The Other Side of Adoption, My Story as a Birthmother
As a homeschool blogger, I follow a bunch of other amazing homeschoolers. Some of whom choose adoption, which is awesome, and naturally they talk about their experiences with adoption from the point of view of the adoptive parents. However, lately I’ve seen a few Youtube videos, Periscopes and posts on social media talking about adoption in a way that just didn’t sit right with me. Some of them I actually stopped following because they simply didn’t have a kind word to say about the birth mother. They were making it seem as if they themselves were saving these children. While that’s not completely untrue there is SO much more. So I felt compelled to share my story with the world.
As a teen, I was far from perfect. I partied frequently, failed more than a few classes and even got kicked out of school a time or two. People that know me now, but didn’t know me then, are always surprised to hear this. They are surprised because frankly, I did a 180. I had a 4.0 in college, started my first business at 18, and work very hard to make a difference in both my family’s life as well as strangers’ lives (reason I started this blog in the first place). I had left those partying days far behind me. What changed? Did I just simply grow up?
AT 17, I GOT PREGNANT.
Now, at that point in my life I honestly thought it was a good idea to drop out of school and become a bartender. (because there is good money in bartending — HA) I was going down a path that even my younger self didn’t understand. This was not at all how I wanted to be living my life.
When I was 5 years old, I knew that all I wanted to be was a mom. At 13, I narrowed that down and told my Mom all I wanted to do was be a soccer mom when I grew up. “Soccer mom” in my head had nothing to do with soccer. It was a mom (probably upper middle class) who lived in a big white house in the suburbs, of course. She was married with 2-4 children and stayed home with them. Teaching them and supporting them in their interests. Basically a homeschool mom; I didn’t even know what that was then.
So, finding myself pregnant at 17 was a dream come true then, right? If all I ever wanted to be was Mom, right? Well, I didn’t just want to be a MOM, I wanted to be a great mom. The kind of mom who could offer her children the most valuable thing. TIME. Time to watch them grow, time to teach them, time listen to their stories.
As a partying, almost drop out 17 year old girl with little support, there was absolutely no way for me to be that kind of mom. I would have had to sacrifice time with my child to finish school, or attend college, or go to work to pay for the things we needed. I did not want this for my child. I still wanted to be a mom more than anything, which is why making the choice to give my child up for adoption was a very difficult choice.
I choose to go with an open adoption and we have a VERY open adoption. I would say that this is NOT the norm. However, this is was worked for us. The adoptive mom went to every doctor’s appointment with me and was my labor coach. At the time, I was living on my own, so having someone there to hold my hand was extremely helpful. I knew that she cared about my baby as I did. She also truly cared about me and still does.
On a snowy day in March of 2005, I gave birth to the most beautiful little girl.
It was amazing. Then, I completely shut down. I actually sent her and her adoptive mom to go stay in a separate room because it was to difficult for me to hear her cry and not tend to her needs. I knew that it was important for her mom and her to bond so I let them while my heart was breaking. There were several times throughout her childhood when my heart was left broken. Like when she was three, she fell and started bleeding crying “Mommy!”. As she rushed over to her mom, it KILLED me. I’m sure there are still going to be times it’s hard for me.
Because we had an open adoption I saw her frequently for the first few years of her life. Then I had to scale it back. It was just to difficult for me. There were a few years that I didn’t see her at all. I see her about once or twice a year right now and that feels good for me. She has met her brothers and knows she’s their big sister.
Life is good now and I’m happy to say that while I’m not a “soccer mom” (actually this August I will because we just signed him up!) I am living the life I wanted. I’m able to stay home with my children. My house isn’t white but it’s my version of a dream home. I can walk to the park and the library and there is room for us to grow. I’m married with two kids and thinking about baby number three. I teach them, love them, and encourage them. This is all because of my daughter.
If I hadn’t gotten pregnant with her I literally have no idea where my life would be right now. She was the wake up call I needed. Even though I wasn’t raising her, I never wanted her to look at my life and think, “Wow she gave me up just so she could party and do nothing with her life”? I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted to become the best version of myself for her.
So you see, it would have been very easy to look at me as a 17 year old party girl that ended up pregnant and couldn’t deal with it. So I got “rid” of the baby. Which is far from the truth. I understand that every adoption story is different, and every birth mother feels differently. However, there is one simple fact that remains. No matter the situation, that mother chose LIFE for that baby, which in today’s world isn’t a guarantee. That mother chose to do what she thought was best.
So that sweet little baby you feel breathing on your chest as you rock, is in your arms because of the choices the birth mother made. No matter the situation. Please honor that.
If you have any questions about adoption or would like to connect with me I’d be happy to help in any way I can (although I’m not an expert). Please feel free to contact me!