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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Telling a new family member....

I have a brother who is getting married in February.  His fiance is simply wonderful!  She is perfect for him.  I mean I could go on and on about how great she is... but I won't.  We haven't really had a chance to sit down and talk about everything and I wonder if she has questions about everything.  By everything I mean how adoption has touched my life in so many ways.  I mean that's not something that comes up in normal conversation.  Usually people ask me about things on Facebook or my blog.  People have on occasion asked me questions in person but the setting has to be right.  I don't know if it's something that I come out and say...."you can ask me anything, any time you want." or if I just leave it unsaid.  I don't want her to feel like she can't ask me about it but at the same time I don't want her to feel like she has to.  I don't exactly have a relationship with my brother that I can come right out and ask him if she's asked him about it.  I don't know if she's read this blog... if she has she shouldn't have any questions because I'm pretty sure any question she would have had would have already been answered....

So I'm putting this out there... How have you talked to "new" family members about how adoption has changed your life?

Adoption Walk

I hope to meet so many of you at this!  Can't wait!  Come dressed in Orange!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shannon Q & A

So after Shannon shared her wonderful story HERE she also answered a few questions for me.  Here is the Q & A session I had with her.

Q: Is there anything you would change about your adoption?
A: One thing I would change is to know how the dynamic of the relationship with the adoptive couple could, and would, change. Yes, they want to be your friends, but there is a purpose for the relationship. Things WILL change, I just wasn't ready for those changes.  Having a general or verbal plan wasn't enough about how open the adoption would be. I needed something in writing. The consistency of the communications changed. Life changes, I understand that. Some days I was caught off guard by a picture of Karson, but some days they came right when they needed to.

Q:  How do you plan on explaining adoption in the future?
A:  As far as Jayden is concerned, I will explain the situation that we were in and let him know that because of love, Karson needed to be safe. Also that Mr. and Mrs. X needed him just as much.

Q:  What is the best advice you would give to someone considering placing their child for adoption?
A:  I want pregnant women considering adoption to understand that you need to take yourself out the equation when considering to parent or place. The child needs to be the sole beneficiary of your choice. Being a single parent is hard and it will be tough for a long time. Being a birth mother is very hard through placement, but God will reward you for your sacrifice in so many other ways. “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

Q: What is the best advice you would give to a birth mother preparing for placement?
A: Please write yourself a letter indicating your reasons for placement. You need to remember your own strength. My own letter helped me find the light in the darkest moments of grief.

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to be a guest blogger. I love adoption and I will always be an advocate. One last thing....”BIRTH MOMS ROCK!”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shannon's story

I am honored to be a part of this blog. I never planned on being a part of adoption, but does anyone? It doesn't creep into one's life; it it there by divine design. My name is Shannon and I am a birth mother. A little background before I begin to tell my adoption story.

In September of 2006, I gave birth to a baby boy, Jayden Lucas.
His father and I never married, but we have continued to maintain a good relationship. I was a single mother working a full-time job and taking care of this cute little ray of sunshine.  Two years later, I met John. We didn't date long before we knew we wanted to get married. He was amazing and made me feel beautiful. He was a little insecure and needed a lot of reassurance. I didn't like it, but also didn't expect perfection, because I wasn't perfect. Many of my family members saw what a strain this relationship had on me and wondered if it was right. They questioned the relationship several times and each time I chalked it up to them being over protective.

On September 27, 2008 we tied the knot and moved into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment in Sunset, Utah. Within 2 weeks he lost his job and I became the sole provider for our home. A few weeks later we found out we were pregnant! This definitely changed many things in the home. I became ill and tired all the time, especially working at a very demanding job then coming home to cook, clean, do laundry, and take care of my husband and 2 year-old.  John's demeanor changed drastically. I understand the idea of being a newlywed and wanting to be intimate with your spouse often because its new and legal, hehehe. But when I was sick and exhausted, sex was the furthest thing from my mind. Sometimes I would go to sleep or pretend to be asleep so John would leave me alone. But John needed it more often and we would stay up and argue for two to three hours a night until he got what he wanted, whether I wanted it or not. This happened on an average of three times a week.

My walls were closing in and I was losing my mind. Trying to defend my love for him became an everyday battle. His insecurities were increasing. He needed constant attention and validation. I felt like I was doing everything I could to be the 'good wife'. But my efforts were never good enough.  Our arguments increased and intensified. During a few heated discussions he took my head and hit it against the wall. He didn't want me talking to my friends or family, unless he was there. I couldn't go by myself anywhere. I was accused daily of cheating on him. At the end of a night after dinner, John would put Jayden in his room with the gate up and make me sit on the couch with him and watch TV. Jayden was two and cute as a bug. John said that I was babying him too much. I was paying too much attention to Jayden and not my husband.  A few more weeks went by and his brother and his brother's wife moved into our living room. They were being kicked out of her father's home and desperately needed a place to stay. So, in our two bedroom apartment lived four adults, two dogs and a 2 year-old. I was the only one working a full-time job and felt like I was being taken advantage of.  I knew that I couldn't stay in this situation, but I didn't know how I was going to leave. I prayed and prayed about it, silently, of course, hoping that Heavenly Father would hear me and create a way for me and Jayden to be safe.

The day after Thanksgiving, only two months later, things drastically changed. I came home from work and we started to argue about an ongoing issue. I had put my foot down about it and he didn't like it. Long story took me an hour to get out of the apartment with my son in hand. I drove to a friends house nearby, called police and charges were filed. The next day my family came over to pack me up and move me out. I stayed with my parents for the time being.  I was able to successfully file a protective order against him in December. He violated this order several times, never caught and never arrested. Through hiring a lawyer, I found out that he was married twice before, one annulled and one divorce. Plus, there were three other protective orders placed against him at the time. I was angry that he was dishonest with me and kept some very valuable truths from me.  He continued to harass me for three months. By March 2009 time I was 6 months pregnant and scared for my life, my son's life, and my unborn child's life. I had done nothing to instigate any action from him, but he sure made every effort to ruin my life. I prayed to Heavenly Father night after night asking, “Why?”  I cried all the time. I couldn't focus at work. I couldn't walk to my car by myself. I had to rely on family to help take care of Jayden. I was simply lost. I was relying on everyone else to protect me. But the only one who could protect me was Heavenly Father. He knew my heart. He knew the truth, even though John told so many lies to so many people. The charges against John had been dropped and I couldn't have been more upset.

By this time, I was at a point I didn't know what to do. I searched for answers. A few weeks later, I reached out to a trusted friend and I ended up at LDS Family Services at a birth mother group. I was immediately paired up with a case worker.  I didn't want to rush into the idea of placing my child for adoption. I was scared for my life, but more importantly, I was nervous about how this whole nightmare would affect Jayden and my unborn son. Jayden was having separation anxiety and never wanted to leave my side. The thought of me having to share my unborn son with someone who was trying to destroy me disturbed me very much. I cried and prayed continuously.  One scripture that gave me hope was Jacob 3:1, “ But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.” Such power behind these words!  Since I was married, a whole new set of concerns spun out on the adoption option. John HAD to relinquish his rights. If he didn't, then I had no choice but to keep my son and share him. This was not an option I wanted to think about.
In March of 2009, I had filed for divorce, but heard nothing back from John. I was almost in a panic mode. Being seven months pregnant time was not on my side. I had to do something and I needed to do it fast. But there wasn't much I could do. I knew in my heart I couldn't keep this child. I went to Heavenly Father in constant fervent prayer. If He wanted me to keep this child, He would provide a way to protect us. If this child wasn't meant to be mine, He would also provide a way to make the adoption possible.

Over the next few weeks I continued to attend the birth mother group which only increased the conviction to place my son. I met with my caseworker who talked me through a lot of concerns. Having an open adoption was my highest priority. Being a single mother I knew what I was losing.  Into the month of April I had received my answer that adoption was the only option for us. I didn't know how it was going to happen, but I knew without a doubt that Heavenly Father was going to provide a way for my son to be placed.  I started to look through profile books which were put together by my caseworker. I went through two books and found two families that I felt 'in tune' with. I prayed about them and reread their profiles several times a day. The next week we had set up a face-to-face meeting with each family.  The first family was awesome and I knew that they were more than capable of taking care of my child, however, I didn't feel connected to them. The second family....whoa! BAM! From the moment they walked into the room, you could feel it. The mom started to cry and I consoled her right away. We talked about how we each came to our adoption situation. The spirit in this room was amazing! I felt no judgement from this wonderful couple, only love.  I really didn't have to pray about it, but I did anyway. The next few days were filled with excitement and pain at the same time; giving my child to someone so deserving felt like my heart was being ripped apart but sewn back together with love at the same time. I knew God was pleased with what I was doing.

One factor that had not worked itself out was my husband. It took quite a while for him to agree to relinquish his rights. He had verbally agreed, but had yet to sign the papers. This was brought to the attention of all involved, especially the adoptive family. I had to let them know what was going on and what would happen if John had failed to do his part. They were quite positive because they had received their own confirmation that this child was meant to be a part of their family.  My due date was June 10th and we only had six weeks for everyone to get ready for the coming of this special child. One of the things my caseworker suggested I do to get ready was write a letter to myself to keep focus of what I was doing and why. HERE is what I wrote (the names have been changed to protect those involved).  I read and reread this letter until I could no longer cry.

By June 1st I was getting anxious to deliver the baby. As any expectant mother can attest to, there comes a point in the pregnancy where you just want to be done. I definitely had mixed emotions about being done. I wanted my body back, but I knew that my child would be gone.  My caseworker called me Monday morning and gave me the best news ever! John had signed the papers! Heavenly Father heard and answered many prayers said on behalf of me, this child, and the adoptive couple. I was at work when I received the call and I became so emotional I had to leave. I felt a release of so much anxiety and uncertainty that I was physically exhausted. I definitely spent the next few days resting, praying, and giving thanks!

On Saturday June 7th I was having contractions and went to the hospital. But within a few hours I was released. False alarm! I knew the hour was nigh, but didn't know when. I didn't enjoy the waiting game, but wanted to savor every moment I could with this baby in my ever growing tummy.  Early Monday morning I went into active labor. I checked into the hospital at 7:00 am. This time I hoped I wasn't going home. I waited till I was getting the epidural to call my caseworker. The labor was going really fast. I was excited that the couple made it for the birth of their son. I also had close friends and family there to support me.  Mr. and Mrs. X, were at my bedside listening to me cry. This was not how I thought the delivery would be when I first found out about the pregnancy. I thought I would have a husband by my side and it would be a joyous occasion. They consoled me, but it was also evident that they were very anxious for their own reasons.

At 10:39 am, Karson was born!
Oh I sobbed. The room was filled with such love and I could not have been more grateful. Mrs. X was able to observe the delivery and cut the cord. There were tears of joy and sounds of excitement throughout the room.  An angel was brought into my arms and the next few days went by way too fast. I had some great quiet times with Karson. I quietly told him about our story in a fairy-tale kind of way. I sang him songs and rocked him to sleep. I laid him close to my heart and felt him breathe. These are the moments I wanted to cherish. This is what I was going to miss the most.  

Jayden came up to see Karson a few times. He held the baby and kissed his forehead. During the pregnancy I explained to him that baby Karson was going to go live with Mr. and Mrs. X because that's where Heavenly Father wanted him to be. To a two and a half year-old that was all the explanation that was needed at the time.

Two days later, I woke up early, for I knew it was going to be a BIG day.....placement day. I called the nursery and had Karson brough to me so that I could spend more time with him. I took a big breath and said a little prayer to get me through this day. People started arriving early and I knew it would be over soon. A blessing was performed, gifts were exchanged, a story was read, tears were shed, love had grown, a baby was placed from my arms into the arms of Mr. and Mrs. X, and more tears were shed. (I read the amazing story of The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn.)

As soon as it started it ended. I left the hospital with gifts, no baby, and a feeling of comfort. The spirit surrounded me for the next few days as I let everything soak in and tried to comprehend the greatness of adoption. Tears flowed for a few days and when I thought I was done crying a fresh batch appeared.

In preparation for adoption I also wanted to write a letter to Karson, but it didn't come until after placement.

15 June 2009

To My Son, Karson,

It has been just over a week since I gave birth to you and I miss you more than words could ever say. I am your birth mother and I want to tell you a little about our story and how you were placed into the arms of your parents.

A year ago this week your birth father, John, and I met and fell in love. We shared many long conversations over the phone, and then had our first official date on June 20th. He proposed on August 8th and we were married on September 27th. For several reasons, our marriage did not last and we were unable to reconcile our differences. Those reasons will come at another time. This letter is about me and you.

From the time I found out I was pregnant I was ecstatic to bring a child into the world, especially directly from the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. You are my second child. You have a half-brother named, Jayden Lucas. I felt incredible joy at the reality of extending my very own family.  Due to the circumstances and events that occurred between your birth father and I, we separated two months after we exchanged vows. Many hopes and dreams were shattered and I realized that we had a tough road ahead of us. There were times that I didn't know if I could get through another day. But you and your brother Jayden got me through. The Lord was also there guiding me, comforting me and giving me strength. I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father for being there. Many family members and friends were also there showing unconditional love and support. I will always be thankful for them.

The pregnancy went very well and there were no complications as you grew inside the womb. Some of my favorite moments were of you moving and watching my stomach change shape. From seven months on you were positioned head down and your feet were up by my ribs. At nights, usually around ten or eleven o’clock you would wake up and roll from side to side. I could see your butt move and feel your hands and feet flutter on either side. If you didn’t like the side I was sleeping on your hands and feet would move indicating that you needed more room or for me to roll to the other side. I thought it was way cute to be taking orders from you just by a little kick or nudge. You were very active in the womb and I sometimes wondered if you would ever slow down. I also wondered if you were the one who was moving around, why I was the one who was so tired all the time.

There is a song I sang to you while you were in my tummy. It’s a primary song. I changed the words just a little bit to fit you and what I wanted you to know…

“You are like a star shining brightly
Shining for the whole world to see
You can do and say
Happy things each day
For I know Heavenly Father loves you!”

My hope is that when you hear or sing this song you will think of me. When I hear or sing it, I will not only think of you…I will send love out from my heart to yours. My hope is that you will feel it, accept it and share this love with others.

The decision to place you into an adoptive family did not come without struggles. My initial thoughts and feeling were to keep you, but at the same time I didn’t want your birth father to be able to subject you to anything like what he put Jayden and I through. I prayed and prayed to know what God’s will was concerning you. The more I thought about adoption and the more my faith in the Lord increased, the Spirit confirmed to me that placing you was indeed a part of Heavenly Father’s plan.

Once I knew adoption was the path chosen for us I started on my search for your parents. I prayed as I read through several profiles. A meeting was set up for me to meet Mr. and Mrs. X. As soon as they walked in I gave your mom a great big hug and I knew that this was where you were meant to be. We talked and discussed our situations and how each of us was brought to the choice of adoption. Instantly a bond was created and has continued to grow stronger every day since.

Karson, I have a firm belief that we all met and knew each other in the preexistence. We all accepted certain trials in our lives and this is the miracle that brought us all together. I accepted the privilege to be your birth mother and Mr. and Mrs. X accepted the gift to be your earthly parents.  The Lord’s plan of happiness is wonderful and He knows you, Karson; you have a marvelous place in His plan. You are very special to Him. You are special to me, as well.

Karson, you have a special purpose and mission to complete here on earth and only you can do it. God has sent you here with many strengths and talents to fulfill it. Please stay close to the Lord, learn about Him and choose the right. Your parents will teach your about your brother, Jesus Christ and explain the importance of Him in your life. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we don’t know what those reasons are until much later, but that is also the beauty of personal revelation through the Spirit.

I hope you become a strong, but gentle, man who strives to do the right. I hope that love, honor and respect become a part of who you are. Accept responsibility for the choices you make; learn from them, grow from them.  This will end my first letter to you with many more to come. Please remember I love you very much and that I send my love out to you everyday.

Your Birth Mother

Many people knew what I was going through, although they could not comprehend the grief and loss I had just experienced. They tried their best to console me and it worked temporarily. I often hugged Jayden tightly and he rubbed my tears away. He knew I was hurting and wanted to make me happy. His beautiful smile and big brown eyes couldn't keep me sad for long. He is an amazing spirit and I am grateful to be his earthly mother.  

The day after placement I received some pictures of Karson at his new home with his new family. 
I received updates about his doctors appointments indicating that he was a very healthy baby. Seeing the joy on the faces of each family member only reiterated that what I had done was right. I never again questioned if I should have placed Karson for adoption. But the question I will never have answered is, “Would he have been as happy with me as he is with them?”

I fear that every birth mother asks herself that question often. We will never know the answer, and its OK. Let me say that again, “It's OK!” Heavenly Father guided us to make the right choice to get these special children to where they needed to be. I shouldn't be selfish wanting to know something that was never going to be anyways.  Over the next few months the sadness took over and consumed me. I felt lost. Satan was getting to me and kicking me while I was down. I was also coming down from a very spiritual high. I went back to work, I continued to be a single mother, and I marched forward into my journey to find the joy in life (which is the title of my own blog, The Journey Continues ) Some days were definitely harder than others, but each day life was getting easier.  One of the hardest aspects of this adoption was me being a parent to Jayden first and then placing my second child. I knew that I was going to miss a lot of the first things that happen in a baby's life, such as, his first gassy smile, his first roll over, his first giggles, his first chubby leg crawl, his first steps, etc.

After the first year the openness of the adoption was winding down and I wasn't receiving as many emails as I had hoped to. I had to learn not to anticipate so much from them. I thought I had done something wrong in order for them to want to slow down almost to a crawl. It almost felt like we had such an awesome relationship from the time I chose them as the family until the temple sealing. I believe that's the point the communications were starting to drop off.  I was confused and lost, again. I felt like I had lost some great friends. They are the type of people you would do anything for and vise versa. I wanted to be like them. I wanted a great marriage and family like they had. Maybe I wanted too much from them. Maybe asking for more consistent communication with them was selfish.

It took me a while to realize that I may have been a constant reminder of what they couldn't have by themselves....children. I also understood that they needed time to bond as a family without me. Some days I think it's because of something I did. I may have showed a little too much grief or opened up a little too much. I still don't know the exact answer, nor do I think I ever will. Maybe I just over analyze things too much. LOL.  But one thing is for sure, Karson is safe and always will be. He is surrounded by unconditional love. I think about him everyday and I constantly pray that he will one day understand my sacrifice for him.

Almost two and a half years later I am happily married to an awesome man who loves and adores me. We are busy with our two boys, Jayden and Tyson. Jayden is now 5 and, Tyson, my step-son, is 3.
 Marriage itself brings a whole new set of challenges, but I can definitely say that it's a dream compared to the first go-round.  At my ripe old age of 32, lol, we're still considering, and praying about, having more children. Health issues have been a factor in our decision, and the Lord will be present in our discussions. For the moment, Tony and I are setting our sights on being sealed in the temple to each other and to our boys.

I am proud to be a birth mother, always will. It is forever a part of my heart and a part of who I am. Adoption is part of me by divine design, not chance.

I can't thank Shannon enough for sharing her adoption story with me.  I met Shannon at the birth mother support group we were both attending and knew she was a special woman.  Can you tell!  Not every birth mother made poor choices and got pregnant out of wedlock.  Not every birth mother is a lost teen trying to find her way.  Birth mothers come in different packages from different backgrounds and different situations.  There is no mold when it comes to adoption.  Never has been, never will be!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things a birth mother shouldn't say to an adoptive mother....

While I know I'm no where near perfect I do have a pretty good understanding of two of the three sides to adoption.  I've tried to say only the right things to Lori and Barton to never allow them to feel like I've felt because of things that have been said to me.  And the same goes for Cayden's birth mother Jordan.  So because I have NEVER read another post like this from the adoptive mothers point of view I thought I'd share what I've learned.

I'm starting out with a list of blogger birth moms that have posted lists of things not to say to birth mothers.  There are some seriously stupid people out there and then there are people who just don't know any better.  I've had a few things said to me that hit a soft spot and I didn't exactly know how to respond.  So please educate yourself on what types of things a birth mother doesn't exactly need or want to hear.

Now on to my list of things I feel you should never say to an adoptive mother.  While I know I'm no where near perfect I do have a pretty good understanding of both sides of this.  I've tried to say only the right things to Lori and Barton to never allow them to feel like I've felt because of things that have been said to me.

He looks just like me.  Every day he keeps looking more and more like me.  Wow he looks just like his birth father. Yes as an adoptive mother we understand that our looks don't go into the child... we get it... stop rubbing it in!

She is just like I was when I was little.  While I believe that nature is part of a child I truly believe that nurture is a bigger part.  So while you (a birth mother) as a kid may have danced like a dork I'm pretty sure the adoptive mother also danced like a dork.  You get what I mean right?

I'd really feel best if you didn't sing that song to her any more.  Please keep in mind that you are the birth mother.  You have given up your right to tell the adoptive mother how to parent, what to say, what to do, and where to go when it comes to the child.  I know at times it's hard and frustrating that the adoptive couple isn't doing it the way you would.... it isn't your place to tell them to do things differently.

I miss him so much I wish I would have never placed him. While I completely understand those feelings that is the LAST thing an adoptive mother needs to hear.  Regret over a placement is real.  It hurts.  I NEVER wanted Lori and Barton to know I questioned my decision.  There is something to be said about a birth mother that will tell someone they never placed the child to begin with.  I'm not saying it's not normal to have those feelings but to share them with the adoptive mother/couple... that's crossing a line.  The joy that an adoptive couple feels after placement comes at a price, they already know that.  Wishing that joy away can be VERY painful!

I think you'd be afraid to know my real feelings.  There is a hurt that a birth mother goes through.  Feelings that are hard, and real, and hurt so deeply.  BUT there is a hurt that an adoptive mother feels as well.  Not only the hurt from infertility but the hurt from seeing someone they truly care about go through something so painful.  No an adoptive mother can't understand a birth mothers feelings when it comes to adoption.  But they have their feelings of their own.  Telling them they'd be afraid solves NOTHING!

Are you sure you want another one?  Once we place our children into the arms of their adoptive parents their family choices are no longer our choice.  Questioning their desire to continue to add to their family is honestly, truly, and NEVER has been our business.  The gift a birth mother gives an adoptive mother is wonderful but questioning if they should be wanting more children is uncalled for.

"No one is going to know him like I do. They're not going to know how to comfort him or react to him, he's part me. I know me and he's part me. He has my personality and I get him." I have linked this to a blog post that I was given by the birth mother herself.  She said it's ok for me to post the link.  Thanks SD!  When I read this my heart hurt!  It hurt a thousand times!  While that was never said to me I hurt just thinking if it were.  I have never nor will I ever claim to know Ally better than Lori.  While the situation with Cayden and Jordan is different a child grows and changes and I believe the me as his mother knows him better than his birth mother.  In fact I can tell you exactly what to say to set him into a tail spin of rage.  I know his most favorite stuffed animal to sleep with, where it came from, why it's his favorite, and what happens if he can't find it.  I know better than anyone what do say to him to make him calm down and how to explain certain things to him.  This seriously dug deep I tell you.  Now maybe if I hadn't been on the other side of adoption it wouldn't.  I can't answer that anymore.

I know these are only a few.  Some haven't been said to me but said to adoptive mother friends of mine.  Thank you C I couldn't do some of the things I know I must if it weren't for you!  I'm sure there are more that have been said... so feel free to comment and add to the list!

Also here is a list of posts that are coming very soon.
Shannon's story-From marriage to placement
Amy's story-Placement after parenting
Jessica's story- Teen Parenting

And to kick of November (National Adoption Month) I will be doing a guest post on My Yellow Sandbox followed by 1 post every day for the whole month!  Can't wait!  SO much to look forward to!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Long distance open adoption... Sterling's Story

I personally don't know what it's like to have my adoptive couple live clear across the country.  In fact one of my "demands" was that the couple live in Utah, in fact that they live relatively close to me.  Lori and Barton live  just 15 minutes away from me and it's PERFECT for me.  However I know there are some situations where the adoptive couple a birth mother is considering lives on the other side of the country.  I asked a dear friend of mine, Sterling, to tell about how long distance open adoption has been a good thing for her.
Here is her story
When I found out I was expecting in June 2009, the furthest thing from my mind was adoption. I figured, as many do when unwed and pregnant, that I would marry my boyfriend at the time and things would eventually turn into happily-ever-after. When I was a mere six weeks along, it became very apparent that things would not work out. I had already started counseling at LDS Family Services, and was working primarily on my mental health. When I realized that I may need to start preparing to be a single mother, I sought counseling for that as well. My caseworker was wonderful and did not even bring up adoption for many weeks. It was on my mind, though, and one night in August I got online. Girls in my pregnancy support group had been talking about finding their couples online, and I knew I could put in a very specific set of criteria that a couple would need to meet. I thought of it as a little bit of a game at first, and spent hours searching through couples.

As I was searching, something incredible happened. I realized it wasn't a game, and suddenly all of the couples that I was reading about became very real to me. In each one, I saw my sister, my cousin, a neighbor, or a close friend. I realized that, just as I was struggling, these couples had struggled, too. They were hurting. So I sat back and thought for a few minutes. I went to my criteria page and made a few simple changes. I wanted my couple to live in my state (as I had been hearing about all of these amazing open adoptions, I was hoping for the convenience of a close family!), they had to have a dog, and at least one parent had to have a college degree. I wanted them to have no other children, and be willing to adopt children of a different race or special needs (my baby would be caucasian and I had no reason to believe he would have any special needs, but I wanted a couple who would love ANY child, regardless of biological makeup). I had many couples come up on my screen, and I read through each of their letters. I decided to email three of them (my caseworker still didn't know that I was even considering adoption), and within a day I had two responses. The first was from a couple that lived in Utah, nearby me I assumed (from their work history), but they told me that they were already in contact with another birthmother and didn't feel right playing two girls. (I later found them again and they did, in fact, adopt and have a great relationship with that birthmother!)

The second couple emailed me back with news I did NOT want to hear. They did NOT live in Utah as I had hoped... they lived the furthest they could live from me inside the lower 48 states! 2,500 miles away was not something I wanted. They also told me that after placement, there was a strong probability that A (the mom) would have to work so they would have health insurance, as infertility is considered a pre-existing condition and they could not be covered privately.

For reasons I didn't understand at the time, I emailed the second couple back. Something about them made me feel good, and I wanted to know more about them. Over the course of two months, we emailed over a dozen times. As Thanksgiving drew near, they told me they would be visiting family in Utah and Wyoming, and asked if I would want to meet. Just as friends, nothing more. When my caseworker found out, she almost had a heart attack thinking I was about to tell a couple that I was going to place with them without consulting her. I eased her fears and let her know I hadn't even come close to a decision (which wasn't completely true...)

I agreed to meet D and A, and the day after Thanksgiving we met at a restaurant. I wanted neutral ground. When I walked in, D (the dad) gave me a hug, then A gave me a bigger hug. As she told me how nice it was to meet me, I had an instant calm come over me, and I could see myself placing a baby in her arms. I couldn't believe that, without my actually seeking for one, I was receiving an answer. I was so grateful.

It took me another month of battling with myself to decide to announce. On Christmas Eve 2009, D and A found out they were going to be parents to a baby boy born in February 2010. I knew that placing across the country would be difficult, but for every fear I had I also felt comfort and I knew that somehow it was for the best.

February came quickly after that, and soon little D was here. Little D was perfect, beautiful, and everything I had dreamed he would be. I knew he would only be mine for a couple precious days, and that I wasn't sure if I would see him after placement (though D and A had already invited me to be present when they were sealed as an Eternal family after the adoption was finalized).

At placement, it started sinking in that in less than two weeks, this perfect little baby would be two time zones and what seemed like a lifetime away. I was so scared that D and A wouldn't keep in close contact, and I realized that I was fearful of losing my friends as well as this baby.

At the time, I didn't think I would ever recover from placement. When I placed little D in A's arms, I truly felt comfort but I didn't believe I would be okay. I knew it was best for little D though, so I went through with it. I was so happy for him, but aching for me.

D and A had to stay in Utah until ICPC went through, and we knew it would be within 2 weeks. I had assumed that knowing they were close would be comfort. Honestly, it was hell. I wanted to find them, to see them, to hold my little boy. I wanted to feed my baby hunger, because I knew they were staying a mere hour away from me.

The day before they returned home, I asked D and A if I could see them again. They happily obliged, and we got together at another LDS Family Services agency. Seeing them made me feel almost numb. Holding little D didn't feel quite the same. I almost felt that I was blocking everything out. It was so hard seeing them so soon, but I didn't want to wonder later if it would have helped. I think in a small way, it did. But it also made everything even more fresh. The pain, the ache, everything was fresh again.

Before placement, we had agreed on a specific timeline for contact. The first 3 months we would email and they would send pictures weekly. The next 3 months it would be every other week, then once per month until he was a year old.

When I would receive pictures from this sunny beautiful place, I couldn't quite connect. They were in a completely different climate, near the beach, in a world that I wasn't a part of. But they were wonderful, and told me every detail about the things they did. They sent pictures of their home, their dog, their neighborhood, the beach, all of little D's stuff, and they tried to make me feel more connected. Over the course of a few months, I was able to begin moving forward. I ached to see them again, but I knew that if I saw them all the time I wouldn't ever be able to heal. For my own personality, not seeing them for a while was so good for me.

When little D was six months old, I flew down to D and A's home. Seeing them again made me so happy. These were my friends! They had helped me through some extremely difficult times, and they were just as excited to see me. And little D was so big! He had grown so much, and it shocked me... I loved little D so incredibly much, but I didn't feel that I was his mother anymore. He was a child I loved so much, but I didn't feel that I had a right to him. My pride hurt a little bit with the realization, but my heart was finally able to start healing. D and A and little D were a family, in every way. I had helped create that.

When I left, D and A invited me to come back and visit in a couple of months so that we could have some time for just the three (four) of us to get to know each other. I was excited at the prospect, because it was more like a vacation.

Leaving was incredibly hard... the flight home I ached the whole time. For little D, for D and A, for their world. I had felt something being with them that I hadn't felt in a long time. I was struggling, wondering why I ached for them if I didn't feel that I had a right to little D.

After a couple of weeks, I got back into the groove of things and I was able to continue healing. I got more excited about visiting D and A, and when the time came I felt that I was ready.

The second visit was better than the first, and A and I grew very close. We would stay up late talking, we crafted, we shopped, and we laughed together. She offered to let me help with little D, and I would sometimes help (like feeding). Other times I would pass (like diapering). They were so giving, and I knew I was blessed to have them in my life, even though they lived so far away.

They would be coming back out to Utah for Christmas, and holding on to that knowledge made it a little more bearable for me to leave. When they visited in Utah, we had so much fun. I was getting used to having "family" living across the country, and the coming and going wasn't as painful or stressful as it had been in the beginning. I knew that the distance was helping me heal, and helping them become a family without the threat of a "stalker birthmom".

After their Christmas visit, I didn't see them for seven months... when I got married. A and little D came to my wedding, and when I found out they would be there I wondered if it would be difficult. After all, I was letting go of one part of my life and beginning a new part. I did a lot of introspection for a few months leading up to my wedding, and I was able to conclude that if I had placed nearby, I wouldn't have healed as quickly. I would have been desperate and would not have tried to build a new life. I never would have been able to move forward. I wouldn't have been able to let my single life go to be with the man I love for eternity. I am so grateful for adoption, and I am so grateful for each individual story.

D and A may live closer to me in the future, but I know without a doubt that everything turned out how it was supposed to. I would not have been okay if they had been close, even though many other birthmothers are. I HAD to move forward, I didn't have a choice. 2,500 miles is a long distance, and I couldn't hang up my life and hop a Greyhound bus. (I could have, but I would have run out of money very quickly).

Now, D and A and I have a close relationship that involves texting, phone calls, emails and, of course, Facebook. We contact each other whenever we darn well please. I talk to A more than I talk to my own sisters sometimes, and I've been able to get some great marriage advice.

Now, D and A are planning to adopt again. I'm excited because this time, I get to feel mostly joy. I will feel anguish for their birthmother, knowing the pain she will be going through. But I know that D and A are going to be a blessing for someone else, just as they were for me.

Long-distance adoptions are hard... but very worth it. They had time and space to become a family. And Hey, I get a great vacation every couple years or so!

A, Little D and Sterling
D and A are hoping to adopt again, and I would love for little D to have a little sibling! Please share!
You can also read more about Sterling and her adoption story on her blog

Friday, October 7, 2011

GLEE Petition

Go and sign the GLEE Petition.  I posted about how it made me as a birth mother and adoptive mother feel HERE.  I wish I would have come up with this but I didn't so I'm going to spread the word as much as I can.  There is a HUGE difference between adoption fact and adoption fiction.  People need to get everything sorted out before they started splashing it all over TV.  So if you've been affected by adoption go sign so that people can stop hearing/seeing the lies of what adoption is.  If you've never been affected by adoption go sign so that YOU can stop hearing/seeing the lies of what adoption is.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

missing them...

This is something I've never blogged about and never really thought it was common to feel.  But when I read this blog post HERE I realized that I'm not the only one that feels this way.

When I first met Lori and Barton the connection was immediate.  We quickly became friends.  I was pregnant during the holidays and even spent time with their extended families at temple square (you can read that post HERE).  I would frequently text Lori during the week telling her how I was doing and asking what they were doing.  I spent time with their oldest boys and connected with their family.  I didn't really expect much to change after placement and was a bit shocked when it did.

After placement I felt an ache that was different than the one that I felt for Ally.  I felt an ache for 2 people who had become my rock through everything.  2 people who had been by my side through all of the trials through my unplanned pregnancy.  I met Lori and Barton almost 5 years ago this November (wow I can't believe it's been that long).  Lori wouldn't randomly text me throughout the day to ask how I was doing.  I missed that more than I thought I would.  I thought of them as my best friends through my pregnancy and it was like the dropped off the face of the planet after placement.  I don't blame them at all.  They had a new baby to bond with, and 2 boys that needed their attention too.  I just think that NOONE prepared me for that.  I had been told that things may be different but I don't think ANYONE expected me to miss them so deeply.  I cried many days because I felt alone in a way I hadn't ever through my pregnancy.

Lori and Barton didn't understand my feelings and they had their own feelings.  When I wanted to talk to them about things I couldn't because I felt like if I expressed my pain over the situation they would feel like I had regret over my decision.  And maybe if they thought I felt regret they would cut contact and close the adoption.  That was the last thing that I wanted.  I felt like I couldn't be open with them about my feelings and I wish more than anything someone had told me to talk about my feelings.  Let them know that I missed them.  Tell them that they mean the world to you and you still need their support.

As an adoptive mother I will do anything for Cayden's birth mother.  If she ever needed my support I would be there for her.  I believe that Lori and Barton feel the same for me.  I feel like they would be willing to help me if need be.  So my advice, my words of wisdom would be... talk with the couple.  If you know them well enough to miss them, express that to them.  Let them know it's not regret of the decision you made but that it's a longing for their friendship that you miss.
Lori and Barton seeing Ally for the first time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From an outsider

I had this great idea the other day... Ask an outsider what my placement was like.  The only outsider there was my wonderful photography friend Lindsay (owner of  Lindsay Jane Studios).  
Todd, Luke, Josh, Lindsay
I met Lindsay in the ward I was going to.  We were team teachers for the sunbeams (4-5 year olds), and visiting teaching companions.  She lived across the street from my parents.  We became friends.  When I was pregnant she was kind enough to take these maternity pictures for me. These were taken on valentines day.  It sure made my day better.  
In preparing for my hospital stay I asked Lindsay if she would be willing to be in the delivery room and in the room for placement.  I knew I wouldn't really remember everything like I wanted to so I thought having pictures of it would help. ALL of the pictures of placement were taken by her.  I am forever and eternally grateful for the gift she gave me.  So without further ado here is the Q&A session between me and her about placement.  If there are any other questions you would like me to ask her feel free to leave them in the comments....

Q: After you heard I was planning on placing Ally for adoption what was your initial reaction?
A: I was happy because I knew how devastated you were when you first found out you were pregnant. You were so young and I know how important it is to be raised in a family with both a mother and a father. I was glad to know that you felt good about your decision. It was also very scary because I think that would absolutely be the hardest thing in the world to do.

Q: What was it like to photograph Ally's birth with Lori and Barton there?
A: I was honored to be asked to take the pictures of Ally's birth and placement. Lori and Barton are wonderful people and I could tell that you already had a good relationship with them. It didn't bother me at all, and made for great photos of Lori and Barton seeing Ally for the first time.

Q: What were your thoughts on Lori and Barton being in the delivery room?
A: I thought it was completely normal since you already had a relationship with them. I thought that it was a beautiful gift you gave them by allowing them to be there in that moment. It didn't feel awkward at all.

Q: What was the hardest part about placement for you?
A: The moment when you actually handed Ally over to Lori. I was already crying throughout the process, but at that moment, I lost it. There were so many opposing emotions in the room. I could feel the pain that you and your family was feeling, and at the same time, feel the joy that was about to be Lori and Barton's.

Q: From a somewhat outsiders point of view, how did my placement affect your view/opinion of adoption?
A: This was the first time that I had been close to someone involved in adoption. I think it is such a beautiful thing looking at it from the perspective of the adoptive parents. It took me 13 months to get pregnant with my first child, and at that time, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to have children. Knowing that if all else failed with getting pregnant, that adoption is there as an option was a comfort to me. I have an enormous amount of respect for girls who carry a child for 9 months and lovingly give them a home with 2 mature parents who can love and take care of that child. I absolutely don't think I could do it.

Q: What is the most memorable moment from placement?
A: Again, the most memorable moment is the hardest moment, but when you handed Ally to Lori and embraced each other. The room was so thick with emotion and was very overwhelming. There was beautiful moment right before I left when I looked back and saw Lori and Barton holding their baby girl with such gratitude.

Q: Has being at my placement impacted you when it comes to being a mother?
A: The main thing that it does to me now that I am a mother to two boys, is that I now know how you feel about that baby girl. I know what it feels like to fall in love with your child the moment he/she is born and it gives me more of an insight into the pain and grief that you must have felt when you did what you did. I admire your courage and strength and love for Ally to place her with such a wonderful family who loves her as much as you do. Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of that moment in your life.

Todd and Lindsay both played a HUGE part in my adoption story.  They may not know it but they were huge supporters of me all along the way.  I'll never be able to fully thank them for the support they gave me over the years.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Remeber how I posted about The R House and how Mrs R is amazing and how I often stop by The R House Couture and drool over the great things there... well guess what.... Where Angels Hang Around is doing a giveaway.  I of course entered to win and you can too!  What would you win...
Well this of course
It's a wonderful 5x5 print.
So go ahead and click on over to and enter to win this print.  It'll make a great addition to any nursery, bedroom, or even can you imagine this print surrounded by family pictures... WONDERFUL!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meet Crystal

I am so excited about this post!  A little background on how I know Crystal.  I actually have never met her IRL (in real life) but we are Facebook friends.  So how do I know she is related to adoption.... I know Mrs R of The R House.  I helped with the 2010 Adoption Walk and Mrs R and I become friends on Facebook.  I started following her blog and we soon met IRL.  I often drool over the great things at The R House Couture.

I mean look at how cute this is!

Can you say simply wonderful!  After helping out at the Girls Night Out hosted by The R House I felt more of a firm love for Mrs R.  She's simply an amazing woman, huge adoption advocate and truly a wonderful person.

Now onto Crystal.  Here is our little Q & A session

Q: Tell us a little more about yourself (name, age, where you live, what led you to making an adoption plan, and anything else you want the readers to know.)
A: Crystal Renee. I was born 7-8-83 in Jacksonville NC. I currently live in Wilmington NC. I have a 10 year old daughter named Summer and fraternal twin boys, they're 7, named Kobe and Korey. I chose adoption after much deliberation. I was told for years that I was infertile and couldn't have anymore children. So, when I became surprisingly pregnant, I didn't know what to do. I can't even afford to feed myself, much less another mouth. My children deserve so much more and having another child would just make them all hate me. Plus, I can't go back to school with another child. The birth father is the one that "mentioned" adoption.  After I cried and wondered, I knew the baby was here for a reason. I'm pro-life, so abortion was NEVER an option.

I'm 21 weeks pregnant with a baby girl by the way!

Q: Are you planning on having an open or closed adoption?
A: So far, its going to be as open as I want it to be. I'm not sure how much I want at first, I'm sure it'll change over the course of time. I mean, with lives going different ways or such. However, the family I've chosen is all for whatever I want. We can be as open or as closed as I fit. I'm sure its all going to depend on my emotions and everything that goes on. But I do love that I can at least see pictures of her!

Q: How did you find the adoptive couple?
A: Well, that's funny you asked. I used to blog on a family blog called Marvelous Masons. I found tons of friends and mom's that I could relate to or found intriguing. Over the course of blogging, I always stalked a website called The R House. I found her stories wonderful and of course always wondered if I couldn't have anymore, I might be able to get her help. Lol. After my divorce I stopped blogging, it sort of hurt to blog so I deleted it and changed to life of a mother to three. I never really blogged, but it was there and I sometimes checked my blogroll. When adoption came about, I went to this agency.  I did NOT like any of the profiles.  Some blatantly stated only girls, only boys, certain races. It seemed like baby trafficking and I said screw it, I'm keeping it. Until the next day, I just typed in The R House and left a comment on her last post, since I knew it was moderated. She replied. I didn't know what to say honestly, but she did, and it lightened my heart. I knew they were the ones. I did well, if I say so myself!

Click HERE to read the point of view of Mrs R. I remember reading this post and being on the verge of tears. Mr and Mrs R are such amazing people. I am SO extremely excited for them. Crystal is becoming part of a wonderful adoption family.

Q: What is something new you've learned about adoption now that you're going through it?
A: Oh wow! Lots. Haha. Some laws and such. I've learned that I feel bad for adoptive parents on all the money they have to spend on adopting. Emotions that are involved. And the one that burns me the most, scammers! It hurts my heart. If I was able to give babies to everyone, I would.

Q: How does your family feel about your adoption plan?
A: Not everyone knows. When I told a few, they bashed. Also, I've kept this pregnancy a secret for personal reasons. I honestly don't care what anyone says anymore. This my choice and its not easy!

Q: Tell us a little bit about why you feel adoption is best for you.
A: Well, as stated before, I've got 3 kids. I'm 28 and can't afford another. I also firmly believe all children need a father. My oldest don't have one and even though this ones father and I are still together, his fatherly track is not sweet. I want this one to be a daddy's little girl!!

Q: How are you preparing for placement?
A: Ahh! Is there a preparation checklist? If so, share please! I'm just taking it day by day. And I look at it as if I'm a surrogate, not a birth mother!

Q: What is a question you're dying to ask other birth mothers?
A: Did anything change after you placed as far as promises from the adoptive family?

I fully welcome Crystal into the fold with open arms and heart. The road ahead is rough but worth it. I can't wait to update you all on Crystal and how things go with her and The R House.

Birth mother readers.... Post a comment on how you prepared for placement and answer Crystals question... PLEASE!

To read more about Crystal and her journey through the adoption world you can find her blog HERE