This letter was written by Liz, an expecting mother. Liz shared this letter with prospective adoptive families that she has met and has graciously allowed us to share this letter with everyone else.
I want you to let him be who he wants to be, like what he likes (pink, babies, football, etc.) love who he loves (regardless of gender, race, etc.) encourage him to pursue his interests whether they fit yours or not, let him openly express his emotions (don’t tell him big boys don’t cry, only babies cry) let him know it’s OK to feel however you feel but teach him there are acceptable ways of showing your feelings and non acceptable ways (physical, verbal abuse towards others and other things.)
Teach him that EVERYONE on the face of this earth is equal, that what they look like, talk like, things they like to do, who they love does not matter….everyone is God’s creation and we are all beautiful in our own way.
I want him to know, believe in, and trust God…I don’t care if he goes to church but I want God to be a part of his life.
I want you to be aware and really know how I feel about adoption and my baby.
I am giving you and trusting you with a piece of me, my heart and my soul. He will forever be my baby, as well as yours. I love him more than life itself and would do anything in the world for him and his future, which is why I have decided that this is the best for him. I trust you to love him, take care of him, hold him, kiss him, play with him, and teach him everything he needs to know to be the best possible person he can be. I want you to NEVER let him feel or think that he was unwanted or unloved by me (I will also do the same). I want him to be free to love who he loves (no matter who that is) and to enjoy the things that make him happy (whether it’s the color pink or blue, playing football or dance). I want you to kiss every booboo, chase away every monster, tell him he is the most amazing little boy in the whole world, pick him up and brush him off when life knocks him down, openly and honestly talk to him about everything (age appropriately). I want you to listen to your heart and not other people when it comes to the tough decisions that you will have to make for him. I want school to be a priority and a love for him. I want you to read to him every night and greet him every morning with nothing but smiles and kisses. I want him to hear “I love you” every day and feel your hugs and kisses against his body always. I want you to put his life and needs before your own. I want you to be firm and consistent with your rules and consequences. I want you to take tons of pictures of him, put his creations on your fridge and in frames on your walls, and take him on family trips/outings/vacations to enjoy the many things life has to offer. I want him to know my sons as his brothers. I want him to know my family and have a relationship with them too. I want you to be OK with mistakes you make with him, learn from them, and never beat yourself up about them.
Right now he is a part of me like my heart, liver kidney and all my other body parts. That will never change no matter how old he is or who his parents are. I created him, I grew him, I feel him move within me. He is a part of me and I love him so much. At the beginning of my pregnancy they told me it was an ectopic pregnancy because they couldn’t see him in my uterus and wanted to abort him. I fought against the doctors, nurses, and friends and family who were all telling me to let the doctors end the pregnancy for the sake of my own life that was in jeopardy if it was ectopic. I fought for him and I won. They eventually found him. His biological father wanted me to get an abortion more than anything and I refused and because of that I lost him as a support with my pregnancy and in my life. I feel that my decision to give him to you to take care of is another way I am saving him. I can’t give him the future he deserves. If all it took to raise a child was love I could do it without any problems, but it takes so much more to not only raise a child but to give that child a decent future. I don’t want him to just grow up, I want him to have opportunities, I want him to be able to play sports, go to camps, go on vacations, and get a tutor if needed. I don’t want him in daycare all day long every day, never seeing his parent because I am working 3 jobs just to be able to make ends meet. I want him to have two parents who are able to spend time with him, who aren’t working 80 hours a week, who are college educated and have careers. I want the best for him and that is why I have chosen adoption.
This blog post was written by Cynthia Christensen, who is the author of “Restorative Grief: A Guide to Healing From Adoption.” Cynthia is a birth mother advocate, special needs advocate, adoption speaker, and homeschooling mom of two boys. You can learn more about Cynthia and her ministry at her website.
I Would Never Give My Baby To Someone Else To Raise
Famous last words, eh? Never in and of itself is a word that should be avoided like the plague! I remember sitting in a crisis pregnancy center speaking those words to the counselor that was trying to introduce the idea of adoption to my 20 year old self. My first pregnancy ever, and I remember the words slipping out of my mouth with ease and confidence as if I just said them yesterday…”I would never give my baby to someone else to raise.”
I was not planning my pregnancy and in all senses of the word, it was a crisis, but I was going to raise my baby and be the best mom ever. Period.
Little did I know at the time, those words would be forever etched into my mind and I would recall them often. It would have shocked my 20 year old self to the core if I could have seen into a future where the only option I would consider would be adoption. But that would be just how life would turn out for me. 7 years after I sat in that crisis pregnancy center for the first time, I would sit there again for the last time. Another positive test, another bad relationship, and a woman so completely at the end of her rope the only thing on her mind is adoption. Nothing like the 20 year old who had life by the tail; the woman who was going to be the best mother ever. Nope; now all I saw was a completely worn-down, exhausted, broken woman. I needed change and I needed it yesterday.
Enter the type of resolve that can only come from God. I knew what God wanted me to do this time. He was asking me to put all selfish desires aside, to step out of myself, and choose life in a whole new way…by embracing open adoption. 7 years prior I wouldn’t give it a second thought. On that day however, I couldn’t stop giving it thought. I felt it to the core of my being. It was right. I am hearing Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” in my head right now, and truly, nothing else did matter — just what was best for the two little boys I already had at home and what was best for the little one growing inside of me.
Open adoption has been such a blessing for my family and when I see the connection that made two families become one, I can’t imagine it any other way. Do I worry about the details sometimes? The questions that can and do come my way at the most unexpected times? Sure. Just as believing in God is a leap of faith because there are so many unknowns that have yet to fall into place, adoption also is a huge leap of faith. It is carefully, methodically, and lovingly placing the one card in your deck that you can control face up on the table and saying you trust that every single one of the other cards will fall where they may on purpose.
That is tough to swallow. Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be will be. Placing that one, hand-selected card in the best position possible, crossing fingers, and praying for the best. That is faith at work. Faith that…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). Faith that He who began a good work in your child will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Believing in God to work in your child’s life and never let your dear baby out of His grip.
I have learned (mostly) the lesson of never saying never. Always consider your nevers, because that scenario may come…and it may not be so far-fetched and scary as you think. It could end up adding to your life instead of subtracting from it.
Pregnancy and Exercise is the fifth and final part of a five-part blog series on pregnancy health. Visit the Adoption STAR website for more in-depth information on pregnancy and exercise.
It’s important to remain active during your pregnancy and exercise will help you stay in shape and prepare you for labor and delivery. Exercise can also decrease the risk of postpartum depression. However it is important to speak with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program.
A great way to exercise while pregnant is taking walks four-to-seven-times per week for a half hour per time. Two other exercise options are swimming and cycling on a stationary bike. One thing to be careful about is lifting weights.
While exercising is important during your pregnancy, you should not be attempting to lose weight. Dieting and weight loss during your pregnancy can be potentially dangerous to you and your baby. If while exercising, you begin to feel dizziness, headache, chest pain, abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding, call your health care provider immediately.
If you have questions exercising during pregnancy, contact your primary healthcare provider. Adoption STAR provides information as well as counseling and support throughout your adoption journey. If you would like more information on making an adoption plan please contact our birth parent specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently I spoke with two birth mothers, Aubrey and Erin, about adoption profile books and what made them choose the family that they ended up choosing for their child. Whether you are a potential adoptive family beginning the process of creating your adoption profile, or you’re a birth family beginning to select a family, Aubrey and Erin had some great advice for everyone.
Aubrey and Erin both agreed that the adoption profiles that had a good balance of photos and words were better than the ones that were too wordy, or had too many photos.
“I got four profiles and one of them was mostly pictures, and one was mostly words,” Aubrey said. “The family that I picked was a nice balance of both. That stood out to me.”
When selecting the pictures, make sure that each one serves a purpose. Erin said that her favorite photos showed the families doing activities they enjoyed.
“The family that I chose had some pictures of the home that they live in. They were doing things like cooking or gardening, and I liked that (because) I could picture my daughter living with them,” Erin said. “It made it more real for me and able to feel more comfortable.”
Aubrey also said she looked for pictures that were more candid because it showed off the family’s personalities.
Both women agreed that it’s important to know a potential adoptive families interests. Aubrey said that she wanted to know what the families were all about, and what they liked to do, by the end of each profile.
“It made me feel a lot safer with picking (a family) that I knew their personality,” Aubrey said.
Erin’s advice for birth parents is to remember you are a picking a forever family for your child.
“Pick the family you can picture your child with. Make sure that they have the ideals that you want to share with your child if you kept him or her…if you never went camping traveled and you think that would be a fun childhood and would like your child to experience that part of life, then look for profiles that include that,” Erin said. “If it’s open adoption, also remember that you may have contact (with the family) for the rest of your life. Don’t pick a family that you wouldn’t want to live with.”
Today’s positive adoption term is “making an adoption plan” or “made an adoption plan for my child” and it’s negative counterparts are “giving away” or “giving up” or “gave away” or “gave up a child for adoption.” This refers to the birth parent’s decision to make an adoption plan for their child. This is a decision that is always made from love, and wanting what is best for the child, not due to wanting to “give away” or “give up” their child.
Not only is this negative phrase offensive to birth parents, it also has the potential to hurt an adoptee. The adoptee will feel much better about themselves knowing that their birth parents made a thoughout “adoption plan” instead of being told they were “given up.”
Adoption STAR educates adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees to use the more positive term “making an adoption plan” as this phrase genuinely explains what is being done. In addition, Adoption STAR works to encourage community professionals to stay away from the more negative counterparts.
What do you do when you hear offensive adoption language?
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New Adoption STAR Staff Introduction Videos
Quick post this afternoon: We have two Adoption STAR staff introduction videos for everyone to enjoy. Shannon Whalen: Adoption Social Worker, Family Advocate