Stop Trying To Convince Me

Stop

I haven’t ever talked about today’s topic because I know there are people who are passionate about this topic and before now I have never been in a place where I would be able to handle any backlash that comes from this post.  I finally am in a good spot emotionally that I know I can handle anything that comes from me posting this.  Now before I get into the topic of this post I want to let everyone know that I am not writing this to anyone in particular I am just venting.

Anyway lets get on to the topic of this post.  I want to write about people in the adoption world who believe that everyone who places their children for adoption was forced and/or coerced.  I want to talk about this because I am not the type of person who can be forced to do anything let alone place my daughter for adoption.

Now I know that people were and probably still are forced to place their children for adoption.  I also agree with the fact that girls need to know that this can happen but they don’t need to try and convince those of us that placed our children that we were forced to place them.  While I agree people need to know I don’t agree with people trying to convince those of us who weren’t forced or tricked into placing our children like they were.

I am just tired of being told how I should feel and what I should believe when it comes to the adoption of my daughter.  I knew what I was doing when I made the choice that I did.  I wanted to give her everything that I didn’t know if I could ever give her.  I wanted her to have a stable environment, two parents in the home, siblings, and things like that.  My childhood wasn’t stable up until my grandparents got us full time and I didn’t want her to feel what it feels like to not know what was going to happen from day to day like I did.

I hope that this post made some sort of sense.  If you have any thoughts about this please let me know because I am always open to talking about things and hearing other peoples opinions on things but like I said trying to convince me I was forced to placed her isn’t going to get any response from me.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Margaret Margaret

Hi, My Name Is . . .

My Name Is . . .

This was a prompt from last weeks writers workshop and I had to write about it because it was such a fun topic and there are tons of things that could complete the sentence.  I think I am going to just list things that I am and then explain why on some of them.

  • Birth Mom-I placed my daughter for adoption when I was 20.
  • Blogger
  • Daughter
  • Mom to two crazy cats
  • Book lover
  • Introvert
  • Person who truly loves to be alone
  • Huge football fan-I will watch pretty much any game but I love the University of Utah & the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Suffer of an invisible illness-Multiple Sclerosis
  • College dropout
  • Blog Designer

Those are just the few things that came first to me.  I know I could go on and on with a list but no one has time to read that.

How would you answer the sentence?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Margaret Margaret

My Open Adoption Thoughts

I haven’t written anything about adoption in awhile so  today I am going to talk about open adoption and why a totally open adoption isn’t for me.  If you don’t already know open adoption is defined:

Open adoption is an adoption in which the biological mother or parents and adoptive family know the identity of each other. In open adoption, the parental rights of biological parents are terminated, as they are in “closed adoptions” and the adoptive parents become the legal parents, yet the parties elect to remain in contact. Open adoption has become the norm in most states in the adoption of newborns.

Source: Wikipedia

At this point I would consider the adoption of my daughter to be semi open or even almost closed.  I get a card from them on Christmas and if during the year I want to an update I email them and ask for one and I am 100% okay with that.  I know that some people won’t understand why I am okay with so I am going to try and explain it as best as I can.

For the first year I got letters and pictures pretty regularly and to be honest every time I got pictures and a letter it brought back all of the emotions.  Once the letters and pictures stopped coming as regularly and now have pretty much stopped I have found been able to heal and stop living in the past.

Now that isn’t saying that I don’t think of her because I think of her every day but I feel that I am not stuck in the past.  In order for me to heal and get at the place I where I can now talk about it to anyone with out getting depressed I had to put everything that reminded me of her away.  I found that when I had her things out that I was dwelling on the pain and not living my life.

I am so glad that my adoption is how it is because it has allowed me to live my life and heal from the pain.  Now there are still times that it is hard for me but those times are few and far between anymore.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Margaret Margaret

Ways to Cope With Placing Your Child For Adoption

I placed my daughter for adoption in July of 2005.   I attend a support group for unwed mothers that the agency I was going to had.  Not everyone in the group was placing for adoption but I learned so much from the girls that have placed and listening to what worked and didn’t work for them.  I figured that I would share some of the things that worked for me and things that may work for other birth parents.

Before I get into them I was researching some things on adoption and I found this article.  While I reading through article I found this paragraph and I really liked what it said.  I am going to post it here because I think it speaks volumes about how birth parents are looked at by people who don’t understand are choices.  Here is the paragraph:

Most people at some time in their lives experience grief when they are separated from a loved one. However, in adoption, there are no standard grieving processes or approved rituals to help birthparents cope. When a well-liked co-worker accepts a new job in a new city, there is often a going away party. When a loved one dies, there may be a religious service, a wake, a funeral, and visits to the survivors’ home by friends and relatives. But birthparents’ grief is distinct from most other types of grief, because it is not always socially acceptable to talk about what happened.

Now on to the ways I coped and ways that others have coped with the greif.

  • Journal-I wrote out why I placed her in a journal that I then gave to the adoptive mom to give to my daughter when they thought she was ready to read it.
  • Talk to other birth moms-It helped me tons to be able to talk to other girls who had been though it and could tell me that it would get better with time.  I never thought the first year would end but each year it gets easier at least it has for me.
  • Take one day at at time-There are time where You are going to have to take it minute by minute but know that time will heal the pain.  At first the pain is so raw that it is all you can think about but it does get easier I promise.
  • Build a support system-I helps to have people who know the whole story and whither or not they agree with your choice they will still stand behind you and listen to you talk.  There will be times that just talking to someone and having them not try to answer but just listen helps so much.  It makes such a difference to just get the thoughts out of you head and have someone not feel the need to try and make it better but just listen.
  • Allow yourself to feel the emotions-I know in the beginning I wanted to run from the emotions I was feeling and not feel anything but by doing that you are going to be making it harder in the long run.  Allow yourself to feel and grieve.
  • Keep Scrapbooks and/or pictures around-If you were to walk into my room right now the only pictures I have up are the ones of her when she is older.  In the beginning looking at the pictures made me feel better but after the first year and even know it is so hard for me to look at the pictures of her while we were in the hospital because I want the baby.  I heard from one of the girls in the support group that her child became two different people in her head even though she knew they were the same.  She like me wanted the baby and not the child that she is now.
  • If you need help ask-Don’t be too afraid to talk to a counselor if you are having a hard time deal with all of the emotions.  I saw one quite awhile after I placed my daughter and that helped me so much.

When I think of more ways I am for sure going to post them and if you know of any other ways to cope please leave a comment so that I can add it to my next post.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Margaret Margaret

My Adoption Story Part One

I have had quite a few new followers in the last few months and I figured that I would re-post the story of me placing my daughter for adoption.  This post is just the story of all everything went and the following post will be about my feelings and thoughts on everything.

I was 19 and going to school up at Weber State University.  I was a sophomore and going to school for nursing.  I was living in the apartment style dorms and moved a few times because of one thing or another.  If you want to know more about that whole situation let me know and I will write a post about that.

Anyway, I found out that I was pregnant in the ER because I was so sick.  I already knew in my head that I was pregnant but didn’t want to admit it to myself or anyone else for that matter.   I remember when they told me that I was pregnant that I knew that she wasn’t meant for me.  My family was always for adoption, or at least the family that knew.

I moved out of the dorms and back home after the fall semester was over because of all the drama that had gone on that semester.  After I moved home I started working 2 jobs and taking one class online to keep me busy.  I decided that I was going to place through LDS Family Services because I am LDS and I wanted my child raised in a home like I was raised in.  They also had a support group for girls that were pregnant and unmarried that attend almost every week after I moved home.

In January I started looking through profiles of couples that were looking to adopt.  The first time I looked I picked out two couples and brought them home to see what my family thought.  This is where the story gets weird to say the least.  Come to find out my grandma had talk to my social worker and asked her to pull a certain profile so that I could look at them.  One of the profiles that I brought home was the family that she picked out.  I didn’t know that until she told me after I delivered and everything was done.  She knew that if she told me that I wouldn’t have picked them because that is how my brain works.  If someone tells me to do something I won’t do it even if I know it is right.

In the mean time they did a blood test at the doctors office and they told me that the baby could possible have either downs syndrome or what they call Trisomy 18.  Because of that blood test I had to go up to the University of Utah and have a longer ultra sound to rule out both of those.  After we got done with that the chances of it went done some and I decided that anymore testing could just wait until she was born.

After I picked them I made up a really cute basket of stuff for them and sent it to announce to them that I had picked them.  Well come to find out they had a gotten a baby in March and the agency didn’t know if they could place my daughter with them as well.  I told my social worker that I still really felt that is where she was supposed to go and that  she needed to try everything that she could to make it work.  After a few weeks of going back and forth and asking the other birth mom if it was okay with her they finally decided that she could be placed with them.

This was such a relief for me.  After we got that decision we started the process of meeting with them and getting to know them.  While this was all going on I was getting huge and super tired of being pregnant.  I was due on the 7th of July and my doctor scheduled me to be induced on the 7th if I didn’t go into labor on my own before then.

Well the morning I was supposed to be induced my water broke and lets just say I knew she would come on her own time and she waited until the last possible second to do it on her own.  I was in labor for about 12 hours or so.  When it was time to have her I had the adoptive mom in the room so that she could see her being born.  They ended up having to use the vacuum thing to get her out because she was stuck on my tail bone and I was too tired to keep pushing.

Two days after I had her I signed the papers and said my goodbyes to the baby that I named Gracelynn but they later changed to Brita.  There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t pop into my head and I just wonder is she happy??  Did I do the right thing????  Will she hate me one day because of the choice I made to place her for adoption????  I hope one day I will get to meet her and get to know her but I also know that it is totally up to her and I will have to live with her decision.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Margaret Margaret

Erika’s Story

It all started when I was 16 yearsold.  I was working at McDonalds at thetime.  An absolutely gorgeous guy walkedin, and I thought that I just had to know him. I had one of my co-workers deliver my pager number (this was beforeeveryone had a cell phone) to him and I figured that was probably going to bethe end of it.  Well, to my surprise, hepaged me later that day.  I was soexcited that a guy that looked that good could possibly be interested in plain littleold me.  We started going out and I wasbeyond thrilled.  He turned 20 not longafter we started dating.  My mom wasn’treally thrilled with the idea of me dating someone that much older, but I,being a dumb teenager, thought it was great. 

     After a couple of weeks of someheavy duty dating, the moment came when we took things to the next level.  We were both very stupid and not reallyconcerned about the consequences of our actions.  That one time was all it took for me to getpregnant.  I remember sitting in thebathroom staring at the test with its positive result.  I was so scared.  I immediately started crying.  How could I have let this happen?  I brought a phone into the bathroom and triedcalling Sperm-man (that is what he shall be known as, from now on).  He didn’t answer, right away so I had tothink of what to do next.  I eventuallywas able to get him on the phone, and told him the news.  His reaction was one of surprise.  We knew we had some serious talking todo.  I knew that I needed to tell my mom,but I just couldn’t do it right away. The next morning, before I left for school, I asked my mom if she wascoming home right after work.  She askedme why I needed to know.  I said that Ihad something to tell her.  Well, sheconvinced me to tell her then.  Needlessto say, neither of us had a very good day. Then the time came for me to tell my dad.  Talk about a scary situation.  We called him that night, and of course hewas extremely disappointed.  As far as hewas concerned, my only options were abortion or adoption.  I, on the other hand, knew that my PrinceCharming (aka Sperm-man) and I were going to raise this baby together and livehappily ever after.  Um….well, that isn’tquite how things worked out. 

     Sperm-man and I continued to seeeach other until I was about 4 months pregnant. He then decided to move on to one of the biggest floozies that the worldhas ever known.  They moved to CAtogether, which is where he learned that she really wasn’t a good choice.  I was still determined to raise this baby,with or without his help.  I got a crib,changing table, bassinet, and other various items.  I was going to make this work.

Then one morning, about a month orso before my due date, I woke up and thought about what a bad situation I wasgoing to be putting this baby in if I continued with my selfish thoughts aboutmotherhood.  I was a junior in highschool, with a year and a half left before graduation.  I was also working full-time at BaskinRobbins after school and on weekends. The only time I would get to see my baby was for the short time beforeschool, and after work.  That wouldn’t befair at all.  I also wasn’t exactlymaking the big bucks at my job, and babies sure aren’t cheap.  I sat down and wrote a list of pros andcons.  The cons outnumbered the pros.  I loved this baby in my tummy far too much toput her into this less than desirable situation.  She deserved more.  She deserved a mommy AND daddy to loveher.  She deserved to be raised where shewould never want for anything.  She deservedto be treated like the princess that she was. She did not deserve to be raised by a babysitter so that her teenage momcould try to prove that she could make this work.  I told my mom of my thoughts and what Ineeded to do.  We contacted an adoptionagency that was referred to us by a friend. I met with a caseworker, and not long after, I got to look at some familyprofiles.  I instantly fell in love withone family.  They had already adopted alittle girl, so my baby was going to have a big sister!  It all felt so right.  There wasn’t a whole lot of time to waste, soa short while later, I got to meet with the prospective parents.  The meeting went really well.  I showed them my ultrasound video and we tookturns asking each other lots of questions.  I decided that they were theright family for my baby, and tried to focus on the realization that this babywas not going to be just my little girl anymore. 

     My due date came and went and shestill hadn’t made her appearance.  6 dayslater, she decided it was time to enter the world.  She was born mid-afternoon, but we didn’tcall the adoptive parents right away.  Iknew that my time with her was limited, and I honestly wasn’t ready toshare.  I spent every possible secondwith her and had her with me all night. We called them the next morning to let them know that she was finallyhere.  They drove up to see her and weall hung out in my hospital room until the last possible second I could bethere.  We didn’t actually leave the roomuntil just before midnight.  I got tohold her in the wheelchair as we exited the hospital.  Handing her over to them was so unbelievablyhard, but absolutely necessary.  I knewshe was going where she belonged and that I was doing what was best forher.  My feelings needed to be set asideto ensure she got what she deserved.  Iwent back to school 2 weeks later.  Idecided to make the most of this decision, and I spoke, for the next few years,to sex-education classes, both junior high and high school, about the consequencesof unprotected sex.  Talking was helpful,but at the same time difficult, because I was the only one there who had placeda baby for adoption.  The other teensthat were talking had all kept their babies. Again, my feelings needed to be set aside so that I could maybe makesomeone think twice before making the same mistake I did.

     The arrangement that I had with the adoptiveparents was for visits several times a year as well as pictures andletters.  Well, unfortunately, that waspretty short-lived.  I don’t want to sayanything negative about the situation, so I’ll skip over a lot of things.  Basically, promises weren’t kept and I had nocontact at all with them from the time she was 4 until this past December, whenI found her on facebook.  She is now15.  I haven’t actually hugged her sinceshe was 2.  I still haven’t had anyactual contact with her, but I have written (via facebook) to her adoptivemother, and have talked to her on the phone once.  Things weren’t going smoothly initially, butwe are now on good terms, and I have a way to contact her, which is more than I’vehad in 11 years.  I even have pictures ofher now! My firstborn baby girl is absolutely beautiful!  She is doing better than I could have ever hopedfor.  She is extremely well adjusted, andeven brags about being adopted!  I can’twait until the day when I can finally hug her again!!   
     I havesince gotten married and had 2 kiddos that I get to be a mother to, andwho really hope to someday meet their big sister.  Being a mother, when you’re ready, is thebest thing in the world!  I now have ahusband that accepts me, drama and all, kids who think I’m the best mommy inthe world (not that they have anything to compare to), and the peace in knowingthat I made the absolute best decision for my first daughter.  The years that passed where I didn’t knowanything about her were beyond excruciating. I was always worried and wondering if she was okay.  I couldn’t understand why I was pushedaside.  Now that I know that she hasn’tsuffered at all and is doing amazingly well, I am at peace. 

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Sadie’s Story

All I can say is that this story is it broke me heart!  I hate when people treat children like they are pawns.  I also get pissed off when people say they don’t want a their child then all of the sudden change their minds.  Read this story and leave her some love in the comments!  I will forward her any comments that she recieves.
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I was connected with J through a surrogacy company I volunteered/worked for. I had been helping S with her business for a little while, and had wanted to be a surrogate for a long time, so it seemed perfect. The process was very simple. J was from China but living in the states. S and I met J and set everything up almost immediately. Though J said he was single, I knew he was gay and that was okay with me. I just wanted to help him become a father. He wanted a child more than anything.
I got pregnant right away and had a very early miscarriage. Though my doctor suggested waiting a few weeks, J and S were both very impatient and talked me into doing insems again right away. I got pregnant with Ling. Things were great, I love being pregnant and knowing I could help someone out just made me feel amazing. I talked to J every day on the phone, and S a few times a week. We all kept in touch via text, phone, and email and had a great relationship. J came out to my 6 week appointment and got to hear the heartbeat. He was just beside himself. I knew he was going to be a great dad.

At my 20 week ultrasound, I had to wait until after I was out of the hospital to use my phone because it had no service inside the building. I literally ran outside to call him. I was so excited!! He was having a healthy baby girl. I told the ultrasound tech my story and she gave me twice as many pictures! When I called J, I said “IT’S A GIRL!! A HEALTHY BABY GIRL!!”. He told me he was busy and he would have to call me back, and then he hung up before what he said could even register…

I never got a call back from him. When I called him, he would hit ignore. He stopped responding to my texts. He had joked that he wanted a boy, but I just knew he would be happy with a girl. Well, I was wrong. To make a long story as short as possible, J did not want a girl. More specifically, his family back in China would disown him if he had a girl. I obviously found this out late in the process, but I figured they’d get over it if they saw the ultrasound pictures. So I scanned them in and emailed them to him, congratulating him yet again.

When it had been a week with no contact, I contacted S to find out what in the world was going on. She told me she had been in contact with J and he didn’t want the baby.

He didn’t want his baby.

Now, to back track a bit, I used my eggs and his sperm to conceive this pregnancy. So the baby was biologically mine, but I was a hired surrogate so she was not “mine” to keep. It was a long process but he ended up calling and talking to me and telling me to keep “it”. He never ever referred to her as “her”. Ever. He always said “it”. He said he would pay me the rest of what he owed me, per the surrogacy agreement, and I could keep it (Ling).

I was a single mom of 3 little girls at the time, and was in no position to take on a fourth. Plus, I hadn’t even considered her my little girl up until this point. I talked to my mom and we came up with a plan: she was struggling as well so she said we could move in together and help each other out. We did just that. I started getting prepared to bring Ling home. I explained to my daughters that Ling was in fact their sister and we might be bringing her home with us. I always said might, and rarely mentioned it, because I didn’t want to confuse them and nothing was set in stone.

When I was about 7 months along, I was contacted by J’s lawyer. I was told that he wanted the baby. I of course said no way, but legally I was bound by our contract. He could get out of it (he had stopped paying me my compensation at this point), but I couldn’t. All along, S was on his side with everything. She said if I wanted to keep the baby, I wasn’t getting any compensation. I told her that was fine… and like I said, just kept getting ready to bring Ling home. There was a lot of work to do and a little time to do it.

I got a lawyer at this point because J’s lawyer wouldn’t leave me alone. It was hard to find a lawyer with no money and a surrogacy case in my state (there are no laws on surrogacy here and only two lawyers in the state that will touch it). The lawyer I got was an angel, an amazing woman. She didn’t charge me a thing, and helped me every step of the way.

However, because of my state’s laws, I had to relinquish Ling. The choices were send her to J, or find an adoptive family for her. I looked at adoptive family profiles and settled on one – a single woman from New York. This woman lit up in all of her pictures. When I laid eyes on her, I knew she was meant to be Ling’s mom. As hard as it was, I knew that’s how it had to be. I contacted this woman right away and we met, went shopping, and just felt like best friends. We emailed a few times a day, and just got to know each other as quickly as possible.

She flew in from her home state when I was in labor, and was in the delivery room. It was a magical experience for her.

After Ling was born, I didn’t want to let her go. It was the hardest feeling in the world to explain. I knew she wasn’t meant to be mine, but I had carried her for 9 months… I had a nursery for her at home… it was like my baby was being stolen from me and there was nothing I could do about it. Ling’s mom stayed in the hospital in another room, and Ling slept in there with her. I got to hold her for a few hours before it was time to leave. I wasn’t even in the hospital for 24 hours after I had her. I wanted to get out of there and go crawl in a hole and hide, but I had 3 little girls counting on me so I couldn’t do that. I held Ling, took pictures (wish I would’ve taken more), and took a few videos. My girls got to hold her, and that was that… my mom took them out to the car and I had to hand Ling over to her mom. I truly thought I was going to die of a broken heart at that point. I nearly passed out, couldn’t breathe because I was crying so hard when I watched her walk away with my baby.

My baby.

She just walked away and there was nothing I could do about it. They made me sit in a wheel chair and calm down for a little while, and then a nurse walked me to my car. I don’t remember much after that… it’s all a blur really. We went to court the next day so I could relinquish my rights. I had to sit up on the stand and tell the judge that I realized I was “voluntarily” (yeah right) terminating my rights and it could not be undone. Oh god… what I’d do to take those words back. There was nothing I could do. If I wouldn’t have said those words, I just would’ve been in court with J. I didn’t want him to end up with her, and he most likely would have. So I did what I had to do for Ling, and I gave her to her adoptive mother. I always look back and wish I could change it but the truth is, my life is great right now and so is hers. It’s a shame we can’t spend it together but that’s the hand we were dealt. I just hope she understands when she is older, and knows it wasn’t a choice I ever would have made willingly.

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Helena’s Story

I was barely 18 in 1975 when I gave up my son. I live in Alberta, Canada and at the time the Alberta Government looked after adoptions. I came from a supportive family and my parents said they would stick by me and my decision.  I knew from early on in my pregnancy that I would give up my son for adoption.  The father of my son was not in the picture. I wanted him to have every chance with 2 parents.  In 2004, the Alberta Government opened up all adoption records.  Unfortunately there was quite a backlog and only 2 people assigned to work on this large task. I was already on the registry but called to get an application.  It took a long time and I had heard nothing.  I called in March or April only to find out I hadn’t filled out the papers correctly. The papers were sent back to me to fill in again.   After filling out the forms again, I resent them.  I waited and waited and by August I went to my member of parliament to get some help. 
By September 26, 2005, my son’s 30th birthday they arrived in the mail. I was overwhelmed at seeing for the first time, my son’s name was Steven. I didn’t know what to do so I called my older sister and she told me to search for phone numbers and start calling.  I found names on the computer in Canada 411 (a telephone white pages on line)  I only made four calls and the fourth call was to Steven’s aunt.  She didn’t let on that she was related and wished me luck on my quest.  She called her brother (Steve’s Dad as she had call display) and he called Steve and Steve called me.  I asked him if it was his birthday and he said yes. I told him who I was and asked him if he had a good life.  He said he had and asked me the same. I have had a great life and better now that I found you.  I told him I always knew we would meet someday and I was thrilled.   I had moved to Calgary which is 180 miles south of Edmonton, where he was born, in Jan 1979. It turns out Steve family moved to Calgary that same year.  We lived close by each other for a few years. Steve only worked a couple of blocks from my work. I met his parents and adopted sister as well. We all went to dinner.  My son Tony and I were invited to his wedding and his mom introduced us to her 12 siblings.  It was very emotional. I told Steve’s Dad that I couldn’t have made a better choice for parents.  He said that the children never once gave them any trouble. Steve has been married now for 2 years and they are expecting their first child. Unfortunately his Dad passed away 6 months after the wedding.  We now look forward to the birth.  I am blessed!

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Tula’s Story

 I was a mother of 2 children, I was single. I was working and living in a small apt that rented for 150.00 a month. I was behind on the rent.
 My daughter was 8 years old, my son was 2. I had lived with my grandparents on and off since I had my daughter. I was 17 when she was born.
 I was trying desperately to live on my own.
 I had no help from the father of my children. 
I remember going to the United Way office to get a free pregnancy test. The lady told me to come back after lunch to get the results. I made my way over to the office in a daze, fearful of the results. Surely it would be negative, surely.
 My son played on the floor and the world collapsed around me. I felt like a giant weight was pulling me to the bottom of the ocean. I cried uncontrollably for the next hour.
 I managed to leave the office and drive to my grandparents’ house, where my daughter was.
 I was numb. I stayed numb for some time.
   When I was in my 5th month, my grandmother who I had not told about my pregnancy passed away. I was at her home, and she reached up to fix her pillow and she died. I started CPR and called 911. She was gone. This was very hard on me.
  I mention this because it intensified my stress. I had never felt so alone and afraid.
            My daughter was very attached to her great grandma. My mom was not really in my life at this point. I had been depending on my grandparents like my parents for years. They helped me feed my children and keep a roof over their head. I had moved out because I wanted so bad to be on my own. I didn’t want to have to tell them I was having another child.
   I told my dad at the funeral.
My mom had given a child up for adoption in 1963. It was a different world then, she had to go to a unwed mothers home, her daughter had to be in a orphanage until she was adopted months later.
 I was around 7 and ½ months when I started thinking about adoption.
The birth father had started seeing someone else and he was coming around less often. I was struggling to feed myself and my children. My grandfather was lost in grief, he could function hardly.  I couldn’t depend on him any longer. I lost both my grandparents when my grandmother died.
  I remember crying a lot, being very depressed. I was broke all the time.
I started looking in the paper at those ads, “nice couple wants to give your baby a home”
I prayed about it, I talked to my friends about it.
I called my mom. I asked her what she thought. I talked to my sister who had been adopted out in 1963; mom and “Sidney” had found each other in 1991.
 My older sister, Sidney (her birth name) helped me find 3 couples, in various parts of the country.
   I prayed about this decision a lot. I felt peace, that I was doing the right thing.
The couple I chose was from Tx. They lived in Indiana for job reasons. They had been married for 14 years. I met the lady and her mother. I didn’t want them to see where I lived so we met at a restaurant.
  They were wonderful people I felt.
 They called me and asked about me regularly. My sister called when it was time for me to deliver.
It was the only cesarean I ever had to have; it was like my body didn’t want to give the baby up. It was an emergency operation. I was very scared.
The new parents were there with me and very supportive. The entire baby’s new family was on hand at his birth, grandparents and aunts and uncles. I felt like this baby was going to a warm loving family.
  I held him a couple of times just to hold him. I felt so empty and hollow. I was a shell.
I managed to get out of the hospital quickly as possible. 
I kept hoping that the birth father would come to the hospital and tell me he would be there for me. He didn’t.
  I had to have a counselor talk to me before I could sign. I did, I cried some more. The counselor told me something that helped me many days in the coming years. She said “you’re doing the right thing, you’re going to be ok, and you’re very unselfish.”
 I knew that the baby was going to have a much better life with his new family. I knew my children would have a better chance without another child to share what little we had with.  I felt like I would be the only one to hurt. I could do that for my baby and my children. I loved them all so much.
   I drove to the hospital parking lot and I looked up at the windows, I cried all night.
I signed the papers the next day.
The parents always told him he was adopted and told him about me. I got pictures at birthdays and Christmas.
  One day when he was around 13 I got to talk to him on the phone. I can’t tell you how sweet his voice sounded. I was so happy.
When he was 18 he called me the day after his birthday. He asked me if he could come live with me. I said YES!!! I never even thought about why or what or anything.
He came home 18 years later.
This was in 2009. He doesn’t live with me anymore but he lives within 20 min of me. I see him a lot. We have family dinners. He is a part of our family; he is trying to adjust to having a brother and sister. He has 2 nieces and a nephew.

 I get to be around all my children. Matthew has the best of 2 worlds and 2 moms who love him very much.
I am blessed beyond measure.
 Tula

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Ericas Story

This is Erica Smith’s story about placing her daughter for adoption.

Well, I guess my adoption story starts with the fact that I was already a single mother.  Her father had left the entire responsibility on my shoulders.  I lived with my parents at the time and while they would babysit for me to work, I was not given a lot of free time to hang out with friends or go out or anything.  I probably went out kid-free 5 times that first year and a half.  To tell the truth, I resented it.  I love my daughter but I was not a person anymore.  I was someone’s mother and my identity had been tossed aside.  The summer of 2008 I finally put my daughter in a different daycare so my parents didn’t have to watch her as much (thus were more willing to watch her on the weekends) and found another single mother who was willing to trade babysitting so we could take turns going out.  I went a little crazy, it all happened so fast that looking back it feels like a lifetime but in all was only a couple months.  I was going out every weekend and once or twice during the week.  I met a guy through a mutual friend and we started partying and having sex.  I found out he had a serious girlfriend and told him I wanted no part of that so the next day he left her and moved in with our friend.  I ended up staying there with him almost every day.  For awhile I would go to work (which was right by my friend’s house), go pick up my daughter and bring her the half hour to my friend’s house and then in the morning taking her to daycare by my parents house.  I was funding all our partying and the guy was stealing money from me so before too long I was broke.  I was broker than broke; my bank account was overdrawn by about $700 after all the overdraft charges..  My parents kicked me out and I had no choice but to stay with my friend to be close to work and because I had no money for gas or food  I had to leave my daughter with my parents for 3 weeks while I waited on another paycheck.  THAT is what I regret the most.

Later I found out the guy was dealing drugs using my car.  He was very controlling, would try to tell me what to wear and order me around like a dog to wait on him hand and foot.  I didn’t just take it, we would get into horrible fights about it.  He would hide my birth control pills or switch them with baby aspirin and sugar pills which looked the same as my pills.  When I insisted on using condoms he would intentionally tear them.  Over time I found out he had 5 other kids, he told me about them one here and one there until I finally figured it all out.  We fought all the time and I was scared of him because of the look he would get in his eye and the way he would block me into a corner so I couldn’t get away from him.  I knew I was pregnant when I started getting really tired all the time.  I quit drinking but I couldn’t bring myself to take a test.  I left the next time I got paid and went back to my parents’ house.

I took a pregnancy test the next day, it was positive.  I told my friend right away and she told the guy.  He acted like everything would be cool but he’d already moved back in with his ex (who I’m pretty sure he was still seeing the whole time).  He wanted me to have an abortion.  He actually said, “Well we know that we can have kids together so let’s just get an abortion this time and work on us and then we can have another baby later.”  I hated him for that but I made the appointment.  A couple days later he called me late at night with his girlfriend on speaker and told me that this involved the 3 of us and that she was going to help us make a decision on whether to keep the baby or not and they would be raising it the majority of the time.  I told them both in not so nice terms to stay away from me and cancelled the appointment for the abortion.

Then, I told my parents.  They also wanted me to have an abortion and kicked me out when I refused.  By that point I was more pushing back against everybody pushing me so I moved to my sister’s house 3 hours away.  Long story short I didn’t get along with her boyfriend because I saw he was a loser and using her and she took his side, so I went and got my own place.  Finally I felt secure and thought everything would be fine.

A month later my hours got cut in half at work.  I could no longer afford my own place and I had nowhere else to go so I had to move back to my parents’ house.  Adoption never crossed my mind until I was 7 months pregnant.  I just woke up one day and realized I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t take care of another baby on my own and I had no support.  Nobody was ever happy during either pregnancy, I didn’t have somebody to go to doctor’s appointments with me or to throw me a baby shower or ooh and aah over cute baby stuff.  I was completely alone.   I think if I’d had ONE person to say, “Hey you got this, it’s gonna be okay,” then I wouldn’t have made the same decisions.   I’d fought to get my other daughter everything she needed for her entire life and I didn’t think I had the fight left in me to start the whole process over with another.  I’d stopped talking to most of my friends because of the drama with the guy trying to get dirt on me through them.  I trusted no one.  The couple friends I casually mentioned adoption to were jerks about it and tried to talk me out of it or make me feel guilty.  There was one friend who was awesome about it and I’ll forever be grateful to her.

Once I got adoption into my head, I looked up profiles online.  It was a little like shopping for a person on eBay like you would a sweater.   M & K’s profile was one of the first ones I saw and I kept going back and comparing everyone to them.  I called the agency they were listed with and the next day I got the paperwork in the mail and filled it all out.  I lied about the birth father being a one night stand the entire time so his rights were terminated by placing an ad in the newspaper.  I knew he’d never sign the papers and I have never regretted that decision.  About 6 months after Maddie was born I heard that he had beaten the snot out of his girlfriend and her kids and was using meth.  He also attacked me later but that’s a different story.  I told M & K the truth about him as soon as the adoption was final but I still refuse to give anyone his real name.  She can have it when she turns 18; I’ve already written that letter to her explaining everything.  They in turn contacted their lawyer and the courts.  That was scary because I had committed perjury and could have faced jail time for it but they were told since I refused his name it was okay because his rights were still terminated legally.

Anyway, I met with the adoption agent once and they set it up to allow me and M & K to email.  The first email they sent was asking how my pregnancy was going and thanking me for considering adoption.  I emailed back and was talking about “the baby” this and “the baby” so much that I got sick of it and told them for simplicity sake I was just going to call the baby Madelyn because that’s the name I had picked out.  They emailed me back immediately and said they had chosen that same name 6 years ago when they started trying to have a baby.  That pretty much sealed the deal for me.  God knew I needed one hell of a sign to know this was the right thing to do.

I got my first phone call with them on the day of a doctor’s appointment.  I was supposed to go to the doctor in the morning and talk to them in the afternoon but my appointment got moved and ended up being at the same time.  I talked to them while I was in the appointment (which didn’t make my doctor happy but oh well!) and they were able to hear the heartbeat on speaker phone.

The rest of the process went pretty smoothly.  I was induced so they were able to be at the hospital with me while we waited for things to happen.  My parents did not want to go to the hospital with me, they wanted me to go alone, have the baby and sign over rights and then come back like nothing ever happened.  I guilt tripped my mom into coming with me but my dad was mad at her for it.  I did not allow the adoptive parents into the room for the actual birth that was a little weird for me so that part was just me and my mom.  I got the epidural maybe 30 minutes before she was born and had a very easy delivery (I think I pushed twice, she was tiny 6 lbs).    They put her on my stomach right after she was born and then after they cleaned her up I held her for about 20 minutes and then let M & K come back in.  It was really great to watch them hold her for the first time.  They stayed at the hospital with me until around 9 and then left for the night.  I let them give her the first bottle and change the first diaper.  The next day they came back in the morning and my mom brought my other daughter in.  It hurt so much to see them together but I hoped by choosing an open adoption that they would be able to have a relationship.

The hospital was awful.  Maybe it was because I was induced on a holiday weekend but nobody had a clue how to act around us.  One of the nurses took Maddie for vitals during the night and when she brought her back she didn’t get the door closed all the way and I heard her say to someone in the hallway “That baby is so cute, I don’t know how anybody could give her away.”  Like cute-ness is the only reason to ever give a baby up for adoption.  Those words still haunt me to this day.  I cried all night both nights I was there and prayed.  I even called my mom and asked her to bring me my car seat because I couldn’t do it but she told me my dad wouldn’t let me come home with the baby and gave me a guilt trip about my promises to M & K.

During the hospital stay I got to know M & K a lot better.  We discovered more similarities that made me feel like they were the right choice.  Such as;

K’s birthday is April 22 which is the day they were told I picked them to be Maddie’s parents.  When they first started dating M always got mixed up and thought her birthday was May 22, the day Maddie was born.
Their original middle name for Maddie was going to be Rachelle, a combination of K’s sisters names but they had decided they wanted it to start with an A when they got my 2nd email telling them my other daughter’s name was Alexandria.  So they chose Alexandria for Maddie’s middle name.  Alex’s middle name is Rachelle.
The only snag in the whole thing was their paralegal tried to hold me hostage in the hospital for the full 48 hours even though the hospital was ready to release me.  She also did not want to change the paperwork.  I wanted to make sure my rights would not be terminated until the birth father’s in case he pulled some shit I could fight him.  She tried to say that would make M & K nervous and tried to intimidate me which wasn’t smart on her part because I’m not some 14 year old kid who’s afraid to rock the boat.  I seriously almost took Maddie and walked away from the whole thing.  Luckily someone from the agency showed up and smoothed things over and got me what I wanted.  We all signed out of the hospital and went to M & K’s hotel room until it was time to sign the papers.

My hands were shaking and I was crying so hard I could hardly hold the pen but I signed and afterwards K and I hugged with Maddie in between us and cried.  M cried and hugged me to and then I walked out of the hotel without my baby.  They had to stay in town for 3 weeks after she was born so I was able to see her one last time before they went home.  I made her a scrapbook and put all my information in it, including where I was born and the hospital and where I went to high school.  I put a family tree and pictures of me growing up as well as all her hospital bracelets and ultrasounds and on every other page I wrote her a letter explaining my decision, how I chose her parents, etc.  I gave that to them to give her when she’s older so that hopefully no matter what happens she will always be able to find me and understand why I did what I did. 

Our adoption has been pretty good so far, there have been a few small problems but mostly they have kept up with their promises.  The updates are unpredictable and don’t always come as often as they promised and it’s an emotional roller coaster for me that sometimes I want to get off but they are great parents and our little girl has everything I ever wanted for her.  I send her presents for Christmas and her birthday and get to see her once a year.  Everything is harder without her.  I go through each milestone and sometimes it hits me harder than ever.  Sometimes I cry for no reason at all and nobody really knows how to handle that pain.  I often stop what I’m doing with my other daughter and think of Maddie and wonder what she’s doing at that exact moment.  Things will never be the same for me.  I look at men, sex, relationships, trust, parenting, everything differently.  I have lost faith that people will stick around when the times get tough.  I’m getting through the worst of it and have way more good days than bad but not a day goes by that I don’t miss her and think of her.

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