What I Learned About Openness After Placing My Baby For Adoption

This guest post is by Crystal Byrd, a birthmother.

I placed my birth daughter in an open adoption 18 months ago.

It was the most rewarding yet challenging decision I ever made.

When you do an open adoption you plan to still be involved in the child’s life — to get updates, pictures, visits etc.

My personal opinion is that it benefits all members of the adoption triad– the child, the birth parents and the forever parents.

The child never has to wonder where they came from or why this happened. They can get answers to all of their questions.

They can know they are loved by so many.

For birth parents, a major fear in an open adoption is that eventually it might not be so open anymore or if at all. This has been a personal struggle for me.

The amount of openness you get in the beginning might not be the same that you get a year down the road.

What I have learned is how important it is to be honest and to communicate with the family you chose for your birth child.  

The key is to discuss what their idea of an open adoption is and let them know what your idea of it is.

Then you need to come to some guidelines about openness together and realistically figure out what will work for everyone involved.  

Continue reading

How To Help A Family Member Or Friend Who Has Made An Adoption Plan

This guest post is by Andrea, a birthmother.

When I was pregnant and considering adoption, I had a lot of family members and friends who didn’t know what to say or do or how to support me.

I try not to hold it against them but it was a difficult time for everyone all around.

I know that it isn’t always easy to “be there” for someone who is considering an adoption placement or has made a plan.

Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s hard to know how to support and comfort a person who’s going through the process.

But as a birth mom, I believe that receiving support from others is critical.

Adoption isn’t an easy topic to discuss and it’s definitely one of the hardest situations that a woman with an unplanned pregnancy can find herself in.

As we’re weighing the pros and cons of our adoption plan, we don’t want to be alone. People are already judging and ridiculing us.

Placing a baby for adoption might not seem like the right decision for others, but you need to remember that it’s our decision and our child.

Here are some ways to support a family member or friend who is considering adoption or has made a placement plan. Continue reading

Why I Chose Open Adoption After An Unplanned Pregnancy: Behind the Scenes of Our New Film

This guest post is by Leah Outten, a birthmother. 

It’s a beautiful thing when worlds collide for a purpose.

Much like a divine intervention can happen within an adoption relationship where a birth mom finds the perfect adoptive parents for her child, friendships happen over adoption, too.

In this case, three women came together with different stories, yet one passion at the core of their message to the world: Adoption.

The dream started with the Founder of Talk About Adoption, Callie Jett, desiring to make a short film to show how adoption has evolved and can be one positive solution to an unplanned pregnancy.

“I wanted to make this film to show the world that open adoption can be a wonderful option for a mother and her child when the option of parenting has been exhausted.”

She adds that her message of this project was also for people to recognize the love and beauty of a birth mother’s decision.

As a birth mother herself, she knows both the heartaches and the beauty of open adoption and making the brave choice to let another mother raise her child. Continue reading

How Adopting My Baby Boy Made My Life Complete

This guest post is by Chemene, an adoptive mother and adoption support group leader. 

Author’s note: When I wrote this article in 2016, I was in a different mindset in my adoption journey. As a leader of a diverse group, I have listened and learned over the last few years and discovered that my thoughts were only about myself; that my feelings only included myself.

I never thought about how my words and language could be perceived as harmful and disrespectful by my son never mind my sons birthmother.

Although I feel the need to make the changes to the following article, I think it is more important to show how education can change you. How meeting adoptees, birthmothers and adoption/foster care professionals can help guide you through your journey as long as you are open to truly listening to them!! 

Adoption is an amazing and life altering journey.

However, it can also be very tough and challenging in some ways.

One of the hardest parts of being an adoption support group leader is helping pre-adoptive families decide when it is right for them to transition.

Transition is when you make the decision that the IVF route is over or the trying is done and the adoption route is to begin.

For years, my husband and I tried to start a family through IVF.  With it came loss and grief and it was overwhelming.

Realizing this was a journey I didn’t want to continue, we changed our route to adoption.

That decision was easy, but letting go wasn’t.

Continue reading

Open Adoption Means There Are More People To Love Your Child

This guest post is by Tennille, an adoptive mother. 

For as long as I can remember I have desired to be a mom.

Although it was difficult, I am thankful for our long struggle with infertility because it led us to our son!

Through sharing our open adoption journey I’ve seen friends go from struggling through infertility to adopting, birth families who have no relationship with the adoptive family to building a friendship.

When there is a desire in your heart, there is a way.

Here’s a little bit about our story and how we went from infertility to open adoption:

When we came to the end of our journey to conceive, we were heartbroken at the thought of not having a child.

We knew we were meant to be someone’s parents so we turned to adoption. Continue reading

What I Learned From Adopting A Baby

This guest post is by Deanna Kahler, an adoptive mother and author.

I never dreamed that both of my pregnancies would end in miscarriage. It wasn’t part of my plan.

As a young woman, I thought I had everything all figured out. I would have two children by the time I was 30 — one girl and one boy.

It seemed like the perfect plan; only life had something else in store for me.

When I found myself still childless at 35, I was heartbroken.

I had longed to be a mother for so long, and it didn’t seem fair that I had suffered so much.

I had already lost two babies and found out I had an autoimmune issue that causes recurrent pregnancy loss.

I had also struggled with severe anxiety, panic attacks and depression as a result of my challenging life experiences.

After considering the risks of attempting another pregnancy, my husband and I decided to adopt.

Continue reading

5 Things No One Told Me About Placing My Baby For Adoption

This guest post is by Andrea, a birthmother.

Before I found out I was pregnant, placing a baby for adoption wasn’t something I really thought about.

I never thought it was a decision I’d have to make.

I didn’t think I’d ever see a pregnancy test until I was married and ready.

But life doesn’t always happen the way we plan it.

Sometimes we have to make hard, rash decisions that we don’t think we would ever have to make.

And sometimes we really do have to put others before ourselves.

Here are some things that I wish I knew before I had to make that big life-changing decision to place my baby for adoption.
Continue reading

How To Support Birth Parents After Placement

Maxine Chalker is the founder of Adoptions From The Heart and an adoptee.

There is significant research and study covering adopted child psychology or teaching adoptive parents how to adapt with new children in the home.

However, the attention dedicated to birth parents is minimal at best, leaving a gap in the services available to help birth parents adjust with pre- and post-placement of the birth child.

Fortunately, this is slowly changing with pre-counseling centers and service areas for expectant mothers and birth fathers, but it is nowhere near the capacity it needs to be at and post-placement centers are far and few between.

With this in mind, here are some ways to support birth parents after placement during or after the adoption process. Continue reading

Stop Forcing Birthmothers To Hide In Shame. It’s Time We Got Your Praise And Respect

This guest post is by Lynea, a birthmother.

As almost all birth mothers know, moving forward after placement is not an easy process.

We are overwhelmed with our own guilt and self-deprecation as well as all of the assisted pain that is placed on us by others.

I find it interesting that birth mothers are looked at as women who “gave up” their baby.

We live in a society where you are ostracized for judging those who choose to abort, even late term or kept their children but provide no structure for their advancement and welfare.

But somehow taking the initiative and selflessness to find a life for someone we love is quitting.

Those who have spent any time with a birth mother know she never gave up and she never quit loving the child she bore.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about what might have been had I made a different choice for my child.

There’s no doubt abortion would have left me scarred with taking a life but I do admit I did contemplate this action a few times.

My conscience and love for this baby inside of me would not let that happen. Continue reading

The Secret To Creating A Successful Open Adoption Relationship With A Birth Mother

This guest blog is by Gayle H. Swift, an adoptive mother, adoption coach and author. 

Developing a healthy, working relationship with a birth mother is one of the most important tasks faced by adoptive parents.

It’s also the one we tend to fret the most about.

Sometimes adoptive parenting can feel crowded; we have all these extra people in our lives.

Because we recognize it is in our children’s best interest, we want to build a healthy, working relationship with their birth mothers.

We know these relationships are a vital and important part of their lives and, therefore, an integral and valued part of ours.

We also know without the birth mother, there is no child, no adoption, and no adoptive family.

The birth mother-adoptive family relationship is a must-make-it-work commitment.

Yes, it will likely be difficult at times, emotionally charged, will generate extra stress and will add another responsibility to your already overfull plate.

But it is not going to go away because it is too important to your child. Continue reading