Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birth Mothers Day

I didn't now there was such a thing as "Birth Mothers Day".  I definitely didn't know of it when I placed, or many many years following.  I only really came to know what that was 2 years ago.  Open Adoption Open Heart had asked me to be a part of their page. And they taught me a LOT about the love people have for Birth Mothers.  I even had my first "Happy Birth Mothers Day" posts over Facebook:) .
Now, I don't know that it is a "real" holiday/recognized day, but in the adoption world, it is.  

The year following placement, I sat alone, in my parents basement, on Mothers Day. I came upstairs, after having cried, and sat to eat.  My dad said, very nonchalant, happy mothers day.  I cried more.  Then more that evening. 

Since that night, I have not had a family member recognize/celebrate myself or that day. I crave to have someone in my family recognize that he was mine, if only for a moment.  That even if I am not his mother, I am/was a mother still.  I still crave for them to say... anything... positive about his being a part of our family at all.  Even now, even though he isn't mine, his family IS MINE.  They are my family to the ends of the earth on to eternity.  Yup, they're mine:), they are my family.  I love them.  I wonder if it will ever happen, but shouldn't hold my breath.  They still haven't even read my blog.

That being said, I received a text from my little brother.  "I guess I'll be hanging with you on Birth Mothers Day."  WHAAAAA?  Ya, my mouth dropped as wide as the grand canyon! No joke, I was in shock.  Not only did he say he'd be coming down to stop in for a bit(which hasn't happened in FOREVER), but he said a SPECIFIC IMPORTANT DAY.  It was a good thing that he didn't see me - or hear me - I was a blubbery mess.  

Friends... adoption peeps... birth mommas... the family members of those who have placed a baby...
PLEASE acknowledge those women for what they have done.  I constantly hear "what a brave girl you are" or how "selfless" or "amazing" I am.  I don't feel it, especially when I can't get my family to acknowledge it.  Make sure those girls know, that they are loved. That their choice to place those BEYOND special babies, was a choice well made.  That though they are breaking, that you are proud of them for making the hardest choice of their lives(at least i hope its the hardest choice we will ever have to make).  

Let those special girls know that they are mothers.  One way or another. Whether they have those babies with them, or they don't have their babies with them.  Birth Mothers... are still Mothers.  If they weren't, I don't think that name would be attached to "Birth".  

Its always hard, being a birth mom, with all the misconceptions. Its hard with the women that do place because they "didn't want their babies".  I have yet to meet a single woman like that. BUT, those of us who place out of love, or because we knew it was best for them, or whatever, are still a mom. We still find joy in ALL those moments that those angel babies get to be a part of.  Walking, holding their bottle by themselves, smiling, laughing, saying mom... to their MOMS!  It still brings just as much joy!!!  We hurt when they hurt as well.  We get scared, when they do.  We love them. We love them with every ounce of our being. And that is what makes us a mother.

- Jena

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Peace, by Prayer

I only learned that peace could immediately be handed to me through prayer 3 years ago. Or, maybe I really had enough faith, to ask and know that it could happen. But when it did, it changed my life FOREVER.

I had been having an especially hard time with my experience as a birth mother. Lots of regret was washing over me, because years later it was still affecting many.  I had thought that being happy for the ability for people to change, to move forward in their lives, and become the people I thought they could be, was a good thing.  I didn't know that hoping the best for someone could ultimately break up friendships, and cause more hardship for others, including myself.
As you know the BF and I stayed together for a year(on and off) after we placed.  As I have said before, we were far less than awesome together.  What was I thinking?  Truly, what were we both thinking?  We fought like mad, and it was NOT right. 
I prayed day and night to find peace in being away from this person.  I didn't want to be with him, and I'm sure he didn't want to be with me... and yet, I did want to be with him.  I prayed and prayed for peace and understanding. For forgiveness for what I had done with him, and to find forgiveness for the things he did to me.  When it was finally over, there was peace.  There was peace... but not full forgiveness.
 If I would see him, I would get sick, and try to avoid him.  It would make me angry even.  One particular day i was on stocking duty at work, and saw that he'd come in. I quickly prayed that I wouldn't have to run into him and grabbed some items to be restocked.  Moments later he came out and began talking to me.  Small talk, nothing of importance, and mostly him being nice("waaaaht" I thought.)  In the end I remember hearing an apology, and a hope for the best for me.  He asked for a hug, and said that he hoped I wouldn't hate him anymore.  There was more forgiveness in that moment that I admitted at that time. But it was a good moment, because I could see something different.  I didn't have anymore run In's, or whatever you want to call them, after that moment.  And I was happy.  And I was happy that he was happy.

That still didn't carry full forgiveness. 
In a talk given by James E. Faust titled, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, he quotes:

Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.” 5
Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness.
Some hold grudges for a lifetime, unaware that courageously forgiving those who have wronged us is wholesome and therapeutic..."
 he continues:
Forgiveness comes more readily when...we have faith in God and trust in His word. Such faith “enables people to withstand the worst of humanity. It also enables people to look beyond themselves. More importantly, it enables them to forgive.” 6
All of us suffer some injuries from experiences that seem to have no rhyme or reason. We cannot understand or explain them. We may never know why some things happen in this life. The reason for some of our suffering is known only to the Lord. But because it happens, it must be endured. President Howard W. Hunter said that “God knows what we do not know and sees what we do not see.:""
 
Oh how many times I had hashed up my story, telling of what a jerk the boy had been, but that he was at least there. Then telling of how he had changed, through what had been said to me of his current life.  I never asked how he was, but rather, avoided it.  I still felt much anger/frustration those years later. I hadn't fully forgiven.  I was waiting for him/them  to apologize for the things they'd said.  all the untrue, rotten, horrible things that had still been being said.  I thought I deserved it.  And, maybe I do, maybe I don't.  What matters though, was that it wasn't adding anything to my life. I wasn't able to share my story and HELP others when I still harbored such distaste.  


At that time, when I was still be pushed down for my past, and had seen/read/heard things from people, I couldn't take it anymore.  I had truly hit my low.  I wondered how people who had been with me in moments where he would be "oh so loving", and then see what he would do when he would turn so mean.... could believe something so ridiculous.  I have always said I did some dumb things... but i never cheated, lied, stole, or did anything that wasn't brought on by being led on.  Despite those people, those moments, and that anger, it didn't excuse my emotional state. To still cling to it did nothing for me.  I had prayed before. I had prayed LOTS before, though it never seemed to do much. I would end up more angry and frustrated.  So, at that moment I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed harder for him and his family, for those friends I was losing, and for myself and my family, harder than I had EVER before.  I knew that if I didn't get this feeling out now, it would grow, and it would fester, and it would be ugly.  I didn't want to do what they were doing. So, I prayed.....

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 said,
"It matters not our circumstance, be we humble or arrogant, poor or rich, free or enslaved, learned or ignorant, loved or forsaken, we can address Him. We need no appointment. Our supplication can be brief or can occupy all the time needed. It can be an extended expression of love and gratitude or an urgent plea for help. He has created numberless cosmos and populated them with worlds, yet you and I can talk with Him personally, and He will ever answer."
 
Psalms 66:19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer

As I stood up from that prayer, I felt utter, undeniable, and absolute peace and forgiveness. 
It that moment, I knew that my prayers had been answered, and that they truly could be answered when I needed them to be. It wasn't by my timing, but by his, because this wasn't the first time I'd prayed for peace. But this time, it was INCREDIBLE.  Even as I am writing this, I can feel it in my chest, that moment, that peace, that LOVE, for those who were being so mean... 

I walked out, and I did a post about it on an old personal blog:  HERE

It isn't long, its hard to explain, and really, I don't think I need to explain.  
I learned more again recently, about forgiveness for those who weren't there to witness my story.  And I have been able to forgive for things said and done.  I still pray mightily, but less often, for those sort of things. But I am HAPPY..  I have gained a testimony of prayer. I have a testimony of forgiveness.  Someday, I hope it can be returned, and that, if for the sake of my angel boy alone, that it will be let go of.  I refuse to carry it anymore.  
in the words of my daddy, "quit carrying other peoples garbage"

So, Pray, pray often, because it truly does heal!  I can't state it any more than that!

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

More Cool News

I found Ashley, from Blessings in a Basket, probable a year ago.  Honestly, I dont' know how long its been, because I often forget things like that when I find people/groups i love to no end.  
So any whoosers. I found Ashley, and ended up being able to meet her in REAL LIFE in November at an adoption event in Southern Utah.  It wasn't what we'd planned(as far as that we didn't really plan much), but she was AMAZING.  She was so kind, she was so strong, she was real.  She had an enthusiasm  for life, for adoption, for healing, for helping.  It was amazing.  Not only that, she introduced me to so many other adoption groups as well!!!  Not only that.. she is holding an AWESOME class that I participated in last year, Journaling the Adoption ABC's.... do you remember? :)  So I get to do that again this years as well. Much has changed, lots to add to the story, loads to take away, and growth multiplied by a MILLION!!! She also has a fun yearly event she puts together that's CRAZY on  my bucket list!!!

So ... ENJOY!!!

So... Take a look here, at a new thing I get the AMAZING opportunity to do.  Things are quite crazy around here, so I have yet to keep my end up... but hopefully this weekend I can get something done. 

Either way, go check THIS out... SO SO SO COOL!!!! scroll down:)


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Communication

Today seems fitting that I blog about communication in adoption.  I had the opportunity to write an article for a little ditty called America Adopts.  Really, do you know how cool it was(and it was cool, it made me cry), to see something written by me, published on a website, that wasn't mine?!!!!!  That reaches so many people?!!  I cried, I posted it all over facebook, i cried some more...  I called my family, friends, everyone.  It was like I didn't know it was going to be published, that is what it felt like, it was HUGE. 

I touched a little here and touched a little about it in the article.  
So what am I blogging about communication here for?  Because there is so much to it. There is so much to communication between a birth parent and an adoptive couple. Or, a hopeful adoptive couple, and a expectant mom.  Words never seem adequate in dealing with adoption, and all that surrounds it. Its truly like a relationship... such as marriage...  And if you go HERE you can see an awesome post written by my Open Adoption Open Heart family.  And it really is much like a marriage.

I was able to talk to my dad today a little about openness in adoption.  How it differs from one couple to the next; from one birth mom to the next.  I explained that there may be a couple who wants total openness, and the birth mother doesn't want anything, or very little, or just a little more than little, but not quite all the way. Then you have birth parents who want it OPEN, and the couple doesn't. Or they do but not quite all the way.  My dad said, "I think that if I were to adopt a baby I don't think I would want so much openness."  I thought, you also thought that if you ever had a child become pregnant out of marriage that you would NEVER place that child for adoption."  

I distinctly remember after placing my parents talking to me about that; not placing a grand child.  And while they knew it ultimately wouldn't have been their choice, they said that it was something that had discussed before. And they felt that they could never let that child go.  Then... you had me... and I became pregnant... and I placed, with 100% support from both of you:).  Not only that, they agreed and felt the same confirmation that I did, that this was right.  Things never happen like we plan them. Things never go the way we have them written out, in our minds or on paper.  CONSTANT CHANGE.

With that, I come to communication. While there are some closed and some open adoptions, there is still the necessity for communication.  It is HUGE, PERTINENT, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, to be COMPLETELY HONEST with an expectant mom/couple.  Do not promise what you can not deliver. Do not agree to things that make you feel uncomfortable with.  All parties in adoption need to be confidant in what they are doing.  It doesn't make it easy, it doesn't make it fun, but it helps.  If you do not want openness, let that be known from the very beginning. If you want openness, how much do you want?  How much can you handle?  Be open to the feelings of each other, of all parties. Be willing to listen to their needs, desires, and hopes, and be honest with them.  Make sure there is a line of communication open so that, if the need arises, that levels of openness can change.  Some open adoptions have closed; because of a need, or a fear.  Some closed adoptions have opened.  Keep the lines of communication so that there will ALWAYS be clarity in your relationship.  
Holy my moly how hard it is to have clarity always, but if you come up on something that makes you uncomfortable, discuss it. Work out what the problem is, or what you are happy with, and find a way to either fix/change/better/let go of the item.  

Birth parents, we need to remember the reasons we placed these children, and the reasons why we chose the families.  I hate that not all adoptions were a choice, that some were forced to place their children.... in those moments, I pray for peace and comfort for those who have been so utterly hurt. I had a list of reasons up on my cork board of why I chose them.  I had a list of even more reasons of why I chose this for him.  I had to read them a lot that first year. But as it became easier and easier, those reasons were confirmed upon me in many many instances where I could SEE why he was placed.  

Make sure, that you have clarity in your choices, your abilities, your situations. Because we can't work together to better the life of these tiny babies, if we can't work together.  I believe that 99% of the time, a birth mother doesn't want to have a relationship just because of the child that she is placing.  We are building relationships with these people who we have chosen to be the parents to these angels.  We didn't place because we already had a relationship with these babies(though we do have relationships, and feelings, etc), but I placed with this couple because I LOVED THEM.  I missed them when they left, I missed not being able to call them when their number was right there... I needed to let them know that i loved them.  And the only way we can keep doing that is if we communicate the need.  

As if it is all that easy right, to just say, "Hey, this is what I need." and BAM you got it.  Its not ever that simple, rarely its that simple, there is usually a lot of work:).  Sometimes you ask for something, and they say NO, or they say Not right now, sometimes... they don't respond at all.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE respond people! PLEASE It is AGONIZING when birth parents send a letter... or text... or email... and get NO RESPONSE!!!  It is truly gut wrenching. Especially when its about something important that they want to make sure they didn't do something wrong... or they just want to know what works for you guys.  Talk about feeling like a pile of crap... nothing is worse than not hearing from you adoptive couples, after placement.  It would be better to tell the truth and respond, even if it saying "we don't want contact anymore."  than NOTHING.  At least we will KNOW..  The Unknown will kill ya.  I have had that experience... i still like to believe that they didn't get the letter. I will forever believe that.  Until i am told/proven otherwise.  But it hurt, because it was important about them.  Cause I love them and thought I did something wrong...  Please, be honest.  Even if it might cause some momentary pain, being honest is BEST.  It eases so much pain, and brings so so so much clarity.  We cant be better ... we cant support you and sustain you... when we don't know.  

I know that there are Adoptive couples who have experienced this same thing on their end.  There is a reason they are sending us pictures... or emails... or letters.  They love us, I know they do.  They want to know how you are to. At least, it seem so much that way.  Sometimes it isn't that way either. 

WE have to be OPEN to talk, and receive when we are given.  Both Positive and Negative. We can't grow, and progress in the unknown.  Communication is KEY in any adoption relationship.  We have to remember that...  And while this is MY OWN opinion, I think its so true!!!

Without communication, I wouldn't be here today, sharing like I have been lucky to share! I am blessed. And I pray for those who are struggling, and hurt, and broken.  We are here!  I am here. 

-jena