Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Unique Adoption Story... a must read!

This is my friend Carol, she was 24 years old when she placed her little girl with a loving family. Carol's story is unique, for she is a mother of two other little children and she has placed one child. She didn't want an open adoption at first, but the couple she chose insisted on an open adoption. However her adoption has not been as open as she had understood it would be. This is her story... One night, in late January 2007, my boyfriend (we will call him Bob, the father of my child that I placed) beat me truly bad and broke a lot of my possessions (he was an alcoholic). I cried and cried asking God what to do. I finally got the courage to call the police, but it had to be hidden. I waited for him to go in the garage to smoke. When he finally did, I ran to the phone and quickly dialed 911. I let it ring enough for the dispatch to locate where the call was coming from. (My house). I ran to my room and laid down, nervously shaking trying to calm down to not raise suspicion in him when he returned. He came into my room and started to finally pass out after having a case of beer and vodka to himself. Ten to twenty minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. I thought “Thank God” but I pulled a surprise look on my face so he wouldn’t think I called the cops. He asked “who the heck is that? It’s 3am!” I lied and told him I him I had no clue. I got up to answer the door. The cops were here. I have never been so happy to see policemen in my life. I stepped outside and closed the door to speak with them. I told them what happened. They went inside, grabbed and threw him down and put him in handcuffs. Bob looked at me with surprise and confusion. They took him away and I felt relief. The next few weeks I felt confusion and abandonment. I had a no contact order against him. It was best to have it. About a month after he got out of jail, (March) he called me, telling me he would never do this again and we should patch things up. I, being naïve, thought maybe he is getting help and doing better. I started seeing him against the courts. After a few weeks, the abuse started again and by May 10th I got pregnant by him. I found out late June. I was excited, yet nervous. I was excited about having a baby. I love babies and wanted another one, but not in the situation I was in. I started to realize, no way could I be with Bob the way he is with a baby in tow. I was fearful of him doing more harm and that we would be just another broken dysfunctional family. The best I could do is stay away from him and raise this baby on my own along with my two other children. If I was able to do it for 4 years with two kids, I could do it with another child. My two children were already excited to have a new baby sister or brother. The kids and I planned many things for the new baby; what we would name him or her, what he or she would look like. They both wanted a baby brother or sister for a long time and were happy to have one soon. By late July/August, I cut off contact with Bob. This made him extremely upset. I hid my pregnancy from practically everyone but; my mom, Bob, and a close friend. I was ashamed and alone. Bob started to harass my friends and then me. I called the police a few times and they put him in jail for violation of the no-contact order. By October 31st he called again and harassed me and threatened me extremely. I told him to never call me again. I hung up and called the police yet again. I could not handle this anymore. My children needed me, and no man was to ever hurt us again. The police picked him up and I have never heard from him again. A month later I met a man named Josh. We started off just talking and getting to know each other. He was surprisingly well with the idea of me pregnant with another man’s baby. I thought he was crazy for liking me, though I was pregnant. He is a man of Christ and I needed this. We got to know each other and laid everything out on the table. We were being completely honest with each other. This is a new thing for me, but I was ready for anything the Lord had in store for me. After a few weeks of getting to know each other, I decided to introduce him to my kids. My kids fell in love with him the minute they met him and so did I. God had answered my prayers. A few weeks later my son came up to me and said, “I am glad you chose Josh. I really, really like him. He is good to you and good to us!” I started to cry. This made me so happy. I finally have someone amazingly wonderful in my life and my kids love him. I have never been so happy in my life. I was ready for change. We started going to church together and reading the bible together, along with also praying together and still do. This is what I have been needing my whole life. It took some obstacles to get through in order for me to really appreciate something so beautiful like our relationship with each other and with the Lord. How did you decide to place your child and find peace about your decision? By the end of December 2008, I was at the morning services at church and adoption came to my thoughts. This was the Lord coming through to me. "Adoption?" I said in my thoughts, "WHAT? WHY? That would be way too hard!" I started crying and then I prayed for comfort. I thought about adoption all day long. Over and over it went through my head. It was such a strong feeling, I couldn't ignore it. I spoke with Josh about it and he said he would support me with either decision I made. The next day I went to an adoption agency called the C.A.S.I. Foundation. The lady there was wonderful to me. I felt so much better about the decision more and more. She gave me a group of profiles to take home and look through. I started to think about what I wanted for this baby girl inside me. This baby needed both parents in her life. I also wanted her to have a big family. I had the profiles for two weeks. I went through them over and over, yet nothing seems to click with me. They are all wonderful potential parents, but not for me. I started to get overwhelmed, but knew that this was the only decision I was going to make for this baby. I told a friend of mine I was going to place this baby for adoption and she said that she is on my side. She will support either decision I make. I felt good knowing I had support in this. Later on that week she emailed me, telling me that her brother and his wife are looking to adopt. They have a little boy that is 5 and they now can’t have any more kid’s cause of fertility problems. She told me no pressure but to think about it. She then came over the next week with their profile. I took a look through it. I started to like what I was reading. A few thoughts came across; if I choose them, that means there would be a possibility I may run into them later on, cause of them being related to my friend, or, would it be too hard knowing they have my child and knowing I am friends with her (baby) aunt. I prayed so hard for the Lord to give me all the answers. Yet I couldn’t find any. I got a new batch of profiles from C.A.S.I and went through them. One couple I took interest in, but was not 100% sure. I thought about calling them but held back. There, lying amongst the other profiles was my friends brother and wife’s’ profile gleaming at me. I picked it up once more, staring at it for an hour, going through my pros and cons of this family. I still wasn’t sure. This decision was the hardest of them all I remember I was downtown driving during the day for some reason in mid January. I called up my friend and told her, “So, do you think (Jack and Jill) want to be parents again?” (Jack and Jill is not their real names) My friend started to cry, “Are you serious? Really? This is such great news!” I felt so much peace. This is it, this is my answer. I was told to call LDS services and set up an appointment with the family’s caseworker. I did. A week before I had my baby. Exactly a week later, February 6th, 2009, I got ready and left to the hospital that morning to have the cesarean. Then this baby girl was out and placed on the table about 8 feet from me at 1:20pm. She came out a healthy 8lbs and 1 oz and 20 inches long. My eyes began to flood when I saw and heard her cry. The doctor picked her up, wrapped her in a hospital blanket and placed her next to my face. “She is so beautiful,” I gasped. Her beautiful red hair and gleaming blue eyes..
What were your first thoughts and feelings about open adoption?

What did the couple you chose, tell you about open adoption?
The next three weeks were painful. I cried myself to sleep every night. I missed the feeling of her kicking in my belly. I missed the smell of her new baby smell from when she was born. I missed the feeling of holding her in my arms, while she slept so peacefully. I felt empty. I felt like she was to be here in my bed, in my arms, eating and then falling asleep. Then waking up 4 times in the night, longing for my warmth and attention. None of this was with me. She is with her family and now it is time to adjust. Amazingly, my children did well with knowing that they were not having their baby sister home with us. I explained to them that God have me this baby to give to this family. This is what the Lord wants. Someday, we will have our own little one. But now she is with her chosen family. They grew to understand and love the Lord so much that he can give miracles to people in small packages. I love my two children and wouldn’t trade them for anything else. I am so blessed that the Lord has trusted me to take care of his two little angels that I call Noel and Adrianna. I am so blessed to have my, now fiancé Josh, in our lives. I am so blessed that the Lord has chosen me to go on this journey and have me as a carrier of a miracle for another family. I could not do this without the Lord.
When did your adoption start to feel closed?
The journey has its ups and downs. I have my fair share of ups and downs with it. The family that I chose for this little girl, named her Carlie Jean. I like the name very much so. It has a little bit of remembrance with my name, Carol. She is a year old now and growing so fast. It is hard for me to believe it has already been 1 year. I have had little contact with this precious angel. I saw her once in December, 10 months after her birth. I made a blanket for her for Christmas. As much as I want visits with her, unfortunately I don’t get those as much as I want. I understand that she is with her family and I am not her family anymore.

It leaves me in confusion that I went through all this and it was quite hard for me to make the decision, too little contact. I am blessed that I do get emails time from time and pictures. But the first year is hard, very hard. I know that she is in the best place I could give her. I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to give her a better life. I pray for her often. I know that when the time comes, we will meet again.

What do you want hopeful adoptive couples to know?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Leesa's Adoption Story

Leesa is a Birth Mom and I met her on a Birth Mother panel one night at Lds Family Services, where she shared her story with all the hopeful adoptive couples there. Leesa wrote her story for me to share with all of you. It is very detailed and worth reading. Leesa is also one of our Birth Moms on this Birth Mom panel. Enjoy!

My story started when I was 8 months pregnant. I hid my pregnancy for 8 months from my family, and I lived with them. This also proved that I was not ready to be a mom. It all kind of started one Sunday when my Young Women’s leader (I was no longer in Young Women’s) came up and confronted me saying that she knew what was going on. I tried to deny what she was accusing, but then all I could say was, “I haven't told my mom". She was just letting me know that she was there for me since the spirit told her that I was alone.

Then that following Friday, my cousin was getting his baby blessing for his name, and after that had happened my Bishop pulled me to the side and had a talk with me. He didn't give me a chance to deny that I was pregnant, he asked. "When are you going to tell your parents?" I told him that I planned on telling them that coming weekend. He said okay, and then proceeded to give me his counsel. He counseled me that I should place my child for adoption and that it would bless a families life. He also said that he supported me in whatever choice I made and wanted me to pray about it.

Later, that night I told my mom in a store that I was pregnant, she was somewhat shocked but she had an idea. Then, I told my brother he was not at all thrilled. I then had to call my dad to tell him, because he was down in Idaho, because he had a job there in Idaho and we were all going to be moving after my brother graduated. I started to try and tell my dad but all I could do was cry, so my mom told him for me. She then passed the phone to me and my dad asked " Does ***** know?" I told him that the birth father didn't know. Then, after I got done talking with my dad, I went downstairs to go to bed; my brother came in to my room and talked to me. He was talking to me about adoption; of course I started crying my eyes out, because my heart knew that adoption was the right choice. I had no job, no one to truly help me raise this child and my brother pointed out these key points. Also, he knew I didn't want to deal with the birth father and if I had kept the baby I would have been stuck with the birth dad for the rest of my life. After my brother and I had gotten done talking, I cried myself to sleep since I had so much on my mind.

During the course of that week I was writing a paper, because I was in College. The paper was on how I was against abortion, and while I was looking up stuff to use for my paper, I kept coming up with links that had to do with adoption. So of course,
Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, and I knew he was directing me to honestly think about adoption. I know during that course of that week, my Bishop came by to give me LDS Family Services phone number. I didn't really want that number, because at the time I was still thinking I was going to keep the baby.

I had my first doctor’s visit, and I brought my mom with me, and it was definitely an emotional time. My mom was crying, and I was crying while the ultra sound was happening. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat, and I then found out that the baby I was carrying was a little boy. I was so happy that he was a boy, because I only want little boys. My doctor then asked what I planned on doing, keeping the baby or adoption. My first thought was to say, “Of course I am keeping the baby." Instead I said that I wasn't sure of what was going to happen. The doctor then said that she would get me some profiles to look at. I wasn't at all entirely thrilled, but I said okay.

During that week, I called LDS Family Services, and said “I am thinking about placing my baby for adoption." The lady then transferred me to my social worker Tawnia. She was the most helpful lady ever; she asked questions, she let me know that she was supporting me in whatever decision I chose. I knew, as soon as I called her that I had somewhat made up my mind about adoption. I was afraid, because I wanted to be able to see him grow up, I couldn't just walk away and never hear about him again. I didn't know what I could do about having that ability to see him grow up. I also wanted him to grow up with the Gospel in his life. As, I was talking with Tawnia I found out that there was open adoptions, and that there were couples that were willing to send pictures and send updates.

I eventually started to look on LDS.org about adoption, and I looked at one profile, and I wasn't at all sure about that couple. So, the second profile I looked at was the most amazing profile I had ever found. I read their letter to an expectant birth mom, and I was balling my eyes out. I loved what they had to say and they were also willing to share the baby’s life with whoever chose them. They already had one little boy who they had adopted about a year and half before I found them. I still looked at a couple files after but I kept comparing them to the couple that I had found. I knew at this point that this was the couple that I wanted to raise my son. I still hadn't told the couple but I had talked with Tawnia about the couple that I had found, but not to let them know, because I was still thinking about adoption. One day I was driving home from getting food for my family and the spirit prompted me to tell Tawnia to tell that couple that they were going to be parents yet again.

Tawnia called me the next day and asked if I was sure this was what I wanted to do. I was to shy to email them myself, so I had Tawnia do it for me and give them my email and my number. I immediately got a response from the adoptive mom; she emailed me her gratitude for me choosing her family. Through the course of the next couple months we emailed back and forth, we also texted each other also. I fell in love with this family so much more as I got to know the couple more and more.

At one point, the birth father did find out that I was pregnant. I started to stress and get irritated because I felt like the adoption wasn't going to go through because I was afraid that the birth father was going to fight the adoption. Tawnia heard some rumors from the grandmother stating that the birth father was going to fight it. Later down on the road the birth father agreed with the adoption.

While that had happened, the adoptive couple had come up to Alaska, a couple weeks before the due date of April 29, 2009, and we had met for the first time.
My first impression of them was that I knew who they were as soon as we got out of the car and met each other. I knew their laughs their smiles, everything. They took me to IHOP, and we had breakfast and just sat down and talked for while. It was so nice just sitting there and talking to them. I invited them both to a doctor’s visit that was coming up, the adoptive mom was up for it, and the adoptive dad just said that he would let me and the adoptive mom share that moment together. Well, the doctor visit came but I was overly late and had to have it rescheduled for a week after my due date. So, we went to the doctor on May 7, 2009 and there was no ultra sound but I was on a monitor, and the adoptive mom was by my side and got to hear her son’s heartbeat and see him move while I laid there. She was so amazed by all of it.

We came up with a name for the baby before he was born and it was Henry James.
I love how we came up with the name together, because I was unsure of who named the baby so I asked them, and they said they had some names swirling around and she asked what name I was thinking. I was thinking Henri, and the adoptive mom told me that that was the first name on their list. They stuck with the name Henry ( instead of with the i) and they came up with the middle name themselves. I just knew it had fit for him.

Well, that same doctor’s visit the doctor looks at me and says
“You are going to have a baby today." Of course I get quiet and processing through what she says, and I couldn't believe that all of this was going to happen. The adoptive mom is standing on my side and I think she was thinking through the exact same things. Well, the doctor just kept talking and eventually told me to go home eat a good meal and then go to the hospital where they were going to start me on petosin (worst thing ever).

The adoptive mom and I leave the doctors office, she calls the adoptive dad to let him know to
come get her and I called my mom. I also called some other women that I wanted to be there for me, my Young Women's leader and a teacher that I had in Young Women’s. I also called my dad to let him know what was going on. My mom and I met at the house, I got my backpack, and then made a sandwich and we were on our way to the hospital.

I got admitted into a room, I stayed in a trauma room since all the other places were taken up for the time being. I stayed there for a while, while they monitored my blood pressure. It was terribly high, and they treated me as a preeclampsia patient. I got a blessing from two brethren from my ward, and my Bishop came and visited me in the Hospital. It was so nice seeing him there, especially since he was letting me know he was supporting me in what I had chosen.
The adoptive couple came in and met my mom for the first time, and we all sat around and chatted, of course by then I was feeling contractions and it was miserable. My brother was of course called to let him know what was going on, but he didn't want to go to the hospital, but when he did come, I started crying, because I was so happy to see that he had come to the hospital.

Eventually, everyone had to leave the room other than my mom, because my blood pressure was way too high, and I needed to relax. So, that entire time, I was in pain and I was irritated because I couldn't move to alleviate the contractions.
My mom stayed by my side the entire time, she held my hand and she was also trying to sooth me since it was pretty rough. The adoptive couple was actually given a room at the hospital, I was so glad, because I really wanted them to experience the excitement of waiting for their baby. Eventually through all of the pain and contractions, I opted for an epidural about 2-3 hours before Henry was born.

Eventually at 4:04 in the morning Henry James was born on May 8, 2009. He was screaming as soon as he came out, and I was overly thrilled that he was screaming.

I do remember at one point I thought my mom was caressing my face and when I opened my eyes my mom was actually sitting down. I knew it was my Heavenly Father saying, "Good job, you did it!" I was so comforted to know that he was there for me especially at this moment in my life
Eventually, I got to hold Henry first, before his mom and dad, and the nurses laid him in my arms and he looked straight at me and his eyes said, ”Finally, I get to see who you are."
I know I cried a bit when I saw the look on his face. He was so beautiful, and so full of life. I passed him to my mom so she could hold him. Then my mom handed Henry back to me, and I held him for a few more moments, and then my adoptive couple was brought in. I looked at them smiling and they looked at me smiling too. I then said, “Do you want to hold your son?" The adoptive mom asked, “Are you sure?" I nodded my head;

I then let her know that I wasn't able to lift my arms, so she picked up Henry for the first time. I passed out after that and some other times. I know Henry's mom asked if I wanted to feed him, but I let her have that moment with her son.

Eventually, Henry went with his parents to their room, because I wanted him to start bonding with his parents not me. I remember the adoptive dad asking if I wanted to watch the first meeting between Henry and his big brother, I said yes, and I do remember passing out. The next day I woke up early, and the nurse came in, and of course I wanted to see Henry. His mom had just fallen asleep, and I was still bed ridden, because of my blood pressure. I don't remember when I finally saw Henry or his parents, I was in and out. I do remember the meeting between Henry and his big brother, and it was so cute and amazing. My mom came back to the hospital after she went home and had some sleep. She brought my brother along with her and I was just happy to see my family.

The following day, we got to do a little dinner in the hospital, and
the adoptive couple and I swapped gifts. That was a very touching moment, and I loved how the spirit was there acting as a witness of what was happening in the room. The following day Henry was discharged before me, so I walked him and his mom out so they could go back to the hotel as a family. I was at peace watching them drive away with Henry. I didn't get discharged till the following day, which was Mother's Day. I wanted to get out of the hospital so my brother picked me up before church. I went to church 45 minutes after I had just gotten out of the hospital. I was sitting next to my mom and I tried singing the first hymn and I just started bawling my eyes out. I couldn't stop crying, everyone in my ward that knew what was going on was worried about me. I eventually stopped crying. At the end of the meeting there were flowers being passed out to Mothers, but the Bishop made sure that all women in Relief Society got flowers. My brother gave me the flowers, and then another young man, looked at me and asked with his eyes if I had gotten flowers. Later on that same young man gave me a hug. I was so thankful that the ward was so loving and caring.

That following Monday was a little stressful, because the birth father was signing his rights away. The adoptive couple and I were hanging out before the birth father showed up and my brother met the couple. because I brought him with me. Then, while the couple and I drove to my home from the hotel, we got a call saying that the birth father wanted to meet the couple. We prayed together about the meeting that was going to happen and were at peace that all would go well. I hopped in to my truck and followed the couple back to the hotel so that the birth father could meet them. The birth father and I hadn't seen each other in months since I had broken up with him, so I was way nervous about seeing him again, the reason I went was so he knew I was proud of my decision about my couple and that I loved them with all my heart. When the couple and I got there they went in first and shook hands with the birth father and then I was going to just walk in and sit down, but he didn't let me go in until he got a hug. I started crying when he gave me the hug, and I don't know why. Eventually I went and sat on the bed and he sat on a chair opposite of me and the couple.

There was at one point that the birth father was offered to hold Henry, the adoptive mom looked at me first seeing if it was okay and I nodded. The birth father go to hold Henry, there were pictures of the birth father take while holding Henry, but eventually I ended up holding Henry. After he passed Henry back he signed his rights away. I thought that he had already signed them away before he had come, so I was a little surprised that he was signing them while we were there. The birth father and I had 10 days to change our minds about the adoption; of course we never changed our minds, since Henry is still with his mom and dad now. After that meeting with the birth father, the adoptive parents went back to their hotel and I went home.

That following week, the adoptive couple went back home, and our goodbye on Monday was good for me since we would be seeing each other in a year. After all of this, a month after I had placed Henry with his mom and dad I moved down to Idaho with my dad, waiting till my mom moved down after our home sold. Those few months after Henry was born were the hardest, but now I am doing well. I am working, I plan on starting college again this coming fall, and I am moving out. These things I wouldn't have been able to do if I had kept Henry. Placing Henry was the best decision that I had ever made, he is happy and seeing his family with him is amazing. It was the hardest choice for me to make but it was well worth it, because his parents give him everything I could never have given him. I love adoption and it's truly changed my life and it's been a very long journey, but a journey that really showed me how strong I truly was.

I get updates about Henry every Sunday, and I get pictures once a month, because that's what I asked. I am so thankful to watch Henry grow up and know what is going on with him in his life. Open adoption has really helped give me some closure on knowing that Henry is doing well. Not that he wouldn't have been if I was given the updates, but it's still nice to see him happy and have that confirmation more and more. I am just excited to see how much more he will change and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to see him grow up.


Once there were two women
Who hardly knew each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives shaped to make yours one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it
One gave you nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears
The age old questions through the years;
Heredity or environment -
which are you the product of ?
Neither my darling - neither
Just two different kinds of love!
Author Unknown

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Birth Mom Interview on Video

This is my friend Taren, she is a Birth Mom and a Mom. She has placed a child and kept a child. Her unique story and experience has enabled her to be able to work with other Birth Mothers as well as women who are pregnant and considering adoption. I adore Taren and her testimony of open adoption and how it has blessed her life. Knowing Taren personally and being her friend has blessed my life! Enjoy her video interview

What Taren has accomplished in her life since placing her son up for adoption.

What Taren looked for in her hopeful adoptive couple

Taren shares her open adoption story

The importance of communication in adoption and real expectations.

Taren's thoughts on being open to change in adoption

Taren shares her thoughts to pregnant women who are unsure of what to do and last thoughts on Open Adoption.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jennilee's Adoption Story...

This is Jennilee's adoption story. She became a birth mom at the age of 21. Many of you might recognize her from adoptionvoices.com or her adoption video

I appreciate her willingness to share her thoughts and story with us. It takes a lot of courage and strength to do this and I applaud her selfless love. Thanks Jennilee! You’re an amazing person and Birth Mother!

I placed my son almost 6 years ago. I had no idea how my life would change. It was the hardest decision in my life. I don't think there is anyway to prepare for placement or how your life will change. My adoption story has changed my life for the better. I wouldn't be the same woman I am today. At the end of my pregnancy I was having a hard time. I didn't want it to end. I didn't want to say goodbye to my son. I know now that it wasn't an end but a new beginning. I was blessing a couple to be able to be parents. Placement was bittersweet. I was happy for them but sad to be letting go of my son. I held him as long as I could during placement. I fed him and changed him one last time. We talked a lot.

My family asked questions. We took lots of pictures. I felt the best thing for him, was to place him for adoption so that he could have both a mom and a dad. I have gained a testimony of adoption and how it blesses so many lives. My life has been so blessed by open adoption. I love my son. I still miss him and think of him often. I am not sad though. I don't regret my decision. I know I did what was best for my baby.
What was your plan of openness in this adoption? We had agreed to write letters weekly at first and send pictures. I did not know that my adoption would be more open and that I would get visits. I asked for a visit after finalization. I have had 4 visits since placement and plans for another this summer. I have a great relationship with the couple and feel they are an extended family.
How do you feel about your adoptive couple that you chose? I love them very much. They have helped me a lot through the hard times and are always excited for me whenever I have good news. I love open adoption. I am able to have a healthy relationship. I get letters and pictures yearly now. I know that my son is happy, healthy and gets everything he needs and more. He is loved by so many. He will never have to question why I placed. He will grow up knowing he is adopted and that I love him.

I am now married to a wonderful man. The adoptive couple and my son were able to be at my reception. I don't have any children with my husband yet, but I look forward to being a mom. I know that my adoption experience will make me a better mom. I understand what unconditional love is and what a child needs more than I did before. I plan to tell my future children about my birth son.

I feel my adoption experience has changed my life and has shaped me to the woman I am today.