Monday, December 29, 2014

The Theif of Joy

Remember that time I had the worst day ever?  Heck it may have been the worst day/week/month/year.... but either way, it was the worst.  The only thing that enveloped my mind daily was the fact that E's mom did NOT have days like this. It took a while...(thus I am only writing about this now) but I have recovered;mostly. And I have a new since of understanding, learning, experience, etc etc.



We've all heard it, we've all seen it, and very often we've all been angered by it.  But seeing it at the moment I did, just before I'd posted, it was something that shot straight to my heart and made me start to wake up. "You can't compare your beginning to someone elses' middle."
Two quotes that have ran through my mind very often this month of December.  Many times in the frustration of dealing with children. Or in moments of "new this and new that" for many people.  I have to remember that I have had to go through things in the last 10 years that others never will.  I have had to endure much heartache in that time from many different things, that others never will.  While I do get angry often because of it, I have a knowledge and understanding that others don't.  I have had experiences that have allowed me to be there for others who thought they were alone.  

I have had to remember how prepared S & R were to be parents.  Both college graduates, both steady jobs for at least a few years before  becoming parents, very smart with their money.  Then I had to remember what they had to do in order to be 'approved' to adopt.  The classes, the home studies, the panels, and so much stuff I can't even imagine.  I had to remember that they're at a point I am not, and they have had time etc to get there.  And hello, what better examples to have?!  Faith and love and everything I could ever want in a marriage/friendship is visible with those two.  What I should have been doing was watching, and applying their parenting style in my own life. Not necessarily identically, because I'll never be as they are, but I could do better, and by golly they're amazing parents!  I sat and looked in the past at all they have done, and do, and compared my 7 1/2 married years to their 12+, the thief was there.

Comparison to them eventually turned to comparison to myself and most every person I've come in contact with in my lifetime.  "look where they are... and I'm just here.", "I have tried this and this and this... and they do that and that and that... ", Many times I have knelt in prayer, and have been so frustrated, that I couldn't get the words out.  I always turned into the..."I try SO STINKING HARD" I always do my best, and these people over here lie, cheat, steal, etc etc... and they have it all.  I gave up a couple years ago; took me a year + to get even started in what i quit.  I came to that point again when I wrote that. I was ready to quit. I was ready to walk away from it all.  This is not worth it.  

I struggle, OFTEN, with comparison.  In turn, I struggle with faith, and my willingness to put my emotions and life in the Lords hands.  I constantly say I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE. I QUIT. I GIVE UP. THIS ISN'T WORTH IT.  I forgot how to pray, to pray and LISTEN to what my Heavenly Father wants me to learn, and see, and do. Because I lost faith in Him, I was robbed of joy.  I was robbed of joy because of myself.  I look at the bad, and ignore the good.  That has to change.  
My beginning has stunk... but my middle and end will be grand.  They have to be, He has promised me, and it will.  

It comes in adoption that you compare your story to others. There are to many differences in EVERY SINGLE situation, that there should be no room for comparison.  You need to pick out the GOOD, the JOY, in your story. There is good to be found in everything, EVERYTHING.  I am finally taking the initiative from Blessings in a Basket/Big Tough Girl and starting a daily gratitude journal.  And a family gratitude jar/journal, won't you join me.

-jena

Adoption Language

What are your views on appropriate adoption language?  
(Examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs is adopted,)
Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language?
How, if at all, did you educate those involved?


I think I'll share a couple experiences first. 
When I placed my little guy for adoption, we used the term PLACED(obviously), and not "gave up". I remember many moments after hearing, "she gave up her baby for adoption."; whether it be in an explanation of my crying, or an introduction to who I was. Those few months after placement, the words "gave up her son", defined me at almost every meeting. 
What it didn't do was make me angry, or frustrated with those sharing my information, or sharing info on others.  MOSTLY, because I had just come into the adoption world, and I, too, had used "gave up" for a LONG TIME.  It was never meant in a demeaning negative way, but since then has become something that I enjoy correcting others on. Not because I am mad, but because opportunities for education are amazing, and fun! And, in most cases, it was a lack of education(or age difference/when raised) that promoted different types of adoption language

SECOND:
When I became involved with OAOH I didn't think there were very specific terms to Birth mother/expectant mother, I never used the "politically correct" terminology, because it never dawned on me that there was such a thing.  So, in my uneducated, naive first post, I said BM.... yup... the big ol NO NO was upon me. I got such a lashing I thought I would get kicked off the page because I'd upset so many people.  I had NO IDEA that it would cause such a ruckus, let alone make anyone mad.  
Remember; in my thoughts through the years, "Education is key. Not everyone understands, because how can they when not everyone has experienced this kind of situation."  SO, luckily I have amazing friends at OAOH to told me not to take it personally, and EDUCATED ME about the correct ways to address titles. Not only was I taught, but I was able to witness complete strangers back me up in the "don't attack her" because of my wording. It was a time to educate everyone on terminology, and in respect.
The Birth Mom, 
B Mom - Birth Mother - First Mom - First Mother
NEVER BM, because we all know what BM stands for. 
I won't repeat it because it makes me laugh and reminds me of my grandpa. It is also something that offends a great deal of birth mothers out there.  Not me personally, BUT, I can totally understand why they would be unappreciative of the term.  So, its simple.... don't use it:)

Expectant Mom,
This was one that was new to me upon joining the adoption community. I didn't ever call myself anything personally, but I was a birth mom... and I was going to be a birth mom.  BUT, an expectant mom is someone who is pregnant, and is in the deciding stage.  Even then, if a choice has been made to place a child for adoption, she is still an expectant mom.  She does not become a birth mom until the papers are signed, and the child is placed in the arms of the perspective adoptive families arms.  Even then, I think there is some time frames in some states where that can be overturned for whatever reasons. 
After the baby arrives, that girl/woman is a MOM. She is not a birth mother until papers are signed, and that baby is placed into the arms of his/her parents or any other party involved in the placement of said child. This, for me, has been a new experience, and I too have found myself still calling those expectant moms 'birth mothers'. This has happened when these women/couples have chosen to place and have an adoption plan in place.  But, I have gotten better, it may have taken a while, and reminding, but it is better.

Adoptive Parent:
Not to be confused with the Hopeful Adoptive Parent.
The obvious, an adoptive parent, has adopted. A HOPEFUL adoptive parent, has either not adopted before and is now in the approved waiting game stage. The hopeful adoptive, could also be those that are in the approval process and haven't had a final go ahead.  ALSO, you could have adopted, and be ready to adopt again, thus, hoping to adopt.
(am I getting this part right???)

One thing I hate about "adoptive parent"...
I DESPISE calling my little mans mom and dad his "adoptive parents", because though they adopted him, THEY ARE HIS MOM AND DAD.  They were always his mom and dad, and they were always meant to be.  It makes me wanna slap myself across the face when I have to say "his adoptive mom and dad".  Because, well, thought they are his adoptive parents.... they ARE his PARENTS.  There is something about that ... and  maybe its my faith, and experience in what has been manifested to me, but he was ALWAYS theirs.  I always say, "his mom and dad", and if I HAVE to explain further so they know who I'm talking about, I'll say the adoptive family....  still irks me, but hey, you can only do so much.

Adoption language has long since changed, and evolved over time. As with most things in life, things are updated, or made inappropriate, or made to be appropriate.  Birth Mother Baskets had started a 'movement' or campaign, "Gave Love, Gave life, But never Gave Up.  PLACED".  Its an educational movement, one that will probably take a whole lotta years to fully envelope the world. BUT, it is teaching, and it was a great start. I can't seem to get angry when someone says "gave up" because it usually is just the lack of education.  When it isn't a lack of education, its an 'age' difference; or a 'grew up in a different era' difference.  It doesn't not make me mad, sometimes its hard to hear it, but never angers me.  I gave up soda... I gave up clothes I didn't fit into anymore. I gave up feeling like a failure... I didn't give up my son. I didn't give up on him either.  I chose to FIGHT for him, and in doing so, that meant giving him a home with 2 parents, and the life i KNEW he deserved, and where he belonged.

I am was an expectant mom... and birth mom... and now an adoption lover.
I can't say it enough... education is KEY in the forward movement of adoption.
 -Jena



<div align="center">
<a href="http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html" title="Adoption Love"><img src="http://i1349.photobucket.com/albums/p741/joshkrisadopt/Untitled_zps390f34f0.png" alt="Adoption Love" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

(examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html#sthash.2FhxkYow.dpuf
WhaWhat are your views on appropriate adoption language? (examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html#sthash.2FhxkYow.dpuf
 What are your views on appropriate adoption language? (examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html#sthash.wL355ccI.dpuf
 What are your views on appropriate adoption language? (examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html#sthash.wL355ccI.dpuf
 What are your views on appropriate adoption language? (examples: Birth mom vs. expectant mom, was adopted vs. is adopted, etc.) Have you had any personal experiences with inappropriate adoption language? How, if at all, did you help educate those involved? - See more at: http://www.jkadoptionlove.com/p/adoption-love-link-up.html#sthash.wL355ccI.dpuf

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Advocate

A few years ago I was blessed to find Open Adoption, Open Heart on Facebook.  I then was lucky enough to become friends with Russell & Jammie. And then was shocked when they asked me to be part of their admin team, and an adoption advocate for Open Adoption, Open Heart.  I cried(ask my hubs) because it was truly an honor. I LOVE my OAOH family.  That place and those people will always be home. I will never leave, and I will never stop the love!
I didn't think much of the ways you can come in contact with people.  I have been blogging for a couple years now, with no real intention of an "audience".  I just felt this to be a place to spread the love. To write and GET IT OUT.  I still don't have a "destination" for this blog, other than for me to be able to have an out.  And yes, I could do it in my own private journal, but this actually gets done.  I haven't written in my own journal since just before my own baby boy was born!  Ya, that is how frigging awesome I am!  I just feel comfortable having this OUT.  

So, back to the point of this post.  I had never thought of myself as an "adoption advocate" because I didn't know there was such a title.  I didn't know there was a special title... because I felt that I was just a girl, who placed a child, and LOVED what it did for him, his family, and myself.  I just felt that if someone came to the same place I had, that I hoped they could hear my story, or my words, or anyones words who has had experience where I have, and be able to make an educated decision.  I love adoption.  I love birth parents. I love it, I just do. Its nothing to brag and boast, and say LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME. I don't want or need recognition, I am not here sharing so someone can say "oh look what she did/does".  I am here so that someone else can learn, grow, and make a decision.  

I can honestly say that I did TRY to be a part of the "adoption community".  I think I discovered a few different things.  The "community" I am in is saturated, it has already been established by amazing and supportive people.  It is a community that is set in what it wants/needs.  It is a community that, unless you are a part of it from the very moment you decide on adoption, its not one to easily be a part of.  There are MANY that are a "part" of it, but there are a few whose opinions/stories/experiences or whatever you want to call it are asked for.  THAT IS OK.  I can say it is OK, because I GOT OVER what was hurting so bad. I got over the fact that I was taking it all personal.  Because I realized, I am just not what they need.  At least, I am not what they need in the advocacy boat.  I still love to participate in many areas, but I am not there as a "advocate" I am there as a birth mom.  That is perfection for me.  

I attended the Birth Parent meet up hosted by Adoption: Share the Love this last year.  I LOVED IT. I was not there being trampled and being fussed over, I was there as a birth parent, who needed some birth parent love.  It was a great event, especially because of those who I got to chat with, and meet.  I was spread out meeting new people, and it was great! That is what I am. That is what I need.

I am a Birth Parent. I Love Adoption.  
Maybe the issue, rather the realization, is that I am 11 years into this "post placement journey".  I have had gobs and gobs of time to heal, and grow. I have had countless hours of moments in prayer, and being alone to meditate what I felt. I know what I want,  I know what I need.  I guess I am just not a normal Birth Parent?  I feel, I am not his mom.  He is not my son, my son is 3 days old. He has a mom, and dad, and oh how I love them.  I love his family, both his immediate family, and his extended family.  His Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, I LOVE THEM.  I love them like family.  I don't feel like its weird to not feel like his mom.  Because I have had many confirmations that he isn't.  I can testify that he is theirs and was ALWAYS meant to be theirs!

I have accepted the ugly parts of my story. The ugly including the relationships with bf, the self destruction of my own doing, and the ugly of how painful moments were and can be.  YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT AND EMBRACE THE UGLY.  Because adoption is not always pretty and rainbows, especially for birth parents.  Not everyone has a picture perfect experience.  Some have really frigging crappy experiences, I've witnessed one just recently, and it is UGLY, and it is MEAN, and it is utterly and completely HEARTBREAKING.  But, those who share their ugly moment, can help others more than they know!!!  

I am a lover of adoption. I am a lover of Birth Parents.  I am a lover of Adoptive Parents... who are real parents... and seriously i kind of hate calling them "adoptive parents".  But that's a post for another time.

I am just Jena.  And that is perfect for me.  
I will support this community, because they are doing great things, no matter what it does for me. With that being said as well. I will support those who ALSO support the community.  Not just some of the community, but ALL of it.  That supports and lifts every other "group", program, agency, etc.  I know that I am not for everyone, and everyone isn't for me.  BUT, each group has good and bad (to everyone)  be supportive... don't talk about one being better than the other... and don't start junk between groups! If you are going to advocate, do it respectfully and responsibly.  You are out there spreading the love of adoption, of birth parents, of adoptive couples, of adoptive hopefuls. Do so in the same light that you would want others to share information about you. 





Friday, November 21, 2014

She Doesn't Have Days Like This

** Disclaimer **  please be gentle with me. This is hard.

~ She gets the laundry done
~ The dishes don't pile up
~ Chores get done 
~ Kids don't fight with her
~ She gets dressed, and her hair gets done every day
~ Prayers & Scripture study are daily
~ She doesn't yell
~ She doesn't threaten
~ She doesn't get frustrated

She WANTS to be a mom.


I have had these thoughts running through my mind, continuously, for 2 weeks. To the point I even wrote it all out in one of my "thought journals". Its been a hard few weeks being a mom. So... I guess I'll share a story:

I wasn't married when I got pregnant with E (NO REALLY?  I am sure you didn't know that). I wasn't married with I got pregnant with my oldest little Louis either.  (didn't know that one did ya?)
I wasn't in a bad relationship, I wasn't sleeping around, I wasn't doing anything bad... except, oh ya, having sex before I was married. There was one HUGE difference, no really there was.
My husband and I got engaged in November. We went and spent Thanksgiving with my family that following weekend to "celebrate" and share the engagement.  We had already planned that we wanted to be married in the LDS Temple (I am LDS, and you can learn more about the temple here) and we would do that the following October. On the way home from that trip we decided that we needed to change our plans. There was no reason why(at that point) for this change, other than us feeling like it was something we should do. That meant no temple marriage at that point. That meant a lot of questions, or angry people, but we felt it was right.  So we moved up the date. 
In that time we still tried to be good... ya know.. good to not sleeping together... and then I needed to take a pregnancy test in January... and it was positive. 

Lets be honest, I was NOT ready to be a mother. Yes, the circumstances were different, and in my favor (for the most part), but I was still not ready.   As we sat in the bathroom, looking at those lines, I even said OUT LOUD, "Maybe we shouldn't get married. Are you sure you want to get married. I don't want people to think we are getting married because of this. ARE YOU SURE?"
He laughed, because of course he wanted to marry me,(who wouldn't right LOL) So we talked to our families about what the situation was... and it was WORSE than the first time. I HATED every second of it! 
And we moved forward with our planned wedding date. 
So, we got married, and i was 3 months pregnant, and it was a drama filled day. And we went on our honeymoon, and I was sick, and we had a baby. 


I was not ready to be a mom.
We were living with his parents to save money. To prepare for the upcoming life change. It was rough.
he worked 2 jobs. I worked 1 job, until i almost had a baby 6 weeks early, then i hung out for a bit. I thought I was ready. I thought I could do it. I thought that I would be the best mom in the world. I thought... I paid the ultimate price, and sacrificed a whole lot, so that I could be a mom, in the right circumstances, someday.  Oh boy was there a wake up call to be had.

I realized REAL quick... it wasn't all I had hoped.

She cried, A LOT.
She spit up, A LOT. And not just little spits. Spits, as in me having to change my clothes MULTIPLE times a day.  She was a great baby during the day, but I could not help her at night. I was tired. She was tired. WE were tired. Many nights her dad got up to be sobbing, and her sobbing, and I went to the bathroom and cried, and he held her in the rocking chair and consoled her. What in the world was wrong with me?!  Why couldn't I take care of her?!
 3 1/2 years later I had my 2nd of my own. Lots of curve balls thrown in before and after her birth. 9 1/2 months later, and six weeks earlier than planned, baby #3 joined the clan.

And here we are...

Dishes pile up.
laundry doesn't get done. Or only gets half done.
Chores don't get done.(or do because I end up having a nervous breakdown)
 Louis fights me CONSTANTLY, and littles #2 & 3 are joining in.
I rarely get dressed anymore. And makeup is very optional.(even if I get dressed)
I don't pray or read daily, at least not on my own.
I yell.... a LOT.
I make dumb threats all the time.
And I feel like a failure 99.999% of the time.
Right now... I don't want to be a mom.


I didn't believe anything other than S being perfect. I still believe she is. I have only been around her 6 times in 11 years, but in that time I KNOW who she is. She is the most soft spoken, caring, loving, honest, hardworking, positive person on the planet(NO JOKE).  I have been around their family. And I am equally positive that they are the same way. They are INCREDIBLE parents. Encouraging, and patient, and kind, and PERFECT.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall to see her parent her children. I wish I knew what I could do, because I am so far from being like her. 
I always wanted (and still want) to be like her. I want to be the kind of wife and mother she is. I want to have a soft voice. A loving soul. I want to work on being perfect, because she works so hard, and as achieving that perfection.


I know i have seen many adoptive families having a hard time being "perfect".  The thing is, you ARE perfect. You are prefect for us. You are perfect for the expectant parents looking for the forever family to their babies. You are the perfect match for each person you come to.  Perfection, though, doesn't mean you are perfect. Perfection, in my eyes as a birth parent, is trying daily to do your best. I want real, I want mistakes. Knowing that you AREN'T perfect is an answer to prayers. Because we want to meet your expectations. We want to be positive, and better than we were yesterday. We want to exceed our own expectations, so that if there is openness, if there is a meeting later in the years, that we can say, I DID IT!
We want to be the parents to our own kids, that you are to yours. Those children we placed belong with you. When we chose you, we chose what we knew to be right.

Does it make it better or easier for me today? No... to be honest.
Today... OK for a few weeks... I just don't want to be a mom. Because I am failing them. I am failing myself. I am failing their dad. I am failing the expectations I set for me. I am failing at achieving even the SLIGHTEST bit of perfection that She is. I am not even close. And right now, it just makes me want to cry.

So today... I'll cry... and tomorrow I'll reevaluate and post again. So I'll have to finish with this quote:



And I know it all to well.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Profile #2

What can I say about this next family? I honestly haven't met the boys:), but oh oh oh how I LOVE Dawnett.
I met D at a panel at Dixie High School. I hadn't presented in YEARS, and I had NEVER presented with Adoptive Parents. It was pretty awesome, and her story is pretty amazing!  I LOVE getting to hear her speak and share her story. I especially love that she married "the uncle" of her friend:).  

Dawnett is ... amazing. She is the mommy to the most handsome 7 year old, and wife to a equally as handsome dude(PS his name is Brad).  And they are so fun. Dawnett has such a love for adoption, for birth moms, and adoptive families. She is so generous, and caring, and truly LOVES the heck outta everyone.  

They were blessed with their little man when he was almost 1, and the bond was instant. They have such an amazing love for him, and for his birth family. They often visit each others homes, and love to chat and support each other. They are so unique in their openness and love!

Through her struggle, she has helped so many, and has been such a good voice for those little teenagers to hear!  And a good voice for adoption advocacy.  Life never goes the way we plan, there are often bumps and bruises on the way, but she has battled through.  and OH I LOVE HER!!!

So, lets get the word out, and find their family!!!!!


(sorry D- im a theiving fool, and stole your pictures off FB)

their profile: HERE

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Profile

I may be a weird Birth Mother, but I LOVE advocating for Hopeful Adoptive Couples/Families. It doesn't hurt either when they are some of my most favorite people.   I have been blessed to help in the "match" of an expectant mother, and a hopeful adoptive couple.  It was an amazing thing to witness, and prayers were answered for ALL involved. That is a story that isn't mine to tell, but it is one I get to share that much of. The experience was surreal, and incredible. I still am in shock of how profound Gods hands are in the lives of others. How his guidance, nudges, or big pushes, put us into places where we can be of service to others.  

I have MANY friends hoping to adopt. Tonight, I want to talk about Brett & Candace.
I "met" Candace when I found the group, Open Adoption Open Heart, and I clicked with her, just as I did the founders Jammie & Russell.  
Candace and Brett have a BEAUTIFUL family, with boys Sawyer & Jamison. And they have BEAUTIFUL birth families, and oh how they love them. I can't begin to tell you how many times I get to hear of how much she just LOVES those in her kids birth families, and how she misses them so much. They love their big, grafted, family. She has also taken me in as an "adopted birth mom", and I have adopted her as my adopted adoptive mom:).  We sure love each other. 

What touched me, and drew me to love them more, was the video they had on their youtube channel, Our Adoption Option, of the day they brought Jamison home.  The love that radiated from her family, her son, her SISTER(whose reaction is what truly did me in).  You can watch it HERE.
This family love love LOVES these people, and i love them too. They are AMAZING.

Their approved and ready and waiting for their birth families, and the amazing miracle that will be their child. And I hope they find them soon, because they have been waiting and waiting. They have been praying to make sure they are doing what is right, and needed. That the timing may be perfect and right for everyone. Candace(because i talk to her most:)), has been waiting especially. Wondering who she gets to love on for the rest of forever. Wondering where that amazing expectant mom is, and hoping she is loved, and knows how much she is already loved!  

And, I'll be holding a fundraiser in the next week or 2 for them as well!!!!

SO GO CHECK EM OUT!!!!



Monday, November 17, 2014

National Adoption Month

November is already half over.
This year, and this month, have been the craziest (as far as adoption goes).  The amount of people I've met, heard from, befriended, its pretty much the most incredible year yet. And, I have also learned a lot.  

I have been dong the BTG Photo a day challenge,  and in the midst had a very emotional experience. I am often able to attend a support group for expectant mothers. I like to go to show that there is life after placement, that it does get easier, and that the angel boy I placed is amazing.  I don't have much experience with closed adoption(or adoptions closing after being told they were going to be open). But there are a few girls experiencing this exact thing, and others close to.  
One amazing birth mother came to show her support and share he own experience with her adoption closing after 2 years.  I had never heard her story, I had only known that 2 years after placing the family chose to close the adoption.  And NO, she was NOT one of those crazy birth mothers. She never asked for anything, and never implied she was anything but a birth mom.  She didn't want to take her, she didn't want to be her mom, she simply wanted to show her love for that baby just like we all do.
She shared some pretty stinking tough and hard experiences, and had some even more amazing advice to one birth parent in particular. It doesn't hurt to share, because she influenced more than that one birth parent, IM SURE.  
I have been back and forth about my involvement in the adoption community. About the love and support, or lack of, in the adoption community where Im located. I have been on the burner of what I have shared, and what I want to continue to share.  And this amazing girls courage and words have influenced me a LOT. I don't have a clue what Im doing yet... but I am working on it.

That being said, here's my post for National Adoption  Month.

Adoption is amazing, and hard, and happy, and crappy, and the biggest blessing that came to my life. It has brought an onslaught of love, and a very small bit of negativity.  I have met the best of friends because of adoption, and have been able to see their stories unfold as my did, with faith, and love, and fight.  I have seen, from afar, the amazing thing that is a Hopeful adoptive couple, become Mom & Dad. I have missed, terribly, the small group of women that influenced me and my story for the first time in the adoption community.  I have cried for those who have waited... and waited ... and waited... for their miracle babies.  I have cried more for those who are STILL waiting.  How I wish I could find the families that belonged together.  How I wish I could be the "finder" of those birth families, to match with their adoptive families. 

I cry with those women, who have to decide what road to take. Place a child they love, or parent a child they love. To see SO MANY teenage girls pregnant, and naive, and not worried about a thing. And crying more, when these birth parents come and share the joy and pain of labor, birth, and the few days/day they spend with those gifts from above. Then to hear the pain of placing them into anthers arms, knowing how it hurts, but how right it is. 

Adoption isn't for everyone, but it sure was for me, and advocacy can be for everyone. 


I'll be posting, daily, and little blurb about some families that are waiting for their miracles.  I know I don't reach a whole amazing number of people.  I am not "fan" material(thank goodness), but maybe someone will see their profiles and share it with the one who is supposed to see it.

- Jena

Exploring McCall

After we chilled for a minute, we went "down town", it was the cutest ever!  









It was so fun just chillin and walking around. Looking through the tiny shops, the paint your own pottery store, the wine tasting party. I just was happy I was surrounded by these women. Because they changed me. They came into my life at a time I felt broken, and breaking. They lifted me and loved me in a way I'd never been, and it was sincere. They are AMAZING!!!!!

And what do amazing people do after they walk around for a bit?


And then you go eat, and play more, and go to the grocery store at 11, and laugh and play, and love each other so much you could scream.  It was so fun. The beds were super comfy, and the company was even better!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

McCall (I-Da-Ho)

The next morning we awoke, ate, and headed out.
The thing is, we didn't know where we were going(or at least I didn't), and Candace & Jammie wanted to surprise us with a night in McCall Idaho.  And a night in Boise.  We are so spoiled to have these two in our lives. This trip was just supposed to be us visiting and having fun finally meeting.  These ladies took it to the next level.  They wanted to make US(the birth Mommas) feel loved and appreciated.  They will never know what their love has done for me in my life and my journey. (seriously, they'll have to wait till we're dead and in heaven to have a clue at all!)

SURPRISE!!!!  They had planned for us all to go and get pedicures before our little weekend out together. I hadn't had one before -  then my husband reminded me I had 6 years prior(when I was pregnant with our first).  It was a bad experience:).  So I was scared.  BUT, oh that cute little Asian man was HILARIOUS, and so fun, and nice, and actually CONVERSED with us!  And, he was EXTREMELY careful with my overly sensitive and ticklish feet!  It was heaven!  





Post Tosies:  we ventured to grab a quick bite, and by quick I mean Taco bell(or time). Yes, id never eaten it before... yes... it was a bad idea. They all paid the price. And now the world knows never to have me eat that nasty sauce food.




"THE CUBE"
We got the tooth for the weekend. It was a pretty rad ride(i hate nissan ps)
But it was SO FUNNY as well, and it was a blast and we loved that little tooth car!



 Lovely pictures were had while Amy and I crashed in the car. I am thankful to Candace for not posting my wide mouthed sleeping!  Oh the shame!!!  And then BOOM we were in McCall.  Well, we were on our way and saw some cool places to take some fun pictures!

Wicked nasty spider webs EVERYWHERE on that bridge... gave me the heebie jeebies

The Birth Mommas:

Adoptive Mommas
(who i so completely love and adore!)

And me:)
There were more, LOTS more, and FUNNY more... but remember my computer is dying... and now I can't locate half of them!!!!


And then we were there!!!! And it was gorgeous!


OF COURSE there was bed jumping!  On both the beds!



Ya gotta have the bathroom selfie right? I could NOT stop laughing peeps!



Then we relaxed for a minute. All snuggled. And Taren made me hate my cell phone.
Because she didn't have Internet, and was so awesome... and we were all
"uh... wheres my cell phone... gotta take a selfie... " nerds.  I have done better, because of you T:)

TBC


Saturday, October 25, 2014

October: Adoption Love Link-up


I love my little family, and all that they have done with me for adoption. I have had a very supportive husband always encouraging me to go to events, groups, and blogs:). I have been very open about my adoption, so my kids, as well, have always been aware of little E and his family. 

One thing we do, and why I haven't documented it I can't figure out why, is have blueberry muffins on his birthday, plop a candle in the middle and POP. It has been a family tradition of mine growing up, and its one of my FAVORITE things to do.  OK, so its my absolute favorite thing to do. We do it for each person in the family, and my littles got to join in and HELP make the muffins this year(who knew they'd be awake to help).  We love celebrating that little man and his family!

We love calling and sending the "happy birthday" song through text, and try to remember each birthday. 

I am often amazed at my littlest, and how loving and careful she is when she gets to tell someone that I am a birth mom, and that she has a half brother, and that his "whole family loves her too". She loves adoption, she loves what she understands, and what she has gained. She loves showing off him and his family, and saying to her brother and sister who he is.  


How do I hope to be included???
They send me flowers every year on his birthday!  On HIS birthday, they send ME flowers!  They don't need to do that, they don't need to celebrate me, or whatever, because its his day!  But I can't complain, and I will admit that I do love it, because I feel they remember me. I feel honored!
I hope to be able to be there for a birthday one day.  When we are all ready, if that time comes, it would be a blast. When I think of the birthdays I would love to be there for, while all would be fun, its the ones that in our religion, are bigger deals 8 -12 -18 - or any in between:)  
Its hard because its not just about wanting to be there for his birthday. While I want to be there to celebrate him, I want to see him celebrate with HIS family!  Oh it would be cool!


so there we are:)
 
-Jena

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Huge - Manatees

 
I truly am the worst blogger lately. I blame it on the dying computer. 
So here I am, answering SEPTEMBERS question:) 

 How, if at all, has adoption changed your view of humanity (for good or bad)?


In both ways I have been blessed to see the good, and the bad. So, I'll start with the bad:  

*** disclaimer ****  
this is MY opinion. and I am FINE with others having their own opinion. This is just what I feel and view with my position.

BAD:  I can't say it is bad, as much as it is disappointing. 
It is true, that I didn't really know a whole lot about adoption before I became a pregnant teen.  The most I'd heard came from a Birth Parent panel that was held in a class I took in HS.  It wasn't something that I thought was bad, or good, or anything in reality. Because, in reality, I didn't have any experience with it, and I didn't need to think about it.  I had seen a girl in my HS class become pregnant, and had been told she placed her baby for adoption. My response was, "Cool, I am glad everything worked out for her."  
I think the biggest thing I've learned is the UNEDUCATED are RAMPANT. Its absolutely astonishing to hear or see others opinions on adoption. How they truly believe the stereotype birth parent is all there is.  Or that someone said, "adoption is murder"... yes I responded... "No, Abortion is murder."  "Adoption is the growth of a child, placed into a home handpicked by me, to have a chance at life. To grow, and succeed, and be loved by SO MANY PEOPLE." I think that is the "bad" the idea that people find abortion a better option than adoption.  I can't say more on it, I get a tad bit emotional.  
With that, the adoption community: maybe its just Utah, but its as bad as it is good. Its something that I've had to pick and choose to be a part of, and what to voice an opinion on or not voice an opinion on.  Where there is love there is hate. (PS I hate the word hate)


Good:  
Where there is bad there is GOOOOOOOD.
And oh goodness is all around. With equal astonishment, I have been surrounded by love and support that I NEVER dreamed I'd have. Love and friendships with other birth parents that have shaped my view, and love, and strength, and desires of adoption.  Equal love and friendships with Adoptive families, that TRULY.... TRULY... have become MY family, and have healed me in ways I didn't know could happen.  They have taken a spot left empty.  There is an incredible group of people out there to lift and carry so many left broken and battered. To shout from the rooftops of how great adoption is, and how great it CAN be! Witnessing the love of birth parents to their adopted families, to adoptive families and their birth parents. Its amazing. It is awe inspiring to think of the joy I have felt seeing families I have never met in "real life" be joined with their amazing babies, and their birth families! 
with that... PS, I have so many more reasons to LOVE September now, than I already did before!  

So there you have it. My VERY late Link up:)


- Jena


OH.. why the HUGE MANATEES title?
well, I had a Humanities teacher in High School, that told a story about his coming to teach that class. Obviously, he heard "huge manatees" not Humanities.
It is the first thing that comes to mind EVERY TIME I hear the word!

  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adoption Love Link-Up

So, there is this AMAZING girl, Kristen, and we have never met... EVER. She is gorgeous, kind, heartfelt, honest, and the adoptive mom, to the most GORGEOUS little baby ever! Not only that, she is also the mommy to her angel baby, Evelyn, who is in the arms of her Father in Heaven!  She is so strong, and amazing!!!   Its been awe inspiring reading her story, seeing a tiny bit into her life, and just loving her!
So, she started something so fun, and intriguing; Adoption Love Link-Up(see side bar). 
I am lucky enough to be part of the link up party!!!  So here is my first ever Adoption Love INTRO!!!

My name is Jena - I am 30 something, and i LOVE adoption.
The life that lead me to adoption wasn't anything truly crazy or extravagant, or even interesting.
I was in HS, and became involved with a boy out of high school. He was "so cute", and "so cool", and made me feel like I was so cute and cool too.  But I also felt stuck, and scared, and many other things. 
In that relationship I became pregnant, after 3 months of dating. We spend the next 8 months going up and down in our relationship, all while trying to navigate what to do with this child we'd created. 
In the end, we chose adoption. He stayed around to help me through, and wasn't TOTALLY bad, but we were toxic. He was there, signed the relinquishment papers together, and was there to place our son into the arms of his amazing mom and dad.

I am now 11 years and 2 days post placement, and I DO NOT regret my choice to place at all. I know that little man is EXACTLY where he was meant to be. I feel blessed and honored to be his Birth Mom. Though getting there wasn't glamorous or cool, I am proud of what it taught me, and continues to teach me. 
He is so smart, loving, caring, and handsome. He has the best mom and dad that have given him every opportunity to search out his joys, his talents, and love of life. They are GORGEOUS, and their families are just as amazing!  I wish I lived closer so I could love on them all more, but we know its OK this way!  

I am also a Mommy to 3 1/2 littles. Lou, Roo, Bubba, and little Miss #4 is due in February.
I love playing with my littles, coloring, and singing and having dance parties all day!  My hubby supports my crazy love for adoption, and you can see him blog here too!(though very sporadically) He is a huge support and push to achieve my dreams with adoption!

I am a Mom, a wife, daughter in law, sis in law, sister, and daughter:)  SO MUCH MORE.
I am a write for BTG, and love public speaking.I am part of an amazing community at Open Adoption, Open Heart, and LOVE those I've come in contact with because of adoption!!!

I can't wait to continue this journey, and now be part of this amazing link-up!  I hope to make more friends, and have more fun than ever!!!  

-Jena


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Broken Promise?

I have been blessed in my adoption journey. I have never had a promise broken.  I have never had an expectation of something and it not happened the way it "should have".  
That could be a good and bad thing to some.  As i have said numerous times, our contact/openness was dictated for the first 6 months by the agency in which I placed.  Pros and cons to that(I'll post on that later).  In that six months we never really had much talk about what life after six months would look like.
It wasn't discussed what type of openness they were comfortable with. It wasn't discussed what I wanted. It all seemed to just... fall into place. I never questioned, and learned to adjust to what I THOUGHT I needed versus what I actually needed.  

I have been blessed. Because I have never had a promise broken.  I have never had my heart torn to shreds because of words spoken that weren't followed through with. I have witnessed, though, the broken hearts, and broken promises. So I guess this post is mostly to educate... I hope anyway... to educate, or make aware of what I think is important.

Its never fun to admit that there are some REALLY REALLY  crappy adoption situations.  There are some couples who say what is necessary to gain the trust and love of expectant parents. Only to turn around the moment those babies are in their arms, or the moment they can't take them back, and close off all communication.  There are some who automatically assume that no contact, or minimal contact, is helping a birth parent in their post placement growth.  
Some are intentional, some are not.

SO, here is MY opinion and thought on the matter.

COMMUNICATE.
There are so many couples out there who would do anything to get a child. The ones who would do anything for the expectant parents, anything for the baby, for the extended families, etc.  So many who love unconditionally, not only the baby, but the expectant/birth families. 
 Make sure you communicate to each other what you think is important to keep/incorporate into your triads. Talk about the hard stuff. Talk about how much openness you want post placement. Nothing has to be definite, set in stone, unchangeable; make changes when necessary.  Take time to listen to the birth parent, and what they are looking for in a post placement relationship. Listen to their needs and desires at the time, and see what works for your family.  Find a common ground where you can both be present and happy with what boundaries are set. Have a knowledge, repeated often, that change is possible, and that you are open to hearing what each other has to say.  That you are available to listen to what they need(again) on BOTH sides.  

There is no reason to be dishonest in what you think you will be able to do after a child is placed with you.  I know that if you are an expectant couple that wants a closed adoption, and foresee that not changing, there are expectant parents out there who do want those same things.  Do not assume that we, as expectant parents, are automatically going to be fine post placement. That we won't need anything, and that if we say we do, that it will probably change the moment we place those babies in your arms.  
Make sure that if someone needs MORE that you can give that to them.  Respect needs to be present on all sides of the adoption relationship.  What works for one, may not work for another.  What has worked for a past birth parent, may not be what works for a new birth parent.  Just as in our daily relationships, all are different and require different attention and needs.  

We are PARENTS.  That is why we are called "expectant parents", and post placement, "birth parents".  Because we are parents.  We are making a decision that a parent would make in a hard situation (yes though so so different).  We love those babies more than anything, just like any parent should.  We TRUST and sacrifice to better the lives of those children of ours.  And even though we know that they are not ours, we are still a parent. Often carried for months before an adoption plan is made, we are parents. We want the best for them.  

In the beginning its hard to navigate through the emotions that come after placement, on both sides.  Being that I've only experienced the birth parent side, I can tell you it won't always be easy. But with communication, trust, faith, and boundaries, it can be navigated and made into good.  I was up and down often in the beginning. For many months just wondering how HE was and not to concerned with his mom and dad... or their families.  But, it didn't take long to remember the people that I came to LOVE and TRUST and ENVY, and wonder how they were. They deserved to be happy in all this, they needed to be. I put so much of my pain on their shoulders, I hope they can forgive me for that someday.

As an adoptive couple, remember that those who placed are experiencing a loss. Regardless of the moments that came to us reiterating over and over the RIGHT choice we were making. The moments of clarity and peace. Of love and joy, we are still heart broken.  We may not like you very much for a bit... but we still love you. And as we heal, and grow, and communication is prevalent, it can be quicker and with more love.

Birth parents, they are experiencing all new emotions as well.  Some adoptive couples deal greatly with post placement pains as well, and truly wan the best for you!  Be patient as they adjust to a new member of their family. Ad they experience the lack of sleep, crying, diapers, spit up, crying, more diapers, formula... its all new for them as well.  It doesn't need to make you feel like grieving shouldn't be happening, all your emotions are valid, and allow yourself to feel.  WRITE DOWN the reasons you chose adoption, why you chose the family you did, what you wanted for your child.  

BE HONEST.  Do not make commitments that you can not uphold.  Do not promise the world, when you can only deliver a bag of dirt.  Both can be beautiful, both can be fulfilling, and healing, if they are right for each of you.  If you or your couple need "more" and its something that you initially thought you couldn't do, LOOK OVER IT MORE.  Look more deeply at what you are currently providing, and see if it is something you can do.  Sometimes a little change helps more than you know!  Sometimes something as simple as a letter and pictures once, or twice a year even, for the birth parent alone, can be healing and helpful.  It can allow them to know that they are cared for and loved.  That even if they are seeing them grow on public avenues(facebook, instagram, etc.) that it is something SPECIAL just for them!!!  

Don't take for granted the idea of your family GROWING. That there are that many more people that will love you and that child.  It can be amazing!!!

Don't make a promise you can't keep. Or a promise you don't intend on keeping. In the end, it will not only hurt you, but the child, and the expectant/birth parents.  And same goes to birth parents.  BE HONEST. Allow them to know what you want and hope for, and don't get angry if it isn't something they can do at the moment.  Take time to sit back and asses what you are asking, and if it will truly help you.  

Communicate, set boundaries, be honest and real, and GROW together. 
You're all in this for the same reason, a beautiful child, that is going to grow and thrive!

Friday, August 29, 2014

I-DAHO no U-DAHO

For real though, one time I went to Idaho about... 12 years ago.  Then I went again for the first time since then earlier this year(ya its been a while). Both times, to Boise, and both times not with my family.

This time I was able to go and meet up with my ladies from Open Adoption, Open Heart. It was the FIRST time meeting these people in 2 years. Yes, people I considered my best friends I hadn't even met in real life! It was a trip needed, worth it, and something that will be happening yearly!  So...  with no further adue(spelling peeps spelling), the timeline of meeting my peeps of OAOH!!!!

First, I got to meet up with my Candace first!!!!!!!!!!!!
I packed up my littles, and headed that long drive North, and ended at her mommas casa.  The best part was... she wasn't there!  Oh thank heavens for her freakishly awesome sister to let us in.  We waited while she drove back with the fam.  IT WAS GLORIOUS!  There was not enough hugging, and screaming, and recording, and more hugging, and loving the littles who thought we were crazy!  Truly, it was as if we had never not met in real life!:)

Me & my CANDACE!!!  ya- that frigging excited!

2 of the 5 littles exploring the house.  It was grand.

I then spent the night at the sisters, and got to be Auntie Jen for a couple hours the next morn.

Trampoline of goodness
(except do you see what is on the mountains?!!!!!!!!! )




After the sitting, I left my littles to be watched by nanna and papa and I headed to get my girls!!!!
I grabbed Candace, and then we headed to SLC to grab Amy. Amy is Candaces little man #2's birth momma.  Lucky girls to spend so much time together!
Candace, Amy, & Myself on the drive North stopped here (Idaho falls... twin falls?  or something that isn't either of those?) Poor Amy, having to hang out with oldies, who won't quit bugging her, and totally just love her guts and hopes she knows she is worth it.



JAMMIES HOUSE!!!!!!!  Seriously, couldn't get out and running fast enough!
 Candace was ready with her video!!!!!

After we got there and settled, did our little ditty of hugging, and laughing, and loving on Jammies littles, and meeting Russ, and putting our stuff in our room.  We went to eat and meet up with Candaces cousin. Then to his house for a little photo shoot (with no warning) and to meet his cutest little brother EVER!!!


After all that we ended the night back at Jammies, and ready to crash.  We'd all pretty much had it.  But let me tell you. These ladies are AMAZING.  And you would not have known we hadn't ever been real life friends ever.  its was perfect!  Birth mommas, Adoptive mommas, FRIENDS, Family!!!!

It was amazing to be hugging these girls. To be sitting next to them. To witness the pure great love of their babies. And how adorable they all were. How much they loved them. How perfect it was.  Day one was driving... and a little emotional awesomeness!

Day two - to come