One word to describe how you felt the moment you discovered you were pregnant.
Why did you choose adoption?
Adoption was the right choice because my Justin has more and better than what I could have provided. I would have been good, they were better. I would have been enough, but enough WASN'T enough for him. Because I'd had more. You want your children to have better, not worse than what you've come from. Because research proves what common sense teaches, that fathers matter. These are some of the reasons adoption was right but I couldn't see it, couldn't get over myself and consent to break my own heart, until God showed me...Justin wasn't mine, he was theirs.
What's been the hardest part of being a birthmother?
Because I placed my son in the mid 90's, I don't have an open adoption. It still hurts. I miss that family. I think the hardest part for me is being estranged from my loved ones.
Looking back, what do you wish you had known then that you know today?
Until 2 years after placement, I'd never known another birthmother. I've known hundreds since and they have taught me by example that it was possible to not only survive but thrive post placement. I'd thought I'd be broken forever from the loss, and I held back my progress to match my expectation. Having that community has shown me many ways to grieve well and healthily and purposefully and to heal and progress. Also, we need each other because while our mothers, sisters and friends can empathize and offer support, only another birthmother KNOWS. So I wish I'd known sooner what my sisters have taught me.
If you could dispel an adoption myth - what would it be?
There are too many to pick one!!! Here are 9 of my favorites. One not listed there which I've heard recently is "well at least you didn't have an abortion." Firstly adoption isn't an "at least" situation. It's not just "better than" a horrible alternative. It's the BEST for my child. Secondly, abortion was never on the table for me. And while it does happen, I've only known 3 women out of literally hundreds who changed their mind from abortion to adoption. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One seeks to evade consequences for self and the other chooses greater pain and difficulty for self to minimize that of the child. In my observation it is typically a choice between abortion and parenting or parenting and adoption. We don't choose adoption because we couldn't be bothered to parent. My decision wasn't about what way to best "get rid of" my child.
What's been the greatest reward or surprise of being a birthmother?
I can't believe how it's blessed me! I knew my Justin would win. I knew his family would win. But I really believed I would lose, that I would be the victim. And that was the deal I was prepared to strike because the outcome for Justin was what mattered. This is not to say that I DIDN'T suffer, only that along with being the event that broke me, it was also what has allowed my life and my heart to be mended. It wasn't the end for me, it was the beginning. If Justin had not come through me, I don't think anything else could have motivated me to change my life. I now know what I'm made of, that I have strength of character and capacity to give that I'd never imagined, that I can do hard things. Justin taught me love. REAL love. The kind for which you know you would do anything, whatever the cost to self. I'd never known that sort of love before I saw that face.
What's your greatest wish for birthmothers today?
I'm so thrilled for the evolution that has occurred in our generation of adoption! Not only for us but for adoptive parents and most importantly the children! I believe that the path that has led us out of a shame-based, secretive, and fearful system into open adoption has been inspired! What I hope for birthmothers is for each to find the blessing that I have found in continued fellowship in the adoption community and purpose through adoption advocacy. If no one had taught me the truth about adoption, I would have chosen differently. Because I have been blessed so much I feel compelled to help others have the same. As I have told my story I've found the words to explain what I couldn't initially, I have gained new insights into my own experience, and I have had many tell me the difference it made in their lives. Birthparents haven't always had a forum or a voice, let's use it!
What excites you about BraveLove?
Adoption is tragically under represented and misrepresented. Generations of what I like to call "the dark ages of adoption" have left us with alot of damage control to do. We have to speak loud and often with current and accurate information to change hearts and minds. We who choose adoption are less than 1% and I've seen the attitudes and misconceptions that explain that statistic. I'm excited about anything that gets the word out!