aabm #13: parenting after placement



what is ask a birth mom (aabm)? click HERE.

who are the birth mothers on the panel? click HERE.

today my aabm panel is answering the following:

Our son’s birth mother is pregnant again and will be parenting her daughter. I realize that this may be speculation for some of the birth mothers on the panel, but how do you think a situation like this might change her feelings about placing her first child? Might there be a strong desire for the two children to associate together often since they will be half brother/sister?

nicole

Depending on the situation of the first child age and place in the birthmom’s life it would make it clear why they made the decision they did because they will soon find out it would have been hard and it was the best thing at the time. Of course there would be a lot if emotion involved because it would be reliving a pregnancy and the feelings they went through the first time. Also I think if you have an open adoption it would be natural for the kids to know each other and spend time together since they are half brother/sister but every adoption is different. But pretty much since Mr. and Mrs. R are family it would just be another addition for us all! :)

andee

It’s hard for me to answer this because I’m not that birthmom. I don’t think this situation will change her feelings negatively about placing her first child (but again I don’t know her personally). I think that every child ends up where they belong and I hope that she feels the same way! Same goes for the two children. It would be really cool if they could associate, but everyone is different and some don’t ever really want to.

coley

I was kind of the opposite of this situation. I was parenting a child at the time of placement but I can tell you, it was and still is very important for my parented child and my placed child to know one another, associate with one another, and be friends with one another, so yes, it could increase her desire to associate with her child.

I think it’s also important to keep in mind how busy a new baby makes a new Mother so if she seems to pull back some at first, don’t be alarmed, she’s just probably super busy adjusting to life with a newborn!

*a note from mrs. r: for this question, i enlisted the help of my friend kelsey stewart. we have been friends online for quite some time, but met in real life at the 2011 Southwest Regional Families Supporting Adoption Conference.

the reason i asked kelsey to be a guest on the panel today is because she has five children–she has a daughter and twin boys that she placed for adoption and two children that she is raising with her husband. i thought her point of view was different from the rest of the panel and would help provide a better answer to the question.

you can learn more about kelsey on her blog A Birth Mother Voice and through her children’s book, The Best For You that she wrote about her decision to place to help the children she placed understand her reasons. i love her.

kelsey

I think this all depends on how close in proximity you are to her. I can only speak from my experience so please know that all birth mothers are different. When my children after the adoption were born, I thought about the adoptions, but it was not in this way that you asked in the first question. I began to see what it was what I had given the parents, as opposed to what I had lost for myself. Sure, seeing my boys grow … smile … laugh … hug me, it all reminded me of what it was that I missed in my adopted children’s lives. However, living life in the moment is what I became addicted to and my boys boys taught me that life is amazing. I began to appreciate how full those parents heart’s must have been every day since bringing them home. At times, even 20 years later, I think about what I missed the first time around and sometimes it will make me sad because I just want to hug them and say … “I have always thought of you…”. Other times it will make me peaceful with what I chose to do. But I never really even thought about changing my mind about the adoptions. Not one bit. Rather I felt blessed that I had the opportunity to be in the right place in my life to raise my own children.

Now the second question again will all depend on how close you are in geography. Absolutely there was a desire I felt for my children to know each other, but we were spread out across the country. I certainly made it a point to include pictures of the boys in all of my letters just so the families knew what they looked like. I also wrote about my boys and vise versa in the return letters. My children have not met each other in real life but there has been an interest on all of their parts (to clarify, I have three adopted children and two boys I am raising), and I am sure that it will happen someday. My adopted children have met online, and are occasionally chatting with each other which I think is fantastic! I think it is beneficial for adoptees to know their roots, but again this communication is something that is going to depend on each individual situation and what has been established between the families.

I think the best thing you can do is just talk with her and find out if she has been thinking about this. Communication is a wonderful thing in any relationship and it can often help squash speculations or fears that you may be experiencing.

aabm #12: was it meant to be their family?

what is ask a birth mom (aabm)? click HERE.
who are the birth mothers on the panel? click HERE.

today my aabm panel is answering the following:

Do you feel that the family your baby went to was truly meant to be his/her family?


nicole

I’m writing this from Mrs.R’s computer watching her and the boys and couldn’t be more sure that they were meant to be Tyson’s family. When I was choosing a family for Tyson I looked through what felt like ALL the profiles that matched my search criteria. I pretty much gave up because I didn’t want to just settle for something that I didn’t feel was right. My mom convinced me to look at a few more profiles and when I saw the R family I felt something I hadn’t felt when looking at others. We talked about this feeling the other day and both agreed that its indescribable. I couldn’t have gotten luckier with the family I chose not just for the communication and openness they have with me but for the most important person, Tyson!


andee

YES YES YES. I don’t think she just went to any random famly. I know without a doubt that the family she is with was meant to be her family. I know that. It’s something I have known very strongly since the day I met them.


myra

i know that my little guy is with HIS FAMILY RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. i was very intimidated with the calling to find his family. i knew the exact family was out there, complete with mom, dad and siblings in tow. i was just terrified i wouldn’t know them when i saw them. there were a few factors that guided me. this little guy would be half black and like grow to be be close to seven feet tall. being 6’2 myself, i know what it is like to be out in the world and be very noticeably different but come home and just be one of the gang. so i knew i wanted him to have someone he could share his culture with someone that he would more closely resemble. thus an african american child. that narrowed things a bit.

anyway the third profile i looked at was this great couple and what do you know, one of their children is african american. They were and are the real deal. I soon found out that they had a very strong impression that they were missing a child, that there was one out there waiting to come home. I am sure a very daunting thought for a family of four. i had a precious moment after i met them for the first time. i went to cafe rio after the face to face and had a melt down in the bathroom. i was on the floor in absolute tears. and it took me a minute to figure out what those tears were about. they weren’t sad tears. but they were tears of peace, tears of calm, tears of joy, and tears of gratitude. it just felt like my little guy was doing his darndest to tell me thank you for finding his family (and they were NOT easy to track down). i could feel how excited he was to be with them again, and i felt his sweet arms of joy around me from the inside out. it is a feeling i know i will never feel again. but that peace and calm and joy is in my heart every time i think of his wonderful family.

they are truly amazing. amazing amazing people, that i really look up to and strive to be more like. truly good people, not perfect by any means, but good. K is his mom and M is his dad. that is all there is to it. and he has two amazing sisters and two amazing brothers. in an email “K” once told me how much these special spirits have fought to be together, and i feel eternally blessed to have been given a front row seat to watch all of these wonderful spirits grow.


amanda

I knew then and still know now, that he is with his family. Without a doubt. And that has been both a blessing and a comfort to me. But I also had never been on my knees in prayer more than when I was facing that decision. I looked into adoption as soon as I found out I was pregnant. But the feelings and desire to keep my baby also weighed heavy on my mind. I often tried to figure out a way to make it work so that I could keep him, but those plans always ended up being clouded with doubt and worry. I knew it wasn’t the answer to my prayers, or the right life for my baby. I studied and read through dozens of profiles. And there were couples and agencies that I met with that I knew wanted my baby- and would probably take good care of my baby- but I felt strongly about finding HIS family. And when I read his adoptive parents profile, I knew immediately, within the first paragraph, that I had found his parents.

Making the decision to place your baby is not easy. And it can feel daunting and frustrating to find the right family. But I know if you ask for God’s help, he will not ignore your plea. As difficult as it was to place my baby, it was an amazing experience that helped me to feel closer to my Savior than I ever had previously. I was carried. My prayers were answered. And to this day, I know that my life, and the life of my baby, has been blessed because I chose adoption.

tamra

it was the heaviest responsibility my shoulders have ever carried! i mean, that’s God’s job right? deciding who goes to what family. i was choosing Justin’s whole life, his ETERNITY even! hello! 17 and pregnant! obviously i don’t make good choices!

but it’d only ever affected me. this time, screwin’ up wasn’t an option. i couldn’t even sleep til i found them, for fear i’d choose wrong. i gave my caseworker my extensive and comprehensive list of criteria (this was back when there were only paper profiles) and she brought me my first 5 families. i opened the first file….not the family i’d ordered….there were many differences between them and what I THOUGHT i was looking for BUT, i felt something. i thought “like i’m gonna chose the first family!” i fully expected to view hundreds if not every possibility. again, this is huge! i’m gonna be thorough! so i went to scour through the other 4. they matched my preferences! they were what i was lookin for…..nothin. i tried to feel something but none of them drew me the way the first did. i couldn’t get them out of my mind. i couldn’t even finish the other 4 without going back to the first. i felt such a contrast, i took it to the Lord. i told him “ok, there may be somethin here. but before i pick a family, i’m gonna need some kinda burning bush! make the file glow in the dark or levitate off the desk!”. the response came as chastisement through the Spirit and scripture -oh ye of Little faith! i would not be spoon fed as i’d asked. i was to go with the prompting i’d received and take a step. so, i did. i moved forward. i told my caseworker it was them and she told me that even though they did not match my description, she knew i had to see that file.

as the next few days and weeks passed, i found i felt more and more at peace and somehow closer to these strangers. even before any contact, they’d become endeared to me.

i was allowed one face to face meeting with them (agency policy was not so open in ’96). i was SO freaked out! this was not open adoption! our correspondence would be so limited! my son’s opinion of me would be based mainly on how i represented myself to these 2 strangers in about an hour and a half! i must’ve tried on every ugly maternity outfit i had but nope, still fat. i wore TOO much makeup and i PRAYED HARD that i wouldn’t get nervous and make a dummy of myself, that i’d be my best self, so that they could tell him he has the cutest, smartest, funnest, nicest birthmom! but i had another even more significant request of God. i told him that i knew they were his family, that i was grateful He’d led me to them and for the peace of mind, that nothing would detur me from this course, but i asked…cautiously, could i please just have some little sign, something i’d always remember, so i could never doubt. and because i did first show faith, and because of His tender mercies, and because i asked, and because He knew my decision was not hinged on it, He gave liberally. He didn’t have to do it. i would have gone through with it. He is so good to me.

when those strangers walked into that little office, i knew them. I recognized them. I can’t tell you from when or where; I don’t know the conversations we had or what the nature of our relationship was, but i remembered those faces! And immediately they were in my heart, as though they’d always been. immediately i felt family love for them. Never before or since have I experienced anything like it. I know now that he was theirs before he was mine. THEY shared him with ME. They are an extension of my family in a way I cannot explain.

can i doubt?

while they were not what i had in mind initially, they were and are PERFECT! i can’t imagine my life without them. i have total confidence in them and in my decision. i NEVER worry about him. NOW i understand that God knows i’m not that smart! He DOES His job. i wasn’t choosing a family, i was finding the family that God had chosen.
i imagine it this way; before we came her, God says “Tamra, you’ll have a tough assignment, you’ll go to parents who are sad and confused, your little soul’s gonna get hurt, you’re gonna stumble, you’re gonna get lost. but don’t worry Tamra, your sister Debbie (A-mom) and your Brothers Gale (A-dad) and Justin (our boy) have volunteered for the rescue effort. Debbie and Gale will wait and pray and cry and wonder and they will share their Justin with you. he will come as your missionary on his way home and though you won’t love yourself enough to get well, you’ll love him enough. and you’ll remember me and i’ll heal you”.

so that’s how it happened, or at least i bet it was pretty close. on this side, it looks like MY gift, MY sacrifice, but when we return i imagine we will see more clearly that it was them who gave to me, their sacrifice. how can i say my gratitude?!

i figure adoption is the work of eternal families and the work of reclaiming lost and wounded souls. what could be higher on the priority list of The Most High? there are no coincidences in adoption. it sure ain’t random and it certainly wasn’t MY genius that orchestrated it, i can’t even keep my ROOM in order! God is all up in this business. it’s His business! and He’s good!

aabm #11: telling people you’re a birth mom


what is ask a birth mom (aabm)? click HERE.
who are the birth mothers on the panel? click HERE.

today my aabm panel is answering the following:

Are you open about the fact you placed a child for adoption, or do you only let people know who you can trust?

nicole

I am very open to telling anyone and everyone bc I feel not enough people know and are aware of adoption and how open it can be. I am very fortunate to get to visit tyson, get phone calls, TONS of pictures and other fun stuff. Because I have such a great open relationship with tyson and family, people see all these things and have questions! Besides that, regular or random questions people ask somehow most always end up with tyson! (which I don’t mind at all) some people I might go into less detail with but not usually. I’ve gotten everything from very negative to very positive from total strangers!

joniece

Personally, it depends on the situation. I don’t exactly broadcast the fact that I’m a birth mom, but in certain situations I think it’s appropriate to mention it. A lot of people still don’t know about it, but everyone who is really close to me knows. I think it’s definitely a personal choice and varies tremendously from person to person. I’m still a little cautious about mentioning it to people.. just for the judgments passed etc, but in time eventually everyone will know.

marilee

It seems like the older my son gets, the more open I am about him. At
first I was terrified to tell anyone my plans even when I was pregnant
thanks to some not-so-kind comments, then I had to deal with the same
comments after I placed my son, now I’m finally confident enough to
stop caring what other people think about my decision. I’m not going
to lie and say that I’m always polite when I hear the rude comments,
but I’m not as defensive as I used to be.

Most of my friends from high school still have no idea. Honestly, I
doubt they’ll ever find out. I have told a few of my really close
friends about him, but that’s basically because I’m moving home for
the summer. While a lot of my college friends know and are pretty
supportive, I’ve heard some comments I’d rather not hear from some of
them about what they would have done. Unsolicited advice isn’t always
kind when it comes to my age group. We’re still trying to figure out
how to be tactful. The one thing I’m afraid of is navigating the
whole dating scene. I’m obviously not ashamed of him, it’s just an
awkward thing to bring up. I don’t want to do it too soon and freak
out the poor guy. I also don’t want to wait for months and months
before I mention him like he’s an afterthought. The guy I’ve been
seeing found out when he got into my car and found a book about being
a birth mother in my passenger seat. Surprise! Imagine how THAT car
ride went.

While I don’t have “I’m a Birth mother” tattooed on my wrist, I wear
necklaces that have my son’s name on them with pride. (Why yes…they
ARE all from the r house.) I have pictures of him on my walls, I carry
a picture of him in my purse, and he’s the background on my phone. He
isn’t “hidden” like I assumed he would be. It’s kind of my little way
of saying we aren’t horrible people, we just made a mistake. My family
doesn’t agree with the fact that I tell people about him, but they’re
trying to comprehend the fact that I’m not ashamed of who I am. I
didn’t take the easy way out of the situation, I’m not embarrassed
when it comes to my son, and I’d still make the same decision if I
could go back in time. I have nothing to hide anymore.

andee

I’m very open about it to probably about 99% of the people I associate with.
I do this because I want to get Adoption out there. I want everyone to know that Adoption is an option and a GREAT one. I love Adoption and I want everyone to know that.

The only time I do not tell other people is when I for some reason, don’t feel like I should. That’s rare but it does happen. I also don’t tell most of the guys I date right away. Some of them know in advance, but the ones that don’t, I choose to wait until they get to know me a little better. :)

myra

I am very open about being a birthmother and having placed. It’s not the first phrase out of my mouth, but it is something I am proud of and am passionate about. It is part of who I am and I am not reserved about who I am. Not everyone is supportive or kind. But I made the right decision and I have peace, and no one can take that away from me.

amanda

I am not open with everyone I know or meet about my past.

I placed my baby for adoption 14 years ago this year. And when I found out that I was pregnant, I initially only told a sister-in-law, that I trusted. I was living away from home, and it wasn’t until I was 6 months along that I finally told my parents. I tried to keep it a secret for as long as I could. And when it became physically obvious, I went “off the grid”. I was a good Mormon girl, who was disappointed and humiliated to be in the situation I was in. I knew better. But, in an effort to try to maintain a horrible and destructive relationship, I gave up the most valuable virtue I had.

It has only been in the last few years that I have been able to tell some family members and close friends that I trust. Not everyone is supportive and encouraging of a girl who found herself pregnant out of wedlock. And even though that experience was created out of sin, I feel that because I chose adoption I was carried by my Savior- and it was one of the most spiritual and valued experiences of my life. It is a sacred experience to me. And the baby that I placed and his family are a special and important part of my life. I would never want to share that with someone who would judge me, or my choice harshly. So I choose carefully whom I share that part of my life with.

carly

There are times when I want to shout it from the rooftops that I placed a baby for adoption. I feel like people may understand me better when I’m having a meltdown; however I don’t want it to be a crutch or “the” reason behind every emotional moment.

Even though it’s very much part of who I am, I’m selective with those I share that part of me with. I want it to be reverenced. It’s a pearl that I don’t want to be cast before swine.

It’s also hard to share, because it causes me to touch basis with reality, yet it also helps me to process and teach others how positive adoption can be and clear up misconceptions.

It’s usually very clear to me the moments that I am to share, like the other day at work I went to lunch with a girl that’s younger then be by about 8 years. She just had a baby and is struggling to be a single mom. She asked me why I moved to Utah and it opened up a great conversation about me placing Calli for adoption and my thoughts and her feelings about how she wonders if she could do it now. It was a short and sweet conversation but thought provoking. Also an opportunity for her to see that it is possible to keep going forward after placing a child.


coley

Honestly, it depends on the situation. Obviously, I’m very open about my adoption story on the internet and often times that leads over to my everyday life as well so for the most part anyone who’s a permanent part of my life knows.

When I’m meeting new people it’s a little different. There have been times where it comes up in a conversation with some random person in line at the store or someone somewhere asks me how many kids I have. This is where it gets tricky. If I’m in the mood, I’ll respond and explain about Charlie being adopted and use the moment as a way to explain about open adoption or birthmothers but if I’m not in the mood to be a poster girl for birthmoms at that moment in time and this is a stranger I’m talking to that I’m very unlikely to run into again then my answer is usually very simple like “I have two kids” and I don’t go into detail that I parent one and placed one for adoption.

if you have more questions after reading this post on topics that relate specifically to the answers these birth moms just gave us, then feel free to ask them in the comments and i am sure they will answer them in comment form.


if you have additional questions that are not answered here or questions that don’t relate to this post, please email me or comment on this post and i will add them to the list for the birth mothers to answer.