about what it was like to come to the decision to have an abortion and everything that goes along with it.  Anyway... back on subject.  I was determined to parent at the beginning of my pregnancy (read more about that HERE) but God had other plans for me.  So a friend of mine was willing to answer a few questions about parenting.
This is Jessica, Kade, and Ian.

Q: Tell a little about when you found out you were pregnant.
A:  I found out I was pregnant on 2/2/10.  I was missing a lot of work because of fainting spells, decreased appetite and exhaustion.  I had a hunch I was pregnant but I'm anemic so I thought it could be from that as well.  I had actually taken a morning after pill (plan B) the morning after having unprotected sex.  Since then, I had crippling stomach cramps and was bleeding regularly (I attributed to this to my anemia).  Finally it was too overwhelming.  I confronted my mother who took me to the ER.  After an ultra sound, some blood work and a urine test it was confirmed that I was 13 weeks pregnant.  The doctor was concerned because of the Plan B pill I had taken and told me to see my doctor right away.  I knew from that moment on I was going to parent my unborn baby.

Q:  Was your boyfriend supportive of your decision to parent?
A:  Ian (my boyfriend) has been completely supportive since day one. Family confronted us about choosing adoption or abortion but both of us had our hearts set on parenting. Ian never doubted our decision and was there to help through every step. In June of 2010 he was in a life threatening car accident.  He was in the hospital for four days with a broken hip and pelvis. Kade was born a month later and Ian was up on crutches changing diapers and asking "teach me how" whenever a new parenting opportunity arose. I couldn't ask for a better companion to parent with. He has always been determined to be the best dad possible.

Q: How old were you when you got pregnant? how old was your boyfriend?
A: I was eighteen when I got pregnant. Ian was eighteen as well. We both turned nineteen before Kade was born.

Q: How far along were you when you took the morning after pill?
A: I took the morning after pill the morning after having unprotected sex. It's true, they're only 99 percent effective.

Q: After you let your family know your plan to parent were they supportive after that or did you still have some members question your decision?
A: My family has always been supportive of my pregnancy and my decision to parent Kade. I think they were sad, thinking of the opportunities I might miss out on but they've always had faith in me. My mom and grandma were much younger than I was when they had their first children.

Q: Has there been anything you feel you've had to give up or put on hold because you became a teen mother?
A: As far as giving things up or putting things on hold, there are so many things I had planned for my young adulthood. College was one, but I was able to finish school and get my CNA before Kade was born. I also wanted to travel before settling down with a family.  That was put on hold but I wasn't as upset as you might think. I have always had it in my mind that this is what I was meant to do.  God had a plan for me to be the mother of a child who needed my undivided attention. My great grandma told me, "God gives these children to mothers who he knows will take care of them." and I couldn't agree more. Being a mother is what I've always been destined to be.

Q: You mentioned that both your mother and grandmother were teen moms.  Is there anything that they could have said or done to prevent you from being a teen mom?
A: My mother and grandmother were both teen moms. They both have always told me that it's a hard road and had encouraged me to go to college before considering children. Regardless, they are both very proud of me and my accomplishments. No, I don't think there is any more that they could have done to "prevent" me from having sex at a young age.

Q:  Did you have a normal pregnancy?
A:  My pregnancy was exhausting. I didn't gain very much weight (only 17 pounds), I was always tired and had a lot of stomach pain. My doctor insisted that there was nothing wrong and that Kade was just hell bent on being born. He's always been a fighter.

Q: During your pregnancy what was the worst thing that was said to you?
A: The worst thing said to me during pregnancy wasn't actually said directly to me. It was said about me and I heard it from an unintentional source.  People thought because I didn't know that I was pregnant and I was a teenager who loved to party my baby was going to be "messed up".  News also got out that I had taken a morning after pill and that the baby had survived. Rumors flew around that my baby would be retarded or still born. People said I was a horrible person for not terminating the pregnancy. Friends of Ian's insisted that the baby wasn't his. It was a big mess for a while.  I simply did my best to put it out of my mind and focus on what needed to be done before Kade arrived.

Q:  Did you guys consider marriage?
A:  Ian and I have talked about marriage and both agree that having an unplanned baby as a teen isn't a reason to be married. Marriage is very sacred and shouldn't be taken lightly.  We're best friends and we see eye to eye on how we want to raise Kade. We make decisions together, live together and both work to support Kades needs. Maybe we'll be married some day, but right now we don't find it necessary. Kade has both of his parents here with him, regardless of the fact that we aren't husband and wife.

Q:  Once Kade was born what was your biggest concern?
A:  Kade was four weeks premature and very small. He weighed only four pounds.  He was unable to eat on his own and very jaundice so my main concern was his health. He stayed in the NICU and was tube fed until he could eat on his own. I went home without my baby. The Fairy Tale is that you leave the hospital with your baby in his car seat and balloons tied to your wheelchair. It wasn't like that at all. It was devastating.

Q: Once he finally was home how were things different than you had thought or planned?
A: Once Kade was home, I was relieved but still on edge. We were sent home with Billie lights and had to go to the clinic daily for weight checks. I imagined that I would take my baby home, cuddle him, bathe him and soak in the beauty that is Motherhood. Instead, I worried. I hardly slept, not because he wasn't sleeping, but because I was so concerned about him. He was still so tiny and yellow. He didn't eat much and he slept an unusual amount. By the time he was two months old, he seemed better. Still very sleepy, but we had settled into a routine and I was finally able to just sit back and enjoy him

Q: Do you mind telling about his health problems and when they started?
A: Kade was born without any fingers on his right hand, only little stubs. His thumb doesn't have a middle joint and he doesn't have a wrist joint either. The doctors aren't sure what causes this but said it's fully functional and he will learn to use it just as well as a regular hand. They said if it's painful to him in the future, which they doubt, he may require some physical therapy.  We didn't find out about his hand until after he was born.
Kade developed a cough some time around three months old. It was a wet cough that turned him blue and left me in a tizzy calling doctors and rushing him to the emergency room at three in the morning. Over and over I was told that he was fine. It was a cold. It was allergies. Soon, more symptoms started to develop. On the off chance that Kade finished a four ounce bottle, he would be literally dripping in sweat. His hair was soaked, his clothes were soaked and he always fell into a deep sleep after a feeding. At night, when I got him out of his crib for a feeding, the sheets would be soaked as if he had wet the bed only it was sweat. The cough persisted, never easing up regardless of our efforts to rid the house of dust, keep a humidifier running, and sit him in a steamy bathroom to clear his sinuses. Again, I started taking him to the doctor. They told me he's just a sweaty sleeper. He has another cold. He's fine. His diagnosis in the emergency room one night was "a young, over protective mother." I felt so helpless and scared for him. I knew in my heart that something was seriously wrong with him. By January of 2011 his lips and eye lids were beginning to turn blue and he slept constantly. One night I was good and mad at the sheer ignorance of the doctors I had been seeing. After witnessing yet another sputtering coughing fit, I packed Kade up and took him to an after hours doctor whom we had never seen before. When the CNA took his vitals she pulled the nurse in. The nurse listened to his heart and ordered the doctor in. Within ten minutes we were in the lab getting chest x-rays. Another fiftheen minutes later, the doctor told me that Kade's heart was enlarged.  It was close to triple the size it should be. He urged me to take him to the emergency room right away. In the emergency room we were told that something was definitely wrong with is heart but because he was so small it was necessary to schedule an echo-cardiogram with Primary Children's. The following Monday, after an EKG, more chest X-rays and an echo-cardiogram it was determined that Kade had two ASD's and a VSD. A Ventrical Septal Defect is a hole in the Ventrical of the heart. Kade's was large enough that his heart was working twice as hard just to keep blood flowing to the extremities. Activities like feeding or even sitting up were like high intensity exercise to him. The reason for Kade's cough was blood pooling in his lungs (phenomena) from his heart leaking excess blood into the lung cavities. The Cardiologist put Kade on multiple heart medications as a last resort to Open Heart Surgery. The medicines made him more sweaty, caused him to wet through his diapers within less than an hour and otherwise seemed to have no effect on his symptoms.

On April 12, 2011 Kade had Open Heart Surgery at Primary Children's Medical Center. They closed the VSD but left the two ASD's (smaller holes) to close on their own as he grows. It was the most terrifying day of my life. I can't even begin to describe the utter terror that I felt for my son. Kade recovered well- dealing with only one infection.
Since, he has had trouble growing. Lingering still at the very bottom of the growth chart. His immune system remains compromised, prompting vaccines that most kids don't get like the Synagis shot- for RSV. There was even a point that we had to wear masks when we were around Kade. And if we wanted to take him out in public, he had to wear a mask.

Q: Has him having heart problems ever made you wonder if your life would have been easier had you made an adoption plan?
A: Kade's heart problems have never made me reconsider my decision to parent. Adoption was discussed only briefly and it was very clear in my heart and in Ians that we would parent Kade ourselves. I have never regretted keeping him and have actually felt it an honor to be the care giver of such a brave, special and loving baby. He has taught me so much about resilience, patience and determination.

Q: What advice would you give for a young woman who find herself pregnant and is considering her options?
A: My advise is this: Pray, Pray, Pray about it and be damn sure that the decision you're making is the one that's right for you. I think when young girls get pregnant with "The Love of Their Life" they often fall into the fantasy that they're going to have this healthy, strong baby who will hit all their milestones on time and eat all their vegetables. It's so important to think of all the possibilities and be prepared for whatever may come your way. When I found out I was pregnant, I had no job, no license, no car. I was partying on the weekends with my friends and had no responsibility. When Kade was born, I had my license, a car, had finished my CNA courses and moved back in with my Mom so I could "settle down." If you choose to parent, you make yourself into a parent- a role model. If you don't think you're ready to transition into adulthood in the course of a few short months, maybe parenting isn't right for you. Parenting isn't right for everyone.  I have utmost respect for those who can openly admit that and choose adoption- a better life- for their children. Because of the many loving families who can't have children of their own, I don't advise abortion. I'm not saying you're a bad person if you do choose abortion- but I think adoption should be looked into first.

Q: What advice will you give Kade when he's older to "prevent" him from pre maritial sex?
A: I'm not going to preach abstinence to him because I don't believe that it works. I'll share with him my struggles and relay my expectations of him.  I want him to go to college and have a good job. Above all, I want him to know that I trust him. It's said that most teens who choose not to drink, do drugs or have premaritial sex do so because they're afraid of parental disapproval. I want him to be aware of the consequences of his actions and know that we hold him to high standards. I will teach him about protection if he does choose to have sex.  Lets face it, teen boys are going to have urges. If these urges get the best of him I want him to be smart about it and be able to come and talk to me afterwards. I hope our relationship is built on trust and Open Communication.

I just want to say thank you to Jessica for being so willing to open up with me about the struggles that come along with parenting.  The roads that lead from pregnancy out of marriage are hard.  Adoption is hard, parenting is hard, and no matter what anyone says abortion is hard too.  The biggest thing to keep in mind is do what you feel is right (and best) for the baby.  You can read more about the life of a teen mother on Jessica's blog