Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Let's talk about S.E.X... and the Birth of a Family

I knew that A's birth would be magical, a game-changer. I envisioned it growing a family with D&G. I even hoped that it would create a family with the four of us (it has). What I didn't envision was the family it created with her birthfather. Our relationship's evolution has amazing me. I hated him for knocking me up, for not being careful (I mean really, you had one job, dude), for carrying on with his life unphased while mine shattered around me. For not wanting her.

The thing is, I've always been a "good girl." I never had sex in high school and college, rarely drank, gave my all to please everyone. In fact, I was a worship leader when I conceived A. It was selfishness, stupidity, and passion that lead to it. Drinks were involved, but mostly it was about wanting wild and uninhibited sex. I've distantly known A's birthfather for years (nothing romantic) and knew that he had been interested in me, so in a way he was every bit the victim I was. We could play naive, but we both knew where things were headed that night. Took me a while to admit that. And it's not like I stopped things to ask if he had on a condom. I was "wild and uninhibited," remember? Oy. I can hardly blame him for destroying my carefully laid image anymore.

Then there's the wanting her part. What else can you expect from a guy that you randomly hooked up with and didn't speak to for weeks until you told him you were pretty sure his child was growing inside you? A 21-year old guy, at that. He was terrified and overwhelmed and saw his life flashing before his eyes. I wasn't warm and fuzzy toward him, so he stayed away and I let him. He couldn't feel her dancing inside like I could or see her little feet on the ultrasound, so it wasn't real. He didn't call, text, or help with birth and adoption plans because he couldn't see it.

To his credit, he tried to respond when I reached out. He completed paperwork for the agency. When I went into labor he apparently became a wreck. He waited patiently until I invited him to see her hours after she was born (he wasn't sure he even wanted to but agreed because I asked while pregnant). At that point. everything changed. He fell in love with her a way he never imagined and the way he looked at her was something I'll never forget. It was time to nurse her, so I did. He watched me with such awe, and recently told me that it was the moment he realized he'd made a big mistake. He wanted both of us in his life forever, but loved her and I enough to admit adoption was best for us all. He met D&G the next day, spent time singing to A, and forever signed away his parental rights. I remember being a total bitch to him for being late. I obviously didn't get that things had changed.

He's yet to see A since then because of how deeply is rocked him to the core. He lost it for a while and it took months to find himself again, Now, he is ten times the man I ever imagined he could be. He is doing things with his life because of his daughter. We speak occasionally, and he finally admitted that he wants to see A but is scared. Scared D&G won't forgive his mistakes and allow it, scared that she won't love him. They're actually thrilled at the prospect of him also explaining that he chose this because He loves her so deeply, and I assured him that something engrained deep within her with create a deep bond between them. He is in on the google doc updates and snapfish pics now, and we are planning our first visit together, His level of involvement won't be anything like mine- maybe one or two a year we're thinking, but I am honestly blown away at the way things have turned out.

First and foremost, D, G, and A are family. But A, her birthfather, and myself will always be family (not exclusive of them) as well. I'll always check in on him and pray for the best in his life. He'll always be there for me, and we'll always love each other in the deep way you only can when you create a human being together and choose to put her well-being above your own. We're her birthfamily.



I love you. J loves you. We may not have made the best choices, but neither of us regret them one bit because they made you. You're the best thing we've done in either of our lives, and we will always love, adore, and admire you. We may not be the very best of people, but I can assure you that we gave you the very best of us at that time. Please forgive the hurt I know you one day will feel when you better grasp your conception and the full meaning behind adoption. We didn't easily terminate our rights to parent you. WE WANTED YOU. We will always want and miss you, and I hope the love that surrounds you will ease some of that pain. You've restored our lives and hearts and made them worth something. Thank you. God knew what he was doing when he entrusted you to us to grow for your Mom and Dad. Trust in that throughout life- God's plan for you is so much bigger than you can ever imagine.

love always,


Sunday, October 26, 2014

My heart just might explode from happiness

I had my visit with A yesterday, and it was perfection. She was loving and once again remembered me. She wanted me to hold her and when I did, she wrapped her little 9-month-old arms around me, laid her head on me, and held my hand. She is truly an exquisite child and I can't believe I brought her into the world. This visit affirmed everything amazing about open adoption. My daughter is in loving, capable hands and being given everything in life I wanted for her. D and I talked for hours, cried, laughed, and connected in a way only we can. We have a bond forged by the intense maternal love we share, similar feelings of loss, and appreciation for the gifts we have given each other. I will forever be grateful to her for all she'd given to A, and to me in allowing me to make the most of my life and become the best version of me I can be.

We made plans to facetime around the holidays and have a big Christmas family celebration with all my family. She even once again reminded me that if I were ever in town I could stop by and see them. I love the relationship I have with D, the special bond and relationship I have with A, and the feeling of being complete family with them. I honestly couldn't ask for anything more in this situation, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

This journey has been hard and painful, but I'm thankful for it. I've seen blessing after blessing as God has used what could have been a terrible situation to bring about miracles in many lives. I don't want to imagine my life without A and even without adoption. Reaching out to other birthmoms, opening up about my story, and recently taking steps to begin a birthmother support group have been healing for me. God's guidance and being painfully honest and open with D&G has allowed us to develop the relationship we have, even after a very painful rough patch that I was sure was the death of our relationship.

I love my daughter. I wish I could hold her like that all day every day, but I am happy with the way things have turned out. I can believe I created such a wonderful, magical thing.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Right now, the hardest part of this journey for me is the isolation. I have positive feelings when I think of A, her family, and her adoption. I even think positively of her birthfather. Being a birthmother has forever changed me in a way that someone who is not a birthparent can't get. I carry it with me at all times, silently shaping the way I see the world. Being that I'm not struggling with any particular aspect of the adoption, I can't pinpoint a topic to work through as I did through the stages of grief. Instead, I sometimes find myself to be an outsider compared to the rest of the world who has no idea what it feels like to willingly lose the opportunity to parent a child. They don't understand how I could be so happy over the way things have gone yet grieve at the same time. No one else comprehends the fact that A is constantly on my mind when they ask if I ever go a day without thinking about her. How could I, when being her birth mother is an integral part of WHO I am- it pulses through my veins and influences my every thought. This is not a bad thing, nor does it make me sad. It simply sets me apart from the majority of society.  I make friends and enjoy their company, and for the most part do not feel alone. This is the best way I know how to explain that I am rarely lonely but often isolated. Do I regret my decision? Not for one second. Am I happy? More than ever in my life. I'm simply learning how to navigate life with this still new and confusing burden.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The ups and downs

The life of a birthmother, like so many others, is full of ups and downs. Lately I have been in a fantastic up-swing. When I think about A I feel only happy feelings and love. I'm thankful for adoption, thankful for D&G, and happy that God saw fit to throw me this curve-ball in life. I love my relationship with D and am thankful she's so open, warm, and loving to me. I'll encourage expectant parents to consider adoption in a heartbeat, and happily support those I know who are pursuing adoption.

I remember reading words similar to these of birthmothers while I was in "down" phase. It made me angry and jealous and I probably felt the opposite of everything stated. Grief is a tricky thing and can easily consume and overwhelm you. I firmly believe it's something that can be controlled. in reality, it's not me vs adoption. Adoption is the blessing that gave my daughter everything she deserves, created parenthood for a broken couple, and gave me a second chance to get life right. It's me vs grief. I've had to learn to recognize the sign of grief when they sneak in as atypical symptoms such as anger, fear, feeling of insufficiency, and much more. I then have had to learn to dissect these feelings as I can only overcome them by getting to the root and solvin the problems in my head. The intangibility of grief makes it even tricker. It's not something I can actively fix so I seek problems I think could be causing my hurt instead. I might blame my feelings on D not calling me often because that's something I can see and fix. The problem is this causes stress on relationships while never conquering the true source of pain.

I'm incredibly grateful for the coping mechanisms that have landed me in a truly happy, optimistic, and marginally hurt-free phase of life. Being able to detect the genuine source of hurt and overcome it has been one of the most momentous and beneficial accomplishments of my life and one that I wish I could hand away to every birthmother out there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dear birthmother letter... from a birthmom

First, I would like to correct some terms and call it a "Dear expectant mom" letter. A woman is an expectant mom, and then a mom until the moment she terminates her parental rights. THEN and only then is she a birthmom. No matter how certain she is about placement, I believe that it is (mostly accidentally) coercion to call a pregnant woman a birthmom.Second, D and G have decided to start the process to adopt again. They asked if I would be comfortable writing a letter to go with theirs to prospective birthmoms, and I of course agreed. I believe in adoption 100%. It gave so many people the very best in life, and the joy far overshadows the pain involved. I want A to have a sibling desperately, and I know the timing needs to be soon. SO- here it is, rough draft at least.

Dear Expectant Mom,

First, please know that I am praying for you and my heart aches for the painful decision you’re making. I remember being there, and I know that no one completely gets what you’re going through. I know people keep telling you how much they respect you for making such a selfless decision, and you probably don’t know that to do with that; I didn’t and still don’t. But I will tell you this: creating my daughter, giving birth to her, choosing adoption, and choosing D and G to be her parents has been the best thing I’ve done with my life. Every picture I get, update I read, and visit I have with her reaffirms that by choosing adoption, I have given her everything I imagined but couldn’t do for her. She is happy, and she has a Mom and Dad that love her more than life itself and are always present for her.It warms my heart to see the adoration in A’s eyes for her Daddy and the way she lights up when he enters the room. I love seeing all the time that D spends with her and knowing that when she needed it, D was willing and able to take a sabbatical from work to care for her. These are things I couldn’t have done for her. I love that D makes all her organic food from scratch and puts hours of research into providing A the best educational material, the most up-to-date safety precautions, the most non-toxic products, the healthiest food choices.

All that to say, I love D and G. We have become family. You can rest assured that if trust them with your baby, they will follow through with what they say. The early days of adoption aren’t easy for anyone involved, but they stuck by me to work out the fantastic relationship we have now. They have always put A before themselves, which is all I think I could ask for as a birthmom.
I pray that A gets a sibling, and know that adoption is the route for that to happen. In the darkest days of my life my siblings have been a source of strength and unconditional love and friendship. I know that when our parents are gone I will have them, and I want that so desperately for A. She lights up around other children and is so happy laughing, playing, and loving on them.
I want you to know that should you choose adoption for your baby and choose this family for him or her, you will gain their entire family. You can know from experience that they will stay true to their word. You’ll also gain me as a friend and confidant so that you don’t have to go through it alone. Your baby will be loved beyond what you can imagine and given every opportunity you could ask for. He or she will have an older sister with more love than I’ve ever seen in a child, and will never live life alone.
with love,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Love is such an inadequate word

I saw A Sunday, which was of course amazing. It had been two months this time- 9 weeks to be exact. Every time the stretch of time without her gets longer, it certainly grows me as a person. I'm hoping to maintain monthly visits until she's at least a year, but I know that just like this time that may not always be practical with our schedules.

A is sitting up on her own and wants to constantly be standing with assistance, though she can pull herself up a bit. She took to me quickly and we played and snuggled and laughed together for a few hours. She let me give her kisses and snuggle her tightly, which she apparently only does with D&G. She didn't fuss for D at all, but relaxed into my arms and touched my face, my hair, my locket. She wanted to look at my face, and "chatted" happily while we were together. I love little things like this that prove that she remembers me. No matter what, we will always have an unbreakable bond. Our relationship with continue to grow, and this will be one very loved child.

She's incredibly beautiful. She is advanced well beyond her age. Part of that is just her being a bright child. The other part is being in a home with parents that have the time and resourced and love to foster and encourage her intelligence. She is affectionate and funny, making little jokes and laughing at them. I recorded myself reading a book and gave it to her, so she intently listened to it with obvious pleasure. She grinned at the pandas on it, and laughed when her hands made a squeaking sound on the paper. When D tucked her into bed, I could hear her crying because she wasn't ready to say goodbye. I of course melted at the bottom of the stairs to once again be saying goodbye to my daughter, and to hear her crying for me for the first time. I have to say, though, it's so reassuring to see that she does truly want me in her life. This affirms that open adoption was the right option and is best for her. She calmed down and was ultimately happy to be in her Mommy's arms.

It's amazing to me that the same word used to describe this sometimes overwhelming affection I have for my daughter is used to describe one's affection for Pumpkin Spice Latte or a football team. Love doesn't begin to describe this feeling that lights up my life and gives it the kind of meaning one dreams of finding in life. It inspires me to be more, to make a difference in the world because I now know that I can. I'm so blessed to watch this beautiful little girl grow up. She's such a joy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When did I start feeling normal again?

Somewhere along my path of grief, fear, joy, and change, I started feeling "normal" again. Now, I'm not one to typically be a fan of normal. I have always been told growing up that normal is for those who are afraid to be themselves, and I agree. But it takes a toll on one's mental health to constantly work to be happy, to not fall apart, and to always feel like you are not 100% human anymore because you have lived through something no one around you has. Even the best adoptions result in PTSD- hospitals, babies, pregnancy, and a myriad of triggers specific to you and your baby are not safe for a while. And this is not normal. How do you carry a normal conversation with a 20-something whose biggest concern is whether this passive-aggressive status on facebook is indeed directed at her when you just grew a human and then sent her home to a new Mommy? It's tough at first, and you feel a level of confidence that it will always be this way. The best solace you find is that triggers no longer send you into a tailspin. They now instead feel like someone sitting on your chest, which is much more manageable. So you hope that in time it will feel more like a squeeze and you'll get better at faking normalcy. But you know what? You don't. The pain does lessen. Sometimes, it's a squeeze. Sometimes it's an elephant on your chest, but this happens less and less. Sometimes it's fond thoughts when you see a book your daughter would love.  One day, you realize out of nowhere that you are a real person again! You have joy... so much joy in your life.  You have relationships and a life of your own, and you aren't faking it any more. You have menial concerns again like that jerk at starbucks that gets your order wrong every. time. Oh, and you're a birthmom, which is pretty awesome because you grew an amazing little person who loves you and made a family where there was before hurt. So your family is bigger now, and life goes on.

Ways to help birthmom

I recently posted this to a forum I'm on, and decided to share here, too. If you are considering adoption or have adopted, these are things you can do to help ease the grief of your child's birthmom and give her some joy:

1. Lots of pics, esp. of LO. Fam pics are nice sometimes to see how happy everyone is, but I like mostly pics of LO because it gives me joy to stare into her face.

2. As detailed updates as you can handle. I love knowing her sleep schedule, what she's eating, how her health is, and what milestones she's reaching. It helps me feel like I'm not missing everything.

3. A memento. A's Mom gave me a locket with her initials monogrammed on the back. It was discreet so I could avoid questions, but I had a piece of her with me everywhere I went. I love it even now. She also got me an engraved picture frame with a pic of A, which I love. I recommend the locket above any other gift. Doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, either. But I would have never been able to afford even a cheap locket and wouldn't have something like that for myself.

4. Thank her. Let her know if you're grateful for her, and why. A lot of the pain of being a birthmom is the guilt of feeling like a burden. She'll hopefully thank you for giving her LO everything.

5. Sometimes, space. Sometimes, contact hurts too much. Sometimes we need a bit of space to get ourselves back together. Please don't get angry or give up on her. Keep doing what you normally do, and in time she'll hopefully come around. It's so important for her to know that's it's OK to have space and that the door will still be open when she's ready.

6. Patience and forgiveness. I know this is very hard on you, too. She knows and respects that, but sometimes being a birthmom takes every bit of your being and you don't have much left over for everyone else. She may say or do things to offend you, so please know that it's not intentional. She'll probably realize it later and beat herself up for it. Doesn't mean you can't lovingly say something, but patience is so huge. I want to do nothing but love and support and help A's Mom, but I know quite often I HAVE been a burden to her and have said things not realizing they would hurt. She's done the same, and I've used all the patience I could to work through it and get to the fantastic place we're in now.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Has it really been a month?

I didn't think it had been a month since I posted. Time has been flying. Had family vacation last week, and school has been a bit insane. I haven't had an August visit and they haven't offered. I want to visit so badly, but I get sick of always feeling like I'm intruding in their life and harassing them when they're already so very busy. I guess I kept hoping that they would offer or ask when I wanted to come, and they haven't. There's a chance they may be waiting for me to ask to respect my space, but I have to say that my insecurities get the best of me and I still feel more like a nuisance and a means to an end (I was necessary to get the baby) more than someone they want in their life. I so desperately don't want to be a burden. Honestly, they haven't said or done anything to imply that I am a burden since the early days, but I have a feeling this is an insecurity all birthmothers feel. Other than this craziness, I have been doing well on the adoption front. I'm not sure I could say I hurt less, but I'm learning to cope with it better. I barely have any anger any more, and I don't often have that deep, suffocating pain I used to. Now I may feel the pain more often as I realize I've become less and less a part of her life, but it is a much milder pain as I learn to accept this. I'm so thankful to know that my sweet A is happy with a wonderful family, and that my relationship with her and her parents is solid.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Figuring it All Out

It's been a good week. It started with seeing my sweet A. I keep thinking about that big smile on her face as soon as she saw me. I smile every time I think about her "talking" to me, touching my face, and demanding I talk to her. I take solace in the way she is relaxed and happy with me in a way we usually only see with D&G.

It has been a very productive week in the world of work and school. Best of all, I feel like we're finally getting into a groove with this whole birthmom relationship. It started with us all so very close, texting daily, keeping me in the loop of every little detail, and D probably having some resentment at the level of energy that took away from her. I can only imagine what it took from her to update me constantly, worry about how I'm doing, worry about how the things she said and did affected me, and tackle the world of new motherhood. I'm eternally grateful she did, because it's what I needed that the time. I didn't feel such a severe cutoff from the little life that had grown inside my body for 9 months. A large part of our closeness was necessitated by the fact that I pumped breastmilk for A, because we had to keep in regular contact about milk supply and meet up dates. That did, after all, completely overtake my life. I was pumping every 2-3 hours around that clock. That meant sleeping 2 hours at a time and pumping in the car if I was brave enough to go anywhere. I was also a slow pumper, so about 9 hours of my day was devoted to pumping breastmilk for a child I didn't have to hold.

The problem came in transitioning away from this. It was a lot like ripping off a bandaid for me, except there were about 200 to be ripped off. Needless to say, we've all struggled in finding our places in each other's lives. We've had to learn what was OK, what our boundaries and roles are, and how those affected the other people involved. Needless to say, some hard feelings have been had. Finally, FINALLY, I think we've figured it out for the large part. I no longer text with the fear that I'm pushing too much, asking too much, being a burden. I longer fear that lack of response will make them think I need space and disappear.
Just yesterday I was texting A about research on organic formula I'd found and we somehow wound up in one of our old "love -fests" that made our relationship so remarkable in the beginning. What's happened is we've rediscovered our love, admiration, and appreciation for each-other. We're once again a team working together for A, but we've learned how our own lives fit into that.

Honestly, the hardest part of adoption many days is not my actual daughter. I know she's well, happy, and loved. She knows that I love her and it's very obvious at our visits that she loves me. The fear comes in the relationship with her parents. Fear of being cut off, fear of not being wanted, fear of being resented, fear of not being allowed to truly be part of the family. When you have an open adoption you have to work diligently to get passed those, but when you do, it's a beautiful thing. I feel a lot less pain now than I have in a while. I once again can think of her with a smile on my face.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I miss her already

I saw A yesterday, and it was an amazing visit. We snuggled, laughed, "talked," and she obviously knew who I was. For 3 short hours, my pain completely disappeared. Everything in the world felt right. 20 minutes into my car ride home, it all came rushing back. I began to miss her fiercely. I would do just about anything to have her in my arms again. A month seems too far away to manage, but I know my emotions will even out again and the distance is something that all of us need. But goodness, do I miss her. It sounds cliche, but she is so incredibly beautiful and gets even more beautiful every time I see her. She's incredibly intelligent and far more advanced than her peers developmentally.

I need to learn to curb the angst in my heart. I desperately need affirmation that I matter, that she remembers me, that D&G recognize my pain in this, that my pain is OK. For me, the hardest part of being a birthmom is the unknown. No manual exists for how this should be done, and four incredibly delicate hearts are at stake while we figure it out. A wrong move could result in detrimental damage. The only thing that makes is traversable is the fact that we keep our eyes on the sole reason for doing this: that magnificent little girl. I have to keep telling myself that as long as we keep her our focus, the relationship will work out. Time will lessen pain, expectations will find themselves out, anger will dissipate, and we will all learn our places.


I love you with every cell in my body. You'll never be able to understand the depth of my love, but your smiles and snuggles are all I'll ever need to be happy. You are a blessing to this world, and brighten the lives of so many people, including me. Don't ever forget how magnificent and wanted you are.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

11 Days

11 Days until I see A again. I miss that gorgeous girl SO. MUCH. She has grown astronomically and is changing at an alarming pace. I keep thinking about our last visit, when she kept "talking" to me, laughing at me, and wanting to touch my face. Gosh, I love that little girl. And guess what? One day she's going to be able to express her love right back to me. Thank God for open adoptions.

I scored well on my TEAS and officially applied to nursing school yesterday. I feel so proud of myself for getting this far and excited that it's finally happening. If I can survive this quarter and get into nursing school, I'll be a full-time nursing student in about 3 months. Things have certainly been on an upward roll.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My life is actually happening

I had a revelation last night- I had scheduled my TEAS test and the last quarter of classes I needed before nursing school and was staring at the nursing school application. My life is happening- it's my own for the first time in over a year. I can't say moving on because I think about A almost constantly. But it's moving forward. For maybe the first time in my life I'm doing something entirely for myself.  When A was born, my life was in shambles. I had a job I didn't like, had lost my best friends except one, had been left by the one person I wanted to be with the rest of my life and couldn't seem to shake it, and no no goal in life- not to mention the loss of my daughter. Now I love my job and am cherished in it, I have many great relationships in my life, and I am learning to see A's adoption as more than loss. It's not easy, especially as I miss more and more in her life, but it's happening. My heart is very slowly healing and my life has become my own. I am gradually building a relationship with A that will last a lifetime... how very blessed I am.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Listen to Your Gut

I always hear people say to "listen to your heart." While I'm not saying this is bad advice, I think that what's more important is to listen to your gut. God has given us amazing instincts and speaks to us regularly to guide us if we'll only listen. I've been trying to listen to my gut to lead me through the vicarious adoption journey. When I follow my heart or even my head I get all twisted, mess up relationships, and find myself hurting more than I have to. I've been struggling so much more lately as a birth mom than I have for a while. Then I made a switch. I prayed harder about it and listened to that quiet voice for guidance. I talked to the right people and held my tongue when needed. I went shopping today and bought A two new outfits. I didn't want to because in the past it has been painful and unsuccessful, but something told me it was time. I didn't think about the "politics" of it all. D&G are great people and if they really didn't like the outfits they could return or donate them and I'd likely never know. So I bought her what I would if I were her Mom and enjoyed the experience. I talked to the sales clerk about my little girl because in the end, I needed an experience so somehow connect me back to her and let me enjoy being hers for a moment. If I see them on her in pics that will be great, but if not, I got what I needed. I left the therapeutic shopping trip happier and much more light-hearted than I've been in a while.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I'm really missing A today, as she turns 5 months old. It's hard to watch her age because I feel like the older she gets, the less impact I have on her life. It's hard for me to distinguish grief from anger and I've been struggling to discern what is fair to be angry about and what is simply part of the process that I need to deal with. Sometimes I feel angry that I'm not in her life more; that I am made to be a bigger part of her family, not face-timed with, never get videos made to me but to other family members, that I get shut out when things get rough, that I seem to get the brunt of the frustration sometimes. I know that many parts of that are not fair to be angry about. I chose adoption. I chose to not be her parent, to not be an immediate part of her family. I love that she's doing so well without me because that was my desire, but it's not easy to accept. It's hard to not feel brushed aside and unimportant because my task of growing a human being for someone else is finished. Sometimes I want to scream that I don't care if it's inconvenient, I want to be on the inside. I want to be sure that she knows she's loved by me. I want to know that she knows and loves me. I want to make sure that I don't disappear into the background and one day awkwardly shove myself back in when she has questions that only I can answer.

I know that this is a difficult time and that it will only get better. I have been told many times that the first year is the hardest and I can see why. Placing a child for adoption is difficult in and of itself, but add in the difficult of navigating a new relationship with her parents and it's ridiculous. There are no set rules, no norms to follow, no book to read. There's no way to know if any step is right on my part of if any move on their part is fair to me or right for A. I know that in time we'll settle into our roles and develop our rules as to how this thing should run. I'll learn to find my voice and know when it's appropriate to advocate it. A will get older and learn to love me on her own, and one day we will be a sort of odd, magical family of our on.

When that happens, I won't need anyone else to validate my significance. I'll learn to stand on my own feet and not need to selfishly feel that significance. I know that I chose adoption for A. I know that that was the last decision I got to make for her before handing those reigns over. I am happy beyond words that my baby girl is happy and safe and as she should be, but that doesn't stop my heart from yearning. Her little body was built inside of mine and every fiber of my being fights to maintain that connection no matter how hard I beg it to let go. SO no, my desires may not be fair. No, my anger may not be warranted. No, I may not need to be such a significant role in her life and yes, maybe I should loosen my grip of her. I rationally accept that, but the thing is it's going to take time. Time will heal these wounds and ease my anger. Time will fill my life with more and more joy that has already made the pain far more manageable that I had anticipated. In the meantime, I just hope those involved can find it in themselves to bear with me and show some compassion.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


So much has happened that I can't even share. Let it suffice to say that I've struggled the past few days more than I have since the very early days where I existed in a deep fog of pain. Maya Angelou's death shocked and saddened me today, but reading over some of my favorite quotes from her has lent a great deal of inspiration. Of course, I have to share a few:

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."

"You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.'"

What a wise woman she was. I'm going to be OK- I'm strong and have been blessed with an incredible support system and an amazing God that gives me everything I need when I don't have an ounce of strength, decorum, or joy left of my own accord.

I don't mean to be so vague, but my blog has elicited more views than I anticipated and therefore can't be the venting place I had planned. I'm OK with that because I feel like it is going to become so much more than I had hoped. I will say that adoption is hard for everyone involved. We all have moments where it's harder and sometimes those moments affect others in significant ways. The key is in trusting that these challenges are temporary and will one day be forgotten. Oh, faith- it's time to work on that lesson some more.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The hardest parts

For me, some of the hardest moments to navigate in this life of a birthmom are the ones when I have to find the fine line between getting my emotional needs met and respecting others. How much do I lean on and vent to my family and friends? When D is late with an update or pics, is it worth stressing her out when it feels like the elephant sitting on my chest won't be moving until I'm looking at a picture of my sweet girl? I'm blessed with an amazing relationship with A's adoptive family, but even that doesn't come without struggles. D is amazing but she can't possibly understand my hurt or struggles. Sometimes I feel like she thinks I need to "buck up" and not be so needy, as if I'm allowing myself to have these weak moments. I try to be conscious of how very hectic her life is, but I can't put myself in her shoes any more than she can mine. There are times when life with a colicky baby and hectic work schedule get busy and the weekly picture time comes and goes. Occasionally, times like now when it's now at the two week mark with nothing but promises to send some. I'm sitting here dying a little inside but trying not to add to her chaos and trying to remember the thousand good moments between the ones like this one. I wish I could just turn off the pain so that I'm not such a nuisance anymore.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


I spent most of my pregnancy angry at A's birthfather. I think I was partly angry at him for not being more careful, angry that he got to go on with life as if nothing ever happened while I had to deal with constant responsibility and pain, and angry that he didn't seem to care. His first answer was abortion, so I think I never forgave him for that and used it as an excuse to shut him out. He was the sperm donor, not her father. I rarely spoke to him throughout the pregnancy and saw him only a few times. I chose the agency and parents, and he only met D&G after signing away his parental rights at the hospital. He didn't even want to meet A but agreed to it shortly before her birth because I had asked so little of him. When I went into labor I texted him and I think he changed at that moment. Things were real at that point, and he began texting me and offering to be there and support me in any way possible. I didn't have the energy to deal with him when I was so focused on getting A out safely, but he came to the hospital that night to meet her when no one else was there. In that moment, I forgave everything. I could see the love and heartbreak in his eyes as he looked at his daughter for the first time. He was too scared to hold her at first, but then he didn't want to let her go. He sent me a text that night asking me to forgive him for not being a "better man." He apologized for not being there and thanked me for bringing such a beautiful thing into this world. He regretted not doing more for us.

The thing was, he didn't feel a person growing inside him. He had no way of understanding the severity and depth of our reality until he met A. He wasn't necessarily a bad guy, just a clueless one. Singing away his parental rights was the hardest thing he'd ever done, but he did it because he was a Dad and chose to put her needs above his own. He's told me since that he actually wants a child before, something he never expected to happen. He wishes he had gotten his act together the moment we found out I was pregnant so that we could have kept her. The truth it, that wouldn't have changed anything. I would have still been a nursing student and nanny and missed most of her waking hours. We wouldn't have been together as a couple so she still would have had a single Mom. We still wouldn't have had the resources to give her what she needs. He admits that she has an amazing life with truly incredible parents, but I am shocked at what being her father has done to him.

For a while I refused to call him her birth father and instead called him her biological father like a sperm donor. I'm so glad that I put A's well-being before my own resentment and invited him to the hospital twice to spend time with her. I'm glad that I kept him in the loop throughout the pregnancy and spoke to him after placement so I could genuinely tell her how much he loves her and relay the sweet things he says one day.  He hasn't expressed any desire to see her because I think his way of grieving requires separation, which is perfect because he is still young and wild and into a scene D, G, and I don't want her exposed to. I don't know what his future relationship with A will look like, but I'm optimistic that there will be one. I'm also thankful for laws to protect birthfathers. They can lack support and be difficult to deal with, but that doesn't mean that they don't deserve rights when it comes to their children.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Big Breath... It's Mother's Day

Well, my D-Day of sorts has arrived. So far I'm in one piece. I'll be honest, I'm sitting here pumping and DREADING church. I'm dreading the inevitable request for Moms to stand. What do I do? I don't want to hear the talk about the impact a mother has on her child's life, because I know I won't have that same impact on mine. I wish I had my beautiful girl in my arms to show off proudly with a look of "Yes, I DID create this incredible being and get to be her grounding cord each and every day!" Instead I'll focus on the fact that I gave her the ultimate gift as a Mom by putting her needs above my own. I'll remember the smiles she gave me at our visit yesterday and the way she wanted me to hold her, feed her, and put her down instead of her nanny; the way her eyes locked widely onto mine while she kept trying to be with me instead of sleeping until I finally put her happily down in her crib. My daughter is happy and cherished. She loves and remembers me. What incredible gifts.

I choose to focus on God's amazing healing power. People often tell me how strong I am to have made such a difficult decision, and to find so much joy in the aftermath. The truth is I am so, so weak. God has given all the wisdom and perspective I've needed to be so very happy. A is the best thing I've done with my life and it gives me so much joy to be a part of that.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Considering Egg Donation

I had a visit with A today, which was amazing (as always!). I also always enjoy the quality time and chatting with D. Today, she asked me about potentially donating eggs for them. I've thought about surrogacy since having A but decided it would be too much on me. I like the idea of donating eggs and want to do it for several reasons. It would almost guarantee that A got a sibling. It would be neat that A would have a sibling that shared her genetics. It would make me so happy for D to get to experience a happy pregnancy and giving birth to her baby. It's much cheaper than adoption, which means more money for A's future. I do have some questions I need to research and think through. I wonder if it would be hard to have another child biologically linked to me but not mine out there. I wonder how that relationship would be with me being A's birth mom. I feel like my family would not be crazy about there being another genetic link out there that's not "theirs" like a child of my own would. It's so different from adoption because this child would not be grown inside of me and would be started from day 1 with the mentality of being someone else's.

I also wonder about the logistics- how would I handle the hormones? How would I manage the testing, medications, frequent office visits, and procedure while being a full-time student AND nanny. Also, could I afford the time off work for all this? I wouldn't take money from D&G because I want to purely donate my eggs, but I have to make sure I can manage with all my bills. If I decide I can do it but not manage the financial hit, then what?

Sheesh, lots of questions! It seems so crazy and out of this world, but also seems kind of perfect. It may not even be a thing if they get pregnant on their own or decide to go the route of adoption again. I can't help but wonder if this has ever happened before.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Thinking about Mother's Day

I've been thinking about Mother's Day a lot lately. I know that lingering on it won't do anything to help but when I take time to sit down it's always there in the back of my head.

I've always dreamed of having a mom charm on my Pandora bracelet. I know this seems petty but it's just wanted those little things I associated with the joy of one day having a baby. It hurts a lot to know that this probably won't happen for me. I want people in my life to think of it and do it but I don't want to have to ask them. I think this comes down to my need to be validated as a mother – to not have to defend it.

One day, I will have a hugely celebrated Mother's Day. I'll have a baby in my arms, cards, my charm, and all those little things society has made so important to me

Coping Mechanisms

I still have to deal with grief a lot, but I have discovered some great coping mechanisms that help significantly. When I was pregnant I was afraid I'd struggle to find joy in life again but now I find even more joy despite the pain.. My daughter is beautiful and sweet and most importantly happy.

First, I focus on the future. I decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. I focus on one day having a baby that is all mine and that will call me mommy. I cling to the thought of being someone's mommy in the full extent. I focus on how amazing my life is going to be in my dream job and accomplishing everything that I want to in life. I know it may not end up exactly as I envision, but the hope is amazing.

I focus on the good things in life. For me, this often means comparing myself to adoptions less optimal than mine. This makes me realize how very blessed I am to have the openness I have and the relationship that I have with my daughter's adoptive parents.

When I struggle with feeling left out of her life I cling to everything that proves I am still her mom – just not her only mom. I focus on how I gave her life- ME!-, breast-fed her, pumped her life-sustaining milk. I did what moms do – I put her well-being before mine. It also helps to notice every little thing she takes after me. I focus on her lips being replicas of mine, the roundness of her eyes being like mine, her chattiness, her nosiness, her odd sense of humor.

I tell myself how strong I am. I survived what I think is the most difficult thing I could go through and came out the other end a better person for it. I use words of affirmation to tell myself that I am beautiful, strong, and so much more. This is new for me but makes me feel like anything in life is attainable.

I make sure that I have levelheaded sounding boards. These are people I can call or text when I'm feeling angry or sad and they will be loving and supportive but not add to my anger. I find that quite often my grief deflects as anger towarufds people. When I get it off my chest I can sit back and look at things with a fresh set of eyes and deal with my grief in a more constructive manner.

Most importantly, I pray. I think of God's plan for my life and A. I know that this is not an accident and that we are on the center of God's plan. He is in control even when I am not.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It really does get better

Sometimes people just say things like that, but I want to be the voice of hope to tell birthmoms everywhere that it really does get better. I've had some low lows and I'm sure will have more, but like is looking great right now. I'm in school to chase my true dreams I've so long been afraid to chase. I'm moving to a new apartment this weekend. I'm at a great place in my relationship with D&G. I'm not struggling with my feelings of anger or jealousy- just love for what they've given A and I. I'm happy with my relationship with A. I love that we actually have a relationship and bond. I think during some of my darker days I was so distracted with my anger and grief to see this amazing thing right in front of me. It's not something obvious yet, but it's in little things like the fact that she lets me hold her longer than anyone else except D&G, or the feeling of deep connect I feel when we're staring into each other's eyes. She's even growing to look more and more like me every day, which provides some sort of gratification for me.

My message to all birth moms is that it's hard and painful to be involved in adoption, but the good far outweighs the bad. Know that your rough moments are temporary and focus on the good of it all- which will look different for everyone. When I have lows it's only torture to compare myself to other birthmoms and my adoption to other adoptions. It even hurts to think of the great life I gave A by choosing adoption for her. It does help to focus on how strong I am as well as other goof parts of my personality (which is hard for me). I focus on my future and everything I'm going to accomplish like me pre-req's, then my BSN, then becoming a Nurse practitioner, then becoming part of a practice where I can practice functional medicine for pediatrics. I also focus on one day having a house full of babies that call me Mommy- a baby happily nursing in a k'tan on me all day. Find your happy place, and cling to it for dear life while it pulls you out of your dark place, because boy does life look good on the other side.

Now, to get some work finished for class and begin packing.

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Final

Today the adoption was finalized. I knew it was coming and have been bracing myself for it. I feel like it further secures that I'm no longer A's Mom, and that hurts deeply. I don't want to take back the adoption, but my heart longs to still be a Mom to her. I'm also comforted by finalization because it secures her in the home I chose for her forever. She has an amazing Mom and Dad, and I'm happy they are officially a family forever. Oh, the mixed emotions. I never thought I could be so happy and sad at the same time. It's so ironic that this had to happen on Good Friday... of all days.

Oh, A. I love you with everything I am. I hope you know that. I hope they tell you every day. I hope they read the book I got you every single day so you'll never doubt that. I hope your heart is so full of joy with your family that you never hurt over not being home with me. I hope that I'll always be a part of your family and that the future doesn't take away this amazing relationship we are developing. I hope that you don't one day hate me for giving you up, because I did it to give you so much more. I will always cherish those days in the hospital when you were my baby girl, and I was your Mommy, when I could give you everything you needed, when the world was you and me. I hope you always know how beautiful, smart, funny, and strong you are. We made an amazing team, and I hope this journey in life allows us to be a team as we navigate both of our roles and grief.

love always,


Gosh, it feels good to call myself that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Babysat my Daughter

Never thought I'd say that statement. Saturday I visited A's town with a friend of mine and watched A for a couple hours. It was amazing to have the opportunity to care for her. I can't even describe how it feels to cuddle her, love on her, and have her smile and coo at me when I tell her how much I love her. When D&G were both home from work, we spent time together like a family and rejoiced together in some accomplishments for A. It still hurts to not be her Mommy, but I'm trying to focus on how amazing this adoption is.

A's been going through an attachment phase lately where she wants to be held by D alone all day. I know this is partly something some babies do, but partly fear due to losing me. It hurts to know that my decisions have caused this for her, but I am so thankful she has this amazing life I couldn't give her now that I know the little bit of pain she's going through is worth it. Honestly, it also relieves me that she has attached to D so well and affirms that she loves me and did miss me- that I was truly Mom and mattered to her. I'm trying to navigate this new role in her life and be thankful for this relationship we are developing.

When I say that D&G are giving A a life I couldn't, I don't mean financially. I'm happy that she'll have things I can't afford right now, but it goes so much deeper than that. A is a sweet and happy baby, but a needy one. I don't know how much of that is due to her pain of separation and abandonment feelings, but I know that at least some of it is just her nature. She would NOT do well in a daycare because she would cry all day. I'm thankful that she gets to spend all but maybe 15 hours a week with her Mom and with a Nanny during the others. They have the time, energy, maturity, and education to give her everything I want for her in regards to love, attention, nutrition (healthy, non-toxic food), education, and so much more. I don't believe that adoption is always the answer, but the more I see their happy family, the more I know it was the right one for me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Anti-adoption Activists

I've been reading a lot of anti-adoption activist material lately. I guess I'm just very curious about what everyone on all sides of the triad have to say. I've also been reading the primal wound and love it, but don't necessarily agree with 100% of it. I've come to my own conclusion that I feel all adoptees must feel some sort of grief at the separation even if it was at birth. I know I watched a lot of that happen with A in the weeks after our adoption and even now the innate connection she has with me. When she was born she immediately stopped crying when she heard my voice and started again when she was taken away – she knew that I was her grounding cord and that's all she knew. She has since bonded with D as her grounding cord and mother, but I can't see how it's possible to think she wouldn't have some grief over that loss. On the other side, I don't see why that loss has to be some great handicap or deep grief. At the end of the day she knows who her grounding cord is and knows she is loved and secure.

I know there's a lot of dirty things that go on in the adoption world and that there are many birthmothers who are Coerced into their decision. But I don't like the blanket statements that assume that all adoptions come from some form of coercion or that everyone involved has to end with some unhealable wound. I've often heard domestic infant adoption referred to as a long-term fix for a temporary problem in the anti-adoption community. I completely get where they're coming from and think that there are some cases where this is true. But I'd like to call the attention back to the primal wound theory – that children are permanently scarred by what happens around them as an infant. I know in my case, the circumstances that made adoption the best option may only be temporary. I will be in a place to raise a kid with a partner in maybe just a couple of years. But the first few years of A's life would have been rough. I think she would've had more abandonment issues because of her mother only seeing her a couple hours a day outside asleep. She would've hurt over not having a father involved in her life and loving her the way she deserves. Either way, she suffers a primal wound. Adoption allowed that wound to be minimal.

I hate that D and G had such a rough road that led them to me. But I am eternally grateful it did lead them to me. Because of domestic infant adoption, my daughter gets the most amazing life that she absolutely deserves. D&G get to have their dreams of being a parent come true. And I get to put my daughter first yet always be a part of her life.

*stepping off my soapbox*

Adoption Support Group and the Joys of Open Adoption

Yesterday I spoke at an adoption support group with A, D, and G. A started the evening by making sure everyone within a 1/4 mile radius knew she was there, then spent a good hour happily on my lap while everyone spoke. I love that kid.

I loved having the opportunity to speak about the joys of open adoption. My goal was to ease the fears of prospective adoptive parents and show them how great it could be, and I had some kind people tell me after that I had done just that for them.

For me, open adoption has been amazing for many reasons. I'm not cut off from my daughter. I still suffer the loss of parenting her, but I get to see her grow first-hand. I get to regularly look her in her eyes and tell her how much I love her (and see the smile that always follows that!). It has eased my grief more than words could express. A seems to have benefited as well. She was got hear her parent's voices before she was born, get to know them in the hospital before going home with them, see me frequently to know she wasn't abandoned, and gets to hear constantly how loved she is. But she still knows who Mom is. D&G said that they love the open adoption mainly for A- for the reasons I just stated. They love that she has so much love in her life from me and my family. D loves having a sister to talk to in this craziness- someone she can vent to when she's tired, someone who completely gets her fear during things like waiting to hear if A had a metabolic disorder when everyone else seems not stressed at all. She loves having A's family medical history a text or call away and getting to hear that I had colic, or frequent spit up, or was just a fussy baby even though I was happy and healthy to know that nothing is wrong with A. We also both love our relationship- even outside of A, the three of us are family. I love D&G dearly and we all feel that our lives are better with this friendship in them.

That's not to say that this doesn't come without struggles. I know D and I both struggle with some jealousy about the other getting to do and be things we can't. The level of openness we have shoves those insecurities and hurts in our faces, but it makes us deal with it and so far it seems to get easier with time. In the end. it's worth every bit of hurt to build this amazing family and support system for A, the whole reason we got into this in the first place.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A little Bit About our Adoption

We have a VERY open adoption. I met A's parents last August and we grew a very close relationship in the following months. They were there for her birth- her mom (D) coached and supported me the entire time. Her Dad (G) caught her when she came out, D cut the cord, and after my hour of skin-to-skin and nursing her, they were the first ones to hold and love on her.

A's birth and the months leading up to it make for a very interesting story that I plan to post at a different time, but right now I want to speak about how our adoption works. Because we were so close, A's parents were there for much of the hospital time. I would nurse A, snuggle her, then hand her off to D or G to love on and take care of.

I pump breastmilk for A. I know- crazy, right? My first visit was when A was 6 days old, 4 days after signing TPR and sending her home with D&G. My amazing dad drove me to their home a couple hours away and I caught up with D, snuggled, and even nursed A. Has your jaw hit the floor, yet? It's something that D and I had talked about before. We felt that if both of us could emotionally stand it, it would be best for A. It would help establish my supply as nursing triggers hormones, a mother's body responds to baby's saliva to alter to milk to baby's needs (more/less protein, carbs, fat, nutrients), and it was a connection that she would still have with me while dealing with separation grief. I was worried it would be too hard, but she took to it right away and it was amazing for me. I would never be a mom to A in the traditional sense, but I had one last special thing between us that proved to me I was still something to her. For the first 6 weeks of her life, we had weekly visits during which I nursed her.

She is three months old today and I'm still pumping, which has been amazing for me. In the early days, it was something to distract me. I spent almost all my time at first learning how to pump, which parts fit me, and reading online about exclusive pumping. One day I want to add a section on here to share all I've learned. Providing my breastmilk for A was a connection we still had, and something only I could do for her. Breastfeeding is so important to me that it gives me peace of mind to know that I've done everything I possibly could for her well-being. I'm trying to wean now because I started classes toward my BSN today, and I need my time back to reclaim my life. I don't want to transition away from my life revolving entirely around A, but it's time.

Going forward, we will have a bit more space on our adoption. We transitioned at first from daily texts and pictures, to every couple of days, to a good weekly update via google docs and pics uploaded to Snapfish. We text randomly, but not nearly as much. We are also moving after this week to visits roughly once a month for the first year, depending on our schedules. I love and respect D&G, so it's important to me to give them their own space as a family (not always easy, though).

Now, time to unhook from my pump and head to work!

Monday, April 7, 2014


This is my first blogging experience... ever. I'm so behind the times. Please be patient with me as I figure this whole thing out. I decided to create this blog to share my experiences, thoughts, and advice on adoption. I am C, birthmom to beautiful baby girl A who was born Jan 8, 2014 and placed for adoption on Jan 10. We have a very unique and open adoption and it is my prayer that this will help individuals on every corner of the adoption triad.