Total Shock & Awe

I got off my monthly Bethany birthmom group call and took my coffee mug back downstairs. I had a piece of mail from BraveLove on the table, and dad asked what BraveLove is.

I didn’t know what to say. He’s never really been one to want to know about my adoption. So I said I wasn’t sure how to tell him cause it’s a difficult subject. It’s a birthmom education group.

There was a discussion about how he didn’t want to know anything about my adoption in the beginning. He admitted that was true. He was glad I didn’t have an abortion, but he was distressed I “gave it away”. I was somewhat offended and said “‘it’ is a girl”. I didn’t go into the whole “I didn’t give her away I placed her” correction, but maybe another day. Somewhere in the future.

I figure since we’d already blown open the adoption doors, I told him I would be getting off early next Friday and getting in a Zoom with my adoption agency to speak to couples who are hoping to be approved to adopt.

He then blew my mind and said he would like to meet her one day. So I shared her name and just a few pictures – the first was from our visit last month and the first words he said were “she doesn’t look like you.” (I wasn’t even sure what to say to that. Mom said she sees more of David in her as she grows up.) Dad asked how often I see her, and where they live, and if I buy her birthday/Christmas presents. So he can help me buy the presents.

Then mom said that adoptive dad is a pastor. I said he used to be at a church up here on 123 but now they’re building their own church down there. They bought the land during lockdown and should be breaking ground soon for the building.

Dad asked me if I talk to them a lot after I shared about their church. Well, I follow their church’s Instagram account.. That didn’t answer his question. We email every now and then.

I’m in total shock and awe…

I spent most of 2019 (subconsciously) letting go of the expectation he’d come around, and had finally accepted that he wouldn’t be involved in her life. 14 months later he drops this information on me. I had fully released those expectations, so now he’s exceeded anything I had.

It’s a lot to take in.

It’s a MAJOR thing to process.

It means that things aren’t the same anymore.

I have to adjust to a whole new reality.

I used to stop talking about adoption-related things if he was around. I would out my phone down or change apps if I had a picture of her up on the screen and he walked by. These are behaviors that have been ingrained for six and a half years. Now they’re not really necessary. And I don’t know what to think, or what to feel, or what to do.

I mean, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

I would have never expected that from him.

Ever.

Birthmom Q&A – part two

Q: How do you navigate birthday and holiday gifts?

A: Her birthfather and I do give her gifts, but really only when we see her twice a year for our visits. Those visits coincide fairly well with her birthday and a holiday, so that’s what we like to do.

We try to talk with her parents about what she likes or something like that before we buy her presents, but they tend to just be things that are age appropriate and that she’ll enjoy.


Q: Does your child and their parents give you gifts? Do you do the same?

A: We have received a couple of gifts from them over the years. But, no, they typically do not give us gifts. Some people might take issue with that, but I don’t. They are committed to honoring us, loving us, and praying for us. That means more than any tangible gift could.

I think we have given her adoptive parents one gift since placement. And that’s not because we don’t love them, I promise. Right now I think we’re just focusing on loving her and that’s something that can be addressed in the future if we choose to go that route.


Q: Have you ever spent extended time with your child and their family – for example, a long weekend vacation?

A: I have never spent more than a few hours with my daughter and her parents. I think I would like to do a vacation of some sort with them, at some point. But with our daughter only being 4 right now, it’s not something that’s on the radar for the near future.


Q: Is there something you wish you had known about adoption prior to placing your child?

A: This is kind of a difficult question for me. I’ve learned so much about adoption since planning my daughter. I think the one thing I wish I’d known before placing, was really just another birthmom. A woman who had gone through this before who could tell me what she’d seen, heard, experienced.


Q: Did your anxiety get worse due to pregnancy hormones?

A: Not really. Before my pregnancy, I wasn’t really dealing with anxiety like I am now. But I did notice that my depression kind of disappeared while I was pregnant, which is not entirely uncommon. My body was producing different hormones and they were, I guess, leaving me with more serotonin than before. So I definitely noticed a decided slide back down after, but that was also exacerbated by placing my daughter.

Birthmom Q&A

Okay, I’ve waited like two weeks, and haven’t gotten any more questions. This is what usually happens though… I’m going to go ahead and post this – because I can always edit it later or make another Q&A post if people ever do come back to me with questions.

So, here are the three questions people asked me, and what I could say to answer as best I could.


Q: How do you deal with your child aging so much so quickly between visits?

A: I’ve never actually been asked this question before. But even from the beginning, I was getting updates every three months, so I still was getting pictures of her between our visits every six months. Then last year after I mentioned something to them about setting up an Instagram, they created one a few months later. Even going three months in the beginning seemed like a long time, but I knew that I would see her again.

Now, I feel like it’s getting slightly more difficult. I think it’s because I know how much of a personality she has, how independent she is, how sassy she is, how brilliant she is. But I can’t really complain because I do get to see her, and we do have an open adoption.
However, I’ve learned that I need a couple of days before I see them to mentally prepare and after to emotionally decompress/recover. How I do that each time looks different.


Q: Did you experience assumptions about your experience or micro-aggressions during the process of finding adoptive parents for your child? (Like people making comments on what is/what they assume to be things like your economic status, relationship status, mental health status, etc.)

A: I didn’t tell very many people about my pregnancy. I was able to get away with it because I carried very small, and was able to hide it with hoodies. The few people I did tell, were incredibly supportive. I think I told even fewer people about the process of choosing the adoptive parents. That was something that no one but the birthfather and I had a say in.

Plus, a lot of people who don’t know much about adoption (this included myself before I was in contact with the agency I used) aren’t aware that the birthmom can choose the family to raise her child. They make profile books for the agency so that birthmoms have something to look though and help them make their decision.


Q: How did you navigate post-pregnancy conversations with people who assumed you were parenting a child (if these conversations even happened)?

A: Pretty much everyone who knew about my pregnancy knew that I was going to place my daughter. So I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t really had to deal with anyone assuming that I was going to be parenting and then having to tell them different.