stick + stones.

labels.

let’s talk about them.

one of the most frequent questions I get is regarding my thoughts and feelings about being labeled adopted or an adoptee. So let’s think about this together. Aren’t social media hashtags labeling? Isn’t your bio on Instagram that states adoptive parent or adoption advocate a label? Aren’t books titles “We Adopted You” labeling? Birth mom, birth father, labels? Even ‘friend’ or ‘author’ or ‘athlete’ all labels?

Do you think all labels are a detriment, withholding or just certain ones?

I am not here to tell you labels are bad or they are good. Personally, they are just that, a label. A category. ‘Adoptee’ isn’t my only title but it’s a chapter to my story. It doesn’t determine how I should or how I have lived my life. It never dictated certain decisions or created certain paths.

How did it affect me as a child, how does it affect me know?

In elementary school I was known as the girl who was adopted.

In high school, I was known as the girl whose mom died.

In no way did I let those terms degrade who I was. Is that a personality trait? How I was raised?

Adoptive mama doesn’t define me as what type of mother I am. It doesn’t make me real or fake, first or last, less or more. My son being labeled a preemie doesn’t limit him for his future but knowing this part of his story maybe helpful in a school setting or future endeavors. These labels, they can help us use our voices. They can help us in areas in our lives we may struggle or were we may thrive. I have made the choice and my mission to not let labels negatively affect me.

I am so incredibly proud to be an adoptee.

I am so incredibly proud to be an adoptive mother.

I am so incredibly proud to be a mama of a thriving 29-weeker.

I am so incredibly lucky to have been reunited with my birth mom and birth father.

I am so incredible honored to now know my birth mother and birth father.

I am so incredibly lucky to have been raised by the most altruistic adoptive parents.

I am aware that the way I feel about labeling isn’t the case for all adoptees/people but we are all different, unique and that is what makes this all okay! All of our stories start and develop in  their own ways. We aren’t always all happy or all sad. Labels are not the end all. They shouldn’t be blanket statements that define our struggles or our accomplishments. They are a small part of our identity. A chapter to our story.

I feel like you have the choice and the voice to embrace and hold proud your label(s). On the flip side I believe you can let it take over and become a negative tagline. I believe you have the ability and the right to change your level of comfort with your label. I believe your perspective can and will change as you navigate through childhood- adolescence-adulthood.

go ahead, label me, I dare you.

be brave.

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giving it back to Him.

after discovering my adoption file was missing in march, the next step was to file for my original birth certificate. seemed like a fool proof, safe plan b. from that we’d obtain my birth mother’s name and maybe get lucky with a birth father name and begin the search for contact.

recently I discovered that my original birth certificate is also untraceable. at first, I light heartedly joked that my missing file was due to my unknown royal heritage, now I just feel like it’s a conspiracy.

I feel like I had an emotional setback today because of this missing document. it sounds and seem ridiculous when i say it out loud especially because i know my biological family and they are basically in front of me. But I have to be honest and say I was really counting on this step. hoping + praying this would allow me to move on + forward + process.

it’s as though without this “proof” there is fear that these absolutely wonderful people may not really be mine.

it’s really frustrating that this part of my identity is so hard to grasp and tangibly hold. i do understand that there is more to the story. will i ever discover it? maybe but maybe not. i’m really trying to process this. still.

I needed this.

you must know, I am forever thankful that I have already found my birth parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. everyone so loving + welcoming + understanding + helpful + open + honest.

giving it back to Him.

surrendering with intention.

be brave.

do I even really exist?

it sounds dramatic, I know. but do I? after getting court order approved to unseal my file from archives I discovered my file is missing.

yup.

gone.

missing.

untraceable.

no where to be found.

the first question that comes to mind is how in the world can this happen? my second question was “is this common?” I have always labeled my life events as uncommon. not typical. not normal. from adoption to house burning down to witnessing and experiencing my mothers death to premature labor of my son to diagnosis of rare autoimmune to our failed match etc. (all while leaving out other large and small details). not sure why I was so surprised that this was yet another part of my journey that had an “uncommon hiccup”.

I have to be honest, this STUNG. it brought me to fear. it brought me to regret. it brought me to my knees. it brought me to tears. I have never felt like I didn’t belong until now. I have never felt empty until now. I had no idea this was a thing. Going into this I thought my “worse case scenario” was that I would get a basic file and no reunion. the reality is I could walk away from all of this with nothing. no information and no way of getting information.

all of this has left me so confused. mainly because from the beginning I haven’t been able to answer the common asked question, “why now? why are you searching now?” so currently I feel like “ya, why did I!?; why now?”

what I find most bizarre is most my childhood/adult life, I have always told people (including myself) that my adoption was so closed it was basically like my file did not exist… ironic huh? I wasn’t sure how to explain “closed adoption” especially with zero information regarding my adoption. since my adoption didn’t take place through an agency I thought my options were very more limited. I found this to be the best way (or potential excuse) to admit that I couldn’t (didn’t want) acquire information. I put those terms in parentheses because these are unexpected emotions that are coming up during this process that I am currently trying to work through even on paper.

A missing file doesn’t mean the journey is over. thankfully we have a plan b. I am so happy and relieved (still terrified and a tiny bit pessimistic) this isn’t the end. as much as I want to stop at times, I am not one to give up.

plus, its hard to give up when I have such an amazing support system rallying behind me. encouraging me to be encouraged. pushing me to keep moving forward aside from this bump in the road. reminding me that this is just one more piece of my puzzle. my tribe is validating that it is okay to be SAD; to be discouraged. we are recognizing that this is a unique journey. the unknown is scary. But turning around is not an option.

I do exist.

I do have history.

I am loved.

be brave.

“courage is the commitment to begin without the guarantee of success.”

still hand in hand.

today is a work day. away from both my babies. I usually come to the same spot, sit close to the same corner, usually order the same thing. I like my comfort zone. this day only happens once a week. I look forward to this day every week. time by myself. time to collect my thoughts. time to ground myself. time to dive face first into blogging, into my social media work, and etsy orders.

time to catch up on life outside motherhood.

today was different than last Friday and the Friday before that. although I am in the same spot, drinking the same drink, eating the same meal after doing the same workout, I find myself surrounded by a different crowd.

a mother-daughter crowd.

I immediately get hit straight in the face with sadness. as I look around I see different mother-daughter relationships. I see different generations of mother-daughter duos. my heart ached for mom. I sit in this corner alone. without my kids. without my mom.

most days I am fine. but when it hits, it hits hard and I feel like I am suffocating.

being an adult without a mom is strange. it’s hard. it’s confusing. isolating.

being a mom without a mom is a struggle. it’s lonely. coated in nostalgia.

I am forced to flip the script. everyday. I have no other choice but to use these emotions and put them into my family. my kids. my husband. our memories.

I remember starting the adoption journey and telling myself to use these emotions of misfortunate and sadness to find our daughter. well. here she is. in front of me. within arms reach. I can create the memories I miss with Brooklyn. and with Beckett. I can hope + dream + look forward to these Friday mid-day lunch dates with my own kids where I know my mom is always present.

these days are tough.

can’t wait to get home to my babies.

be brave.

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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.