“Hi! My name is Haley and I’m a Birth Mom!” I jokingly tell people that this is how I introduce myself to new friends. Now, in reality I might not be quite as sudden to announce my love for adoption, but it’s pretty close. Adoption is so extremely close to me, it is a part of me, every single day.

I am a proud birth mom to a beautiful little girl whom I placed for adoption. It took me a long time to be able to slip the word “proud” into that sentence, but after six years of running from my story, I finally decided to turn around, face it all, and embrace the beautiful decision I made.

In 2012, I slowly started to open up my heart to the world by sharing my story. It was scary (okay, terrifying), but in doing so, I started to find people like me . . . finally! People like me! When they said the words “I understand,” they actually meant it! They knew what emotions I was experiencing; they understood the pain, the joy, the love, the loss. It was such a liberating moment for me. Each of our stories was so different, but we all had one life changing moment in common . . . we created a family.

Once I found this new community full of love and support, I just wanted to share it with the world. I wanted every single birth parent to know what it felt like. I was angry that I had not allowed myself to find it sooner; six years of suffering when I could have had all of these beautiful people in my life. I was determined to make sure every birth parent I could possibly find would someday feel the love of fellow birth parents.

In early 2013, I threw out a crazy and very “out of my comfort zone” idea to my dear friend. What if we throw together a meet-up? For birth parents? I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but with the help of my friend and so many people supporting me, we had our first meet-up that August. We had just around 50 Birth Parents attend. It was a wonderful day full of so many fantastic people; I could not wait to do it again!

Fast forward another six months, and here I was planning for my SECOND Birth Parent Event! The support was even bigger and better, more birth parents were interested, and the love was pouring in from every angle. I wanted to make sure that every single birth parent who attended the event would leave that day with a new best friend, a new shoulder to cry on, a new person to text on those dreadful “bad days,” and someone to celebrate with them when they got a new picture or update. I wanted every single one of them to understand how completely loved and appreciated they are by so many, to feel that love, and to be recognized for their complete selfless-ness.

On August 30th, 2014, I watched 70 Birth Parents walk into a room, ready to share a very tender piece of their heart. I cannot even describe this feeling to you. The love, the support, the vulnerability, the tears, the laughter, the friendships made, all of it. I have chills just thinking back on that beautiful day. I watched as so many of my dreams and wishes for these birth parents unfolded in front of me. I am so excited to continue this tradition and reach even more birth parents who are seeking support. No birth parent should feel alone in their journey: they need this, we need this, adoption needs this!

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