A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Birth Mothers Journey ~ Michelle's Story.

*Post written by Michelle.
As I came back from vacationing in Ireland, I made sure to bring back many souvenirs for my family and friends. Little did I know I was bringing back the most unique and life-changing souvenir…a baby!
Like many birth moms stories, mine is very special and unique to me. I met the birthfather on a study abroad trip in summer 2006 and after I came back to the US, we continued to talk.  I made the decision to visit him for a few weeks that winter. When I arrived, the culture shock hit me as I soon realized that he and his family didn’t have the same views on alcohol and smoking as I did. On my flight home, I didn’t feel right about continuing on the relationship so I made plans to break-up with him. A few weeks after returning home, I found out that I was pregnant and my first thought was to choose the easy way out: abortion.  However, after thinking rationally for a few minutes, I knew that choice wouldn’t give me peace. The only decision that was best for me was adoption.

The birthfather was completely against adoption. He continually put pressure on me for not choosing abortion. Then, he suddenly changed his mind and wanted us to parent the baby. We both knew we were too young to get married and frankly, I didn’t want to expose any child to his lifestyle or to view him as a role model. At that moment, I had an eye-opening experience, if I wouldn’t want the baby to view him as a role model, why would I date him? I believe my lack of self-esteem played a major role in my poor choices. I could have raised the baby as a single parent but adoption was the only way I could ensure that the baby had a stable household with a father who held the priesthood.

At four months pregnant, I went to talk with LDS Family Services to learn more about adoption. I was so excited because I had no doubt that I was making the best choice for the baby and myself. Everyone was supportive for the adoption, except my father. Although, he had unconditional love for me, he wasn’t able to understand my reasoning for adoption and was very worried that I would regret my choice. A part of me was thankful that he wasn’t supportive because it made me question both options: parenting or adoption. At six months pregnant, my extended family found out about the pregnancy and was hurt that I hadn’t told them sooner. I was still in denial that I was pregnant so I waited as long as possible to tell more family. Some comments I received were hard to hear such as, “Well I’ll take the baby” or “you can give him to me and I’ll raise him until you’re able to take him back”. I was hurt because this was a baby we were talking about, not a litter of kittens. I knew their intentions were from a caring place but being on the receiving end of those comments was painful. My biggest support was my mother and the weekly LDS Family Services support groups that my mother and I attended. It was great to hear and share our feelings and our stories with other birth moms. It gave me comfort knowing that my roller-coaster of emotions were normal even when I didn’t feel like it.

I spent months looking through many profiles. Sadly, I didn’t get a coveted “sign” that some birth moms receive when they find their couple. I realized I had found my couple weeks later when I couldn’t stop thinking about them. My lifestyle as a vegetarian was a big influence on my selection process. I wasn’t able to find a vegetarian couple but I did find the next closest thing. My education is very important to me so I continued to attend my college classes up until four days of my delivery.

I really enjoyed putting the announcement basket together because I was very excited for the baby and them. We met up twice before I had the baby and I was relieved when we addressed all questions before they became issues. For example, if I changed my mind about openness and wanted to see the baby more often and if I could choose to have the baby’s middle name to be the same as mine (which they were very accommodating with). I enjoyed my pregnancy and made it a fun experience by painting my belly like a watermelon and a globe. I’ve always viewed pregnancy as a beautiful thing and I wanted to have fun memories of it. I was asked often if I bonded with the baby and I did but it felt more like I was babysitting someone else’s gorgeous baby! I felt blessed to have gone through this memorable, life changing, and beautiful experience. I never felt like the baby was mine so I always referred to him as “Jenny’s* baby” (the adoptive mom). I choose to have the adoptive couple in the delivery room and asked the adoptive father was able to cut the umbilical cord. I wanted them to have that memory with me. The baby weighed 8lbs, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long! My nurses all knew about the adoption and were very positive and supportive of my feelings. On placement day, the combination of hormones and medication made me an emotional wreck. There were times that I would start crying for no reason as I held the baby. My father gave me a blessing on placement day that brought me immediate peace and comfort. I hadn’t had a blessing in years so I was skeptical if it would really help. But after the blessing, I felt a strong presence of my Heavenly Father that I hadn’t felt in so long. It felt as if he was carrying me along and whispering words of encouragement to me. I had heard other birth moms’ stories about placement where they collapsed on the way out the door from overwhelming emotions so I wanted everyone to know at my placement that it was going to be a happy experience. I had cried all my tears out already and was ready for laughter and smiles at placement. I loved watching the couple as they held the baby because it reassured my decision and took away any doubt I had. I chose an open adoption with weekly letters and pictures and maybe in the future, I might want to have visits but I wanted to make sure the option was there for me.  Placing Hudson* was the hardest thing that I have ever done and will probably ever do but it has been the most rewarding experience and I wouldn’t take any of it back. I will never forget what the adoptive couple said to me at placement.
I thanked the couple for giving me my life back and their response was,

“thank you for giving us ours.”

*Names have been changed.
~Do you have a placement or adoption story to share?  We are looking for submissions. 
Please email your story and photos to unitedforadoption at gmail dot com.  If yours is chosen to publish we will contact you. 

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