Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30. One Year Ago.

The time has finally come that it is indeed the last day of November and it's the end of National Adoption Month. My husband may be happy that I might actually get to sleep before 3 in the morning instead of furiously clicking the little buttons on the keyboard trying to finish and get a few hours of sleep before I have to work early in the morning. I may be happy so I feel like I have more of a social life ;) haha. But I loved every minute of it and showing you many great adoptive couples hoping to adopt. Many great birthmoms that I've had the privelege to meet. And as I am educating you or letting you be aware of adoption. I was educating myself. As some of you take on the challenge, I learned and have grown to love you. As I type, I learn from myself and it's just a great feeling. And I'm almost mostly glad it's over because I'm not a fan of writing a blog every single day. I just feel like I'm annoying the poo out of you guys.

If you aren't friends with  me on Facebook. You now know that a year ago today is the day that me and Tayler became an official couple. Oh yes. Isn't it great? I will tell of our story when we met.

Just a month before I signed up for LDS Singles.com. I signed up for fun figuring that I wasn't going to find anything serious out of it and just wanted to go on some dates. I needed to get over a certain someone. And you know, my subscription was about to end and I was like, let's give this another shot. So I got home from Oregon in the beginning of November. I did the stupid personality tests to see who was my match. And he was right smack-dab-inthemiddle of the screen. If that's not a sign. I don't know what is. I thought his prof picture was pretty adorable. So you can see who viewed your profile and he noticed I viewed. So he sent me this gay/precious "flirt" and I just sent him a message and pretty much said, "Let's cut to the chase. You're hot. I'm hot. Let's meet up. Here's my number. Text me if you have the guts."

I was at work and I got a text from an Idaho number that said, "Oh. I have the guts." And so we texted for a good 5 days. Then I got sick of texting and called him. We talked for a few hours or so.  Every single night. He worked until like one in the morning but I didn't care. Before we officially met I told him about Olivia. He tells me, in his mind, when I told him that he thought maybe we shouldn't date because I recenty had a child. But he had a feeling that we should keep talking. And BOY am I GLAD he did?!

We made a beautiful, spontaneous trip to Burley, Idaho. He was currently living in Boise going to school and working. And I was in Utah. On November 29, I drove out to Idaho and we met in the most romantic spot there. The Walmart parking lot. I got so nervous I locked my keys in my car. His mom later had to help me break into my car. We hugged and he practically fed me TO THE WOLVES. All of his family live in Idaho and so I got to meet his family on our first date and I got to meet some of his very best friends from high school.

After we rescued my car, I stayed in his grandparent's basement. We had to say a quick goodbye until tomorrow and so I went in for a hug and HE kissed ME! If you hear his story, he will always say that I kissed him. But I'd like to think of it is as a mutual meeting.

The next day, we were kind of chillaxing. Either watching The Proposal or Edward Scissorhands. And I stole his phone and got on his Facebook and wrote on his status, "I have a hot girlfriend!" And he read it and he goes, "I guess I do huh?" I said, "You guess?!" He said, "Well, I haven't even asked you to be my girlfriend!" I said, "Yeah. You were thinking it though." He said, "Yeah. Probably. So, will you be..." Me: YES!!! :)

And it only goes uphill? downhill? from here. I don't know what the saying is. I would think downhill because it's more fun to roll down then hike uphill. Who knows. Whatever it is. IT'S AMAZING. And I love him.



Groomals whilest engaged:


Tayler is a wonderful man. He takes such good care of me. I know when I have my bad days or I miss Olivia. He won't let me just go off into a corner and grieve by myself (which I really prefer to do). He wants me to talk it all out and just let it out. Possibly so he wouldn't have to deal with it later. Haha. But I think that has helped me emotionally. Because I used to be like, "All right. I will cry for an hour and be done." And possibly do it like once or twice a week. Now it's like, I can cry for 3 hours once or twice a month (or depending on the anniversary/holiday coming up). And he'd still be there trying to coax me and hold me and just listen. He doesn't have to give me words of advice. He just has to listen. I give him permission to doze off as I talk because I know I'm quite boring, crying over the same thing a lot. But he doesn't care.

He also answered some questions for me a while back and I posted it earlier this month. He's willing to help me out with anything. When I was sick, he made a bubble bath for me and let me just listen to T-Swift's new album while he cleaned the kitchen and living room. I don't know about you but I think that's being treated like royalty, right there. :) I know he was quite nervous to meet Olivia in January and she loved him so much, he got her to go to sleep on his chest.

Even now, she won't run to me. She'll run to him and let him pick her up. It's super cute. I knew I couldn't just marry anybody and that Olivia had to approve. And I believe she does.

In the past year, Tayler and I may have had our ups and downs. But that has never stopped us from loving each other. No matter how far the distance. We were always there for each other. You showed me how to love completely, fearlessly. I put my guard down and I fell and you caught me. The one and only one who did. You amaze me to no end and continue to everyday. I coudn't ask for a better best friend and husband. Thank you for always being there. And I'm always here for you! I don't think anyone has ever given me as many flowers, hugs, kisses and shown me as much love as you have. I don't know how I ever became this lucky. But I'm so lucky to have you for the rest of my life!

We will be sealed on our one year anniversary. Which happens to be in 298 days. In 9ish months, eternity starts with you. I'm so stoked for the day to walk into the Temple with my husband and walk out as eternal companions. :)

I'm loving you forever, T.

Forever & Always,
Your S.

Monday, November 29, 2010

29. Guest Blogger: "Ruth" (Birthmom)

So a birthmom friend of mine that I went to group with me asked if she could be a guest blogger. I don't turn anyone down ever. So I said OF COURSE! I've known "Ruth" since she and I were both pregnant. She placed about a month after me. And I love her to death. We both have a pretty good case of insomnia and we will stay up on Facebook and chat for just hours. It's fantastic. This is her story. I think it's interesting because she talks about her couple adopting another baby. I have yet to enter that stage so it has opened my eyes a little bit more for that time. Enjoy. :)

My name is "Ruth." I am twenty years old and I placed my first child, “Bear”, for adoption in November 2009.

34 weeks
39 weeks

During my pregnancy I had a crazy, but common, notion that adoption would be the end of me. I disquietedly anticipated giving birth, seeing a beautiful baby boy disappear from my life and seeing all my purpose and possible happiness vanish with him. I concocted a miserable mental image of what I’d be like post placement- Apathetic, absent minded, and pretty much like a zombie. (Dramatic, I know.)

Now, I knew adoption was the best option for Bear, but I felt like I was losing everything. Before I even saw Bear I loved him tremendously. I wish I could describe the desire I had to be his mother. I missed him months before the adoption even took place. There were times were I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. Depending on the day I would either cry because I wanted it to be over or I’d cry because I knew I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever and I didn’t want to let him go. Time has such a perverse sense of humor. Anyway, I wanted Bear to get a good start in life- one with two loving parents, righteous guiding principles, financial stability, and order. At that time in my life I couldn’t offer him any of that. I couldn’t even guarantee that he’d always have food or clean diapers. Contrary to popular belief you don’t just need love. For me that was the hardest part about choosing adoption because I had to admit to myself that I couldn’t provide for my son and others were more qualified to raise him. It was embarrassing, shameful, and heartbreaking, but somehow (I believe it was the grace of God) finding my couple changed all of that.

There is a term we use in the adoption world when describing the moment you find your couple; magical. I was incredibly emotional when I found my couple. I will refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. Justice. I knew right away that they were the ones. It’s an amazing experience to feel that sure and without a doubt that something is right. I wanted to tell them that day that I wanted them to be the father and mother of the child I was carrying, but due to protocol I had to meet them first. Finding them lifted a great burden off my chest. I was calm, I felt peace, and I felt strong.  I still felt a great amount of grief; the adoption process was still excruciatingly arduous, but it was simultaneously made easier.  It was magical.

Mr. & Mrs. Justice <3  

I was best friends with Mr. & Mrs. Justice. It was like we were family. What am I saying? We are family. I didn’t know I could feel connected or love some random magical couple that much so suddenly.  If I hadn’t found them, I never would have placed for adoption. I don’t think anyone else could have measured up. I don’t think I would have been able to trust anyone else with my child.

The adoption came and went with surprising ease. I had my moments, but my hardest days were because I felt guilty that I wasn’t a mess and that I didn’t miss him as much as I thought I would or should. I cried a lot more thinking about other birthmoms in their pain and wondering why I wasn’t experiencing the same thing than about the child I placed. It made me feel awful. I thought I was the only birthmom struggling with that. I thought I was weird. Hopefully I’m not alone. Luckily, I was always able to find comfort by looking at their family photos.      
Their photos reassured me of the reasons I placed for adoption and reminded me that I had a second chance at getting my life back on track which is exactly what I did.

After the adoption I jumped right back into school and I’m currently working on my associates in business and bachelors in economics. I also started dating my missionary from four years ago and best friend of today. We got married in May of 2010 and I can’t even begin to express my joy and excitement over it! It makes me smile to the point where my cheeks hurt. I love it! I know every woman says it, but I have the greatest husband and I couldn’t be any happier.

After Bear was sealed to Mr. & Mrs. Justice, about eight months after the adoption, I was contacted by my case worker. Lady Love, my case worker, asked me if I would be okay with Mr. & Mrs. Justice adopting another baby. She explained that there was another girl in my similar situation and that she had found my couple somehow and wanted to place with them. She let me know that they normally don’t let couples adopt again so early, but because of the situation the girl was in they were willing to permit it. What was my first reaction? “Yes! Give them all the babies they want!” My second reaction was to tell my case worker that Mr.  & Mrs. Justice didn’t need my permission to expand their family, but I appreciated their thoughtfulness.

 Honestly, when I found out they were possibly going to get another child I was ecstatic. I loved them and I wanted them to receive all the children I thought they deserved. I was joking with my mom that I bet they were going to end up having eight kids because they’re one of the only Native families in the adoption records and both babies, Bear and future sibling, have Native blood as well. (Native adoptions are a little different and one of the requirements is that the babies need to be placed with other Native families.) Never once did I feel sad, jealous, or anger; at least, not until Bear’s first birthday.

I was nervous about seeing Bear because I hadn’t seen him in several months of held him since he was two weeks old. I wasn’t quite sure how I’d react. I was, however, really looking forward to meeting the birthmom of Bear’s future little brother- She’s a beautiful girl with a big smile, warm laugh, and charming family. I loved watching her play with Bear and talk to me about how much she loved him and the Justice family. You would have never guessed that she was struggling in any way; wonderful, wonderful spirit.

Mr. & Mrs. Justice made me a gift that we all watched together. It was a touching film covering Bear’s first year of life. I bawled the moment they turned it on, but I part of what was so hard was watching Lady Grace, soon to be birthmom, try not to cry while watching it. I said that I never felt any sadness, jealousy, or anger about the baby news for the Justice’s, but I was overwhelmed with pain for her. I hated watching her hold back her tears. I hated listening to her sniffle. I hated seeing her try to blink quickly to avoid a tear escaping. I had already experienced adoption. I had already experienced all of the trials associated with adoption. I was at a point where I loved Bear, but not as a son. I loved him as a close cousin or something. I didn’t see me in him anymore. He looked just like the Justice’s boy. I was at their house enjoying their son’s birthday party, but Lady Grace was in the middle of her adoption process and still is. The pain and worry I could see in her face was agonizing. I wanted to hold her and cry. I was angry, too. I was angry that she had to experience what I, and all the other birthmoms, have had to endure. I felt guilty for being so happy for Mr. & Mrs. Justice. It was bizarre looking in on adoption from the other side.  It was gut-wrenching. What made matters worse is that nobody said anything to her about it. No words of comfort were provided for her. People hugged me because I was crying, but the movie made me cry because it was beautiful and their family is beautiful. I didn’t want to make things awkward for her so I didn’t bring it up, but for the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Her due date is coming up in a couple months and all I can do is pray for her. I wish I knew how to be there for her. You’d think I’d know having been in her shoes only a year ago, but I don’t. Thinking about her is the hardest thing for me right now. It’s almost like experiencing it all over again.

I will always love and appreciate the Justice’s. I will always love Bear.  I couldn’t be any happier for the Justice’s and the children they’ve been entrusted with. I will never forget watching that movie and seeing the sorrow in Lady Grace’s face. Adoption is bitter sweet- I will never forget its pain or its beauty.  I will always remember the blessings I’ve seen come to pass because of adoption and I will always support it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

28. My Adoption Video

Andee made this video for me as a gift after I placed. And I love it. I've used it before with my high school presentations and the high school kids think it's rad. :) Andee posted it on Adoption Voices. So that's where I got it. And I have it on my Facebook. I remember watching it and just crying, not that it was just right after placement, but I remember thinking I couldn't believe that I went through this entire journey for her. I'm so grateful for it. (And yes, I know the second song has negative adoption language. But it's a great song from adoptee to a birthmom. I watched it the day before I announced to Dustinn and Val that they were parents. It has a very special meaning to me.)

Find more videos like this on Adoption Voices


I know Jessica is celebrating with me, I miss you lots today girl.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

27. Adoption Advocate

Baha. My mom texted me an idea to post what things I've done to advocate adoption.

I think number one is this blog. In the beginning, I sort of just used this blog as a journal. To let out my feelings. I never imagined that so many people would read it each day (which is approx 400 pageviews a day)/weeks/months (approx. 11,000 pageviews last month). I know it's creepy that I know that... nah. I just looked at my stats on here. I just barely discovered it yesterday while I was trying to figure out how to change my comment thing. I know, I'm so rad. Baha. The comment change was not my  idea. I stole it from someone else. Yes. I know. I'm unoriginal. But at least I'll give the credit.

I've also been a guestblogger on numerous blogs. You can check out the links on the side. Or here.

Stefanie's Story

Adoptive Mom and Birth Mom Q&A

If I Could Change My Adoption Experience

I have loved going to expectant parent groups/adoption chat nights. I don't think some girls realize it but you're advocating adoption when you go to the expectant parent groups. You may not tell your story everyday. But those girls who haven't been there and are about to experience- look at you like you're the top dog. I know everyday that I'm still learning. But those girls need our help more than anything. And I know the adoptive families enjoy having birthmom's there (I think it's precious that y'all think of us as celebs. It makes me blush. Baha). They kind of have an insight of how we feel about things. I know I've been asked before to look at other adoptive families profiles before and add my input and if they should change anything.

I used to be apart of the blog called, "The Sisterhood of the Maternity Pants." I stopped because it seemed like that I wasn't getting any credit for it and that it was only one person's blog. Even though we started it together. And this person never corrected that it was OUR blog, not just hers. Hm. Funny how things end like that.

I have been apart of panels either at expectant parent groups, adoptive families trainings, and high schools. I love high schools. I have been to 3 different high schools in the past year. I have done about 9 total panels. I think I love high schools the most because I feel like if I can tell my story to a class of about 30. I know one person is listening. And I know that they'll be able to take their babies home because of my story. Or maybe if they do find themselves in that situation or a friend. They can remember their class and all the options. And the feedback is incredible. I feel embarrassed when people clap for me at the end of the class. I know I did something great for someone else but I don't think I'm a great person. I guess there's my insecurity. Haha. I guess I'm more humble than embarrassed about it.

I really want to get out more and do more stuff but sometimes I have to work and I can't make it. I went to the adoption conference while I was pregnant. (I didn't go this year because I saw my Aunt that lives in Texas and she was in Idaho doing education week and she wasn't going to make it out to my wedding but I plan on being there this coming year!)

 Probably the hottest picture you'll ever see of me and Andee on this side of the interweb.
Yes, we're matching. No, we didn't plan it.
 I just realized that our first picture together was when I was pregnant. The last picture of us taken, SHE'S pregnant. Baha. Yesss.

My mom and I went to the adoption awareness walk this year that was on Birthmother's day. And it was also exactly a year when I announced to Dustinn and Valery that they were going to be parents. Yeah. A special day, indeed.

I knew this picture would come in handy when I wanted to creep Lindsey out.
Oh yes, we've already met.

I also sport some adoption T's. I have two to be exact- The first picture and the adoption awareness walk picture :) And in my little apartment. I am planning on getting some shelving and putting up a bunch of Olivia stuff on it. I have her little dress that Dustinn and Val sent to me on my birthday this year. I bought it for her for our profesh pictures when she was two weeks old.

That's why I advocate adoption. I love to do it. :) I seriously might consider making a career out of this! haha! That's how much I love! I feel that being an advocate or educating people about adoption. It connects me a little bit more to Olivia. Because I couldn't have made an adoption plan without her. I wouldn't have met so many great people without going through all of this. She is the reason why I advocate for adoption.

Friday, November 26, 2010

26. Birthmomma Drama

Reblogged from August.

Here's been today's topic. In your opinion, in the above picture, who is Olivia's mom?

Am I her mom because I gave her life? Is Val her mom because she is raising her? I don't consider myself a mom. I do believe I am a BIRTHmom. I am going to pull some bits and pieces of blogs that I have read today. 3 of them, exactly, all about being a mother.

One perspective of an adoptive mom, Mary.

Two perspectives of birthmoms, Birthmom Buds and Sterling.

When first reading the title, "Am I A Mother?" on Birthmom Buds. I really thought about it. I get it. I gave birth but is that some sort of rite of passage? I somehow now have the "ins" of being a good mom. Now, I can compete with other women who has had the longest and most horrible labors, who had to push for the longest and who had to get the most stitches. I don't think that's what a mother is ALL about. I think the whole experience of bringing a child into this world is what's important. It's a role that we have but not all of us get to have that role of bearing children.

On Birthmom Buds it says:

"I looked up the definition of Mother

'The state of being a mother; the character or office of a mother.'

I found that definition extremely vague and unhelpful. Because I am currently not in the state of being a mother. I currently do not have a child. But I guess I could be the character of a mother..but that to me still doesn't seem right. Yes, I gave birth to one heck of a beautiful little girl (if I do say so myself :) and yes I am a character, but I am not her mother. I am a birthmother.

I looked up the definition of Birth Mother 

'The biological mother of a child; a person's mother related biologically rather than by adoption'

Well this could be a lot of people then. My mom would be a birthmother and she didn't place for adoption, so could my aunts, my neighbors and friends.

So all of this searching did not lead me to any answer. In fact it has frustrated me quite a bit. So I want to know.... What is your opinion.

Are birthmothers : Mothers, Birthmothers, or just girls who placed their baby for adoption."

For me, personally. Birthmothers aren't JUST the girls who place their babies for adoption. But I don't call my mom, birthmom. But she gave birth to me, I still call her mom. I don't call my neighbor, birthmom (even though she could be one), she possibly gave birth but I still call them my neighbor or friend. I think the term birthmom, is almost directly towards the women who have placed their children for adoption. Because it is our identity. It is apart of who we are. At one point, it has defined us. In group, we talked about how adoption is part of our identity. It may be for a time a big part of our lives. And I have definitely seen in my own personal experience, that in time, I have just moved on. I still carry that identity with me everyday, but I don't make a t-shirt that says, "I'm a birthmom. Talk to me."

That's just my personal opinion on the matter.

On Mary's blog, this is what she has to say,

"Why I call my child's birthmother her birthmother:
Because she gave birth to her.

Seems simple enough, right? Apparently not.

Evidently there is a bit of controversy in the adoption world surrounding the nomenclature of women who give birth to children and place them for adoption. Perhaps I was too naive or idealistic before I adopted for thinking 'Why would something as beautiful as creating families through adoption be considered controversial?'

If you don't think adoption is full of controversy, you will quickly discover it certainly is once you've started the adoption process, adopted, or placed a child for adoption. Better yet, start publicly writing about your experiences and you will most assuredly receive immediate criticism for your viewpoints and experiences- whatever those happen to be."


"What is most disturbing to me is that much of the condemnation heaped upon birthmothers is from other birthmothers who have been in their exact situation and whom you would hope would thus be filled with a greater amount of understanding and compassion.

Take, for instance, Jill's thoughts on the matter in her recent postName Calling:
'One of the first things I noticed when I encountered adoption meanies on the interwebs was that many of the birth mom meanies consider the phrase "birth mom" to be the vilest of insults. One compared using it to using the N-word. And I thought, wow, really? Because I've never heard "birth mom" used as a put-down, a slam, an insult, a verbal weapon, or a dressing-down.'
'The meanies feel that calling a woman a birth mother is insulting, akin to referring to her as an incubator or a breeder. Again I think, really? The only names that would suggest to me that woman was an incubator or a breeder are ... well, incubator, and breeder.
The meanies would much rather be referred to as natural mothers, first mothers, or original mothers. All three of those make me a little uncomfortable. Because if I'm Roo's natural, first, original mother, what does that make Roo's mama? Unnatural? Second? Unoriginal - an impostor? Pshaw. I don't buy that for a second. Roo's mother is her real, natural, actual mother. I didn't place with a robot or a cardboard cutout.'
I've come to the conclusion that the birthmothers who are the most critical of adoption in general are those who placed their babies in an era where open adoptions weren't as prevalent as they are today and/or the agency they worked with used 'coercive tactics' (whatever that means) pressuring the prospective birthparent to place for adoption.

Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't the fact alone that a pregnant woman is consulting an adoption agency or looking at profiles of adoptive parents in the first place attest to the fact that she has thought out her options and is considering adoption? (Unless, of course, she has no free will in the matter and has been FORCED to place her child for adoption, a hypothetical and highly unethical situation). But whether the birthparent decides to place or parent their child IT IS THEIR CHOICE so can it really be considered coercive, manipulative or predatory for prospective adoptive parents to address the woman who is considering adoption as a "birthmother"? Is "prospective birthparent" better?
I've already shared my opinion: I Call My Child's Birthmother 'Birthmother' because she gave birth to her.

What are YOUR feelings on the matter? If you have placed your child for adoption do you find the terms 'birthfather' or 'birthmother' to be offensive?

If you are an adoptive parent , how do you refer to your child's biological parent(s)?

If you are adopted, what do you call the people who conceived you and gave you birth? "

I have already left my comment on there. And my opinion. I shared two sides of the story.

It was probably a few weeks after I placed. And you know, I was still getting used to transitioning from mom to birthmom. And I had posted pictures of Olivia on my facebook and I'm sure the captions were, "My beautiful 11 day old daughter" or "I love my daughter." An adoptee said to me, "I'm not sure if you should be calling her your daughter. She's not yours anymore."

You're right. I forgot I was supposed to lose all of my maternal instincts as soon as I dotted the i's on the signatures of my relinquishment papers. My bad. After a while and having to get used to that title and realizing that you know, Olivia isn't here with me everyday, I don't think I should be calling her my daughter. She doesn't call me mom. So she's my birthdaughter. Yes, all of my children will be considered my "birthchild." But I won't be calling them birthson or birthdaughter. They will be my son and daughter. And they'll be calling me mom, not birthmom. Does that make sense?

My second example. Oh Tayler. He might murder me. I had corrected him for calling me mom when he first met Olivia. In the beginning, he was always good about comforting me and being like, "you're still her mom." Something about that phrase almost rubs me the wrong way. I don't know. Probably because I have nothing to say after that. When Tayler met Olivia back in January, I think he kept saying, "Olivia is so cute- like her mom." "Of course, she's sweet, just like her mom." I'm not exactly sure what was said. I'm sort of paraphrasing. I felt uncomfortable because I didn't know how Val would react to that. After Val and Dustinn had left. I told Tayler not to call me mom because Val is Olivia's mom. I'm her BIRTHmom. I think that was the first time for me to recognize that as well.

Val has sent me e-mails before. She has reassured me that I will always be Olivia's mom. Don't get me wrong, I love hearing it. But sometimes, it makes me cringe.

I'm going to steal what birthMOM (Desha) wrote,

"While i was still pregnant i actually did have a problem with the word/label/name 'birthmom'. but not because of the 'birth' part. because of the 'mom' part. at the time, i felt like giving birth did not make me a 'mom', it made me a woman who had given birth. at the time i felt like what makes a mom are the things that come AFTER the birth, the sleepless nights, the bottles, the diapers, the bathing, the teaching, the nurturing, the sheltering, the protecting, etc. to me, THOSE were the things that make a woman a mom. not an act of simple biology. and i wasnt going to be doing those things, i wasnt going to be the 'mom' to this baby i was carrying.

i tried to come up with another word/label/name to call myself, the best was 'uterine storage vesicle', which was always only used with love and humor btwn me, my friends, and my family. (i always use humor and sarcasm is my middle name) i can totally understand how uterine storage vesicle would cause many to be offended and irate, but for me and my situation, it was hilariously perfect.

that label didnt stick however and i proudly entered the realm of 'birthmother' when i gave birth, and then took care of my son for 2 days and then did what any good mother would do- what i thought was the very best for my son.

then a couple of months later, at one of our post placement support group meetings, a bunch of us were talking about how i was almost literally to the day twice the age of one of the girls who was about to place. I was 28 at the time. my roommate, who was still pregnant and pursuing an adoption plan, said to me, 'you are like the mom of the birthmoms, taking care of all of us.' i started blogging right about then, so i chose my screen name to be birthMOM.

Now, i am proud to be a birthmother. and i always will be. i feel it sets me apart and above all the 'regular' mothers and i feel like it demands a sacred reverence to utter. but just like anything that has ever been sacred and/or reverent, it is a word/label/name that has been completely degraded, disrespected and forever tarnished. yin and yang, good and evil, hot and cold, up and down. there is always opposition, in everything. what matters, is what YOU choose to make of it."

I'm going to reiterate the part where she talks about what a mother is AFTER birth. My definition of mom, is somebody who reads you bedtime stories, who kisses your boo-boos better, who makes you crazy if you're out past curfew, who stays up with you when you have your first major heartbreak, etc. I'm not going to be that to Olivia. I can't be the one who helps her with her homework every night, who makes her after school snacks. I'm the woman in the background. What a girl said tonight in group is, "Everyone gets the joy from my pain." With my whole entire soul, I wish I could be that mom for Olivia. Instead, I'm going to be the one in the background of the pictures. Or what I like better is, I'm the one standing on the sidelines cheering her on.
I gave Olivia life. I gave her Val to be her mom. I gave Dustinn to be her dad. I gave Bradshaw to be her brother. I gave her a forever family. I sacrificed a whole heck of a lot to give her that. A little recognition would suffice. The title, "birthmom" is not degrading, insulting, or mocking. It shows courage, strength, and love.

"(S)He is mine in a way that (s)he will never be hers, yet (s)he is hers in a way that (s)he will never be mine........and so together, we are motherhood."
-Desha Wood

I love Sterling's blog as she reiterates the principles of the Gospel and what we believe in and I love what she said at the end.
"Birth is the science. Mother is the emotion. Birthmother is... love."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

25. Thankful For...

Happy Thanksgiving y'all.

Yes, I'm doing the completely cliche blog post. I'm going to list what I'm thankful/grateful for.
I'm so very grateful for my parents. They are my examples. They have done so much for me to be happy and to give me everything that I've wanted and I know I'm complete debt with them for all that they've done. I don't know if I could give anything in return. But I love them so much. They are the greatest parents ever.

I'm very thankful for growing up with 5 sisters (4 of the 5 are pictured. Sorry Rachel! Still love you!). I know somedays were just gigantic cat fights over who was going to use the bathroom in the morning to get ready for school or so-and-so wore someone's shirt without asking to borrow it. But at the end of the day, we are sisters. And we have been each other's best friends since birth ;) And we're always going to be there for each other. I love them more than anything.

I'm grateful for the friends that I've had and met. They have all been such an inspiration in my life. Either if they're in my life now or not. They were a big part of who I was at one point. Thank you for being my friend. I'm grateful for my very best friends. Who have been there through thick and thin. You're my life and I would do anything for you. :)

I'm very thankful to have the opprotunity to know and be best friends with Jessica Harris. There isn't a day that goes by that something doesn't remind me of her. Last year, we both went to the Holy War (aka BYU vs Utah) game together. And I'm sad that this year, she's not here and we can't do that again. She is a beautiful girl. Inside and out. I was always jealous of her outgoing personality and her sense of humor/sarcasm. She and I were so much alike. We were mistaken as sisters, multiple times. I loved that we were always attached to the hip. That no matter what if you wanted to find Jessica, you could probably call me. If you wanted to find me, you would probably call her. We loved the haters :) (Our matching shirts "The haters heart me". Oh yeah. We totally went out in public like that. Theme song: Good Morning by Chamillionaire. She was there when I was pregnant and went to my support groups with me and she was there when little miss Olivia was born. She was there for me when I neeeded a best friend. She was there for four years and I'm so sad that the friendship had to end in this life but I know it won't end in the next.  I can't wait for the day that I can be reunited with her. I miss her more than anything in this world. I love you, bestie.

I'm grateful for Dustinn, Valery and Bradshaw. I couldn't ask for better parents and brother for my daughter. Dustinn and Valery are the model parents of what kind of parent that I want to be. They are so patient and so kind and respectful. To their children, to each other, to everyone. They are such genuine people and so caring, giving and loving. They have had their fair share of trials but at the end of the day, you can see the love in their eyes for each other and for their children. They are completely amazing. They were the answer to my prayers when I needed them. I love you guys so much. You're absolutely perfect!

I'm so very thankful that I was able to help complete a family. And that meant that I had to meet little miss Olivia. Even though Olivia couldn't talk back to me and all she could do was just comfort me with her little kicks in my tummy. She was my very best friend. She listened to me cry myself to sleep, multiple nights. She changed me. She helped me become a better person. She was my constant companion and I knew I couldn't have become who I am today without her. She's my world.

I'm grateful for meeting my best friend. My eternal companion. My wonderful husband, Tayler. He helped me at a time that I felt like I needed to be on my own. But he showed me that I didn't have to go through all of the pain alone.  He has always wanted to be there and help or take the pain away. Ever since day one, he's so persistent I couldn't say no (or because he was too dang cute to say no to anyway!). I know there are days that still hurt but those days, I'm so grateful for him. Because I always dreamed that someday I would find somebody that will hold me and love me even for what I had done in my past. Even if I wanted to cry over Olivia because I never had someone cry with me while I was pregnant with Olivia. And to have someone now to comfort me when it was probably the most critical time, is amazing. Everyday he takes my breath away. With everything that he does for me or he says to me. He treats me the right and the best way. He is such a blessing in my life and I'm excited that in ten months we will be sealed in the Temple for time and all eternity. I'm so grateful for Temples and the knowledge that we can be sealed together as husband and wife. And have our children be sealed to us even after this life. I couldn't ask for a better husband and future father to our babies. :)

Last but not least, I'm grateful for my Father in Heaven. He has always been there for me. Even the times that I have gone astray. I know those nights that I felt alone, I could just kneel down in prayer and ask him to forgive me- even just for that night. To feel His peace and comfort. That He won't hesitate. He's my foundation and my rock. I don't think I could've gone this far in my life without Him. I'm so grateful for the atonement and the very personal effect that it has made for me in my life. He has made me. I'm His daughter. And I'm so grateful to be His daughter. He has helped me through the dark and rough times and into His light. I love Him.

Remember to count your blessings and be thankful for them.

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24. Education/Adoption Language

When I was doing the high school presentation last Wednesday. We had a powerpoint. One of the slides talked about the adoption language. The positive and the negative. I feel as though everyone needs to be educated in this subject. There is not a day that goes by that I want to correct somebody but bite my tongue.

I found this little treasure on Birthmothers 4 Adoption.

Straight up. I just got out of bed and am writing this. That's how much I needed to write this at 3 in the morning. I know, call me crazy. But it's my day off and I'm going to sleep this craziness off.

I have recently loved some adoptive parents profile's today on facebook. (I know above it says that the positive language is to call them parents. I just differentiate on my blog. But when I talk about Dustinn and Val or I introduce them, I say my birthdaughter's parents. Or Olivia's parents.)

One person wrote, "In case you were wondering, birth moms don't "give up" or "give away" their babies, they make an adoption plan. Correct, positive terminology reinforces that adoption is a healthy, loving way to build a family. :)"

That is one way of educating others of adoption language.

As I am talking about educating about adoption terminology. I also want to cover education in adoption itself. On both the adoptive parents side and the birth parents side of education. I know adoptive parents have to go to a certain amount of classes before they are approved to adopt. But how many of them are just sitting in there, just to adopt a baby, and not really listening to the words?

Birth parents are given the privilege to go to counseling or go to support groups. These are the people that need to seek out that counsel and that education. We are looking for advice from our caseworkers, family members, friends, whoever is willing to listen. Are you on to lend a listening ear? Are you one that will research adoption for them if they feel like an agency is not the right place for them?

I would also like to address (which may be a controversial or touchy subject for some): bitter birth parents. You know who you are. We all know you're out there. The one's who felt like they had no choice in the matter. (Some of you who may have been under aged or kept your pregnancy a secret. I understand that situation) But I'm addressing to the girls who went to counseling. Or went to an agency to find refuge. But now, feel like that agency is an enemy. For one reason. These birth parents can't take accountability for their own actions.

I know I've been at fault and have pointed the blame at some of my own mistakes in life. But somethings are just our fault and need to swallow our pride and choke back the words, "I made a mistake." I know it's a hard pill to swallow. But we've all been there. We found ourselves in an unplanned situation. But never once was our child- illegitimate, a mistake, unwanted, abandoned. None of the above.

I've also touched a little bit about adoptive parents needing education. I know some birth parents who have placed the blame on the adoptive parents. Feelings of betrayal and broken trust on both ends. Some can talk it out like grown adults. Some live with these grudges forever, unable to forgive. I know that in some cases it can be an adoptive parents fault. Such as, when they don't follow through with their promises. They have promised an open adoption and once they "got what they wanted." They were free to just live their life as a family and keep us out of the picture. As if our hearts weren't broken enough and have come to love you. You left us high and dry. Now instead of feelings of losing one, we lost three.

Mrs. R posted on her facebook/twitter when she went to the adoption conference at UVU.

"You cannot adopt a child without adopting the birth parents too," Isaac Thomas at the UVU Conference.

I know some girls who have had closed adoptions and have reunited with their birth child. Some issues have come out of the open. Such as, a child feeling they were abandoned. This is the BIGGEST example of uneducated adoptive parents. I say that, because their child would not feel abandoned if the adoptive parents could openly admit the child was adopted at a young age. The child would not feel abandoned if the adoptive parents could talk more about the birth parents instead of keeping it like a deep, dark secret. (I know with closed adoptions and there isn't a lot of information that can be shared about birth parents or vice versa. Or a birth parent has decided not to give out any information about herself. It's hard to educate them to know where/who they are.)

How do I know about that? I went to a school where there were support groups for the students who were adopted who felt bitterness towards adoption. I knew that pain was out there. But this also shows to me that open adoption just seems like a lot better option. Everyone is curious. Everyone has a desire to know who they are and where they came from. How hard is that to understand?

This is when I believe if the scenario when you don't know a lot about the child's birthparents. You let them know with all of your heart that they were loved. That's all a child wants to hear. Is that they were always LOVED. I think everyone wants to know that and feel that. I don't think I don't know anyone who hasn't been curious. So why can't adopted children be curious to where they come from? Why does it have to be shoved under the rug? Oh. Because you want to feel like you were always the parent? They didn't come from anyone else? That's on YOU. Not us.

Me:Did my birth mom ever get to hold me?
Mom:YES! The day you were born for a few hours and then nearly all day on your 2nd day of life. She held you, talked to you, kissed you and cried when she gave you to the Nursery nurse just before she went home. She loves you. She suffered as great a pain as you - maybe even more. She doesnt know what course your life took or that you were deeply loved by another family because of her great selfless act. I was ‘gifted’ with your birth & life. Esp now.

I know some of you can say to me, "You don't understand. You haven't gone through that much in the adoption. You'll see. You'll regret it."
How can I regret something that didn't just change my life? But it saved my birth daughter's? I think birth parents have unspoken of connection. We may not have the same stories. But we have experienced the same kind of thing. Pain and Peace.
We have all experienced a loss. Even though, you may not want to admit it now, you felt at peace with your decision. If you didn't, you wouldn't have gone through with it.
For me, personally, I wanted to educate myself. I wanted to know every single thing in adoption to understand what I was doing. I didn't want someone doing it for me and telling me the research later. I think that's why I have this blog. Not just to talk about my experiences, but for those who are wanting to educate themselves with adoption can understand, it's NOT a bad thing. It's NOT something you just keep in a shoebox in the back of your closet anymore. It's NOT a dreadful thing from your past. It's a life changing experience that breaks you until it makes you whole.
I found this post on Dustin and Andrea's blog. I'm quoting it below.
"Old vs. New. Thinking about Adoption.
*The OLD way of thinking is in Italics, the NEW way of thinking is in Bold.

If I find myself unexpectedly pregnant, abortion and single parenting are my only choices.

There is a third choice, one that has proven to be a success for birth mothers and children–the adoption option. 

I would never consider adoption–it would be too hard.

Which ever choice you make will present many hardships–adoption may be no more difficult than abortion or single parenting. 

My friends and family will think I'm terrible giving up my own flesh and blood.

Adoption is not "giving up," it is giving to–a decision you have carefully made out of love for the future of your child and yourself. 

I'll never know what happened to my baby. I simply couldn't live that way.

The old way of doing adoptions (secrecy and no control) is out. The new way–open adoption–allows you to make the decisions regarding the future of your child and yourself. 

Why adoption? Isn't it just for people who can't have their own kids?

Not necessarily true. Yes, some people cannot biologically conceive, but adoption provides a family for a child, not a child for a family. 

Kids who are adopted have lots of problems.

Not founded in fact. Refer to the Search Institute Study. Children who are adopted have, among other characteristics, high self-esteem and positive identity concerns at rates as high or higher than their peers. 

What about me? I feel it's my responsibility to raise my child.

Your responsibility is to make the very best and informed decision that you can for your child. Studies show that birth mothers who make an adoption plan typically move on with their life, finish their education, have a career, and eventually marry.

From the Adoption Option Committee, Inc."
Not once, in this experience or while I was pregnant, gone into an adoption agency (even though they are pro adoption) stick a gun to my head and tell me since I had a baby out of wedlock that's what I was supposed to do. They told me my options. And we looked into them thoroughly. When it came apparent that single parenting is what would probably happen. Was it going to be my decision to deny Olivia a two parent home with stability? Or a broken home with one parent? I know some people look at it as, "If I would've known all my resources, if I would've known all these things..." Then why didn't YOU find out?! Forcryingoutloud! Not did I ever feel like when I looked at a pass along card that I felt like they were trying to buy my baby off of me. I didn't ever look at adoptive parents as baby snatchers. It's called PLACING our baby for adoption. Val didn't snatch her out of my arms and just said, "Thanks for the baby, see ya!" I placed her in her arms, gently and cried and whispered, "I love you, Olivia." And said to them, "Please let her know that. And take good care of her." I know they were going to. It's just that peace. To have peace, we need all the PIECES.
I know, as a birthmom, that I've always desired to have a baby/be a mommy. Naturally, it's within us. So when somebody who can't have their own children. That desire is taken out of them? Of course not! That is a human instinct to want to have a baby. What is wrong with letting that be known? They are just supposed to live their lives together with no children? While other people are out there getting themselves in situations, where they try to abort? Or they end up staying together in an abusive relationship because they had no other option? I've always understood that I was just going to learn things the hard way. I was going to touch the flame even though I knew it was going to burn. That's why God has given us trials. To understand them, overcome them, learn from them and gain experience. I don't think everything that Dustinn and Val had to go through was for nothing. I don't think everything I went through was for nothing. 
This little angel is OUR everything.
We love you, Olivia.

"Christ never allows the hearts of His own to be shattered without excellent reasons and eternal purposes"

P.S. It's mine and Tayler's 2 month wedding anniversary :) Even though he hates me for waking him up to do this blog and have him read it before I post it. I know he's always going to be there for me for eternity <3 When I wake up next to him every morning, I know I'm a lucky girl!
I love you, husband.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

23. Hoping To Adopt: Jared and Mary

Jared and Mary were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend and have been married for ten years. They have been foster parents to four children and were blessed to adopt their daughter three years ago thanks to a birthmother's love. They are hoping to add more children to their family through another adoption miracle.

Mary is a full-time stay at home mom and would like to go back to school for a Master's Degree in Social Work or Marriage and Family Therapy when her children are older.

Jared works as an investigator for a government agency and enjoys spendng his free time with his family camping, traveling, and watching movies.

To learn more about their family see their adoption profile here.

I love Mary's blog! I think it's fantastic :)

I like this blog post by her.
And this one!

P.S. Olivia is 14 months old today!