Thursday, April 29, 2010

A wonderful Open Adoption Story...

This beautiful young lady is Cami! Her story is very sweet! I love how she feels about adoption!!!
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Oliver Goldsmith

When I think over my high school career, one thing stands out the most, Lily's adoption. This marked a struggle, but a changing point in my life and I have been grateful ever since.

During my sophomore year in high school I was making choices that weren't the greatest. But it was a total shocker when I found out I was pregnant. But I knew way before I took that test. I stared at the positive sign thinking, "how did it get this far? It should have never gotten this bad. What happened to my relationship with my Heavenly Father?". I was scared at what laid ahead.

The next few weeks were a blur. I hid it from everyone. It was heart wrenching when I was named cheerleader of the year, knowing I wouldn't be back the next season. It was heart wrenching when I finally told my Dad, knowing I could no longer hide this secret and I needed help. I knew he no longer trusted me, and it hurt. I just wanted to hide in my room and cry. Instead I had to finish the school year facing my peers. Although I didn't come out in say it, rumors were already being spread and it hurt. During this time I could only think about me; How I could not longer cheer, how those around me could no longer trust me, how things in my life were going to change.

My Dad counselled me to go to LDS Family Services. At first I went to make him happy. I listened, but I didn't really feel. My caseworker said one thing that always replayed in my head though, "It doesn't matter what is best for you but for your baby". Or something to that effect. Although during this time, I didn't act upon this, it was a constant reminder in my head.

In July of 2008 things changed. My then boyfriend and I started having more problems and things ended. And my family was in shambles because of other reasons. With my world being thrown up around me, I tried to focus on the one thing I still had, this pregnancy. I wanted to parent this child so badly, but I knew I had to what was best for my child and I was going to do whatever that was, even if it hurt me. I was doing all the necessary steps for adoption but never came out to say I chose adoption. Maybe then I wasn't sure, maybe I just wasn't confident with it yet.

I started looking at couples online. I changed the requirements with every search. But for some reason I always ended up looking at families who already had children. For some reason I was drawn to them. But nothing like when I read and looked at T and B's profile. Their kids I loved by just looking at them. I emailed them for the first time with one line. "how do you feel about openness?" They emailed back and their response to my question just felt right. We started emailing daily. It was the highlight of my day. I would read, reread, and then email back to them. Their children asked me the cutest questions like "what color is your phone?" or "how many trophies do you have?". I fell in love with this family. They felt like my family. The told me about this book called, "For the Love of a Child", I went and got it the next day. I read it all in one night. I cried and had a strong feeling that this was the family.

We agreed to meet for dinner. T & B, my sister, my dad and I all met up at California Pizza Kitchen. They mostly talked as I listened. I was nervous and shy. With a little push from my dad I asked the one question I had been longing to ask, "Will you adopt my baby?". They said yes. We hugged and took pictures. We agreed to meet up again, this time with the kids.

Our next visit was at the park. The kids brought me a stuffed bear with their voices recorded telling me they loved me. We played. C (their youngest), tried to lift up my shirt to see baby Lily. I loved them.

The next few weeks went by fast. They were getting ready for the new baby, and I was looking forward to holding that little angel in my arms. My due date came and went. No baby. A few days later I was induced. The next day at 8:30 pm, my angel was born. They laid her in my arms and I just stared. She was beautiful, and I was in love. I called T and B to tell them she was born and they were excited. They and the kids visited me the next day. Holding Lily and loving her. I also felt the love they had for me.

I took Lily home to spend a few days with her. I wanted to spend time and love on her. I held her, kissed her, and told her how much I loved her. The last night she was visiting my home, I held her all night. We both slept through the night cuddling. It was amazing. I met up with her parents in the morning to take pictures (courtesy of Lily P. Photography). And we agreed to meet that afternoon for placement.

We left my house late and arrived at the agency to T & B, and my caseworker already waiting. I held Lily as I signed the adoption papers. I wanted that reminder why I was doing this right there in my arms. I knew she deserved a two-parent home, parents who prepared and planned for her, the opportunity to be sealed, and a life I couldn't give her. I am grateful for T and B being there and being ready for her. We walked to the car together, I buckled her in her car seat and I gave her a million kisses. I hugged Tand B. We said our goodbyes. The car ride home was the worst. Were Lily once sat, I now sat. My sisters on both sides of me holding my hands. I knew it would be ok, but right then it hurt so bad. I spent the evening with one of my best friends. We watched movies, played games, and ate yummy chocolates Lily's family had brought me in the hospital. All while I laid around in my pajamas. T and B surprised me with pictures that night of Lily and her siblings. I loved them.

This family has become some of my greatest friends, and support. They not only love Lily, but they love me, and there is never a doubt in my mind about this. We have hung out many times since placement. Each time I was grateful that this family was ready for Lily and that I was led to them. There is not one thing i would change.

Adoption has helped me become a better person. It is a huge part of my life. I often feel the blessings adoption brings to my life. I cherish the visits, and the friendships I have developed from Lily's entire family and extended family, adoptive parents, birth parents, and so many other people. I love all of them. I feel blessed to be apart of adoption, especially an open one. I often feel like I am apart of special group of people. I am thankful for my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and how much he has brought me up in my hard times. Adoption isn't always easy, but it's well worth it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Get out your tissues... a beautiful Birth Mom kept, then placed...

This is Jill's story... Here is her blog

I never, ever wanted to be a birth mother.

I always thought that a birth mother was a woman who had a baby she wasn’t ready to parent, and I think I was born ready. People would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and while I had an answer for them (which changed with my age), I always thought, what a stupid question. I am going to be a mommy when I grow up.

Adoption itself I was familiar enough with. My mother was adopted at birth and although her family’s a little crazy, she had a perfectly happy growing up, and she always knew without a doubt that she was loved. I thought of my mom’s birth mother only to wonder if it was she who was responsible for my height, or my nose, or my bosom, and to wonder if she was any less crazy than my maternal grandmother. But I was grateful for her. Because of her, my mom has an eternal family, and she grew up with a strong testimony and everything a birth mom could want for her child.

As for me, I never felt that I had it in me to be that selfless, that noble. When I love, I love deeply and with my whole soul. I didn’t think that I could ever give up a child I grew and carried and birthed. Of course, I never thought it would be an issue for me. At the age of 24, I’d never been on a date. When church leaders spoke of chastity, all I could think was how nice it would be to be in a position to worry about keeping the law of chastity! I’d all but given up.

Then I met H. We met in March, on MySpace. How embarrassing is that? But I didn’t mind. H was clever and charming and funny and he told me I was beautiful. I decided I was in love with him. I knew what I had been taught, but I think I always believed that H was my one and only chance at any kind of relationship, and I let things go too far for fear of losing him.

Things inevitably ended. H dumped me at the end of July, and I was completely devastated. He said he still wanted to be friends. I cried for weeks. I was inconsolable. Then came the news that my father’s brain cancer had returned, and he would have, at most, six months. I was fired from my job two weeks later. Insult, meet injury. Despite his promise, H kept his distance, and I tried to persuade myself that it was for the best. I spent time with my father and I am so glad I did. Six months became two weeks, and my dad died on September 9th.

I heard from H off and on. He seemed to be considering a relationship again, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I was grieving the loss of my father and I sought comfort where I could. I mistook H’s sympathy for affection. I found out I was pregnant two days after I turned 25.

I was horrified and ashamed and frightened. It seemed too much to deal with. I didn’t pray, but I shouted and railed at God. “I get it, okay? I screwed up. Fine. Message received. Now make this go away.” At first I only told my mother and my bishop. But a few weeks later I tired of bearing my burden alone. I told H.

I had hoped that the news might scare H into growing up, growing a spine, growing a brain. He’d been immature and unreliable, and I knew that had to change if he was going to be in my life now.

He didn’t change. I saw him last in November of 2008.

I considered adoption. I browsed profiles on the LDSFS website. I found three couples I like. I met with two of them and decided a third choice would be too much for me. I liked both couples immensely and felt that they would be wonderful parents. I wished I could give each of them a baby – a baby, but not my baby. I knew it, I thought to myself. I just can’t do this. I’m too selfish.

I decided to plan on single parenting. I bought a crib, a car seat, diapers, Onesies. Adoption was ever present in the back of my mind, but I pushed it away. I wanted my baby. I wanted her more than I’d ever wanted anything in my life. I spent hours every day staring at my ultrasound pictures, rubbing my belly and talking to my baby, impatient for the moment when I would finally meet my baby and hold her in my arms and be her mommy.

The moment came later than I’d planned, after 36 hours of labor followed by an emergency c-section. She was the most perfect, amazing little person I had ever seen. Weeks before the birth, I’d told myself that if adoption was the right call, I’d know when the baby was born. What a stupid thing to think! As soon as I saw her, some deep, primal part of me said she was mine, and that was that. The decision was made.

Being a single mother was hard work, exhausting and unforgiving. I loved it, though. And I loved my baby girl. She was my entire world. I thought she was absolutely perfect, probably the most perfect baby to ever be born. She was calm and happy, rarely fussing, and she slept and ate well.

But I couldn’t get adoption out of my head. It had taken root in my brain months before and wouldn’t loosen its grip. If I had a free minute or two, I was on-line, looking at adoption websites and profiles and blogs. I cried as I browsed. What a horrible mother I was! I had the most beautiful, most perfect baby in the world, and I was trying to find a couple to pawn her off to. What was wrong with me? And yet I couldn’t stop. I spent hours on-line, scratching my adoption itch.

I loved my baby more deeply and completely than I’d ever loved anyone in my life. But I had moments when I was holding her or feeding her or bathing her and I felt that I was living someone else’s life. That I was raising someone else’s baby. I hated those thoughts, and when they came I held my baby a little tighter, worried about my sanity and my fitness as a mother.

H made another appearance in mid-August via late-night e-mail. He’d sort of internet-stalked me and found out I’d kept the baby. He wanted his rights and threatened all sorts of nasty legal action. He implied that he would seek full custody.

I panicked.

I called my caseworker at LDSFS and arranged to meet with her on Monday. I had notions in my head of having his rights legally terminated, of restraining orders and court orders and a police-enforced safety net. H had shown his true colors during my pregnancy, and I knew that I didn’t want him in my baby’s life. I was terrified of what influence he would have on her, what he would teach her and expose her to, and I was convinced that if he had custody he would corrupt her, confuse her, and turn her against God.

I wasn’t going to let that happen. She was innocent and sweet and pure, fresh from Heaven. I was determined to keep her safe. Once again I looked at couple profiles on-line. I liked several but none really stood out. One couple sort of did – their profile was well-written, sans spelling or grammatical errors, and their picture was charming – they’d adopted a beautiful little girl 18 months ago. But they didn’t meet the criteria I had in my head. I wanted baseball fans and they watched ASU football. I wanted people with educational experiences like mine, and they were both overeducated. He reminded me a bit of my oldest brother, but in my mind, they simply wouldn’t do. So I moved on.

Or at least, I tried to. God had other plans. The names of that couple came to me over and over again. Every time I saw a list of couples hoping to adopt, there they were. I swore their names were boldfaced on one list I saw, but closer inspection showed their names in the same type as the other 30 or so couples listed. And there they were on another page. On another blog. On another list. And another, and another. I shut my computer off, thinking that I needed a break, as I was clearly losing my mind.

I prayed, not for the first time, to know what to do. I hated the answer. I was not placing my baby for adoption. “Well, Heavenly Father,” I said, “That’s nice. But you gave me agency. So … yeah. I’m keeping her.”

My baby woke from a nap and I fixed her a bottle. As I fed her, as I burped her, as I changed her diaper and rocked her to sleep, the names of that couple came to me over and over again, steady and strong as my beating heart.

This went on for two days. When I met with my caseworker on the third day, I begged her to help me sever H’s rights. She explained that would be a difficult thing to do. She asked me if I’d considered adoption. It was then, I think, that my heart accepted what my spirit had known all along. My baby wasn’t supposed to be mine.

She was seven weeks old. I was her mommy. How was I going to do this? My caseworker promised she’d help me find a couple willing to be very, very open. She mentioned the names of a few couples, but as she spoke, I made a connection that I should have been smart enough to make days ago.

“I know exactly where she belongs,” I said, looking down at my sweet baby napping in her car seat. I told my caseworker the name of the couple that had been haunting me for days. A phone call was made, and I arranged to meet the couple on Thursday.

I was more nervous about meeting them than I had ever been in my life. But I knew as soon as I entered the room that they were my baby’s parents. My baby knew it, too. I handed her first to her daddy. My little girl had a very expressive face, and while I could get smiles out of her, she most often looked puzzled or thoughtful. Not now. This newborn baby, this tiny girl, looked right into her daddy’s eyes, and she gave him the biggest smile I’d ever seen. She was enchanted. It was as if she’d said, “Oh, Daddy! There you are! I’m so happy to meet you at last!” I took a picture of my little girl with her new mommy and daddy. I had the most amazing peace. For the first time in over a year, everything in the world felt right.

When you are a mother, you have this innate awareness of your baby. Your baby is … well, yours. She belongs in your arms. I let friends and relatives hold my baby, of course, but when I did so my arms felt empty. I was on the alert, making sure the baby was comfortable and happy, her head supported, her limbs arranged just so. I was attuned to her so completely, I could hear her squeak or grunt from across the room. I could never relax when anyone else was holding her.

When I handed my baby to her mom and dad, something very curious happened. My mommy radar went away. My arms didn’t feel empty. I was at peace. I relaxed for the first time she the baby had been born.

I decided to place her in two weeks, on September 9th – the first anniversary of my father’s death. I decided that, that way, I’d have one day a year to be miserable, and I could be happy the other 364 days. Those two weeks were the shortest of my life. I had to fit a lifetime of memories into fourteen days. I took more than a thousand pictures. I skipped naps and meals so I could hold my baby as she slept. I whispered things to her, that I loved her so very much, that her mommy and daddy loved her already, and that she was going to have the most amazing life. And then on the 9th, I signed a sheet of paper that said I wasn’t her mommy anymore, and I handed her over to the woman who was.

The drive home was surreal, short and brutal. I’d been a mommy for nine wonderful weeks, and now my baby was gone. I wanted nothing more than to die. I missed my baby so much that I thought the pain would rip me apart. I felt like I’d been poisoned and I was dying slowly, the very fabric of my being dissolving and disintegrating from the inside out.

The first two weeks were without a doubt the worst in my entire life. I don’t actually remember them very well. Then came the first visit with my baby and her family. And it was wonderful! It was amazing, and comforting, and happy. My baby didn’t feel like mine anymore. She was theirs, as she was always meant to be. I knew on a cellular level that this little girl was where she belonged, in the home that Heavenly Father intended for her.

I love that little girl more than I have words for. She stole my heart. I miss her every day. But I would place her again in a heartbeat. She has the most wonderful parents and big sister that a girl could ask for. She was sealed to them in the temple in December. She is healthy and smart. She is the happiest baby I have ever seen. She seems to have an innate knowledge of just how deeply she is loved, and it gives her this magical, peaceful quality I can’t quite name. I’ll say it again: She has amazing parents. They can give her everything in the world she could ever want or need. The only thing they couldn't give her was a body, and I am so thankful that my Father in Heaven trusted me with that awesome responsibility. Her parents love her, and they love me. Because of my decision, both of our lives are forever changed for the better, and I am forever grateful.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One to share again...

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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Staying OPEN in Adoption...

OK LOVE THIS STORY! Thank you Angie and Clayton for sharing it with us. You must read it! Its so real! They share with us how misunderstandings can happen in open adoption and how you can fix it with communication! I am really excited to share this open adoption story, because in the end, it all worked out and THAT IS HOW ITS SUPPOSE TO BE! :)Here is their story!

Clayton and I met when we were 17 years old. We worked together at the same place so we had all the same friends. He was the “dashing” forklift operator and I worked on an assembly line putting stickers on merchandise (glamorous we know!) We started hanging out as a group and within a couple of months he asked me out! 1 month later we shared our first kiss and we’ve been inseparable since then! We dated for 4 years and were married on a beautiful day in June of 2000. We were more than ready and so excited to start our married life together!

5 years later we had already been through more than we could have ever imagined. After several years of battling infertility we were realizing that having a baby might not actually happen for us. Meanwhile in 2003 Clayton was diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer. We were scared about the unknown but we put all our efforts into focusing on him getting well and put the fertility issues aside. After several surgeries and months of trying to get through a tough recovery he is cancer free today!

However those 5 years were not without lots of happiness and joy as well. We took many trips together, bought a home, got a puppy and just enjoyed being together. During this time I was also baptized into the LDS church by Clayton and we were sealed for time and all eternity in the Manti temple the following year!

Prayer has played a huge role in our lives and decisions that we have made in our marriage. When the realization that we weren’t able to conceive finally hit us, we put our trust in Heavenly Father that he would answer our prayers and help us know what we should do next. Our answer to adopt was very clear, it also brought us so much peace to know that we were doing what Heavenly Father wanted us to do. We recognized that he has a plan for our family and that plan was adoption.

We signed up with LDS family services and about a year of waiting later we decided to sign up with a private agency (Heart to Heart Adoptions) as well. In the almost 2 years total time that we waited we did have 2 “failed” placements and had learned a lot about the adoption process along the way. We also learned even more to trust in Heavenly Father and have faith to continue on.
One of the things we learned immediately about adoption was how much the adoption process had changed over the years. We learned everything we could about open adoption and we were open to the idea but we still had fears.
One morning in June of 2007, about a week after our 7th wedding anniversary, I received a call from Heart to Heart telling me that we had been chosen by a wonderful birth mother named Diane to adopt her baby boy!! We were ecstatic!! There are no words to describe getting that call! She was due in 5 weeks so we had NO time to spare!

Driving to the restaurant to meet Diane for the first time, we were both nervous wrecks. What if we said the wrong thing? What if she saw us and changed her mind? There were so many scenarios playing thru our minds but more than anything we wanted to meet her, hug her, give her support and let her know how much we already loved her. When we finally met her we were relieved to see that she was nervous too! She was sweet, kind and funny and helped to put us at ease. We were excited to begin a relationship with her! Our caseworker helped us work out the details of the openness of our adoption. At this point we really didn’t have examples to look at so we went with what our caseworker recommended for us: Pictures and letters to his birthmother when the baby was 1 month, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months old and then a letter and pictures once a year.

Many of our friends and family had some BIG misconceptions on open vs. closed adoptions. In fact the more I had to educate everyone around me about them the more I gained a testimony of open adoption. I can say with absolute certainty that we knew without a doubt that this little boy was to be our son. But he also has an amazing, selfless and beautiful birthmother. Without her where would we be? The very first thing we did after receiving the call that we had been chosen, was to begin to pray for confirmation that this was Heavenly Father’s will for our family. Our prayers were again answered with feelings of peace and comfort that this precious little boy and his birth mother were to be part of our family.

A couple of days before Diane’s due date, I received a call from our caseworker early one morning saying that Diane had gone into labor and was already at the hospital. They had tried to call me several times but I was in the shower and didn’t hear the phone! I frantically called Clayton at work to tell him the news! I didn’t even finished getting ready, instead I jumped in the car with wet hair and sped to Claytons work to pick him up so we could get to the hospital in time!!
When we got to the hospital our main concern was Diane and how she was feeling. Neither of us had ever experienced being there for someone to give birth before so we didn’t really know what to expect. We gained SO MUCH respect for Diane that day just watching her go through labor. I think it was also incredibly generous and loving of her to allow us to be there with her that day in the hospital. When Adam was born we were privileged enough to be in the room to see his birth, I even cut the umbilical cord! (something I was not expecting!) We were also the first to hold him which again, especially looking back on it now, testifies to me how much strength, love and courage birth mothers have for their children. To put that little baby first, beyond your own feelings and desires, THAT is love.

At placement our fears and concerns were only directed at Diane and her well being. I was especially concerned that I would never be able to express to her just exactly what she means to me.
There is a special and unique kind of love that an adoptive mother has for her child’s birthmother. It’s so deep and full of respect and awe. I know that the decision that Diane made for her baby was a gift for him to have a better life. I hope and pray that in return her own life has been blessed through her brave choice.

Our caseworker had explained the relinquishment process to us and told us that we would be taken to a separate room while Diane signed and then when she was done they would bring the paperwork to us to sign. Afterwards we would go into her room, exchange gifts and say our goodbyes (She lived in another State and would be returning home).
One of our gifts to her was a beautiful diamond necklace with Adam’s birthstone in the middle so that she could always have a little piece of him to carry close to her heart. I had also made her a special scrapbook and had a photo album for her with some pictures of Adam in it.
When the time came to leave her room so she could sign, I was actually holding Adam. I remember very clearly when the caseworker came in and told us it was time to go. I got up and carried Adam over to Diane to place him in her arms. She had quietly started crying and shook her head at me indicating that she didn’t want to hold him but wanted to me to take him instead. I had not expected this to happen and my heart ached for her. I was walking out of her room with her baby.
I barely made it out into the hall before I broke down sobbing.

There is so much joy and so much sorrow all at the same time.

Nothing could have prepared us for this part of the process. About 20 minutes later our caseworker came in with the paperwork for us to sign. Meanwhile she told us that Diane had decided that it was too hard for her to see us so we weren’t going to be allowed to give her our gifts in person or hug her goodbye. I couldn’t hold back the tears at the point. I wanted to tell Diane in person how much I loved her, I wanted to tell her that Adam would be ok and that we would do our best to raise him in a righteous and loving home.
We had to respect her decision though and hoped that she was ok. They assured us that they would help her get through it and that she was confident with her decision to place him with us but she had to deal with her grief in her own way.
A very emotional hour later we were walking out of the hospital with our beautiful son sleeping in his car seat!!! I’m not gonna lie….it was an AMAZING feeling!! We drove home in complete awe of our experiences and couldn’t wait to introduce Adam to our families!!

I mentioned earlier that we had set up a “time line” of when we would send pictures and letters. For that first year we stuck to it like glue. I faithfully wrote letters and sent pictures just like we had agreed. When Adam was 1 month old we got a call from our agency saying that Diane wanted to talk on the phone. We happily accepted and were able to get some closure after not being able to see her at placement in the hospital. She explained that it was such a difficult time for her but that she was healing and SO HAPPY to get our first letter and pictures. When Adam was 6 months we got another call from our agency indicating that Diane wanted to talk with us again.



I took something that Clayton and I had talked about completely out of context and assumed that I knew what he wanted, which was no more phone calls. When Clayton got home and I told him what I had done, he knew that it was wrong and even worse, I KNEW I WAS WRONG. After all, I have a testimony of open adoption! I know how important it is and what a blessing it is! The next day I called our caseworker and explained the situation to her. She advised me not to worry, she had taken care to explain it to Diane thoughtfully and that we should just let it be. I couldn’t let it be. The shame that I felt, and STILL feel to this day about not accepting that phone call is enormous. I continued to write letters and send pictures but I was sick inside. I have so much love for Diane, so why had I done this? I’m not going to make excuses for myself but I know that I was feeling insecure. I wanted Adam all to myself. I realize this makes no sense, after all I get to be the one who takes care of him be and is his mommy his entire life while she has to watch from a distance! Like I said, I’m not making excuses for my actions I’m just being honest about what was going through my head. On his 1st birthday we received our first letter from Diane. She expressed how upset, hurt and sad she was that we didn’t want to talk to her but she also had to respect our decision and still loved us. It took me several months more to get the courage to face that I had hurt her and own up to it. I wrote her a letter I apologized for not taking that call. I also told her that we would NEVER turn down a phone call again. After that first year, according to our agreement we were only obligated to send 1 letter a year on Adam’s birthday. However we had learned so much and gained such a strong testimony about open adoption that we just continued to write letters and send pictures and packages every 2 months or so. We didn’t hear from Diane for a long time. When Adam’s 2nd birthday was nearing, I called the agency and asked to speak with her. We had a great phone call that lasted about an hour. It was wonderful to talk to her!! About 2 months later we got our 2nd letter from Diane. We found out that due to some issues while moving and family getting involved she hadn’t got some of our packages and letters and one of them was my letter of apology!! She was grateful for my letter and finally felt like we had resolved what had happened and could move on. Since then the openness continues to get better as we are learning day by day what this means for all of us! We now email regularly. We also have an adoption blog that Diane can see any time and I put updated pictures and stories on it every week and I continue to send letters, pictures and packages every couple of months. We’ve learned that there is no “set” way that an open adoption should be. It’s whatever you and the birth mother are comfortable with. Our comfort levels have grown so much as our love for Diane strengthens and grows. She is wonderful and we want Adam to know that. He has so many people that love him. My insecurities are gone and instead of wanting him all to myself, I want to embrace open adoption and let him feel the love around him.
He has a right and a privilege to know where he comes from, who he looks like and why he is so very special!

We will continue to have an open adoption with Adam’s birthmother for the rest of our lives. (Hopefully one day that will mean visits too!) We are so grateful for her and her decision to place him with us. We have a strong testimony of the gospel and Heavenly Father’s plan for each of us. We know that without the trials of infertility we would not have been lead on the path of adoption and for that reason we consider infertility one of our biggest blessings. We are so grateful for the power of prayer, it gives us the opportunity to draw closer to Heavenly Father and increases our faith. We are so blessed and privileged to be Adam’s parents and to be a forever family!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Knots Prayer... loved it!

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.

Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots,
that I have in my Mind.

Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the 'am nots'
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jori's Testimony...

This beautiful lady is Jori and she is one inspiring person :) I just had to share her sweet story. Thank you Jori, for allowing me to share your story and testimony!

The article in the January 2008 Ensign titled “Why Adoption?” touched my personal life so deeply I felt inspired by the Holy Ghost to share my story. After reading February’s 2009 article I could not put off writing it any longer. I just hope my story helps someone else going through what I went through.
When you love someone unconditionally, you do what is best for them, not yourself. It was hardest lesson I ever learned, placing my daughter for adoption. It was also the best thing I have ever done. Early in 2008 a family knelt down for prayer in their home in Provo, Utah. During their prayer they told the Lord that they felt that their family was not yet complete and when he was ready to send them another baby they would be ready. They had no idea that their prayer would be answered so soon. The next night the couple received a phone call about a young woman in his home ward back in Delaware that was pregnant and thinking about adoption.
I found out in the beginning of February 2008 that I was pregnant. The news was more than I could handle. I was 20 years old and nearly done with my college education. I was so nervous to tell my parents. They had raised me in the gospel with strong values and morals. They were disappointed but love and cared for me. Adoption was already a big part of my life. I was adopted by my parents as a small baby. I knew the blessings that came from adoption, yet at the same time during my teenage years I found myself upset and angry with my birth mother that I never knew for giving me up and not wanting me. I now know how wrong I had been. I began to weigh all of my options. When I found out that I would be having a girl my heart was full of joy and excitement.
In June I had the most spiritual experience of my life. I met with the young man who lived in Utah with his family. They were friends of my family long before I was born. As I sat with him, he told me about his other two adopted children who I had met before and their stories. He told me how he and his wife would be honored to raise my daughter. It was finally my turn to speak. My chest began to burn and tears filled my eyes as I tried to talk. I was having doubts about adoption after finding out the baby was a girl. At that moment all of my doubts faded and I knew from that instant that he and his wife were meant to raise my baby for this life and eternity. By the end of the meeting we all were crying. Not only were their prayers answered, but mine were as well. I will never forget that tremendous testimony building experience as long as I live.
The last five months of my pregnancy flew by before my eyes and it was October before I knew it. I was writing emails to the family in Utah keeping them updated with my doctor’s appointments and even sent a few pictures of my growing belly. Knowing they were unable to have children of their own my heart went out for them. I wanted to make the experience about them instead of me, since they have never been able to witness their other two children’s births. I decided that I wanted them both in the room when she was born and I wanted the adopted father to cut her umbilical cord. I threw his wife a baby shower just days before the baby arrived. It was all so wonderful. The women in my ward showed me such kindness and service, never judging. They all were in attendance at the baby shower.
Two days later Talia arrived. All that I asked was that I get to spend those two days in the hospital with her and then she could go with them. Those two nights were a mixture of joy and sadness. I was so happy that she was finally here, yet sad because I knew that she would be leaving me shortly. From the time I found out I would be placing her for adoption to stay focused I kept a journal that I wrote in everyday of my pregnancy up until after she was born telling her how much I loved her, what she meant to me and why I choose adoption. I gave it to her parents who agreed to give it to her when she was older. I thought since I knew I would be placing her for adoption five months before she was born it would be so simple. I was wrong. I held her as much as I could, studied all her little features and tried to memorize them. They stayed a week after she was born and brought her over for my family to see her a lot. I didn’t know it was possible to love something so little so much. When they left our house and drove to the airport if felt like a piece of me was going with them. I did not think it would be so difficult to watch her go. In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing and my family was such a huge support to me.
About a month after she was born my mom and I flew out to Utah to sign my rights away and to visit. Signing my name at the bottom of that paper was the hardest thing I did. Leaving her that time was harder than the first. But since then I have received many pictures of her and updates about her and the family. How eternally grateful I am that she has two of the greatest parents Heavenly Father could possible have given her.
Next month my number one goal for her will come true, they will be taking her to the temple in Utah and having her sealed as apart of their family for all time and eternity. What a great blessing it is for me to know that I helped another daughter of God find her eternal family.
That gives me such great joy that I cannot express. The song by Michael McLean called “From God's Arms, to my Arms, to Yours” sums up my entire story. I feel so strongly that she came to earth through me, but not to me. I now know that Heavenly Father does not make mistakes. Talia was sent at this time for a reason.
She has changed my life forever. She helped me see life in a whole new light and change the way I was living. She saved me along with the great and powerful atonement of Jesus Christ.

The road to repentance can be long and not easy but I testify that it is so worth it in the end. I am so grateful for the love that Jesus offers me and I know that he will always be there for me in my time of need. I am indeed grateful for this experience that I went through because it has taught me numerous things.
I know adoption is not for everyone but it has certainly blessed my life beyond measure. I have been truly blessed since 2008. I found my birth mother week of Mothers Day 2009 and we have a amazing relationship that grows daily. November of 2009 I married my best friend in the Washington DC Temple and now after being married for 4 months we are expecting twins in October of this year.
How blessed I have been for making the right choice.

A place to check out :)

I was looking up Birth Mom gift ideas and came across this website that I thought might be helpful or have some ideas that you all might like.
This is the link : http://adoption.about.com/od/celebrationinspiration/a/honormothers.htm
I suggest going to it, because in the steps that I will put on here, are highlighted words that link you to other places that I thought had good information on it.
So here is what I found....
14 Ways for a Birth Mother or Birth Father to Honor & Remember a Placed Child
By Carrie Craft, About.com Guide

1. Journal about your experience as a birth mother or father. Write about the adoption of your child. Consider sharing your story with a close friend.
2. Write a poem about your adoption experience or your child.
3. Write a letter to your child to share when he/she is an adult or upon your adoption reunion.
4. Create your family tree to give to your child when he/she is an adult or upon your adoption reunion.
5. Find an adoptive family that you can mentor about open adoptions. Consider mentoring an expectant mother or father who is considering adoption.
6. Join an post adoption support group or a group for birth parents.
7. Light a candle on your child's birthday or the day of the adoption finalization. Make a wish for your child's continued health and safety.
8. Release balloons on your child's birthday or the day of the adoption finalization. Have a balloon for each year of your child's life.
9. Plant a tree or garden. While you work your garden and watch it grow and thrive think of your child.
10. Ask your church to offer a special prayer on Mother's Day or Father's Day remembering birth parents.
11. Help children in need of homes within the foster care system.
12. Speak out about open adoption. Write letters to the editor of your local paper explaining your views.
13. Donate books about adoption to your local library or school libraries.
14. Speak at schools, group homes, or organizations about adoption; the pros, cons and resources available to expectant parents.