Dear Brave Soul,

Dear Brave Soul, I want to spend five minutes to remind you how much I admire you. How much you matter to me. 

It takes a lot of bravery to be in “our shoes”. 

If you’re having a shit day I’m here for you. I’m here for you because I get it. I know that the grieving can take a toll. Not just with your mind and soul yet your body as well. 

I’m here for you for all the reasons left unsaid. 

I’m your biggest fan. When in doubt I look to you. To the community. How strong we are together as a whole. That we link arms with one another and help fight this hellish beautiful fight. 

You’re brave for everything you’ve done. For everything you have been through. You’re brave for getting through those sleepless nights. You’re brave from finally stopping yourself from crying, even though it’s been four days straight. Your face is finally numb and you think just maybe the numbness will take away the grief and pain. 

Yet my dear brave soul. You are brave for giving life! That is what I want to celebrate the most! You are brave for getting through this. You’re brave because when no one was there for you; you were there for this life inside you. It’s women like you that help me pick up my dragging feet and hold my head HIGH. 

It’s women like you that I long for to meet face to face and tell you how much I dearly love you. 

It’s women like you that remind me that when I’m having a shit day or feel nothing you show me that my dear beautiful birth daughter is beyond blessed. When I feel guilty at times for having a life with my son you remind me that I have to brave and strong for him. To remind him daily that he has a half sister and one day maybe one day they will hold hands and play. Or better yet maybe be at one another’s wedding. Oh the days like this that help me push and fight my fight. It’s you that taught me that my bravery is all up to me. That you will be here to hold my hand yet you are here to support me and love me. 

Oh my beautiful brave soul I can’t tell you how much I love you. 

Advertisements

“All the emotions came at once because this was the end for us. But the beginning for someone else and that was astonishing, and terrifying.”

 
I met Shonda through my penpal project. Along with following her and her best friend on Adoptionislove on Instagram. Her story hasn’t been altered or changed. I can’t thank this beautiful soul enough for being honest and truthful with her story. Here is a piece of that journey.
 birthmom2
I am a birth mom. I am so proud of that title. I pushed my body and mind to its limits and I survived. I make it everyday knowing that a chunk of my heart is outside of my body and thriving. I am a birth mom
I found out I was pregnant (officially) on August 26th 2013. I already knew i was pregnant. I was sure of it in fact. I can’t even tell you why i knew it. I just did. I didn’t feel nauseous or tired. I didn’t have the classic symptoms. I remember buying a pregnancy test at a local grocery store and running to the bathroom because i needed some proof as to what my body already knew. I walked out of that bathroom stall with a negative test. WHAT??? I was so confused. but so relieved.  I didn’t want to be pregnant. I continued on that day with this thought of being pregnant in the back of my mind. why was I so sure that I was yet I had a negative test.
I survived a whole other day until I decided to go buy another test. I waited until I  was home this time and I took it. positive. Big bold plus sign stared back at me. I sat in my bathroom for what felt like hours, in reality only about 5 mins went by. I couldn’t even cry. My whole body was numb. My brain wouldn’t shut up yet I had no plan, no idea what to do, who to talk to, what to even think. I walked out of that bathroom, stuck that pregnancy test under my bed and pretended like nothing happened for the rest of the day
One of my very best friends at the time texted me the next day and said “I have bad news”… and all of a sudden that little thought in the back of my mind which I had pretended to think was not there, was front and center. I had bad news too… My friend replied before I even sent something back and said “I’m pregnant” I was shocked. I had felt so alone and then all at once not. I replied and said ” I think I am too”. She immediately came over and brought me about 3 more test. 2 more were positive and one was negative. I had no idea what to think, was I pregnant or not??
I decided to go to our local pregnancy resource center and confirm it. I had no idea how far along I would be or if I was even pregnant. I took my friend and we found out together. Only one of us could go in at a time so I went first. I was roughly 7 weeks. Dread started setting in and the girl working there could see the panic creep onto my face. Her words were “you have options” and then proceeded to tell me about parenting and abortion. She didn’t go into much detail but the majority of the conversation was all about parenting. I was barely supporting myself, I couldn’t support a baby. My thoughts were, “why won’t this girl stop talking about me being a parent because it’s the last thing I can do”. As I’m getting ready to go and becoming more silent by the minute, she told me I could pick out a handmade set of booties and a matching hat. I numbly reached into the bin and pulled out the first thing that I could find because I just wanted her to stop talking to me, I was in shock. As I was about to leave the room we had been sitting in, the lady goes ” oh here’s a pamphlet on adoption too” and let the conversation die.  My friend walked in after me, and I sat in the waiting room for the next 20 mins and cried.
I was adopted when I was 3 and I have never had any huge issues with it. I had a hard time understanding why certain things happened like being separated from my siblings and foster family I had lived with for 3 years. I was a happy and healthy kid due to my family loving me. But i hated the fact that i didn’t know my siblings until iIwas much older. I didn’t even know I had sisters until I was 12 years old. and I had been separated from my brother who was the only person i knew to be family at a very young age. Adoption is beautiful and hard all in one and my adoption story was that.
My cousin was adopted from Korea as a baby, so my family has grown up around adoption like its nothing strange. My cousin also happened to become pregnant 3 years prior to me becoming pregnant, and she made an adoption plan for her beautiful daughter. I watched everything she went through, and yet I was here, feeling alone, finding no way to tell her I was pregnant. I couldn’t face my family or anyone for that matter. I knew I had to tell the father though. It was a bit complicated because I had been with two guys within a few weeks. But based on dates, it had to be one over the other. Next problem was, we weren’t on the best of terms. We had been on and off for years. My family hated him, I had no idea how his family felt about me. He was honestly was not very committed  to me and the fact that this had happened was just going to make things worse. I texted him saying “we need to talk” while I was at work one day, thinking he wouldn’t text me for a while (like he always did). he immediately called me. I couldn’t answer. First, I was at work, and second, I wasn’t ready to tell him!! I texted back, “ill call you when I’m off work”
I left work dreading this phone call. I got home, sat down and called. The first thing out of his mouth was “your pregnant aren’t you?” I instantly felt better knowing I didn’t have to say the words out loud yet. I started crying and said yes. His next response was “are you going to get an abortion then?” i was shocked because i hadn’t even thought that was an option. I just said “no, I have no plan but that isn’t it. ill figure it out but thought you should know” and hung up the phone. i felt right back to the moment in the bathroom with that positive stairing back at me. Still no plan, and still no idea what to feel or do.
Another saving grace came my way a few days later. My friend who was pregnant as well, let it slip to my cousin that I was pregnant. She texted me one day and said, hey are you home? I wanna talk” I was so unexpecting of that fact that she was going to tell me MY secret. She urged me to tell my parents. She had waited until she was almost 5 months along and she regretted that. I needed a support system and I needed it as soon as possible, no matter what decision I made.
Lets just say my parents didn’t take the news well. simple as that. haha. I set up doctor appointments and I was texting the father times to be there. even if I didn’t know what was going to happen to this baby, it needed to be healthy,  I started telling people slowly that I was pregnant and everyone was so happy for me. I was the young mom who wanted kids and was totally ready for this according to everyone. I was not the face of unplanned pregnancy. I was not 16. I was a mess that no one was seeing.
My mom came around and she asked me constantly “whats your plan?” I never had any answers for her but she was being so supportive still. I value that so much still to this day.
I decided to call an adoption agency because it was the only thing I could think of. I remember googling “adoption agencies near me”. Lutheran social services came up and I called. I have no idea what I was going to say but I’m pretty sure I left a voicemail on the machine and it was something along the lines of “my name is Shonda, I’m pregnant and I have no idea what to do. call me please”
The inner Shonda was becoming more and more of a mess as the hours ticked on. I was getting more hormonal. I felt like i was never going to figure this all out.
I drug the father with me to the first appointment with Lutheran social services and it went better than I thought. we covered the logics. talked about what we wanted and what we both expected. why we were thinking of adoption, and why we thought we couldn’t parent. For a brief moment i felt reassured and relieved
The months went on, and details were falling into place. I picked Carson’s family and I also struggled each and every day. Every new day came with a new emotion. I barely had the support of the father after I decided to tell him about the other guy. I had a plan going but I didn’t all at the same time. I decided to not share with a lot of people about making an adoption plan, so most people didn’t think much of anything and I honestly regret that. I thought i was going to be judged that I would feel like a worse person than i already did. It was horrible. I questioned my plan each and everyday. The father finally decided to put issues aside and do what was the best for the baby which was nice because I needed as much support as I could get.
We met with Carson’s family when I was 8 months along, and that was a huge turning point in my adoption process. I left that meeting feeling loved. I went in with an anxious mind, and left knowing that my baby was going to be right where i wanted him, supported by a FUNCTIONING 2 person family, loved by an older brother, and so very loved. The birth father decided he wanted to do a paternity test, which i gladly accepted. Coming from an adoptee’s perspective, i wanted my baby to know exactly where he came from. We decided with Carson’s new family and us, to do it after he was born.
I went into labor at 7 am on April 22nd, 2014. I was so calm and I still to this day have no idea how. I called my mom who came and got me and took me to the hospital. I was triaged to make sure I was in labor because I still wasn’t convinced I was haha. I called the father and he said he would be there in a few hours because of work. I took some walks with my parents, my adoption counselor came and it was moving along. I survived 7 whole hours without getting an epidural. I remember sitting in the tub, the father holding my hand, and it all hit me. I was scared. All the emotions came at once because this was the end for us. But the beginning for someone else and that was astonishing, and terrifying. The father looked at me and said, “you’ve got this” and I was back into mama bear mode, ready to have this baby.
My birth plan for the hospital was to have the father and I in the room while I pushed and once things calmed down, and depending on the time, then Carson’s parents would come up. This plan caused a lot of chaos between my parents and I because of who I chose to be in the room with me and that was so hard on me, when I had a million other things to worry about. I was so focused on my feelings that I didn’t really think of anyone else emotions. Looking back, I loved how it went, but every girl needs their mom.
Carson entered this world screaming after an exhausting 18 hours of labor on April 23rd 2014 at 1:04 am. I instantly started crying because I had been so focused on labor and accomplishing this, that I hadn’t really thought about what was coming next. Compared to labor, this was going to be even harder. The father was the most amazing and helpful person during labor which surprised me. He counted to 10 every contraction and helped me breathe. He told me I was doing okay and I am so very thankful of that, to this day.
We got moved to a recovery room, and the nurse who had stayed over her 12 hour shift to stay with us,  told us how strong and proud of us she was, that she didn’t see many people like us decide to make a selfless choice for their baby. It brought me to tears honestly because I didn’t feel like i was brave at all.
Carson’s parents decided to come up in the morning and I was so nervous that I basically ended up staying awake for most the night with Carson because I refused to let him go. This was my bonding moments that I couldn’t miss. His parents got the recovery room next to us to give us space but also be close. They came and went and it honestly went amazing for how emotional we all were. There was a time I was sitting on the bed with the father, and carson, and I was so overwhelmed that I asked the father to bring carson to his parents to give us a moment. He left and up until this point, I  had not see the father cry. He stepped back into the room, and he just dropped to the floor sobbing. we just sat in that hospital room and just cried. It was all we could do.
I left that hospital after seeing Carson leave with his family in tears feeling hollow. I had spent 9 months preparing for this, my body had built up all the hormones to prepare for a baby, and i left with nothing. shock to my mind and body. My adoption agency actually got the father and I a hotel room because I didn’t want to go back to my apartment quite yet as well which was a relief. I felt like I had a neutral place that didn’t remind me of anything.
I was feeling horrible, and unfortunately it was just going to get worse. We had just sent off the lab results of the paternity test and we had to wait a week. While we were waiting, the day of us signing our rights over came. To say I was a mess is an understatement. I wanted it to just get done as soon as possible but I also just wanted to walk out of that room and go get my baby. I had no idea what to feel or do but I managed to go in there and sign. I walked out and sat in the car and just cried. My life had changed in the matter of a few seconds it took me to sign my name. How could that be?! how could this be real?!
The test results came back and the worst was true. The father was not the father. To say that my broken heart was ripped open all over again is nothing compared to the feeling that I had. He was the one who got me through my labor, who helped selecting Carson’s family. Who did everything in his power to keep me together while holding it together as well. I also had to contact the “real dad” who had to legally sign over his right or deny paternity to make sure Carson could be adopted. I was worried sick because as much as I was heartbroken and sad, I couldn’t have my actions affect the fact of Carson being with his family. I eventually got ahold of him, he denied any rights and said he didn’t want to talk about it ever again. A few months later, I learned he moved out of the state.
I haven’t talked to him since. He hasn’t asked about Carson or me, and honestly I don’t know if he will. As an adoptee, that breaks my heart to think Carson will have to deal with the fact of not knowing a part of where he comes from. I chose to do an open adoption because I wanted to be able to a part of his life. I wanted him to know where he comes from and to answer any questions he may have. I love Carson so much and want him to know that. I will forever consider the first guy to be more of a vital part of Carson’s life. He doesn’t make an effort to keep a relationship with him, which is fine, but he does ask me occasionally about him and that’s amazing to me. We didn’t talk for quite a few months after the results for obvious reasons. It didn’t help my healing process at all. I honestly felt more alone than i did pregnant. birthmom
Then one day, my adoption counselor and I decided we needed a support group. I felt like there had to be more people out there that could relate to my story. 5 girls came together and that first meeting was just us all crying. I wasn’t alone and to feel like someone could relate helped me immensely. we have kept up with it, and to be honest its one of the reason i feel sane to this day. They are my family, my sisters and we hold this bond together forever.
It has been 2.5 years and every day is a new one. I still get sad and I still cry about Carson. But slowly love has taken over. That little piece of my heart is thriving and growing too fast and that is all I could have ever asked for. I have become a part of his family and them a part of mine. there are SO many people who love carson and there is never anything wrong with that. I am taking one day at a time and i have spent my time spreading awareness of adoption to help me and others heal. I love my support group and run a support and awareness group with one of my best friends who happens to be adopted and a birth mom as well called Adoptionslove. I am living my life for myself and Carson,
I love being a birth mom and even though an unplanned pregnancy is not what I wanted to face, I made the perfect right out of the whole situation and I can only hope people can see and learn how amazing adoption is.

What is a Birth Mother to Me.

I met Lynea through  a group of birth moms. We have formed a relationship that is a mother daughter type and  wouldn’t have it any other way. The 20 year age gap doesn’t bother us at all. I love this woman with all my heart. Her story is a beautiful one. I’ve noticed that throughout the time we have been friends she has been willing to be open and let me break down some walls that she has had up for a long time. I feel like I have helped her in ways to help her grow; as she has helped me. This woman and I have never met face to face. We have formed our friendship just through letters, phone calls, emails, and texts. Yet one day I will embrace her and look at her and tell her how much I adore who she is. Lynea is a woman of passion, determination and compassion. She is woman that would give everything she has to others to go without. I know this because of how much this woman has invested in me and what I believe in. My pen pal project. She is creating something with  meaning and I can’t wait for the WHOLE world to know about it. She is the founder of Life After Placement. A community for women and men who have placed and are wanting to embark a journey of healing and moving forward with life to be apart of.

Here is Lynea’s meaning of being a birth mom.

download

Through the years I have found it to be odd how people view birth mothers. We are looked at as adulterers, sluts with no morals, mentally unstable with no cares about bringing a child into this world, etc.  What about the few of us who were raped or abused? Did we deserve it?  Did we have it coming to us? Where we asking for it by the way we dressed?

To me a birth mother is any woman who gives birth. A woman who chooses to place a child for adoption is a birth mother and a woman who chooses to parent her child is a birth mother.  That’s right, I said it, we are both birth mothers. It really is strange to how people respond to the words “Birth Mother”! All my life I have had to explain to people who and what a birth mother is. This has been strange for me because adoption has been around for centuries! This is not a new concept or new idea. What I found is that people dismiss that adoption wouldn’t happen without a birth mother. How did the babies get here? Sometimes I think people think adoption is like going to a store, picking up the baby and paying for it at the counter.

For years’ women who have become pregnant out of wedlock or been abused or raped and had to accept the fate of getting married or being sent away to a maternity home or distant relative to have the baby. When you came back you didn’t talk about it, like it never happened, and go on with life. The adoption was closed and the guilt and shame the birth mother felt were kept inside and never let out.  I remember growing up thinking couples who adopted were like heroes! I remember looking at them like they saved that child from bad parents or from unloving family.

Let me just say this, I am a birth mother and proud to say it! I was date raped and did what I know was best for my child by PLACING her with a couple who was able to give her what I know I couldn’t at that time in my life. I did NOT GIVE HER UP! Ask yourself, how would you feel if you were given up on. No one likes that!  Please use the word PLACED. “I was placed for adoption.” The psychological effect of saying you were PLACED instead of given up has a MAJOR effect on the child and about adoption as a whole.

As a birth mother of 25 years and having been reunited the past 12 years I can say “I NEVER GAVE UP!” I PLACED HER for adoption because I love her and always will. A mother’s love is never ending. My goal as a birth mother is to help our community see birth mothers in a different way. With open adoption and adoptees looking for their birth parents, I hope you can see that it’s really all about love, from the moment of conception. Life After placement is just that! Moving forward without so much guilt or shame but acceptance of choices made with nothing but selfless love.

~Lynea~