Sunday, November 26, 2006

In the beginning...

When I was a little girl, I had an older brother and 2 younger sisters. I eventually became a big sister to a little brother. I was 8 years old when he was born and I was so excited. I remember coming home from school to be told I had a new brother. I quickly changed clothes (we had to wear dresses to school in those “olden days”) and ran to the neighbors to tell them I had a new brother.

I told myself that he was special to me and I was special to him. I guess I “mothered” him. Childhood fantasy.

Another childhood game I had was another “mothering” game. I must admit that I come by nurturing by nature. I am a natural “care giver”. So, the game included me, my 2 younger sisters and many, many dolls. The dolls were accumulated over the years from Santa. Each year he would give me and by sisters a doll. I don’t remember wanting one, but I always got one. I took good care of my dolls so Santa would be pleased (yes I was a “pleaser” also) and give me a gift next year. Sometimes, I would organize my sisters and dolls in our bedroom. We would see how many dolls we had before placing the dolls in various locations throughout our house. The 3 sisters would reunite in the bedroom again and wait for a minute. Shortly, I would walk through the house again and much to my surprise, find all these children waiting to be found and in need of love. I would gather them up and take them home.

I didn’t give that “game” much thought until one evening I was preparing for a presentation about Birth Mothers. I was wondering (I will talk another time about the powers of wondering) what to say when I recalled my childhood game. I was shocked at how the game seemed similar to my current employment responsibilities. I work with girls or women who are pregnant and deciding if they want to consider placing their baby for adoption.

I have at times wondered if I am doing my life’s mission. When I had the above realization—I had to wonder if any other girls placed the “find the baby” game. Perhaps I am doing a life mission—or at least one of them.

Being involved with Birth Mothers through the decision process has its ups and downs. I have met many wonderful young women and worked with volunteers that have helped along the way. I have had experiences that I cherish. I have cried with others. I have prayed for help, support, and comfort for others. Sometimes I say, “I have done all that I can” and let go.

Over the years, I have seen changes. I considered writing a book at one time. The point of the book was to be a support to women going through this process of making a decision that would impact their life. There seemed to be support for the Adoptive Parents and information for the child that was adopted, but was lacking in support for Birth Mothers. The idea of a book fell by the wayside. This latest attempt was sparked by a young friend with her own BLOG page. As I listened to her, I thought perhaps I could reach many Birth Moms and help them connect to other Birth Moms, building a SUPPORT NETWORK. My hope is to give back to the women that I have come to love and admire.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Core Strength

Leah delivered a baby boy on Sunday after being induced and having a C-section. It was a long haul. Leah demonstrated incredible strength and determination through this pregnancy. She came to me stating she was going to keep her baby because she knew the birth father would not cooperate and she was old enough to parent a child. She later had a spiritual impression that caused her to consider adoption. She changed her mind, decided to place her child and has agonized over whether or not the birth father would cooperate. Her blood pressure sky rocketed due to the stress.
One evening after group, Leah and I tried calling the birth father again. Much to our surprise, he answered the phone and said that although he didn’t want to place his child, he was going to cooperate with the adoption. Leah wept. It seemed to be a miracle. It has been interesting to watch things come into place for Leah. Although it has not been easy, it appears that she is going to be able to place. She feels strongly it is not her time to raise a child and the adoptive couple she has chosen is better prepared to parent her baby.
Leah stayed in the hospital 3 days before going home. She had planned to go home with her baby for a few days. On her first day home, she became overwhelmed with feelings of doubt. She called me crying and asked to come in for a visit. She came in immediately and we talked about her concerns. I told Leah the worst thing she could do was to place her baby because she didn’t want to “disappoint people”. I told her that many people might be hurt if she kept, but they would get over it. Leah said she didn’t know how much she would love her son after he was born and letting him go was much more difficult that she expected. She feared she would not be able to recover from the loss.
As we visited, she decided that she would like to meet the adoptive couple that had driven many miles to meet her. They arrived shortly and we all visited, feeling tense as we were all aware of Leah “leaning towards keeping”. Twenty minutes into the visit, Leah asked to talk to me alone. She told me privately that they knew this was the family to raise her son. She told me that she knew from the minute they walked into the room to meet her. She felt peace and was confident that she wanted to place her son for adoption.
In this roller coaster ride that Leah was experiencing, she held onto her core for strength. She listened to her heart and her mind. She prepared herself, and although she was side-swiped by a wave of hormones, she was able to follow through with her plan. She cried at placement when she left without her son, but she holds on to the knowledge that she will see him again some day.
I know people wonder, "Why did she do it?" I can tell you "Why". Because she was thinking about her baby rather than herself. She was willing to suffer in order for her son to have a mother and a father.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I had lunch recently with Tammy. She placed her daughter for adoption 8 years ago and we continue to have contact. She has married, had a son, divorced and has been a single mom for about 4 years. She is currently completing her AA degree and hopes to eventually work in the adoption field or human services once she completes her BA degree.
Tammy was one of my “wild” girls and I still smile when I think of her. She loved to dance and party and found it difficult at times to live her standards. She had enthusiasm for life without focus on a goal. Being a mom has helped her move forward with a purpose. She has been more successful in school since being a mom. She has also participated in some helpful group therapy which helped her address her relationship issues. Yea, Tammy.
We met for lunch because she was visiting family in the area and wanted to tell me about you plans to marry. She met Richard on the Internet. They became acquainted by phone before meeting in person. He lives in Washington DC and she lives in Washington . They plan to be married in the temple this summer. I am so happy for Tammy and pray that the one she chooses to marry is honest in his dealings with her.
It was fun to hear her talk about finishing school, buying a house, having a “ring” and raising more children with a father. At 30, she has had many experiences that I hope help her as she continues to go forward in her life.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

They Came in Three's

What a week! Three of the girls and I am working with delivered this week: Saturday morning, Sunday evening and Tuesday afternoon. I did the final placement today. Two of the girls seemed to sail through easily. The last placement, today, was a struggle. Birth Mom had been firm in her decision to place, but struggled when it came time to say goodbye. She previously had an entional time before the baby was born, but was able to talk her way through her feelilngs. (This is normal.) She got caught up on, "Is this really the right things to do?" When the adoptive couple arrived from out of state, she struggled again but decided to meet them even though she wasn't sure what she was going to do. (This time she was faced with the "finality" of her decision.) Once she met them, she had the reassurance and peace she needed to follow through. More evidence for Hero Status.

When I say, "What a week!", it is nothing to compare to the week these women had. I was just trying to keep up with the paperwork, be supportive and get everything done. Each placement was so different and each young woman is coping in her own way.

Tuesday we will have Group and celebrate the birth of the babies with brownies and ice cream

About three years ago, I had the "Three's" in March. I had barely found out about a birth mom in Alaska when I received the call that the baby was born. I flew to Alaska the next day. Just before I left, Emmy had her baby. I was able to visit her after delivery, but wasn't around for the placement. While in Alaska, another girl delivered. I was able to get home before the placement. The birth mom in Alaska had chosen a couple that lived in Germany (temporary due to military assignment). I was able to meet the adoptive couple briefly and introduce them to the volunteer so she could do the placement.

Some one in the office that was observing the happenings of the week (she adopted 20 years ago) commented that she liked the way adoption was done in all those years ago. She didn't feel comfortable with the information that birth parents had. I hear this type of comment often. I have worked with Birth Parents for 16 years. Over the years, a birth mother has been given more options and power in the process. I think it is a great improvement and helps in the healing process.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tacome Tide

I saw a great commercial the other day. A man drove onto a beach in his Tacoma truck. He got out, took his kayak into the ocean and disappeared. Using time lapse photography, the tide came in until the truck was tossed and tumbled by the waves. At some point, the truck was submerged and rolled in the ocean. The tide eventually receded, leaving the truck sitting up right again. The man returned and loaded his kayak into the back of his truck. I watched with my mouth open and laughed as the man drove away.
I chuckle when I recall this commercial. To the man, it was as if nothing had happened to his truck. For the viewer, it was amazing that the truck survived and started. The commercial, stating that the truck was “resilient”, seemed to be a metaphor. To the man, it seemed that nothing had happened to the truck. The truck, however, had been through a difficult or challenging situation. I don’t know if the truck would really survive such a thing in “real life”.
I do know a birth mother that places her baby for adoption goes through a difficult challenge. Often, people cannot understand what she has been through or even know of the challenge. In “real life” I have seen many women survive the experience and go forward.
One thing that struck me from seeing the commercial was NOT about buying a Tacoma truck, but that I want to be resilient in my life. I want to overcome my challenges and grow. If I am going to face a challenge, I want to land on my four tires, start my engine and keep on going. Life can be a wipe out or a learning experience.
I dedicate this entry to Courtney. She had a baby boy on Saturday. The hospital social worker called to let me know she was concerned about Courtney “clinging to her baby like Velcro to her chest”. (What doest she expect? The girl has a short tinme with her child. I would be "clinging" too.) She thought Courtney was being pressured to place her baby by her mother. The social worker called me again later to tell me she was impressed by the “maturity of this 17 year old that wanted more for her baby—a mother and father and more”. I think the social worker couldn’t understand why I wasn’t at the hospital and doing my “casework” with this young girl. Little did she know that the “casework” had been happening for months prior to the birth. Courtney has prepared to think about what is best for her baby over what would make her feel good. I see her as “resilient” and courageous.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ZING - another idea

Sometimes I am just going along in my life when I am suddenly “enlightened” by some awesome idea. I ask myself where this idea came from. When the idea has nothing to do with anything, I consider the possibility of being inspired and I am thrilled that I had a random idea attack. The more random the idea, the more I think I am inspired. I will usually ask myself, “What were you just thinking?” I seem to get a “random idea” if I “wonder”. Wondering has brought me many insights.
A great time for me to wonder is when I am trying to understand what is going on for someone else. When the idea ZINGS into my brain, I pay attention to it because it could be helpful. One morning, I was in my bed, working on waking up. (Morning is the time I pretend I am getting up as I ponder or pray. As I sleepily wander through my day and wonder about things, helpful thoughts might come to me. This reflection time might also occur in the shower or when I am driving.) I visited with my daughter the previous night. She hadn’t been feeling well, so we were talking about her symptoms. In my “waking up state” I wondered what was going on with my daughter. ZING! In comes the idea that she had been attacked. I was shocked because an attack seemed terrible. The thought was so random; I decided to wonder more about it. You can bet that I was feeling a little more awake at this time. As I thought about “attack” I realized that perhaps it could mean something other that being attacked by another person. The idea came to me that her body was being attacked by something. I didn’t end up with a firm idea of what was happening for my daughter, but I did feel more empathy for her. Before getting out of bed, I sent her healing energy. (Oh,mom, that's woo woo.)
Another time, I was visiting with my friend Wendy. She is a therapist and I value her expertise. If someone asked me who my “hero” was, it would be a person that I think can easily learn and use the knowledge to help self and others. Someone I admire would be Wendy. She was sharing about her sister getting remarried. I was listening, but my subconscious must have also been listening. The idea ZINGED in that the future husband was Afro-American and this might be difficult for the family to accept. I didn’t know where the idea came from until I realized that I had just been unconsciously wondering what the fiancée was like. Wondering must have brought in the idea. I shared my thought with Wendy, “Is he Black?” She answered, “How did you know?” We laughed and I felt inspired. This incident was a wake-up call for me to value my own intuition.
My hope is that I will develop and use my gifts, whatever they are. I think we all have potentials far beyond our expectation. I you ask me, ZINGERS are right up there with x-ray vision.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Update on "Jake"

I want to do a follow-up on the 2 ½ year old, “Jake”. I had several women comment to me, “How could she place him for adoption” and “what about the sister”.
“Judge not”. The web page doesn’t tell the whole story. I think Mom realized that she wasn’t able to give Jake what he needed. She said she would be “overly mothering” at times and “angry/frustrated” at other times. She wanted more for Jake than she saw herself giving him. That caused her pain and hurt Jake. I don’t know the role of step-dad in all this. Addiction issues were a concern.
Since the placement, mom called me daily to see how Jake was doing. She has received a few picture/letter in the form of scrap book pages from the adoptive couple. She knows how well Jake is doing in his new home. Jake loves his new parents, calling them mom and dad already. He has the full attention of 2 adults that are thrilled to have him. Adoptive mom commented that after Jake was in her home a short time, she cried and cried because she felt so blessed to have him and couldn’t remember not having him. In a short time, she and dad are so connected that it would be difficult to loose him. They have been to the park, on walks, visited cousins, attended church and more. If Jake suffers from being placed for adoption at the age of 2 ½, just think about what he might suffer if he stayed in his original home.
Birth Mom appeared with me and the attorney before the Judge. She was clear in stating that she knew what she was doing and felt it was in the best interest of her child. I agree with her. Jake is free of the conflict that was happening in the home. Unfortunately, the 6 year old sister and baby brother are still in the home. I believe that mom and her family are connected enough to sister that she will be safe. I think sister could see what was happening to her brother and knows he is in a better place.
I will share with you that Jake is thriving in his new home. I also think that Mom has a better chance in being successful in her life. She has completed flagging school and started working. So, now when you look at a female flaggers—be nice, maybe it is her, and think about how brave and unselfish she was. She sacrificed her feelings in order to give her son a better life.