Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Struggling as a Birthmom ****Guest Blogger

Sorry for the time between posts. Finals are in less than a month so it's crunch time. Yesterday was the Adoption Walk With Me and despite the cold weather we had a great turn out. I was asked to be a photographer for the event so I will have fun pictures to share soon. If you want to see them all you'll have to join The Adoption Walk With Me Facebook Page.

Anyhow, for today's guest poster, you may remember my cousin J who guest blogged for me a couple of years ago. J is a birthmom and placed her son Kermit (his online nickname) 7 years ago. J volunteered to guest post this time about what life is like now for her. She has been struggling somewhat with her semi-open adoption and would like the advice of my readers. So without further ado.......


As I sit here pondering what to say 7 years after the birth of Kermit, I am listening to some songs that help me in times of stress. One of them that comes to mind is called "The Birth Parent Song". I received it from my LDSFS (LDS Family Services) Counselor on a night when we were out to dinner. I was 6 months pregnant with Kermit (nickname his adoptive mom uses on her blog to keep his name private), and my counselor decided to invite my family and his adoptive parents to eat. As we met in the party room and ate, we had a good time talking. I was getting to know this couple that had been through such a hard time, with the loss of their daughter, Angel Baby (another nickname used to protect her name), at only 10 days old. After losing her, they decided to adopt and I'm glad that they did. They have done such a good job of raising Kermit, and I know that they have given him more of a life than I could have.The song that is typed up is part of a CD that was given to both Kermit's adoptive mom and me, as a gift to help us through any hard times we might have. It was a way to keep us connected through the distance we have (we don't live in the same state). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do."Once I was expecting a baby, marriage was impossible; what was I to do? Everybody knew but me;All my friends told me to keep my child, but something deep inside my soul kept urging me to pray;I bowed my head and found these words to say:What can I do to help this baby of mine? So tiny and helpless, an angel divine;What were his feelings about coming to me?Did he know that some other loving father and mother were meant for him eternally?Why is this happening to me?I know I did some foolish things, it seems unbearable for me to let him go;Yet I'd do anything for him and pray that someday he will know; I gave him out of love, it was no easy thing; When he was born I held him close to my heart; I loved him and kissed him and tried to impart;That I knew the mom and dad God wanted for him; I've come to accept it, I'll never forget him; and I'll be a mother again, I pray;I know my Heavenly Father lives and that he loves me; I know that when I placed my baby, I followed his plan;So when my heart aches for the one, I will always cherish; I turn to Him for help, He listens to my prayers;And peace fills my soul, peace fills my soul; What can I do to help the one I adore? I pray for him daily, and it's come to me lately;His life with them will lead Him home;"You would think that things would get easier as time goes on. I have an open adoption that was offered to me as a choice when I first met his parents . They told me that they would be comfortable with whatever I decided, so I decided on open adoption. We decided on monthly letters, pictures, and then go from there once I was married and had kids of my own. I was married before Kermit turned 2, and had my first daughter before he turned 3. Up until I had kids of my own, I was receiving letters monthly along with pictures. Although I wasn't there to watch his first steps, his first words, etc, I saw enough pictures. Once I had kids, we decided to do pictures every 3 months, then somewhere along the lines, we pushed it back to every 6 months. Now I get a yearly letter with pictures, PLUS I get to see more pictures on his mother's blog that she keeps updated for my mom and me to see. I also have her and her husband on facebook, so I'm able to keep in communication with them. Time flies and Kermit is 7 as of Oct. 30th, and I now have 2 beautiful daughters. My oldest is 4 1/2 and my youngest is 2 1/2, and I love them with all of my heart. They're a handful at times, but I have a very loving and supportive husband that has been good through this whole experience. Every time Kermit's birthday comes around, he tries to be there for me and help me through it. It's especially hard for me because with the financial hardships in our marriage, we haven't been able to have another baby. As I sit here and watch all my friends have boys, I wonder if Heavenly Father will ever bless me with a boy. Will I ever have a chance to see what it would've been like if I would've kept Kermit? Of course I understand that I can't replace him, nor is it right to compare him. I just want to have a son to fill that joy that is missing in my heart, from placing him with his parents. I want to have a son that will love me for who I am, a son where I can watch him grow up. It's not the same, and I understand that, but shouldn't I be able to have a son of my own. I repented of my transgressions of having a baby out of wedlock, changed my life and was married in the temple, but will that day come? Let me ask you readers something. I would love the comments, especially if you are a birth mother yourself and have gone on to have kids with your husband. Is there ever a right time to have another baby of the same gender as the one that you placed for adoption? Will life be easy, or will you find yourself comparing, playing the "what if" game?The other reason why I am writing this experience down, is because I love my cousin Sharon. She is a very strong woman, who went through a teen pregnancy, raised a daughter by herself, went on to become married to a wonderful young man, and then wasn't able to have any more kids. After trying, they decided to adopt and were blessed with Emily, and I'm excited to be able to meet her after we move to UT. Anyways, Sharon started participating in National Adoption Blog Month about 2 years ago, and she asked for volunteers to write down their experience as a new birth parent, a birth mom who just placed, or a family member that was there as a support for either woman. I volunteered and sent my story to Sharon, then I e-mailed Kermit's mom and she also submitted her story. Now I'm volunteering once more, only I'm writing down my thoughts of struggle as I near the date of Kermit's baptism (in 1 more year) and the thought of possibly not being able to go. See, we have an open adoption, but to me, it seems like it's a semi-open adoption. I know their last name, have their address, have them as friends on facebook, and have a chance to see the blog that Kermit's mom started as a way for me and my mom to keep up with his daily life. However, I can't visit him nor can I call him. Up until now, I've been okay with it because I have a family of my own that keeps me busy, I've lived far away from him, and he's been too young for me to communicate with him. However, my husband will be graduating college in December and we have decided to move to UT. Kermit lives in ID and this troubles me, because now I puzzle with the thoughts of wanting to go see him, of wanting to call him. I, too (like Sharon), watch Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant. I very much see myself as Caitlyn and Tyler placed their daughter Carly up for adoption, and also have an open adoption. At the young age of 16, they made a grown up decision (I was 18 when I became pregnant and 19 when Kermit was born) and yet they have contact with Carly's parents. They can call her parents, they went to visit Carly when she turned 2 (?), and are planning another visit. They also get letters every 6 months with pictures. If they have the contact of an open adoption, then what is my adoption? Ok, here are some more questions for you readers. Is it too pushy of me to bring up the situation with Kermit's parents, and see if they're comfortable with visits? We'll finally be close enough where it will only be a 10 hr drive to see them, and I would love to finally be able to meet him. Also, if I already have their last name and address, why don't I have their phone number? Sometimes I sit there and cry because I can't call him on his birthday, or call him on Christmas. It's something as simple as that, and yet I don't have that privilege. Is there ever a right time to ask his parents? Is there a group of people in UT that can help me with this part of my life? I've been to LDSFS before and done a couple of counseling sessions with other birth moms 4 years ago, but would love to meet with some now that can help me. Will things ever get easier?I hope I haven't bored you all, but this is my experience.


Sarah said...

I have a daughter I placed for adoption 12years ago this Christmas.My husband and I have been married for 8years this month.I have a boy and girl with my husband and every Christmas I wonder what my family would be like with her.I stopped receiving letters( not by my choice)a year after we married.I feel very blessed to have my little girl now,I wonder what it would be like having 2 daughters.While things haven't gotten easier,I still miss my other daughter,I have learned to accept things I can not change.Not that I want my daughter back,I just wanted to keep up with her,my yearly letter.So I guess I would say if you have contact you should ask if you could see him or call him.Good luck to you

BioMom said...

I placed a daughter for adoption 4 years ago this January. We have a fully open adoption. They let me decide and that's what I wanted. They are part of an adoption committee here in Canada and told me that it's been proven to be healthier for an adoptive child to know more about where they came from and even know the person or people who gave them life. I see my daughter 3 or 4 times a year. I do not know their address although I have been to their house twice now. I also do not know their phone number, but I am ok with that. I too, have the adoptive mom on facebook, we also have a provate group on there where we plan visits, add photos several times a year and post updates or ask questions. My mom, myself, the counselor from LDSFS, and the adoptive mom are all in the group. The adoptive mom and I also e-mail a few times a month. There have been times where I needed clariication with things and were scared but I prayed for the strength and sent an email via facebook. She reassured me that they want me asking questions and not to feel scared (the answer I had been hoping and looking for from her in response). The funny thing is we were both thinking the same thing as my question but they were also scared to ask and thought they'd wait for me to approach. Since you do have them both on facebook have you thought about sending them the exact same message? Pray for strangth if you feel you will not be strong enough to ask the right questions for you. Maybe write down questions you have as you think about them too, and when you feel you're ready go for it. They are the only ones who can really answer your questions for you. Everyone's story may be different but in the end I feel that all birth mothers feel and go through the same emotions and questions. They said they'd leave it up to you and here (if I may assume) it seems that they are pulling away and you are not and that they are going back on their word? I hope you find the answers you are looking for and they are positive for you and that you can find a peaceful feeling about all of this.


Sarah said...

When you wrote about wanting to have and raise a boy after placing yours my heart just ached. I was in that same situation. I placed my son and had 3 girls after him. I got angry that I wasn't getting another boy to raise. I was blessed to finally get pregnant with another boy 2 1/2 years ago. It was hard he was born sick and was in the NICU for a week. I went through a lot of the emotions I went through with my first son because I was released from the hospital before him. I went through those emotions again of placing. It all turned out okay though. He is fine and healthy and it was worth the wait to finally have a boy again. My boys (the one I placed and my 2 year old) are 12 years apart. My adoption is more closed than yours. I got just letters and pictures from the adoptive couple until he was 5, so I haven't seen or heard about him since then. I didn't have their address or last name. I've heard that I can go to the adoption agency to request it be open, but it has been so long that I'm afraid that it will cause problems. I know he is where he supposed to be. I would love however to be in contact again. Anyway I don't know if I've helped at all, just wanted to let you know you aren't alone.

Sarah said...

Also if you feel like you need more contact, I would let them know.

Alanna said...

I was 17 when I had my girl, and she turns 7 in January. I have an open adoption with her. I just got married this last January, and we are expecting a girl in February. It was interesting to be pregnant with a girl again, because I didn't want my daughter to feel like I'm replacing her. But she's very very excited that I'm pregnant and she wants to meet her little sister (her mom is also pregnant with their 4th and she's due a month after me). I get to talk to my daughter and I try to visit her once a year, and it's been like that from the beginning. She knows who I am, and she loves my husband and calls him her "other Dad." I can imagine how hard it would be to not have that contact. I would bring it up with your son's family. I think you could start out with phone calls on birthdays, holidays etc, and then if they are comfortable with that then maybe have a visit. My daughter's family has always been very open with her about her adoption and her brothers adoption, so she just views it as her being loved by a lot of people. It's scary to ask for a change after so long, but I think if you shared your feelings with his parents they would listen, and hopefully pray about what's right for you and your son, and maybe decide to open the adoption more. I hope that helped a little.

Shantel said...

I am the mother to my almost 8 year old daughter, and birth mother to my almost 1 year old son. I couldn't tell you which is more challenging, single parenting as a teen or placing & following the path of adoption in my twenties... Both have rewards and obstacles, but I try to stay present in each moment, being aware of my feelings and allowing that to guide me as a parent and birth mother. I can identify with you in having daughters and placing a son. My relationship with my daughter is strong, and my love for her has grown through my adoption. I would love to parent a son, to share that bond with a boy. However, I choose to not be sad. I try not to have anticipatory anxiety. I know this possible future son of mine will never replace any feelings I have ever had towards my son, and I embrace that. It makes every experience shared with him special. Love can only be added to, never divided.
As for your struggles with contact, I would suggest writing to Kermit's parents. Tell them how you are feeling. Explain what your understanding of the open status of your adoption meant to you, and what you desire it to be. Things can change over time. It may not have been an issue to call them in the past, or maybe to difficult to have face to face contact. But now, those are things you desire. I am sure Kermit's parents have so much love for you, and will be willing to come to an agreement that everyone is comfortable with.
One thing that someone shared with me during my pregnancy was about boundaries. He said "You will probably come to a point where you will move forward with your life, and respect that they are doing the same with theirs." At first I was somewhat offended, since he did not understand that these people were my best friends. After some thought, I came to realize that I needed to give them the space to adjust to parenthood and their new lifestyle. And that they needed to give me room to move forward, that I needed to have my good days, as well as my difficult ones. We are all busy with life, but still take time to enjoy the sweetness that our connection has brought us, and share our love for each other. That love will never lessen, and we will forever be creating memories with each other.
I sympathize with you, as I have not seen my son since he was 2 days old. You have had years away from Kermit and that has to be so hard. In my situation, I am welcome to come visit at anytime. However, they live in NY and I am in UT. Sometimes that 2,200 miles seems like it is literally worlds away. I look forward to that day that I can squeeze and kiss on my sweet boy, and tell his parents how grateful I am for everything. My wish is the same for you. Until that day, I send love your way. Positive thoughts and best wishes to you.

Kim said...

I'm not a birth mom, but my struggles with children and hopes and dreams are similar to yours. See I had a still born son. I struggled when we got pregnant again about whether we were replacing him or not. Do we use the same name or not. We had heard so many people who felt like after the loss of a child they got their child again. I never felt that way about my children. I ended having 3 more still born children. I have four living children who are my all, but they will never replace the heartache for the lost children of mine. My children were given back to God instead of to another family here on earth, but the heartache and loss is something I can relate to. I also learned as we struggled to get our four living children. That what kids I get to raise here and which I don't really has NOTHING to do with my worthiness in life. When the time was right (5 1/2) years between two of our kids, we were blessed with the child that would complete our family. I just had to remember God's time and my time are not the same thing.

On the communication thing, I would say prayerfully ask. Express honestly what you feel you are missing, what you would like to get, and ask for their support.

birthmomforever said...

I am a birthmom i placed almost 8 years ago and i am hoping to be at his baptism. I don't think you should compare your adoption to anyone elses each one is unique also some agencies have rules they have to follow. when I placed all my letters were read until finialization and we couldn't say last name or any identifying info. I at first started with weekly letters then cut down to monthly, every 3 months, 6 months and now yearly. I do know their names, address and number but I do not talk to my birth son on the phone. I get yearly visits when possible. My advice is to pray about the communication and ask them what they are comfortable with that is what I have always done with my couple.