Category Archives: motherhood

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. 

Birth Mother Means Brave, Bold, and Beautiful

The past two months have been one crazy ride for me. I have had time to think about the new direction I want to go with my journey along with what I want to do with this blog I have created. I have been so vulnerable and open with my story that I feel like it’s time to start sharing more of others as well. I have had time to think about the future along with my self care and getting it in line with how I want to grow in the adoption community.  I’ve learned that seasons change for people and they aren’t always bad when they change. Change is scary yet it can be so rewarding afterwards. My pen pal project has sky rocketed into something so beautiful. Something so big that I never knew it would in such a short period of time. The friendships I have made this past year are ones I would never want to replace or let go of. Even when life gets crazy I know that no matter what my tribe is a phone call away, a letter away, and a visit away. These brave women I have formed friendships with have stories that they are not ashamed of or scared  to tell. Callie is a woman that I love in so many ways. She is beyond pro active in the birthmom community. She is a woman I admire and love.

Here is her story. Her story has not been modified or changed in any way.

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Birth Mother Means Brave, Bold, and Beautiful

My Personal Journey and Perspectives on Open Adoption

By: Birth Mom, Callie Jett

 

Before I became a birth mother, I was a sixteen-year-old naive girl being pressured into an abortion. My story could have easily ended at the Planned Parenthood abortion center my mother drove me to, but because there were peaceful people outside the abortion center that day, my situation became refined. These people outside the abortion center, who were sidewalk advocates, introduced me to a choice that was so foreign to me at the time: The option of open adoption.

Life can be beautiful after choosing open adoption. During my pregnancy, I did not think that season of my life would pass, but it went by quick. A wonderful maternity home took me under their wings free of charge, and without judgment or chastisement. After nine and a half months, I gave birth to a handsome little boy through support and assistance from caring people around me. Being able to hold my birth son, rock him, and sing to him before saying my “Good-byes” was worth every bit of back pain and health complications.

After the placement of my birth son, I survived, seasons changed, time caught up with me, and I now have my own bundles of joy. Thirteen years to this day, I have a flourishing relationship with my birth son and his adoptive parents. But even if I were to have no contact with my birth son, his life was still worth every bit of sweat and stress. If these precious moments can ensue for me, then they can transpire for any woman facing an unexpected pregnancy and who have exhausted all possibilities to parent. That is the beauty of what open adoption is today. My journey towards the option of open adoption for my birth son made me stronger and braver. And my decision of adoption for him taught me true selflessness and love.

In turn, as my birth son got older, he encouraged me to share my adoption story to women who are stuck in similar situations as I was when facing an unplanned pregnancy. To share my story with women who are entering abortion center’s today, feeling scared, alone, and being pressured into a decision of abortion. Many of these women knowing very little about the option of open adoption; some never even knowing what open adoption is. And three years ago, during my activism as a Sidewalk Advocate, Talk About Adoptionlaunched. The rest is history.

Since the launch of Talk About Adoption, women facing unplanned pregnancies have found us for help, resources, and have even chosen life for their child – Whether choosing to parent or place their child for adoption. Thus far, twenty-one abortion-determined women have chosen life for their baby after finding the organization, or from my involvement as a Sidewalk Advocate outside one of my local abortion center’s. Seven of these women never even heard about the option of open adoption until finding our organization on the Internet or through a referral.

This begs the question: Does our current society truly understand open adoption today? Or, are birth mothers active in sharing their adoption stories to others – Specifically to women who are abortion-determined and who feel they have no other options? Birth mothers must stop hiding behind their fear that someone may think they “gave up” their baby for adoption and “did not want it.” As a birth mother today, adoption means that I have a wonderful opportunity to share my adoption story for someone else, because this is not about me anymore. It was never about me in the beginning. It was about my birth son.

Women, who are in crisis pregnancy situations and contemplating abortion, need guidance from a birth mother to offer them empowering choices: Parenting or adoption. Birth mothers have been there, done that. Our younger generation desires to speak to real people who have made this different decision. As open adoption becomes more prevalent, birth mothers have these amazing adoption experiences and the strength to help other women see that shining light at the end of the tunnel. The mainstream media does not understand this adjudication that relies on a mother to give beyond herself, and abortion center’s are businesses who profit off of … abortions.

You see, it is easy for the adoption triad to know the blessings of adoption and how to get that far into that decision, but abortion-determined women facing unplanned pregnancies know nothing about that exact process unless we speak up. Birth mothers have the opportunity to change people’s perceptions of adoption with their own individual, distinct adoption story; thus giving our younger generation the courage and knowledge if they were to encounter an unexpected pregnancy. This is about using our anecdotes to help another person in need. This is about loving others above ourselves. This is about changing the world. Yes! Birth mothers are that sacred and powerful in this diverse universe!blog

So, how can a birth mother create change? Most importantly, she should be proud and hold their head up high, because one, options support respect. Of course, birth mothers need their own individual time of healing and coping. Some even seek out the various birth mother support organizations and post-adoption counseling. But after we have acknowledged that this decision was the best through our own mentality and perspectives. Although it was not easy, it was the best. We can unveil our adoption story and share it with those who know nothing about the option of adoption. Where? We can start at our local pregnancy resource centers, our schools, and better yet, peacefully in front of abortion centers where women have never heard of this exceptional word. With abortion centers sweeping our nation, undoubtedly there are at least thousands of women who need to hear our voices. Birth mothers should not only share their adoption story, but also spread the knowledge of these amazing and honest adoption resources. We have this unique opportunity to provide, become involved in our community, to end the stigma of open adoption, and create a culture of life.

This is about changing people’s lives, which in turn, change others, and so on. It is a divine chain reaction. Adoption means a woman not regretting a decision of abortion, a heartache and life saved, and the cycle goes on – just because there was the presence of a faithful person knowledgeable on the topic of adoption, or a birth mother who shared her adoption story.

Birth mothers can produce fruit, too. I have been able to witness women make a parenting or adoption decision ever since I began sharing my adoption story, and became active in my community. It is a wonderful feeling for a mother to squeeze your neck, and to thank you for your presence when she was feeling as if all odds were against her. To see these women looking forward to delivery, naming their baby, and preparing for what’s ahead – it is breathtaking. Let’s create change now. Birth mother means brave, bold and beautiful. There is a new generation heading towards the word, “choice.” Choice also means open adoption. This is the twenty-first century – Talk about adoption.

Six weeks all in one

 

My alarm clock goes off this morning.  One of two things go off inside of me. Wake up and get the day started or hit snooze and repeat this process about fifteen times. I’m laying in bed to think about this for ten more seconds before my mind explodes from hearing the alarm go off. I choose to lay in bed. I have no energy left within me. I feel a lack of love from everyone around me. I feel alone and small. I just want to hide under the sheets and let everyone pretend I’m okay. Yet that’s a lie all in itself. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be aware that there is hurt within me and is causing suffering to my mind, body, and soul. It’s okay to admit I need help. I need love. I need embracement. I need reminders from family and friends. I need that connection. I need to feel appreciated. All these are needs. Needs we humans need from time to time. They aren’t wants, they aren’t “what ifs” they are simply needs. I have my moments when I feel like a lion and when I feel like a mouse. Today I feel like a mouse, I’m finally ready to reflect what this past month. On the days I feel small I have to remind myself twice as hard I’m worthy of love, my voice is worthy of a roar. I’m reminding myself I’m worthy of healing. I’m worthy of great greatness. The past six weeks has been such a blur. When I say blur I mean a complete mess of chaos and happiness all in one.

We had our California Mexico trip six weeks ago, we need a vacation from our vacation since all this maddens was about to occur.  We had to get in packing mode to move to our new home. Try to unpack the new house, get settled in, start my new job, all in between all this madness I’m trying to find that quiet time like now to just work on my projects, and last but not least finding that time to breath, catch up, and not lose my sanity.IMG_6018

We went to Mexico for a few days. I got to see my mom. For the first time in a long time we didn’t fight or argue. Instead we laughed and she played with my son. She’s a grandma now and she acted among the part really well. I’m proud of her.  You can really tell she is trying her best to be as sane as she can be. I give her credit for that.  It made me so happy to see my mom interact and form a relationship with my son and Derrik. I won’t lie a part of me wishes that was me. I sometimes wished life could have been different. Where I had my mom fully there. Mentally and physically. Someone who would interact with me make me feel safe. Someone to teach me how to love. I’m happy to say Elijah is her second chance. So far she’s making me very proud to be her daughter. From seeing her this last time it made me see that it’s my time to invest in her now. I need to invest in the reflection I wish the world to see. That investing starts with myself, my son, Derrik, and now my mother. I’m learning that expanding in growth there comes so much goodness. For that I thank God for guiding me there spiritually.IMG_6324

California had its moments. I got into a spat with my aunt. It hurt me. It really dug deep within me. I felt hurt, her action made me feel abandoned. She didn’t agree with my parenting. I know Derrik and I will never be the perfect parents in the world, yet I will always try my best to be the best for my son. I believe in positive parenting. I honestly think it’s a trigger for some people in my family. Derrik and I don’t believe in spanking and don’t believe to humiliate our child in front of others. We try to let Elijah know that some things are not okay and will teach him how to do things better. Example: We don’t hit people when we are upset. We go to the person who upset us and say “you upset me”. Yes Elijah is two yet he gets this concept he says “no okay mommy” translation for me; I hurt my son what can I do to be a better parent. My aunt just didn’t see any of this. She wanted us to pretend since we were on “vacation” to pretend to let it go and let Elijah pay for it later by retraining and getting him frustrated and explaining to him why he could get away with things in California and not at home. I didn’t think that was right and she hated the fact that I stood up for myself and my son ( since I was trying to save him from being confused and thinking it’s okay  to lash out just to lash out instead of using our positive parenting methods) she hated this she and fought with me. I was called many names. She walked out and didn’t even say goodbye to Elijah. I tried several times to reach out to her, yet she denied me, she denied my son. I felt so hurt by her. All because for the first time in her life I could tell her no and not get smacked or yelled at for it. One time she had to keep her cool because Derrik was there. I know that if he wasn’t everything would have been ten times worse. I felt so much pain because for the first time she was going to meet Ava and she walked away from that opportunity as well. I was ready to open a part of this world with her. I was ready for her to see Ava and hug her. To smile with her. To embrace her. I had so much sorrow for my son and Ava. She really knew where to strike her new wound with me.  My aunt reminded me through all this ugly that I have to let go of the hurt she has caused me and fight for hope. Every sorrow she has given me has made me dig deeper to let go and fight the fight. That I am brave.

For the first time Derrik and Elijah got to experience Lego Land, Disney land with real authentic Mexican food for nine days straight, to meeting most of everyone in my crazy Latina family and seeing Ava and Karin.IMG_6345IMG_6287

It’s been almost three years since I had seen Ava in person.  My heart was racing when I saw her and Karin. All I could do was hug her and hold tight for thirty seconds and thank God for letting me and my family see her again. I had my moments when I needed to step aside and get a breather. To be honest Ava clicked with Derrik so well I got a tad bit jealous. Elijah and Ava were inseparable. They held hands, played and rode rides together. This day was perfect for me and my family. There was hard times for my grandma, you could see her watery eyes from time to time. My grandma was so brave and so strong. I was so afraid there would be a sly comment or a day well spent ruined. My chest felt heavy sometimes when Elijah would call me mommy and Ava didn’t. Yet that’s the path I chose Yes it’s hard from time to time yet I chose to place Ava for many reasons. The love she gets from her mom and dad is the love I lacked to give her at the time. My greatest gift I could give her was to place her with people who were mentally, emotionally, and financially okay to do so. I felt numb when saying goodbye. I felt a whole and broken all at the same time.  I wanted this day to play over and over just a couple more times. Everything was just a fog after that. My week continued on yet it was one big blur. I didn’t really want to break down when I was in California. I didn’t want my family to see this weak side of me. One that has to force herself to get out of bed from time to time just to live life. I had to wear a mask because we never really talk about it. I feel many are afraid to hear the truth when it comes to Ava. I couldn’t let this hurt me till after we were done moving. I didn’t have time to process my feelings. I had to keep them bottled up till well now.

I sit here in silence while Elijah is sleeping and Derrik is at work. All I can do is just breath heavy and let it out. Let out the tears of joy and sadness I have had bottled up inside of me for a couple weeks now. The feelings I have right now are just raw emotions.  An ounce of panic and fear. A lack of trust I have people when it comes to just letting it out when I need to cry my soul out. The endless pleas and prayers. A little bit of me grieving again. Yet mostly grieving for my son who is so young to understand what Disneyland was all about. To just keep pushing myself to teach him the love I have for him and Ava. That the love I have is no greater than the other. My heart is filled with so much coldness and warmth I long of hope to fully be happy and not have a bad day take over and consume my mind. The baby steps I’m still working towards to. The fight I’m fighting even when I feel like giving up. People tell me that it’s over and done with to move on. To leave it alone. To keep it hush hush.  How do I process that I will always be an outcast?  Putting energy to my healing and being open means pain on my part, how do I process to think everything is going well when BAM a horrible day comes and I feel numb and weak all over again? I feel like some days I’m walking along the road picking flowers on my way to freedom to being free within. There are other days when I’m standing on the edge of a dark deep hole of emotions that have no way out yet to fall deep, deep down and hit rock bottom and be broken into a million pieces and put myself back together again. I keep standing on that edge trying to force myself to walk away most days. It used to be all days…now it’s just some. For my son’s sake and Ava’s I try not to have many mental break downs anymore. I wait for therapy. I wait to be alone. For me it’s all about baby steps. I know I’m doing better, I’m moving forward. I’m just going to try to do the best I can in this confusing, painful, joyful, sorrow hole of mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had postpartum”

I wanted to do something a little different for this blog entry. I wanted to be able to hit a wider audience and try to spread the word about postpartum depression, anxiety, being a first time mom, along with how hard relationships can be at times.

I as a first time mom, know the daily struggles of trying to balance myself mentally and spiritually, along with being the best mother I can be, and partner even when I fail at times. My postpartum was honestly a hard thing to face, still is to this day! I am very open about my depression and anxiety; as most of you know. I had the privilege to interview a dear friend who I have known for quite a while now. She is fighting her fight daily. I admire her for all the right reasons. I’m very fortunate to have friends that are willing to give me the privilege to dig into their hearts and souls and let me get my hands messy with them and dig into to rawness of their pain, to not just help them, yet to wanting to help others. Hearing Kaila’s story helped me in so many ways.

This interview is real, all pictures have been approved by Kaila. Nothing has been modified. Here is Kaila’s journey….

Me: We have known each other for little over 7 years now. We were once co-workers. It’s funny how fast time flies by. We both have children now roughly the same age. Has becoming a mother been challenging at times? Or do I feel alone when it comes to being a parent?

Kaila: Yea, becoming a mother was the most challenging time of my life and still is. I really wasn’t ready for a baby and was scared to death when I found out. My doctor had told me about a year prior to me getting pregnant that I shouldn’t have children. He said it would be very difficult for me to conceive and if I did, I would have a really difficult pregnancy and the child would have medical issues if it survived. So when I got pregnant it was a complete surprise. Billy and our families were really supportive during my pregnancy. I did end up being a high risk pregnancy and had a hard 10 months. I was in and out of the hospital and would have go to multiple doctors’ visits a week. After I had Paislie I had awful postpartum depression. I thought at first it was just my hormones all out of wack, but it continued for months and ended up lasting over a year. I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had postpartum and I didn’t really know who to talk to. I was always under the impression the people that had PPD were the ones that killed their babies. I didn’t want people think I was crazy and wanted to hurt my baby because it wasn’t like that at all. I was just sad, I felt numb, felt no emotions. I would feel so guiltily not being happy over a new thing Paislie had done, but I couldn’t help it. I would try my hardest but I felt nothing. I would have some good days and finally think I was better, but most days were dark. I wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed or get dressed some days. At first Billy tried to help, but towards the end he couldn’t handle it. He became very inconsiderate towards my feelings and was very neglectful. The first year of Paislie’s life was the not only the most challenging time of my life but the loneliest. I felt that if I couldn’t even talk to my own husband who was my best friend than who I could talk too. If that person couldn’t love me and help me than no one could. I considered taking my life multiple times the first year but couldn’t imagine leaving Paislie and Billy alone. I convinced myself their happiness was worth more than my depression. Some days that worked, but most it didn’t. My family helped me a lot with her the first year since Billy worked so much. He was never home and when he was home he didn’t participate, so I felt like a single mom. After Billy and I separated this took on a whole new meaning. I could no longer call him when I was stressed out with Paislie or needed to vent to him about my day. I no longer had that person to share exciting or happy moments Paislie and I had. I no longer had him to call to share a new “first” she just did. Being a single mom is the loneliest thing which make it so much more complicated.  Thankfully my sisters, my parents and best friends help out a lot because without them I wouldn’t be able to do it. I thank God daily for such a strong support system, because every day there’s a new complication and of course somedays aren’t bad but somedays I look forward to when Paislie goes to her dad’s so I can get a break, but then of course I feel guilty after and miss her so much when she is gone. I think the days I don’t have her though are the most challenging. I have to try engulf myself in something so that I am so busy that I don’t worry and over think. Unfortunately Billy and I have an awful relationship now and we can’t even co-parent, so when she is gone I know nothing. I don’t know if she had a good day, what she ate, if she had a bad dream, if she was happy, if she woke up sick, if she learned something new, nothing. So those are probably the most challenging days because even though I am a mother I know nothing about my daughter those 3 1/2 days. I’ll try to reach out to him somedays to see how she is hoping he will just respond and tell me she is happy but every time it ends the same, with no response.12399304_221362141537825_410839425_n

Me: You told me not to long ago that I inspire you to share your voice, along with to not give up fighting my fight. Do you believe the same for yourself?  Do you think by doing this interview with me you wish to help new mothers, single mothers, and mothers with postpartum depression?

Kaila: Of course. I never even would wish my worst enemy to feel the way I did and do at times. I made a lot of mistakes which ultimately I believe was a factor of my divorce. I never thought it was before, I thought you could just “snap out of it” and I’m a medical professional, but you can’t all the time. Sometimes you need help or medication and that’s okay.  I don’t want other women to feel alone and scared like I did. They are so many resources out that and if we all spoke out about our struggles we could help each other, we could embrace each other, and help strengthen each other. What I learned is that you can’t do it alone, you need a support system, you need people to talk to, people to listen to you, people to pray with you and sometimes a person that can just tell you it will be okay. Too many women fight this ugly beast behind closed doors because they are scared of what others think. They think others will see them as weak and that they are looking for attention, but that’s not it. That’s not okay that society has made depression into a thing that we are too scared to seek help for. It is an actually medical disorder. It took me a long time to realize that because I was that women that people looked at as strong and who had the “perfect” life, but I really wasn’t. I would cry myself to sleep every night because I didn’t know what was wrong with. I can only wish that if anyone is struggling or even has thoughts of killing themselves like I did that they get help and know that it is okay to get help. And most importantly I want women to know that they are NOT alone. That things may not be okay right now and everything may seem hopeless but it does get better.

Me: Your honesty has me moved. You speak the truth, I bet you have some eyebrows raised. Some are probably thinking “how can she be so honest and raw?” You have managed to be the few that supported me with kind words when it came to me placing. Were you still proud to call me a friend once you learned my story?

Kaila: Of course I was. I truly feel that is one of the strongest things a women can do. A mother’s love is doing what is best for your child no matter what and you did that. Sammie, not a lot of girls could have done what you did and I am so proud of you, still to this day. You took responsibility for your actions, carried a baby a full pregnancy and made the ultimate sacrifice for your daughter which results in not only the b12570827_221358698204836_1986660659_nest life for her, but also happiness for a couple that wanted a baby.

Me: Thank you; that honestly means a lot. I still feel like not many are pleased with me. I still get side comments, hate mail via email, sometimes and a random text of hate. It’s friendships like yours I truly value. Tell me three things about Paislie.

Kaila: What is there to say about Miss Paislie lol.

  1. She is obsessed with minions
  2. She is an outdoors girl and would live outside if I let her, but she is totally girly at the same time and loves to play with makeup and wear jewelry
  3. She is very musically inclined. She loves to sing and dance especially to Justin Beiber. Her favorite songs are Baby and Sorry, she actually sings the chorus for both too which is hilarious                                                                                                                                     Me: Wow that’s amazing! I noticed a complete change in you once we started talking about Paislie, I can tell she brings the life back in you. What are some coping skills you have managed to learn now that you have fully accepted the fact you have depression?

12583743_221358794871493_1288487105_nKaila: She is my life and my joy. I love her with every fiber of my being. Well, there are multiple things I do. I read my bible and pray daily for God to fill me with his love, joy and peace. Without his love and forgiveness I wouldn’t be where I am today. Whenever I am having a difficult time I just start to pray and feel immediate calmness. My lowest point of depression brought me into the deepest relationship I have ever had with him and I am never turning back. He has saved me in some many ways. I have my sisters and my bestfriends who I can always turn or vent to after a long day. They know I am depressed and check on my daily. They inspire me and fill me with positive thoughts. I know when I am having a bad day they will be there even if they have to drive to talk to me face to face. Another thing is exercise. I can always take out my frustration and sadness out in my workouts. This helps my nerves alot. Lastly, I see a psychologist weekly and a psychiatrist monthly. Honestly, seeing a psychologist has helped me tremendously. It’s nice having a third party look into my life and help me process my thoughts. My psychologist is amazing. He was the psychologist I saw in ICU when I tried to kill myself. I thought he was awesome but I didn’t want to drive an hour to see him. It took me seeing over 15 other psychologist until I realize God brought him in my life for a reason. I now drive over an hour to see him and it is totally worth it. I look forward to our visits.

Me: What is one thing you wish to tell those who suffer from a mental illness?

Kaila: First, that is okay to get help. It took me losing my husband and going through the worst experiences to realize that. I was so prideful and thought I didn’t need help, but I did. If you are depressed reach out for help. It will be the hardest task to overcome this ugly illness but it will be so worth it. Secondly, I would tell them that not all days will be dark. It may seem like it will never get better and that it will only get worse from where you are at now but someday there will be light at tunnel and you just got to keep pushing forward to see it. Make a checklist daily and look at every task as an accomplishment even getting out of bed because anyone that suffers from mental illness knows that is the hardest task of each day. Thirdly, that you are NOT alone. There are so many people that suffer daily but are too scared to reach out. Lastly, you are not weak and you’re life has a purpose. Everyone was placed on this earth to tell a story and to touch somebody’s life. You may never know who’s life you changed but you changed somebody’s. You story might be filled with some more ups and downs than others but it is okay. God will never give you more than you can handle and even though sometimes it feels like you can’t handle anymore he knows what he is doing. He believes you are strong enough to endure these hardships.

Me: Thank you for doing this with me. I know it’s hard to let someone in when you have so many feelings running through you.

Kaila:It was actually a nice healing project, thank you

An Open Letter to Ava’s Adoptive Parents

As I’m writing the end of my chapter for 2015 I sit here thinking how far I have come this year. Not just with my healing yet finding my voice. You pushed me to be better. You pushed me to do better. You believe in me and continue to cheer me on. I never really imagined to have the type of relationship I do with you. To be honest I was scared. I was scared to think how someone could love me as much as you and your amazing husband. How someone can have me included. When I first wanted to place I knew in my heart that you and Steve were the ones. The twinkle of happiness I saw in Steve’s eyes when we first met at the little place at the peso mall where we at lunch with my Aunt and Uncle. Yet what got me was the love  you both have for Lilly. The way you spoke to her as if she was your flesh in blood. This is when I knew off the bat that My child, your child belonged in this family, your family. 
You both have been so open and honest with me. Yet even though I’m far away I know I’m my heart that no matter where I go in life you will always continue to teach Ava and tell her the good you see in me.
My wish for you Steve is that no matter how old she gets always remind her she’s your baby girl. That as time goes on and she wants to date that you teach her to have respect for herself and to have a man that will treat her like the queen she deserves to be. Remind her that she is a woman and she is strong. That she can do it! That no matter how old she gets that you will always be her number one man. Her daddy to run to if anyone breaks her heart. 
Karin my dear sweet amazing Karin. Oh how I love you so. 
You are an angle sent from up above. You get me. You  let me cry on the phone with you. You help me in so many ways. My wish for you is to keep being the mom you are. The super mom who runs to soccer, surf lessons, dance lessons, and all the other fun activities you have for these two amazing precious girls.
I will love you forever. Not for the obvious reasons yet for the reasons that have gone unrecognized. For the way you comfort and  embrace Ava when she gets a boo boo or the way you sing to her to cheer her up. The silly car ride dance parties. Those late night movie nights. The way you do everything in your power to help her grow. She will have the gift of love. She will have the ability to love all because you and Steve have already taught her this the moment you held her in your arms for the first time. The moment you both looked at her and called her your baby girl. These moments these memories I think of daily because without them I would forget all the good in this. All the beauty. All the reasons why, I choose you. 
On my dark gloomy days when I hit rock bottom I think of these moments to help me get back up and embrace life. Because of you I am able to feel whole again. Oh how I can’t wait to see you again, so I can look at you and show you how happy I am that you are in my life and how much I appreciate you.
I love you. 
Ava
{This picture was sent to me from the lovely Karin, its pictures like this that makes my heart so happy and full.}

Week of terror.

This past week was a blur, I was numb. I quit my job at the super market. I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was too toxic. I was slowly starting to pull back the layers of how much I really didn’t “fit in” or how “sad it made me become” I started to “hate my job” I started to feel “down” all the time. I just needed out. I felt like I failed doing this and everything just started to move way too fast from there. I felt everything slip between my fingertips. I had nothing to hold on to. Nothing to grip on tight to. I felt like I was dangling from a 100 foot story building and everyone was just waiting for me to finally give up and let go. I was under water, a sea of rapid waves causing my anxiety, depression, self-body shaming, self-loathing, and oh how the list can go on; to drown me in. I was beyond depressed. I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I was fighting my weakness for a whole week. I was trying to not let it win. To consume me and have me go back ten or twenty steps on my healing.

Conversations turned into fights. Fights turned into silence.

I saw a quote last night that kicked me in the ass quite literally from Soworthloving’s Tumblr page.

    “Finding that strength like a warrior is not something that happens overnight. It is a process of acceptance, of action, and letting go. It takes time, but eventually the rubble will move and I as well as you, will see the sun again.”
 – Ali HightowerIMG_5205

I cried reading this because I needed it. I needed it to remind me that everything is going to be okay. [ I tend to let the bad overcome the good when I am my most vulnerable.] It’s really easy to just slide back down the slide and find yourself in a pool of depression. I think being constantly aware and open about how things make me feel has opened up my eyes a lot. To whom I should be surrounded with. I need a lot of positive people in my life right now. I have noticed that I need a lot of people who will help me better and not drag me down and make me start all over again on my healing journey. I need the doers and dreamers. To the go get-ers and adventures. I have slowly let go of the people who name call and just talk so negative about others. Being open and honesty about my journey this past year has opened a lot of new doors to new friendships. I have a new friend that is an adoptive parent, to a few birth moms that I talk to that just well get it. I have a friend who is a blogger and man she and I have so much in common. We get one another. We understand one another when it comes to depression and help one another be better. These new and amazing relationships I would have never have met if I didn’t want to get my hands messy.

This past week was hell. Yet I finally made it back to my feet. The struggle will still be there, every day. The things that keep me going is my son. My relationship with Derrik. My journey of MY TRUTH. My family. These things keep me going.

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I woke up today and I laid in bed while I heard Elijah babbling away. I wanted to roll over and just close my eyes yet instead I got up opened up the curtains, made the bed, got Elijah and we both looked outside and watched the birds swim in the canal and Elijah kept saying “wow, momma wow”. This moment made me see that I needed to let go of what has been bothering my all week long. I took out my frustration on my work out. [I must say I did pretty dang well] while Elijah napped I decided to get dressed up. To actually do my hair and makeup and not half ass it like the previous week. While going through my closet I saw my shirt that I needed today. The one that reminded me today. “Your story isn’t over;” This is so true in so many different ways.

I’m not going to run away from the pain, I’m going to run towards it, get through it, embrace it and make a better strong warrior woman out of me.

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Interviews Part One

Throughout this journey I have met some pretty awesome women, women who are strong in their own way. I had the privilege to interview two birth mothers and one adoptive mother. Each story is different. The interviews are real and honest. Nothing has been modified. All pictures shared are approved and sent personally from each interviewee. I wanted to try something new and different. Interviewing these three lovely ladies has opened my heart to new emotions. I admire each lady for their own reasons. I thank you for believing in me and helping  make this vision come alive. Because of you three I able to share your truths and help others. If it’s helping them on wanting to start to heal, the need of reassurance that adoption is the best choice for them, or helping those see that adoption is the right choice for you and your family. I thank these women for being honest.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live life as you can”

 I have had the pleasure of meeting some pretty strong women. Brina and I are in a Birth mom’s group on Facebook. We have talked a bit and she is also a supporter of  “My Truth Ourunendingjourney” She is back packing around Europe right now. She is on her healing journey to grow mentally and spiritually within herself. She has had the pleasure of seeing her birth son and his beautiful family. They have embraced Brina and welcomed her in their home. I see her updates and the pictures she posts. I see how happy she is right now. That inner bliss has been found. Brina I wish nothing but peace and happiness as you continue your travels and adventures throughout Europe.12248668_10153254873643527_1217514123_n

Your name.
Brina Collins
Describe the day you first found out you were pregnant.
I was overwhelmed. There were so many emotions going through me, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I spent quite a bit of time crying and napping.
What where your thoughts?
I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to take care of a child. I was so broke that I had spent my last $10 on a pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe that I was growing a human.
When did you know you placing was the best choice to make?
I knew that I didn’t want my child to grow up in poverty. There were times in my childhood when we were poor, and I never wanted him to have to sacrifice for me. I wanted him to have an idyllic childhood.
What does being a birth mom mean to you?
Being a birth mom means that I made a choice and I will live with the effects of that choice for the rest of my life. It means that I’ve decided that I need to stay safe and healthy, because I am the only birth mom my son will ever have. I want him to always know how loved he is. It means that even though I don’t have parental responsibilities towards my son, I still choose to be responsible for my role in his life.
What where it still are your fears?
I am still afraid that my son will hate me one day. I know that he’ll have his own thoughts and opinions on adoption, and I will respect those 100%, but it is still scary.
Did you choose your birth child’s name?
Yes!
If so why did you choose that name?
Honestly, it was the only name that I liked with my dad’s middle name. The meaning behind it fits my son so perfectly though.
Is your adoption open or closed?
Very, very, very open.
Do you sometime wish it was open or closed instead?
Never.
What is one piece of advice you wish to share with other birth parents?
Let yourself grieve. It is natural and healing. The only way out of grief is through it.
What is your ultimate wish for your birth child?
I hope that he is happy and safe. I would do anything to make sure of that.

To read Brina’s blog click here:

http://www.reflectionsofabirthmother.com/

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A couple of months ago one of my dear friends had tagged me on a post from Instagram. I fell in love right away, with Ashley. I know this woman as the owner of Big Tough Girl. I looked at her site http://www.bigtoughgirl.org four a couple hours and one thing that sucked me was her definition of a Big Tough Girl
“A Big Tough Girl™ is any WOMAN that can and will maintain the ability to endure, to carry on, to push through without weakening or perishing. SHE is able to go on in the face of pain, loss, discouragement or suffering without being defeated. SHE will continue to move forward without regret, in healing and happiness. SHE has the ability to stand firm in her life, move past her greatest fears, and live an inspired life that shines a positive light for the world to see.”
-Ashley Mitchell, Owner BTG
This here is what I needed, it’s helped me in a lot of ways, especially on pushing myself with my screen tees and blog. I know I’m not famous, I know I don’t make any money off what I doing. I’m lucky to get a sell here and there throughout the week, it’s not that. It’s knowing when someone takes interest in what I’m doing. It’s nice to know I get that little support. If you have time, please check out Ashley’s Site and Blog it’s amazing! It’s honestly the type of girl power, healing, moving forward raw deep read we women need. She has formed a community worth being a part of. A woman I admire for all the right reasons. I’ve never met this woman face to face, yet I know if I do I would embrace her with love and hug the living day lights out of her. I would scream and jump for joy. As I did more digging it turned out that she and I are a part of the same birth mom community on Facebook. How I missed this before kills me to know I could have learned from this woman a year ago. I was intimated to send her a friend request yet I had the courage to do so. When she accepted it really made my week. Her posts are loving, and helps me with my healing. I have never see someone be so open about adoption. So honest. I was scared to reach out to Ashley and interview her, yet something inside me told me should make the time and help support me on my journey to help others.

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Your name.
Ashley Mitchell, Owner Big Tough Girl™

Describe the day you first found out you were pregnant. What where your thoughts?
I think knew that I was pregnant long before I took my test but I was terrified. I couldn’t bring myself to take the test. I prayed day and night that somehow it would just “go away”, that I was going to be able to wake up from this nightmare and I wouldn’t have to face the reality of what was happening. I had to take a test, I had to know for sure, I had to confirm what I knew all along. I was alone, I was so scared and when the test was positive I sat on the bathroom floor in the basement of my parent’s house and wept!

When did you know you placing was the best choice to make?
For me it wasn’t about making the decision to place with 100% confidence. I never had that kind of clarity. For me it was about making the decision and then choosing to live with it every day for the rest of my life. I had a very powerful, terrifying and life changing event that took place at an abortion clinic. When God stepped in and showed his hand then I knew that Adoption was the ONLY option for my son.

What does being a birth mom mean to you?
Motherhood found me differently. When I became a Mother for the first time it was under unplanned circumstances. I always wanted to have a baby…but not like this! I had been dreaming of this moment for so long…but because of choices in my life, at the age of 26 I placed my newborn baby boy in the arms of another woman, one that would be known as mother and that would be with him as his parent. At the age of 26 I became a Birth Mother and my life changed forever!

What were or still are your fears?
My goal in life is to never be fearless. I am grateful for my fear. It protects me of many things. But I pray that I can always move forward in my life and tackle things that I truly have a passion for regardless of what my fear is telling me. I fear many things in this adoption journey. So many things are unknown to me. I don’t have a crystal ball. I fear talking seriously with my children that I parent about my past and who their mother once was, I fear the day that my son that I placed and I get to sit down and deeply and intimately get to talk about choices that I made years ago. I fear that he will never truly know the love in my heart for him, that he has never left me, that I long for him daily. I fear my role in his life…that he may want more than I can ever give. This journey is terrifying.

Did you choose your birth child’s name? If so why did you choose that name?
From the moment I picked the family that would later adopt my son I had to make a shift in my thoughts and emotions. I had to “detach” as much as possible from what was happening. I wanted this to be their baby as much as possible. I asked that they choose a name for him. I never had a name for him picked out, I never needed that for myself. From the moment he was born he was who they wanted him to be. His original birth certificate lists his name with their last name and me as his mother. I think it represents us both beautifully.

Is your adoption open or closed?
We have an open adoption.

Do you sometime wish it was open or closed instead?
There is no off switch to this role of motherhood. I spent years away from them, from him. It was never officially closed but I didn’t hesitate in taking the time I needed to grieve, freak out, be destructive, get burned to the group and to rebuild my life. I am grateful that they forgave so much and allowed me to come back, to build a relationship and that they have loved me through it all. This relationship has changed so much over the years….just like any other relationship in my life it evolves, changes, adjusts, goes through highs and lows and ebbs and flows.

What is one piece of advice you wish to share with other birth parents?
There is life after placement! You have an opportunity to make this experience whatever you want to make it. It will make or break you…and sometimes it does a little bit of both. Feel everything you need to feel, allow yourself to grieve and don’t be afraid to go after what you want. There is no manual. Do what you feel is best for YOU. No journey is the same. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the comparisons. Please know that you are NOT alone. This is hard, it usually gets worse before it gets better but the outcome is UP TO YOU!

What is your ultimate wish for your birth child?
He is a magical kid. I am so humbled and honored to be the one that gave him life. He has an amazing family that is helping him life it. I pray daily for him. That he will continue to grow in love and support. That his heart will remain open to all the information and adjustments that he will experience in his life. That he will always want to know me and spend time with me…but if not that he always knows of my love for him. That he is patient with me in his desires for a relationship and that he continues to walk in his amazing heart for forgiveness.11900032_677653422370036_4959656932628610311_n (1)

 

Erika was on my last post. She wrote a kind, heart felt loving letter to her birth mom who placed her daughter. The letter was short and sweet. These words have stayed with me since I read her letter.
“I wish I could tell you how grateful I am for Jayde. You gave her to us. You kept her healthy, and I could never thank you enough for that. I promise that John and I will be the best parents we can be to her and I promise to always remind her that you loved her. I promise to help make her proud of who she is, and her story.”
Erika’s story is a beautiful and sad one at the same time. She has opened up my eyes. That yes one set of parents may be dealing with a loss, yet another is gifted with a blessing. She has been so open about her adoption process. She has showed me the losses she had to go through with her husband. Yet one thing I admire is how humble they are. The loving hearts they have. She has never met me face to face only through Facebook and the Military support group we are a part of.  Yet the love she have given me is one thing I didn’t think I would get from another adoptive parent. I have been so stuck on how painful it is for birthparent’s. I lost sight of how hard it must be for those who end up adopting. We see them as our saving grace, our angles. Ones that we put our trust into to raise, to love, to protect, to teach, to adventure with our birth children. I noticed we sometimes [ I ] forget that adoptive parents have gone through losses as well. Having miscarriages, to still born babies. I forget the pain and sadness that’s in their eyes as well. The friendship Erika and I are forming is a slow and beautiful one. I noticed that we are opening each other’s eyes on so many things. We live three hours away and how I long to meet her and hug her when the day and time is right for the both of us. The connection I have with her is special and beautiful all on its own.

Your name.
Erika
How long did you try to have a family and realized adoption was the best path for you and your husband?
4 years. We lost 2 babies, did tons of testing and it just never happened. We decided to become foster parents (hoping we’d be lucky enough to adopt). Our first placement was Jayde! It was fate. She was meant to meet us and we were meant to be her parents. Adoption honestly intimidated me because I was nervous to be shot down or not chosen. I was also nervous that I wouldn’t be able to connect with a child that wasn’t mine, but I knew that whatever was meant to happen would! Adoption was our way to start a family, I wouldn’t let fear keep us from that.

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Do you feel like you failed sometimes?
I feel like I failed all the times, even now. My body failed. It’s meant to carry children and it can’t do that. I think I’ll always have a little feeling of failure when it comes to that. But I’m extremely happy with where this journey took us.
Is your family supportive of you and your husband choosing adoption?
Our families are SO supportive thank goodness. I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to bond with them, but my family and my husband’s family are in love with Jayde. I don’t think they could love her more than they do. I’m so grateful to have their support with this because they knew how badly we wanted to be parents.
Did you ever feel pressured to keep trying?
I 100% always felt pressured to keep trying. Mainly by myself. My husband told me time and time again that he’d be fine with no kids if it meant keeping our sanity. Infertility does that to you, it drives you mad! I wanted to experience pregnancy and I still do. But in the end all I really wanted was to be a mommy! So I’m thankful I get to be one.
Did you ever want to back out once you got in the process of adopting?
Not even once! Especially when we found out about Jayde and then met her. I just knew instantly she was mine. I have never been so overwhelmed with love like that. I never knew it could come too easily and so naturally with a child that wasn’t biologically yours.
Is your adoption closed or opened?
We actually have no idea who her birth parents are! Which is good and bad in our case. Bad because we have no idea any of her health history, and we wish we could’ve had a bond with the birthmother. Good because it has made adopting from foster care an easier process.
Did you choose your adoptive child’s name? If so why that name?
We did choose her name! Our daughter came into foster care with no name, so she had to go by Jane Doe. Which we absolutely hate! Her name is Evalina Jayde! Evalina means Life! (She goes by Jayde) I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than that in our situation.
What is your one wish to your birth parent?
I wish I could thank them, and tell them how happy our little girl is. I also wish that they this decision put their life in a better direction if that’s what they wanted.
What is your piece of advice to those who can’t have children yet fear the thought of adoption?
Adoption is incredible. I never thought it would be a part of our journey but I’m so grateful it came into our path. You CAN and WILL love that child as your own, sometimes you may even have to remind yourself they didn’t come from you biologically! I have never been so happy in my life and everything we’ve gone through truly did lead us to Jayde. She couldn’t be more perfect for us if we had made her ourselves.

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To read about Erika’s journey as being an adoptive parent you can read her blog here: http://dayswithjayde.blogspot.com

Stay tuned for Part Two. As I get the strength and courage to put together the interviews of loved ones that went through my pregnancy and adoption process with me. 

A letter from an adoptive mom.

Throughout the past month and half I have met an adoptive mom online from a support group that I am apart of. To be exact this is a group of women who all have a significant other that has been or is in the service. We talk about home life, to what to wear to the ball, to what its like being a mom. Life in general. 

I came across this woman who shared her story about being in the process of adoption with her husband. Her story shed light to mine. It made me see that I and other birth parents were not the only ones that have pain, have trouble healing, trouble moving on, or better yet have that piece of mind that our birth children are loved and treated well daily. The feeling or regrets and doubt we may tend to have even if we want to admit it or not.

This letter Erika wrote, is short, heart warming, and brought tears to my eyes. The connection I have with her is different then many can imagine. We are slowly forming a friendship that is odd that some would say. We are helping one another cope, heal, understand, and move forward. Talking to her the few times that I have has made such a difference in my life in so many ways.11390087_10153395727022640_6449644350039714716_n

Her letter:

Dear Birthmom,
I honestly don’t even know how to start this off besides saying thank you a million times. What you did was so courageous and shows me that you must’ve been a strong woman. I hope Jayde inherits that trait from you. Everyone who knows Jayde’s story is sad for what you did, but I tell them “It is not by any means a sad thing. Her Birthmom loved her enough to give her a better life.” I don’t know what your circumstances were that caused you to choose this path, but I commend you for making this tough choice. I wish I could tell you how grateful I am for Jayde. You gave her to us. You kept her healthy, and I could never thank you enough for that. I promise that John and I will be the best parents we can be to her and I promise to always remind her that you loved her. I promise to help make her proud of who she is, and her story. I promise to love her as my own. I promise to never let a day go by without telling her I love her. Although we may not know who you are, I will forever have a connection with you. The greatest gift in our life was given to us by you. There is no way “Thank you” will ever be enough. So just know that Jayde will be given the best life possible, and she will be loved forever. You will always be in my heart, and I hope you think of us too. 
Sincerely,
One very happy mommy. 
For more of Erika’s story you can read her blog here:

Believe

Believe

About a month ago my aunt had asked me if I would make a few tops for my cousins. I simply said “YES”! I was happy and filled with so much joy that she had an interest in what I was doing. That she BELIEVED in me. I asked her what she wanted. She simply said, Believe.IMG_4129

It got me thinking long and hard about this word. It didn’t click much with me at all. It didn’t mesh very well. I needed to believe in myself, because I simply wanted to be unstoppable. I want to be fearless, I want to be strong, and I want to be successful. I want to be free.

Even though we are miles away, we still have a strong bond. A bond I know in my heart is hard to break. She just gets it. She gets me, she understands that I am broken in some areas, yet she always embraces me. She simply loves me. I guess in other words you can say she believes. It took me to do a lot of self-healing and accepting that my aunt did the best she could when she could. She held my hand during my whole pregnancy with Ava. She herself embraced Ava and loves her more than anyone will ever know. She wanted to take the time to be a part of my messy yet beautiful life. She supported me and all of me even if she didn’t agree with everything I did, or how I saw things.

Growing up she always would tell me

“Do what is right Sammie, not what is easy”IMG_4155

In my heart I knew what was ‘right’ and what was ‘easy’. My heart told me another while my mind tried to take over and try to feed me lies. I slowly believed the lies, I let them control my emotions, I let the lies control me. Yet it took getting my hands messy once again and put my boots on because I was going to get dirty, I was going to get messy. I was ready to dig deep and face the pain. I was ready to feel those raw emotions and let them sink in. I want to feel love, joy, happiness, and believe in myself! I was ready. I am still am!

Going through fonts with my aunt, making this top become alive was truly fun. I’m happy that her and I have a top that we can call our ‘’own’’ and share it with one another. For I have learned its not the miles that separate us from one another, it’s the commitment we want to put forward. It’s the effort we show. The little reminders of “I believe in you” or “I’m so proud of you” is what helps me know I’m doing the right thing, not what is easy.  
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“You are braver that you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Top: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ourunendingjourney

Confidence

The past couple weeks I have been in the zone. In the zone of working, being a mom, getting my Etsy shop all in line, managing to keep the home all together ( cooking, cleaning, being the best SO I can be, typical home life).

My confidence within myself I have noticed has grown stronger. I’m now at a point where I have found to love all my lines. All my curves. All my stretch marks and be happy with who I am. With how I look like. I’m not just getting stronger physically. I’m getting stronger mentally. IMG_3644

I have battled with a bit of insecure people the past couple of weeks, trying to make my mind, body and soul weaker. Yet I now see that I need to walk with people who believe in me, who support me and give me the unconditional love I need not just to survive, yet to walk taller as a person. To have the CONFIDENCE.

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“You are either as beautiful or as ugly you believe you are. You define your beauty. That’s not the power you hand to someone to have over you. You alone are beautiful. You alone make a difference. You alone are worthy.”