This guest post is by Jessica, a birthmother.
I am a birthmother.
I am proud of this title and love talking about my story, especially to those who are willing to listen with an open heart.
While I was pregnant many people including those closest to me were afraid, even offended, by my decision.
A sweet old lady told me that if I were to keep the child and endure the struggles of single parenthood that I would at least have her respect. Otherwise I would not.
Those words came from someone who genuinely thought she was being helpful.
My journey to open adoption ends with love, new family members, and a happy life.
During my pregnancy I struggled with trying to convince people that open adoption would work for me. I was 19 with no real life skills or experience.
Even though I did my research, had weekly sessions with a great counselor, interviewed another birth mother for advice, picked the perfect adoptive parents, talked with many happy families at an open adoption picnic, and even worked out an exchange ceremony with the adoptive parents, everyone kept telling me that once I laid eyes on my baby I would change my mind.
It was frustrating. I was angry that no one believed in me, and I felt that there was going to be judgement even if I did change my mind.
A lot of my friends stopped calling and I was fighting regularly with my family.
As tough as those months had been, I look back with pride that I stood my ground.
Through my journey to open adoption I had found my voice.
This voice repaired my relationship with my mother and sisters, strengthened my friendships with the few that stayed by my side, and has made me a good role model to my birth son.
We don’t willingly go through everything that I mentioned earlier just to avoid motherhood.
We do it to ensure that our children have everything they deserve.
I could not provide a home for my baby, I had $18 to my name, and I did not have a supportive partner to help with raising a decent human being.
I went through a nasty breakup before I found out I was pregnant. I did not want to drag a child through a toxic relationship.
Relationships were not my strong suit at the time.
My childhood does not have many happy memories with my father and I felt that the path I was on would lead to my child having the same fate.
The absolute number one reason I chose open adoption was I was not ready to be a mother.
Other women have been through the same circumstances as I was and still choose to parent.
Other women have been in situations where they have everything that they need to parent and chose open adoption. All situations are perfectly acceptable.
What I want you to understand is that women choose open adoption in different situations.
There is no right or wrong circumstance. My circumstances included me wanting to finish my education, fall in love, and find stability both emotionally and financially to become the woman that I saw fit to raise children.
That does NOT mean that uneducated, financially struggling women are unfit for motherhood.
It was just something that was important to me. I was afraid to raise a baby on my own without those attributes.
I cannot stress enough how hard I worked to make this open adoption a success.
Hearing people say that I gave up or walked away from my duties as a mother breaks my heart.
What I want you to know is that even saying the words “give up” in regards to my birth son is hurtful.
Whether you agree or not with open adoption please make the effort to use adoption-friendly wording.
I would appreciate it if you would say “place a baby” instead of “give up a baby”.
Even saying those words without any negative intentions undermines how much I love my birth son.
When I laid eyes upon my baby boy for the first time I was filled with an amount of love that I did not think was possible.
Yet I also saw a child who required guidance. Guidance that I also needed.
Seeing my son made me realize that the woman I chose to take over my role as a mother would do a fantastic job. I will always be proud that I got to hold him first.
I am also proud of the loving home that I chose for him.
My little baby is now eight years old. My relationship with his parents has grown just as fast as he has.
We have regular visits, which mainly include dinner, movies, playground adventures, and just hanging out.
They have become extended family to my mother and sisters.
We celebrate Christmas by going to the Water Park in West Edmonton Mall and we have a big birthday bash at the lake for my little guy each year. He is surrounded with love.
To anyone considering open adoption, prepare for the most difficult and rewarding times of your life.
I say that with consideration that you might choose a different path than mine. I want to hug you.
I want you to know that I have your back no matter what. Prepare to be confused, angry and frustrated.
Prepare to fight and cry. Most importantly be prepared to learn something about yourself.
Your relationships will be challenged but the ones remaining will be stronger than ever.
You will probably hear rude comments like “I could never give up my baby” or “adoption is unnatural”.
I hope you are never asked “are you doing this because you were raped? Or is it because you don’t know who the father is?” like I did.
I do hope that you speak with people who support you.
A few people told me that I was giving the greatest gift imaginable.
I want you to know that even though you did not intend to get into this situation, you are fully capable of making the best decision for you and your child’s future. I am rooting for you.
Watching my handsome little devil grow up with a loving family has been a blessing, and it encouraged me to be the best that I can be.
I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Earth Sciences, started a career, married my best friend, and bought the cutest little house.
I have grown leaps and bounds and I am happy that my birth son got to witness it.
He attended my graduation ceremony and was the ringbearer for my wedding.
He loves our new house and wants to participate in our renovation plans.
Nothing is perfect, but I am now ready to be a mother.
My husband and I are expecting. We are scheduled to welcome a baby April 10, 2017.
I have come full circle since the first time I discovered I was pregnant.
I want you to know that open adoption has worked for me.
My experiences have made me a wiser and stronger individual.
My experiences will aid in me being the best mother that I can be.
Jessica is a birth mother who placed her birth son in 2008 through Adoption Options located in Edmonton Alberta. As an expecting mother, she looks back on her decision with pride while anticipating the joys of parenting.
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