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">
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(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.