may first two thousand and eighteen.

I know WHAT was just said but it hasn’t sunk in WHO it was with…

I spent a lifetime dreaming, three weeks in suspense and here we are.

investigating. connecting dots. searching. asking questions. playing detective. a lot of this I had set out for yet it also fell into my lap.

i have written many blog posts “to her”… and as I write this one I can’t believe I know she will read it. on purpose. most importantly, I can tell her. I can call her. I can text her. I can update her.

she revealed our story to my ears. mother to daughter, daughter to mother… she opened her heart. she gave me answers. she asked her questions. I heard sadness and relief. I felt grateful and thanked her.

she loves me. she thinks about me. she misses me. she is proud of me. all of this I officially know and is no longer a segway to find peace or distraction to make sense of what I never knew.

we laughed the same laugh. we shared our strengths and weaknesses. she updated me on current life and explained her past. we both loved dolly’s and playing teacher. we both struggled with our academics. we both have wavy hair. all in 2 hours. I didn’t want to stop talking and I didn’t want to stop listening.

to know her biggest struggle was my biggest blessing. I told her, yet I can’t reiterate enough, that she changed my life. she may not believe me yet but I will help her to find the confidence to truly believe that. her decision to place set me up for success, love, strength, hope. sometimes it can be hard to see that but I am proof that that is the case.

so much i want to divulge about our conversation but i’m guarding it with my whole heart. so many hearts involved. so many eyes reading. so many emotions unfolding. reality starting to sink in.

we are both open. open to see what’s next. open to navigate this new beginning with each other.

I found her. I found my birth mother.

be brave.

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dear birth mom.

I feel a ton of pressure on my chest right now. Trying to figure out what I want to say to, what I want to ask you, my birth mom. I only ever dreamed about being able to write you. In those dreams I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I knew exactly what I wanted to tell you and show you.

I was a little girl who wanted to know where my curls (which I hated at the time) came from and if your favorite toy to play with was a dolly like mine.

I was a struggling pre-teen who just lost her mom tragically and was curious if you had ever felt such heart break at a vulnerable age.

I was a young lady trying to get through school and wondering if you had the same testing anxiety that I was dealing with.

I was engaged curious what your dream proposal was and what your ideal wedding would entail.

I was pregnant with my first child and wondering how low or high you carried your first baby and your biggest pregnancy craving (mine was Wendy’s French fries with their pump ketchup and red vines… although not in one bite.)

I was beginning to grow our family through adoption and was eager to know how you chose life and adoption for me.

I was confident in where I stood, how I felt and lately I just feel more confused and more emotionally uncertain. How do I put 34 years of questions into ONE letter, THE letter. A letter I wrote multiple times to my future child’s mama’s but this one is hugely different. The end result being beyond comparable. Still a “yes” or a “no” to conclude the journey and I am fully aware that this may be my dead end.

Where do I start? My whole life is flashing before my eyes; my brain and my heart equally want to explode into a million pieces of thoughts, emotions, tears, smiles, memories, vacations, questions.

Dear birth mom, I was such a huge baby my parents had to switch me to soy milk because I drank so much milk and would rip the nipple of the bottle as they tried taking it away each feed. I was always playing dress up, mommy, school, and dancing to Disney musicals. I won a medal for archery when I was 6ish. I made the honor roll in middle school and in middle school I was also sent to detention for saying a not so nice word bc a kid smashed a cupcake all over my backpack and the principal happened to walk by when I said it. I played right forward on a competitive soccer team but failed to tryout in high school because we moved states and I was insecure. The first time I fell in love (I thought) was when I was 14 to a boy in a band. i grew up always knowing about my adoption. My mom and dad opened the gate of communication for the get-go. I graduated Summa Cum Laude at Arizona State. I love taking pictures-especially of the ones I love most. I have been a best friend for 22 years straight (I hope, ask her). I successfully completed 9 years of counseling after loosing my mother when I was 16 and dealing with codependency. I became an aunt to twins in 2008 and my sister was my best friend my entire childhood and longer.  I met my husband in a bar and married him three years later (don’t worry I played hard to get). I found my passion as a Certified Personal trainer after a dramatic weight loss and helped change lives. I am strong and gaining independence and confidence daily. I was one of those women who thought it would take me forever to get pregnant and got knocked up on our honeymoon just 8 months after being married. I gave birth to my son at 29 weeks due to a rare autoimmune. I became completely submerged in the adoption community as I strive to help and meet adoptive parents, learn from birth mothers, and advocate for adoptees. We wanted to grow our family but I knew adoption was our next route because of you. Your choice. Your courage. The life you gave me by placing me in the arms of my mom and dad. I wanted to pay it forward. Honor women in your position the only way I knew how.

I hope this letter finds you peace + love + light and rids any pain + guilt + sadness.

be brave.

A constant investigation.

I sit here and cannot move. my mind is going a million minutes. my heart is throbbing. my fingers won’t stop clicking and scrolling. having a semi-open adoption leaves me always wondering. always curious. knowing mama L is in our area to some extent always has my eyes wide open. searching. investigating.

this morning I was driving home and saw a women in one of the worse possible circumstances. my heart sank. that familiar lump back in my throat. my heart saddened. my knees weakened. I didn’t turn the car around this time, I didn’t want confirmation this time. I didn’t want to see the truth before my eyes. Some things are better left unknown.

Is ignorance bliss?

I continued to drive. I kept looking back at bk who was drifting off to slumberland. I kept replaying the meeting I had with Mama L in the hospital room. I remember her charm and it didn’t match the women I saw this morning. the twists and turns of someone life can benefit one but deteriorate another. I kept thanking her in my heart for choosing a different life for Brooklyn that she has for herself. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about her. that women. mama L.

as I was feeding Brooklyn before laying her down, I hopped on my phone to continue more investigating. something I haven’t done in awhile. I searched her name. saw nothing new. I hit the back button and there, new, different information I have never seen before. months of videos, pictures, affirmations, bible passages. all very uplifting, inspirational. that women I saw this morning, was NOT mama L and I have never been more relieved. she is everything opposite of what I saw this morning.

everyday I think about her. I wonder how she is living her life. I hear so many people who have open adoptions that are equally thankful for them as well as have their reservations. I always think if our openness is something that is beneficial or harder. is it different for me than my husband simply because I am adopted and I am always curious about my birth parents? I always think about what would be easier? healthiest? do those even ever match with one another? even when your daughter is placed in your arms, has your last name, you are still always thinking about the what if’s, the how come’s.

mama L, I am rooting for you. your daughter is rooting for you. I pray that you continue down the path you are on and keep yourself the main priority. because of you, your daughter is well loved and taken care of.

be brave.

 

nobody loves like a mom.

I hear that there is a difference between Mothers Day and Birth Mothers Day. I remember seeing posts flood my feeds last year as we were a waiting family. I love that the community finds ways to celebrate in a unique way. But is there a need to have separate holidays? you deserve to be celebrated and that’s what matters.

you ARE a mother.

i remember trying to picture who our birth mom would be especially after “meeting” so many birth mothers on paper. I tried to envision what our relationship would look like during the pregnancy and after placement. who would we get to celebrate on year later on this day?

we get to celebrate you! Mama L.

we don’t have any pictures of you; just the ones in my head.

we don’t have any of you seeing brooklyn for the first time; just in my head.

we don’t have any of you holding sweet bk; just in my head.

we don’t have any of all 5 of us saying goodbye on the hospital; just in my head.

I will not forget the tiny details of the day you placed her in my arms. i will not forget the details of how our story unfolded. I will not forget the details of your story and now her story.

today is your day.

today we are thinking of you more.

talking about you.

praying for you extra hard.

because of you, I get to share our daughters NINE MONTH milestone + on mothers day + for the first time as a mother of TWO.

thank you.

‘thank you’ doesn’t cut it.

‘thank you’ doesn’t solidify it.

‘thank you doesn’t make it more or less real.

but ‘thank you.’

forever thankful.

daily.

** happy mother’s day to my birth mom. the one i do not know. the one i’ve never seen. you are loved.** 

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a sign.

Many people have asked if our adoption is open or they just assume it is because I document my updates to Mama L. Either is fine but I write to her as if I know her. as if she IS apart of our life… because her daughter is.

Today is International Women’s Day. I have seen so many posts regarding Girl Power, Unity, Rights and Strength of women and my first thought was a brave women; Mama L. Every time I think of her or write to her, I ask for a sign from God about her wellbeing. A few months ago that sign came from a Facebook post where she shared a picture of Brooklyn I sent her in an update (blogged in this post: A Hidden Emotion). Seeing that made me feel proud and it made me feel comforted. Don’t get me wrong it definitely caught me off guard but I was able to sit back and truly recognize and distinguish how it made me feel. Because today is International Women’s Day I wanted to post something to recognize the day and recognize the woman who blessed us with Brooklyn.

As I was driving home this morning from dropping my son off at school, I decided to take a different route than usual. I hit the light right when the left protected arrow turned red so I didn’t feel like waiting (yes, I can be pretty impatient). The whole way home I was trying to think of a way I could honor her without posting a picture of her (which I don’t have very many). I look over to my right and I see a women standing on the side of the street. My stomach dropped. I slowed down to get a better look and I immediately held my breath.

legs went numb.

thoughts flooded my brain.

It was her.

Mama L.

Standing right there. 3 duffle bags in tow. Waiting. Waiting for something. Waiting for someone.

I immediately turned around because I needed confirmation. Was this my sign I’ve prayed for?

She has some distinct features that one can recognize a mile away and I saw them or at least I thought I did or did I want to see them? As I was completing my double back, she climbed into a car and we drove separate directions.

I know that it was her.

I feel that it was her.

I asked for her.

I prayed for a sign from her.

Obviously I do not know the specifics of her life, where she was going, what she was doing… and I worry about her.

At that moment bk’s life flashed before my eyes- the birth, the first feeding, our first outing. I know how Brooklyn is doing, where she is, her happiness, her giggles, her cries, her needs… because of Mama L.

Because of her brave decision, I do not have to worry about Brooklyn and SHE doesn’t have to worry about her daughter either.

“a child born to another women calls me mommy. the magnitude of that tragedy & depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”

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be brave.

added pressure.

 

With a biological child, you make certain promises to yourself as a parent to be how you plan to raise your little one. When you get matched with an expectant mom you give promises to her that you will raise the child to the best of your ability. In both scenarios you use the frequent vow “I will never…” until you realize that you are now saying, “oh I absolutely will.” As a recent adoptive mother, I can’t help but put extra pressure on myself that I have to go above and beyond those expectations or promises that I gave Brooklyn’s birth mom. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to give them to her verbally as our time together was extremely limited but I gave them to her through our profile book. Through our words, our pictures of our family and our home, we presented and promised Mama L that we would love and provide for Brooklyn; I wanted to promise the world and more. The weight and significance of these obligations are heavy, for me, because of adoption. The pressure that comes with adoption because you want to be more than a good parent, more than a friend, more than a confidant. Unnecessary, maybe. But they are real expectations that I have placed upon myself and I strive to live by. The pressure can be so intense that at times I don’t raise my children the same because I can’t let someone else down, that someone else being another mother, Brooklyn’s birth mother. I have this personal expectation to raise Brooklyn in this perfect world, that doesn’t exist, that isn’t realistic. I know I can’t guard her or protect from all negtivity in the world but I have the extra expectation that I can, I should, I will. It’s almost like I put an extra set of eyes on me, just as if Mama L is watching.

Over the holidays is when I felt this intense stress from expectations that I am speaking of. Christmas vacation was chaos, it was tough. It wasn’t the Christmas I dreamt of as our first as a family of four or for Brooklyn’s first Christmas (those milestones alone come with their own set of expectations.) I just kept thinking to myself, “this isn’t what I promised Mama L.” The weight was heavy. It was suffocating. It was powerful. It was exhausting. I cried. I hugged her close. I prayed. I expressed my worries to my husband and to a friend.  

Why do I do this to myself?

Why do I add such unnecessary pressure?

Am I the only one who does this?

Both of my kids are my kids, adopted or biological, doesn’t matter. I know that and I live that. Why doesn’t this pressure exist as if my husbands eyes were the eyes over my shoulder while I parent either of our kids?

Putting this pressure on myself isn’t fair and I realize that now. I had to go through that motherhood meltdown to discover it on my own and that is what is going to make me a better mom; the mom I promised Brooklyn’s birth mom, the mom I promised Beckett. I promised both my kids I’ll be the best person I can be to them, to their father, to their peers. I will forever provide love but I will also provide mistakes that will turn to lessons.

Moms… dads… take off this pressure if you can relate to this. Adoption or biological. Take off the pressure to be the perfect parent with the perfect home, the perfect holiday, the perfect adventure. Let life flow, embrace the chaos, endure the trials, and make the best out of all experiences life brings us. It’s not always going to be easy, it’s not always going to be glorified perfect, but these are the experiences that built our families and make us stronger together.

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