National Adoption Month Series: StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice

http://www.standupgirl.com

StandUpGirl is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to providing pregnant or at risk adolescent and young adult women with insight into alternatives to abortion. The mission is to change hearts and save lives by educating young women on the development of the unborn child and alternatives to abortion. Standupgirl.com is a rapidly growing website whose scope is world-wide. We have volunteer “StandUpGirls” who moderate the site’s chat rooms, blogs, forums and respond to emails – from across the United States as well as in Canada, Africa and Japan.

Young women from all over the world are coming to StandUpGirl looking for information about pregnancy. They find educational material, real answers to their questions, and a community of women they can talk to about their unplanned pregnancies. StandUpGirl.com currently has over three million visitors each year, and while it is a great encouragement to see this many young people coming to the site, we are barely scratching the surface of the potential number of visitors on the internet.

Perhaps the most important component of the website is the real-life stories of girls facing their own crisis pregnancies and how our StandUpGirl team provides personal and individual guidance and encouragement to help these women make a choice that they and their baby can live with. The team provides visitors with contact information of local pro-life pregnancy centers where they can get the support and resources they need to journey through their pregnancy. Most guests remain on the site an average of 23 minutes, looking at phenomenal fetal development photography, life-like illustrations and remarkable videos. StandUpGirl.com is one of the most visited abortion-related website in the world! This energetic and beautifully designed website can now be viewed in several foreign languages and the StandUpGirl App can be downloaded from the Android and Apple markets.

stand-up-girl

http://www.loveschoice.com

Love’s Choice was created to take an honest look at the painful beauty of adoption, and to provide tools to help each woman honestly assess the choices before her.

For girls out there that might feel overwhelmed as they try to make the best plan for their child, Love’s Choice is here to help and encourage, providing facts about adoption and tools to help them plan for birth, and either adoption or parenting. And, most importantly, Love’s Choice shares personal stories from real people who have experienced adoption –  adopted children, adoptive parents, and other birthmothers.

We want the girls that visit Love’s Choice to make an informed, confident decision about adoption or parenting. If they choose parenting, we hope the process of answering hard questions will make them a better, more intentional mother.

loveschoice

~~~~~

StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice are not adoption agencies, nor are they in any way affiliated with any adoption placement programs. For more information about them, please visit them at www.standupgirl.com and www.loveschoice.com and on Facebook and https://www.facebook.com/standupgirl.

Advertisements

National Adoption Month Series: Lauren’s Adoptee Story

I was born on August 11, 1985 and adopted by my parents at five days old in Phoenix, Arizona. My birthmom was 19, not ready for a baby and even though my birthdad wasn’t in the picture, she didn’t want him to have any part in raising me, so she chose adoption.

I grew up knowing I was adopted. While it was legally a closed adoption, my parents made the selfless choice to stay in contact with Ginger, my birthmother. They sent pictures and letters back and forth throughout my life. And although they didn’t know it at the time, she lived only a couple miles from them, even shopping at the same grocery store when we lived in Phoenix. Naturally, this probably freaked my mom out when she found out later.

When I was seven, my mom and dad moved my siblings (biological to my parents) and me to Holland, Michigan to be closer to my mom’s family. The letters with Ginger continued but began to wane as time went on. I grew up knowing I had a biological sister named Tayler, seven years younger than me who my birth mom decided to keep and raise on her own. I was always excited to know I had another sister.

At 14, when email started getting popular, I asked my parents if they would be okay with me emailing Ginger sometime. My mom, although a little nervous and insecure about it, agreed, and contacted the adoption agency in hopes of getting any up-to-date info on her since we didn’t have her email address. When we got it and I wrote my first email to her, I was so nervous. What should I write about? Teenager things, I guess. Honestly, I don’t even remember what I wrote, but it started my first line of communication between my birthmother and me. We didn’t email every day, just once in a while to say hello. Ginger had mentioned we should keep it to a minimum to respect my parents and not make them feel like they’d been replaced or that I wanted to go back to her. I agreed.

Two years later, in my junior year of high school, we began to email regularly, learning more and more about each other. We talked about our personal lives and I learned that in addition to Taylor, I also had a little brother who was two at the time, from her new marriage to her husband. Inevitably, the conversation about meeting in person happened. I was so excited, but so nervous, when I got that email. How would my mom feel? Would she be mad that even came up? Would she be angry that we had been communicating as much as we had?  Maybe she’d be okay with it if she came along to meet her? And so I had that conversation with her. To my surprise, she was thrilled, cautiously thrilled. Of course I’d expect her to be insecure about it. After all, I’m HER daughter. She’s the woman who raised me, fed me, took care of me when I was sick, disciplined me, taught me everything about life, hugged me and told me she loved me. But she was so excited I asked her to go with me to meet her. And so we booked our tickets to Phoenix.

We flew out there the week before I turned 18. I had just graduated from high school and was ready to find out where and whom I came from. My mom was a wreck on the plane; she hates to fly. I waited anxiously while my mom squeezed my hand the entire four hour flight. We landed in Phoenix and my heart began to race. Walking through the terminal into the lobby was surreal. I wanted to vomit, smile, scream, dance around, but instead, I just walked.

And then, there she was. Blonde hair, green eyes and short. It was like looking into a mirror. We hugged for what seemed like hours; I couldn’t let go. This was my mother, the woman who birthed me. The woman who chose life. This was the woman who selflessly gave up her firstborn daughter to a family who desperately wanted a baby after trying for seven years to have one of their own. The woman who gave birth to me on my daddy’s birthday, August 11th. I suddenly made sense. The first thing my mom said to Ginger and me was, ‘Wow, you both are shrimps! Now we know where Lauren gets her height!’ We all laughed and the ice was broken. I met her husband, Dane, my little sister Tayler, my little brother Mason and we all headed out of the airport a little less nervous.

lauren1

I spent the entire week with them, while my mom stayed with relatives in Phoenix. I asked Ginger every question I ever had. Why didn’t you keep me, but you kept Tayler? Why did you choose adoption? Why didn’t you fight for me? Why, why, why? She answered everything without sugar coating or dodging, just straight forward, which is exactly how I answer questions. I realized the concept of nature vs. nurture. I wasn’t raised by this woman but our mannerisms are the same, we sleep the same, laugh the same, smile the same, speak the same. Our personalities are so similar, it’s insane. I am bold, stubborn, kind-hearted, forgiving, strong-willed, direct, and I don’t take crap from people. Now I get why I had such an identity crisis as a kid; I am so different from my family in terms of personality, even down to my delivery of words and my thought process. I am all Ginger. Looks, personality, everything.

I also met my grandparents for the first time. I am the eldest of the grand kids, so it was very special to meet them. They cried and called me their granddaughter. I met my cousins and aunt and uncle for the first time and still have a great relationship with them. We celebrated my 18th birthday together with my mom and relatives before heading home, both of us feeling great about everything that happened that week. But also relieved it was over and excited to see my new family again in the future.

That was twelve years ago and there hasn’t been a year since where we haven’t seen each other. I visit Arizona every year and they have also visited Michigan a few times. I have taken vacations with them, been there for birthdays and holidays, surgeries, and various other events. Ginger has been by my side, watched me grow into an adult, heard listened to me talk about my silly relationships, met my husband and embraced him like a son. She attended our wedding on June 30, 2012 and my little sister Tayler was a bridesmaid. She and Dale look forward to being grandparents someday.

I’ve been able to watch my little sister grow into the woman she has become and watch my little brother grow into the feisty teenager that he is. We are family. I can’t say she is my mom, or an aunt, or friend, or whatever label you want to put on her. She is my family; her whole family is my family. There isn’t any other way to describe them. All I can say is that I am blessed. I am blessed to have parents who were so accepting of Ginger, allowed me to grow up knowing about her, let her be a part of my life, embraced her when she was a physical part of my life, and consider her family. I am so blessed to have a birthmother who is so strong and selfless, and respectful of my parents. She never stepped on their toes as parents, she is grateful to them for raising me how they did and proud to be a part of our family. She will always be there for us.

I am so blessed to have more family that loves me and who I can love. I am so blessed to have a husband who has only been supportive of the relationship I have with my birth family and eagerly waits for our next trip to visit them. I am so blessed to have a ‘dad’ in Ginger’s husband, Dane. He accepted me as part of his family, considers me his daughter, even though he came into the picture years after my adoption and encouraged Ginger to connect with me.

~~~~~

Lauren Haveman is a real estate agent for City2Shore Real Estate, She and her husband, Todd, reside in Hudsonville, Michigan with their two dogs, Dweezel and Lola and enjoy cooking, camping, and living the Michigan seasons to their fullest. Ginger and her husband continue to live in Phoenix AZ and Lauren and Todd still visit them every summer; it feels like their second home.

lauren

National Adoption Month Series: BraveLove – Telling the Story of Birth Mothers

The idea of BraveLove began in 2012, with a small group of people working with a local pregnancy resource center in Dallas, Texas. They witnessed their clients weren’t even considering adoption as an option when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. This observation was consistent with the National Council for Adoption’s Fact Book, which says only 2% of women faced with an unplanned pregnancy choose adoption. So often the brave act of placing a baby for adoption is viewed in a negative light, when in reality it is a selfless, difficult, and loving act a mother can make for her child. The story of the birth mother needs to be told.

As an adoptive mother, I have two adopted children and two biological children. My husband and I are immeasurably grateful to the women who carried our babies, and delivered them into this world, so I have a huge heart for these brave women who place their children for adoption. I started BraveLove to change the way our culture thinks about adoption and the women who choose to place.

Our mission is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.

The heartbreaking truth is that many women facing unplanned pregnancy feel unable to care for a child. Sometimes the single-most loving thing a mother can do is place her child with a caring, eager adoptive family. We aim to invite and empower women to choose adoption.

If I could convey one message to birth parents it would be that you are loved, respected, and honored.  We recognize what you did as a great act of love for your child, and we want others to see you as the brave loving person you really are.  You gave your child what you yourself could not give.  There is no greater act of selflessness.

In the same regard, if I could convey one message to adoptive parents it would be that your child can only benefit from knowing how loved they are by all the parents (adoptive and birth) in the equation.  Every child in an adoptive situation, domestic or international, has a birth mother and birth father somewhere out there. The existence of these individuals needs to weigh upon adoptive parents as they seek to rear their children. It makes me sad that we may never know the birth parents of our adopted children. We may never be able to thank them or show them the incredible fruit of their sacrifice. As much as we are the mommies and daddies to our children, there are two other very important people out there that need to be honored, talked about, and recognized for the role they played in the child’s existence in your family.

BraveLove is so much more than I ever thought it would be!  At the very beginning, we were not quite sure who BraveLove should be targeting.  Everybody is an influencer. Everybody plays a role in a birth mother’s choice to place for adoption. Our perceptions affect the decisions others make. We want BraveLove’s message to touch everybody in a birth parent’s sphere of influence — grandparents, teachers, pastors, friends and family, so that when birth parents decide to place for adoption, they have a network of support that can walk with them through this hard decision.  This is not just a movement for birth mothers – it’s for everybody. As we began researching and asking questions, it became loud and clear that the birth parent story was one that needed to be told. It is our honor to provide a platform of support and encouragement to these unsung heroes of adoption.

~~~~~

Ellen Porter, the Founder of BraveLove, lives in Dallas, TX with her family and works with a dynamic team to run the organization. For more information about them and to read some amazing stories, letters and interviews with real birth moms, please visit them at www.bravelove.com and connect with them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

bravelove

National Adoption Month Series – Christina’s Story

My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for 16 months before we pursued fertility options. At our first clinic visit they ran some tests and called me a week later with the results. They discovered that I have what’s called “diminished ovarian reserve” and told us it was unlikely that we would be able to successfully conceive on our own.

I was extremely saddened by this news, but I refused to stay depressed over it. I gave myself 24 hours to cry over it and then my husband and I discussed our options. Despite my disappointment, I felt relief amidst the pain. Neither of us can actually remember who thought of adoption, but we both always knew we were open to it and immediately decided to pursue that route instead of additional fertility treatments at the clinic.

My mother suggested meeting with her and my dad’s trust attorney, who was very passionate about adoption and could possibly represent us as we moved forward. When we met with him for a consultation we overwhelmed with the many different types of adoption to choose from. He encouraged us to sleep on it and see how we felt the next day. When we did, our hearts leaned toward private domestic adoption, so on Easter Sunday we announced to our family that we were pursuing adopting a U.S. baby through our new attorney.

I got straight to work on our paperwork and home study and I couldn’t help but also start to create a nursery for our hoped-for little one. The crib came first, and one of my best mom friends took me to Babies R Us to register for gifts. I was definitely excited! Since I hadn’t yet experienced any heartbreak on our journey to having a baby, I viewed an empty nursery with hope and it wasn’t painful for me. If anything it made me more joyful.

I must have emailed our attorney three different times, asking if there was anything I should change in our profile. I was politely reassured that we should be as authentic as possible and that someone would love us and pick us for who we are. Nine weeks later, we got a call with a match and were informed that we were their second choice. I have adoptive couple friends that had experienced failed matches and placements that fell through, so I tried not to get my hopes up, but I was still ecstatic.

We met with the expectant mother and father a week later, along with our attorney. We immediately hit it off, exchanged numbers and began texting. Over the next few weeks we took them to lunches, shopped for maternity clothes and even got to go with them to a doctor’s appointment and see the baby girl on 3D ultrasound! It was really important to me that they agreed with the name we had chosen for our daughter. I wanted them to see her in their minds and call her by the same name that we would raise her with, even though I knew we had the final, legal say in the matter after the adoption was finalized.

Not long after, our birth mom showed early signs of labor and was admitted to the hospital. Finley was born nine weeks early with minimal complications. In a normal birth situation in our state of California the birthmother will sign relinquishment papers upon being discharged from hospital. She then will have only 24 hours to change her mind. But due to legalities and because our baby came so early we had to wait about three weeks before she was able to sign. I was nervous, only because I was growing so emotionally-invested in this little baby that I could now hold and help care for. And I could tell that our birthmom was in love with Finley, too.

Our baby was in the NICU for a total of five weeks, and I was there around the clock the entire time. The birth parents also visited frequently and I realized that we were about as open as it gets. It was odd to most of the nursing staff and one social worker kept encouraging our birthmom to call and get updates on her baby. She made me feel like a bad person, questioning my reasoning for requesting that I be the only one to hold Finley skin-to-skin. I had asked our birthmom not to hold her this way because I wanted Finley to bond solely with me and to get used to my scent since we would be taking her home. But, for some reason the social worker continued to call our birthmom with updates, even after the medical rights were released to us.

Needless to say, I learned very quickly that some people just do not support adoption. I was filled with what-if’s and life-changing emotions that I had never experienced before. It was truly one of the most difficult times in my life. I also struggled with guilt as I watched our birthmom grieve her loss, and I literally cried myself to sleep one night over it. Who wouldn’t? Someone had placed their firstborn child in our arms. My husband and I believe it is the most generous thing one can do for someone else. It’s just indescribably amazing.

After the birthparents terminated their rights, they still visited each day and it was as though nothing had changed. The hospital staff was very confused, wondering why I would let the birthmother still see and hold the baby. I knew that some adoptive moms are very sweet and open with the birthparents but as soon as those papers are signed, they change their tune. I didn’t want to be one of them. I wanted to build trust. I knew we were going to be forever attached with this couple.

This relationship we share is unique; bonded by a baby. And on top of that bond, we also have a friendship. We discuss life, interests and experiences; probably more so than we discuss Finley. The first year after she was born we had visits about every six to eight weeks because we live fairly close and my work schedule was nonexistent. We have open communication and I text photos every Friday. Our open adoption works best this way. Of course, I understand that life can and will change things as time goes on, but as long as my daughter knows she was carried and placed in love then I am happy.

We finalized our adoption this past summer. Finley is now 14 months old. I’ve thought of her as our daughter from the beginning so I didn’t think that officially finalizing it would be that big of a deal. I literally thought it’s just signing another paper, but as soon as we sat down in court and the judge began to speak, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I cried the ugly cry and could barely get out my words. We were able to profess our love for our daughter in a courtroom. The official terminology they used alone is enough to make you cry and it was by far one of the best days of my life. I got to sign my first birth certificate. You can watch the court finalization video here.

Two days later we had Finley dedicated in our Christian church, and her birth family came to witness it. It was so beautiful to me because the first open adoption picture I saw on Pinterest was of birth parents and adoptive parents together at their child’s baptism. I still get emotional thinking about how I accomplished the exact moment that I longed for!

To say we are blessed is an understatement. Our placement happened very quickly and our daughter came so early. She’s a happy and healthy baby with many people that love her. I want to continue to create awareness about adoption and educate everyone I can on the importance and origin of open adoption. And we look forward to adding to our family through adoption again in the coming years.

~~~~~

Christina Smallwood is a 29 year-old business owner from Southern California. She loves God, her family and taking photos of everything. Her greatest joy is living a simple life as mom and wife!

Christina

Welcome to M2M’s Adoption Month Series & Motherhood Monday

It’s finally here! Happy November and welcome to an exciting month-long series here at M2M on ADOPTION! Each week throughout the National Adoption Month of November, I’ll be sharing real stories from real adoptive mothers, adoptees, birth moms and adoption organizations. I hope you’ll come back each week and read them.

Adoption is super close to my heart, most specifically for the cause of the birth mother. I love to champion for birth moms because I feel their pain. I am one. When I was a twenty year-old college sophomore, I made some really poor decisions that led to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy with no way or will to support a child. But instead of seeking help, I chose to ignore all the signs, not think about my problems and hide my pregnancy from everyone around me except my best friend. She continued to encourage me to do the right thing, but with the stress of school and other family problems swirling around me, I just couldn’t think past my own selfishness. It wasn’t until I was just weeks away from my due date that I forced myself to realize and prepare for the inevitable. I confided in another friend at school who could help me take care of myself, make plans and eventually take me to the hospital in time to deliver a tiny, but precious baby boy. It was only by the grace of God that he was healthy, that I found him a loving family to adopt him and that I was able to keep my secret until years later when I was finally ready to work through it, and find healing. I wrote a memoir about that time in my life, not only to help me though the healing process, but to hopefully help other birth moms through their own healing as well.

Each corner of the adoption triad has it’s bumps and bruises. It’s never how it looks on TV or what the adoption literature and profiles want to make it appear like. It is not even close to being all roses and sunshine. Like life, adoption on all fronts is hard, it’s emotional and it’s messy. From the outside, it may just look like ordinary parenthood, but there are a whole slough of even more things to work through. There is loss, nature vs. nurture, abandonment issues and sometimes a lot of therapy. But there is a beautiful side to adoption as well, an important, necessary  and redeeming side. There are so many babies and children in this world, in this country, that need parents. They need loving, stable homes with safe grown-ups who will love them through the tantrums, through the issues, through the mess. And there are parents without children. Women who want to be mothers, but cannot without help or those amazing families that feel called to take the needy in. Adoption is a beautiful bridge between these two heartbreaking places and it deserves to be celebrated. I hope this month you’ll grab a cup of something warm, a snuggly blanket and some tissues and join me each week in hearing these brave families’ stories of heartache, hope and healing.

Do you have an adoption story to share?  I would love to hear it and possibly even feature it here! Please contact me at wynter@madetomother.com

adoption-month2

And now for the monthly Motherhood Monday Link Up! Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on Facebook.com/madetomother!

MMLinkUp
<div align="center"><a href="http://madetomother.com" title="Made to Mother"><img src="https://madetomother.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/mmlinkupbutton.jpg" alt="Made to Mother" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Grab the Link Up button!

The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

LINK UP GUIDELINES

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!

A Little M2M Guest Post Action AND A Motherhood Monday LinkUp

Other than motherhood in general, my all-time favorite cause is for birthmothers. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like and I am passionate about championing birth moms all over the world as often and shamelessly as I can! As such, I have the joy and pleasure to network with, speak at and write for a lot of really great birth mother and adoption organizations. Some of my favorites are BraveLove, Called to Love and most recently, America Adopts. I love to take whatever opportunity I can to encourage, support and defend the cause of birth moms as all parties in the adoption triad move toward emotional and spiritual healing and closure. If you are interested in speaking with me further about adoption and birth mothers, please feel free to contact me at wynterkaiser@gmail.com!

Just last week I had the opportunity to do a guest blog post for America Adopts and I chose to speak on the misconceptions of birth mothers in our culture. Here is what I wrote:

As a birth mom I have my own story and it is unique. I think that sometimes it is easy to romanticize the ideal adoption scenario; a young girl gets pregnant and loves the baby so much that she decides to give it a better home and life than she can offer. But there is much more to my story than that typical, idealized notion. And, frankly, I think if all birth moms were really being honest with you, they would say the same thing.

I grew up in a stiflingly Christian home, church and private school. As a child and teenager I talked the talk, but deep down inside, I desired to break free and live how the rest of the world lived. So, as soon as I turned eighteen, I rebelled; and thinking I was invincible, I got involved in drinking, drugs and fooling around with boys. Eventually, my poor choices caught up with me. I was suspended from school after my freshman year in college and became pregnant shortly thereafter….

{Click here to continue reading over at America Adopts!}

~~~~~

And now for the Link Up! Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on Facebook.com/madetomother!

Made to Mother
<div align="center"><a href="http://madetomother.com" title="Made to Mother"><img src="https://madetomother.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/mmlinkupbutton.jpg" alt="Made to Mother" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Grab the Link Up button!

The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

Link Up Guidelines

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!

Open Adoption: A Living Miracle – Megan’s Story

2007 was a horrible, terrible, no good year. Well, except for the fact that my handsome son, John Henry, was born and I didn’t die. That pretty much sums up the year. After a pregnancy plagued by a rare neurological disorder brought on by high levels of progesterone, we were sternly warned to never attempt another pregnancy. They needn’t have said a single thing to us; one was more than enough.

Our extended family had been blessed by adoption several times and we knew before John Henry was ever born that any future children would come to us through adoption. We began filling out our mountains of paperwork before John Henry was a year old and approved to adopt in January of 2009, knowing that the average wait time for a domestic adoption was a little over two years. We also knew that couples who were proactive in their adoption efforts often decreased that wait significantly. I have an MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and social marketing. So we learned everything we could about domestic adoption and I threw the full force of my education and experience into promoting our desire to adopt.

One of the things that couples looking to adopt domestically are rarely told is that most of them will go through at least one failed adoption. Laws in this country protect the rights of the birth parents (as they should) to parent their child until after the birth of the baby, depending on the state, for as long as six months. (Three to seven days is a more common waiting time before a birth parent can sign relinquishment papers.)
My husband, Lincoln, and I are just over achievers, I guess. In 2009 we suffered through four failed adoptions and by November of 2009 we pulled all of our profiles down. We weren’t giving up, but we were heart broken. We needed some healing time. I believe that God often lets us get to that brokenhearted stage so that we will truly recognize and appreciate a miracle when he sends it to us.

In December of 2009 I got a call from our agency. I didn’t respond right away because I thought they were only calling to tell us that we needed to renew our home study and I didn’t want to think about that right then. A few days later I got several phone messages and an urgent email from our case worker to “Call her right away!” I finally did.
Because we had matched the very specific requirements of a potential birth mother they had sent our profile to her. She wanted to talk to us, and more so, she wanted to place with us! WHAT? We were so excited, and yet so afraid to open our hearts once again.
I talked to Lisa (*not her real name*) on the phone for the first time a week or so later and it was as if we were long lost friends. Her story was heartbreaking and I mourned with her. We spent the next several weeks getting to know her through email and over the phone.

In February I flew to Alaska several days before Lisa was scheduled to be induced. Those were precious days for me. The day I first saw her in person there was no awkwardness; we hugged as if we had known each other our whole lives and fell into the happy and comfortable conversation of old friends.
Lincoln and I spent the entire day in the hospital with Lisa the day she was induced. It was a slow and painful labor and we did what we could to make her more comfortable. Finally, more than twelve hours after her initial induction, they gave her an epidural and things moved fast from there. Our son, Leo was born late at night. I was with Lisa as she delivered. I got to cut the umbilical cord and it was one of the most miraculous experiences of my life. I cried as they handed this precious baby to Lisa. A baby who would bond two mothers together for life.
She held him and I kissed her and told her how amazing she was, and then she handed him to the nurse. I was torn. Should I go with the baby or should I stay with Lisa? As a true mother, Lisa told me what to do. I called Lincoln to come into the room and we assisted as the nurse cleaned, measured and swaddled our newborn son.

Megan

The next few days were a whirlwind of emotions. If you were under the impression that a person can only feel one emotion at a time, let me assure you that you are wrong. I was flooded by every emotion known to man, often hitting me in waves, one after another, without respite. But in the chaos of feelings swirling around the adults, the perfect calm of a sweet, new baby anchored us and we moved forward.
Lincoln had to return to Washington to his job and our older son. I stayed behind in Alaska, waiting for clearance to leave the state and for an opening on a flight back to the lower 48. Lisa and I spent at least part of everyday together. We took turns holding our precious boy, kissing him, feeding him and smelling him.
Some might think this would have been difficult for Lisa; spending so much time with the child she had carried, nurtured and given birth to, but would not be parenting. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but she cherished the time to tell him how much she loved him and to say goodbye. Like most birth mothers, Lisa is an amazingly strong woman.
Some might think this would have been difficult for me, ‘allowing’ Leo’s birth mother to spend so much time with him, to cuddle him and to bond with him. Some might assume I would feel threatened or anxious that she would change her mind. But they would be wrong. I would not have had it any other way.

Lisa and I share the bond of motherhood; each of us giving Leo something that the other could not. We both love our son fiercely, and each of us have and will continue to make great sacrifices to ensure he is given the very best we can give him.
Leo is now four years old. He is a little tank, full of energy and kisses for his mama. He loves dinosaurs and puzzles. I talk to Lisa often, on the phone and online. I try to get Leo to talk to her too, but the most we ever get out of him is “hi!” before he is off running again. We are also friends on Facebook. She watches Leo grow and shares in the journey. I get support from her as I parent, someone to ask about medical concerns and best of all, the knowledge that Leo will know his birth mama and know how much he is loved by both of us. We are planning a vacation together for later this year.

Adoption is a miracle. Open adoption is a living miracle. It takes work. It takes strength. Its rewards are infinite.

~~~~~

Megan is a mother who, in her search to grow her family, has become very passionate about adoption. She wants others to have access to the fruits of her obsessive need to educate herself on such an important topic.
She is married to the most wonderful man on the planet (who is terribly good looking as a bonus!) and is called Mama by a precocious and delightful six year-old and a loving and sweet four year-old little tank.
You can find more information about adoption from some of Megan’s favorite blogs, http://adoptionfyi.blogspot.com and http://birthmothers4adoption.blogspot.com.

megan2

M2M is participating in the 2014 Ultimate Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

If you are visiting from the 2014 Ultimate Blog Party hosted by 5 Minutes for Moms, welcome! Please take your time and peruse some of the amazing, inspiring and encouraging stories of REAL moms that I post here on Made to Mother. They will make you laugh, cry and feel united with a spirit of motherhood camaraderie!

A Little About Me
I am a wife to Jonathan, my husband of nearly nine years and stay-at-home mommy to our three young children, Chloe, Adaya and Liam. I am also a birth mom to a teenage boy out there somewhere. You can read more about that here, and for ALL the messy details, you can order a copy of the book I wrote about it here.

02-20-2013 03;26;36PM3

I love to write, it is like free (okay, cheap) therapy for me. I also love to read. And talk with my girlfriends. That is why I began Made to Mother; it kinda combines all three! I am passionate about helping other women share their stories so they can experience the freedom of putting their pasts, no matter how messy, on paper and then watching it become an encouragement to others.
You can find out more about my M2M Project here and I hope in addition to reading some of the other heart-warming stories I’ve posted, you will consider letting me share your story, too!

Here are just a few of my absolute favorite stories posted here:

M2m-logo-no-website

Brave Love: Championing the Cause of the Birth Mom

Made to Mother is dedicated to supporting, encouraging and inspiring all mothers. And I believe that one of the greatest unsung mothering heroes is the birth mom. Being a birth mom myself I understand the spectrum of birth mothers that are out there from the drug-addicted or homeless woman to the scared 16 year old or anyone else not ready to be a mother…and every birth mom in between. Birth mothers are not cookie cutters and each of them have their own, unique story. But they do share one, valiant trait; they chose life for the baby inside them, no matter how unwanted or unplanned it was.
Our culture today makes it so easy for a woman to abort; even young teenagers can now get an abortion without their parent’s consent. And what’s worse? The state will pay for it!!! But who pays the emotional price tag? The woman is most always alone in that.
For over ten years I kept secret the fact that I was a birth mom to a little boy 13 years ago, and with it, I held on to fear, shame and self-loathing all those years. But when I finally wrote my book and became honest with my friends and family who had no idea about my past, I was overwhelmed by the weight that was lifted from me and the peace of no longer having to live in the shadow of my secret. And since then, I have been blessed beyond measure to see God use that story and transform it into a beautiful testimony of His endless Grace, provision and healing.
In the time since I have also been able to meet some amazing people and organizations, one of which I want to share today. Brave Love is an incredible nonprofit whose mission is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption. They believe that often the brave act of placing a baby for adoption is viewed in a negative light, when in reality it is a selfless, difficult, and loving act a birth mother can make for her child. Preach it, sisters and I will turn the pages!
BraveLove

I have been blessed to share my own story with them and be a part of a wonderful group of people that can champion and give a voice to thousands of other women who are still trapped by grief, fear and shame. Please click on the button above and check out this amazing organization and be a part of the life-changing work they are doing for adoption and mothers everywhere. You can read my featured story on Brave Love’s blog here.