Monday, February 28, 2011

Food For Thought...

As a birth mom I experience certain fears facing my own adoption story. It's natural, and it's okay. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Sophie, how she's doing, what she's feeling, how her family is, and especially...if she misses me. Obviously that's kind of an irrelevant question at this time in her life, but part of me wonders if she knows who I am, even at her infant state.

Very soon after placing Sophie, not even a week if I remember right, I received another heart felt email from Rebecca giving me an update. One thing she said in that email will never leave me. It hit me with such force that I broke into tears and cried uncontrollably for hours. She said, "Today Caleb was standing next to me while I was holding Sophie and as he was stroking her head he said, 'Mom, I think hers misses ShaNae.'" My heart burst with so many emotions I couldn't help but let it all out. I had not even stopped to think before that moment that she might actually miss me. It hurt so much but at the same time, it made me feel complete and utter peace at the thought of her missing me, even if it wasn't anywhere near how much I missed her.

Anyway, one of my biggest fears as a birth mother is that at one point in her life, Sophie will want nothing to do with me. If someone wanted to kill me, they would make sure that happened. It's one of the WORST things that can happen to a birth mom, and thankfully, it rarely happens within open adoptions. From what I've heard, an adoptee chooses to disassociate himself/herself from their birth family if and only if the birth parent is dysfunctional or a possible threat. Thankfully I'm neither:) And I don't ever plan on changing that. But still, I can't help but ask myself those haunting questions like "what if she doesn't like me?" "what if she hates the fact that she came from me?" and worst of all "What if she doesn't love me?" I believe time will tell whether or not my fears are justified. However, even now, deep down, I know they're irrational. Why? Because Sophie has the most amazing parents. Parents who are open and secure about where she came from. Her mom always says, "Adoption is awkward only if you make it awkward. We don't make it awkward. In our home, if you're adopted, you're cool:)"

I found this quote from an adoptee and I loved it because I hope that one day, when something like this happens to Sophie, she feels she can react in the same way:

"One day while I was hanging out with one of my friends the topic of our parents came up. My friend always knew that I was adopted through open adoption but we had never discussed it. I guess on this particular day he was feeling rather brave and launched into a slew of question, like do I see my birthmom, and, how often. You could tell that he was relieved that I felt so comfortable talking with him about it. Then he asked me, between my adoptive parents and my birthpartents which did I feel were my "REAL" parents. I was sort of surprised by what seemed should be the obvious answer. I told him, hey, they're both my "REAL" parents"

The reason I like this quote so much is because the boy was comfortable and secure with his situation, who he was, and where he came from. Not once do I want Sophie to question why I did what I did and whether or not I love her. If someone were to ask her, "Why did your birthmom give you up for adoption, didn't she love you?" I hope she says, "First of all, she didn't 'give me up', she placed me, and second of all, that's WHY she placed me, because she LOVES me." That would give me more closure than anything in the world, to hear that she reacted that way to a question like that. It's not that I question my decision, I just don't want HER to question my decision. I understand there may be times in her life when she'll have questions, that's totally expected, but it is my hope that either her parents or I can answer them.

Last night I was on the phone with a friend. He is very dear to me and he's an amazing guy, but he doesn't understand why I chose adoption. And that's ok. I like hearing his point of view. But after our conversation, I sat on my couch and thought for awhile. I wanted to come up with a solid list of reasons I could recite to any individual that asked me, not just why I chose adoption, but why the couple I chose chooses to let me see my daughter and be a part of her life. I had never been asked that question until last night and it took me by surprise. I know why Troy and Becca let me in, but I didn't know how to explain it to someone on the other end of a phone line.

So, after mulling over several conversations I've had with adoptive couples, including my own, I came up with a list of reasons why they choose open adoption. The list below is almost identical to mine, but better worded, so I'm using it instead.

Five Reasons Adoptive Couples Choose Open Adoption:

* When she looks in the mirror, we want our daughter to know herself. It's hard to face the world when you don't know where your face came from.

* We didn't want our daughter to have the cabbage patch mentality. The truth is, her life didn't start the day we adopted her. Like us, her history and ours began a thousand lifetimes ago.

* We believe in a birthmother's right to choose, if she has the courage to place, she has the wisdom and right to choose her childs parents, she was our daughter's FIRST mother.

* We wanted to do a domestic open adoption so our daughter could know her birthfamily. Our daughters birthmother chose not to abort her, how could we abort our daughters birthmother from our lives.

* We both have family members and friends who are products of closed adoption. These people are still suffering the adverse effects that their denied birthright has caused them. We didn't want this for our daughter.

Now, believe me, I know there are people who don't agree with open adoption, or even adoption for that matter. But I do, and this is my story. I love being able to watch my daughter grow and learn. I love being able to tell her I love her. And I LOVE that her family and mine are close. How is there anything wrong with that?

Anyway, I know I have no reason to fear, but it's inevitable. I'm a birth mom haha and it's part of the package.

Till next time!:)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Owning Life's Experiences

One of my favorite quotes was first given to me by my high school French teacher. One day she walked into class and said, "I have a life lesson to teach you guys today. No French. Just this." The fact was our class was failing. Failing at what she had intended us to do from the very beginning. See, this teacher had a rule, NO a law, that you were to maintain once you stepped through her classroom door. The law was this: To be the BEST that YOU can be. Try harder then you've ever tried before. Challenge yourself. Let genius over power your mind and influence those around you.

See, my high school French teacher had years of experience to witness first hand the way students suppress their abilities and talents so the people around them are comfortable. Sound familiar? We all do it. And to be honest, I didn't realize how much we claim to be less than we are until I related the lesson to my own life. After all, anything out of the norm may be threatening and attract attention, and we wouldn't want that now would we?


Here's the part where I give you the quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are POWERFUL beyond measure, it is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't help the world. There's nothing enlightening about shrinking down so someone won't fell insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in ALL of us. and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

-Marianne Williamson

I'll never forget the day my French teacher taught us that lesson, one of the most important lessons I'd ever learn. After reading that quote for the first time, I thought to myself, "Why do I pretend to be less when I know what I'm capable of?"

Well I can tell you I no longer engage in that state of mind. From that day forward I was all about owning what I do, who I am, and what I've been through. Which brings me to today's topic: Owning what I went through when I placed my child for adoption, and moving forward with the strength to know I can accomplish anything.

After placement, I didn't have the confidence to talk to someone over the phone, let alone face to face. It was HARD! I had just experienced something surreal and my confidence was at its lowest point. Why? Because I didn't know who I was, I assumed the world looked down on me with little expectations for my future, and not to mention I was stretched out and blubbery, but that's besides the point. It took my a long time to realize that I had done something GREAT. And to own that. To not let people think less of me because I had had a baby. I wanted the world to know what I was capable of. One day, a few weeks after placement, I was cleaning out my room. It was then that I came across the piece of card stock paper my teacher had given me with the quote printed down the front. I read it over and over and over again. I couldn't believe it. What was I hiding from? And why? Why should I care if someone disagreed with my decision?


Well the fact is this: I wasn't hiding just hiding from the world. I was hiding from me. I didn't feel like I was capable of anything anymore. I was broken. I had to go back to high school and remember what my teacher said. "Be the best the YOU can be." There I was, someone who could relate with millions of other people, thinking I had nothing to offer. I knew then what I could offer at that moment, to a number of people: EMPATHY. i started with that and moved up from there.

If you love someone unconditionally, and with your whole heart, than you will do what is best for them, not you...I have never learned a harder lesson that giving my child up for adoption and I probably never will. If I walk through the rest of my life exuding awkwardness whenever adoption is brought up, then people are going to think I'm insecure with my decision. I don't want that to happen. i want to OWN what I did, and be open to anything anyone has to say. I know I made the right choice and I want to use that decision to influence the lives of others.

If I believe I did something great then I'll be proud of my decision, for me and for Sophie. And I DO believe that, with all my heart, or I wouldn't be where I am today. I am ready to face the world now, after all these months, using my experiences as the basis for my individuality.

Till next time:)