Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pain in the Beauty

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A little over a month ago I had the ability {because of 5 amazing women} to see my sweet Josie. We were passing her neck of the woods and there i sat in her living room with her whole family. I was ecstatic. My heart beating  pounding like it has every other time I have gotten to see her. This time it was 7 days after she turned 7.

We pulled up in the car, I opened the door. The most beautiful child you will ever lay eyes on came running straight at me and leapt into my arms. I held her for a minute. Tearing up. She will never know what those 5 minutes did for my heart. She was as excited to see me as I was her.

I owe her love for me to her parents. They speak well of me, they make me a known person in their family. They have always welcomed me with open arms and generous love. They have never denied me a picture, call, video, or visit. They go out of their way to make our adoption smooth. To them, I am just another "aunt" or "cousin", but to them I am also special. I am Josie's birth mom.

Anyways, I walk into their house. I give her parents a hug. I rush downstairs to joke around with her big brothers, who have grown a good 10 feet since I placed, then go back upstairs to talk with my Josie and her parents.

She tells me about her birthday, her books, her life. And there I sit, listening, but also absorbing. Her hair is so perfectly curly and textured. Her skin is the most gorgeous shade of brown and is so soft. Her voice is music to my ears. Her personality is me as a kid. She is a {brown} mini-me. But she isn't just a mini-me, she also has awesome traits from her birthfather (his charming smile) and her parents (sense of humor and passion for life). Those thirty minutes were marvelous.

Yet when i left, My heart...it ached. My heart was soaring when i was with her then it crashed to the ground in the car on the way home. There i sat in the same room as my birth daughter and i realized, all this beauty I was taking in. all this perfect. I am missing out on that every second of every day. The thought of that shattered my heart.

Although her parents do a kick-ass job at keeping me involved. Way better of a job than i ever fathomed. These moments come. I crash. When crashed i let myself slip into the "What-if's" and the "Why's". Even though deep down in my heart I know it was the right decision, and I will never regret placing or doubt my decision to place, I am allowed these moments of hurt. I am allowed to have moments of wonder and questions.

Gosh I miss her. I wish i could hug her tight everyday. I wish i could tell her every day how beautiful she is, how perfect she is, how smart she is, and how loved she is. I wish i could tell her that not a day goes by I don't think about her. I wish i could tell her how many lives were forever changed because of her. Most importantly I wish I could tell her that her parents are the best.

While i will miss out on a lot, i am forever grateful i don't miss out on all. That is enough to keep me going. To show her that her life, her placement, my decision, it was not in vain. It was for love.

"Just because it burns, doesn't mean you're gonna die"

Sunday, September 13, 2015

adoption isn't "fun"

I am apart of many adoption groups online. I like to learn perspectives and share my own. It is a great way to gain and give support. Tonight I saw something that sadly, I have seen before. The scenario goes like this, a person chooses to get pregnant on purpose so that they can place for adoption. They are using their own eggs and they are finding some stranger's sperm or using artificial insemination, so they can place a child for adoption. Tonight's situation was a family member doesn't want to be a mom but wants her legacy to live on, so she is going to get pregnant via artificial insemination to then turn around an place.

People. I get it. We all have our own choices and decisions, but ADOPTION IS NOT FUN.

It isn't something that anyone should want to go through. It isn't pure joy and happiness. It isn't an easy peasy quick handoff. It is pain, emotion, debilitating grief, and sadness. Are there happy parts that can happen? Yes. Is it a great option if you are in an unplanned pregnancy and don't see marriage, abortion, or single parenting as an option? Yes. Is it something I would wish on my worst enemy? NO!

To clarify before you start commenting on my page about surrogacy... The situation proposed above is NOT surrogacy. Surrogacy involves someone else's DNA, Surrogacy is contracts and formalities. The surrogate mother does not have the legal right to change her mind. The surrogate mother does not make choices for the child once born. Surrogacy is business. It is a great option for many people and I am not in any way shape or form saying surrogacy is bad, but surrogacy is not adoption. I repeat. Surrogacy is NOT adoption.

Adoption is finding yourself in a pregnancy you are not prepared for. You do not see abortion, parenting, or marriage as an option for yourself, so you choose adoption. It isn't some flippant decision you make on a whim. It is a big f#%^*%$#! deal.

I love adoption in my life now. I have learned to live with it as a new normal. I wouldn't take back my decision for the world because my birth daughter is happy and well loved and I was not at a place where I could parent her. I am not however, pro-adoption. I am pro informed choice. Inform yourselves and others that adoption is an option, and what it entails.

People need to understand that adoption isn't fun. It actually kinda sucks sometimes. Adoption is love, open adoption is great, but it isn't fun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Made Her a Mother, She Made Me a Better One.

Mother's Day is here...Birth Mother's day is here...whichever one you celebrate, it can still be a hard time of year for many different people. Those struggling with infertility, placement, or just not wanting children in particular, this day brings emotions, questions, and so much confusion. 

On August 20, 2008, I had a perfect baby girl. I, at that moment in time, was her mother. For those short moments in the hospital, i held her, i kissed her, i talked to her. People shared the joy with me in the hospital. Lots of people hugged on her. 24 hours later i made the choice to do what I felt was best, as her mother, and place her for adoption. 

I made her mom a mother (again..she already had two children) and that moment I was forever changed. 

That day i learned the real lesson of motherhood. 

Motherhood is:
Putting your child before your self
Making sure your child has a safe and stable environment
Giving your child love
Making hard decisions

Motherhood to me are those qualities first and foremost, before anything else. I was willing to do the hardest thing I have ever done, to give her what every child should expect from their mother. 

Another way that my adoption has affected my mothering is by teaching me how precious every moment is. I absorb every little thing possible. 

Every word Josie, Mina, or Evan (My birthdaughter and two children) Is either the funniest, cutest, or most heartwarming thing I have ever heard (in my opinion). Every dance they do is just perfect. Every milestone is so brilliant I want to scream it from the rooftops. Moments, are what make motherhood and I feel   I KNOW, that I would not have learned that lesson had it not been for my adoption. 

The last thing I got out of my adoption, is a cohort in this thing called motherhood. "B" Josie's mom, has been an incredible addition to my life. I love that I can talk to her about anything and not feel judged. I love that she was the first person I told when I found out I was pregnant again. I love that she is not afraid to tell me when Josie does something horrendously naughty. She is open about everything. She is not afraid, threatened, or scared to be honest. 

My relationship with B (and my open adoption in general) reminds me of this scripture

B is patient with me (and our sometimes spicy little J).
She is kind and always thinks of me when it's a big event.
She never boasts or shows envy towards me.
She is humble.
She is never rude or self-seeking, instead she is always trying to help J and myself.
She always protects J from anything that may come her way. 
She always trusts me that I am not going to go psycho on her. :)
She always hopes the best for me and my family. 
She always perseveres. Sometimes I pull away and she makes sure I know that she is there.

LOVE NEVER FAILS...it just doesn't. When things are done with love, they will succeed. 

I decided to ask some birth parents what they like best about the adopting mom in their adoption: 

  • I love the adoptive mom because she is one of my biggest supports. No matter where my life takes me she is there in my corner.
  • I love the woman who parents my child because she loves me and appreciates me. She has not once ever made me feel like my emotions were invalid or broken a promise. I love her because she thinks I have done her the biggest favor when in reality she has done something for me I can never thank her for. I love her because she makes my son feel so loved and whole. I love her because she is exactly what I pictured in my mind when I was thinking of potential adoptive families. There are so many reasons I love adoption but she is a big part of it.
  •  I love the adoptive mom because she makes not only makes my son's life better but mine.
  • I love the adoptive mom because she and I will forever be connected in an act of love.

Then I decided to ask to say what being a mother means to them:

  • Being a mother means unconditional love, compassion and lots of kisses, hugs and snuggles
  • Being a mother means having to worry every minute of everyday about how your heart and soul now walks outside your body.
  • Being a mother is love. It is not genetics, distance, or material things. Being a mother is in the heart, it is that unconditional love for your child.
  • Being a mother means loving unconditionally and without regard for your own needs or desires.

Motherhood/Birth-Motherhood/Parenthood...It all derives from one thing, that is 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Sometimes I feel like I pour my whole heart out on the internet. Sometimes I feel like people know everything about me. I divulge a lot. I recently though, have been feeling the need to share a little more about what I am doing now, and why it feels so important. 

When I placed Josie, I wanted to do something with my life to show her it was for something. To show her that she created a story, a ripple effect of sorts. I wanted her to be a driving force. And at the end of the day, I only do anything to make my kids, my husband, Josie, and God happy. If other people are happy with it, YAY. If not, who cares. 

I started with hosting small adoptive couple retreats. I was terrified, highly unqualified, poor, and yet I felt like it needed to be done. I knew it was something I needed to do. So with the help of some good friends and my good husband, I made it happen. 

I took a break for a while, still blogging. Then I got the drive to host retreats again from my friend. This time Birth Parent retreats! I was stoked. I planned the retreat with some very amazing people who i could not have done it without. The first one we had no money to finish the retreat with, 250 dollars to be exact. Yet, because of some very generous businesses we were able to fund it and make it happen. 

One of the businesses was Courageous Choice which is a sister company to Adoption Network Law Center. Adoption Network Law Center has gotten a bad rep in some circles because of previous things by previous owners, but this company does amazing things to help the people they are involved with. In July of 2014 I was brought on by ANLC to start helping with their birth mother services. They knew they were lacking in a few areas and wanted to fix it. We started an awesome Birth Mother Mentoring Program. This means that the expectant mothers who decide to place with them are connected with a birth mother who has already been through the process. We speak to them, answer any questions they have, and are there when they need someone to cry to. I have seen beautiful friendships come from this mentoring program. 

In fact I asked a few of the women who have been mentored to share their feelings on the mentoring program. 

E said : I'm so blessed to have Nicole in my life because she can turn my day around when I'm down. She doesn't make me feel bad because I have the feelings I have. Nicole just accepts them and sympathizes with me. I can always count on Nicole to be there for me, she gives me advice on how to get through the bad days. Nicole just makes me smile by how she sets examples for other Birthmoms. overall Nicole continues to be a strong and amazing woman, mother and friend.

L said: Having a mentor, especially one like Amanda is probably one of the greatest tools and gifts I was given within the whole placement process. It's having a diary to vent to that listens and understands and gives you the best advice that you can receive at the time. Whenever I felt alone or anything it's like Amanda knew some how and she'd text me and check up on me. We talk about everything, even things not regarding my baby or adoption or my feelings about it all, it's much more than that. She's beyond a mentor to me, she's a friend, a friend who I bond with on such a deeper level than anyone else because she knows what I'm going through and if I ever need to talk about it I know she is the first person I will go to because she understands unlike any other person would.

I love that what I do matters. I love being excited to go to work on Monday. I work on planning retreats and helping birth mothers connect EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

There are some people who don't understand what I do, and that is okay. Because the people who know me, who really know me, know that when it comes down to it, I will give the shirt off of my back for anyone who needed it. I would do anything I can to help a birth mom regardless of who she is and where she comes from. Because, no one deserves to feel alone. No one deserves to feel that they don't have support.

I will never be everyone's favorite person ever. I know there are some people who question what I do. But I know, the company I work for is AMAZING. They truly care about every person they come in contact with. They donate their own time an money to make these retreats happen. They are ethical. Most importantly, they care about birth parents. A LOT. They are always looking for opportunities to learn and be a better company. So awesome!

I love all you birth mamas, birth dads, adopting parents, hopeful adopting parents, adoptees, I care about all of you. We are all on the same team. We all want better ethics, education, and understanding within our world. So let's be on the same team. Let's be warriors TOGETHER.

Monday, April 13, 2015

bring her home!

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Adoption comes in all shapes, sizes, and... species!

click here >>> http://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/bring-pitsie-home-/336656

It's time, adoption community. 
It's time for you to give back! 
Jessa and I have both given selflessly to you over the years,
and we have never asked for anything in return. 
Until now. 
In a joint effort once again, we have embarked on a new project, but we cant don't it alone. 

You can be the difference.
You can make it happen.
You can bring Pitsie home to California to live in a forever home with Jessa.

Follow the link to donate right now, not later, you'll forget later. do it now!
Then share the link with your friends and family so that they can do the same!

Every small donation adds up to make a huge difference. 

http://www.youcaring.com/pet-expenses/bring-pitsie-home-/336656 <<< click here

ps Jessa's bday is soon, so really you don't have any excuses.
Pitsie and her Haitian manmi, Desha

Monday, March 30, 2015

Caterpillars and Butterflies

This weekend I went on a trip. It was completely last minute and a fly by the pants kind of thing. 

There is a beautiful woman, we will call her L, she was all alone with no support in her neck of the woods. She was wanting to place her baby, but didn't have the support to move forward. 

She chose to take her baby home with her from the hospital. Too many forces working against her. Her heart was broken. She knew it was the right thing for her to place, but didn't have support in doing that from her family and friends. 

The night she took her baby home she messaged me. After quite some time talking she told me she felt she should have placed. I asked her if it would help if she had positive support with her. She said yes. 

The next morning I spoke to her Adoption Advisor who is also quite a bit madly in love with L. (She is beautiful, so kind, and amazingly insightful). We then spoke to our boss and asked if we could fly out there to be her support. We were told YES! Excitedly we got things booked and ready to fly out.

5 am the next morning I drove to her AA's house and we took off to the airport. We went straight from the airport and sat outside her doctor's office, just in case she needed us. Then we went and we scouted out a place for her to sign her papers. We wanted somewhere quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. We found a beautiful little botanical garden with some picnic tables, surrounded by flowers, trees, and plants. Very quiet. 

From the park we left to pick up L and baby girl. We drove her to the garden to meet up with the couple she had chosen and the social worker. The AA and I thought it would be nice to have them talk for a while. We asked the B family why they loved L, What their promises to her were, and What their hopes for their relationships were. We asked L why she was placing, what she hoped for, etc. They gave her a beautiful present with butterflies in it, it was inscribed with "Eternally Grateful." Then we had to have L go a ways away from the couple and the baby and sign the papers.

There I sat on a park bench, in a beautiful surroundings, watching a woman sign a piece of her heart away. It brought up so many emotions for me and quite obviously, with her. With each signature, initial, and date, I saw her need a little bit more strength. Also ALL OVER this park bench, were caterpillars. They were so annoying. They were in our hair, on our back, on our table, on the paperwork, they were everywhere. After signing we held her for a bit as she cried. Then she got in the car with the couple and the baby. (I wish I could adequately describe in words the beautiful relationship in this triad. UNBELIEVABLE) That night the couple was fine and said she could take the baby home for another night. They had so much trust and faith in this birth mother and their relationship. The Afather said, "Well we will have her our whole lives, so yes take her tonight."

That next morning we took L out and got brunch with some amazing birth mamas and ate delicious food. We walked around the city, talking about this thing called life. We spent most of the day together. We dropped L off  at her home so she could rest up. All night I thought of her. Remembering that own emotional heart break I went through and what she must be going through.

The next morning, we went to breakfast with L and the B Family. We laughed, we talked, we sat in silence. I hugged L outside of the restaurant and told her that this was not the end, but a new beginning. That this couple will always let her know her daughter. That she had an army of birth mothers here to help her grieve and move forward. 

Her AA and I told the family as we were leaving the realization we had come to the night before in our hotel room. There were caterpillars everywhere, their were butterflies in the present they gave her. I remembered a friend's beautiful poem about butterflies and adoption. the AA said "Without change, their would be no butterflies." I also know that butterflies are a new beginning for caterpillars. Then the B Family looked at us and said, "Her room at home is decorated in butterflies." I know you may not believe in God, but for me, at that moment in time, GOD WAS THERE. 

I hated/loved this experience. Adoption is an awful terrible hard thing. But it can also be beautiful and the beginning of an amazing journey. Most of all, I still am seeing a huge need for better birth mother support around the country. I am thankful for the butterflies in life that give us a chance to start something new.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

I Heard AND Felt The Relief...

*Names have been changed for privacy*

Right after I had placed a sweet perfect baby girl for adoption I was visiting my grandparents in California with a bunch of my college friends, one of which is now my husband. The pain of placement was still fresh and my friends were helping me live life and enjoy the moment. 

Towards the end of our trip my Grammy pulled me aside and told me 
"I don't tell many people this but when I was nineteen I placed a baby girl for adoption. I don't know where she is or how she is doing, but i know it was right. I am thankful that I had a caseworker who violated the rules and got me a picture of her. That's all I have."
At first I was thankful. I wasn't the only one. Then I was surprised. She went through this too.
Then I was broken. Why doesn't she get to know? I get to know, I had just seen my birth daughter who was 6 months old a few days before. Why doesn't she have pictures? Why doesn't she have support? Why doesn't she know her name? How has she healed and moved forward?

As time went on, adoption became my passion. It became a huge part of what I did everyday. I blogged my feelings, I talked about it, I worked through it my way. One time in my parent's office I was telling my Grammy of all my adoption adventures. She started crying. I could SEE the pain. I could FEEL the pain. She told me how she wanted to find her, but didn't know how.

F A S T    F O R W A R D 

October 2014. Grammy and I had another talk in my parent's family room. We spoke again about reunification. I offered my help. I have had luck in 8 other reunifications in the past 4 years, I figured, Why not try and help my own grandmother...

She gave me the information. She put her paper into the Utah Reunion Registry. Still Nothing.

I searched and searched. Nothing. Here was the thing. My grandmother was unsure of a few things. IMPORTANT things. like EXACT birth date...kinda important. She didn't know the doctor's name. Her mother had made her use a fake name, so her birth daughter wouldn't be able to find her. I occasionally checked and put an alert on the boards to email me when something matched. nothing

Well just about a two weeks ago, I felt this urge to look again. I googled the month and year, adoptee, and the state of birth. I got 3 matches. All of them to the same person. We will call her Jane. I instantly went on a searching rampage to find Jane. I knew in my heart of hearts, this was her. God (and google) had led me to her. I could not find her contact info anywhere.

The next day I spoke to my Facebook friend and forever hero Susan Williams.
She runs Search Quest America...Anyways...I digress
She starts giving me all these phone numbers and number after number I say, "Hi this message is for Jane, if you were adopted in ____ of ____ will you please give me a call back. NOTHING. Then I found a number I knew it had to be, I asked Susan to get me the whole thing. I tried calling and got no response, So I texted. It said " Hi, If you are Jane from the search boards who was adopted in ___ of ___ give me a call. I think I know your birth mother."

I got a call. My heart started racing. My mind was jumbled. My hand shaking. I answered.

We talked, compared the little information she did have. She asked me a few questions that only my grandmother would know. I called my grandmother and asked her the questions. THEY MATCHED!
I had found her. It was really her.

When I called my grandmother back I said, through a mess of tears,
"Grammy, I think I really found her." She responded, "I think you found her Jessa."
We cried for a minute. She said she needed a minute to process. OBVIOUSLY. We hung up.
That night she spoke to her birth daughter. They made plans to meet. They exchanged pictures.

The next day I decided to find the birth father. I don't know why, but that dude was so freaking easy to find. He is the nicest man ever. He wouldn't let me off the phone but he was adorable. I gave his info to Jane as well.

I will end this ever continuing posts (Updates to come) by saying,

Telling my Grammy I found her daughter that she had surely thought of many many times. That she knew she could very possibly never meet. I HEARD and FELT the relief. I heard the weight lift off her shoulders as I told her Jane wanted her to know she had a beautiful life. I felt the relief through the phone when I told her she had children, a husband, and lived just a few hours south of her. Her heart could now rest. Her mind could be at ease. Jane could get answers, Grammy could answer them. They could learn from each other and talk of their experiences in being separated for so long.

I look forward to the day to hear how meeting in person went. That day, will be the best day of all.

God is good. No Adoptee EVER deserves to only know their birth mothers height, weight, and eye color. No adoptee should ever have to search THAT hard to get answers on who they are.

Please join me in writing a letter, lobbying, whatever you choose in getting Adoptees the rights they


Monday, March 9, 2015


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What a wonderful opportunity to blog about a topic near and dear to both Jessa and myself. We got to have a lovely chat this afternoon because there has been some wailing and gnashing of teeth in regards to certain members of the adoption triad not being able to voice their experiences, perspective, and opinion on a specific social media site.
*non-affiliated with us*
or is it?

You see there is this little thing called guilt by association. It can’t be avoided. It can’t be ignored. It is unfortunately how most of us make our judgments and collect our knowledge about the people in the world both near and far.

That makes us affiliated to the social media site that we don’t have any tangible authority over. No control to what is said. No control what the actions of that site do to the perception of ‘birthmother’.

Guilt by association is not a problem when things are going well. LOVE IT. Free marketing and advertising and character development! It’s a huge problem when birthmoms are being perceived as having an agenda that we ourselves don’t cater to or there is behavior that we ourselves would never participate in.
sucks, huh?

In the birthmother demographic there are definitely different ‘sides’. Very simply stated there are the women that fall on the side of negative and the women who fall on the side of positive. There is very little cross over. Both sides are justified in their convictions. Both sides are full of women who deserve to share their voice. Both sides have good wholesome people and not so good or wholesome people. There is a vast difference in experience and opinion between these two sides. Yet we are all still birthmothers. We will ALWAYS have that in common.
What one birthmom does and says, especially on social media,
in a public forum no less, creates perceptions about

Does this mean that one cannot freely share their experiences and opinions in public? No
It simply means that you can choose you words, you can choose your attitude, you can choose whether you reply and/or react, you can choose your behavior, you can choose to play nice, you can choose to stir up trouble. Only you can choose, and there’s rarely anything anyone else can do about your choice.

Jessa and I have always striven to allow all members of the triad an opportunity to share their voice. We welcome differing of opinion. We share articles and stories that we don’t necessarily agree with or share conviction with. We try really hard to stand up for those that are not given a platform.
We do however have a zero tolerance policy for unsolicited character attacks and we won’t share false or made up ‘facts’. We try to set an example and we are not perfect. BM4A started by trying to pave a way, create a soapbox per say, for a voice that we believed wasn't heard. We've made mistakes, and corrected them, many times over the years.

We want to encourage our fellow birthmothers to always do the same. We want you to make a choice that builds up, rather than tears down. You don’t have to be a rainbow farting positive glitter tosser to build up. You can express very negative things and still be building up the birthmom demographic.

Together we need to:
  • Keep each other accountable – CALL YOUR FELLOW BIRTHMOMS OUT ON THEIR SHIT. Let the rest of the adoption community know when you don’t agree with what soandso said/did.
  • Be honest. Truth wins every time. *remember that your truth is not EVERYones truth* 
  • Think before you speak/act. Walk away when necessary. You don’t have to reply!
  • Consider how your comments/actions reflect on the demographic as a whole. 
  • Choose private venues to express ‘how you really feel’ or to vent in.
  • Listen. Don’t discriminate. Play nice. Apologize when you play mean.

And most importantly…
please, just DON’T.BE.STUPID! 
Stupid is as stupid does. Stay classy, San Diego. Good night, and good luck. 
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