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11
Oct

What Makes My Open Adoption Work – Thoughts from a Birth Mother

My Unique Situation

My situation is rather unique. I had my son for six months before choosing adoption and placing him with his parents. I had a very rough six months and when I finally got honest with myself about my situation, it was apparent that adoption was the best option for my son and I. My son deserved to have things that I wasn’t able to provide, and I felt strongly that I wanted him to have two parents in the household. I wanted him to have opportunities and his own home with a healthy family.

The adoption agency that I choose set me up with four profiles, and I soon as I saw the smiles of the couple I choose, I just felt in my heart as if they were always meant to be his parents. My adoption agent set up a meeting the next day and it was amazing. I didn’t know my son’s parents before placing him up for adoption. I had offers from friends and family members to take him, but it was crucial to me that he have his own life separate from myself and his birth family. I wanted adoption to mean more love for my son, not more drama. If I had chosen a family member to take my son, I knew that it would have created chaos within his life as there is just too much dysfunction in my family.

Transparency

From the start, I was open with my son’s parents about wanting the adoption to be open, and while the openness agreement is not legally binding, I knew it needed to be respected for the sake of my son. I was also transparent about wanting to slowly transition from a custodial parent to more of a birth parent role. Therefore, I had frequent contact with my son that lessened over the first two years of placement. I saw him every couple of months until I was comfortable not seeing my son as frequently. My son’s parents also communicated a need with me around the same time that they really needed more space.

Transitional Challenge

It was very difficult for me to transition from being a custodial parent to a birth parent. I had breastfed my son for the six months that I had him and our bond was incredibly strong. Of course, he now has a phenomenal bond with his parents and I am a much more mature and healthy woman. While the transition was difficult, our ability to adapt, change and grow is stunning regardless of what we go through as human beings.

My openness agreement includes pictures and updates every six months, and I speak with my son on holidays. In reality, we keep to the openness agreement as much as we are able to, but sometimes other needs arise. For example, some holidays are rough for me, as they can be with anyone, and I may need to postpone a phone call because I want to protect my son. When those events occur, my son’s parents absolutely understand and we usually wait a few days to a week for a quick phone call. There are also situations in which I find myself really missing my son, and I just need to hear his voice. When I’m really finding it difficult to have peace within my spirit regarding this, I let my son’s parents know and they schedule a phone call. This happens less and less frequently these days, as my adoption went through six years ago and it is much easier now.

Healing is for Everyone

Healing goes all ways. For a birth mother, healing is about transition from a role as a parent to the role of a birth parent. For adoptive parents, I’m sure there are struggles with bonding with the child, balancing becoming new parents, and learning how to navigate the relationship with a birth parent. I don’t think adoption is the easy choice. There are milestones for everyone to overcome. Most importantly though is the well-being of the child.

Everything I do and everything my son’s parents do in our relationship is ultimately to benefit our son. That beautiful boy deserves the best he can have and love beyond words. Of course, I am biased in this statement. The truth is, I believe that every child deserves the best and that it is up to parents to make sure they are providing everything in their power to sow into the spirit, heart, and life of a child.

I focus on healing and trying to achieve balance within the realm of being a birth mother. My son’s parents want me to have contact with our son as well. They also navigate the waters and sometimes we all tread lightly as we grow and learn about the needs of one another.

This brings me to the reason my open adoption works so smoothly: My son’s parents and I respect one another.

It’s all about respect.

  • Respecting boundaries.
    • About four years ago, my son’s parents communicated a need to start working on more of a transition with me into less contact. We had been having frequent contact via phone and email, and they were starting to feel overwhelmed. Upon first hearing this, I was incredibly upset. I felt like they were trying to take something away from me. After some time went by, and I reflected upon their request, I realized that it was perfectly reasonable. Ultimately, they had to set a boundary regarding their own needs so that they could be better parents. Parenting doesn’t mean sacrificing your own well-being at the expense of a child’s life, but learning your own limits and taking care of yourself so that you can give that child everything that you are able to. My son’s parents needed to take care of themselves, and they were asking me to respect that.
  • Respecting their ways of parenting.
    • I have what I would consider a fairy tale adoption. I agree with the way that my son is being parented for as much as I am privy to know about. They teach him good manners, help him to perform well in school, practice discipline, and love him immensely. Most importantly, he is being raised with faith. Yet, when I signed over my right to be a custodial parent, I also signed over my right to act as a custodial parent. Even if my son’s parents make decisions that I don’t necessarily agree with, it is not my place to try and correct them. Respecting the decision I made means respecting how they choose to parent. As long as my son is being taken care of and his needs are provided for, the rest is their business, not mine.
  • Respecting my needs.
    • As I stated earlier, there are times outside of holidays when I just need to hear my son’s voice, or send him a gift package, or touch base with his mother. When these times arise, and I am sure that I can handle it, I communicate that need. Every time, and it is not often, that this has happened my son’s parents have respected the request.
  • Respecting communication.
    • The way that I communicate with my son’s parents is email, phone, and text message. Sometimes they only text me short messages and other times my son’s mother will send me an email. This goes both ways. The way that communication is handled is dependent upon the open adoption arrangement and the relationships that have been built. While our relationship is always changing and growing, we respect the way that we communicate with each other. Not only that, but we make sure that we keep the lines of communication open. Whether one of us needs more space or less space, this must be communicated and then it must be respected.
  • Respecting the openness agreement.
    • The bond that keeps our relationship growing is the openness agreement. No matter what I am going through in my life, or how busy they might be as well, my son’s parents always send me pictures and updates every six months. This way, even when life happens and gets crazy, we all can have peace of mind that there is communication.
  • Respecting each individual.
    • The most important form of respect in open adoption, in my opinion, is just having a general respect for people. My son’s parents are not saints and neither am I. We all make mistakes, we all learn as we develop and mature, and people have a tendency to change over time. As long as there is respect for the individuals involved in an open adoption, then it will make everything flow in a wonderful way.

We All Play a Role

My role is to be a birth mother. I am here for my son and his parents if they ever need anything. In the meantime, I live my life and walk a path of healing. My son’s role is to just enjoy his childhood and he has parents who love him and guide him every step of the way. We are all people navigating our way through this thing called life. As long as we treat each other with respect, my open adoption remains strong and beautiful.

~Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

 

28
Sep

Why Open Adoption is Important to Birth Mothers

Open Adoption “Open adoption is an opportunity to build enormous bridges to families beyond your reach.” – Kristen Gerald

Open adoption is so important to me. It’s just as important to me now, six years after my son’s adoption, as it was in the beginning of the adoptive relationship. The question is: why is having an open adoption important to me? Having an open adoption means I stay connected with my child. Just because I made a decision not to parent every day doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a relationship with my child. I also believe that us having a relationship is better for him as well in the long run.

Open for All of Us

The main reason that I chose an open adoption was because I didn’t want my child to have questions as he was growing up that would go unanswered. I didn’t want him to be confused about where he came from, or why he ended up where he did. I wanted him to be able to grow up in an environment that fully supported him being able to develop an identity based on security, trust and love. Having an open adoption means I can help offer him and his parents clarity as he grows up and has questions. There is more than enough love between all of us to satisfy his needs, and I haven’t disappeared from his life. I didn’t abandon him; I just play a different role in his life than his parents do.

“Adoptive parents, child, birth mother, siblings, extended adoptive family, extended birth family—the more love we give, the more we receive.” – Jeanette Green

Open Comfort

I’ll be honest, open adoption brings me comfort knowing that my son is doing well where he is now. When I get to talk to him and hear how happy he is, it gives me peace of mind and continues to encourage me to live my life. It’s a way for me to know that my son is safe and well taken care of, which was all I ever wanted for him. I love the pictures and the updates. I am proud of my son and who he is turning into. I also am proud of his parents for raising such a precious child. He wouldn’t be doing so exceptionally well if it weren’t for them.

More importantly though is my main reason for choosing openness: my son. I have heard too many stories about children feeling abandoned by their parents because they were in a closed adoption. I knew people who were adopted and went searching for their birth parents, only to find them many years later. I desire to be accessible at any time for my son. Whenever he needs me, I am here. I am not his adoptive parents, but I am his birth mother and I take that role very seriously.

*Closed Adoption Note

I want to mention that sometimes closed adoptions are the best option. When a child’s safety is at risk, or it is just the wishes of the adoptive and birth parents, then closed adoption may be the wisest choice. I mention this because I believe in what’s best ultimately for the child, whether it is open or closed adoption. My experience is with open adoption, and when it is an option, I advocate for it.

What Openness Really Does

I see adoption as a way to change roles and extend a family. I did not place my child up for adoption so I could get out of my responsibilities associated with becoming pregnant. It wasn’t a decision I made out of maturity or grief. I genuinely made the decision for open adoption because I love my son, and I want him to have the best he is able to out of life. So doesn’t that mean knowing where he came from as well and having access to his entire family instead of being cut off from me?

“Our family is like a big beautiful patchwork quilt. Each of us different yet stitched together by love!” – Unknown Author

I have learned my boundaries over time. There are times when I need more contact, and times when my son’s parents need less contact. He isn’t at the age yet in which he fully comprehends where he came from. Interacting with me from time to time will make it much easier when it’s time for him to truly understand the role that I play in his life. I believe fully that his parents will do an incredible job explaining to him how he was birthed out of love, and given to them because of even more love than is almost possible.

I believe that an open adoption is a way to teach a child more about how much love they actually have in their lives. Don’t we all want that for our children?

Benefits of Open Adoption for the Triad

  • Adoptive Parents
    • You will know the medical history and other history that you may be interested in for your child. In a closed adoption, this information is not always made available. In open adoption, as the child grows and you have questions about genetics, your questions with be answered.
    • You have an extension of family for your child. Your child will benefit from having so much love in his or her life as you express that love.
    • You can be open with your child about where he or she came from, and how that child was chosen twice: by their birth parent and by you. You made a choice to love that child and you can express that openly as well as expressing that the choice the birth parent made was out of love as well.
    • There is so much more love to give to your child with open adoption!
  • Adoptee
    • The child will have all of his or her questions answered, especially the big ones. The child won’t be left confused, wondering where he or she came from and where their birth parent/s is/are.
    • The child will have so much love from so many family members that they will grow up nourished and appreciated. Feeling loved will provide self-esteem, security, and a greater faith in their spirituality as they grow up.
    • What child doesn’t like to show off pictures of themselves and know that there are others outside of the immediate home who truly value what and how they are doing in life?
    • There is so much more love available to the child with open adoption!
  • Birth Mother/Birth Father
    • The grief process will be much easier, as what will be grieved is a specific role rather than a relationship. A mother changing her relationship with her child is a transition. A mother saying goodbye to her child is a loss.
    • Having an impact of love and being able to provide important history information will make a birth parent feel special and like they are still a crucial part of the child’s life, even if it is a different role than what the adoptive parents play.
    • There is still an outlet for a birth mother to love her child through an open adoption by giving gifts, receiving pictures and updates, and whatever else the open agreement entails.
    • There is somewhere to pour out all of that motherly and instinctual love!

Open adoption provides something incredibly special: Love.

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

19
Sep

5 Ways to Help a Birth Mother Heal After Placement

  1. Together We are Motherhood Quote SmallerCommunicate with Me

Let me know how the child is doing after placement. Keep me updated on his emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental status with updates when agreed upon. I not only want to know WHAT he is doing, but HOW he is doing.

“Making an open adoption work requires commitment to ongoing relationships, despite their ups and downs. While adoptive family and birth family relationships may seem awkward at first, over time the involved individuals typically become more comfortable.” – Child Welfare Information Gateway

  1. Keep Your Original Openness Agreement

Don’t shut me out when things get hard. We can communicate and work together by staying open with each other.

“Ultimately, open adoption is in the best interests of the child. Maintaining a relationship with a child’s birth family can be immensely rewarding for adoptive parents, although it can also be challenging sometimes—like parenting, it may be the hardest, best job you will ever have. Birth parents often live in complicated circumstances. Some are leading happy, full lives; some are struggling with the grim realities of living in poverty or other difficult issues. Sometimes adoptive parents are afraid that younger children will be frightened or harmed by the complexity of their birth parents’ lives, but in fact the children are more likely to learn acceptance of a complex situation if they can see their adoptive parents model it, instead of being left to figure out a “taboo” subject on their own. Open adoption works best for adoptive parents if they always return to the central belief that what matters is what is best for their child, not only in the present but in the future—and it is likely that will always involve as much information and knowledge as possible.” – PactAdopt.org

  1. Tell Me You Love Me and Appreciate Me

Loneliness is something that can be curbed by knowing that you appreciate me and love me for the sacrifice that I have made and the gift that I have given.

“By choice, we have become a family, first in our hearts, and finally in breath and being. Great expectations are good; great experiences are better.” – Richard Fischer

  1. Focus on The Child

Take care of that child with all of your spirit and soul. Ultimately, that’s what I need in order to be able to heal. My decision to place that beautiful child and your decision to care for that beautiful child is what binds us. That is our first priority, no matter what.

  1. My Healing is My Responsibility

Understand that while I may have needs and desires, it is not your responsibility to heal me, only to help me at times feel connected.

“Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” – Ephesians 3:17

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

14
Sep

Have Faith in Your Child’s Birth Mother

Have Faith in Your Child's Birth MotherI made a conscious, thought out choice to put my son up for adoption. I also made sure that I chose his parents wisely. That’s right, I chose my son’s parents. The family was not forced upon me, the decision was not made for me, I was actively engaged along every step of the way. I have an open adoption, and voluntarily placed my son up for adoption. My son’s parents know that I chose them. I know that they value that gift. I want to share some insight into that relationship and encourage adoptive parents to know they are valued, and respected for the gift that adoptive parents give to a birth mother.

Side Note

I want to mention a few things about my son’s parents:

  • They face stigma as well, and I believe that we should all be sensitive to that. Yet, we have had open conversations about the stigma that I face as well.
  • We have a very open communication style and that was established at the beginning of our relationship.
  • Our level of communication has been adjusted as time has gone by, and while they maintain openness with me, we still have boundaries set up. This has been a learning process on both ends. What works for one open relationship may not work for another.

In general, I have found many similar lessons that have been learned to be present in other open adoption relationships between birth parents and adoptive parents.

I Made a Choice

I know that there are many emotions tied to adoption, especially in the beginning of the process and the transition of a new life for all parties involved. However, no matter how hard it was for me, I never wanted my son “back”. I say this because I have heard that people ask these questions, and have experienced them personally. I have never seen my son as a piece of property that I was transferring in exchange for something else. In my eyes, his life is a blessing and a gift, and I never have nor will I ever take that lightly.

I know that there are insecurities about birth mothers until the adoption process is finalized, but please try not to feel insecure. If you have a bad experience with a mother who changed her mind, remember, the right child is out there for you and the right birth mother is out there for you too. Trust me when I tell you, once a birth mother, or any mother, has made up her mind for what is best for her child, nothing will stand in her way of taking care of it.

Reciprocated Transparency

My son’s parents know this because we established transparency of all parties at the beginning of our relationship. I think this is so crucial in a birth mother choosing a family, and that family responding to that birth mother. Transparency will allow for a trust to be built in an open adoption relationship. Don’t hold anything back from that birth mother, and once she see’s who you really are, and has fallen in love with you, you have nothing to feel insecure about.

In my situation, I transferred custody of my son to his parents before the adoption was even close to being finalized. We had a transparent relationship that allowed for them to trust that I was firm in my decision. While I’m sure they were scared and felt insecure, they took a leap of faith, and it was worth it for all parties involved, especially for my son.

Listen to Your Heart

If you have concerns about the birth parent you are working with, please bring those concerns to the attention of the adoption agent that you are working with. They work closely with the birth mother, and will be able to help you. If your gut instinct tells you that something isn’t right about the situation, then don’t ignore it. While you may want to be parents, you may find that the fit you are in isn’t the best. And trust me when I tell you that waiting a little longer to find the perfect fit is better in the long run for all parties involved, especially that beautiful child.

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

31
Aug

Tips for Bonding with Your Child’s Birth Parents

Bonding with Birth ParentsBonding with my son’s mother has come more naturally to me at certain times, and felt more difficult at other times. There were times that I felt insecure about bonding with her because I was afraid of what she might think of me. I think I realized that she was fearful of the same thing. You see, people are people, no matter what role they play in life. Whether you are a birth mother or an adoptive parent, you are still human. Human beings get fearful and insecure about what others might think of them. We may second guess actions that we take or words that we speak. Confidence doesn’t come easy for the fallible human being. Therefore, bonding with a birth parent may feel like a challenge.

Insecurity

What do I say? How do I act? What do I share? What do I keep to myself? These are questions rooted in insecurity that I have experienced in different relationships. These questions are not specific to the birth mother and adoptive mother relationship. In my experience, these questions and insecurities arise in many relationships I have been involved in. It’s not about who you are talking to though. I believe it is where you are talking from.

My son’s mother spoke from her heart, and I spoke form my heart and that is how we bonded. There was no façade or dance regarding how we would act towards one another. I wasn’t looking for a woman to put on a show for me. I was looking for a woman who would share her heart with me. I knew that I needed someone who could love my son as much as I did, and the only way I would be able to identify that was by looking at her heart.

Even though bonding has been challenging at times, I never felt as if I was forcing a relationship with my son’s mother. I think that forcing a relationship may be an indicator that the relationship isn’t meant to be. We should never have to force a personal and intimate relationship with another person.

Be Yourself

My suggestion to adoptive parents who are trying to bond with their child’s birth parents is this: Be yourself. Joining a family together through adoption isn’t about swooping the child up and walking away from his or her parents. It’s about creating an extension of family where you can all come together through one common bond: your love for that child.

If you are looking for some topics to discuss with your child’s birth parent, here are some suggestions:

  • What are some activities that you see that child getting involved with and how will you help that child by encouraging him or her to try those activities? Sports? Dance? Mathletes?
  • When was it first put on your heart that adoption was the way to go for you and how can you express a knowing that this is the right child for your family?
  • What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations as an individual and as a parent?
  • What are your core belief systems and how do you try to carry those beliefs out on your daily life?

If you begin to discuss these topics from your heart with the birth parents you are looking to connect with, my prayer is that they will be receptive and open up with you as well. My relationship as a birth mother with my son’s parents is very intimate and special. That relationship has developed and adapted over time to become a closer connection. We have learned about each other’s hearts, boundaries, and desires.

Don’t Give Up

If you find that the birth parents or birth mother cannot seem to bond with you, but you are confident that the child was meant to be with you, be sensitive to why that bonding isn’t occurring. Consider that birth parents experience tremendous amounts of grief, guilt, and shame at times. They also may be feeling insecure about how they should interact with you. I know that there have been times I second-guessed myself with my son’s parents because I was feeling insecure.

I think that the desire to bond with your child’s birth parents is admirable, honorable, and crucial in the success of such a relationship. If bonding isn’t happening, perhaps it is one of two things. Either this isn’t the relationship you may be looking for, or the birth parents are feeling incredibly insecure and are not at a place where they are able to express intimacy through bonding. My suggestion is to not give up on creating that bond. If your heart truly desires a bond, and birth parents see that, there is always hope.

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

17
Aug

A Birth Mother’s Guide to Manners

Emily PostMy grandmother believes in traditional Southern values, manners, and Emily Post. One year, for Christmas, she actually bought me “The Girls Guide to Manners.” I was raised to be polite and sensitive, and to try to be sincere. I understand that “how are you” and “do you have children” are questions that come from a genuine place of attempting to be polite. I am ever so grateful for my grandmother’s influence in my ability to behave according to social standards.

We Are Evolving

However, society has evolved and the old niceties have a new twist. The nuclear family is no longer the norm in our society and blended families are much more prevalent and accepted than they were in the past. Therefore, a simple polite question has turned into a loaded question. Consider if you really want to know how someone is doing before you ask them, because these days, you might actually get the truth. Manners are not about superficial niceties anymore. Manners are about genuine concern for others.

5 Topics of Etiquette When Engaging with a Birth Mother

  1. “Do you have children?” It’s like asking someone “How are you?” Sometimes people really want to know how you are doing, but most of the time, it is just someone attempting to have nice manners. Most inquirers are looking for a simple answer, but birth mothers do not have simple answers to what seems like such a loaded question at times. Please, do not ask this question to women unless you really want to know the answer. Be sincere when you ask someone, “How are you?” And be sincere when you ask someone if they have children.
  2. Please, don’t share your negative viewpoints on adoption with me. This typically comes from misunderstanding. Lack of education on certain topics does wonders to breed ignorance and seems to almost give people permission to pass judgement. If you don’t understand it, don’t judge it.
  3. I think that most people believe adoption is a great thing in general. They consider it the alternative to abortion, or they believe in personal choices and empowerment.  Each of these mind sets seems to be sweet on the surface, but on the root level, they come from places of complete misunderstanding about what it means to be a birth mother. Having an abortion and placing a baby for adoption come from two completely different schools of thought regarding the value of a woman’s body and the value of the life of a child. Being a birth mother, and making that decision to place a child for adoption is about genuinely loving that child. It has nothing to do with anything else except, what I consider, pure love.
  4. Things I wouldn’t say to a birth mother have to do with the assumption that people make about being a birth mother. Don’t say things to me that are based on your own negative assumptions and stereotypes of what it means to be a birth mother. Don’t assume that I was “too young” or “too dumb” or “too uneducated” or “ill-prepared” to be a mother. Don’t look at me as if you pity me. Don’t ask me intimate questions about my situation if we don’t have an intimate relationship in which those questions are appropriate. For example, don’t ask me why I did it. I think this is the biggest thing. Why we do things are our business. My adoption story is personal, and so is every other birth mother’s story.
  5. When you ask a biological mother if she has children, and she has custody of them, and the typical answer is, “Yes, I have three children.” I don’t think that most people think to ask, “Why did you have those children?” “Was it planned?” So if I wouldn’t ask a mother who has her children that question, why would I ask a mother who doesn’t have her children that question? In my mind, a mother is mother. How she got there or what her circumstances are, that’s her business.

So if the question is, “What shouldn’t you ask/say to a birth mother?” The simple answer is: don’t ask questions that are personal in nature if you don’t really want an honest answer and don’t say things based on negative assumptions you may have about adoption and birth mothers. As far as what you should say, perhaps a simple, “That’s wonderful.” If you don’t know what else to say, leave it at that. Please, be sincere and show me respect because I am a mother, no matter what “type” of mother I am.

~Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

3
Aug

Understanding a Birth Mother’s Grief

Birthmother Grief

I didn’t understand what I was going through at the time, but through research, counseling, and my healing path, I have realized something crucial: I have moved through the grief process when it comes from transitioning from having the role of a custodial parent to the role of being a birth mother. I want to explain how I walked through the grief process in hopes that it will give adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents insight into what a birth mother may go through, be going through, or have gone through.

  1. Denial

I couldn’t face my emotions. It wasn’t the decision of choosing adoption that was scaring me, it was how I felt about the transition of my role. I couldn’t process or understand all of the emotions. I had to shut off the feelings for a while in order to move forward. I had to keep moving forward, but I didn’t know how to do that with all of the feelings that I was experiencing.

“It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.”

  1. Anger

I felt like I had lost everything. I faced consequences of my decision by being disowned by loved ones, betrayed by those I trusted, and I felt like I was lost. My role as a custodial parent was gone, along with those I cared about. I was angry at my situation and channeled my emotions of pain into feelings of anger because, at the time, it was the only emotion that I could handle.

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.”

  1. Depression

I eventually began disappearing into myself. I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore of losing the role as custodial parent. The reality began hitting me of all of the things I wouldn’t experience as my role transitioned. I wasn’t regretting my decision, and I think that is crucial to mention. None of these stages were about regret. Depression was about facing the reality of how I felt, and it began to swallow me.

“Just as night is followed by day, so too your dark times will be followed by brighter days ahead.” – Karen Salmanohn

  1. Bargaining

I would say this was the most difficult stage for me. I didn’t want to change my situation due to regret, but I desperately wanted to change my feelings of grief. I didn’t want to face the loneliness and confusion I was feeling and I pleaded with God to relieve me of the pain.

“The bargaining stage is characterized by attempting to negotiate with a higher power or someone or something you feel, whether realistically or not, that has some control over the situation.”

  1. Acceptance

My prayers were answered from the bargaining stage. All of the sudden, the grief and pain began to evolve into the true realization: I was a birth mother. I had finally begun accepting that role and letting go of the old role that I played as the custodial parent. I can say in confidence today that I love being a birth mother. I love my son. I love his parents. It was the best choice, and it is still the best choice.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 66:9

I remember the day that I transferred custody of my son. As I watched his parents drive away with him, I broke down bawling and fell to the floor. My heart was broken into a million tiny pieces. Yet, it was bittersweet.  I logically and intuitively knew I was doing the right thing, but it doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt like hell. My point is this: Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean that I regret it.

~Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

20
Jul

Long Story, Short – A Birth Mother’s Journey

Loving young mother holding her newborn baby boy

Long story short, I was a mother for six months. I was excellent at it. I breastfed, paid attention to his vaccination schedule, and practiced attachment parenting. I also worked full-time one hour away, had almost no money left after paying an amazing nanny, and did not get more than four hours of sleep per night.

Overjoyed, Yet All Alone

I will never forget waddling into one of my last courses as undergraduate seven months pregnant. I had to bring a pillow with me to sit on because the chairs were so uncomfortable at that stage in my pregnancy. I can’t believe I aced my coursework.  School was my life, and I have always excelled at it.

I was so in love with my son’s biological father. He had deep brown eyes, a smile that would make you melt, he was tall and he was 10 years older than me. I also remember paying for all of my own medical bills, fighting with him all the time, and him using drugs. I will never forget the text messages he used to send me after I stopped seeing him. And how excited he was to have another son, then how badly he left me alone while we were talking.

My pregnancy was so difficult and I could barely make it into work every day. I was on government assistance and could barely afford to pay the medical bills. But I was going to graduate college with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. I was going to be a mother. I had friends and family gathered around me.  Everything was going to be okay.

Labor was amazing. I labored alone for hours, and had my son 20 minutes after arriving at the nearest hospital. My son latched onto my breast within 30 minutes of being born and slept with me in our hospital bed. Two people came to visit us. He barely slept. I barely slept. There was so much crying from both of us. I was all alone.

A Devine Miracle

You see, with the good comes the bad. Unfortunately in my situation, the hard times were just too hard. I had been made promises of support that went unfulfilled upon the time of collection. I couldn’t survive financially even though I was working full-time. I realize now that my son must have had some allergies or colic, because he cried so often at night and we barely slept. I was beyond exhausted, and all alone.

I decided to put my son up for adoption when I was pregnant; I just didn’t realize it until he was six months old and I consciously made the choice to follow through with the plan. My family was beside themselves. My friends didn’t know what to say to me. Yet, no one would listen to me when I told them how much I was struggling. They would just shrug it off, or not respond.

I was 22 years old when I put my son up for adoption. I had a Bachelor’s degree. I was am amazing mother.

My son’s parents weren’t actually registered and accepted into my adoption agency until my son was two months old. If I had made the decision when I was pregnant and put him up at birth, he would have never found his way home. Everything happens with purpose, and God works out for the good all things for those who love Him.  I was so angry for so long, yet a divine miracle took place regardless.

Meant to Be

I am now 29 years old. I have a Master of Art’s in Organizational Management. I’m working on publishing my first book titled, “How a Birth Mom Healed.” I got married two years ago. I see my son and speak to him as I am involved in an open adoption. I have the opportunity to help other birth mothers and birth parents heal through my writing. I have recovered from severe bouts of depression and hopelessness. I have sought counseling, stress relieving tools, coping skills, and various other methods of healing which I still use to this day and share with others. I have an incredible life. My son is healthy, happy, and loved. He is home with his parents where he belongs. I believe they were always meant to be his parents, and I was the vessel God used to get him there. I’m always here for my son and I always will be. He has an incredible life.

Adoption is beautiful no matter what circumstances you come from or how amazing your life may seem. To all adoptive parents out there: don’t give up. There is a birth mother out there for you. I’m so grateful that my son’s parents never gave up, or he and I would have never found the amazing lives that we have now. Thank you to my son’s parents for making our lives what they were always meant to be.

– Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

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