Saturday, February 22, 2014

Getting Serious

Derek here again... I had some positive feedback on the previous post so I'm looking forward to continuing on with "the rest of the story".

 I went into some details previously about Jena and I first hanging out.  I had never dated a birth mother before so I had a lot of learning to do.  I did however perceive immediately that Jena had very sensitive feelings.  Now, she being sensitive may be how she naturally is.  She was also very understanding and patient.  She was helpful in educating me on the subject of adoption.  Now at first, we of course started out as friends.  And definitely became "besties" right off the bat.  We literally hung out every day!  So, you couldn't really say that I "asked her out" so to speak.  I even made her pay for her own food on our first unofficial date... (I still had lots of learning to do).  We went to lunch at Arctic Circle and I, being a bonehead, didn't pay for her food, because I didn't want her to know that I had feelings for her.  It was a defense mechanism and I still haven't lived that one down after 8 years...

So, this story, like any love story, is full of wonderful details but I'll have to publish that novel later.  There were certain things I learned early on dating a birth mom.  Some of those pertained to the language you use.  For example; the term birth mom is appropriate, not baby mama.  And an important one is that you never refer to the adoption as "giving up" the baby.  The term "placing" is the proper and respectful way to put it.

In my previous post I went into some deep feelings and perceptions of what I think is means to be a birth mom.  Now, these things, I should say, don't happen naturally.  The woman needs to work on these things.  I'm sure there are women out there who may beat themselves up for several different reasons I will not attempt to understand.  Or someone continues to mistreat them.  And like any person with that "light" or "glow" of something celestial, it can be dimmed or put out.  I believe Jena was one who learned and grew from her experience, and didn't use it to negatively affect her life as much.  And that was what I was able to see.  As I began to learn what made her shine then I was able to help it grow brighter so that others could literally see it, feel it, and grow from it. 

Now let's all be honest.  Life has its ups and downs in everything we do.  Jena and I have had our fair share.  Early on I had some struggles of my own.  Typical college students who date each other do so mostly for the fun of it.  They date for the sake of dating.  Most would have college studies or other things to focus on.  They will do this for a little while before they decide to "settle down" and get serious.  Jena was different.  I was still trying to be the hot shot college football player and didn't want to settle down just yet.  I knew that entering into something serious with Jena was not just for the sake of dating.  She wasn't here to play games and be immature.  She wasn't a college girl.  She was a woman with real life experience and had to make some grown up decisions before she should have.  So, I basically had the option that I could continue on my ways of being immature and living it up or I could follow what was right and participate in what makes Jena so special.  I obviously chose the latter.  Was it a easy decision at first? No way!  But Jena is blessed with patience and turns out our unofficial "song" is "Patience" by Guns 'n' Roses.  (Greatest band ever!)  I am really cheesy sometimes... well most the time. One of our hang out nights, I sang as many 80's love ballads as I could remember off the top of my head to her and she didn't run away screaming! I knew I had a keeper!

So, I had to make some changes in my life to be able to continue on trying to build a relationship with Jena.  She gave me a few ultimatums which were along the lines of "quit doing this certain thing or I'm outta here" type deals...  As time went on and the love grew, those decisions were easier.

As a final thought to this post I will sum up my beginning attitude of Jena's adoption experience.  I would sit there and support her in what I thought was the appropriate way.  I had the attitude that the adoption experience is "her thing".  I wasn't there, nor am I the birth father, so what role, if any, do I have? She can go shine on center stage and I'll sit back here behind the curtains.  When she is done, then we can get back to being us.  It's only been 3 years, maybe this will all fizzle out over time... Now, I would learn that this is the wrong attitude to have.  I also will say that most, if not all, of Jena's immediate family members still have this same attitude and probably will forever.  And many other birth mothers are in the same situation with their own family members. It doesn't mean they love her any less.  They just haven't invested themselves.  Next time I'll share how I overcame this attitude and some deep struggles I've personally had as husband to a birth mother.


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Body of a Birth Mother

Ah the post baby, post placement, post par tum depression, the post body.

The body of the Birth Mother.

"Your body isn't ruined. You're a tiger who earned those stripes."

Really, whoever came up with that analogy should be smacked in the face.  It must not be a woman.. it must not be me. I have never liked that quote, i have never liked my stretch marks. Maybe I would have felt differently? If I hadn't placed a child and my marks would have meant different?  The reminded me that no one was going to want someone with a battered body. No, they weren't bad(after my first baby), but they were enough for me. I hated the thought of having to have someone ever see those. And then what would they remind them of?  That i was 'used goods'. 

"No one is ever going to want to be with me ... and now no one will ever want me because I'm "used"."

I can't count how many times I heard this come out of my mouth. "I'm used."  It was said so eloquently in moments where I was ready to walk away.  "no one is going to want someone who had a kid..."  LUST people LUST will get you every time. Love pulls you through the mud and picks you up and cleans you off.  Lust kills ya! I didn't need to hear it from anyone else... it was enough to hear it from myself.

I thought that because I didn't actually HAVE a baby, that it wouldn't matter. That I would still be OK.  That I would still be able to date and grow, and learn, and avoid that ugly side. It didn't take long(a year really) to learn that dating, even if I wasn't a "mom", was hard. Was it just as hard as if I had kept him?  I don't know, I have never had a child and had to attempt dating. I don't think either are easy.  Those moments that you get introduced to someone, or a group of someones, and you get that "oh she had a baby" look.  Many nights going out wondering how I could keep going out with these girls when I was the "black sheep".  I was the used goods... i was ... ugly.  Who was going to want someone with stretch marks?

Plenty of dates were gone one. Plenty ended in not another date. It really was shocking though, some of those dates.  How they would treat me ... things they would say.  Now, I can look back and blame it on immaturity and being uneducated in the adoption department.  But the thing is, you walk around, and the majority of women who have placed  a child will feel exactly as I did.  It isn't that people aren't educated. Really, its that not much has changed in that area. Boys are still there, immature, and not ready to be with someone who has done what we have. We will go out, have a good time, tell them we had a baby (if they didn't already know), and that will be the end.

Its rough dating after placement. Its tough to look in the mirror and be "proud of those stripes". Ugh, I hate that term.  I wasn't proud, I was broken. I couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror and be OK with what I saw. I looked awful... I felt awful... it was awful.

I didn't think my hubby would date me. I didn't think he would continue to date me. I thought we were buddies(we were, he was my best friend), we had amazing talks, fun cuddling. He made me feel awesome about being a Birth Mom.  And, ladies, there are guys out there who will do this, and mean it. There will be someone out there to love you, and raise you up, and make you feel like the queen you are for what you did.  He gave me a Mothers Day card. I wasn't a mom. I didn't have a baby sitting with me. But I was a Birth Mom. He knew that baby was important to me. He knew that 9 months was what made me who I was.
The moment he said he loved me... it was FOREVER. It was right and I knew it.
My body... wasn't a reason to squirm or run. He made me feel beautiful, strong, and proud. I hadn't felt proud. And it was a wonderful feeling!

We take such care of our stories, of those angel babies. We should take that much care of our bodies.  Take what we look like after, and help it to mold you into the person you want to be. Let it be a reminder of the sacrifice and love we have for those little's. It probably wont change how it makes us feel, really, but it can help in baby steps. As we go through our grief, as we grow through pain, write down something you love about your body each day. Go on a walk and get physical. Your body, mind, and spirit just went through something incredible. And we can take charge and love ourselves just the same.
I pray, a lot, to be able to continue on in my physical journey. I thank my Father in Heaven for the body I have, and what it has accomplished. I also thank him for allowing me to accomplish more, and for helping me to BE thankful. Its not easy, its not perfect, it just is.

you can buy this HERE

We are all beautiful, because though we are slammed with outward appearance being whats important, its not. Have a honest, good, real, joyful character. Be brave and real. Share your story of survival. you deserve to know you are the best!

- Jena

Monday, February 17, 2014

Camp Fire

Today, I am going to do something different (fun, I know right!).  I often get asked about how my husband feels about adoption, about my adoption. How does he feel about the baby boy I placed, or the family he is with... so on and so on.  I have decided to let him tell you what he thinks.  NOW, I have NO INPUT to what he is saying other than ideas to write about, to help others even.  I don't want any praise, but I can say this, he has such respect and love for Birth Parents and Adoptive couples, and that was before he met me:).
I hope you enjoy these posts. They will become another part of this adoption story. And well, this is his Adoption Destination.
- Jena

Well, first off, I have never written a blog before and never posted more than a paragraph on any social network.  I am not an English major, but I will do my best to make this legible, understandable and hopefully beneficial to someone.

I will introduce myself to begin.  My name is Derek. I am married to a birth mom.  I am approximately 30 years old, give or take.  I was born and raised in Southern Utah. I am lucky to have been raised the way I was.  I was all about athletics and played outdoors all my life.  I love movies and often quote movie lines too much. I have a little bit of a sarcastic sense of humor and am never too serious.

I have been a little scatterbrained while contemplating my words to be written here because there is so much to talk about.  I have never been asked to do anything like this before.  I came up with the idea that there is no better place to sit and talk than around the camp fire. It is amazing the conversation and inspiration that comes with the peace of that moment surrounding a camp fire. So that is where my invitation will begin.  Have a seat and "chill till the next episode".

I hope you have a minute to read some of my thoughts and experiences from a not so talked about perspective.  First off, I feel it's a good thing that not much has been said from such perspective of a husband to a birth mother.  It may allow me to shed some light for some people.  I will share some experiences in different phases or aspects of my relationship with my wife. Also, I am not a psychology major either, so what I am sharing is mostly from personal experience.  I am not an expert.  Some of the phases that my wife suggested to me are as follows:
"Dating a birth mom"
 "Marrying a birth mom"
 "How to support a birth mom in hard times"
 "How to actively share in the joys of a birth mom".
These are just a few of the ideas that may come to pass.  If there is anyone who has feedback on some more specific things you would like me to discuss, then let me know.

When I met Jena... (heart flutter) I was just home from attending Utah State. Go Aggies!! Some good friends of mine and I decided that we would go to a friends cabin on Kolob and sit around a camp fire.  There were about 5 guys and 4 girls and yes, I was the odd one out.  But it didn't stop me from embarrassing myself in front of my future wife.  She was on a date with one of my friends.  blah blah.  Short version, there finally came the opportunity for me to "date" or hang out with Jena.  (A little side note, I had inside information about Jena before I asked her out because she is first cousins with another one of my good friends... His words "she had a kid".  So I already knew before I asked her out.  I'm sure that's not the case with everyone of course.  But that knowledge had the opposite affect as you might think.) 

Personal side story: I was at a point in my life where I was over the silly games.  I like people who are upfront and honest. So, this is where timing comes into play.  I had actually had the opportunity to meet Jena 5 months prior to this moment and for some reason it was not the right time.  I believe I had been prepared because I would most likely not been able to begin the relationship in a healthy way to make it last for the both of us.

And we're back.  My exact thought to Jena placing a baby in the past was this. 'She has been through a unique experience that has made her more mature and deeper as a person, this is a girl who will not play games and will be honest and real from day 1'!  I was very much looking forward to learning and getting to know someone on a deeper level.  Jena and I had worked it out for me to just go hang out at her house one night.  No big deal ya know, just chillin'.  And me being who I am, within the first 5 minutes of being there I say out loud "you had a kid right".  Jena says "yep".  which seemed to have a little melancholy tone to it.  "Tell me about it".  So, Jena and I spent our first night hanging out talking about her birth mom experience and looking at photo albums.  Definitely the best first date ever!!

So we've talked about the adoption experience on our first date... now what?  For starters, things like this aren't just talked about once then it's off to new topics like the weather and life goes on.  There was and is more learning and growing to be done.  Jena's placement was 3 years prior to us meeting which was 8 years ago!! Crap I'm old... anyway, I would soon learn how extremely sensitive feelings are that surround the adoption experience.  So gents, if you are not equipped with extra soft hearts, patience of Job, and selflessness then you better work hard and fast!  When I first went into this relationship I was like "this is a cool, honest chick". We got along really well and were inseparable... then you begin to get glimpses of something you've never seen before.  It's hard to describe but it's as if there's a glow or a manifestation of the PURITY of what a birth mother has done.  It's an insult to say "making the best of a bad situation".  It's "making spiritual and eternal of a human situation".  If you are spiritual or religious at all then this manifestation will be recognized as the Holy Spirit.  And those 'glimpses' were angelic as if God is telling the world that this is one of his most faithful spirits.  And voices a warning to those around to handle with care.

I didn't fully understand what I was seeing and it took me a long time to fully realize what I was looking at.  At the time I knew it was just something special. 

to be continued...

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Aftermath

So that post... the one I just posted...

I had been questioning lots if I wanted to continue in sharing my story. 
I questioned what kind of "in there" I wanted in the adoption community. What kind of advocacy I wanted to be a part of, how deep to be in it. Was it even making a difference?  Was it hurting more than helping?  
So many questions were running through my mind. .  .  Then something happened.

I was contacted by a dear dear friend. A fellow Birth Mother. One who has been through SO much.  And what did she say, "You are one of the BIG reasons I chose adoption."  Seriously, I'm not here to be like "Bayam I'm the woman."  But it stopped me in my tracks, dropped me to my knees, and my stomach dropped to the floor.  It was something I need to hear in that moment. It was AMAZING, to know that I did help someone. Because I showed that life does go on, and you can be OK after placing a child.  Especially with a closed adoption(not mine).   I am so thankful for her. I don't know why she decided to text me that night, but she was inspired. Because we weren't talking about us initially. It was a blessing.

I have also been contacted by other Adoption advocacy groups asking to share/guest blog, on their sites. WHAT??????   Everything I've been questioning and wondering if my story was even being heard or mattered, was. It IS.  I am in shock.

There is so much more going on in this community that I am blessed to be a part of that I can't share.
So many sacred moments between myself and some amazing women who have carried me, and supported me, and given me advice. Who have fasted for, and with, me. This is what I needed right now. 

This doesn't go without saying I'm sure there will be more hard moments... but... I can get through them. 
I have more hands holding me up than tearing me down!!!

Thank you. THANK YOU. to those who have touched my life this week... and in the past... and to the future;)

NEW YORK NEW YORK .... I'm coming
and IDAHO.. who knew I'd ever wanna go there.
and TEXAS... its gonna happen!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

When You Share

**Disclaimer ** this is raw, real, and very much me. 
oh- and this is gonna be a quote filled post.

This last week has been filled with a lot of emotions. Anger, hurt, frustration, faith, question, hope, to name a few.  In the end (as in today) I feel stronger than before. And more ready than I ever have to continue to share my story in hopes that someday it will help someone else. 

To sum it up, This quote seemed perfect for the setting.

To say the least, what I saw was more of a shock than a frustration. It did turn into frustration, but then I rememberd this quote that my daddy told me.  Truly, he is an inspired man, because he helped remind me that, 10 years later, I am better than I have ever been. And that I am ok. 
And then, I realized, I am ok. I AM OK!  I know that what I am doing is ok. What I am doing is right. That God knows it, I know it, and the people who matter know it.

Leads me to my next point:

Though I share a LOT on here, and I have shared a LOT in panels, in classrooms, but its not the WHOLE story. There are many special, sacred things that I don't share. But its important to share enough so that (as stated above) someone, i hope, will be touched and helped in either making an adoption plan, or choosing to parent, or get married...  Maybe I can help someone with Post Pardum Depression?  Maybe I'll be able to help someone who is in an abusive relationship?  But here's the thing to. There are many who were there to see my life from 2002-2005. There were many that weren't there during it, but still assume they know my story.  They may know a small part, but they don't know all of it. There are many that assume that sharing forgiveness is equal to meaning that I have feelings for someone. LAME BALLS to those. This is my story. A story of triumph, love, loss, and growth. I have learned more from being a Birth Mother than anything in this world.  Being a Birth Mother has made me a better Mother. I am not perfect, but I try.

So here we are to the next :

This is true. This is not me saying "I am amazing and I have an amazing spirit."  This is me saying:
"If I am going to share my story publicly. If I am going to be an advocate for adoption. If I am going to be open, honest, true, and real. Then I have to be willing to take the backlash."
Not everyone is into adoption. Not everyone is willing to accept the truth. Not everyone is willing to admit the truth. and you know what, THAT'S OK. Why?  Because it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.  I share for myself, and for those who I hope to help in their own journeys.  
So, my adoption friends and family, my birth mommas, birth dads, adoptive parents, expectant moms... SHARE ON. Be prepared for the backlash, and stand by your story. Be sure, as well, that you are truthful. because it matters.

Assume the Good. Doubt the Bad.  Pretty simple eh?  
I don't know if this person is gong through something. I don't know if they're happy or sad.  IT DOESN'T MATTER. Assume the good.  And what I assume, is they have a relationship and that makes me HAPPY.  And i am at peace, and have fully forgiven, and have loved my life the last 8 years.  Have there been many ups and downs HECK FRIGGIN YEA. But its my life, and I'm stronger, because of it. 

I have been carried by friends, family, neighbors, and total strangers. Mostly, I have been able to kneel down and pray for strength to forget and forgive and feel peace. And the Lord has been there to love me and carry me through.  

I am so grateful that I can share this story. And that I have the opportunity to do work in the adoption community.  We all need to be more aware:)

I have, for a very short time, tried to see the good in every situation.  I found it in this. And am blessed because of it.  FIND THE GOOD. Forget the nonsense. And forgive as well.  It doesn't matter anymore. Its done and over with. And its all OK.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hope for the Future


"Hope for the future. That its gonna be ok. I'm going to make it and we can only get better. As long as I do my part, it will be ok. #adoption challenge #photoaday #adoption #birthmom #30days #itsok #hope"

I hope for Openness. I hope for success. I hope for forgiveness. I hope for Joy. I hope for a life full of love and laughter for ALL who were/are involved in my adoption process. That I cant make anyone see anything but what they want to see. And I can't change what any one thinks. That those who still harbor hard feelings towards me because I was one girl who got pregnant in HS, can see PEOPLE can CHANGE. And that Hopefully, someone, anyone, reading this will gain an insight to what adoption is. What adoption is for me. It isn't always perfect. It isn't always dandelions and roses, but its the best thing that happened to me. It changed me for the better. 

And I am forever grateful for this experience. I hope that I can influence someone to make a decision for themselves and not for anyone else. To think about the child, and not what they want.  That if it is the right choice to Place, that you will have peace.  That the pain will be ever present, but the peace will carry you through.  That if Parenting is right for you, that you will also have peace, understanding and strength to help yourself and that child grow and succeed. If you choose to marry. That you can work together, as a team. To agree to disagree on MANY occasions, but respect and carry and love each other!

It was a month full of changes and growth.  There is nothing better that more steps forward in healing in your adoption journey.  There isn't much left to "heal", somethings that may never be healed, but in time can only be waited upon.  Between this Photo-a-day and the Journaling the Adoption ABC's class, it was a lot to work through. To remember and go through it all, almost over again. But I have learned to laugh at the journal entry's that were kept.  And forgive others for their shortcomings. And that change is good. And I'm looking forward to more time to serve this adoption world/community and hope to help someone in need.

- jena

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


26: Parenthood Means

Parenthood means : messes, snuggles, happiness, laughter, sacrifice, sleep deprivation.
It means being so excited to see your little girl come home to write in her "diary".
To hear that angel boy is SO smart and is excelling at so many things.
Parenthood means that nothing is the same. Every day is different. Some days are bad.
Some days are good. But every moment is one we need to learn from and grow from. To teach them how to be successful in life, and be a better person that you could be.
Day 27: My Happy Place

Happy happy place is DRIVING. If I need to clear my head, be alone, think, anything... its on the road.
I have always loved driving. I have always loved the time it took to drive anywhere. 
I had a "spot" in Logan where I would go to think, to pray, to ponder about the choices I was going to have to make eventually.  To wonder if they were the right ones or not...  But being behind the road is always a perfect spot for me!

Day 28: Thankful:

Another video. Another non-uploading work by me:)
Truly, it was a day to be Thankful. Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE Holiday. I love being surrounded by family. Remember what we are Thankful for. I loved being with my hubbs family, the giggles from the kids. The conversations with the adults, the Turkey bowl.  Its just a good day to eat way to much food, and spend time being thankful for everything.   

 Day 29: Family Tradition

ok- So really seeing a movie isn't a "tradition" but, since there wasn't a birthday this is what we post:)
The family tradition that is my favorite, and always will be, is Blueberry Muffins for breakfast on your BIRTHDAY.  In a basket we put together for E and his family, I had a box of Blueberry muffins. Among other things, it was the one thing that is just my favorite. Being able to tell them of everything in the basket and the significance of each item.  Its just fun.

Do you have any Adoption Traditions???