"I am Annie and I am a Birth Mom. A few months before my 21st Birthday I found myself single and pregnant. I had a big decision to make. Out of all the options I had, I felt that I only had two. Be a single mom or place my child for adoption. I spent a lot of time looking into both options. They were both hard decisions in different ways. I decided that I was going to place her for adoption.
For those who are already saying, “I could never do that”, how hurtful. Everyone’s journey is different. We should be coming together as people and supporting each other in these hard times. Once you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy the only thing that matters at that point is the child. And whatever decision that mother or even couple makes is what it is. It isn’t right or wrong; it is the best they could make at that time in their lives. As you may have noticed already I use the term place for adoption and not gave away. As a birth mom it stings when people say gave away. I didn’t just give her away. She was and still is wanted. I wanted to be her mother so bad. But at that time, I never would have been able to give her the life she deserves. So, I chose to place her in her parents’ arms.
After I made the decision to place I had another decision to make. I had to choose her parents. I went through LDS Family Services. My experience was good. My caseworker was so kind and only helped me look at my options. The decision making was all up to me. I know when it comes to adoptions there are stories that aren’t always good. In life there is always a bad side to everything out there. This is my story.
I took my time deciding on who I wanted to be her family. I looked at many family profiles. At first, I wanted first time parents, so she would be the oldest. As time went on many of the things I thought I wanted in parents changed. I found a family that had already adopted two boys. Both of those adoptions are open. I started emailing the couple and getting to know them more. After the first email I immediately felt a connection. After a few more emails I wanted to meet them in person. The first visit went great and I really liked them. On our second meeting I got to meet their two boys. We kept talking and I invited the adoptive mom to an ultrasound. It was a very sweet experience. I soon put together a gift of baby clothes and a card explaining that I chose them to be my baby girls’ parents. After that we stayed in contact and got to know each other even more. We discussed that we both wanted an open adoption. I expressed I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted it to look or what I would need in the future. I knew placing baby girl for adoption was not going to be easy. I wasn’t sure if seeing her often would end up being too much for me to handle. All I knew is that I wanted to be a part of her life. After talking about their relationship with the other birth mothers they have found that “going with the flow” and communicating has been the best for all involved. I agreed. Another thing I loved about this couple is that they are very honest and open with their kids about where they come from. “Mommies tummy is broken, so your “Angel” Mom helped bring you to us.” Each child has their own book full of facts and pictures about their birth families. I find it is so helpful that adopted kids know where they come from and can ask questions when they need to.
With adoption there are usually three types of contact. There are closed adoptions, where there is no contact at all. There are semi-open adoptions, where there is some contact, but not a lot. It could be just sending a letter a few times a year, a few text messages, or even maybe a visit here and there. Then there is an open adoption which has just started to become common in recent years. Open means there is lots of contact. It is usually discussed what the birthparents and adoptive parents want it to look like.
Then it came time for me to be induced and give birth to this beautiful little girl. I had made a birth plan. I wanted my parents in the room and I wanted to spend as much time with baby girl as I could. Those two days in the hospital were mine. My time to be her mother. My time to explain to her why I had made that decision. My plan was to have her parents meet us at the hospital after baby girl was born and then the next day to bring her brothers to meet her. While I was in labor I realized I wanted my baby girl’s mom to be in the room. My mom contacted them for me. They got a babysitter and came right over. It was such a beautiful moment. I had my mom holding one leg, baby girl’s mom holding the other, and my dad up by my head. It brought us all closer and I believe it made our relationship even better. It was an honor to give baby girls mom that experience of being there while one of her kids was born. Her and her husband tried for years and were unable to have their own children. So, they turned to adoption to build their family.
I soaked up every moment I could for those two days. I swaddled her, changed her diapers, watched her hiccup, bottle fed her, and talked to her. I had chosen to bottle feed instead of breast feed. I knew placing her was going to be the hardest thing I was ever going to do, and that in certain ways I would need to “break” the connection I have with her. I know that sounds harsh, but even though I am still a part of her life and love her more than anything, I had to let go in certain ways or it wouldn’t be healthy for her or me. I didn’t want to add to that connection by breast feeding. It was so cool having her brothers meet her for the first time. Her oldest brother was already so protective of her. They are all two years apart. I had a few friends stop by. I even had my now husband (no, he is not the birthfather. I met this guy when I was 13 weeks pregnant. That is a different story.) come to the hospital and meet her. It was fun seeing him hold her as he had no clue what he was doing. I took time to talk to just her. My mom made sure no one would come in the room. I let her know how much I love her and why I made the decision I did. She smiled at me and at that moment I felt some peace.
Placement Day. Even typing this I have tears in my eyes. This was a very bittersweet time. I got baby girl dressed in her going home outfit I picked out for her and then I had some papers to sign. Relinquishment papers. They had to be read to me after I hadn’t been on any pain meds for a certain number of hours to be sure this was what I wanted to do. It was so hard to hear those words. Once I signed them I would no longer be her mother. I would enter a new role. I’ll be honest, I was scared. I picked up that pen and held it to the paper. I paused and let it all sink in. This was it. My two days of being her mother are over. I will put her in her parents arms and go home empty. I signed my name to those papers and cried. I held her and gave her kisses as her parents came into the room. They sat next to my parents and we took turns saying what we needed. I stood and walked to her mom and I placed her in her arms. We hugged with this beautiful baby girl between us. Now forever connected as a different type of family. My mom held me as we cried together. I felt so close to her new family that I felt I would be able to walk out of the hospital with them. We had to wait for the nurse to confirm baby girl was in her car seat correctly. She started to cry, and it broke my heart. Everything in me wanted to go comfort her, but that was no longer my role. I knew I couldn’t stay and asked to go. Once I stepped out of that room I almost fell. A sound of grief came out of me that I’ve never heard before. Everyone in the hall turned to look at me. My father was holding me up as I could barely hold myself up. They brought a wheelchair for me and got me to the car. As I got home my parents set up a bed for me on the couch. My bedroom was downstairs, but I wasn’t ready to be completely alone. I slept there for over a week. The first night was hard. I dreamt baby girl was sleeping in my arms right where I was there sleeping on the couch. As I woke she wasn’t there, and I panicked for a second until I remembered where she was. I was able to have a visit a few days after placement. I thought it would be hard to walk away again, but it wasn’t. I had major peace of mind. Seeing her at home, how much love and care there was. It really helped. After that point life kept moving on. I started by just getting up everyday and taking a shower. My parents took me on a trip just to get away for a bit. I started work again and I began to build my life.
Now here we are just over 7 years later. We still have an open adoption. I’m her birth mom Annie and I am content in that role. I get to be an extra person that cheers her on in life. Actually, I cheer on her whole family. I love that all the kids call me Annie and that I get to be a special person in all their lives. We’ve had many visits, we facetime, I get sent pictures, videos, and updates. It hasn’t all been easy. I still have my hard days where I just need to cry. I had to mourn the loss of motherhood, and sometimes I still do. We have had a few bumps in the road as well and haven’t communicated as we should. As any family we have over come those things and grown.
I’ve now been married for 6 years. We have lots of fur babies; 3 dogs, 2 cats, a bunny, a fainting goat, and chickens. We have lots of fun adventures planned for our life together.
As we all know May 12th is Mother’s Day. But many don’t know about Birth Mother’s Day. Birth Mother’s Day is the Saturday before Mother’s Day. It is a day to recognize those who have placed a child for adoption. This doesn’t take away the fact that they are mothers in any way. Some of these women like to celebrate on Mother’s Day and be recognized on that day. Some don’t want to be recognized at all. And some like me, prefer to be recognized on Birth Mother’s Day. For me I prefer to not consider myself a mother. I want to save that title for when I do have my own kids one day. For now, I hold the title birth mom and I find no shame in it. So Happy Birth Mother’s Day, Happy Fur Mother’s Day, and Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for letting me share my story."