Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Life can be hard. Live life to the fullest. 17 1/2 years ago my whole life changed. I have heard many people say that adoption changes your life and you will never be the same. I agree it does. I also truly believe that it changed mine for the better. Yes, I had to give up my dream of enlisting into the military. But, adoption gave me an amazing extended family, a wonderful birth son and many truly wonderful friends. There is nothing I would change about my life. I have had my ups and downs but I am the woman that I am because of it all. I'm making some changes in my life currently. I will always fight to better myself and for my family.
I recently was told some news that has made me more grateful for my son and my birth son. I am truly lucky to have them. They are my miracles. I am thankful for both of them everyday. I strive to be a better person because of them. I have been diagnosed with secondary infertility. I am currently grieving this loss. It has made me realize many things. The doctor believe I should have been diagnosed 7 years ago.
I will never claim to understand how any of my dear friends feel when it comes to their infertility. The loss is one I can never imagine. My loss is different because of my two boys. My diagnosis makes me realize how amazing you all are. How special and strong you are. You have all done something that I don't know if I could have done. You are not only raising wonderful children, but you all honor your birth parents as much as possible. I have heard you call birth mothers your heroes. I want you all to know that you are my heroes! I love you!
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Friday, June 12, 2015
On Sunday, I ran a 5k for myself for Mother's Day. My husband and son cheered me on. Afterwards I text my birth son and told him how I did and he sent me a message telling me how proud of me he was. His mother then text me to wish me a Happy Mother's Day with all her love. My heart is so happy after this weekend.
I never wanted to be recognized on Mother's Day until my son was born. I am not and never will be Lucas' mother. His mom raised him. I chose her to do what I couldn't do at that time in my life. I have always been comfortable in my role as a birth mom. It is a title I hold very close to my heart. His family means the world to me. They are my extended family. They are amazing. Feeling blessed with love from my amazing extended family.
My brother and sister have never supported me. They love my birth son but are distant from his family and me. I used to be very close to both of them. Almost two years after placement I moved in with my brother. I was struggling with my emotions. I was suffering from depression. I moved out of state to live with my brother and that made things harder for me. I lasted 8 months living with him, it damaged our relationship. I will never forget my brother telling me to forget about my birth son and move on. I chose not to parent and I just needed to get over it. My sister and I are twins. She has never talked to me about my decision. They both are very distant towards me. I have decided that I no longer need their love and support. I can't cut them out of my life because of my parents. It hurts me daily to know the family I should be able to count on isn't there.
My maternal grandparents were amazingly supportive of my decision to place. The rest of my family says that my birth son isn't part of our family. Instead I rely on my amazing extended family. Lucas' parents. Terry and Andy opened their hearts and home to me the day I chose them. I am closer to them than most of my blood family. My husband supports me everyday. his family tries to be supportive but is very judgmental of birth moms in general. They believe I am an exception. I continue to try and educate them. They have told me to be grateful for what I have and that I shouldn't have bad days.
Family support is important to me but I have learned that family isn't always blood. My support comes from my parents, husband and Lucas' parents. With their love and support I am in a wonderful place. I'm enjoying my journey as a birth mom. I'm allowing myself to remember and feel again. I'm allowing myself to work through all of the emotions that I bottled up.
Three years ago I met someone who I was connected to in a unique way. Denise had waited 14 years to meet me. She worked with my mom and knew all about my decision to place. The first day I met Denise I was at work and she ran up to me and hugged me. She told me she loved me. Every time she heard someone tell me that they don't know how I could give up my child, she came to my defense. Denise always brings a smile to my face. This past December was the first time we spent any real time together. Denise is the other half of my soul and I am thankful that she came into my life when she did.
I have made quite a few friends on-line in the last year through my support groups. Having others on the same journey has helped me in ways that I can't explain. There are many people that have touched my life and I am thankful for each and every one of them. I learned to surround myself with supportive and loving people and my life is better because of them all.
"Do you know your real mom and dad?"
This is always the very first question I'm asked by everybody. I always just explain that I don't know my birth father, but since it's an open adoption, I do know my birth mother, and I usually state that she lives near me.
"Do you ever see your birth mom?"
I know this is a huge question for everybody, because usually when you hear about adoptions, it's through an orphanage or something like that. I explain to people that I see Roanne multiple times a year, and am usually going to see her quite soon! People then usually tell me how lucky I am, and I always reply with, "I know! We have a great relationship," (I mean I'm obviously very lucky, I got graced with Ro's good looks and charm).
"How old were you when you were adopted?"
This question is always the hardest for people to wrap their heads around. I always explain that I was technically adopted before I was born, as the adoption was arranged and set up before my birth. My parents and Ro had come together quite by chance, and everything was arranged from there.
Those are the most common questions I get asked when people find out I'm adopted. As for the relationship Ro and I have, I couldn't ask for anything better. I get to see her all the time, and I even text her on occasion! I get to have another side to my family, and have great relationships with everyone. Roanne and I often go to the zoo, or other places, with my half-brother Austin. I am also currently in a relationship with a girl named Ciara, and we've been together for over two years now. Roanne and everyone else have been so accepting of her, and so supportive, that I don't know what I would do without them. Ciara also gets along great with everybody, which means the world to me. Austin now has somebody to defend him whenever I'm picking on him. My family has been also very inclusive to Ro and her parents, which means so much to me as well. Everyone even comes over for Christmas Eve every year! All of my siblings (including myself) refer to Ro's parents as Grandma and Grandpa, because they are our grandparents. We're one big happy family!
Now I'll explain as best as I can my views on open adoption. One of my brothers was also adopted when he was a baby, much in the same way I was, except his adoption was closed. Usually, there's nothing to it for him, he doesn't really care. But every once in a while, he is driven up the wall with curiosity, and it's information my parents can't give him. I know I'm extremely lucky to have an open adoption, and I think it's important for an adopted child to be able to ask these questions that they are inevitably going to have, and to get answers. There are some cases where an open adoption might not be an option, and that's okay. But I believe that when possible, an open adoption is the best way to go.
So, to sum everything up, I am extremely grateful for the way my life turned out, being able to know Roanne, and her family. Ro acts as an inspiration for so many things, because of her strength. She has inspired me to take pictures, and strive to take good ones. She inspires me every day to be the best person I can be. I could never imagine what my life would be like without Roanne, nor would I want to.
I realized very early on that if I went to their house and tried to be something that I'm not that we wouldn't grow as a family. It drives me nuts when my in-laws try to tell me how to raise my son. As a birth mom my role became something truly special. I have been there to celebrate all of his accomplishments, to encourage his dreams, and to love him. I was there for every belt he received in karate. He accomplished his 3rd degree black belt. I have cheered for him in his marching band. I encouraged his love of photography and graphic design. These are all special to me. His mom has blessed me with being a part of their family.
I want to say that I have recently grown close to some very amazing adoptive moms. I think the world of them and hope to someday meet and hug them. They are treating their child's birth parents with love and respect. Open adoption works when there is love and respect from both families. It can't be one sided. I wanted to tell you all just how amazing you are and how honored I am to call you my friends. You are all beautiful and strong women.
I previously shared my story, but I didn't share one part. About a month before I found out I was pregnant, I was pregnant at this time though, I went and saw my uncle for the very last time. He was dying from colon cancer. When my family was getting ready to leave from home and I went and hugged my Uncle Skip for the very last time he whispered that everything would be ok in my ear. He told me that I would make the right decision and to follow my heart. At the time I thought he was talking about me enlisting in the NY Army National Guard. My uncle passed away two months later. When he passed, I knew I was pregnant but hadn't shared with my parents yet. I was scared. My mom was supposed to take a PALS class at one of the local hospitals. She had to postpone in order to go to Long Island with my dad to bury my uncle.
When my mom did go to finally take her PALS class a few months later, she knew I was pregnant and I was over 7 months along.my mom walked into the classroom with a friend from work and overheard a group of women talking about being 40 and getting pregnant. The instructor asked what these women thought about turning 40 and adopting. My mom couldn't wait for class to end. As soon as she finished her test, she took it up to the instructor and asked her if she was looking to adopt. The instructor said yes and asked why, did she know of a baby? My mom told her yes and then told her about me. She drove home and gave me a phone number and then told me this story. That evening I called that number and I fell in love with this woman instantly. It just felt right.
In the beginning our journey wasn't easy. I didn't have much time to get to know them before placement. When my birth son was born, my mom called them to let them know their son was here. They rushed to the hospital to meet him. They swung by the nursery to get a peek before they came to see me. They stood in the nursery window trying to pick out their son and his dad joked about the moose in the back. He said I feel sorry for that mom. The moose was their son. As soon as he saw my last name on the bassinet he said oh, he is ours. My birth son was 10lbs 3ozs at birth. When they entered my room they both hugged me as we all had tears. They brought me an angel and a locket. They told me I was their angel. The next day before they came to visit, they called to see if I wanted or needed anything. I asked for a milkshake. They not only brought me a milkshake but a dozen roses. One red one for every pound he weighed and two white ones for how close I would always be to their hearts.
In the beginning I didn't fully understand open adoption. It was still pretty new 17 years ago. I only asked them for one visit a year, his birthday. Needless to say they exceeded my expectations. They started inviting me to visit every month or two. I celebrated my first Birth Mother's Day with them. They just treated me with love. I know this wasn't easy for them. Every time I visited I did everything I could to make sure they knew they were his parents. I never considered myself his mom. I wasn't, I am his birth mom. The first year was the hardest for me emotionally. The time I spent with them was amazing. I was always happy when I was with them. The moment i left them, I was devastated. I can remember going to see my mom at work and walking in with tears streaming down my face. It hurt so much to say goodbye every time.
As a family we worked to make our relationship amazing. We barely knew each other when we entered this journey together. Our agreement was verbal and sealed with tears and hugs. We learned to trust each other. We learned to love each other. We grew to be a family. In the beginning we made it all about my birth son. He was the most important member of our triad. I love my birth son's parents. They are my family! I love my birth son! He is also one of my closest friends. I treasure the relationship I have with each of them. We were meant to be a family. I am forever grateful that we became a family.
I recently attempted to contact him. I wanted to thank him for leaving. I now realize that the best thing he did for me was to leave. If he had stayed my life and my birth son's lives would have turned out completely different. I wouldn't have placed if he had stayed. I know we wouldn't have lasted. I am a stronger person.
I promised my birth son when he was born that I wouldn't ever bad mouth his birth father. I would tell him all about him when he is ready. I will be there to answer all questions. If he decides that he wants to meet him, I will help him. He is a part of my birth son.
I'm tired of being told that I live in a fog and am delusional for thinking that my birth son is happy and well adjusted. My birth son loves me. He knows who I am and that I love him unconditionally. I am always honest with him. He has had an amazing life because of my choice. He is proud of me.
I made the difficult choice to place him because my situation wasn't the best. My birth son deserved more than I could give him at the time. I'm proud of my choice. I love the young man he has grown to be. He is loving, thoughtful, smart and understanding. We have a very special relationship. He is one of my closest friends now.
I have a wonderful relationship with his parents. We have worked hard at it and over time we grew to become a family. When I placed him 17 years ago, all I asked for was one visit a year, his birthday. I didn't know what to ask for. They not only invited me to celebrate his birthday, but set up monthly visits with me. We celebrated Birth Mother's Day every year together. As my birth son has gotten older, I now spend that special day with him and my son. Just the three of us. Last year I treated his mom. To lunch on Birth Mother's Day. I wanted to celebrate both of us. I also hand delivered flowers to her at work the day before. I have grown very close to her over the years and we are not only family but friends.
We all need to remember that our journeys are all unique. Don't judge someone because they love or hate adoption. Just support. I have chosen to be happy and positive in my journey. It was what was best not only for me, but also for my birth son, his family and my family. I'm not saying that someone who has a different view than me is negative. Im just stating my opinion. I do ask that you don't push your views onto me. I am pro-adoption. I truly believe that adoption is a beautiful and loving decision.
I was 19 years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was informed by the doctors as I was trying to enlist in the NY Army National Guard. When I told my boyfriend at the time, we decided to look into abortion. When we went to the doctors office, I was told that I was at least four months along. Abortion was not an option. We talked about raising our unborn child together. We picked out names. When I was around seven months along, the birthfather announced to me that he was leaving. His parents gave him $300 to walk away and forget about us both. I was alone and terrified. I was heartbroken. I was losing my best friend. I moved home to my parents. My mom and I sat and talked about what I was going to do. My parents told me that it was my decision and they would support my decision.
I told my mom that I wasn't ready to care for a child. I decided that adoption was the best option for the child. I wanted him to have more than I could provide. I wanted him to have two parents. He deserved more than I could give him. But, I just knew I had to know my child. I couldn't wonder every time I saw a child. My mom told me about open adoption. We started to research open adoption. My midwife gave me a name of a lawyer. I went to see him and he attempted to talk me out of an open adoption. During this time my mom went to a nursing class for her work. The teacher and a couple of the other students were talking about wanting children. The teacher mentioned she was looking to adopt. My mom really liked her and approached her about me. My mom came home and told me about her. That evening I called her and we talked about everything. I felt comfortable.
The next day I called my lawyer to set up a meeting. He once again tried talking me out of it. I was persistent. We met a week later. My parents and I spent a few hours talking with the couple. They brought pictures to show me. I felt comfortable with them. It felt like I had always known them. As we were leaving they asked what I was thinking. I told them they were the perfect family. After they left I told my lawyer that they were the couple for me. I didn't look at any other couples. I just knew in my heart that they were the perfect family.
The day I was induced, they called me every couple of hours to check on me. When my birth son was born they came to the hospital. They went by the nursery to see their new son. Then they came to see me. They walked into my room with an angel, a locket and a dozen roses. Ten red roses and two white roses. A red rose for every pound their new son weighed and the two white roses for how close they held me to their hearts. The angel was because they felt I was their angel. They came every day to see both of us in the hospital. At the time, in NY either the lawyer, the adoption agency or the birth mom has to carry the child out of the hospital. I carried my birth son out with his mom walking next to me. When we got to our cars I handed her newborn son to her and told her that here was her new son. The day after we were released from the hospital I went to court to sign the papers. My mom and my birthsons parents were there to support me. They were all in tears as I told the judge this was what I wanted with a smile.
A couple of months after I placed, I was living alone for the first time in my life. I was trying to work through my grief and depression. One night my whole world was turned upside down. As I came home from work and unlocked my door, my neighbor forced his way into my apartment. That night he sexually assaulted me. I was devastated and felt more alone than I ever had. The very first people I thought to call were my birthson's parents. They called my parents for me. My mom showed up at my door with my black Great Dane and we called the cops together. For years I allowed him to take what strength I had left. I tried to allow myself to heal by burying it. It is still very hard for me to talk about.
Two years later I allowed my demons to consume me. I attempted suicide. I slit my wrists because I didn't want to feel it anymore. I believed I couldn't handle the pain anymore. My best friend saved my life that night. She made me call and talk to a therapist that was offered through our work. My best friend also sat and reminded me how amazing of a person I am. I am thankful that she was there for me. She still reminds me every so often. I feel this helped me push to make my adoption the way it is. I needed the extra love and support and thankfully my birthson's family was willing to give me their love.
Being a birth mom is an emotional roller coaster. There are still triggers that I deal with. I suffered from depression in the beginning and hid it from my birth son and his family. They were my happy place and I didn't want them to know how much I hurt. Leaving after a visit was very hard in the beginning. I felt my heart break all over again. Over time it has become easier on me emotionally. I have discovered so many things about who I am. I found strength that I didn't know that I had until I needed it. In the beginning it was very hard for me to be a birthmom. I always thought of how they felt. I understood that they may feel threatened by me and did everything I could to show them how amazing they are as parents. I understood that I had to step back and was no longer a parent to the child. I never thought of my birthson as my son. Our relationship is very special.
The adoption has always been open. I knew I was blessed with how open it was from day one. They invited me to their house at least once every couple of months. They would treat me out to lunches. They told everyone who I was. I dreaded the first Mother's Day after he was born. My birthsons parents made a huge deal out of Birthmother's Day for me. We celebrated together. They have continued this tradition. The last few years I have spent birthmothers day with my birthson and my youngest son. My birth son was born on December 16. He was our Christmas miracle. Last year I started a new tradition with his mom and took her to lunch on Birthmother's Day. I wanted to celebrate with her how amazing of a mother she is. We celebrated each other and had a wonderful time. I was told that I will forever have a special place in their hearts and in their lives. We are family always and forever.
My birth son is 17 years old. He is an amazing young man. His family is my family. I can't imagine my life without them. They are amazing. My birth son was the ring bearer at my wedding. He is a big brother to not only their other four children but to my youngest. We text every day. He is becoming one of my best friends. I treasure every moment with him and look forward to our time together. We have a special bond that we both treasure. His parents have done an amazing job raising him.
Over time my journey has become easier. There are still hard days, but I know I am not alone. I have an amazing support system. I belong to positive support groups. I have a special group of women that I call my sisters now. I have a wonderful extended family. We celebrate every Christmas Eve as a family. They have opened their home not only to myself and my parents, but to my siblings and in-laws. I am invited to all of their family gatherings and special events. I consider my open adoption my first marriage. It has taken a lot of hard work and time to build the relationship and trust with my chosen family. I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision to place my birthson. I learned so much about who I am because of my journey. I am proud to be a birthmom. My only regret is that I didn't have his mom there for his birth. Having a successful open adoption is like having a successful marriage. You have to think of what is best for everyone. I always put their feelings before mine. It was hard and hurt at first. Now, it just comes naturally. They have done the same with me.
I am told often that I was selfless in my decision but I wasn't. I had unconditional love for this child and believed in my heart that he deserved better than I could provide. When I had my second child, many of these same emotions came to the surface. How could I parent after placement. Didn't this child deserve what my first born child deserved. My situation was different. I still deal with this daily. I love both of my boys with all my heart. They are my miracles. I can't imagine my life without either of them. My birth son is the one person who reminds me daily how great of a mom I am to his little brother.
When I married my husband I wanted a family more than anything. Our son entered our lives almost exactly a year after. After my little one was born, we tried for another child. I had two miscarriages in a six month period. I was told to be thankful for the two children I gave birth to. I am always thankful for both of them. Only a handful of people in my life know about the second miscarriage. I was asked to hide it to protect a couple of family members cause they couldn't handle a second loss so close to the first one and just before Christmas. I regret following this request. It was very hard on me emotionally due to the time of year.
Open adoption taught me about unconditional love, not only of a child but of another family. My amazing family that I am blessed to have. I can never thank them enough for all their love and for the amazing job they have done. Seeing my birth son with my son is music to my soul. Seeing the love that they have for each other is amazing. Adoption is not an easy choice or journey. Do the research first. Know what you are going into. If you put the hard work in from all sides it can be amazing and beautiful. I'm proud to be a birthmom!