Friday, December 23, 2011

Long Live

This year has gone by quite fast.
I don't know if it happens as you get older.

There are definitely times when I wanted it to go by faster...

and even for time to stop.

Like last Saturday. I love seeing the J's :)


"Long live the walls we crashed through, I had the time of my life with you.
All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you.
"

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Respect Birth Fathers

I respect birth fathers.

I know that may sound hypocritical if you've read my entire blog. You may be re-reading that sentence or even checking to make sure you are on the right blog. From the beginning, I was very bitter with Olivia's birth father. But it wasn't because I resented him being her dad. It was for my own personal happiness and reasons. I wanted him to be there for me and in return be there for Olivia. I was hurt and I retaliated by posting rude things about him. Hoping that would change his mind or drive him further away. Because it comes to a point that you don't want them to just be half way in the picture, you either want them all the way there or you don't. For your children, you want a father. You don't want a father that's just there when it's convenient. I knew with adoption, Olivia would always have a father, guaranteed.

I may not have been perfect during my pregnancy and I don't claim to be. I didn't treat N with the greatest respect in the world and that may have hindered whatever friendship we could've had during all of this. Instead of trying to make things better between us and for Olivia, we made things worse. I was prideful the first few months, I wanted us to get married and be a family. I fought for that. Then when I suggested that I was going to parent whether or not we got married, we also fought about that. Our friendship wasn't perfect, but we respected each other on the decision that was made when it came to adoption. I respected the fact that when I told him I was pregnant, he didn't automatically tell me to get an abortion, he never did and he never will. I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for the fact that he pushed me away so I could become strong enough (emotionally and spiritually) to get the answer of placing Olivia for adoption. Without the fighting and the difficulty, I don't think I would've been strong enough to do it. But I was for her. But you know what I did when WE chose adoption, I fought for N. I fought for him to be there because I wanted her to know his side. I didn't know him for very long and I knew it wasn't fair that I could give her the bits and pieces that I remember about him. She should know him personally, even if it made me cry myself to sleep - I wanted her to know her birth father. And I'm grateful for the sacrifice that I did as much as I could for him to be apart of her life. He didn't have to know that I was pregnant, I never had to tell him and I did. I didn't think it would be fair if he didn't know a part of him was someone out in the world and he didn't know it. I know he always wanted to be a dad, it's not that he never wanted to be one. He just knew in his heart the circumstance that we both were in wouldn't be the best for her. As much as it killed me to say that I wasn't enough for Olivia, I know that she's getting more than enough with the J's. More than N and I could've ever given her in this life.

I never fully comprehended how much he loved and cared about her until the moment we were in the hospital together. Sitting on my hospital bed, taking turns holding her. We cried together. A moment that has forever softened my heart towards him.

About 6 months after I had Olivia, her birth father kind of disappeared. No where to be found. Just fell off the face of the earth. I remember during those 6 months that I was angry and bitter and questioning why I made it such an effort for him to be involved if he wasn't going to try to make it work. I've had the opportunity to get to know his beautiful wife and more about his side of the story. I'm sure my jaw dropped multiple times. But they were the answers to my questions. Even if it some of it was hard for me to hear about it. I'm grateful she was willing to share that side of the story with me that I didn't know about. She's probably the only one, besides N to know his full story. I could never come close to knowing it as much as she does.


To read how much she's been involved and there for N, read it here.

Mine and N's rock bottom was finding out I was pregnant. He knew that he could never be a provider for his daughter and he couldn't be there everyday for me while I was pregnant. As I progressed during my pregnancy and felt her kick for 9 months. It was something I had become accustomed to.


It was when she came into the world that it all became real for us. The kicks and my big belly, eventually was a little human and I was a mommy for the first time. And for N, he was a daddy for the first time.


We were all together in the same room, experiencing new emotions and a new little person. We all came together for one purpose.

We spent two days in the hospital together as parents. As most normal parents would be taking the time to know every single sound and movement of their little one and preparing to take her home. For us, we would memorize her sounds and movements to keep locked in our memories about her and us as parents but we were preparing for something entirely different, heartache.

Sometimes, I still only think of Olivia as infant, not as a two year old. When my arms ache to hold her, it's to hold baby Olivia. Because during that time, she was ours.


Remember when I fell off the face of the earth for about the same amount of time? I got a tremendous amount of support and I'm grateful for that.

Do you know what happened when Olivia's birth father did that?
Nothing.

It was something I expected from him. I'm sure everyone else did too. And we still did nothing for him. Never thinking that maybe it was a silent cry for help.

But this sends a BIG message for me and hopefully some of you will recognize it too, maybe in your own adoptions.

Why are birth mothers given all of this attention? I understand that we gave birth and we signed papers. We gave them life.
But there is also someone else in this picture too. Someone who also helped you create that little human being that you love so much. 
That little human being that may be in your arms right now, because his or her birth father consented to the adoption.
Isn't that something to be grateful for? Not be intimidated by?

The adoption has happened. 
Why is that something to be afraid of?

I respect Olivia's birth father because the adoption has happened. I was sitting right next to him as he signed papers and claimed that she was his daughter. He understood that she was his and he willing relinquished his rights as a father for someone else to be a father to his little girl.
For me, that's an action of love that I will never fully comprehend.

He could've acknowledged that the child may or may not be his. Or that he could've just said, "Nope. She's not mine." And walked out entirely from the beginning. But he stayed around because he knew and he loved her.

I know I've been a strong voice for birth mothers and for adoptive parents. I hope that you won't mind that I would like to be a strong voice for supporting birth fathers, as well.

I don't know the statistics or if there are any of how many birth fathers that are involved in the adoption or if there is some hope for families who have adopted to get in contact with the birth father of their child. I would keep that option open if at all possible. I'm not saying that things need to be opened right away. Obviously, do what needs to do to accommodate your family.

But I know some birth fathers that have wanted to be very involved and it has come to my attention that they have slowly faded out. Not because they've wanted to. Because that's just what has happened. I know birth moms can have a very strong bond and relationship with the adoptive family. That can become intimidating for a birth father, to want to be in the picture even if the relationship with the birth mother isn't that well.

I know with V, when I was frustrated with N - she'd be my "go to girl" about everything. I think sometimes that can put thoughts in the adoptive parents minds and they wouldn't want that in their lives. But the greatest thing about V is that she didn't let that deter her from wanting to have a friendship with him (and his family) and to let Olivia have a relationship with her birth father. She kept an open mind about the way N was and was willing to keep him involved, even if it meant making me a little upset. Not that I ever wanted her to stop contact with him. It sometimes hurt me when I would hear things about him. I wanted to ask about their visit because I was curious, but it was hurting me in the long run. So I needed to let V know that our relationship needed to be kept separate. I was hurting because I had seen little to no change in him. I thought he was still the same person.

I realized though, I had changed so much from the adoption. What makes it that he didn't change as well? Olivia motivates me to be better, why wouldn't she do the same for him? It's because she has and she does. I held on to my pride for so long that I refused to see the change.

Another thing, V would NEVER EVER post something negative about me or about N publicly. She would never tell Olivia in the future how horrible of birth parents we are because she's not that person. I know of families who have done just that. 
The child that you adopted (or that you placed) doesn't need to hear from you about the annoying things the birth mother/birth father do. You do realize that is their biology? With open adoption, they will know where they got their smile from, their beautiful eyes -- if you say something like, "Your birth mother is so annoying" or "Your birth father is such a jerk." I hope you realize, they will think- "well, I'm part of my birth mom, I must be annoying too" Or "if my birth father is a jerk, I must be a jerk too." I  know I'm pointing out the things that the adoptive parents may or may not say. But the birth parents need to realize they can't say anything negative about the adoptive parents to the child, those are THEIR parents. Someone who has been raising them practically since birth, the people they call mom and dad. Don't be stupid about it. How is it okay to tell your birth son or birth daughter that you regret placing them for adoption and that you wish you could take them back? That will just make them confused and upset them more.
I have seen posted on Facebook about how annoying their birth parents/adoptive parents are or how the birth father HAS treated the birth mother or yourself. Notice, has. I know I'm not perfect and I've posted imperfect things about N. And I'm going to be honest with you. I regret it. Every single day. It's there for everyone to read and I'm sure people hated me for it. I brought N down when N was already feeling crappy about himself. How fair is that? And then I had whoever read my blog be on my side of things, how does that feel when you feel like you're the only person in the world and everyone is against you? Not fun. I'm sure you've been there, and I've definitely been there. Think how he felt for 9+ months. I would want to fall off the face of the earth too.

I'm just trying to say, for adoptive parents or birth parents in general. Talk to your caseworker/counselor about it. There is a way to talk about things negatively in a healthy way. Posting your problems in a Facebook status or a blog post- isn't healthy and it's just downright mean. Like I've said, I'm not perfect and I'm sure I've done this numerous times but I hope you all understand that I learned from my mistakes.
Also, adoptive parents and birth parents need to respect each other. You need to have a relationship/friendship for that child. The child will sense any sort of wedge that is there and that's not good either. When I say respect each other. Don't push each other's "sensitive adoption buttons." 

Birthparents: The family that you have placed with are so grateful for your sacrifice, you don't need to rub it in their face that all of your pain is their happiness. They get that. They don't need a reminder that because they can't have kids they had to hurt someone else. 

Adoptive parents: If the birth parents become the hardest people to love, just remember they probably need it the most. Don't push away and ignore e-mails and phone calls because communicating with them is frustrating. Just learn, that's their personality- deal with it and love it. (Clearly, if he/she is fighting and making threats all the time- that's a good time to step back). For me, there are no good reasons to promise an open adoption and then close it once you "have what you want." That's being selfish when someone has been selfless enough to give you their whole world, the least you could do is share it with them.
Also, if you have a closed adoption and your children want to find their birth parents. Don't feel like you haven't done enough for them as parents, they love you and don't want to disappoint you. They're curious and want to know everything about them. I know you've protected them since they were little, but when they become old enough to search for them- they need to guard and protect themselves and if things don't go the way as they had planned, just be there to pick up the pieces, don't be there to say, "I told you so." 

Look, nobody has it easy when it comes to adoption. We all get our feelings hurt, eventually. We all have our own problems. Let's accept the fact that for us as birth parents, will never know what it's like to know the pain of infertility. And people who deal with infertility, will never know the pain of placing a baby for adoption. Accept that you don't know what they go through. Nobody is perfect, nobody deserves to be perfect. So before you start judging, criticizing, or mocking, remember everybody is fighting their own war.
Anyone could easily walk away from somebody else. Nobody is forced to stay or keep the adoption open; we all have choices. But the real test is if someone would rather stay with you, even though walking away would be so much easier. Forget about all the reasons why it couldn't work and remember the only reason why it could.

I was reading a quote that could apply to open adoption when feelings have been hurt on either side, "The primary cause of unhappiness is not the situation itself, but your thoughts about it."

6 keys to a great relationship: friendship, freedom, honesty, trust, understanding and communication.

Remember, if you feel like things need to be laid out on the table then talk separately with a caseworker first so that way you know what to talk about when the time comes. Then when you all meet together, everything can be talked about with a mediator. 

I'm sure birth moms and adoptive parents aren't the ones to blame for all the negative light on birth fathers. Some birth fathers DO paint an ugly pictures for themselves and about adoption. Ones who have contested, been abusive and just simply aren't there. Not everyone is perfect. And maybe all of us need a reminder in that. We all need a reminder to let go of the hurt and the pride that we cater and hold on to. Longer than we should. I realized that holding on to that anger has never made me a better person. It has only made me better when I've realized it, apologized and have tried to make it better. And after all of that, you need to forgive yourself. Stop beating yourself for the things that you've said, if that person has forgiven you, don't hold on to your own guilt. That can almost be worse than the pride itself.

Another thing that has come to my attention, as I've said I've gotten to know N's wife, J.

I've realized what kind of person she is. She is very compassionate and forgiving of others very quickly. Some things that I need to work on myself. With N's changes, he needed someone to pull him out of his rock bottom. She did just that.
I used to be bitter and think the only reason why N was involved was because of J. I knew about his "change" but I refused to see it because she was there and it was so easy to blame. It was easy to hide my insecurity of knowing that I wasn't good enough to be with N and to raise our daughter together. But in reality, it was never meant to happen and it didn't happen and I can't hold onto something that I can't change. N changed because of the adoption and I had too. J started it all for him and has been there for him every single day. Something that I never was for him when I was pregnant.

I respect their family. I respect the fact that they're all involved in it and that J's family has been so welcoming with Olivia and that they have accepted her as if she was their blood niece or blood granddaughter. It's something that families who have been divorced and have to deal with. If they can deal with it and live with it on a daily basis, why can't all of us?

When I saw pictures of Olivia with her birth father, honestly, it used to make me cringe. But now I see them, and I get a little emotional because my heart is full. Seeing how much he genuinely cares about her and he ADORES her and she will need to know that from him. I could never give her that, I could never just tell her that he cares. She needed to know for herself that she does.

I know some of you that may have had issues with the birth father and have thought, he doesn't deserve it. How is that fair? 
I used to have those exact thoughts and guess what? He knows he probably doesn't deserve it and knows it's not fair. But it doesn't matter what he deserves and what's not fair. What's fair is having his/her birth father in their life.
When you were pregnant, it's always been what's best for the child. Why has it changed what's best for the birth mother? I understand that we have wants/needs that we feel like should be met. But our birth child trumps our needs and wants, any time of the day. Agreed?

I respect birth fathers. Especially N, for letting the adoption happen.


I hope you all can at least muster any amount of respect the birth father(s) in your life for that reason.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shandi and Daniel are Hoping to Adopt!

A while back, I had a friend that I've known all through Junior High and High School, post on her Facebook that her sister and brother in-law were hoping to adopt. I clicked on the link to their blog, which you can find here. Reading their letter to expectant parents was simply amazing and brought me to tears.

About Daniel and Shandi:

They have been married for nearly 7 years (Nov. 2004). They have a boxer named Loafer.


They love sports. They play basketball whenever they get the chance. They've recently started playing tennis. They love hanging out with friends and going to Trafalga where they climb the rock wall, play laser tag and mini golf. They also love boating and swimming and going to Seven Peaks!

Daniel just graduated from UVU with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and has worked for the same software company for the past 7 years. Shandi currently works full time as a receptionist at a local day spa. She went to cosmetology school and also has a salon in their home.

They are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their faith is very important to them.




Daniel
Age: 26 years old
Height: 6'0"
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Education: Bachelor's in Business Management
Job: Product Analyst
Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers, Steak, Ice Cream
Favorite Drink: Sprite mixed with Cran-raspberry juice

Favorite Book: The Alchemist
Favorite TV Show: Arrested Development, The Office, Jazz Games
Favorite Movie: Finding Forrester, The Count of Monte Cristo



Daniel does ADORABLE things for Shandi. He will surprise her and bring her lunch at work (jealous), fill up her car with gas, have dinner ready for her when she gets home from work. He loves to send her texts of encouragement along with notes of lists of things he loves about her. I might die that is SO cute and SO caring!




Shandi 
Age: 25 years old
Height: 5'5"
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Job: Cosmetologist
Favorite Food: Steak and Fries
Favorite Drink: Sprite, Rootbeer and Water
Favorite Book: A Severe Mercy
Favorite TV Show: The Office, One Tree Hill
Favorite Movie: Two Weeks Notice, Up



Shandi has a HUGE heart and I admire her for everything she's done for this particular family in the community and that she has been friends with. Daniel shares this story on the blog but I wanted to share it on here too because it's incredible!

"Shandi’s senior year of high school she helped start a 
school fundraiser for family friends who had two daughters with cancer. As a 17 year old senior, head cheerleader, she agreed to shave her head if the students could raise $10,000 for this family. The students raised the money, the local and then national media became aware, and by the end of the fundraiser, she helped raise over $100,000 for this family that she cared so much for. Most girls in their senior year of high school wouldn’t shave their hair off for a million dollars, but Shandi did this without a second thought, because it meant helping someone in need.

I tell this story to demonstrate the kind of love and caring she has for other people.In 2003 Shandi was awarded the Points of Light Award given by the Utah Governor for her involvement in this fundraiser. . Also in 2004 she was named one of 12 High School Students Most Likely to Change the World, by Utah Valley Magazine."




As of right now, Daniel and Shandi are looking for a private adoption. They are looking into agencies, as well. They are willing for either an open or closed adoption. Whatever the expectant parent prefers. They are willing to adopt boy/girl, any race and almost any age.


On their blog, they also have an updates section and keep that updated. Like today, they were apart of The Adoption Walk with Me at Liberty Park.


If you have any questions for them, feel free to ask. You can e-mail them at:
adoption.larsenfamilytree@gmail.com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's November, Again

You know what time of year it is? It's getting colder and you're asking yourself, "Where did this entire year GO?!?!" I am, for sure. I know some of you may be thinking about what your plans are for Thanksgiving or already getting ready for Christmas. The month of November for all of us who have been touched by adoption is, National Adoption Awareness Month.

I just want to talk about ways to get involved. I'm sure you all have been aware of many things going on.

Maybe some of you have seen this fancy button?


The R House is doing a National Adoption Month Design Challenge. If you are more creative than I (which I'm sure you are) and are a designer and would love to help out the adoption community in anyway, and help us with a new button for next year? This is for YOU. Head on over to the R House here to read more information about it.

If you're in the state of Utah, there is a walk this Saturday and I will be there :) Hopefully I didn't scare too many people away by saying that. They have more information on their Facebook page.


P.S. If you recognize me. Don't be afraid to say hi. :) I'm realllllllly shy, at first.

One way to make yourself aware is to educate yourself about adoption. I learn new things everyday about it. One AWESOME birthmom friend of mine who has been posting facts on her Facebook. I'm going to copy and paste those. She said most of these are on adoption.com

Approximately 7 million Americans are adopted persons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


From 1952 to 1972, 8.7% of all premarital births were placed for adoption.

From 1973 to 1981, this percentage fell to 4.1%. 
From 1982 to 1988, it fell further to 2%.


‎51% of teens that become pregnant choose to parent; 35% seek abortions; 14% miscarry. Less than 1% choose to place their children for adoption.

Transracial adoption was not found to be detrimental for the adoptee in terms of adjustment, self-esteem, academic achievement, peer relationships, parental and adult relationships.

15% of U.S. newborn adoptions were matched after the child had already been born.


Another way is to read some blogs. I've already read some FANTASTIC posts:

Why Openness by A Nickel's Worth of Common Sense
My Kids Know Their Birth Moms by The R House

I blogged everyday last year for National Adoption Awareness Month. Check it out here.

You can also read any of the blogs that are on my side bars and on The R House, people who are blogging about adoption have linked up their blogs and you can check them out here.

Adoption.com has many wonderful ideas.
And more events thanks to The R House. Crap, I keep linking up Lindsey's blog like 8 billion times, just look at her blog. That's what I'm really trying to say here! ;)

Somethings that I've personally done, I have been going to the expectant parent group every week and educating the girls who are undecided with their unplanned pregnancies. The group I went to last night, all of them were 17 and planning to parent. Maybe we need more birthmoms to come to group? Don't take this the wrong way- I'm not trying to recruit or make people place their babies for adoption. I know it's a VERY personal decision but it's good to look at ALL options and to see that girls who do place their babies for adoption do "survive" it.

I recently did a panel as well like the end of October but close enough right? ;)

Also,
I would LOVE to highlight anyone who is hoping to adopt or to put their blog on my side bars. If you're interested leave a comment or e-mail me. :)

Love me some adoption stufffffs <3

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Are you happy to see me?!!

Oh gosh. My heart is pounding. I haven't written a post on here in 5ish months. So much has changed.


Just so you're aware.

This has happened. Little miss turned 2 on September 23, 2011.



And my heart is whole again <3

Thanks for all you wonderful readers (I MISS YOU!). Thanks for all the wonderful words and prayers that you all have said when I was in a very dark place 5 months ago. I feel really at peace and whole. The break was much needed and I feel like I can be healthy and move on. I'm debating whether or not if I should come back and have this be an adoption blog, I'm just not one to keep up with two blogs. What do y'all think? :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Goodbye.

There was some good news but here comes the... I wouldn't call it bad so I will just call it news...

I will try to make this short and simple. Even though my emotions are super complicated right now. Over two years ago, I found out I was pregnant and it changed my life forever. I met some incredible people that I will never forget. I met my first baby girl and that day was perfect. I wouldn't ever change a thing. Then days later, I had broken my heart to give her more than I could at that time. Two parents who were going to love her unconditionally and give her everything. The answer I received was that she wasn't meant to be with my family, she was meant to be with the J's.

Over the past two years, I have written over 300 blog posts. I never thought how much my story could impact strangers and how their stories of trial, difficulty and peace in the end- could impact me. I learned life lessons through these wonderful people in the blogging world and I'm very appreciative and grateful for all that everyone has shared.

I say with a heavy heart, I'm enduring another hard goodbye. I've decided... and this was my decision and only my decision to make. As much as I have loved my open adoption and the peace that it has given me knowing my little girl is being taken care of and she's happy. I've come to the decision to verbally close the adoption.  In other words, the adoption could easily open back up over time or when Olivia is ready to talk to me. It has been getting harder, when it should be easier. I believe it's been harder because I've been holding on to those two days at the hospital for far too long. I'm holding on to something that isn't mine anymore.

I have so many fears and wishes. I've gone back to placement day. A day that I hoped to have long forgotten the torment and the sorrow that came with it. But I know that someday, I will find the peace that I've prayed for days and nights during my pregnancy and post placement. It might not have come immediately, but it still came.

I fear that Olivia will think I have abandoned her but I wish with all of my heart that her parents will educate her and let her know that it isn't the case. I have already given her the best. I have played a small but significant role in her life and she has many more life experiences to be written in her own book.

I wish that one day that she will want to find me and to know about me. To know about her and my love for her. I fear that she will never know how much I love her and that I deeply care about her. I wish someday she will seek for that.

I will be starting another blog. I don't know when- but I'm not going to announce it on here when I do. Please don't add me on Facebook or leave rude questions on my Formspring or ask me "what happened." It's not your business. If I wanted to make it your business, I would announce it here or just tell you in person. So, take this as a goodbye. I'm truly grateful for everything that everyone has ever done for me and for your kind words. Right now, all I need is your prayers. Thank you so much for reading this and I hope it continues to inspire those who continue through this journey of adoption. My journey ends here... for now.

Tonight is another night where I will hold my "Olivia bear" wrapped in her hospital blankets wishing it was her and that tomorrow wasn't ever going to come. But tomorrow always does. We don't need to hold on to yesterday. We don't need to fear tomorrow, but embrace it. This too shall pass.

‎"If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is; even if we’re apart.. i’ll always be with you."
— Winnie the Pooh
If nothing else, one day you can look someone straight in the eyes and say, "But I lived through it. And it made me who I am today."

WINNERRRR

Well, I made a print screen of the person who won but for some reason, it's not working. So you're just going to have to trust me.


Winner is.... COMMENT #11

Carlie and Trent and Co. :)

Congrats!!!

Bree will contact you and you can set up when your free photoshoot will be!

Thanks for everyone else who joined in on the giveaway fun! :) I will send something out to you all who participated!! E-mail me your address. My e-mail is in my about me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PHOTO SESH GIVEAWAAYYYY

Hey, I know I rarely ever do these but they're SO MUCH fun when I do. :) So my friend from Bluebird Pictures, Bree, asked me host this giveaway. I think I met her almost 2 years ago. I met her while I was pregnant. She has a personality that will light up a room.

Well, Bree is an aspiring photographer. She has recently started her own business. She would like to do a photo session giveaway and since it was recently Birthmother's/Mother's day. She would like to do this in honor of Birthmoms (You don't have to be a birthmom to win this giveaway)! I support this ;) And you want to know something extra special about Bree? She placed a baby for adoption 8 1/2 years ago so she's a birthmom too! She's my role model birthmom :)

You know A-families would be a perfect gift for the birthparents in your life? Some fabulous pictures :) Or hoping to adopt? This would be some great pictures to put on your profile or pass along cards. I know when my A-family was in town what I really wanted for my birthday was to take some pictures (the timing just didn't work when they were here to do them). So birthmoms- if the adoptive family lives close by take some pictures with them. :) Or if they live far away you can send some to them or maybe a cute new facebook profile pic-pic. :)


Here are the guidelines:

Anyone can enter including adoptive families/couples/or if there are some peeps out there that aren't involved in adoption but you HAVE to love adoption. No adoption haters.


The session will include:

Time, talent
10 edited images on a disc
choice of location or studio
an 8x10 of your choice

To enter, you need to follow MY blog. Bluebird's photography blog. And "like" Bree's photography page- Bluebird Pictures on Facebook
Also you need to leave a comment who this is for. :) i.e. I'm a birthmom. I'm an adoptive mom. I'm an adoptee. I'm a friend of so and so who's a birthmom. I love adoption. One of my family members is adopted. My friend is adopted. Whatever it is :)

You need to comment on THIS post to be qualified stating that youv'e met the criteria :)
-Follow My Blog
-Who this is for/why you love adoption

Feel free to share this on your Facebook or blog. I want EVERYONE in Utah to know about this :)

And if you don't win this giveaway, feel free to look at her services. She has very affordable prices!! She's doing some "bridals" for me coming up. :) I'm SO excited!

The deadline for this giveaway is: Sunday, May 15th 11:59 P.M.
We will randomize the name on Monday.


Love Adoption <3

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

You all think you have a great mom? Well, mine is the BEST! Just sayin'.

My mom wrote her side of the story while I was going through my pregnancy and after placement. You can read that here. Be prepared. You're going to need some tissues. <3 My mom is SO wonderful. I know growing up I used to think, "I never want to be like my mom." Well, I've grown up and I've changed and I hope with all of my heart that I'm just like her. My mom has always been there for me, through the good and the bad times. She's my best friend and I can tell her anything and everything. I love my mommy :)

Today, is a very special day for some very special people in my life. Well, two years ago yesterday, I went into an ultrasound to figure out what gender my baby was going to be. I was nervously awaiting the news. I was in the waiting room with my mom, my sister Kat, and N (the birthfather). The night before THAT, I had all the anxiety in the world. I had all these what if's run through my mind. What if this wasn't real? What if I'm having a hysterical pregnancy and I'm just getting fat (haha)? What if D & V find out that I'm going to place with them (I really wanted it to be a surprise)? What if they don't accept me or my baby? 

That day was a very peaceful day for me. I was laying down in the chair and before the ultrasound started. We went around the room to say what we thought the gender was. In the beginning of my pregnancy, I really wanted a boy. Only because I come from a house full of girls and my sister was also pregnant at the time and she just found out she had a boy. So I was pretty dead set on it. And then last minute, I changed my mind. It was like I KNEW I was going to have a girl. N said, boy. My mom and sister said girl.

My what if's faded away as I saw my little GIRL dancing on the screen. A girl. A daughter for D&V. My heart didn't hurt the way I thought it would. My heart knew what it was going to be and who she was meant to be with. There's no way to explain my emotions that day. Me and my sister hurried to Wal*Mart to grab all the girlie things we could find to send in an overnight package to Virginia. 

Then it was the waiting game. I waited all the next day for it to arrive. I'm pretty sure I checked the tracking number and I knew it was there because someone had signed it. And I was hoping that they were going to call me before I went into work before 5. But I still hadn't heard anything. I checked my phone and I had a missed call. I hurried to the bathroom to call them back and tell them I wasn't ignoring them and that I was just at work and I was going to have to call them back later.

My heart was pounding until I got off work. I called them and they picked up on the second ring. Their voices seemed so nervous to be excited over the phone. I wanted confirmation right away if they were planning on being my little girl's parents. They yelled, "YES! Of course, we would LOVE to!" V wanted to wait and open it until D came home from work because it had his name on it too.

Here's the day that I blogged about this very loving experience. These two days are the days that I keep in my heart forever. Kind of lucky that this year they both landed on Birth Mother's Day and Mother's Day. :)

I read this AWESOME article that Mrs. R posted on Facebook. You can read the article here. But this quote is what I needed to read, 

I’ll never say “Happy Birthmother’s Day” to anyone, because that’s not what it is for me. But I will wish birthmothers everywhere — whether they acknowledge today or not — peace for this weekend. It’s a hard weekend and it involves a realization of that loss whether you stand with others or not. You are all in my heart.

I needed this peace today. Today, I think about my mom. I think about the women who have for years (or still) grieve about Mother's day and hope they find their peace. I think about the women who have waited for years to face Mother's day with their miracle baby. I think about V and the wonderful mother she is to Olivia and the example she is not in just Olivia's life but in my life. When choosing a family, I knew I wanted to pick the perfect example of a mother that I wanted to be. I wanted to pick a perfect father figure the way I want my husband to be. I think I found the perfect family. Mrs. R just has a way with words. I love what she believes the way Mother's Day should be celebrated, read it here.

"I pray I never forget that I became a mother through the broken heart of another. Today [tomorrow] my motherhood will be celebrated but yesterday [today] I chose to honor the mother whose ultimate sacrifice makes my today [tomorrow]  possible." - Jill Catlet
The [brackets] are what the real quote is but I'm applying it for today.

For birthmother's day: I got a super cute picture message of Olivia and a very sugary, sweet text from the A-fam. love them dearly. I got up at like 9 in the morning. Then we went out to lunch. Got my mom her Mother's day gift.  I'm lucky to have all of these fabulous people in my life.


I love this article too, On Mother's Day, Honor Moms Who Chose Adoption Over Abortion.

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's day and celebrate in your own special way. Either celebrating yourself being a first time mom (or a mother again), honoring your mom, remembering the child you have lost, honoring yourself (or friend or relative) and the selfless sacrifice you made for the child you have placed or celebrating that you gave the gift of motherhood to a special woman in your life. 


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birth Mother's Day!








Happy BirthMother's Day! Remember the selfless sacrifice that BMoms have done with all the capacity of their hearts and placing their angels for adoption. Remember who they are and the courageous souls they have. Thank them for giving the gift to someone to be a family the treasure they couldn't give themselves. Repost this if you or someone you know didn't give their child up but has given their child more.




Repost this via blog, facebook or twitter :)




Originially it said:
Happy Birth Mother's Day! Remember the self-less sacrifice that birth moms have given their children by putting them first and loving them with all the capacity in their hearts and place their angels for adoption. Remember who they are and the courageous souls they have. Thank them for giving the gift to someone to be a family, the treasure they couldn't give themselves. Repost this, if you or someone you know didn't give their child up but has given them more. I'm a proud birthmommy!


But it had too many characters to post as a facebook status :)




I think I have already written about Birthmother's day before. But that was my first one and I think I was bitter about the fact that we all couldn't be celebrated as Mother's on the same day. But my heart has been softening towards it, after a year. Mother's day is still really difficult for me.  I thought maybe that I could pull it off. But I knew I couldn't. I cried when someone announced they were pregnant at Church. How could I possibly be ready for Mother's day? Well, I'm a primary teacher and the Sunday before. They practice all of the Mother's day songs for the next Sunday. And I'm just bawling through all of the songs and just left. I don't have a little someone singing those songs to me, she's singing for the mother I gave her. I know it would probably be better for me to focus on my own Mother but I can't help but think, "I'm a mother." Which is stupid because I know I'm not. It's such an out of body experience for me to see her and to think, I gave birth to this little one and a half year old. I don't remember her growing up. I remember holding her in my arms, tears streaming down my face and kissing her forehead and wishing silently for another day as her mom.


I like what Brittany said on her blog, "Birthmother's day comes first, because you came first."


It's every birthmother's perosnal preference which day they want to celebrate "their" day. Birth Mother's day is always the day before Mother's Day. Happy BirthMother's day to you wonderful women! :)


Are you an adoptive parent and don't know what to do for birthmother's/mother's day for that special woman in your life? Check out this article. Or check out some sweet gifts here.









Two years ago today... I found out I was having a baby girl!!! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Turned 21

Hey y'all.

I turned 21. Today. In 15 minutes my birthday will be over. It's been the BEST birthday EVER! I got to spend it all day with Olivia and her momma. <3 She's the sweetest little thing. She's really shy at first but that girl has got some SPUNK when she warms up to you. By the end of the night, she was snuggling with me. What a sweetheart :)


I would post more but I need to go to bed to get up for work in the morning. I will post when I have time. Tomorrow I'm doing a birthparent panel for a young womens group then on Thursday I might be driving up North Salt Lake for a weddinggggg. V's bro to be exact :) Congrats to them!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter



"May we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear.This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ “at all times and in all things, and in all places that we may be in, even until death,” for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone."




This was by Elder Holland you can read the rest of his talk here.


My dad gave us a book for Christmas called Our Savior Jesus Christ- His Life and Mission to Cleanse and Heal by David J. Ridges. He gave us a challenge this week to read chapter 14 each day of the last week of Our Savior's Life. It has strengthened my testimony of the Savior and of His atonement and of his resurrection. I'm deeply grateful for everything He has done for all of us. He has never left me alone in my time of need and has answered my prayers and I will be forever grateful to Him and his sacrifice for the world. He is Risen.




Just wanted to share this little treasure. Olivia with her Easter basket <3 So grateful for her to have this knowledge of the Gospel.




I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend and think of our Savior today and everyday.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Q&A

I had someone ask me if I can help them with their presentation for college about adoption. I found a Q&A on another blog and she used that for her power point. I love being able to share my story with others so they have more of an understanding of what birthmom's go through. That's a lot of the reason for my blog... to understand. Maybe it might not be every birthmother out there. But it's for myself. That maybe some girl out there might need to find the answers to her questions. Or for an adoptive family to know how much we hurt or what makes us happy. Lately, I've just been in a roller coaster of emotions. This may or may not be the last post I make for a while.


1. What emotions did you experience when you initially found out about the pregnancy?
I was scared out of my mind. I was nervous. I was mad that I had those feelings just because I always imagined when I found out I was pregnant that I could surprise my husband and we would be so giddy and so excited. But this time it was different. I didn't know what to expect at 18. And as of two weeks prior to finding out about my pregnancy, I was newly single. I had no one to share this "excitement" with and to tell me that everything was going to be okay. I had to tough it up all on my own. And that was scary to know that I wasn't just in charge of my life but this new little life. I made enough mistakes, I needed to make this one right.

2. Did you plan for single-parenting or marriage?
I thought for the first little while that marriage could possibly be an option. My boyfriend had only broken up with me for two weeks and maybe he still had feelings for me? When we broke up he told me about getting married to me and raising a family. So what would be different now, besides the fact that it's all backwards? When he told me that he didn't want to get married, I wanted to try to make single parenting work. I was going to LDS Family Services at the time for counseling and I was able to look at all of my options. Marriage, Single Parenting and Adoption. I made pros and cons lists of everything and what would be the best for everyone involved.

3. Why did you consider adoption? Did you consider abortion as an option?
I considered adoption because at the time, I was going to school for dental assisting and trying to finish that up. I was living with my parents. I wanted my baby to have the best and I wanted to be able to spoil my children (hey, gotta love kids and spoil them a little bit). Not just financial. Being LDS, I knew it wasn't right to deny my baby a sealing covenant. I was sealed to my parents and I knew my baby couldn't be sealed to me unless I was married and sealed to my husband. I wanted to have that eternal family. I didn't know when I would be married or if anybody would marry somebody who has had a baby out of wedlock. I knew my little girl needed a mom and a dad. I couldn't be both and I knew she needed them both in her life.
I never considered abortion. Someone may have asked me or I may had just thought about it if I could ever go through with it. But the immediate answer was no. I already knew this special spirit that I was growing and that I loved her more than anything. I could never take the life away that she deserves.

4. What were your major concerns when considering adoption?
A lot of my major concerns, previous to counseling, was that I was never going to see my baby ever again and that she wouldn't know that I loved her. After counseling, those fears were cleared up. With having an open adoption I am able to receive pictures, go on trips with them, and I would watch her grow up. Her parents would let her know how much I loved her and that this was a huge sacrifice for me. I'm sure my fear after counseling was that the adoptive parents wouldn't follow through with their promises or just cut off contact. They wouldn't have to respond to my e-mails or my phone calls. They're not under legal obligation to do so. It's all based on trust and honesty.

5. Did you have any specifications when searching for your adoptive couple?
I don't think I ever did. I didn't have a list written out. I wasn't very picky. I wasn't looking for a famous billionaire to take my child in as a charity case. She isn't that. She is worth more to me than anybody could buy and I wanted someone to feel that same way about her. I did specifically want somebody I knew. That's a long shot. Or at least someone that knew the person. I couldn't just pick a random couple from a pile and say they're the parents. I don't know anything about them and how do I know they'll treat my daughter with respect? I was determining my child's life and future, I can't mess this up. I also wanted a couple that lived out of state. I didn't want them to live down the street so I could stop by and co-parent. I wanted them to be the parents. Not me. And I was able to find those people.

6. How long into the pregnancy did you wait before selecting a couple?
I found out that D and V were looking to adopt about the week before my birthday, the end of April. I was due in September. D is my brother in-law's best friend since they were about 8 years old. They have grown up together and I knew them when my sister was married and D came over to hang out with them. D and V met at BYU and it all started from there so I've known them since I was about 14 or 15 years old. They were so nice to everyone and love to play board games. My family is big on board games. They moved away to go to school in Virginia. They were able to have one biological son and they haven't been able to have any since. V found out through my sister that I was pregnant and I was still looking at my options. She e-mailed my sister letting her know they had recently put in their adoption papers to be approved and to adopt. My sister let me know and my heart broke for them. They are both loving and caring people. I know they adore their little boy and I knew they were already great parents. I grew up with all sisters and no brothers and that sort of was a blessing in disguise because on May 7th. I found out I was having a little girl. I had been e-mailing V back and forth and I just think the moment I found out they were looking to adopt, that's when I knew that they were the ones. I sent them a package that night with little girl things and a letter letting them know they were the parents. They called me the next day and were so giddy and happy. That's the reaction I was looking for in myself, but I found it through them.

Visiting them in Virginia before Olivia was born.

7. Looking at the way your birth child is being raised, are there any parenting practices you disagree with? Or value differences?
You know, I don't disagree with anything. They are so patient with their kids and they never raise their voices with them. They teach them Gospel principles, daily. I just see her in pictures and that smile on her face, lets me know that everything was worth it.

8. Is there anything you would change about your current placement?
I don't think I would change anything. I think it's perfect the way it is. I wouldn't pick anybody else to raise my daughter. They do a perfect job doing it and they're great in informing me what's going on in their lives. They make me feel like I'm apart of their family and I'm just so grateful for that.

Olivia's sealing day
Left to right- V, Olivia, me, Tayler, D & B

9. How do you feel about the adoptive parents? Is the relationship open/closed? Would you change the current arrangement?
I love them. They're like my best friends. I can e-mail them when I'm having a bad day. I can ask them for pictures if I just want to see her cute face and they're more than willing. But it's not just that it's revolved around Olivia (my birthdaughter). We talk about other things like school and jobs. The relationship is VERY open. I don't think I would change it. I'm sure over time it will change because our lives will be busier. I recently got married about 6 months ago and just even that, I haven't been able to contact them as much as I usually do. We used to call and such but now it's mostly through e-mail.

Placement day with birthfather, N.

10. How was your family effected by the adoption?
I know it wasn't just me losing my daughter in my life. It was my parents losing their granddaughter. It was my sister's losing their niece. My nieces and nephews losing a cousin. I could never replace that hurt that they have gone through from my own personal decisions. It wasn't just me effected by it. My whole family was. I remember my sister telling me at the hospital when V's sister came to visit and she was going to be Olivia's aunt and my sister's heart hurt knowing that she was going to love on her new niece that somebody else was going to. Let me tell you a little about placement. Placement is sort of just symbolism of me placing her in the arms of her new parents. So at placement, I placed her in the arms of her new mom. That's why I prefer the term, I PLACED my baby for adoption. I didn't give her up or give up on her. I didn't put her up for adoption/I didn't put her up on Craigslist for someone to buy from me. I willingly and lovingly did that act for her. But no one could've ever prepared me for the moment to do that, no amount of counseling would've taken the heartache away from me. Two days after having her with me in the hospital, I relinquished my rights as a parent to the consent of adoption. After two whole days of being her mom and watching her and taking care of her. I was now to put myself to the test of if I could really trust D and V to watch her and take care of her. My heart broke into a million pieces. Over time, I have been able to pick up some of those pieces and have peace in my hear that I've made the right decision. The first year was the hardest and unforgettable. But I know if I didn't have the open adoption I had now. I'm sure I would question a lot of what I did. If it were closed, I wouldn't know if she was okay. If she knew that I loved her or if she was ever going to know me or if she was adopted. But I know that D & V will protect her and let her know where she came from. What's wrong with having 2 moms, 2 dads, 8 grandparents- to me that just equals endless amounts of love for her.

 Placing Olivia in V's arms

11. Do you want to have more children?
I would love to have more kids more than anything. You know, since placement there will always be that space in my heart that I will miss her and want her. Not that I regret my decision, because I don't. I look at the grief as if someone close to me has passed away (I'm not trying to belittle anybody by making this comparison. I've lost a few people in my life). That's the closest I can compare the loss to. They were apart of your life, you will always love them and miss them even if they're not in your life now. You're not just going to forget about them. Life will go on but you will never forget the one child that you didn't take home from the hospital.

12. How would you feel if you were unable to conceive again? Would you consider adopting?
I would feel just like any other infertile couple. I would be sad. I would be mad. I would probably question my faith like most people do when they struggle through infertility. I would be mad just because I went through the hardest thing that someone could do for their own child and I would question why I went through that and not be able to have my own kids. I know it would probably feel like hell. But God doesn't give us a trial that we can't overcome. I'm sure I would consider adoption because I would love to have a  family with my husband.

Feel free to ask me more questions in the comments section.