Friday, November 28, 2014

BMB Reform Blog: Gift Cards for Mothers?

Recently I came across a Facebook post that was quite alarming.  An agency had a "promo" going where if you referred an expectant mother to them and she placed through them you would get a $500 gift card once the adoption was finalized.  Needless to say, I was pretty outraged as were a lot of other women I know.

I am a firm believer that when women are coerced into adoption, even by the most subtle means, she really doesn't have a choice.  And this promotion?  It screams coercion.  First of all, we're treating an expectant mother and her baby as a commodity.  I can trade in movies on Amazon for a gift card.  I can enter contests for gift cards.  I should never be using a woman going through an unplanned pregnancy for monetary gain.  And how will she feel if she wants to change her mind, but is obligated to "keep her promises" due to her "friends" involvement and compensation?

Also, anyone who is interested in adoption reform knows that one of our biggest issues is money. They say that adoption is not about buying a baby, but many things in adoption say otherwise unfortunately.  The rising costs, the payment for medical care when that should be provided by the government, etc.  And given that a LOT of us relinquish due to financial issues, it makes my blood boil that others are getting a $500 gift card to throw women into this.

So what are your thoughts on this?  Do you find this practice unethical?








If you or anyone you know would like to be interviewed for this section, or if you have an important reform topic you would like discussed, please feel free to email me!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

"Who is That?"

For any of us birth moms who receive pictures of our children it is hard to not want to show the whole world the amazing pictures that can help us get through a hard day. My phone screen saver has been my daughter since the day she was born and I know that it will most likely remain that way for a very long time. I don't think much of it because most often the person looking at my phone is me, so I never have to explain anything, and the friends who do look at my phone already know about my daughter.

The other day in one of my classes I was talking to a girl who I am casually friends with. We talk about class and homework and have hung out a few times but we definitely have not reached the point where I would bring up my daughter. Today I sat down in class and when I checked the time on my phone my screen saver was on and she saw  the picture of my daughter and said "Aw, who is that?". Honestly at the moment I was so upset that I had that picture up, I didn't really want to go into about the adoption and everything 3 minutes before my classed started but I didn't want to make up a lie and say she was a niece or something. In the back of my mind I also knew that this girl is raising her boyfriends daughter and she often complains about how the biological mom is a deadbeat. Having all this in mind, it made me very intimidated to talk about my story with her because I was
scared she would also label me as a deadbeat or someone who didn't care for my daughter.

I took a few seconds to answer and then I just said "Shes my birth daughter, I placed her for adoption last year and she is with a really amazing family." And of course after I said that there were a million more questions I could see that were about to explode out of her mouth. Most of them were understandable like "How long ago was it?", "How old is she?" and grew more ignorant with questions im sure some of us had heard  "Are you still with the father?" "Why?",  "Was it hard?". Honestly in the moment I wanted to scream at her. Of course it was hard, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. What kind of a person do you think I am?

The ignorant questions from some people are extremely difficult to deal with. Sometimes I wish people could just think about things a little longer before they say them. I understand the questions, I would probably have questions too had I not been a birth mom. I cannot wait for the day where telling someone you're a birth mom isn't followed by a million personal questions about yourself and the situation.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What kind of questions have you heard?



Photo Credit

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Ultimate Frustration

So, it's November.  November, among other things, is national adoption month.  A friend of mine, who is a photographer, posted a list of twenty photos celebrating national adoption month.  Of those, about two were domestic adoptions that were the result of custody battles and divorces.  All the others were international adoptions.

Okay, before I get scolded, I have no problem with either kinds of adoption.  I agree that people who get divorced and then end up with blended families, should be able to adopt their step children.  I also agree that there are children in other countries who need homes and the opportunities that this country can provide.

That said, my frustration is mainly in that the adoptions we hear about the most are those that happen in blended families or international adoptions.  Adoptions like the ones that we know of?  I hear about them at birthmother support groups.  I hear about them on this blog.  I hear about them when I look really hard for them.  I hear about them when I share my story and people find the courage to speak up as well.  I don't hear about our stories on TV, on the news, in the movies, or in books.  Not most of them anyway.

So right now, I'm just frustrated.  I'm frustrated that our society is one that keeps us quiet.  I'm frustrated that people like us get painted as drug addicts, screw-ups, and women who abandoned their children.  At least this is what it feels like right now.  That's what I keep seeing.  And it's so incredibly frustrating to me right now.

What's worse is that this will be something that will have to change over time.  I know that the best idea is to remain patient and work as we go along.  We're only a few people.  And even as I write this, I feel like a bit a of a hypocrite because I am not open about my son on my own Facebook page due to various family that I don't want to know about happened.  How can I call for people to be open when I'm barely open myself?

Sorry all, just very frustrated this week.  Feel free to vent your own frustrations on here.  I know I've been frustrated about this for days now.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Music Monday: Hope In Front of Me by Danny Gokey



"I've been running through rain
That I thought would never end
Trying to make it on faith
In a struggle against the wind
I've seen the dark and the broken places
But I know in my soul
No matter how bad it gets
I'll be alright" 



If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Quote of the Week: Defeated




"No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within."














If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!







Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Guilt



November is my daughters birth month and it is also national adoption month so needless to say, it has been a rough couple of weeks.  Most of the time I am happy go lucky and can see the light in most situations, but lately I have been feeling something I am not used to feeling, Guilt. Guilt about placing my daughter.

I have been having those moments of “I could have done it” or “What if I tried harder?”.

When I was pregnant and considering adoption guilt was never something I thought I would be feeling after the birth of my daughter. I knew I would be sad and emotional, but guilt was never something I considered. I still know that I did what was best for my child, there was no way I could have provided the stable and loving home that she deserved. We would be struggling everyday just to keep our heads above water and logically I know that adoption was the best thing that could have happened for her. Those what ifs are the most difficult things to get by. Your head says one thing but your heart feels another. 

I decided to write about this to let any other birth moms out there who feel the same way that they are not alone. This journey is hard and there are so many different emotions that we feel, and none of them are wrong. I love my daughter and think of her often, as we all do. And guilt, along with many other emotions are just a natural part of the grieving processes.
I was recently talking with my best friend about how i was feeling and she helped me come to a realization. The grass is always greener on the other side. Had I parented my daughter and struggled through life with her I would always think that maybe had I placed her she would have a better life. I placed my daughter so now I am dealing with the other side of this battle. 

The most important thing to remember is that you did what you thought was best for you and your child. You love them and nothing that happens will ever change that bond. 

How have you dealt with emotions such as guilt? What other ways have you felt that you maybe did not expect to feel?



Photo credit




Monday, November 17, 2014

Music Monday: You're Worth It by Cimorelli



"You’re more than labels
More than pain
Baby, you’re more than your mistakes
And you've got something to say"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quote of the Week: Love



"Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable."









If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!





Monday, November 10, 2014

Music Monday: Who Says by Selena Gomez


"Who says, who says you're not perfect?
Who says you're not worth it?
Who says you're the only one that's hurtin'?
Trust me, that's the price of beauty
Who says you're not pretty?
Who says you're not beautiful?
Who says?"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quote of the Week: There is a Road...




"There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go, no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone."












If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!





Saturday, November 8, 2014

Can I Come In?


Several months after placing my son for adoption, I was invited to come to a Methodist church to be a substitute piano player.  I play piano and have done so since I was nine years old.  I don't play that much anymore and eventually I would just be a casual member rather than a piano player.  The pastor at this particular small town church is a woman named Teresa.  On my first meeting with Pastor Teresa in the morning before service, we talked for a while about a variety of things.  But then because this is a small town church and because I was more or less committed to telling the truth to people, I decided to tell her about the one thing I thought could get me kicked out of this place.

"I have to tell you, the reason I came back to live with my parents was because I got pregnant," I say to her.

"It happens," she said with a nod.  Now realizing that if I did leave this church it would not be because of her, I continued,

"And my boyfriend and I didn't have the ability to give him a good stable home so we placed him for adoption. It's an open adoption and I get to see him."  She expressed her glee and happiness that things had worked out so well for everyone involved and I realized that I would not have to fear telling this woman anything.

Religion has been a strange subject in my life.  Mostly it's because I had something of a weird upbringing on the subject.  Stuck between a Methodist and a fallen away Catholic who both decided the Unitarian church was the one for them (until I was nine and after that we didn't go anywhere) meant my religious education was rather weird.  But, it has also left me more open minded.  For now I attend the Methodist church when I go to see my parents and a Lutheran church in the town where I live if I stay for the weekend.

After everything that happened with my son, I wasn't quite sure that any church would let me back in.  I had (obviously) has sex before marriage.  I had bore a son and placed that son in the arms of others to be raised.  These still carry a bit of social stigma and much social stigma (let's face it) comes from religion.  So you can probably understand my nervousness.

But just as I've been extremely lucky with who my son's adoptive parents and how everything turned out, I've been extremely lucky when it comes to find churches that will let me in and won't bother me about anything that I've done.  Both the Methodist and the Lutheran pastors at the churches I have attended have passed the test.  They and many members of both churches have seen pictures of my son and have talked to me very positively about what I've done and what all happened.  And it has been a help to me.

I hope that all of you have the courage to look for the people who will help you.  And while you may have some bad times, I do believe that sooner or later, you will find people who will support and believe in you.  And trust me, they will let you back in the door.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fighting Fear with Peace



Oh girls, I have really been fighting fear lately. I mean on a level I have not experienced before. All the ebola and other sickness news has had me awake at night and on the edge of my seat by day. Sunday morning my pastor opened the service by saying he knew there was fear all around us. And he knows that many of us are really struggling. But that the God of the Bible is not afraid and not caught unprepared. As children of God, we needed to make a decision. Were we really going to put our faith into action? or were we going to let our fear consume us and dominate our lives?

I needed that challenge. I so want to be a true follower of Jesus even though it's completely counter-cultural. So the next day was Monday and I sent both of my kids to their Monday co-op despite Peanut's headache. I spent the day talking to the Lord, telling him the truth about my fears and even crying a little bit. It wasn't so much a goal of 'feeling better', I just knew that drawing closer to God would give me peace.

And so it was. Peanut's headache turned into full-blown vomiting that was still raging out of control 24 hours later. I opened a notice that said our life insurance had been canceled. And with family vacation looming on the horizon and laundry piled sky-high, I was at perfect peace. Like crazy peace. Like as still as the surface of a lake in the early morning peace.

In this crazy life, the only place to find peace is in the Lord. There is nothing else. No pill. No bottle. No sport or tv show can compare. If you don't have this peace, message me. I'd love to talk with you about it.




Photo credit

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The First Birthday


My daughters first birthday is coming up later this week and let me tell you, it has been a strange month. I’d like to think that I have been doing pretty well over this last year. Yes, I have cried when I needed to cry and yes I have been in touch with my emotions and yes I have had bad days when I didn't want to get out of bed, but all in all I have had a pretty good year. I returned to school and got my very first job. I am at peace with my decision and I know I did the best I could have done under the circumstances, but this last month has been so hard. Every time I think about her upcoming birthday I want to cry. I am sad that she is growing so fast and that it feels like yesterday that she was rolling around in my belly keeping me up all night. I have just been plain sad these last few weeks.

 Even during my pregnancy I never had a time like this where I was just sad. It has taken some getting used to and after talking to several other birth moms I realized that sometimes this is just the way you are going to feel. There will be times of the year that are just harder than others.  Everyone grieves differently and for me it took a year before I was feeling this level of sad. Trust me I was devastated in the beginning during those first few weeks and leaving the hospital with nothing in my arms, but that didn't last long because only 8 weeks after placing I returned to school 3 hours away from home and was able to keep my mind a little busy.


But now as this first year comes to a close I have been feeling emotions I didn't quite know was possible.  And for those of you, who are also in their first year; don’t let anyone ever make you feel bad for how you are feeling. Honestly this really applies to any birth mother out there, but if you feel like you have to cry everyday then do it. If you don’t feel like you need to cry, then don’t. Grieve in your own way. Every adoption is different and so is every birth mother.

This last year has taught me that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We are all strong women who have made it through one of the hardest things we will have to. We survived and we are thriving. I am proud of every woman on birth mom buds who has made it through one of the hardest journeys in life. 


We have made plans to facetime on her birthday with her and her parents, even though she is only a year old and she most likely wont sit still for long, I am so excited to see how big she is. Just seeing her for a minute on her birthday would make me feel so happy and relieved to see how far we have come in the past year.  And I will be sure to let everyone know how this "visit" goes.


How did you handle your child's first birthday and the first year after placement? How did you grieve? Were you able to contact or speak with your child? 





Photo Credit 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Music Monday: Where Do I Fit In The Picture by Clay Walker




"Where do I fit in the picture
Or do I really fit at all
Or have I become a fixture
On an old forgotten wall"


If you have any suggestions for songs to use, feel free to email me or post a comment!




Sunday, November 2, 2014

Quote of the Week: Forgive!






"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."










If you have any suggestions for quotes, feel free to email me or post a comment!