Friday, April 22, 2011


The one thing that really kept me grounded through this whole adoption process was that this is an open adoption. While relatively new, I think open adoption is gaining huge strides in being a preferred method of raising adopted children.

I know more about Caden's mom and dad than I would have 20 years ago. We see each other often, many times including my own family (mother, grandmother, aunt, cousins, etc.) so Caden has this enormous extended family.

People ask questions about confusing the child by having so many people who love him. (Huh? Really?) My dad, for instance, did not want to be an active part of my son's life because he thought "he'll have enough grandparents".  Oh well, I think that's my dad's loss, not Caden's.

Or am I co-parenting Caden? Definitely NOT, I allow Sally and Dan all the joys of parenting! I just get to hang out and be the cool birthmom!  It is not my job to parent, those were rights I gave up in court.  It is my job to let this little boy know how much I love him, and how I am forever grateful that I can still be a part of his life.

Semantics cause issues sometimes.  I've fielded questions and comments from people that blow my mind.  One lady, super nice but obviously ignorant, was asking about Caden when I referred to him as "my son."  (I get this a lot.)   She said "Oh, you gave him up for adoption?  Then he isn't really your son."  I calmly explained that until the day I die, he will always be my son.  I may not be his "mom", but I will always be his "birthmom". 

A particularly nasty lady I used to work with, who, coincidentally, was going through the process of adopting a child, would say the most hurtful things to me about being a birthmom.  Surprisingly, my mind must have cleansed itself between then and now because I can't recall any specific thing she said, just that she was hateful.  So, you'll just have to trust me on that one.

I wrote my master's thesis about openness in adoption.  Language that we use is a huge issue in adoption.  Examples are saying "Placed for adoption" instead of saying "Gave up for adoption."  This is because I didn't "give up" anything but my right to be Caden's parent.  I "placed" him in a loving home with wonderful parents who would give him the life I know I could not. 

Or "birthparent" instead of "biological" or worse, "real".  Yes, biology plays an

I encourage you to email me if you have any questions about my experience with open adoption. I think we are a success story. I've been on a lot of message boards and in a lot of online communities where people haven't had such warm, wonderful experiences. Talk about it! We can all learn from each other!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I named him Dominic James at birth. He got his little footprints printed and a birth certificate with that name (and my last name) on it. Sally and Dan renamed him Caden James. They also got his footprints and birth certificate with that name (and their last name) on it. He was a hefty little guy, probably because he ate too much turkey!

Caden and I spent two days together at the hospital. We were both fine, and the nurses were so supportive of me and the decision I was making for that little boy. That was so important to me, being treated with respect. You hear horror stories of nurses who berate and belittle birthmoms because they're placing their children for adoption. I will be forever grateful to the nurses at the hospital where Caden was born!

Adoption is a decision I do not regret. I am so blessed by being an active person in Caden's life. I'm not saying that there weren't bad days. Of course there were. Leaving the hospital empty-handed was absolutely the hardest step I've ever had to take. Some days I would get so angry that they were getting to raise my boy and I was not. But every day things got a little bit better.

I think the sleep that I was able to get immediately post-hospital was a huge life saver!  I spent about 4 days recovering from the whole birth experience before I couldn't stand not seeing that baby any longer.  I had been a weepy pained emotional wreck for that first week but I needed to see him and hold him and love on him.

I called Sally and asked if I could come visit.  She agreed and I drove to their house and spent, oh, the next seven hours just hanging out with all of them.  I fed Caden, changed his diaper, hung out in the nursery, read him stories, and he just ate, slept, and pooped like a champ!

As I was driving home that night, my eyes were dry.  My heart was full.  I knew, without a doubt, I made the correct decision.  Also, I got to look forward to the next time I could see them!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Creating a family

After it was judged that I was firm in my decision to do an open adoption, I started looking through books that these prospective adoptive families had prepared, portfolios of their lives. It was very touching, how these people just opened themselves up, wrote letters and shared pictures of themselves, their lives, their past and their dreams. I tried to picture myself having a relationship with each of these families, so if that was okay, I knew this baby would be okay in their home. I chose Sally and Dan.

I met them in September, while I was seven months pregnant. I felt I had totally prepared myself for this first meeting. Then, when I was driving down to the restaurant, I was talking to the baby, and I said, "We're going to go meet your mom and dad now." And it hit me like a fist. It was real, I was changing lives, life was changing me. I was going down a path that I'd never dreamed of taking, but there I was, foraging my way.

I loved them! They were not perfect, but they were nice and they liked me. They seemed like good people, and my first impression was very favorable. I decided that Sally and Dan would be my baby's parents.

We spent a lot of time together after that first meeting. I got to know them better, they got to know me better, and I felt so good. They treated me like a queen, asked my opinion on important issues like what to name him, and I even brought Sally with me to a doctor's appointment so she could hear her son's heartbeat. They were like a second family to me, which was important to me, because I needed to feel like I could be open and honest with them.

My son was due to be born on Nov. 17, 1998, but he wasn't ready until December 2. I think everyone was frustrated. Sally's parents came across the country for Thanksgiving, expecting to see their new grandson. I felt I had disappointed everyone. Finally, it was time to go to the hospital. I called Sally and Dan and told them what was happening and to come the next day, when hopefully, we would be celebrating a birth! Everybody was in the hospital room with me when it came down to the wire. And I mean everyone! It was pretty crowded in there, and there was soon to be one more!

I will never forget the look on my mother's face when she caught the first sight of my son's head. That look will live forever in my heart. I'm so glad that Dan and Sally were present to watch their son being born. I think that was very important to them, too. Sally cut the cord, and our little boy was finally in the world.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The beginning of the rest of my life

I knew before I ever took the test that it would come back positive. If truth be told, I knew "the morning after" that something was definitely different. I knew that I was pregnant. After the second blue line appeared, I looked at the world through a different perspective. For about a nanosecond, I thought, "Wow, I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to be a mother." Then reality kicked in and I thought "No way can I raise a baby now. I don't have the best job, I don't have my own place, what kind of environment will I provide?"

I was raised by a single mom.  I know it's tough work.  I was 21 years old, barely legal, and really wanted to enjoy being young and free of responsibility.  I was living with my grandma!  My totally ultra-religious, oh man am I ever gonna be judged, grandma! 

So I decided on adoption.

I know there's "the other choice." And I considered it. I have been pro-choice my whole life, fighting for women who needed the right to make decisions that are best for them.  It just so happens that at that point in my life, it wasn't the best choice for me.

What made me so sure that adoption was the right choice for me was that I had been so careless for so long, I considered myself so lucky to be in the position I was in, I couldn't terminate that pregnancy. I was out of school, a college graduate, making decent money, not your regular unwed mother statistic. I owed it to God and that baby to give it life.

I soon told my mother, who was very supportive of my decision to carry the baby and find it a good home.  I did have one chilling conversation with her, where she encouraged me to explore all my options.  At that point, there were no other options and it just pissed me off that she was asking me to consider anything other than adoption.  Sure, my body would not be mine for the next several months.  So, what?  Sure, I wouldn't be able to raise that baby as my own.  And?  I had considered all the options, and really, adoption was the best fit for me.

I started looking for agencies shortly thereafter. The first agency I called was a well-known national adoption agency, who asked me some simple questions. How old was I? I had just turned 21. Was I married? Well, no, and I didn't think many women in my situation were married. She said that she would send some information to me in the mail. I waited anxiously. When I got the package, it contained information about single people wanting to adopt children. Was I not clear that I WAS PREGNANT? Talk about asking the wrong questions!  My search continued.

In this high tech day and age, I found Creative Adoptions on the internet. I called and was given an appointment within the week, in person, at my house! I was not very familiar with the concept of "open adoption." It turned out to fit my needs like a glove.

I wanted more than pictures and letters. I wanted to be an active participant in my child's life. I wanted him to be able to know me, to ask me questions about where he came from, why I decided to place him for adoption. I didn't want his parents to speak for me, when I can speak for myself!

I didn't want to look into every stroller that passed by, into the face of every baby, asking myself "Is that my baby? Does my baby look like that now?" I didn't like the ambiguity that closed adoption presents. I needed to know my son, and needed him to know me.

Open adoption has been around for over 30 years.  There are several "degrees" of openness in an open adoption.  I wanted an adoption where I was able to see this beautiful child I helped create, and to make sure that he knew how very much I loved him.

I became a part of the family at Creative and settled in to a routine of talking with other birthmoms about our decisions and the paths that led us to them.  It was wonderful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Looking for blogs in all the wrong places

Have you ever noticed that little button at the top of some Blogger users' toolbar "Next Blog"? I click on it occasionally and find that Blogger will knowingly guide me to other blogs who have something in common with the blog I just previously visited.

I click the link after visiting my own blog and get the same 7-10 yoga based blogs that Blogger has in its queue ad nauseum. On a slow day, I may venture clicking some 75-100 different times just to see if I get anything new.

Sometimes, though, the link disappoints. I've been thinking about blogging about my role as a birthmom, and my adoption experience, and how it feels to know that my husband and I are probably not going to have kids. I was over at BlogHer perusing (so many of my mentors blog over there) and found a whole section about being child-free. Exciting and new!

I was reading a blog called No Kidding in NZ and when I clicked on the "Next Blog" link, I actually expected Blogger to show me a blog that had something to do with other people who struggle with infertility or are otherwise child-free.

Not what happened.

I got a link to a happy looking family, husband wife and three kids. At Disneyland.

I clicked again. Got another blog about the ramblings of a family written by the mom about her husband and their five children.

After reading so much about needing and wanting validation regarding child-free-ness, Bloggers blatant display of child-full-ness was almost like a slap in the face.

So, I guess I should write. If I needed any more push in that direction, it's the absence of people like me. There are others like me, aren't there?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

George + Reba = Awesomeness

Last night Handsome and I had a terrific date night.  We got to the Pepsi Center around 6:00 and found our seats and the nearest concession stand.  We ordered juicy burgers, fries and Blue Moons.

After mowing our dinner, sipping our brewskis, the arena went dark at exactly 7:00.

Enter the opening act:  Lee Ann Womack

She's totally adorable and super high energy.  I don't know every song she sang, but I do know a couple.

Of course, "I Hope You Dance" which is such a terrific song with a great message:  Don't be a wallflower in life, get out there, dance!

But more recent is the song "Last Call" which I LOVE.  It's so sad, though, thinking about how some guys always call some girls when they're at the bar, and how they think that's okay.

Anyway.  She rocked.  Sang for 30-45 minutes.  Then she was done.  Bathroom time.  (Nightmare)

Then, the second act came on.  Who?  Ah, yes, the one and only:  REBA.

Reba is absolutely unbelievable.  She's smokin hot, has a voice that goes on and on and on, and she's been doin her thing for decades!  Singer, actress, author...  She is amazing.  Almost 2 million people "Like" Reba on Facebook!

She sang new songs, old songs, and a duet with Lee Ann Womack (Does He Love You? of course)

My favorites:  If I was a Boy, Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Strange, Turn on the Radio, I'm a Survivor, Because of You and of course, the encore - Fancy.

She comes out in this awesome old time taxicab with this amazing red dress.  Wow.  I told Handsome that if the concert ended right then, I would've felt like I got my money's worth!  That lady is A-MAZ-ING!

And then?


You know.  There was a man by the name of King George.

I have seen George once before.  Handsome and I saw him right there in that Pepsi Center, before we got married.  A little fella by the name of Dierks Bentley opened for him that night.  Hubba.

On this Friday night, George sang all these songs that I knew.  It was so cool.  I heard All My Ex's live in Texas, Amarillo by Morning (one of my FAVORITES), Blue Clear Sky, Check Yes or No, Give it Away (Handsome LOVES this one), Honk if you honky tonk, How 'Bout Them Cowgirls, I Can Still Make Cheyenne (Another FAVORITE), Ocean Front Property, The Breath You Take, Fireman, Troubadour, Wrapped, and about a dozen more! 

He still looks and sounds as good as ever.  Mmmm mmmm.  Thanks y'all, you made my entire spring in one night.  Mwah!