Monday, June 22, 2009

Four Fathers

This prompt comes from the Open Adoption Roundtable, found here. The prompt is: Write about the father(s) in your family's open adoption(s).

In my life, there are many fathers. Each of them holds a different--but still precious--place in my heart.

First, there is my Dad. My adoptive father, the only father I knew for most of my life. He's a quiet man, reserved. But he is a wonderful father. He cares about me and my brother, and he always showed us in his own way. He was always there to listen when I talked about my ideas for my next story. He helps me fix things, he makes sure my car runs well, he takes me on vacations. He taught me about respect, and integrity, and faith in God and in other people. He loves me, and I don't know what I'd do without him.

Next is my Pops. My birth father, who celebrated my birthday every year with his kids, who looked for me and was overjoyed when we found each other. He taught me to play Blackjack, he gave me every Nightwish album that I have, and he took me fishing for the first time. We don't see each other as much as I would like. But we still love each other, and I know we'll always have a relationship.

Now Joseph for a moment. Jen wrote their first email to me, but Joe insisted that he got the next turn. Throughout my pregnancy, Joe was invested in me and the baby, he was there at every meeting and every phone call. When I was in labor, it was he who asked me when they could come. And when he held his son for the first time, his face lit up in the biggest grin I've ever seen. He is a wonderful father; he eats breakfast with his son, they talk about cars and planes and engines, and laugh at Mama. Ian would not be who he is today if not for his father, Joseph.

And Sean. I don't give Sean enough credit. When I was pregnant, I blamed him for a lot of things, and I was unforgiving in my criticism of his every action. But I look back, and he was there. He cared about me, even if he didn't know what to do for me. And I can never deny that he cared about our baby. He came to the hospital when I was in labor, and when he held our son for the first time, he wept. Sean and I spent some time alone with Ian that day, and I had never seen Sean more tender. I can't say what their relationship will be in the future, but there is no doubt that Sean cares deeply about our son.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The national conference of Families Supporting Adoption is coming up fast! On July 31& August 1, friends of adoption will gather from across the country for two days of education, discussion, and networking.

I'm particularly excited to announce the birthparent portion of this conference. It's grown a TON from last year's conference (the first time birth families were invited to attend) and there are going to be lots of great classes for birth parents in every stage. Here's just some of the session topics:

-What Adopted Children Need From Their Birth Parents
-What's Next: Living Life Post-Adoption
-Uniting as a Birth Family
-Deciding Who, When, & How to Tell Your Adoption Story
-Being a Birth Mother is Just One Part of Who I Am
-Navigating the Difficult Conversations
-Telling Your Children Your Adoption Story
-Sharing Your Passion for Adoption
-Letting Go and Moving Forward
-Husbands of Birth Mothers (Panel)
-Desires, Expectations, and Disappointments
-Step by Step Through Your Pregnancy & Placement
-United by Love

While Families Supporting Adoption is closely connected to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, birth parents of all backgrounds are invited to attend, for FREE! All the details are over at this blog:

Spread the word! It's going to be a great conference, for birth families and adoptive families alike. If you have any questions, let me know!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable

Much to my delight, Heather has opened up the Open Adoption Roundtable. Periodically, she will pose a question, to which we respond in detail at our own blogs. I think this is a great way to network and share ideas and stories about adoption. It brings so many perspectives together!

The question for this first round is: What one thing about open adoption would you tell your past self, if you could? (For more detail, I'd recommend taking the link over to Heather's post.) This is a little different for me than it would be for an adoptive mom, but here goes.

It was pretty early in my pregnancy that I decided I was going to place my baby for adoption. Getting married just wasn't going to happen, abortion wasn't an option, and I decided I wasn't going to single parent. So I started looking at profiles of adoptive couples. Even these are a lot more open than they used to be, and contact of some kind is usually encouraged. I read through a few, and even emailed a handful of couples. One of the most important questions (to me) I asked was, "How do you feel about openness?"

I got lucky. Or rather, there was more than a little divine intervention. I hear adoptive couples and caseworkers talk about networking, and it is SO TRUE. I looked through the profiles and emailed couples that seemed close to what I wanted. But networking found the true results.

Late in the summer, when I was about four months along, my friend Ashley hesitantly approached me. She told me that her sister knew a couple who were hoping to adopt. I told Ashley to pass along my email address. Lo and behold, I soon had a lengthy email from Jen, telling me about her and her husband, their lives, the cruise they'd just gone on, and how they wanted to know all about me.

Those emails continued. They were usually long (as were mine back to them), they were usually fairly casual, but they were always loving and always interested in me and how I was doing. They were perfect, and I loved them. To be honest, Jen became a HUGE support to me throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I knew that she cared about me, and I knew that she cared about my pregnancy. I shared with her the details of my discomforts and my joys regarding my pregnancy, because she was curious and excited for me. In some ways, Jen went through that pregnancy, vicariously! And by the time I realized that she was supposed to be the mother of our "little monkey", I realized that I wanted her to share those experiences with me, because she was his mother.

I know that adoptive couples often feel anxiety about openness with birth parents. Particularly if it's their first time adopting. Always there's just that edge of nervousness when you think of including another person in your little family. I cannot commend Jen enough for her compassion, her curiosity, and her open, honest engagement with me. That was what I needed. I hope I'm not making an assumption to say that she needed it too. And I don't think either of us had even begun to realize what we needed from each other before it just happened.

I will relate an experience. It was late November. Jen and I had been emailing since August. I had prayed about it, my ex/the father had prayed about it, and I knew without any doubt that the little monkey was supposed to belong to Jen and Joe's family. I was planning to tell them over Christmas break when I met them for the first time. But out of nowhere, Jen and Joe got an offer: another birthmother had chosen to place her baby with them. Immediately.

I can't even begin to imagine what Jen and Joe went through during this time. It seems so brief, looking back, but at the time it seemed like an endless agony. Jen and Joe considered the offer, and my caseworker talked me through the possibilities, and what might happen if they decided to accept this other child, and not mine. Jen and Joe considered the possibility of taking both children. We all prayed.

We had a conference call--Jen, Joe, their caseworker, my caseworker, me and my ex. I was on pins and needles. I knew. I knew my baby was meant to be with them. And I didn't want to share them with some other person! I didn't want my baby fighting for their attention! It was just supposed to be us right now. Other babies could come later, but right now, it was about me and my little monkey.

Jen and Joe knew it too.

You can't imagine the relief I felt when they told me that their prayers had been answered, and that they knew they were supposed to have my baby, and that this other child was supposed to be with a different family. I wept. It still brings tears to my eyes to think about what might have happened, if they hadn't been in tune to the Spirit, if they had been tempted by the offer of a baby right now. But our Father in Heaven knew where these children were supposed to be, and He made it possible.

We still met over Christmas, and though it was no longer a surprise of any kind, I still gave them my gift--a stuffed monkey, to hold them over until they got the real little monkey. Over the coming months, our emails continued. I shared my ultrasound pictures. We met again. We talked about names for the baby. We discussed the birth plan. In every way, I tried to include them in my pregnancy, and then in the birth of their son.

I know that I've strayed a bit. But what I would tell my past self about open adoption is to trust. I would tell me to trust myself. I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to choose the right parents for my baby, but when the real time of trial came, I knew. And I would tell myself to trust them. Jen and Joe have been so kind and generous, through every step and every day of this experience. They continue to share with me, and they continue to tell their son about his adoption and his birthmom, who loves him. Open adoption works. It is about trust, and it is about love.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's About Love

I am THRILLED to announce that the new It's About Love website has finally launched!! The new site has been under construction for awhile now, but it's been approved and is now LIVE at . Please take some time to look over the site. There are a lot of features here for everyone interested in adoption, and frankly, it's just a beautiful website. Huzzah!!


Monday, June 1, 2009

I don't like people who talk about things they know nothing about. Just sayin'

Secondhand stories are sometimes difficult to relate, so bear with me. Yesterday I was talking to my friend Melissa about a conversation she had with one of her other friends (we'll call her Christy). They had been playing Imagine If... and the question was what Christy would do with her baby if she got pregnant. Melissa automatically assumed that she would place it for adoption, but Christy protested that she would keep her baby, as if this were the only logical asnwer. She then proceeded to say that people who gave up their babies for adoption didn't love their babies like she would love hers.

This is a secondhand story. I do know Christy, though not well. But even secondhand from a friend-of-a-friend, it still kind of ticked me off. Of all misconceptions about adoption, this one rubs me the worst.

Birthmothers love their babies. Birthmothers usually love their babies more than anything else in the entire world; certainly more than they love themselves. I've met quite a few birthmoms in the past couple of years, and I've yet to meet one who didn't love her baby LIKE CRAZY. To say that a birthmother does not love her baby is to say that they could live without air or water. Just not happening.

You know what one of my biggest pet peeves is?
People who speak in ignorance.

Placing my son for adoption was THE hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Ever. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the hardest thing I will EVER have to do in my life. I don't regret my decision in the slightest. But that doesn't mean it was easy. And it certainly doesn't mean that I didn't/don't love him. I think about him all the time. I hope he's doing well. I look at his pictures and videos, and read his mom's blog. I'm not obsessed. But I'm still a mother. I still care and worry and hope for him. Because I love him. I will always love him.

I am not an incubator. I am a birth mother.