adoptive mom project 2

The real adoptive moms project: part 2

What a shock! Going from no baby (no pregnancy discomfort, either) to baby was very hard. There was a lot of adjustment. It is also trickier because you have another person involved in your new baby’s life, so it’s not just you and your spouse; we really wanted to make things smooth for our birth mother-but we had really awesome experiences with our birth mothers (both of them). The hardest thing really just was the life adjustment, an adjustment I am sure anyone with a new baby deals with in some way. – Elise

Placement was the most wonderful and heartbreaking experience. Our son’s birth mother opted out of seeing us that day so her sister and mom did the physical placement. I struggled the most with guilt. I felt like all we did was cause her more pain and that was incredibly hard as I already loved her so much. – Maren

To be honest, placement was one of the hardest days of my life.  I hadn’t slept or ate much the few days before and was physically and emotionally drained.  I almost didn’t go to the hospital because I had become so close to our daughter’s birth mother and I didn’t want her to place.  I didn’t want her to go through that pain.  When we got to the hospital I went between wanting to puke and wanting to pass out.  The only thing that made me feel peace was when I saw our daughter’s birth mother walk out and felt peace in my heart that she would be okay.  We hugged and then I stood there with my arms folded-she was stronger than me in that moment.  She was the one to place her baby girl in my arms.  No one could have prepared me for the intense grief that I would feel for many weeks following.  The love that I have for our daughter’s birth parents also created such a sorrow as I had never felt before.  - Terra

Each of our placements was different. Our oldest son’s placement was at a church building. It was sacred, soul-clenching, beautiful, and heart-breaking all at once. I immediately felt this connection to both my son and his birthmother. What I struggled with most, was feeling like I had asked the birthmother to hand over her very own heart. We also met the birth father a little later during placement and we felt very blessed to have met them both.   Our daughter’s placement was at a hospital. It was relieving to finally see her as we had some un-anticipated complications getting to that point. The bond with her was immediate, but we longed to meet her birth mother (which we didn’t get to do for a few days as her birth mother was in prison). We were so disappointed with the situation, for our birth mother, and how raw she was.   Our twin boys’ placement was done at an agency office. Their interim (foster) parents brought them in and handed them to us. We talked so, so much and felt so much respect from the caseworkers as they allowed the situation to simply flow. There was so much love in that room, it was wonderful. We had tried to arrange meeting their birthmother, but it didn’t work out.   I think the biggest thing for any of our placements was the surprise you feel meeting a child, and sometimes a birth-family, that you just feel so deep down connected to. But you want to respect them and their grief in a moment when you can’t even hold back your joy. – Alicia

Heart wrenching, exciting, exhausting all at the same time. I struggled the most thinking about how my daughter’s birthmother was doing, my heart ached for her.  - Haley

The night before placement I don’t think I slept at all. I was very emotional that morning. I don’t think I have ever been that scared. 10 years of waiting and wishing and praying. It came down to only a few more hours. Our son’s birth mother came to see us before placement and she seemed calm and fine. This calmed my nerves. And then it was done. We ate pizza with his birth mom after and I don’t think the emotions hit her until the next day.  After placement, I struggled most with my fear of loss. I had three miscarriages and countless months and years of negative pregnancy tests. It seemed like all I could do was loss. I was scared those first few months of losing this beautiful baby. I lost even more sleep because of worry. It was exhausting. Then my mother in law said something to me that helped calm me. She said, “The good Lord wouldn’t have had you go though all you did to get this sweet boy just to take him from you.” I knew she was right. – Kelly

Placement day was one of the hardest days of my life. I didn’t expect to feel so awful when we took the baby home and his birth family left empty handed. I struggled with depression and guilt after the adoption. We almost didn’t open ourselves up for a second one. I am so glad we did even though our second son’s birth mom thought I was trying to talk her out of it.  - Cherlyn

I think placement for most of us is very similar.  It was a very surreal moment that happens so quickly.  And for many like me, after years of waiting for that first moment to hold your child you are at a loss for words and your emotions are all over the place.  I was blessed to be alongside our birth mom for delivery of our son together.  I held her hand as he arrived.  She held him briefly, and then told the nurse to “let his mom hold him – he is hers now.”  It was said in the most sincere way and the most loving tone.  I knew she meant it and I knew she wanted that.  Yet, I ached to the bottom of my core for her.  I knew no matter how strong she appeared to be, that deep down she was going to have a very difficult time and that her emotions would almost be too much for her to bear.  Our son was in NICU for three weeks, yet I was so torn between wanting to be by his side constantly and also wanted to wrap our birth mom up in my arms and take her with us.  I knew I couldn’t.  I knew she had to go, and I knew she had to heal in her own way and at her own pace.  The day she left the hospital was honestly one of the hardest days of my life.   I struggled the next six months after placement (our son’s birthday) because our birth mom requested no contact for a while.  During that time I knew it was for her healing, yet I hated not knowing how she was doing.  I had contact with her dad and stepmom, but I wanted to hear from her.  I also struggled with just being a first time mom.  Not only was I exhausted, but the emotions from the past few years came crashing down on me.  All my wrongs, all my hopes, all my fears – they all collided.  And then around the time our son was six months old, I began to hear from our birth mom again.  That is when true healing for us both began, and that is when I realized just how marvelous God’s plans really are.  - Jenny

Placement was very surreal. We got the call that our daughter’s birth mom was in labor and was notified of what was going on every half hour. We got the news that our daughter was born June 23rd 2010. The birth family wanted the two days in the hospital to be their own time with our daughter. Even though I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to see her be born or see her right away I completely understood. On June 25th we finally got to go to the hospital to meet her and take her home. Very surreal day. Signed paperwork what seemed like forever. Went up the elevator with the social worker to floor 13 (my lucky number!!) walked down a very long hall and walked into the room. There sat Sara holding our daughter. I think I was completely numb, scared, happy, sad for Sara all rolled into one. Birth dad was there, grandma, aunt and their pastor with his wife and kids. My husband and I got to feed, clothe and change her diaper for the first time in front of them. We got in the car new baby in tow and felt like it was a dream. After placement the grief for birth mom was extreme. Horrible grief and sadness for her. – Angel

Placement was what we had been told it would be, the most emotionally dynamic experience of our lives.  There was grief for the journey of the birth mom and her family, fears about our ability to parent in a way that would honor the birth mom’s sacrifice, deep gratitude at this gift that we could not give ourselves, excitement about the future that awaited us, but most of all LOVE.  There was so much love for this little girl, the birth mom, her family, adoption, we were overwhelmed by love.  My biggest struggle is looking at my beautiful, amazing baby and thinking “There is another woman who desperately wanted to do what I am doing (being a mom to our baby), who would do an amazing job at what I am doing, and my heart breaks for her.  I am deeply grateful, but still sad. – Celeste

We have not had an adoptive placement yet, only a four month foster placement. The children were the same ages as our kids (3 and 6) and it was like having two sets of twins. For obvious reasons, that had some stressful moments. The kids have now returned to live with their parents, and we are back to actively pursuing adoption, which we put on hold whilst the foster kids were living with us. – Noelle

We’ve adopted twice and our kids have the same birth mom, “N.”  Our first placement experience went really smoothly.  There were hard moments, but the experience was filled with joy.  I was in the delivery room and was the first to hold our daughter.  They even had me get up on the bed with N, so they could lay her directly on my chest.   We all cared for our daughter while in the hospital and all left the hospital to go home together.  For a week following placement, N stayed in an apartment we had rented less than a mile away.  For our second placement, we had an amazing hospital experience, but N had a lot harder time with placement and was experiencing a lot more grief.  This made placement really difficult for me, because I felt guilty, knowing that N was experiencing pain. I had a hard time bonding with our son, because honestly, for a while, I felt like I had “stolen/taken” a baby and that I was the cause of her pain. I knew that she had chosen this and believed it was best, but it was really hard for a season!   – Amanda

Placement was difficult and beautiful. We had only known our son’s birth momma for 2 weeks when he was born. There were some first moments of awkwardness but that was soon replaced with mutual love and respect.  After placement my biggest struggles were with myself. I think I was like a lot of first time moms and felt like I was inadequate. – Nicole

Placement was very stressful. In the state of California, the birth parents cannot sign any legal docs without prior “advisement.” Meaning a third party explains all of the paperwork to them a minimum of 10 days before they can legally sign. They had their advisement appointment scheduled, but Finley came 9 Weeks early via emergency C-Section at 2am. We were both welcomed into the birth-plan and supposed to be in the room when she was born, instead we woke up texts and missed calls. She was in the NICU for 5 weeks total. It was middle of Summer, so the Gal the was to advise them was on vacation. About 4 days after Finley was born, they were advised. We waited 10 long days until our Birthmother could sign her relinquishment papers. All the while her and the birth father visited the hospital <almost> daily. It was very emotional and we feel like our Placement Process was really extended. It was exactly what we all needed. I had trusted that Finley was ours since before birth, but nothing felt as great as the relief I experienced 24 hours after our birth mom signed. In our state there is a “24 hour waiver” that expedites all legalities to be enforced 24 hours after Relinquishment Papers are signed, meaning they no longer had the option to change their mind.  Taking Finley home from the hospital 2 weeks later was incredible and terrifying since she was barely 5lbs.  - Christina

Our placement was the hardest most beautiful experience I have ever had. Our daughter was born and had to spend a few days in the hospital with jaundice. Because of that our adoption plan to have her birth mom get to spend some one on one time with her was interrupted. We strongly believed that time was precious and needed so after papers were signed we made the arrangements for our daughter to spend the night with her birth mom. It was hard to see her leave the hospital with her but we had such peace knowing it was all going to be ok and they needed that time. We met the next morning at the LDSFS office and spent a good hour exchanging a few gifts and talking. As our time was coming to an end her birth mom said she was ready. She stood up and placed our daughter in my arms, tears fell from both our eyes. But as we looked down at our beautiful baby girl she had the biggest smile on her face. Her birth mom smiled and whispered “she knows” my heart sank and fluttered at the same time. I believe we all “knew” but I will never forget the strong feeling of knowing that day. – Kenzi

Placement the first time was difficult. It was like witnessing a death- and simultaneously the best day of your life. It’s indescribable to have someone’s worst day be your best. We had a very short match, so there was precious little “get to know you” time between us all. I struggled with a lot if guilt for months after placement. The second time (our daughters are biological siblings, both placed at birth) was much smoother because we all knew each other. There was still guilt, there was still pain from their first mom, but it was alongside all the love and trust we all felt for each other. – Rebecca

Placement was unique and our son’s birth mom was perfect for our situation. The hardest thing after placement was the pain and grief that our son’s birth mom was going through. I struggled to feel that it was ok to have him, to feel like he was really our son until after finalization. I also struggle when with other moms, they start talking about birth stories and I have nothing to contribute to the conversation. – Chriss