Guilt and a Recipe for Healing

 

After reading the blog of a fellow author Anna Glendenning at families.com I began thinking about the guilt many birth parents experience after making an adoption plan and some ways they can overcome it.

What is Adoption?

Glendennig defines it as a life changing experience for three different groups of people. The Adoption Triad consists of birthparents, adoptive parents, and the adopted person. In the past, each of the members of the triad were seen and treated as parallel lives and often disconnected. Today, society is changing and in many ways has come to understand that all the members of the triad are valuable and important to each other, not only at the time the adopted child is placed, but for the entire lifetime of the child. Accepting the loss and working through the grief doesn’t mean birth parents forget the baby they placed for adoption. It doesn’t mean birth mothers or birth fathers don’t experiences times of feeling sorrow or regret for their loss. Acceptance means birth parents allow themselves to move forward with their lives and integrate the loss into their future lives.

Where does guilt come from?

Expecting mothers and fathers, experiencing the difficulty and emotional stress of an unplanned pregnancy often face deep feelings of shame for being in the situation in the first place. When parents make an adoption plan for their baby these feelings of shame can be even greater in part due to a lack of understanding from their friends, family and society in general. Shame about the fact parents are faced with an unexpected baby may lead to feelings of unworthiness or incompetence about becoming parents.

Birthparents with supportive friends, family members, or professional counselors may come to terms with their decision over time and be able to find a deeper understanding. With compassion and support birthmothers and birthfathers may come to realize what happened was not something to feel shame and guilt over, but a real and honorable decision to give their baby life and a loving family to grow up with.

 


Recipe For Healing

Add a dash of Garlic because grief is pungent and present long after you think it should disappear, allow yourself this space to grieve and be sad during this difficult time

Add 1 Ugly fruit because Understanding without compassion can be one ugly mess! Understand where you are in your grief process and be compassionate towards yourself.

Add 2 TBS of Iodized salt and avoid putting salt in the open wound that may be your heart right now, avoid being around harsh or judgmental people. Initiate conversations with supportive friends and family or others who have gone through a similar experience.

Add 1 cup of Lemon zest because this process can be bittersweet. Love yourself and avoid using negative statements like I’m a bad person.

Lastly add a pinch of Thyme for that little extra boost. And make sure to surround yourself with loving and supportive friends to help keep you going.

Notice the letters in bold throughout the recipe and know that guilt is an integral part of adoption but with support and time it can be something you overcome.


Feeling peace not Forgetting…

Dear Readers,

I read a quote today that made me think a lot about the grief processes many experience after the adoption decision has been made…

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. – C.S. Lewis

In a lot of ways the grief process does involve fear, fear of the unkown, fear that the family will take the baby and run, fear that you will be forgotten fear that you will forget your baby…I’ve thought a lot about this over the past couple of weeks as I’ve watched a very special client learn to deal with her grief..

I’m sure every person is a little familiar with the stages of grief but in a nut shell they’re

denial/shockàsadness/depressionà Angeràfear/bargainingàresistance and Acceptance

the biggest thing to keep in mind is that they’re normal, always changing and not the same for everyone!

Here’s one birthmoms take on the stages…

Posted by Girl in Monday, November 2nd 2009   

 

I don’t like any of the grief stages! This birthmom deal is not at all like I imagined it would be.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my decision. I know she was meant to be adopted into her family.  I am still so amazed at how clear that was.  It’s just that post-adoption is nothing at all like I thought, not even close.  Not worse, not better,  just different.  I guess all I had to go on was my own imagination at the time! Come to think of it, I don’t know how I pictured it, maybe I didn’t fully,  it just seemed much more “do-able” then.  It still is, it’s just that every emotion that I think should be next,  is always the total opposite in reality.

Usually my body starts aching when I am trying to avoid an emotion. I’m just all over the place with my feelings. It’s an overall weird feeling when time goes by and the memory of someone you can see slowly drifting away.  It’s like you know that’s supposed to happen and it is how anyone grieves a loss and gets better over time, but I want to fight it inside with all my heart too!

 

I don’t want to reach acceptance and forget my daughter and I don’t want to be forgotten in the least bit. Even if she resented me for the adoption, I would like her to know I never went a second without thinking about her. But it’s not about holding onto it because I feel guilty and think it will hurt her to move n (that is the common response I get) It’s more selfish than that. Instead I can’t (or it feels I can’t) let go because I think it will hurt ME to do so.  If it’s biological, then why try process anything, it’s ingrained in you. Maybe it is inevitable though, the mind just will forget… and that just, well,  sucks. That’s my feeling about the dang grief processing model!

The reason I liked this portrayal is because the fears and concerns every birth mom faces are real but when looking at grief I encourage you to seek support and know that what you’re feeling is normal…ultimately the goal is to reach a peace in your decision not necessarily to forget your child and your very important role in their life!


Frustrated Mothers

Dear fellow readers,

 

Thank you for all your comments it's so nice to get feedback from you all! Most recently I've been going to other blog sites to get ideas for posts, my favorite so far is webfeet. In it I ran across this fantastic posting about the frustration a mother feels after making an adoption plan…In it she talks about some of the very normal feelings she experienced after placement and talks of this feeling of being "de-mothered" I've talked with clients who share this experience, that even though you are technically a mother, because you aren't actively parenting society seems to ignore this fact…

webfeet writes…

"I felt De-mothered. No one’s mother. Hit the reset button, reboot and start again. Motherhood erased. That’s how it was supposed to be.

After placement my body had other plans. From the months immediately following placement I have fragmentary memories of panic and ache, imaginary injuries (I thought the epidural had caused a tumor to grow on my spine, for expample), nightmares, paranoia, minor visual disturbances that had me convinced I was schizophrenic. Bear in mind, I was a high-functioning crazy person: I got A’s that semester in school, the semester that started six days after E’s birth.

My consciousness frantically erected a hall of mirrors around the source of my body’s acute distress. Survival made this necessary. The success of my plan to retake my life hinged on there being that maternal reset button. To think of myself as postpartum, to think of myself as a mother and entitled to the grief of losing one’s child, this would have been an admission that could have brought down the whole illusion.

Thinking about the baby is something I did not do much. My diary doesn’t reflect more than a passing thought of her. Dissociation was complete.

As time went on, the manifestations of this indirect grief evolved. Hypochondria was a favorite device, as was the single-minded hunger to have another baby, an insistent urge to replace what was lost, to complete the motherhood interrupted.

This where I found common ground haunting the message boards populated by other mothers of loss: mothers of stillborn babies, mothers with recurrent miscarriages, these women expressed the same sense of missing a piece of themselves, of primal longing for completed motherhood. The difference, in my mind, was that they came by their grief and the resultant longing honestly, and there was something illicit and inappropriate about my sense of frustrated maternity.

It set my mind to wondering: if E had died instead of being placed, would I be considered a real mother, or still just a birthmother? The world of message boards was perfectly clear: birthmothers are NOT mothers. They don’t stay up late with sick children, they don’t kiss boo boos or wipe tears. But what about mothers whose babies had died? Are they unmothered too, or do they get to hold on to maternal status even in childlessness?

 

I hope this post leaves you with the sense that motherhood isn't something that leaves you, when your child leaves you…it's something you hold in your heart that stays with you always…So to all you mothers parenting or not I wish you the best of luck in everything…and as always keep in mind you're not alone…

until next time,

Lindsey


The first visit

The First Visit
by Jenn M.

I visited you for the first time last week.
I couldn't have been more excited
But I was so nervous and so unsure.

Would everything be ok?
Would people ask questions?
What if someone made the connection?
What if I said the wrong thing?
What if I couldn't leave?

Your parents are such great people.
They let me hold you,
And hug you,
And love you,
A much as I wanted.

I helped change you,
And dress you.
And feed you.

The visit was perfect.
We took pictures,
We talked,
We laughed,
I cried;
Just perfect.

Would everything be ok?

I came across this poem as I recently took part in a "first visit" with a first-mom that is particularly close to my heart and it got me to thinking about this very difficult milestone…the first visit after placement…these visits often happen anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after placement and can be especially difficult for mom's who are still coming to terms with their adoption…I think this experience is different for every person, as every adoption is different. One common piece of advice that I've heard from several first-moms who have been through this, is don't feel guilty, be where you are and ask for what you need.  Rely on people you trust to give feedback and to help you balance the needs of the adoptive parents with yours…most importantly be patient with yourself, it's common that this experience will re-open some of your previous wounds and prepare yourself that saying goodbye might be hard for you…


A Leap of Faith

Dear bloggers,

I'm sorry I've been a little out of touch but I've gotten some great responses from our readers and one in particular. This an inspirational woman who made an adoption plan for her child 5 years ago. After taking much time to heal I got the opportunity to spend some time with her and reflect what her adoption journey has been like up until now. We discussed all the hard ships and wonderful moments she has experienced throughout this process and what she has learned five years later. Her best advice although it's difficult to sum it up is to understand that yes adoption is a leap of faith, open or closed there are so many uncertainties and questions without answers. You don't know for sure how things will work out but as this inspirational birth mother reminded me the adoptive family on the other end is taking the same leap of faith in you…I encourage all of you to listen to the pod cast of this inspirational conversation that will be posted on Adoptions Together's web page in the next few weeks…

To sum it all up here are a few pointers that made this whole process a little easier…

Tip 1: Take the time to process your decision before delivery…write yourself a letter to remind yourself what decision you made when you were at your most rational point…after delivery emotions are usually running high and it's so much harder to remember why you made this choice in the first place

Tip 2: Cherish each moment you have with your baby before and after delivery…whether or not you choose to make an adoption plan, as this child's biological mother there are certain things you will share that no one else will have…you will get to feel the baby make their first movements and you have the opportunity to hold him and look at him before anyone else…

Tip 3: Tell your story…many birth mom's ask me will my child know me…will he/she know where she comes from and how much I love him/her? In response to this, take the time to write down these thoughts in a journal or scrapbook so you can give the answers to these questions to your child…

Tip 4: Seek support…as a birth mom you are not alone there are many opportunites to link up with other women in your position if you have the courage to look…some resources might be the adoption agency you are working with, www.birthmombuds.com is a website with wonderful resources and for retreat opportunities look into the on your feet foundation…

Until next time,

Lindsey


Dear fellow bloggers,

I read this article when I was doing some research about post placement birth mothers. This is one perspective from a birth mother who placed her son in 2007. I admire her strength and courage to do what she needed to in order to heal and I encourage all birth moms post-placement to do the same….here is her story…

First, motherhood is a complicated thing. The most difficult thing for me has been owning my motherhood. There are a lot of forces out there that want to make sure that we, as first mothers, know our place. Our place being that we aren’t moms that we don’t deserve that title because we “gave our babies away.” In this day and age of open adoption we are moms in our own right. We give of ourselves in many ways, different from our children’s adoptive parents, but we give of ourselves just the same.

When we first started the adoption process after Punkin was born, everything was birthmother this and birthmother that. It was my first realization that people think it is important for us, as first mothers, to learn our place right off the bat. I hadn’t even relinquished my parental rights yet and I was being referred to as a birthmother. I was still his only mommy at that time and I was determined to hold onto that, no matter whose feathers I ruffled, and so I did. When I talked to him I was his mommy. Even though his pre-adoptive parents were bonding with him, I was still taking that role in his life as his primary choice maker and I was going to be his mommy whether anyone liked it or not.

The personnel in the hospital were also very confused by my proactive role in his life. I frequently heard comments like “Well, most birthmothers don’t want to know.” Well, first of all right now I am not a birthmother, first mother, life mother or anything else; I am his mother. Secondly, he is my child I will always want to know how he is, five weeks from now, five months from now, and five years from now. I will always love my son and in my heart I will always be his mother with no adjectives in front of it to make the rest of the world comfortable with me and my role in Punkin’s life. Thirdly, no first mother is the same. Some don’t want to know anything about their child, they want to get on with their lives and hope to heal that way. I knew that I would never heal and that in order to achieve anything like healing I would always have to know how my son’s life is progressing.

His adoptive parents have had a hard time referring to me as anything other than Maja or as part of a “very special couple.” It is very hurtful to me that they are incapable of thinking of me as another mother to him. I don’t want to take away from his mom’s role in his life, I just want my own special role in his life as his Mutti (German for mommy). I am sure that for adoptive parents it is a very difficult thing to accept that your child has two sets of parents and that they will forever have to share him, but that is how they chose to build their family. I as a first parent should not have to pay for that choice for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love Punkin’s mom and dad very much and they are very good to my partner and myself, I just wish that I felt more accepted by them as a mother.

So what do I do to own my motherhood? I keep important documents from Punkin’s birth that I know he will want someday such as his original birth certificate and his hospital records. I make him things, like pieces of needlework that will someday, hopefully, become family heirlooms. I buy him books and music, because I love both and hope to pass that love onto him. In my own mind I just think of myself as his mom. I am learning to stand up for myself when I need to and say hey, my involvement in Punkin’s life goes far beyond just giving birth to him. I am a mother in my own right.

Of course this is something that I am still working on and probably will for my entire life. As he gets older and can help define my role, I am sure it will get easier for me. For right now, I think of myself as his mom and him as my son, with no words defining who or what we are to each other. I have two moms and two dads myself, and think of them just that way, and I’m sure that my son will be able to do the same someday as well. So in the meantime, I work on being a mom in my own ways, and work on changing the ideas that society has about what I should be to my son.

© Maja Hedman


Grief Process

Dear Fellow Reader,

 I really liked this posting written by a birth mom from one of my favorite blogs, The story of a Girl. In it she describes her experience of the grief process….I think this post does a great job of refelecting how different each person experiences grief after the adoption process is completed and some healthy ways to cope….I’ve also listed a website with additional resources about the grief process.

Posted by Girl in Monday, November 2nd 2009   

I don’t like any of the grief processing steps. This birthmom deal is not at all like I imagined it would be.  Don’t get me wrong,  I wouldn’t change my decision.. I know she was meant to be adopted into her family.  It’s just that post-adoption is nothing at all like I thought, not even close.  Not worse, not better,  just different.  I guess all I had to go on was my own imagination  at the time! Come to think of it,  I don’t know how I pictured it, maybe I didn’t fully,  it just seemed much more “do-able” then.  It still is,  it’s just that every emotion that I think should be next,  is always the total opposite in reality. Usually my body starts aching when I am trying to avoid an emotion. I’m just all over the place with my feelings. It’s an overall weird feeling when time goes by and the memory of someone you can see slowly drifting away.  It’s like you know that’s supposed to happen and it is how anyone grieves a loss and gets better over time, but I want to fight it inside with all my heart too!  Is that self-destructive behavior then? Cause I don’t want to follow the steps anymore in my grief processing pamphlet. I want to just call it a day and set up base at #6 for a while.  If I were her(my daughter),  I don’t think I would want…yeah I’m sure I wouldn’t want, to be forgotten in the least bit. Even if she resented me for the adoption, I would like her to know I never went a second without thinking about her. But it’s not about holding onto it because I feel guilty and think it will hurt her to move n (that is the common response I get) It’s more selfish than that. Instead I can’t (or it feels I can’t) let go because I think it will hurt ME to do so.  If it’s biological, then why try process anything, it’s ingrained in you. Maybe it is inevitable though, the mind just will forget… and that just, well,  sucks. That’s my feeling about the dang grief processing model!

How to Cope with Grief…

All birth parents must deal with grief. Many are sad about not being able to raise or have a relationship with their child. Some have said that they eventually adjusted to the loss of the child, but that the pain and grief lasted a very long time. Others have said that life was never the same after placing the child. Birth parents' whole lives are affected. For most birth parents it takes time to move past the initial grief of placing a child for adoption.

Under any circumstances, giving birth is an important event in the life of a woman and her partner. But giving birth knowing that the baby will be placed for adoption adds another dimension.

The birth experiences of women who placed a child for adoption are varied. Jones' book gives many examples. For some, the birth took place in an ugly back room of a maternity home, with very little medical care. For others, it took place in a bright, cheerful hospital with their partner, family, and preselected adoptive parents nearby. For many it was somewhere in between. Some were allowed to see their baby. Some held the baby, named the baby, and were given some time to say goodbye. Others had their baby whisked away by nurses who said it would be easier that way. Some had lots of emotional support, others did not.

Women interviewed by Jones described a number of reactions and emotions after the baby was placed. For some, after recovering physically from giving birth, the reality of what had happened sank in. To make it hurt less, they denied that what they had gone through was important. Other people also acted like it was no big deal and said the mother should just go back to whatever she was doing before she had the baby. Many women did just that.

Some women became angry, either at their parents, their partner, the adoption agency, or "society." They acted out, stole, lied, stayed out late, quit school, or got involved with a bad crowd.

Or, they turned their anger inward and became depressed. They decided that they were absolutely worthless. They believed the people who said they were no good. They started to take drugs, drink a lot of alcohol, or drive carelessly.

Some birth mothers get stuck in this phase for a long time, moving from denial to anger to depression over and over again. Birth mothers who get out of this cycle of emotions usually do so by doing one or more of the following things:

  • Going to counseling;
  • Talking with supportive family members or friends;
  • Attending birth parent support group meetings;
  • Writing their feelings down in a story or poem;
  • Writing letters, even if they are not sent, to their child;
  • Holding a private ceremony each year on their child's birthday.

All of these are positive methods for dealing with grief and accepting the loss.

You should now know that you are not alone and that there are a number of resources available to you.

One Website many have found helpful is

www.Birthmotherhelp.com


Happy National Adoption Awareness Month!

 

Each Year November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month…

Adoption Month History

The first major effort to promote awareness of adoption occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events.

During the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as hundreds of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.

Famous Birth Mom of the Month

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr's story is one of the most controversial of any actress's. She dropped out of high school when she was 17 years old. After a car accident, she was admitted to a mental institution, claiming she was having nightmares and memory loss. She left the institute less than a year later. Soon after, she gave birth to her first daughter, Brandi Brown, and gave her up for adoption. She began working at a restaurant as a dishwasher and waitress. Her hilarious comments to the customers she waited on led her to doing standup comedy at the restaurant. After her first TV appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962) in 1985, she wound up in her own standup comedy HBO show, On Location: The Roseanne Barr Show (1987) (TV). This led to the highly popular sitcom "Roseanne" (1988) , co-starring John Goodman, which dealt with real-life issues in a lower middle-class working family. During its first season on ABC, it leaped to #2. After the sitcom's first season, In 1996, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won, but she was not there to accept it. After "Roseanne" (1988) was canceled, she went on Broadway to play The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz to rave reviews.


Letters from women who chose adoption…

 
Below are some letters from women who have chosen to give their baby for adoption.  The women may have different reasons for choosing adoption, however they are grateful that they could provide their baby and themselves with a better life.

Dear all birthmoms,

Hi! My name is Katherine and I'm a birthmom. I placed my baby boy for adoption in september 2005. I already know if you're reading this you're at a point where you're not sure what to do. I know because i felt the same way; all you want is the best for both you and your baby! This was one of the hardest and most unselfish decisions i ever had to make. But it was the best one.

Here's my story: i'm 21 years old, i already have a 2 year old son, christopher. He's what i live for everyday. I don't have any help from his father at all; i have been his mommy and daddy from day one! It's very hard to be a single mom trying to provide for yourself and your child.

I struggle everyday to give my son everything that he needs and some of what he wants. At times i will go without what i need so he can have what he needs. The day i found out i was pregnant i was scared. I didn't know what i was going to do. I knew at this point in my life i couldn't provide for another child. I started to cry and didn't stop for a couple of hours. When i got myself together i made a phone call to my boyfriend at the time. As soon as he heard the word pregnant came out of my mouth things changed forever. I told him i was considering abortion and he told me to do whatever i want to do. After that day i never talked to him again. It was like he fell off the face of the earth. His phone was disconnected and his friends wouldn't tell me anything! That's when reality hit me and i knew i was on my own again! I kept thinking about abortion, but deep down in my heart i knew i couldn't do that. Even though i couldn't provide and raise this child i still loved him very much. Later on that day i started looking on the internet for some help. I picked an adoption agency and I immediately called and there was someone to talk to me right then; i didn't have to wait.

My birthmom counselor listened to everything i had to say. Then she explained the whole process to me and answered all my questions. She was a very kind and understanding woman. She is who helped me stay strong by always letting me know i was a wonderful and unselfish person. Soon after i did my paperwork and counseled some more it was time to choose a family to raise my baby. Honestly i thought it would be very difficult to decide who would be loving, caring and patient parents for my baby. I wanted a family who would want to participate in the birth and be with me throughout my pregnancy. It didn't take long. In fact, as soon as i saw brett and martha i knew they would be perfect parents! I talked to them on the phone soon after i made my decision. They were such a nice and understanding couple. I also can say i was never pushed in to doing anything. Everything always went the way i wanted it to. I talked to brett and martha at least once a week after that. When i was 7 months pregnant, we decided to meet in person. We hit it off immediately. They took me out to eat and they were great with my son christopher. I can definitely say i was comfortable knowing they would be raising my baby.

Well, 2 months went by and it was getting close to my due date. I woke up in the middle of the night having contractions. At first i didn't know that was what they were but i quickly realized!!! I hurried to the hospital making phone calls to my birthmom counselor and adoptive couple. Brett and martha got in their car immediately and drove to get to me and the baby. They really wanted to be there when he was born but unfortunately i had to have a c-section before they got there. As soon as they did get to hospital we were all joined in my hospital room. I was able to help feed the baby and change his diapers and hold him close to me as much as i could. The whole time brett and martha were very supportive in letting me help with anything i wanted to.

48 hours later when it was time to sign the papers i had a knot in my throat and tears in my eyes. Every time i looked up at how happy brett and martha looked holding the baby i knew i was doing the right thing. Adoption is a wonderful loving gift. I wont lie, it was very hard to see and touch my baby knowing he wasn't coming home with me. But i wouldn't change it for the world. I think if i did it any other way i would have regrets.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that you don't love your baby or your taking the easy way out. They don't know how hard it is to be unselfish at a time like this; you're doing this because you love your baby very much and you want the very best for him or her. Always remember your not alone you have your birthmom counselor there whenever you need to talk. Trust me i know!!!

It's been 2 months now and my adoptive family has already sent me a very cute picture album and some pictures to go in it. I've talked to them once and heard my baby making cooing sounds in the background. Martha told they talk about me everyday to him. I hope my story has helped you understand that adoption is wonderful and special and you are a great and unselfish woman for considering it. Please keep your head up and stay strong for you and your baby. Trust in god and everything will work out. There is power in prayer, god listens.

God bless you, Katherine

My Dear, Sweet Brendan,

Hey there, sweet boy. This is your birth mother, Alicia, writing you a letter to tell you how special and dear you are to me. You can never know the love that I have deep inside my heart and soul for you, and I hope that some day, I will be able to tell you this while holding you in my arms. It saddens me so much that I am not able to be a big part of your every day life, watching you learn about the world and discovering all the joys and hardships life has to offer. At the same time, I want you to know that I have done my best in finding these two wonderful angels who will be there in my place to guide you and protect you and love you for me.

Michael and Greta are my personal angels, Brendan, and I need to express to you that there were no better parents that I could find for you. I knew from the very beginning that they could and would love you just as much, if not more, than I could and that they can provide you with all the things that I couldn't, or that I would struggle so hard to provide for you. I have such big hopes and dreams for you and your future, Brendan. I see baseball games and amusement parks, family gatherings and picnics, proms, dates and college. Not to mention lots and lots of people who, before you were even born, were praying for you and loving you. I know that you will be blinded with love every day of your life. This makes me so extremely happy.

Today you are four days old. We parted company for the first time in nine months yesterday. The last few months I have tried and tried to sit down and write you a letter to explain to you why I've made the decision I did, but I just couldn't. I don't know how to put into words just how lost I felt in the very beginning, how from the first moment I found out I was pregnant that I loved you and wanted you and would do anything I could to ensure that you had a happy, healthy, loving life. During all this I was struggling with your two brothers, Trevor and Taylor, alone and scared, everyday struggling to pay bills and work and go to school and give them the love that they so desperately needed and still, at the end of the day, having Trevor ask me why his daddy doesn't like him or come for bike rides with him, asking when he can have new shoes because his feet hurt and asking if he can have just a little more food 'cause I'm still hungry.' Taylor, being so little and sick with his asthma all the time and needing extra love and attention and having to sleep with me, his mom, because he doesn't have his own bed. All these things every day and me wondering if I'll ever be able to make just a little bit extra each month so that I can start putting away for their future, maybe to send just one to college? And that's if we never try to save up for a car or a house. Me, just always trying so hard to make a life for my babies, my sweet boys who love me so, so much and at the end of the day going to bed knowing that at least they know that I LOVE THEM TOO. Love is all that matters, right? And then back to you. Just starting to form, a little heart beat deep inside my belly, and me having all those expectations of wanting to do everything right for you. Needing to do everything right for you.

Brendan, you need to know that I thought of all of my options thoroughly, I even thought about working three jobs, putting you in daycare right away – even if you saw me only an hour a day, at least I could tell you, as I do Trevor and Taylor that I love you so that you would know. But then I took a hard look at Trevor and Taylor. Yes, they know that their mama loves them, but they have had such hard little lives – moving all the time, daycare ten hours a day, not having a good relationship with their father and sometimes having to go to bed a little hungry because my paycheck is still two days away. They are only two and four years old, but they are already having to deal with grown up situations every day. I could not do this to yet another child. So, this is why I chose to find people that could give you everything that I hoped and wished and prayed that I would one day be able to offer my children. A mom AND a dad. Financial security. No daycare. NO worries other than that of being a normal child. And of course, lots and lots of family and LOVE.

This brings me to Michael and Greta. I knew as soon as I talked to them for the first time that they were the ones. Greta is so open and loving and educated and smart. She has a sense of humor very close to my own and has a sense of calmness and openness that I instantly related to. With Michael, I got the impression right away that he would make the kind of father that I always wished Trevor and Taylor had. Sensitive, compassionate, loving, funny and masculine all at the same time. He's not afraid to cry when he needs to cry, and his family is always number one. They both fulfill my dreams of what I some day hope to become.

I had the pleasure of being there for the first two days of Michael and Greta's new life as parents. I got to see them hold you and love you and learn to care for you. I watched them become sleep deprived because you didn't want to be put down at night, learning how to change you without getting pooped or peed on, figuring out when you needed to be burped, and I got to listen to them talk to you when they thought I was sleeping or not paying attention – telling you how much they love you and, oh God Brendan, just the look of absolute adoration and love that they hold in their eyes for you is just like looking into the eyes of God as he looks down upon us, his children.

Sweet, sweet baby boy, please always know that every day of your life I will think of you and love you. Each day of my life, I will wonder what you are doing and how you are feeling and praying for you to always feel love. Every March 22nd will be so special to me, and you can bet that I will find my own way of celebrating your birth. I want you to know that my door is always open to you, should you decide to meet me and Trevor and Taylor. I would never turn away from you. You will always be my son.

I love you Brendan.


Beyond Courageous…

Dear Readers,

I met with a birth mom yesterday. I believe her story is the perfect example of the strength and courage it takes to be a birth mom! This woman we'll call her J recently put her infant son up for adoption. Prior to making this adoption plan she escaped from a war torn country in the middle of the night leaving behind the love of her life, as well as all her family and precious belongings. When she got to this country she found out she was preganant and had her son a few months after arriving in the U.S. After giving birth she found out her son had chromosome 8 deletion syndrome which is basically medical jargain for a disease that creates many medical complications and birth defects. After finding this out she reluctantly placed her baby for adoption in the hopes that there would be a loving family out there that could provide for the many medical needs her son will likely face. After meeting with this woman I learned that she not only graduated from college and spoke 5 languages fluently but I also witnessed her strong sense of perserverence and eternally optomistic attitude. It got me to thinking how negatively birth mom's are often portrayed in our society. With the help of this blog and many of you readers out there I hope to slowly begin to change that view.

Until next time,

Lindsey