Friday, October 15, 2010

Give up or Place?

It seems to me that I have been told time and time again that I "Gave Away" or "Gave up" my child for adoption. I have been thinking about this since...well, since I placed that sweet little girl into her parents arms. I am not the most amazing or eloquent writer but I am going to try to write my feelings down and TRY to adequately express my feelings on the matter. Again this started out as my journal of writing my thoughts on adoption and it just so happens a few people out there read it. So here are my thoughts:

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared...terrified really. As the days went on though, I got excited. I was actually going to get to be a mom. I am the oldest of 9 kids. I knew babies were hard work. I knew kids were even harder work. I saw my mom work her butt off day after day running us to activities, helping us with school projects, cooking dinner, cleaning, etc. My mom never stopped. I knew it would be tough and I knew the journey would be long but I wanted to do it. I was going to be a mom.

I went on researching the decisions, even though in my brain I was going to parent. One day my mom brought me in to the agency. I went a little reluctant but open to information. I sat and I listened to the caseworker. She didn't push me one way or the other. In fact, to be honest she didn't say much. I told her I was open into looking at adoptive couple profiles but made no promises. The next few weeks I read over and over those profiles and none of them seemed right. I still had this nasty pit in my stomach that this wasn't the right choice. Then Aly (my roommate .. now best friend.. who I didn't know at all at the time) directed me to her aunt and uncle.

I saw their profile and I felt an overwhelming peace. I talked to the adoptive mom on the phone and I cried,I cried different kinds of tears that night.
I cried tears of JOY.
I cried tears of PEACE.
I cried tears of SADNESS.
I cried tears of ANGER.
I cried tears of EXHAUSTION.
I cried tears of LOVE.

I was joyous and peaceful for I knew what and who I should choose and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was sad because I knew that this choice also meant being courageous, strong, and steady and doing the hardest thing I would ever have to do. I was angry because I put myself in the sort of situation that would put me and my baby where I was at that time. I was exhausted because I had stayed up for weeks crying wondering what to do. The love was for my baby, this family, and God for they all had helped me see that my life path before the pregnancy had been very wrong and detrimental to my future.

I know for a fact I was not forced or coerced into this choice. I know without a doubt that I had chosen this family. I literally screamed until my throat hurt at my mom because she told me I had decided on the family too soon. But there was a force that no one could ever possibly understand that was driving me to this family that I hadn't even met in person yet. When I met them I had a basket of baby goodies waiting in the cupboard and the second I met them I knew I had made the right choice. This was where my baby would be.

In the hospital after I had little J I fell asleep. I had been in labor for 11 hours, and pushing for 3, and so injured physically that I couldn't even fully stay awake. The most precious moment I remember is looking up from my hospital bed through half closed eyes seeing her mother and father hold her standing next to me looking at her with the most powerful look of Love I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. It brought peace I could never explain.

When I finally held that sweet baby and I looked in her eyes I spoke to her and I told her why I made the choice I did. I now know I don't need to explain all the reasons or defend them to anyone but her. I sat with her in the hospital, talking to her, loving her, kissing her, hugging her. The more time I spent with her, the more I looked in her eyes, I knew that I had made the right choice for my baby.

The day I signed the relinquishment papers I was sitting with my parents, Josie, and 2 of my very best friends. I knew with everything in me, yet it was incredibly difficult. I got up from my bed and I walked to the bathroom and I wept. I wept like no one on this earth could ever describe. I wept from the very bottom of soul and with my whole heart. I collapsed to the floor my heart hurting. For even though I know it was right, my heart still hurt. To place a child for adoption it is defying natural instincts it is unnatural but to me that is what makes it such a sacred exchange. The love I had for my baby was so strong it defied everything, the conviction I had to give her what she truly deserved was so strong I defied nature.

When it came time for placement I dressed her in a beautiful dress and we drove to that room in the agency where I had met the couple for the first time. We took pictures, we talked, we prayed, and we cried. Now here is where the title of this post comes in.

I did not throw my child at them
I did not just give her up like a puppy like an unwanted possesion
I did not drop her on the side of the road
I PLACED her in that couples arms with trust, love, passion, and peace and I did not say good-bye I said See You Soon.

I know to someone who has not been through a similar situation it doesn't seem possible to do that. I also know that unless you have been the exact same process you yourself will never understand from my perspective. You can know someone who is adopted, you can know someone who has placed, you can know someone who has adopted... merely knowing someone who did it will never give you the correct understanding of what a person goes through in that situation.

I love Josie and everytime I see her or visit her I know she loves me too. I know she will always know I loved her and I still do. I will always be here when she has questions and so will her parents. I know that one day she will come to me, hug me, and tell me THANK YOU. Thank you for PLACING her into her family.


hope2adoptbaby said...

Beautifully said! Hugs!! Shelby

debs life said...

PEOPLE can be so heartless. If I had given up Anna, I would have aborted her, I would have not made ANY effort to search out the perfect parents for her, I wouldn't have bothered to do anything at all. It is a HUGE insult to say that someone has given up their child or given them away when they have chosen to place their baby for adoption.

People are quick to judge when they haven't been through the experience themselves. It's really sad how uneducated and ignorant people can be about adoption. Yes, there are situations where the Birth Mom truly doesn't care and just wants to get rid of her baby, but nowadays woman can just kill their babies instead, so this is VERY RARE. Nowadays, it's heroic ENOUGH just to CARRY THE BABY to full-term.

Before I became a Birth Mom I was pretty bitter about the idea. I remember a girl in our neighborhood who placed her baby for adoption. I'd have to say I was about 15 years old. I expressed my feelings about the idea like this, "why would she give her child away", "if she got pregnant, she should deal with the consequences". How selfish is that?

I HAD NO IDEA the amount of pain a Birth Mom would feel until I found myself in the EXACT same situation years later. WOW! Even as a Birth Mom myself, I am still SOOO amazed at all the wonderful Birth Mom's I know. The reason we place, is because WE LOVE our children. If the timing was right and the situation was ideal for the child, we'd all keep our children. I am done :)

Britney O'Connor said...

Beautiful Jessa. And exactly how I feel. Adoption is such a blessing...a bittersweet thing.

heather said...

Beautiful Jessa and so well explained.

Diana of Diana Rambles said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!!

Mike, Mary, Maggie, and Max said...

Thanks you Jessa For sharing. My heart is full as our son will be PLACED in our arms tomorrow by another angel like you. I know that my heart will break (for her) and sing (for him) at the same time tomorrow, just like 4 years ago when my daughter was placed in our arms by her birthmom. You are an amazing woman. Don't ever forget it.

RockyMtnTiger said...


I must admit this is the first time I have gotten that glimpse of what you were feeling and what you went through in a more complete way. As your Dad I am even more impressed with you and who you are. I am so proud of the woman you are becoming and the desire of your heart to help others.

I must share my feelings here if you don't mind. I struggled with you choosing adoption and Heidi and I would shed many tears about should we step in and ask for baby J. I just felt sad and felt how can I let my first grand baby go to soemone else what kind of grandfather am I to allow this.

However,I knew I wasn't allowing anything it was yours and Gods choice to make. My role was to offer you support and love no matter your decision. When I met Baby J's new parents I felt a peace and knowledge that she was in fact going to the family she needed to be with. That is so difficult to say or accept in many ways, but I cannot deny the feeling.

It was the most difficult beautiful day I have experienced other than the birth of my own children. We all shed a lot of tears that day (Ya I know for a big guy I am a big crying baby), but I see her pictures and videos, I talk with her parents and when I see her, I see a happy little girl who has two loving brothers and doting parents.

I love you Jessa girl and you only need to hold your head high as you were faced with a very difficult choice and by all accounts and evidence you did it right. Nothing you or others say may ever stop the detractors, but you said it best when you realized you owe an explanation or to validate your choice to anyone, but you only share as a way to heal and help others maybe find something from your story to help them in their journey. It can be easy for some to make poor judgments and accusations when you haven't spent one minute in the shoes of that person. It also unfortunately is a defense mechanism to lash out sometimes at things we don't understand or comprehend.

I would also venture to say we are all guilty of that in one situation or another I know I am. If we can learn something from this it is we should all be compassionate and slow to judgement of others. Even if we don't understand it we offer our hand of friendship over a poor choice of words and offer discussion over vitriolic statements.

Keep up the work you are doing to improve the adoption process and the education for others. I know it is a labor of love with a pure intent.

Love you always,


Unknown said...

you said it beautifully.

and Jessa's dad,
thank-you. your words to your daughter sound like what my mom has said to me and sometimes we just need that reminder...

Chelsea said...

I have to say that I disagree. I feel that the word "placed" is somewhat of a sugarcoat for what I really did. I suffered, I hurt, and I sacrificed. I GAVE UP a peice of me so that peice could better flourish. I can't say that I don't use the word "placed," but I do use the phrase, "I gave my baby up for adoption." I gave up a life that grew in my body. I gave that life a better life because of what I gave up. I have no shame in using that phrase. I feel it is ignorant for someone to judge me based on me using that phrase. I feel like we should all be that way. If people hear your story and all they can focus on is that you said you "gave your baby up," then they must not be empathetic/sympathetic toward the situation. Based on this very blog post, when I read it I think that you have given up quite a lot, and you should feel strong and empowered, as I'm sure you do. :) I just don't agree that this is a phrase to be looked down upon. That is all. Just throwing my opinion out there, with no intention of offense.

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