Thursday, November 12, 2009

guest blogger: both his mothers love

Todays guest blogger is not actually a birthmother. She is a hopeful adoptive mother. Her family knows that there is room in their home for more children to love and they are anxiously awaiting to be found by their birthmother. I asked her to share some thoughts about what birthmothers mean to her and about how she changed her fears of sharing her child with another mother, to wanting the child to have both his mothers love.

I was able to stay with Karine and her adorable family when i was driving through town on a recent road trip, oh how i wished we lived closer than 6 hours because we would have so much fun together!! She is a gem and a wonderful mother and friend! She is an amazing advocate for all of us who are birthmothers. I hope others will want to follow her example of love and respect.
I heart you Karine!
My name is Karine and I was asked to share why I want an open adoption. The first thing I should say is that I had no clue what open adoption meant when I started my own journey into adopting. (for the record, I have not yet been blessed with the gift of a birth mother’s love) I didn’t understand the selfless love these woman were capable of. The strength they had to do the right thing for their child. I didn't understand who these women were, how they came to these choices and why it is important to have an open adoption. I was uneducated and my fears were that 'open' meant the birth parents could come in and take my child from me or that they would try to be the parent and over step their boundaries. None of this is true. It is really important that people know this! That they realize that adoption is about the child. The love for the child. These woman are amazing women!! Sadly many of these women are not appreciated enough, respected enough or loved enough for their selfless act of love for the child they brought into this world.

I took some educational classes on open adoption and about birth mothers provided through my adoption agency, LDS Family Services. There was a wonderful birth mother panel one night. I think those are the most effective classes ever! There sat before me were 7 amazing women who chose to place their child with families. Only two out of the 7 had a wonderful experience with their adoptive couples they chose. Only two had an open adoption after papers were signed and the child was placed. Only two actually received what they were told they would in the relationship with the adoptive family. The rest thought they were going to be able to have an open adoption, but shortly after papers were signed, things were closed off for them. It broke my heart to see these women so badly treated, mislead and lied to. Their heart ache was felt by all those in that room that night. My husband and I sat there with streams of tears flowing down our cheeks. We hugged every one of those women that night and were blessed to have made new friends too. These women I have come to love and respect. They are amazing to me! I am blessed for knowing them! It is because of the friendships I have made with these birth mothers, that I want an open adoption.

The more I learned from my friends and from these classes the more I realized that these woman don’t want to come and take the child back. They just want to be apart of watching the child grow up. They don’t want to play Mommy either. They want to be recognized for who they are, the birth mothers. The wonderful women who brought these children into the world. They have the right to love this child as any adoptive parent throughout the child’s life! The child deserves to have both his mother’s love, to know where he/she came from. How they came to be apart of the family they are in.

I know that our birth mother will be able to give our child something I may not be able to give that child, a sense of where they came from. To have an open adoption to me, means making my birth mother family! She will be my friend/sister. We will communicate a lot… our feelings and thoughts. She will know how I feel and if I am uncomfortable with anything and I will know what her needs are. If she needs more pictures, more communication, even visits or if she needs a little space. Communication will be so important and is important in any open adoption.

To me open adoption is about love and the child. Giving the child the best of both worlds. More people to love him/her and to be apart of his/her life. More understanding of how special they are and how Heavenly Father has a plan and purpose for all of us and some of them come through the gift of a birth mothers love.

I only wish that more people would give birth mothers everywhere the respect and credit they deserve. The HONOR they deserve as well. They are amazing women! I am so blessed for calling so many, friend. I hope to call one family some day soon.

Here is a poem I wrote for my birth mother friends.

Angels are Among us
They are sent from God above
I know of many Angels here
With such a Christ-like Love
They are selfless, loving women
That carry priceless, sacred lives
Who help complete Forever Families

That could not have otherwise
You are among these Angels
That has this priceless gift
True love and understanding
The Lord has blessed you with
You have Angels with you
They are always by your side
To lead and guide you through
Your selfless sacrifice
Know the Lord has chosen you
To be special in this way
To bless another family
With a gift they can not repay
So let this Angel remind you
Your light and grace will always shine
More brilliant than a star.
by Karine Mikesell


Anonymous said...

Karine, your words are beautiful. I respect what you have said. I see your love for birthmothers. Being from the adoptive couples stand point I have to say that I wish you much success in an open adoption.
Unfortunately my husband and 2 other children did not have what we desired in an open adoption. There are two sides to every story. Our birthmother showed us no respect as the parents, she called herself the mother, and our child her son. She was young when she had our son so we tried desparately to be patient as we knew she was struggling. We wanted to help. Finally boundaries were so out of wack from her we had no choice but to close the adoption. It has been hard as we do care.
I wish you all success and pray that no one has to go through what we have.
Much respect,
Tina from Oregon

Jessalynn Speight said...

Tina I understand where you are coming from and there are some birthmothers who cross the line. That is hard when she won't accept the fact she is no longer THE mother. This is why I so often stress the fact that everything should be written down BEFORE if possible.

birthmomforever said...

Thank you for your beautiful words. I love the poem I got teary eyed. I hope you will be blessed with an open adoption.

birthMOM said...

tina raises a valid, but rare, aspect to open adoption, which stresses the importance of communication, having a legally bound written post placement contact agreement before the birth (this protects all parties involved), seeking help from third party mediators when needed and working with caseworkers when appropriate after placement.

it is wrong, however, for any adoptive couple to enter the adoption journey with a preconceived notion that an experience like tina's IS going to occur and therefore have a preconceived notion to close an open adoption after the adoption is final.

open adoption is like any other relationship, you have to work at it, always, and work HARD at it, continually, your open adoption will never go away, and i dont think that all adoptive couples realize the truth of that until its in the thick of the relationship and they are caught off guard. would you walk away and close off communication from a sibling, parent, child or spouse if they 'crossed the line' during a hard time of weakness and intense personal struggle? i would hope not. a birthmother should not be treated any different based solely on your respect for her. i think all too often too many adoptive families are too quick to walk away and close their adoption out of fear and not any sort of legitimate reason. (generally speaking here, not referencing tina's specific comments to her specific journey, at all)

in my personal opinion, even if/when the adoptive couple feels boundaries are crossed by a birthmother, there is no reason for them to not send or post, at the very least, pictures (on a blog or share site) for the birthmother to view when she wants. you can even set it up to be private so that only she can see it. not comfy with the internet? then by all means print some pics at walmart and send em to the agency a few times a year, its not that much of a sacrifice for you to do that when we sacrificed everything at placement.

tina - perhaps things will work out later in life for some healthy communication with her, time is a great healer. i am hoping you would be open to that idea! adoption luvs

Meg and Ken said...

I am glad you feel this way now, just wait til you actually have the love of the birthmom, it's AMAZING!! Our son was adopted 2 yrs ago and like you I was a little uneducated about open adoption in the beginning. Well after the first meeting we loved his birthmom and her mom right away. We were never scared after that at all! She respects us as his parents and she loves us. And we love that we ALL love our son! We want her to be in his life forever and for him to love her as much as we do.
We received two blessings in our lives, our son and his birthmom! We even got a bonus family, love them!!
I hope you are blessed soon with this amazing relationship. I would love to hear about it someday.

etropic said...

There needs to be more people like you Karine. You truly seem to have put yourself into a "bithmom's shoes." :-)

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