Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthmom Questions

I follow a blog named, This is a Site For Birthmothers by Birthmothers. And in one of the posts they had questions for birthmothers to answer. So I did and sent an e-mail and I decided to post my answers on here. If you're a birthmother and had anymore questions or an adoptive couple you can send it to me on here via comment or e-mail: Stefanie.okj@gmail.com

Questions for birthmothers from other birthmothers:

1. Do you have any specifics that you would change about your adoption experience had you to do it all over again? for ex pics, gifts, placement sentiments, communication, etc
I enjoyed every minute of my adoption experience. What I wish I could've done was let Valery (the adoptive mom) be more involved at the hospital. She was taking pictures when Olivia was born but I should've let her be by my and touch and hold her when she was first born. But everyone is different. I wish I could've done that.

2. Do you have any 'if i knew then what i know now' thoughts that might help others with similar albeit hypothetical situations?
It was hard for me because before I the hospital experience and she was born I had a good feeling about adoption and that when she was born nothing was going to change. Once there was an actual human being crying in my arms. It was WAY hard for me. I didn't expect it at all. I wish I could've known that it will be hard no matter what or how "good" you're feeling about the adoption.

3. If you did NOT name your child in the hospital, how come you chose not to?
If you DID name your child in the hospital why did you choose to?
I had kept a blog during my pregnancy. After I had announced to Dustinn and Valery I posted on my blog that if I was going to keep her, I would've named her Olivia. And I kept calling her Olivia on my blog because I didn't just want her to be "baby" and they decided to keep that name. They changed the middle name to Kate after Val's sister and great grandmother. If I was going to name her, her middle name would've been Nicole. On the birth certificate that I filled out her name is Olivia Nicole Farish (The birth father's name is Nicholas Farish). After I filled that out I had a feeling that wasn't her name that it is Olivia Kate J.

4. What are your top 5 high moments and your top 5 low moments of your adoption experience?
Top 5 highs
1. Telling the adoptive family I picked them
2. Knowing that I made the right decision with adoption
3. Flying out to Virginia to see the adoptive family when I was 7 months pregnant
4. Giving birth, holding Olivia the first time
5. Watching the adoptive family in the hospital with Olivia "being a family"

Top 5 lows
1. Finding out about my unplanned pregnancy
2. Finding out the birthfather wasn't going to marry me or be involved.
3. Realizing I couldn't be the mom and went with an adoption plan (This was very difficult for me because I felt as if I failed as a mother)
4. Walking out of the hospital alone and empty handed.
5. Trasitioning from being "mom" to "the birth mom."

5. Did you feel prepared for placement/relinquishment and the first year(s) after placement? if so, what did you do before hand to prepare. if not, what would you recommend for others. did you think you were and then realized later that you weren't?
I don't think anyone could ever be fully prepared for placement/relinquishment. All you can do is really prepare yourself for the hurt and the heartbreak. I think you should realize what you want after all of that happens. I know the day after placement I wanted the couple to spend a day with her so they could bond with her but then everyday after that I wanted to see her. They live in Virginia so they had to wait about 2 weeks for the ICPC papers to go through. That was the only time I was going to see my newborn as a newborn. The next time I see her she'll be 3 months old. I almost feel gyped of those months with her because I want her to come back as a newborn. Haha. You need to establish the open communication that you have with your couple beforehand. If you try after. I think it will all fall apart and become a huge mess.And I think others will be upset about expectations that weren't being met that we never made.

6. Who have you not told about your adoption and why? Who have you shared your adoption with and why? At what point were you comfortable talking freely (if ever) about your adoption experience?
I'm very open about my adoption experience. I kept a blog throughout my pregnancy and the day that I posted I was placing for adoption. My whole family knew and could keep up with it through my blog. I don't think that there is anyone that doesn't know. If there are friends or acquantinces that don't know, I don't let them. It's a pretty sacred experience for me to share and I don't want to go into detail about it. Most people don't when I say that I had a baby and placed for adoption. The conversation doesn't really go any further than that. I drop subtle hints to guys that I'm dating. I've only had one guy think it was weird because he wanted to marry a girl that waited for her husband to give away her virginity. Sorry to burst your bubble sir (:

7. Have you had a visit or even a reunion since placement?
I saw her two days after placement since I didn't have a lot of time to see her before she left to go to Virginia. I haven't seen her since they flew out to Virginia. They left October 17 and they're coming back in December to visit.

8. What do you feel are reasonable boundaries for a birthmother as far as writing to your child, sending gifts, giving money, unplanned visits/phone calls/texts, etc?
I think when the child is old enough to contact you. I think you should let them write to you first. I think it's okay to send them gifts and spoil them on Christmas and birthdays. I think you should ask the adoptive family as well what they think and how much contact they want you to have. You can ask them that through the years before the child is enough to start sending you emails, letters, pictures, calls, texts, whatever.

9. Is your birthchild old enough to know who you are? Briefly explain if possible.
N/A She's only 8 weeks old.

10. How do you cope when the adoptive couple doesn't follow through on commitments they made with contact after finalization?
I just kind of look at this way. My adoptive couple has a 2 year old son already and now they're taking care of a baby. I'm sure they have their hands full. I can't be straight up angry with them. Just because I don't have a life except for school and work and they have a family to take care of. I've been okay with just e-mails whenever they have the time to e-mail me. But if I need an e-mail right away I'll e-mail them first or just call them.

11. Do any birthmothers out there have any ideas for me to cherish my memories of all the pictures I have of my birthdaughter???
I have been making a scrapbook. I made a scrapbook for the adoptive family of me and the birth father growing up so that way when Olivia is old enough she can look through and see whose eyes and nose she has. I did take some professional pictures when Olivia was 2 weeks old and I'm putting those in frames. You can buy a digital photo frame if you have pictures are the computer of you and your birthdaughter and put them on a memory card and put the memory card in the digital photo frame and watch it like a slide show. Or make a video of the pictures. Scan them onto your computer and put music to it.
12. How do you move forward when the parents of my child are?
It's difficult but I know that while you're grieving the adoptive couple are grieving as well. You might think that's not true because they didn't have to give up anything. But trust me. They gave up a long time ago. A dream of having their own children, babies that look them, they were able to look past the fact that they can't get pregnant but want a child in their home to be a complete family. I think they grieve for the birth mom because of the sacrifice they made and they grieve because of their infertility. Bringing home a baby that isn't theirs just confirms to them that they can't get pregnant and have to put you through so much pain as they did.

13. Has any ones aparents not followed through with the contact they had promised? if so how do you handle and cope with that?
I don't think my couple has ever not followed through. I think I kind of expected more contact. While I was pregnant I would call the adoptive mom and talk to her about anything and about the doctors appointments just so she can be involved. And I kind of wanted it to be that way after Olivia is born but I didn't express that and I realize now that she probably couldn't have done that which is totally fine. I'm cool with e-mail updates just as long as I get one (:

14. Does the hurt and pain ever go away? Maybe when they turn 18 and the aparents cant keep you from them any more?
My adoptive family is not keeping Olivia hostage at all. They want me to come visit her as much as I want. They're coming out here and letting me see her. I'm still in the very early stages of it all since I only placed two months ago. It comes and goes but atleast she's not out of my life forever. It gets easier everytime that I see her.

15. What about having more children after placement? What are your fears? Problems that youve come across? Joys?
My fears is that I can have children. At my 6 week post partum appointment they did a pap smear. The results came back abnormal and found precancerous cells. I'm not sure about the whole thing they won't be testing me for sure until December 9th. But it's a scary thought to think you might have cervical cancer and if so, what if I can't have anymore biological children? What if I just placed my only biological child for adoption? It hurts. I hope that the pap smear was wrong and it changes back to normal. But I get so excited thinking about me and my husband having children. That I know that he'll always be by my side no matter what during the pregnancy. That he'll be there right next to me in the hospital when I give birth and it'll be a magical feeling to be able to hold onto my own child and not let him/her go. Ever. Again.

16. What's the best coping method when you feel overwhelmed with guilt and sadness? Loneliness? Anger? Anything?
I keep a blog. I talk to my case worker about things. I talk to other birth moms who have been there or are going through it and what they did to keep going. I try to have fun and not dwell on it. When I felt lonely I signed up for LDS singles and went on dates with guys just for fun. Nothing serious that's for sure. I'm not ready for a serious relationship for a long time. I will definitely have my days and just cry and pray to God and ask him why he let me go through this. It's been hard but it's made me a stronger person. I sometimes feel like I can do anything but I'd also like a break from life as well, it's okay to take a pajama day from life I think.

17. I'd like to know how other birthmoms celebrate birthday's, holidays or their child? Did you have a pregnancy/adoption journal? Did you keep things from the hospital, if so what? How are you doing today and how long ago did you place?
My pregnancy/adoption journal is my blog. I took everything that I could home from the hospital. One of the nurses was nice enough to give me a lock of her hair and the bow that she had in her hair. I just live vicariously through my adoptive couple through holidays by them sending me pictures and things. I'm flying out to Virginia for her first birthday. I'm sure when I have my own family and I won't be able to see her as much that I'll celebrate her birthday with my family and bake a cake for her. I'll send her gifts for Christmas and maybe a phone call for holidays whatever it is to keep in contact with her. I'm doing fairly well today since placement. I've definitely had my share of trials since then but I know God would never put me through anything that I couldn't handle. I still feel like the decision I made for Olivia to place her for adoption was the right one for me. I placed almost 8 weeks ago and they practically send me pictures of her every day either through a picture message or an e-mail or a blog. Whatever it is they try to keep me on track with their life.

I remember having a question after placement when people would talk to me about placement. I had no idea how comfortable my adoptive couple was with me saying she's my daughter. Is it alright for me to call her my daughter? I'm not her mom but I'm her birth mom ya know? My answer kind of to that is it's hard to transition from being mom to the birth mom. And I think you should include the adoptive couple and call them mom and dad when they're with her. And say "our" daughter instead of "my" daughter. She doesn't belong to anyone, we're all God's children.

Questions for birthmothers from adoptive couples:

A. Can adoptive couples send too many letters, emails, photos? When our birth mother doesn't respond, it makes me wonder if we are sending too much....
I think that there isn't too much of anything. The birth mother is grieving the loss of a child. Sometimes I think receiving a picture is like, "Thank you for reminding me what I don't have." And I'm sure she reads them or looks at them and is grateful that you send her those things. It's just difficult for her to reply. When the time comes and she comes around to the idea of what she did was good for her and for her baby that she'll respond. I would say don't give up.

B. When is birth mothers day? Is there a different day than regular mothers day?
Birth mother's day is the day before Mother's day. So it's the Saturday before Mother's day. I have yet to celebrate that day or seen any parades for it. But it's nice to be recognized and who knows if you get gifts for it. Ha.

C. How much is ok to express while finding, in a blog that a birth mother could be reading? Example.... longing, excitement... worries, all the feelings the adoptive parent is feeling while hoping to be chosen and in the finding stages? Should we say how we are feeling anywhere? To give them a sense of who we are? Or should we just do that privately?
You know what? I'm the type of person to just say it how it is. If you're afraid that a birth mother might not accept you because you have normal feelings, then she's not the birth mom for you. She is as vulnerable as you are during this whole process. She wants to feel like it's normal to have crazy hormonal emotions through the adoption. I think a birth mom is apart of your family if she can't accept you for your flaws then why should she see your perfection? That's what I think adoptive couples are, perfection, they're the perfect family that birth moms wish they could be. They wish they could be the family for the child they're carrying with a mom and a dad and be able to be financially stable. That's part of the sole reason why we choose to place. And it'd be a little bit worried if you didn't express your longing for a child or worried that you'd never have a child.

D. We give gifts on our daughter's birthday and on birthmother's day, but run out of ideas. What are some of your favorites?
I haven't really received gifts since placement. I was given a Willow Tree figurine. Google those. I think they're amazing and meaningful. I was given one of a mother holding a baby. I think it's the figurine called "Angel of Mine." One gift that I received at placement was that me, Valery, and Olivia were given a bracelet that are matching that we all can wear. Val's dad made me a jewelry box with Olivia's name burned into the lid and they also put in little notes from their family. Those are just some ideas.

E. Did you get professional photos with your birth child? Did the adoptive couple pay for it?
I did get professional pictures taken. The adoptive couple did not pay for it. My mom did. I expressed that I wanted some and my adoptive family was totally cool with it. I had a picture taken of me and the adoptive mom kissing Olivia on each cheek. It means so much to me. I wanted professional pictures taken so I can put them in frames and things. I hope to get more as she grows up.

F. I am not sure if on the first meeting if I should bring a gift. Wouldn't giving a gift the first time we meet make her feel like she has to pick us? Like pressure? What are acceptable first time meeting gifts?
The weird thing was that I knew my adoptive couple before. I knew them since I was 14. I found out when I was 3 months pregnant that they were looking to adopt. And I had no idea what I was doing at the time but I was trying my hardest to keep. So I have no idea about giving gifts the first time you meet. I think an ipod is a very good first gift, come on, we're giving you a baby! hahaha. I'm TOTALLY joking. If I was picking between two couples and one gave me a gift and the other one didn't, I'd totally choose the one that gave me a gift because it stood out to me and it made me feel like they were looking out for me, not just because they want my baby.

G. We have an idea of what we want to do on the day we bring the baby home for our birth mother. We are having so much fun putting a basket together of very thoughtful and loving gifts. Are there any you suggest?
I think that's so cute! I would put in there a stuffed animal and also give the baby a stuffed animal just like it so she feels like they share something. My couple gave me a stuffed animal that Olivia has and I sleep with it every night and pretend it's her. Or that she's sleeping with hers as well.

I find this post very fitting since Olivia is 2 months old today (:

7 comments:

  1. Yeah! I really like that! I enjoyed your responses! Love ya tons! <3

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  2. I'm so glad you talked about how adoptive couples grieve too. No one ever understands me when I try to explain how we are feeling.

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  3. Thank you for your answers :) it really helps a ton :)

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  4. Hey Stef! I'm so glad you posted this. (We found out things we never knew before!) Thank you for #1 that is very sweet. And thank you so much for letting us be there at the hospital for your labor and delivery. It was and always will be an amazing miraculous experience.
    I also loved #4. :)
    #12 was so insightful and compassionate.
    #13 good to know!! I had no idea you'd like to be hearing more. Also, we ever ever want to break a promise. PLEASE let us know if we ever do so we can make it right!
    C. We always wondered about that and we did hesitate and withheld writing almost anything about adopting prior to placement. I hope that was never hurtful--we just didn't want to hurt you by mispeaking.

    Anyway, loved this post.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your answers.

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  6. wonderful writing, I have a lot of respect for you and what you've shared.

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