Thursday, April 21, 2011

Student Guest Post: The Not-So-Stereotypical Birthmother and Her Adoption Story

by Jeanette

The stereotypical birthmother is often thought of as young, single, poor, promiscuous, uneducated, highly emotional, weak, and even desperate. However, just as with all stereotypes, not every birthmother fits this description. When I was sixteen, I lost my virginity and got pregnant all in the same night. Yes, you read that correctly—you can get pregnant the first time! Although I was young and single, I was not uneducated. I was a sophomore in high school taking all AP and honors classes and I didn’t let being pregnant keep me from my studies, even though at the end of pregnancy it was a bit difficult to fit in those tiny high school desks. As an individual I was pretty poor. At the time I only made minimum wage working at Tom Thumb Video. However, I am from a middle-class family and my parents have always been able to provide my brother and me with everything we have ever needed. I would not have described myself as weak or desperate; scared, yes. Instead I viewed myself as strong and selfless.


I prayed over my decision for months, but knew that adoption was the best choice for Kaylee. Although there will always be a feeling of loss, as I miss Kaylee very much, I have never regretted placing her with Cindy and Joey. The adoption agency I went through counseled me on numerous occasions and provided me with a comfortable and trusting environment in order to work through my options and come to the best decision. I never felt pressured by any of the staff, my family, or my friends to choose adoption. Instead I felt loved, cherished, and blessed to have such a wonderful support group, and I fully believed that the choice was mine to make. Cindy and Joey are two of the most amazing people I know. I could not have picked a better family to place Kaylee with, as they love and cherish her just as much as I do. We have always been on the same page about wanting Kaylee to know about me, but also wanting to let her decide when, and if, she wants to be a part of my life. Cindy and I have even talked recently about how we long for that day to come and that we know it will be a joyous day filled with tears and an overflowing amount of love. Although I have always been fearful that Kaylee may not want to meet me, I do know that she will absolutely know that I love her and have always loved her since the moment I found out I was pregnant.

My adoption experience is a fairy tale story. I know I was blessed every step of the way, and I will be grateful and humbled by that for the rest of my life. However, I also understand that there are horror stories out there of psychotic birthmothers coming back for their children, or adoptive parents abusing the child, or of people kidnapping children in order to place them for adoption and earn a quick buck. But, I tell my story so that others know there is hope and there are fairy tale stories that exist. I also tell my story to the sixteen year-old girl, or any other age for that matter, that finds herself pregnant and scared. To you, I urge you to seek counseling from a number of different sources and I urge you to contemplate all of your options. Do not make a quick and hasty decision, because I promise that no matter what you decide it will be a decision that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. It is not one that can be swept under the rug and never thought about again. For the attorneys or counselors out there, I ask that you please take the time to get to know your clients and that you do not judge them, but instead that you help them in making the best decision for all of the parties involved under the specific circumstances. This will most likely be the most difficult decision that the birthmother ever has to make in her life, and she needs all of the love and support she can get. Not all adoption stories end up being a fairy tale like mine, but everyone involved should at least strive to make it a happy ending.

22 comments:

Wendy said...

I am really happy that things are working out for you and Kaylee's adoptive parents...here comes that big BUT, placing "fairy tale" in terms of adoption seems wrong on many levels--is it a fairy tale for Kayless (doubt it). It is awesome that your open adoption is working--applause to all involved as it is the best case scenerio, but placing how well it is working for you and her AP's is really denying her her feelings--unknown at this time and everchanging.

Just my 2cents.

birthmothertalks said...

I am glad that this birthmother felt like she made the choice with the proper support and education but I strongly believe that when adoptive parents say that they want "the baby, the child" to make the decision to decide when the birthmother actually sees the child is a cover up for them not being comfortable with it all. I heard a line close to that and when I found my daughter she was told very little about me. There were little things that could have been told so she have a better understanding of herself and her beginnings and she didn't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story with honesty and understanding; you are a study of courage and grace!

I know some will weigh in and some of it might be critical: of you, of the AP's ( someone will find something, trust me!), your folks, etc.) but please know there is support for you too!

Your story is my own. I made a loving decision that yes is always with me and with the child I placed, but not one I regret, for all the reason you shared.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story with honesty and understanding; you are a study of courage and grace!

I know some will weigh in and some of it might be critical: of you, of the AP's ( someone will find something, trust me!), your folks, etc.) but please know there is support for you too!

Your story is my own. I made a loving decision that yes is always with me and with the child I placed, but not one I regret, for all the reason you shared.

Thank you!

Robin said...

I think it is unfair to describe this situation as a fairytale when you have no idea how it will really affect Kaylee. She is the one whose life was the most dramatically changed after all and she had no say in any of it. Talking about adoption in such glowing terms when you are really only talking about 2 sides of the triad (the first mother and the adoptive parents) seems dismissive of Kaylee and how she will feel about all this and how it will affect her throughout her life.

I do hope for everyone's sake that you all continue to have a good relationship. I also hope that as Kaylee gets older that you all will put her front and center in terms of what types of relationships she wants to have with her various families.

Also, I find it AMAZING how many AMAZING adoptive parents there are out there.

Wendy said...

sorry...Kaylee

Truly Blessed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truly Blessed said...

Jeanette,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and for outlining all of the thought, prayers and counsel you received as you made this decision -- one that I'm sure was much harder than any of us who have not gone through it can even imagine.

It sounds like you are a very smart and confident young woman, with a great support system and feel very confident that you made the right decision in placing your daughter with her adoptive family.

Congratulations to you, Cindy and Joey on making the best of a very difficult situation and for staying open in all of your communication about what is best for Kaylee.

Jeanette, please don't let others make you feel bad for your decision, or for how you feel about your decision. There are some very bitter first parents who take out their frustrations and anger on other first parents like they have in response to your post. Some who read this and comment may be misdirecting their anger at their own situations or experiences at you. That's not right or kind, but probably to be expected. The thing is, they don't know what Kaylee will feel about her adoption - though I'm sure they're right about many of the things she will feel some day -- but if Cindy and Joey continue to raise her in a way that helps her understand her own history and includes you, she will be fine. Yes, she'll have questions -- you will be able to answer them. Yes, she might be angry or furious -- she will be entitled to those feelings and you and her adoptive parents will be there to help her process those feelings.

I'm so glad you posted your story. People need to hear that sometimes adoption works out for all parties involved...even the child. Maybe, when Kaylee is an adult, she'll be able to share her own story and how she felt about the choices her birth mother and adoptive parents made.

You sound like a very smart and strong person -- I hope you stay that way!

Wendy said...

Truly Blessed--we must be reading different comments here. I have seen no one criticize her decision or try to make her feel bad. I know I haven't--btw, I am an AP. Actually, I am very glad that things are working "well" for their situation, although it doesn't seem all that open from what is written. It would be wrong to not allow Kaylee's feeling, however. Something that is not addressed in the post--not necessarily not addressed in real life.
I think it is you who are coming to the table with an agenda and reading into posts what you want to see.

Anonymous said...

Wendy,
There was a comment deleted, perhaps she was responding to that one.
And writing "Sorry Kaylee" as a stand alone comment did not come off as very kind.

Wendy said...

I was correcting the spelling of Kaylee's name in my first post.
I didn't see the deleted one.

Anonymous said...

I hope that all parents involved in every adoption situation will be accepting and allowing of the child to have their own thoughts and feelings....even if they differ from the perspective of the adults involved.

Robin said...

Actually, I don't think there is a stereotypical first mother. As anyone who spends time in the adoption world knows, first mothers are different ages, races, religions and from different economic backgrounds, levels of education, etc.

Open adoption is being touted as a panacea for the problem of adoption. But the problem of adoption is not whether it is open, semi-open or closed. The problem of adoption is adoption per se, that is the separation of the mother and child and the severing of the child's genealogical roots and continuity.

My understanding is that adoption is supposedly about the child. I don't like to see any child given up for adoption unless there is a situation of abuse or neglect. Actually, when I hear that adoptive parents are "AMAZING" that sounds like one of the most stereotypical idea about adoption today.

Anonymous said...

I took the AMAZING comment by the commenter to be sarcastic.

LisaLew said...

How kind of you to share your story. How dismissive others are to "assume" that you haven't considered Kaylee's feelings. It is obvious you think of her every step of the way.
May God continue to bless your daughter and both of her families.

Robin said...

Adoptive parents are not amazing. They are simply people. Maybe people who are older and have more money (at least at the time) but they are no more amazing than natural parents.

I am an adult adoptee who is a strong advocate for family preservation. In general, I believe that adoption is very damaging. There is certainly a place for adoption when there is abuse or neglect. I believe that there are too many unnecessary adoptions and that adoption is not usually in the best interest of the child.

Christina W. said...

Jeanette, I really enjoyed hearing your story throughout this semester. I did have preconceived notions about birth mothers, which you changed. You are incredibly brave for putting yourself out there and explaining your story. I know you opened many eyes to the positives and negatives of adoption.

Birthmom said...

Wendy - you are right. "Fairy tale" was probably not the right choice of words. I was not in any way meaning that the situation is perfect by my choice of the words "fariy tale." What I meant was that under the circumstances it has so far been the best possible result for all involved. There are many years to come though and I do hope that we all continue to be blessed and comforted in this experience.

Birthmom said...

Birthmothertalks - I have complete faith and trust in Kaylee's adoptive parents that they are telling her about me and are willing to answer any and all questions that she has about me. I definitely appreicate the warning though, but I am very close with her parents and trust them just as much as I do my own parents.

Birthmom said...

Thank you Truly Blessed. Your words are very encouraging and mean a lot to me. I will definitely always strive to be a strong person no matter what obstacles I face.

Birthmom said...

Thank you LisaLew. Yes, I have obviously considered Kaylee's feelings and know that as she enters her teen years those feelings will likely surface. I also know that she has an army of family and friends to help her work through those feelings and I will be here in whatever capacity she wants and/or needs. Thank you for your blessings.

Birthmom said...

Thanks Christina! I am glad I could at least give the class another perspective to consider. If you or anyone else in the class ever wants to talk more I will always be available. Good luck with finals!!