Sunday, December 26, 2010

Questions and answers from a Birth Mom and Adoptive Mom

1. What brought you to adoption?
( Birth Mom)
Well. I was single and pregnant. My mom asked me if I wanted to go to LDS Family Services to talk to a counselor and so I did. And I wasn't so sure on adoption for about the first 4 months of my pregnancy. It was mentioned here and there but it always made mad or sad. I was very closed minded at first. But my heart began to soften as soon as I found out that Valery and Dustinn were looking to adopt.

(Adoptive Mom)

Like many other couples, infertility brought us to adoption.
We had been blessed with one biological son but hoped for more children. Starting the adoption process felt natural and right.

Back in 2004, I was a senior at BYU. I was walking home from class one day and saw a toddler, wearing just a diaper, running back and forth across the street. I carried him to the side of the road and hung out with him until I met his mother. His mother, "N" was in dire straits. "N" and I became friends but even more so, her son "Angel" and I became friends. I'd regularly pick him up to go to the park or McDonald's. Sometimes when I returned with Angel I couldn't find "N" and Angel would stay with me (and my college roommates, haha) overnight.

Dustinn came into the picture and together we continued to visit Angel as "N" hopped from place to place in the Salt Lake valley, and as Angel was in and out of foster care.

In 2008 "N" and Angel moved again, except this time no one knew where they went. I haven't seen or heard from "N" or Angel since. But I miss him. I still keep my eyes peeled for him when we're in Utah. I can't help but think about how old he's turning every December 16th. I wonder what he's like and how he is doing in school. I wonder if anyone is helping him with his homework and reminding him that he is good and smart and important.
Dustinn and I pray that he's okay because we know often he was not.
The moral of this story is twofold:
1. I knew long ago that a child did not have to be biologically mine to love him/her with all my heart.
2. I know what it's like to wonder how a child is doing. We wouldn't ever want Stefanie to feel like that. While we're aware that open adoption isn't for everyone, it was important to us that Stefanie had that option.

2.What do you want out of the adoption relationship with each other.
(Birth Mom) I wanted a really close friendship like BFF's. Someone I can call and talk to even if I was having a bad day and needed a friend. I think our friendship has blossomed more and I think of Val as like my soul sister. :)
(Adoptive Mom) Stef appreciates updates, pictures, visits and generally to have a continuing relationship with Olivia.
We don't have any expectations of things we'd like Stefanie to do for us/Olivia. However, she has done many wonderful and thoughtful things for us. She loves us and Bradshaw. She remembers and cares about important things in our life. She makes us feel special by spending time with us.
Generally, everyone in the adoption triad wants respect, understanding, patience and forgiveness (Dustinn and I are most definitely fallible!)
We are hopeful that an open adoption will help comfort and reassure Stefanie of her choice. We are hopeful that an open adoption will give Olivia answers, confidence and peace.

3.What do you both want for the child that was placed for adoption?

(Birth Mom) I want her to be happy and to know that she's always loved from all different sorts of families. Your blood doesn't define your family. It's those that are closest to you. I want her to WANT to know where she comes from and that it's an awesome thing that she's adopted
(Adoptive Mom)
(Incidentally, prior to Olivia's birth we were on a long car ride with Stefanie and we all took turns making wishes for Olivia.)
Olivia's just a toddler now. We want her world to be warm, welcoming, friendly. We want Olivia to feel safe.
As she grows, we want her to be able to discover her talents and interests and to find joy and fulfillment in using them to help others.
We want her to know that she is a beloved daughter of God. That she is of divine worth.
We want her to know that God was aware of her birth and life. That He will hear and answer her prayers.
We want her to have the confidence that comes from knowing who she is and knowing what life is about.
We want her to know that she is dearly loved by her parents, siblings, birth mom, birth dad, and all of her extended family (birth family definitely included.)
We want her to know being adopted makes her special.

4.How is your relation ship with each other?
(Birth Mom) With Val (the adoptive mom) We're like sisters. With Olivia (birthdaughter) she's only 13 months old. But I know she'll always grow up knowing who I am and that we'll be super close. Not so much a mother/daughter relationship but maybe like an aunt/niece relationship. Sounds weird. I hated that idea at first. But it makes sense.

(Adoptive Mom) Good! Right, Stef?
We communicate primarily via email. Which works really well for me. (While I am not a shy person. I tend to shy away from the phone.)

Stefanie lives in Utah, where a lot of my extended family also lives so we've visited Utah several times in the past year and have typically been able to see Stefanie and her family multiple times each visit. So we've had the chance to meet and get to know her boyfriend/fiance/now husband, to play games (hurrah for Kingsburg!) and catch up in person.

5. What would be advice you would give to other women considering adoption?

(Birth Mom) It's hard and take the time to know you're doing what's best for YOU and for YOUR BABY. You will be affected by it but your baby will be affected more by your choices. I would advise you to do a pro/cons list. Get counseling. Go to groups, if there are any available in your community. Write in your journal. Pray often. Do what it is that will help you.

6. What would be your advice to other hopeful adoptive couples?

(Birth Mom) After having gone through the adoption process and meeting so many wonderful couples. I know that you all have that precious spirit waiting to be born with you. And they're as excited as you are. I know times will be tough and it'll get discouraging but don't lose faith.
My other advice (it's going to be kind of harsh and to the point): Do NOT lead your birthmom on. Do NOT promise her something that you can't follow through with. Do NOT promise her an open adoption with all intentions to close it up after. We canNOT have PEACE without all the PIECES. A birthmom will find you that will fit into your family if that's what you like. Be true to yourself. We made all the promises and followed through with the adoption and gave you what you wanted. All we ask is that you return the favor. If you don't feel comfortable with an open adoption, research it. Find out more about it. You are most likely feeling uneasy because of the unknown. It's a wonderful experience and you would truely miss out and so will your future child.
(Adoptive Mom) Keep a journal! Daily if possible. You will go through the whole gamut of emotions and see miracles that you'll want to remember--and even more so you'll experience things that you'll want to be able to tell your adopted child.
The more you write, the more you'll see.
I would especially note the "warm fuzzies" (such as sweet quotes your child's birth family says, special connections you have with the birth family, first impressions, etc.)
Plus, you never know if something you've written will someday be an answer your child seeks.

7. How open is your adoption? What does OPEN mean to you?
(Birth Mom) I think it's super open. We don't live in the same state. But being as far away as we are, it's still close. We actually knew each other before. Dustinn (adoptive dad) is best friends with my brother in-law. And they found out I was pregnant and looking at options through my sister. I knew they were the perfect family already. Before I had Olivia, I flew out to Virginia and stayed with them for a week. Me and Val would call each other and E-mail. We both blog and she sends me pictures or will tell me something new about Olivia and sends me updates. It's awesome. When they're in town, we see each other. They let me babysit Olivia a few days after I had Olivia.
(Adoptive Mom) I believe it would be labeled as "very open."
We've seen each other many times since Olivia's been born. We've been in each other's homes. We love each other's extended family. We follow each other's blogs. We send pictures and give updates. We talk on the phone but mostly email.

8. What does your Open adoption look like today? Has anything changed? More open? Less open?
(Birth Mom) Today. It hasn't changed much. Except that our schedules are just so busy. She is taking care of two kids. I recently just got married. But when we have time we will E-mail. It's so convient just when you're on the computer and you only have a short amount of time that you can always get back on and E-mail back when you have time. I feel bad if she calls and I can't answer and I don't call back. And I don't want Dustinn or Val to feel obligated that they have to call me back right away and that I'll be angry forever. I know they'll get back to me when they can. They're great. I'm sure we're both nervous about stepping on eachother's toes but nothing too horrible has gone wrong. Haha.

(Adoptive Mom) It's only been a year. I guess the biggest change is my husband is now an MBA student--so we're on a student budget and will be traveling less this year than we did last year. Otherwise nothing has changed.
Equally open.

9. What were your insecurities about placing for adoption and about adopting?

(Birth Mom) I was afraid that Olivia wouldn't know that I loved her or that I didn't know who I was. That Dustinn and Val decided that I was somehow a threat (or a psycho) to her and their family and would cut off all contact. I'm afraid that later on that when Olivia gets older that she will choose on her own that she doesn't want contact with me. I don't want it to be that somehow a huge fight will happen and we won't ever talk to each other again.
(Adoptive Mom) -First we worried that we wouldn't be chosen by a birth mother.
-Shortly after Stefanie chose us, she flew from Utah to Virginia to spend time with us. I was worried if my bath tub was clean. I was worried if my cooking tasted good. I worried whether she was bored. I was worried about what she thought of our parenting. Mostly, I was worried if it was a week long interview. (Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Within hours of Stef arriving, she saw our son's worst behavior. ever. And she still placed with us!!! The week was extremely fun: the highlights being the times she opened up to us regarding what she was feeling and thinking.)
-During Stefanie's pregnancy, we worried about placement HARD. Every woman who goes through that is a superhero in my book.)
-Now, mostly we worry about letting Stefanie down. Not in terms of parenting or who we are. More in terms of maintaining the relationship (ie sending enough/the right pictures, finding the balance between visiting Stefanie without neglecting other relatives we have in Utah, etc.)
(And new worries will likely crop up as Olivia grows up. :)

10. How are you (the birth mom) known to the child? Are you called by name? a nickname? Are you known as the birth mom?

(Birth Mom) I'm just Stefanie. Nothing to special right now just because Olivia is barely one. I'm sure she'll just know me as Stefanie and she'll know that I'm her birthmom. She won't ever call me mom because I'm not raising her, Val is. Val is her mom.
(Adoptive Mom)
Olivia is only 13 months old so she does't talk a lot. :)
Stef and I talked about what she'd prefer. We decided Olivia will call her "Stef/Stefanie" and of course she will know that Stefanie is her birth mother, her angel.

11. Did you both come up with a story together on how the child would know he/she was placed for adoption and why? Or did just the AParent?
(Birth Mom) I haven't even thought about it. Haha. I know that Dustinn and Val will do a great job with that and that I don't really have to worry about it.
(Adoptive Mom) Stefanie made Olivia a beautiful picture album.
With Olivia, there will never be a "big reveal." She will always know that she's adopted, has a birth mother and birth father who love her dearly, and that she came to our family in a very special way.

12.Who named the child?

(Birth Mom) We both sort of did. What happened was that when I was planning on parenting. I was going to name her Olivia Nicole. Nic is the birthfather and so Nicole would be after him. I told Val that after I decided to place. And they decided to keep the first name Olivia and to change her middle name to Kate after Val's great-grandmother and her sister. It didn't upset me. I was kind of unsure about it at first and I didn't know if I liked how it sounded together. But it grew on me. And I look at her and she's DEFINITELY an Olivia Kate. Not an Olivia Nicole.
(Adoptive Mom)We named her together.
It makes me laugh to remember this detail about the night we'd found out Stefanie was placing with us. That day, out of the blue, we'd received a package in the mail. When we opened the package we saw an ultrasound picture and the caption "it's a girl!" Beneath the picture was a letter that started "I wanted to let you know what you're having." (Thinking about it still gives me chills.)
We had company in town so Dustinn and I went out walking in the dark, warm summer night to call Stefanie. After squeals, tears and excitedly talking at the same time, she asked, "so....what are you going to name her?" "Oh Stef, we have no idea! We just found out we're going to be parents a few minutes ago."
We spent the next couple of days thinking about it. Stefanie had told us "if I was keeping her I would name her Olivia" but she in no way pressured us to choose that name. We'd previously planned on giving all our children family names. Then we had this "ah-ha!" moment: Olivia would be a family name--from Stefanie's side. (It also helped that we think Olivia is a beautiful name.)
Olivia's middle name is Kate after my Great Grandmother and my sister. A lot of people don't know their great grandparents very well but that is not the case for me. I spent many summers having sleep-overs at her house, eating her delicious cooking, doing cartwheels in her yard, and eating vegetables straight from their garden. Only after my own bout with infertility were my eyes opened to my Great Grandma's trials with wanting children. She was always cheerful and charitable.
13.Anything else you want to add?

(Adoptive Mom)

Yes! You asked specifically for a birth mom and adoptive parent story combined, so I focused on the relationship between Stefanie and I.
However, Olivia's story is incomplete without her amazing birth dad!
We got to know him and became friends before Olivia was born and continue to communicate and see him often. He loves Olivia very much.
He recently got married and he & his wife are an important part of our lives.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone...

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope and pray that your holiday seasons are filled with joy and peace. That you are all surrounded by your loved ones.

I hope that everyone remembers their very special birth mother and/or birth family. Do something special to let them know how very special they are to you in your life! :)

To all my birth mother friends, I love you! I appreciate your example of love and faith. Thank you for blessing my life with your friendship and your life lessons.

To all my hopeful adoptive friends, I love you too! For you are a strength to me in my time of need as we are all hoping and waiting together to be blessed with someone special to complete our families.

May you all feel blessed and hope in your lives. May we all recognize the daily miracles that God graces us with. From my Heart to Yours! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!11

Monday, December 20, 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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Birth Mothers 4 adoption did it again...

Check out this blog post from Birth Mothers 4 adoption. I love these ladies and I saw this and just had to share! :) A MUST READ! LOVE YOU DESHA AND JESSA :)

Lindsey's Hope

This is Lindsey, many of you know her as Mrs. R.
I asked Lindsey if she would like to share with us how adpoti
on is blessing
her life. This was her reply...

There were several years when i would wake up every morning and convince myself that the life I was leading was enough for me. I would go through the motions--pressing snooze on my cell phone and shoving it under my pillow just to have it wake me up again 7 minutes later. (Repeat 4-5 times.) Getting ready for work in the bathroom, racing the clock, racing to work ...and watching everyone else's children file into my third grade classroom. Some days I totally had myself convinced that that was the life that I was always destined to lead. After all, I loved being a third grade teacher. I loved the times table songs, the cursive (no, that's a lie. i hate cursive.), the literature, the rising independence, the hugs, the drawings, the student council I helped with and above all--I loved the creative writing. Oh the things these little minds would come up with! And the illustrations! I was in teacher heaven. Except when I wasn't.

After years of trying to conceive and feeling like a failure, I remember going to work one day and just feeling defeated. (A dangerous emotion of a leader of 30 9 year olds.) Sitting at my desk, I encouraged the kids filing in to put their backpacks away and get busy on the self-starter activity on the board.

One of those little gems walked over to me and handed me a black box. My heart jumped a little as I gave them a squeeze and said thank you. I didn't open it right then as someone needed my help and it sat on my desk until lunch time.

During those dark years of suffering silently with infertility, I often ate lunch in my classroom away from the other teachers whom I didn't really know all that well--probably because I ate lunch in my classroom! I opened the little black box and read the card that accompanied a beautiful sterling silver necklace. Reading that card changed my life. It was a definition of hope and a necklace with hope engraved in it. That gift gave meaning to a word that I was starting to forget the meaning of but needed now more than ever.

\hōp\ vb hoped; hop-ing: to desire with expectation of fulfillment; n: 1: TRUST, RELIANCE 2: desire accompanied by expectation of fulfillment; also : something hoped for 3: one that gives promise for the future 4: Considering something possible, combined with a desire for it. A wish or longing for something that seems impossible.

My morning routine has changed dramatically since those teacher days. I never set an alarm. Every morning around 7 am, I hear 2 sets of feet toddle into my room, dragging the blankets that we had made for them (and a matching one for their birth mothers). The oldest set of feet go over to my husband's side of the bed. "Daddy, can I play the big iPod?" He asks. Laughing, my husband makes him say good morning and give him a kiss before signing off on the early morning game playing.

The other set of feet come to my side of the bed--his head and shoulder barely visible above the mattress. "Mommy!" he cheers as though he hasn't seen me in ages. I giggle every morning as I watch him struggle to hoist those little legs up over the collection of blankets and snuggle next to me on my pillow. Every morning I am amazed by how soft his cheeks are.

I still have to coax myself to get our of bed, but it is usually with some prodding from a little that needs "appa jus."

Every morning it is the same thing.

And every morning I don't need any convincing that the life I am leading is enough. It is more than enough. It is more that I ever thought we would be able to experience. Every morning, at some point, I realize that I am living what was once thought impossible. Every morning I am grateful for every morning I get to be a mother.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taren, a Birth Mom, in the newspaper

You all have to check out Taren! She is on my Birth Mom panel and she is amazing! She is in the Twin Falls Paper...

Link to this..... share

Its a wonderful article! I am so excited for her and she did an amazing job sharing her adoption story! :) GO TAREN!!!!1

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kristi's Story

I am Kristi. I placed my daughter Jenna on July 14th 2005.The placement is very open. She lives down on the West Coast of Florida and I get visit twice a year, phone calls, and pictures by email. I also was placed but mine was an International Placement from DRC Africa in 1982. I was only two and came to America with an American family. I did not know my biological father. My biological mother passed away when I was one. So I was with my family and relatives but they wanted more for me and gave me to an American family and they ended up getting me in 1982.
I am 28 years old and I have another daughter Whitney is 11 years old. My hobbies are travelling, surrfing the web, and collecting postcards. I have over 2,000!

Thanks for reading my story!

Kristi’s Story:

At the end of November 2004 I was late. I did not think I was pregnant but I did take a pregnancy test. My due date was July 15th, 2005 but I actually delivered on July 13th, 2005.

I started working on the placement from the week of Monday March 7th.My dad found out I was pregnant in March and said he knew a couple that were looking for a placement again. He gave them a call. So they decided to do it then and I went though a private lawyer. So he met with me on June 30th. I was really coming to reality before I was too but not as much as that day. I did get a worksheet with things to fill out. I also met with a placement specialist and even went to a support group twice before I placed my daughter.

Finally on July 13th I had my midwife and nurse and doula there. I arrived at the hospital at 9: 45 am. At 11:55 AM Jenna Aariah was born. The family arrived as did a few close friends who were allowed to visit. I received roses and Jenna and I were each given the exact same teddy bear so that I can always be with her in thought.

When Jenna left with the adoptive parent that was hard to see her go. Nine days later on July 24th they stopped by heading back from Northern Indiana.

I did not see her again until Thanksgiving 2005. She was already 4 months then. I saw her a year from that November 25th, 2006. I also saw her again on January 4th 2008. My placement is very open. They have my address, email address, and phone number. I also talk to Jenna on the phone. She has great conversational skills for being 3 years old.

The days also do get easier. I still get pictures of her. I also get DVD pictures of her. Jenna has 3 sisters. The adoptive parents have girls from China and she has another sister because I have a 11 year old daughter named Whitney that is her half sister. Jenna also has a new cousin from China that is not even two years old. She is not the youngest one anymore. She also has a sweet cousin from China name Leeanna. She sees her sister Whitney when she comes, that is about 4 times. She has been in Florida since July 2005.

I do miss her but she is in great hands. That is my story. You can contact me via email. kikizulu@hotmail.com I would love to hear from you all at there who we shared the same experience!! Thanks!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adoption and Abortion

Pieces of the Puzzle...

Check out this blog, http://makingitnotfakingit.blogspot.com/ its a blog that I made to help me focus on the positives in my life.

I love the picture and the saying that I posted on it. It talks about how everyone who is on this earth is meant to be here. Along with that, I believe that everyone who is on this earth is meant to be here and God has a plan purpose for us all.

I believe sometimes that plan and purpose is to be a Birth Mother. I believe these women were chosen from God to help make families. Which is a pretty amazing thing. Its right up there next to God's job, making people and families! That is how much respect I have for Birth Mothers. These women are amazing! You ladies are NOT FORGOTTEN! At least not with me or the people that support this blog! We adore you! We respect and honor you! We are in AWE over who you are and the great example of what LOVE is. Thank you for being in my life... for being so many other's lives. I know you make a lasting impression on us all that I believe can and does change us to try to be better people.

Anyhow, check out the blog picture. I like it and had to share it. I felt like it fit for this blog. A Birth Mother/Father sometimes are the missing piece in all our lives. God Bless!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Leesa's Story (from birth mom panel)

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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A give away from my friend Kelsey

Kelsey Snyder Stewart
Hello and Happy Holidays!
I am currently doing a giveaway on my blog for three signed copies of The Best For You. I sure would appreciate your help in spreading the word, or if you do not have a copy yet I would love for you to enter! Feel free to share with your friends or on your pages, tis the season for giving and I feel like GIVING!!!

A Birth Mother Voice: Holiday Adoption Book GiVeAwAy!!!!
Adoption is about love for the child, not that the child was not wanted. This heart warming book is aimed to help children and parents understand what one birth mother was thinking when she decided to adopt. Written in her perspective, she tells her child the reasons why she chose adoption for her

To enter go to this sight : http://thebestforyoubook.blogspot.com/2010/12/holiday-adoption-book-giveaway.html