Friday, January 7, 2011

Breaking the Stereotypes Against Birthmothers

I am a birthmother. I have been a birthmother since 2000 when I placed my first born son for open adoption with a family in my home state of Minnesota. Ten years later I have found my life to be blessed beyond comprehension due to the series of choices that I made leading to my placing my son. The first choice was LIFE for my son. The second was ADOPTION. The Third was LIFE for myself.

There is this ongoing stereotype that all birthmothers are that of what you see on the lifetime movie network. It comes with the following assumptions: we are all young girls, all strung out drug addicts, all alcoholics, all promiscuous or prostitutes, oh and of course on top of that we are stalkers and kidnappers. I think the worst stereotype of all however is the one that says birthmoms don't want their baby...or don't love their baby.

This is so far from reality.

In truth, the average age of a birthmother on a national level is 28-33!!!! Surprised??? I have worked very closely for the last three years with Bethany Adoption Services as an advocate and mentor to birthmothers all around me. I also speak on panels helping to break stereotypes for the couples that come through to seek domestic adoption. I have learned a lot from Bethany Adoption Services as they are the largest non profit adoption agency out there! They know their statistics!! I speak to couples that are seeking domestic adoption to help them not be afraid of birthmothers. Help them to see that we are not all 13-16 years of age, but in most cases are much older then that. I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant. We are not always born into the ghetto but a lot of us come from a wonderful upbringing with privileged backgrounds and still wound up pregnant before we were ready. I came from a typical well oiled family with wonderful opportunities in my raising. We are not all alcoholics and drug addicts but instead in most cases are smart and educated individuals that made bad choices that led to an unplanned pregnancy. We also are not all promiscuous in nature or prostitutes but some conceived a child in love but just too soon in life to provide for the baby. This was unfortunately not the case in my experience...but I am all about speaking out to defend ALL birthmothers alike. The one that puzzles me the most is the stereotype that implies we are all stalkers and kidnappers. This I tell you is not the case and I want to address it delicately because it is important that you understand.

When a women comes to a time in her pregnancy where she comes to terms with the fact that she cannot provide for her baby in a way that is healthy or good for the child, she is already thinking in terms of what is best for the BABY. She is already beginning to make loving and selfless decisions on her child's behalf despite how much she will hurt because of it. Is that not the very definition of good parenting? You do whatever you have to for your child no matter how much it hurts us as parents! When a women is carrying a child within and is able to make hard choices to better that child's life on Earth...this is a testament to the LOVE that she has for this child NOT that she doesn't want it. When this women then carries this child to term all the while planning for the adoption, she is carefully choosing parents that she feels are suitable for her baby. She is thoughtfully planning the life that she wishes she could give her baby, but cannot. What a sad thing it is, but so heroic. There are some women that consider adoption and change their minds and choose to parent. This is a great thing and I support parenting always. But there are others that realize very early on that they cannot give their baby the life that it deserves and they find a different way to provide it. There is SAFETY in the decision. When a birthmother makes that decision, for real, it only takes a millisecond. There is no looking back...only moving forward. She now feels good in having MADE the decision and she can now start planning for the placement. Now she has labored and birthed this little miracle and gone through the physical demands of pregnancy...and she has a warm pink adorable breathing thing that has now come into the world and it is her baby. But even still she chooses to place this child in the arms of another. This is the hardest it is a reality that is tangible. There is no escaping it and its much like a death. But she will do it for the betterment of her child's life! Does this sound like someone who doesn't love or want their child? This is the ultimate SACRIFICE! No matter how much you uncontrollably and instinctively want to keep that child...the birthmother acknowledges that it would be the SELFISH thing to do. Now the final kiss has come...the goodbye rips your insides out and you truthfully wonder if you will ever recover from this devastation. The thing people dont understand is that if a birthmother has come THIS far to do what is best for her child...she chose LIFE...she chose ADOPTION...she chose a FAMILY...she PLANNED carefully...she LABORED...she said GOODBYE. All of these things are painful choices...why would she try to go and take the baby back after all that? Think about it! All along she is making choices that are always best for the baby. Why would she suddenly start being selfish after all is said and done? A birthmother is a very special kind of person because she makes every choice surrounding the child's best interests. Do you honestly think
this person that I just described is the kind of person that would get in her car months or years after placement and go to the door of the adoptive couple and try to steal that baby back? Is she the kind of person that would go and stalk the family and peek through windows to plot a kidnapping? Does she sound like someone that would suddenly decide that since she has a job and a life now that she is now suited to care for her child and is now going to fight for her parental rights back? OF COURSE NOT! She is the kind of person...the kind of mother that understands without a shadow of a doubt that it would NEVER be in child's best interests to rip him or her from the only life and family that, that baby has ever known. That would be a SELFISH choice and birthmothers don't make selfish choices.

Birthmothers are selfless. They are beautiful and they deserve to be celebrated and uplifted. They deserve to be proud of their choices and they deserve to hear THANK YOU. There are over 1 million babies aborted each year...and only 13,000-14,000 are placed into adoption. You do the math. I heard recently that of the 57% unplanned pregnancies that occurred last year, only 1% ended in placement. This small margin of women...they are heroes.

No more Lifetime Movie Network programs that put birthmoms in a bad light...and UNTRUE light. No more couples saying "I would never do domestic adoption...the mom could come back and take the baby!' No more women being criticized and questioned about why they chose life and adoption for their child. No more assuming that birthmothers don't want their baby and that's why they "gave it up" or "gave it away". NO MORE! It is time for birthmothers to shine and for people to see that there are other options then abortion. There are choices to be made that will bless your life and give you something to be proud of!

I am now married to a wonderful man with whom I have two beautiful boys of my own. I am many things in this life, but I am most proud of being a birthmother. I choose to share my story and offer my support to birthmothers worldwide in the hopes to inspire others to choose LIFE and celebrate birthmothers for their amazing hearts for their children.

Its not a choice every woman can make...if it were easy...everyone would be doing it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

There should be a Beyonce song for all the single parents out there!

Right now I am coming off of a CRAZY day of meetings, emails, phone calls, networking, webinars, negotiations, proposals, and transactions!!! That's just from 9-6! Sun up to sun down I am always full court press working. Whether it be my "mom" hat, "cleaning lady" hat, "personal chef" hat, "chauffeur" hat, "referee" hat, "family therapist" hat, "personal stylist" hat or my most recent "Internet Marketing Expert" hat...I'm always working. At this very moment I have my three year old standing next to me crying because we have no batteries for his flashlight. One second while I diffuse this little situation...(pause).

 (Sigh) I'm back. I tell you what...I really don't know how some women get by all on their own, day in and day out. I.......uh oh.......he's back. (hold again)...

OH the devastation. His blue flash light from Santa is all out of batteries and is literally sobbing. How do I explain to him through his sweet sorrows that I am not interested in driving to Kroger right now to buy AA batteries for his blue flashlight? I wish he understood how ridiculous that would be...but for now his tender three year old heart will have to accept that his flashlight problem will have to be solved another day. Poor baby.

My goodness, I am exhausted. I gained some interesting information today that gave me a new perspective on how I am perceived by others...ENERGETIC. Really??? I feel completely exhausted every second it seems like...but I just have to chalk it up to happiness I guess. So I simply tell them, "I'm happy!" and that usually gives them a chuckle and I'm off to the next thing. I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!" I am always moving, never stalling, constantly thinking about what I can be doing NEXT. I wonder if this is bad for my blood pressure, brain function, heart rate, or mental health? Plain and simple? What keeps me ticking every second of every day is my love for Christ! I can do all things in Him...I have happiness in my heart. I may be tired but this little light of mine...I'M GONNA LET IT SHINE! So yes...I'm energetic, bubbly, silly and have a big personality. I'm super tired all the time, but I'm just happy too!

The second I wake up, I'm rushing to get myself ready. Then I get the boys up and there are two speeds with them. Slow, and slower. So we are all rushed to eat, dress, brush teeth and load up the "yellow car". Its all very chaotic and slightly neurotic. I'm borderline losing my mind within the first hour of everyday, but the funny thing is, I miss those little monkeys the second I drive away from their school. Huh...(shake my head). Anyway...

I just want to give a shout out to all the single moms out there! Seriously I don't know how they DO IT! Everyday I get the boys up and off to school, I then have a full days work and majority of the time I am the one picking them up as well! This is normally around 6pm, right when dinner is expected. We get in the door and all he** breaks loose amidst my efforts to get dinner on the table. There are backpacks all over the floor, coats thrown down in the kitchen, the boys digging into whatever they can find in the pantry, and I've got 5 things going at once to try to throw a meal together. Meanwhile my phone keeps dinging that emails are coming through and the phone is actually ringing at the same time! Then...they come when I call, we all eat and enjoy the moment of eating, giggling and talking. But then before you know it, we are all off to the next crazy thing. The boys are wrestling and racing, the dog is barking, the TV is too loud and I'm cleaning up dinner and the mess from cooking. All this while I'm still dressed in my work clothes and heels.

Sound fun? Well...I assure you it's not like this every day. Only about 70% of the time do I find myself in this whirlwind of activities in a 12 hour period. I also assure you it's very hard work being all these things at once...but MAN do I love my job. All of my jobs. I love my kids...and I love the responsibility of caring for them. But most of all...I LOVE MY HUSBAND. He will be home soon...and I know without a shadow of a doubt that if I asked him to mop the kitchen floor for me...he would do it if he thought it would make me feel better. He does laundry, he does bath time, he does dishes, HE MADE A MEATLOAF the other night for crying out loud! He is amazing and I am thankful for him. Thankful that he is coming home soon. Thankful that I have him tomorrow when he comes home to us yet again. Thankful that I don't have to go the distance by myself. If I thought that i had to go at this alone every single day, I think I would be admitted to the funny farm in my immediate future.

God bless single parents...God bless my boys....GOD BLESS MY HUSBAND.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sowwy Face: One of my favorite stories from when Tuck was still a little guy.

February 14th, 2008 ...
Home today with the kids, and thank God for that 'cause Isaac "Acky" is sick with a wicked cough. I just wanted to share a little something that happened this morning that I think you should get a kick out of.
There is a light switch in the family room that controls the TV, the lamp and the ceiling light. This particular light switch was taped down originally until Tucker discovered the magic behind this one switch. He will not stop flipping it after I have told him over and over that he is not to touch it! He just smiles with glee and does it I put him in a timeout, he serves his time, and then later revisits his wonderful magical light switch.
This morning he did it FIRST THING while coming down the stairs, as if he had been dreaming about it all night, and thinking about it since the moment that he woke up! So I put him in a timeout. He was pretty upset because he thought he was on his way to a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch...but the sugary delight would have to wait. He cried with his head tilted back and his face looking straight up to the ceiling for a little while...then he finally calmed down. I went over to him and asked him why he was in a time out, of which he responded "Ah...light..touch no, no". I said "that's right. you don't touch the light switch that's a no, no. Now give me a hug" So we hugged. "Now tell mommy you are sorry" at which he was then pulling away to go get his breakfast, and mumbled with a whimpering voice "sowwy mommy" I said "Tucker...say it to my face" He then turned to me with a pitiful look on his face and trembling voice and said "Sowwy face" and he kissed me on the cheek. LOL. That was pretty funny and so cute.
Love you and miss you!