Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unconventionally Open...

While I was pregnant with Ally I met SO many wonderful people who I consider some of my best friends.  They are people that no matter what is going on in my life, no matter how long it's been since we talked last, or what we are talking about they are always there for me.  They help me in times of need and I know that in their times of need they can turn to me and ask me for help.  Many of those friends have shared parts of their stories on my blog.  I am grateful for their willingness to share and answer my questions.  Recently I helped out with the Adoptive Couple Retreat.  This was the second (suppose to be 3rd but last year I was in labor with Jaxson so I wasn't able to help) time I helped.  The first time I was on the birth mother panel and this time I facilitated the panel.  Gina over at Birth Mother Baskets was on the panel as well as Alli and another birth mother.  I've known Alli for nearly 5 years but I didn't know part of her story like I thought I did.  So she was willing to share with me and my readers how her open adoption became unconventially open after she placed her daughter 6 1/2 years ago.
Alli and her birth daughter Sam
Hi, I’m Alli and I blog over at Neither Rhyme Nor Reason (allirutland.blogspot.com). Katelyn and I met while she was pregnant with Ally and have been friends since. I love reading her blog and I’m glad she asked me to guest post!

 I placed Samantha in October 2005. I can’t believe it’s been six and a halfyears! Back then things were a littledifferent than they are now. Forinstance, hopeful adoptive couple profiles weren’t online yet. When I decided to place my baby I was given about seven paper profiles to look through. Also, we chose and announced to our families before we ever had a face to face meeting. Probably the biggest difference between then and now is the amount of “openness” LDS Family supports. When I was pregnant all correspondence wassupposed to be left with the front desk at the agency. Letters would be opened and personal information would be removed before it was passed on.

 Many of the girls who placed the same time as me made open adoption plans with their adoptive families that consisted of letters and pictures for the first year and then once a year until the child turned 18. Samantha’s parents had already adopted one child and had avery open relationship with her bithmother. They wanted the same thing for Samantha.

After we met face to face they decided they wanted to be able to communicate and meet without having social workers determine where we went and what was said. Since a good seven years have passed since all of this happened, different people are remembering this differently, but we all remember an email address hidden on the back of a picture that was sent throughthe agency. After that, things opened up considerably!

While we were exchanging mail through the agency and continued to meet with social workers, we had our own, much less structured relationship, on the side. It has been wonderful! I am so grateful that open adoptions are the new normal and I’m grateful I am able to be a part of one, even though I could easily have been part of an adoption plan that included nothing more than a letter a year!

I would hope that hopeful adoptive couples would be willing to consider open adoptions. Even if you keep privacy barriers, such as meeting at parks and restaurants instead of homes, I have seen so much good from a birthmother knowing their child and a child knowing where they come from and that they are loved by every side. I love open adoption!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Want to welcome Valerie Bo

I have a dear friend who happens to be a birth mother, ya I have a lot of them, and she just had her first baby with her husband.  My friend Sterling blogs over at Diary of a Birth Mom and was also kind enough to do a guest post for me about being in a long distance open adoption HERE.  I just have to say I'm so incredibly proud of Sterling!  I know having a baby post placement isn't the easiest thing in the world.  Well actually it can be an emotional roller coaster.  And being a new mother post placement is an even bigger emotional roller coaster (I blogged about it all HERE).  Miss Valerie Bo decided that she needed to stay in until I could see her mommy pregnant one last time.  HEE HEE!  Love you Sterling and Brad and SO excited to meet miss Valerie Bo!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

25 Strangers Project

I had the awesome chance to be able to be part of a special project being done by a local photographer.  The project was called 25 Strangers.  I was the first stranger and have to say that Jenifer Allen was amazing!  I HIGHLY recommend her! You can check out her post about me HERE.  She makes me sound pretty amazing.  I'm pretty sure I'm not as awesome as she says I am. haha!  Be sure to go and read!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Do you know....

There is a group of people who feel it is their job to convince pregnant women considering adoption that they should parent their child rather than place the child for adoption.  This group of people may have experiences with placement and adoption BUT this group of people DOES NOT know what it feels like to make an adoption plan, feel so incredibly right about it, and then have it driven into your head and heart that you're decision you're about to make is wrong.  They DO NOT know what it feels like to decide to parent and wonder EVERY DAY how your child's life could have been better had you made the decision to place them for adoption.  They DO NOT understand the heartache of wondering how you'll make ends meet so that your children won't suffer.  They also DO NOT know the heart ache of parenting a child you felt all along should have been placed for adoption only a few weeks down the road do what you felt was right from day one.

It drives me INSANE when these people become so extremely coercive that they ruin people's lives!  I'm not saying that I know how it feels.  I'm not at all saying I understand those feelings.  BUT I have dear friends who do know those feelings all too well.  They live those feelings EVERY SINGLE DAY!

There is a good, a bad, and an ugly side to everything.  I've come to realize that in my short little life.  Nothing is perfect.  While I have had a very positive experience with adoption there are women out there who haven't.  I'm not at all saying they shouldn't be allowed to state their feelings and opinions.  Go at it.  Share away.  But you telling someone "wanting the baby to have a father isn't reason enough to place" because that is your reason and the birth father ended up coming around isn't right.  Being on a man hunt to find as many expectant mothers out their and convince them that placement is horrible and wrong and they will FOREVER regret their decision is down right DISGUSTING!  And then you say you'll "support" them... by how... tell them to "just keep holding on".  Oh yes that's the support they need when they feel like their world is falling apart and they've made the worst mistake of their life and the life of their child.

I'm not on a man hunt to find as many pregnant women who are pregnant and not in ideal situations to convince them to place their child for adoption.  I have a blog where I boldly state my feelings about adoption, single parenting, and co-parenting.  I have in no way gone out of my way to change someone's mind about their decision.  I have in no way gone out of my way to convince someone the decision they made for themselves and their future family was a wrong and "horrible" one.  Quiet frankly anyone who does that is in fact the "evil" and coercive crap they speak out about so often!

So grab a cup and pour yourself some good old kool aid!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just another Hard day

It's really not easy... Today I attempted to update Jaxson's baby book.  I didn't get very far though.  I did really good updating his book monthly until he got sick in November and then I just haven't had the time.  As I was reading through things my heart was breaking.  Odd I know.  I kept thinking about all the things I didn't know about Cayden as a baby and all the things I didn't know about Ally growing up.  Ally's mother is wonderful at keeping me updated but that isn't the same.  There are little things that you don't think about that I wonder.  I mean as open as our relationship is I don't know what Ally's first word was.  In fact I don't know what Cayden's first word was because neither his father, birth mother, nor paternal grandparents can come up with the same freaking answer (that actually makes me really mad).
Jaxson's first word was Papa.  He LOVES my dad!  You say papa and his face lights up he runs to the door and is ready to go see his papa.  If ever my dad is around he is the first person he runs to.  I'm not joking he LOVES my dad.
There are things that I think down the road Cayden may ask me and honestly I won't have the answer.  It hurts that I don't know the answers and it makes me angry too.  I wish I could ask his birth mother but every time I have I haven't exactly gotten a straight answer, not to mention there is a gap of 4 months where she never saw him.  Those 4 months were from 8  months to a year... so who knows if she even knows the answers to the questions that I have.  Ya it's really frustrating!
I know that I could ask Lori and and all of my questions about Ally but honestly I kind of feel like it shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Lori is amazing and sends me updates on the days where I just need the.  The days where I can't stop thinking and wondering about Ally.  I ALWAYS get an update on the days that I need one.  I know I can ask the questions that I wonder but I don't want to add to the stress of their already busy lives.  In all honestly I sometimes feel like I'm a burden on their family.  They have 5 adopted children 2 older than Ally and 2 younger than Ally.  The 2 older were open but have progressively become less and less open just because lives get busy and such.  The 2 younger 1 is completely closed and the other is semi open.  I'm also the ONLY local (and by local I mean that we live 15 maybe 20 minutes apart the others are across the country) birth mother.  There are times where I feel like they are burdened by my desire to have contact.  Not because of anything they say or do but because they have a crazy busy life.
Do any of you birth mothers out there feel that way?
Do you ever feel guilty for wanting more contact or asking for a visit?
Lately that's my problem.  I would love to see Lori and the kids but I feel so guilty asking for a visit and being a burden.  I don't want to burden their beautiful family at all.  I can't really explain these feelings well and it's frustrating.
As of late I've opened up Cayden's adoption a little bit more.  You'll remember just recently that I was done and was cutting contact to the minimum... I am now updating a blog for his birth family when I have time.  Every time I wonder about Ally and how she's doing I also wonder if Jordan is thinking about Cayden.  I can't say that I know or think she is but I still wonder.
April is the beginning of a really emotional couple months for me.  Cayden's birthday is ALWAYS bitter sweet for me and that leads into Ally's birthday, birth mother's day, and mothers day.  I try to focus on the present but the pains of the past always seem to come shooting back.  Even looking forward to the future of what my family has coming for us doesn't seem to overshadow the past and what I missed.