I have been on this journey of motherhood for over 20 years and every single day I find a new reason to be grateful for the open adoptions that I had. I blog to tell people my story, my thoughts, my trials, my heartaches, my pride and my joys. I have an incredibly positive outlook about adoption and strive to show the good that has happened in my life and the lives of my children. I do not speak for all birth mothers out there, but I do speak from many years of experience and evolving.



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Junior Bridesmaid

Originally posted in 2009. Just to recap, this is a series of posts that focus on some of the positive moments as my journey as a birth mother...

My Junior Bridesmaid
Bruce and I had been together for 7 years with 3 of those years living together in beautiful California. One September, he suggested that we take a romantic weekend trip to Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach. I had NEVER been to an island and I thought...How romantic of him! Didn't surprise me, he was always so loving. So we took off from the mainland and arrived in the town of Avalon. The night came and Bruce had bought me a beautiful dress for dinner that night. It was relaxing, quiet, and one of the biggest nights of my life, but I did not know it yet. After eating, we took a stroll on the beach. Discussing the fact that we were on a island, I was rambling on and on about the beauty of the water. Bruce stopped in front of me and said..."If I was on the water, I wouldn't be able to do this..." He then dropped to one knee and began a speech and I soon realized that he was proposing to me. Oh my! I do not remember a word he said because I was so shocked, so surprised, so swept off my feet that I could not hear him...my heart was pounding too hard. I said yes and as soon as we got home from the trip, we called close family and friends to tell them the great news.

I was a graphic designer so I made a postcard to send out announcing the engagement and to let people know we were planning on a Fall wedding the following year. I sent them out the week before Thanksgiving, and as always, I sent a postcard to my daughter's parents. We were in contact through correspondence so it was nothing out of the ordinary for me to send the announcement. Later that week, I got a call from my mother. She was having trouble talking, I could tell she was crying, and she just could not convey what she wanted to say through her tears. I got worried, I thought my dog had died, or worse, a family member. The longer she tried to tell me what was making her verklempt, the more I started freaking out. I was imagining the worst possible scenario. Finally, she took a deep breath and said..."Sophia just called me..." that was my daughter's mom," and she needs to talk to you."

My heart dropped. I thought the worst. I was crying right along with my mother because I was sure that she was hurt, sick, or worse. "What? Why? What's wrong?" I asked franticly. My heart was pounding with every image that crossed my mind showing me a scenario of what could be so horribly wrong.

"Honey...", she sighed,"...oh, Bella got the postcard and she asked if she could be in the wedding." My heart literally did not beat for a moment, I was stunned with that statement. I could not breath, the tears started streaming down my face in a fast and constant flow of relief and happiness. Now my heart was beating almost out of my chest and Bruce could see that I was visibly upset so he too, became worried. "Bella saw the postcard and asked Sophia if she thought you would let her be in your wedding. In other words, she would like you to ask her to be there. Can you believe that?" I was crying so hard, you know that kind of cry where you are not making any noise, your chest is heavy trying to keep composure as not to start wailing.

 "I am stunned. She really wants to be there?" I asked.

 "Yes baby, she does. Remember all those years ago we talked about how great it would be to have her there at your wedding, and what a dream we thought it was? Well, that dream is coming true. You better call them." She gave me the number and I told her that I would call her back after I spoke to Bella. I had to wait a few minutes. I hadn't seen or physically talked to her for many years. This would be the first real conversation with my baby, my beautiful little girl. I was exploding with emotions, mostly disbelief that it was actually happening. I felt sick, I felt elated, I felt nervous, I felt joy...it was all so surreal. I just could not believe it!

I composed myself, sat down and dialed the number. It rang twice and was picked up by a familiar, sweet voice.

 "Hello?"

 "Sophia, it is Kelsey."

"Hello Kelsey. Congratulations on your engagement, we were all so excited to get the postcard. Bella has it on her dresser in her room. What a romantic place that looked like."

 "Oh yes, Bruce is amazing! It was kept secret, I had no clue that he was going to ask but what a wonderful feeling when he did. It was a great weekend. How are you doing?"

We exchanged greetings for a while and then she said, "So, your mom called you and told you what is going on?"

"She did. How do you feel about this? Is this something that you want to do?" I asked.

 "Well, of course we have her best interests at heart, but she really wants to be there. I have never seen her so nervous and excited to ask a question before. We talked about it and we think it would be a good thing, especially if this is what she wants. How do you feel about it?" Like she needed to ask!

"I am thrilled that she would ask this, and as long as you and the family are alright with this, I welcome you there and I would absolutely love for Bella to be there that day." More discussion about schedules and locations, then she said..."Well, she's right here chomping at the bit to get on the phone so I will talk to you soon to go over things. Thank you for calling and here is Bella..."  

My heart was jumping out of my chest. I felt a lump in my throat. I held my breath.

"Hello?" Her voice was like music in my ears.

"Hello Bella, how are you today?"

"I am good, how about you?" I wanted to just shout out 'I AM SO HAPPY THAT YOU WANT TO BE IN MY WEDDING,  I LOVE YOU!'

"Great, it is a beautiful day here in California. How are you getting along in softball?" It was my favorite sport in school and she played as well.

"Great. I have been really seeing the ball and hitting it a lot. You used to play ball, right?"

 "You bet I did, I was a great hitter because of my stout and beefy stature. I also loved the outfield, my favorite was left field."

"Cool." We chatted a while and then I said..."So, I heard that you would like to be in our wedding. Is that true?"

 "Yes. I would like to be there but only if you want me there."

Giant tear rolling down my face, I try not to let my voice crack as I respond. "Are you kidding me? I would be so honored if you would be there. I would also like very much if you were my junior bridesmaid, so you can walk up the isle just before I do. How does that sound?"

"Really?"

"Absolutely! Have you ever been in a wedding before?"

"No..." I could hear the excitement in her voice. I could see her bright smile through the phone.

"Well, let's make it happen. I would like for you to be my Junior Bridesmaid. Will you?" I asked.

"Yes I will!!! Thank you! I am so happy and excited."

"Oh my darling, you have made my day! Thank you for wanting to be there with me, it means a lot to me."

"Well, it means a lot to me, too." Oh, this child has my heart all in a bundle. What fantastic parents she has to be so supportive of what she wants. How brave of them to allow her to attend this fantastic day in my life. We were both smiling that day, really smiling. I got off the phone and collapsed into Bruce's arms. He consoled me and sat with me for an hour.

I was crying in relief. I was crying because years of not knowing what she really thought about me was all washed away in that one phone call. I was crying because that whimsical dream that I had all those years ago was coming true, and by her choosing. She came to me. She wanted to be there with me. Oh, I cried and cried and cried. It was so wonderful to hear those words, however light they were, to just hear her say that she wanted to be there...I was ecstatic, and dare I say it, happy. It was one of the best phone conversations of my life.

On October 16, 1999 Bruce Stewart took my hand in marriage. My daughter walked up the isle just before I did, and she was next to me the entire ceremony.

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy Thoughts .... The Nurse

Helllooooo! YES! I am alive and well, but have been running in 19 different directions these last few months. But I am here to let you all know I will have some great posts this month as we talk about National Adoption Month, which is November. In the mean time as I am gathering others voices I thought I would share the series I call Happy Thoughts. Just some positive stories of my experience with adoption....

The Nurse
Well if I am going to advocate for the positives of adoption, I guess I should start telling positive stories! I am starting a series of blogs containing some of the wonderful things that have happened to me as a birth mother. Let's start with this....

After my daughter was born, I was in a private room in the hospital and feeling quite sad and lonely. I knew that I only had a few days with her and my heart was torn between my guilt and my joy. I always had a smile on my face, that is the kind of person I am, but that smile was hiding a broken spirit within. they were keeping the baby in the nursery because I had a dry birth and she was needing attention. (Dry birth ...  my water broke 24 hours before she was born. When the water is absent for that long, it becomes dangerous for the baby because the amniotic fluid is not present to protect from bacteria and germs. It is also a very difficult delivery for the mother because without the fluid the uterus has to contract harder and longer to push the baby out.) The entire nursing staff was accomidating me because they were all so impressed with the decission I had made to place my baby for adoption. I think they were trying to make me as comfortable as I could be so that I could really enjoy the limited time that I had with her. I took a nap and when I woke up one of the nurses was bringing her in.

The nurse was very pretty and had an unforgetable smile. She set me up with all that I needed and she left us alone. After a few hours my daughter was asleep and I was exhausted so I called the nurse station to ask them to take her to the nursery. The same nurse came in and I was still holding my daughter. She came up and rubbed her little head and told me how absolutely beautiful she was. I thanked her and I put her into the crib, I covered her and tucked her in and stepped back. The nurse stood there for a minute and I told her it was alright to go. She started toward the door and then stopped. She turned to me and said "I know that I would get into trouble for saying this...but I think what you are doing is an amazingly selfless thing to do at such a young age. I have worked here a while and I cannot tell you how many girls I see come through here, younger than you, and they keep these babies for all the wrong reasons. I just want to grab them and shake them to wake them up and tell them that there are other alternatives. What you are doing for this family is so amazing. You will hear some horrible things from people who judge you for what you are doing, don't listen to them. I would like to ask that you promise me something." She was now very passionate and I could see the compassion in her eyes through her tears. "What is it?" I asked. "I want you to promise me that from now on, until the day you die, I want you to promise me that you will celebrate Mother's Day. Do something nice for yourself, be good to you every Mother's Day because that is a day that is custom made for women like you. You are an incredible mother and I want you to be proud of yourself." I told her that I would and she grabbed me and gave me a quick, tight, squeeze of a hug and then composed herself.

This was a complete stranger telling me what a difference I had made. I was taken back by her honesty and her utter unconditional understanding of what I was going through. I wish I could find her and tell her that she made an impact on me at a time when I needed acceptance the most. I will never forget her or her words. It is 20 years later, and I am still telling people about this wonderful woman who lifted me up when I was needing it, and helped a heart heal a little more with the kindness of a stranger.



The Best For You

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Introducing ... Adoption.net

I know...I have been neglecting this blog something terrible. There is a good reason for that, and that reason is right here ~ Adoption.net.

That's right, there is a new resource out there in the adoption world for us to gather and read, chat, contemplate and come together to share all of our unique experiences. Personally, I don't think there could ever be enough of these resources and I am happy to tell you that I am contributing to this site in my unique voice.

THANK YOU MELANYA for seeking me out and inviting me to be a part of this website, and here's hoping it will be not only a resource for people out there but become a site that is valued by many!

Take a look at what this site has to offer ... including this post in which I talk about a familiar topic ... that makes me a little crazy sometimes ;)

Why so many names?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

This Is Why I Have Always Celebrate Mother's Day


It has become a tradition for me to share with my readers this story about Mother's Day. Over 20 years ago this nurse changed the way I thought about myself .... And it her kindness has lasted a lifetime.

After my daughter was born, I was in a private room in the hospital and feeling quite sad and lonely. I knew that I only had a few days with her and my heart was torn between my guilt and my joy. I always had a smile on my face, that is the kind of person I am, but that smile was hiding a broken spirit within. they were keeping the baby in the nursery because I had a dry birth and she was needing attention. (Dry birth ...  my water broke 24 hours before she was born. When the water is absent for that long, it becomes dangerous for the baby because the amniotic fluid is not present to protect from bacteria and germs. It is also a very difficult delivery for the mother because without the fluid the uterus has to contract harder and longer to push the baby out.) The entire nursing staff was accommodating me because they were all so impressed with the decission I had made to place my baby for adoption. I think they were trying to make me as comfortable as I could be so that I could really enjoy the limited time that I had with her. I took a nap and when I woke up one of the nurses was bringing her in.


The nurse was very pretty and had an unforgetable smile. She set me up with all that I needed and she left us alone. After a few hours my daughter was asleep and I was exhausted so I called the nurse station to ask them to take her to the nursery. The same nurse came in and I was still holding my daughter. She came up and rubbed her little head and told me how absolutely beautiful she was. I thanked her and I put her into the crib, I covered her and tucked her in and stepped back. The nurse stood there for a minute and I told her it was alright to go. She started toward the door and then stopped. She turned to me and said "I know that I would get into trouble for saying this...but I think what you are doing is an amazingly selfless thing to do at such a young age. I have worked here a while and I cannot tell you how many girls I see come through here, younger than you, and they keep these babies for all the wrong reasons. I just want to grab them and shake them to wake them up and tell them that there are other alternatives. What you are doing for this family is so amazing. You will hear some horrible things from people who judge you for what you are doing, don't listen to them. I would like to ask that you promise me something." She was now very passionate and I could see the compassion in her eyes through her tears. "What is it?" I asked. "I want you to promise me that from now on, until the day you die, I want you to promise me that you will celebrate Mother's Day. Do something nice for yourself, be good to you every Mother's Day because that is a day that is custom made for women like you. You are an incredible mother and I want you to be proud of yourself." I told her that I would and she grabbed me and gave me a quick, tight, squeeze of a hug and then composed herself.


This was a complete stranger telling me what a difference I had made. I was taken back by her honesty and her utter unconditional understanding of what I was going through. I wish I could find her and tell her that she made an impact on me at a time when I needed acceptance the most. I will never forget her or her words. It is 20 years later, and I am still telling people about this wonderful woman who lifted me up when I was needing it, and helped a heart heal a little more with the kindness of a stranger.




The Best For You

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Support is Key for Mothers In Adoption


I was quite fortunate in my adoptions, I will admit that. My story is different from any other I have read, and I am reminded often that I had great people around me to support in my choices. I am not talking about professionals helping me, but rather everyday people I knew and saw frequently who would either purposely or inadvertently give me that little something to keep pushing myself to heal. And in that support system I had a goliath advantage over everything and everyone else: my mother.

I grew up living alone with my mother from the age of three due to my parents divorce and my father’s moving out of state. She was a very strong woman whom had the heart of a lion coupled with the tenacity of a bull and charm so sweet you would never even know that she might be telling you off. She was raised by hard working Midwesterners who felt family values and morals were just as important to teach children as reading, writing and arithmetic. My mother had sass to spare, yet could make you feel that you were the only person on Earth in the way she listened to another’s woes. Admired, loved and always prepared with an impeccable sense of humor my mother was a force of life that people were drawn to.

So telling her I was pregnant was not something I thought twice about. I have heard other birth mothers tell of how frightened they were to tell their mothers they were pregnant, but for me it was not that way. Of course I was nervous when I came to sit with her that evening, wondering just what would lie ahead after I told her the situation. Who wouldn’t be nervous? And I did take a deep breath when I worked up the courage to utter the words “Mom, I’m pregnant”, feeling like the entire moment was happening in super slow motion. But I was never scared of what she would say or how she would react. I was coming to her as a daughter who needed a mother’s ear to work through a difficult situation that would not only affect me … but affect my entire family.

“Well, what are we going to do?”

Those were the words she responded with: "Well, what are we going to do?" Not what are you going to do. Not what am I going to do. But rather what are we, meaning the two of us, going to do. In that one sentence I could feel the weight lift a little, and my heart found calm in her loving verbal embrace. A smile was all I could repay her with, as I still had to vocalize what my thoughts were on adoption and the options I wanted to look into as soon as I possibly could. From the moment she found out, she was nothing but accepting of the situation and my feelings. I cannot fathom what might have been going through her head, probably a million things and a million reasons why a break down would have been acceptable at that moment. Stoic and strong, she listened and talked with me long into the night to help me figure out what was the next step, what would the future be like (both adoption and raising the child) and how I was going to live life without my child if that is what I chose.

She was a rock that I could anchor anytime I needed to be grounded. Neither of us could have known that we would go through adoption twice, and I am sure that neither of us could have known how much these events would enrich our relationship. I relied on her for strength, and she relied on me for inspiration which culminated into a bond much more than the normal mother/daughter relationship. There is no word in the English Dictionary that can begin to describe our relationship, nor would I ever want to find one that would try. In life there are moments that need no words, but rely heavily on actions to demonstrate how one person loves another. That was my mother. Her actions spoke more than words ever could.

She was my first love, my first friend, my first teacher, my first confidant and the first Hero I ever admired. In her constant support and encouragement I persevered through the tough times and learned from her the grace I needed to live life as I am… no excuses to anyone and accepting of what life throws my way. The lessons I learned from her have lived on long after she left this Earth and that is a true testament to her rich, kind loving soul. She lives on in me, and I can only hope to be as amazing as she was in her life.

Today she would have been 67 years old, and I bet she would have been a FIESTY Golden Girl! Happy Birthday Mom, and thank you for continuing to watch out for me and guide me through my days....may heaven have a GRAND party for you today. I love and miss you!