Thursday, August 4, 2011

A half decade as a birth mom

"C"'s birthday was this last Wednesday, August 3rd. He turned 5 years old!! I can't believe I've been a birth mom for half a decade. It really seems impossible.
I REALLY wanted to blog on his birthday. But I started training last week for work. It is to prepare us for the new school year, which starts tomorrow.
Getting back into the swing of leaving Brielle and going to work was hard this last week, so I just could not find the time to post.

The last 5 years have been quite a roller coaster, with ups and downs. But as I look back, I can honestly say that I'm proud of the things that I've done in the last half of a decade. (please don't think I'm being vain or boastful). The first year was the best and the hardest. The best, because I met Sean. I met Sean 3 days before I was due! But we started "officially" dating when "C" was 2 1/2 months old. But that first year was also the hardest because I grieved hard. I'm the kind of person that grieves right away. I don't deny my feelings, I let them come. I've said this before, but grief and I have a pretty good relationship. (Does that sound bad?) I allowed it to come and it came hard, but I think doing that made me stronger in the end.

So what am I so proud of doing in the last 5 years you might ask?

-I met the love of my life. Seriously....I have THE best husband ever. THAT I can brag about! ;) We got married and sealed in the temple. So beautiful. Our relationship has become so strong in the last 5 years. I have spent MANY hours crying on Sean's shoulder, especially in the beginning. He always let me cry and always let me talk about "C" and the adoption as long as I wanted. I believe that Heavenly Father saves the best of men for birth moms. We need a very special guy to take care of us. And just to brag a little more, Sean proposed to me on "C"'s first birthday because he knew it would be a tough day. He wanted to make it special for me. I'm such a lucky girl.

-I have been apart of so much in the adoption world! More then I ever dreamed! Besides this blog, I'm on the LDSFS adoption website, I've participated in birth mom panels, spoke to church leaders, had birth mom groups, was on a special program in between conferences this last April. Heavenly Father has blessed my life so much in allowing me to share my story.

-I met my own birth mother soon after I placed "C"! It has been so wonderful to talk to her and to share this experience with her.

-I went back to school!! I dropped out right after I had "C" but went back 2 years ago. Two classes away from my bachelors!!

-We bought our first home! We have LOVED being homeowners. It is such a fulfilling feeling to own your home.

-I lost 2 babies. I firmly believe that I will see those children again. I never thought I could get through a pregnancy loss after placing "C", but Heavenly Father knew I was strong enough. He got me through it and comforted me as I mourned.

-We had a "surprise" in Cancun Mexico last March and conceived our beautiful and sweet baby girl, Brielle. She has been the joy of our lives. We are so blessed to be her parents. She went from being a sweet little newborn to a vivacious 7 1/2 month old who has so much personality. She is full of life and brings Sean and I the greatest happiness.

-And last but not least, I have spent the last 5 years getting pictures and letters of my "C" and I have watched him grow. He went from a very special newborn, to a HUGE and intelligent little boy. I had a special opportunity of seeing "C" when he was 4 days old, 2 weeks old and then 4 1/2 months old. I have not seen him since then. But I have been apart of him growing up. I have watched him grow and mature through pictures and seen him learn new things through letters. What an incredible 5 years this had been. I have learned so much and been so incredibly blessed. I went from a confused and scared pregnant girl, to a blessed and grateful birth mom. I hope the next 5 years will teach me even more and make my life as a birth mom even better.

Even though "C" is a big boy now, he will always be my "baby" that I held in the hospital 5 years ago. And he will FOREVER has a special place in my heart, right along side Brielle.

Now come with my on a journey through pictures of the last 5 years!!

Me and my girlfriend Jess used to have this tradition of taking pictures at this place in the mall everytime I came home from college. We couldnt let a little belly get in the way! I was due later on in the week.

My mom and I on my due date, which was July 29th.

About to burst!! My water had just broke...on our way to the hospital.

Monitering my contractions.

He's here! Thats my doctor, Dr. Baker. She also delivered Brielle! How awesome is that?! She is so great!

Holding my "C" for the first time.

Enjoying some time with "C" in the hospital.

Giving him lots of love.

Leaving the hospital.

Seeing "C" at 4 days.

Giving him love at 2 weeks.

And the last time I saw him, 4 almost 5 months.

I met the love of my life on July 26th, 2006. Began "officially" dating him on November 19th, 2006. We were so in love right from the start.

I met my own birth mom! This was the "first" time we met in person. I say "first" because we really first met when I was born! ;)

Married the love of my life on November 2nd 2007 and was sealed to him in the LA temple.

Bought our first home!

Found out we were expecting a beautiful baby girl!

Met that beautiful baby girl on December 18th, 2011 after only 3 hours of labor! She couldn't wait to be here!

She was the best Christmas gift we could ask for. (1 week old)

And our vivacious and beautiful 7 month old

She is such a goof.

And she is so beautiful.

Thanks for coming with me on this journey. I hope you are around to check out the next 5 years and see where my journey as a birth mom takes me!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What not to say to a birth mom or adoptee

(This is solely my opinion. The things that I have experienced in no way reflect EVERY birth mother or adoptee)

I've seen a few blogs recently that have talked about the do's and don't's of what to say to someone who has had a pregnancy loss. Having experienced 2 pregnancy losses myself, I could totally relate to the horrible things that people say to you. My favorite remark that was made to me after I lost my first baby at 11 weeks was, "maybe next time you'll be more careful." Yes, someone actually said that to me. It took all the morals and values I had to not slap the girl (luckily she is no longer in my life).

As you can see, there are many horrible things you can say when a person is struggling, but there are also things you can say that you may not even realize are inappropriate.

So, I wanted to talk (or blog) about the things NOT to say to a birth mother AND an adoptee and appropriate adoption language.

What not to ask or say to a birth mom

First, the biggest mistake I often hear in adoption talk is "giving a baby up for adoption." I know this a common mistake. I've said it too....and I'm a birth mom AND an adoptee!! The reason this phrase is such a stab in the heart to most birth moms is because it kind of sounds like we just gave our baby away because we didn't want him or her. Which is entirely untrue! In the adoption world, we use the term "place". I placed my birth son for adoption. This phrase is much more loving and just sounds better. We placed our baby in the arms of their parents. We placed them in a good home. Placing your baby for adoption sounds much better sounds much better then giving your baby up for adoption.

"Birth moms are just lazy."
Someone I know thought this of birth moms before they met me. He said he thought this because he thought they just didn't want the responsibility of taking care of a child. As a mother and a birth mother, I can tell you being a birth mother is MUCH more difficult. The emotions you feel far outweigh the stresses and struggles of parenthood. Choosing to be a birth mom is choosing the more difficult path and the "non-lazy" one. I hope not many people think this, but if you do, DON'T say it to a birth mom. Go talk to one so she can change your mind!

"So, did you not want your baby?"
Yes, people actually ask this. I know for many people, they really can not comprehend why I, or any other birth mother, would allow someone else to raise their child. The reasons are usually very personal. And 100% of the birth moms that I have met all WANTED their children, but for their personal and very emotional reasons, chose adoption for their baby. So, please do ask such a hard and hurtful question.

"Do you think your birth son will be mad at your for what you did?"
Why would he be mad? I didn't have my life in order when he was born. I wanted him to have a mom and a dad from the start. I wanted him to have an eternal family. I wanted his life to be full of WILL's not MAYBE's. This question is to try and make a birth mom feel bad because you are saying that her birth child will be angry with her for choosing adoption. I know every adoption is different, but in my own and in the case of my brothers, we are NOT angry at our birth mothers. We are actually very grateful for them.

"Can you get your baby back?"
I hate to think that people really don't understand what adoption is, but I guess they don't. Adoption is much different then foster care. In the foster care system, most children were taken OUT of the home due to a the parents not doing what was best for their child. Yes, they can get their children back after they get things in order and clean up their life. But adoption is different. An expectant parent chooses a family for their child and when that child is born, the birth mother then signs ALL her rights away to the new parents. It varies by state, but usually the birth mother only has a limited amount of time to change her mind (in California it's 24 hours). I just don't think this question should be ask of ANY birth mother. The choice she made was not easy and a question like this may only rise up painful feelings.

Things not to ask or say to an adoptee

"Do you know your real parents?"
Why yes I do. Parley and Earlene, the two that have raised me since I was just hours old. Yes...I know them quite well thank you.
While I LOVE my birth mother, she is just that, my birth mother. My mom is the woman that raised me, my adoptive mother. So, to ask an adoptee if they know their real parents is thoughtless and can be hurtful. Many adoptees don't even know their birth parents. All they have ever known is their adoptive parents, their REAL parents.

"You know your birth mom didn't love you."
Yes, someone said that to me once. Don't was in someone online, a LONG time ago. But I think a comment like this is completely horrible and heartless. Yes my birth mother loved me. That's why she chose life for me and gave me a wonderful family. Someone who didn't love me wouldn't have giving me the life I have.

"All adopted kids are messed up."
I have heard that my siblings and I are the exception to this rule. Because someone knows ONE family who has ONE adopted kid that has some problems, then ALL adopted kids are messed up right? Tell me how many families you know who have biological kids who are "messed up"? I know plenty! So, I don't think there is any merit to this comment. The kid maybe would have had problems if he/she wasn't adopted. Maybe that's just in their personality. And sometimes when children are adopted at an older age and have experienced horrible things, then yes, they may have some problems. But to categorize all adoptees into being "messed up" is wrong and hurtful.

My LEAST favorite saying on the entire planet, "blood is thicker then water." I have heard this comment hundreds of times throughout my life. And I think it's entirely untrue. When I would hear people say this I would think, "but wait, I'm very close to my family and I'm not blood related to any of them, so this doesn't make sense." And the saying REALLY doesn't make sense if you think about it.
Besides your parents, siblings and children, who is the one person you will be closest to in this life and will grown old with; your spouse. I LOVE Sean. My bond with him is tighter then anyone else on this planet and I am NOT blood related to him.

There are many more questions and comments I could post but then this post would be a mile long. So, just remember when speaking to an adoptee or birth mom, it's OK to ask questions. I'm an open book! But be sensitive. I know you are curious but maybe the adoptee or birth mom is not ready to answer certain questions. Let certain things stay personal. And if the adoptee or birth mom chooses to share, then they will. But just remember, in the end, we are all Heavenly Fathers children and he's "placed us all" on this earth to take care of each other until we can return to Him.

Monday, July 11, 2011

You like?

This is my new hair? You like? Well I LOVE it! Its a light caramel brown. And some of the blonde highlights show through.

This is a gorgeous sunset and my even MORE gorgeous daughter. You like? No YOU LOVE it!!

And this my hot husband and once again my gorgeous daughter. You like? Well...its ok if you ONLY like Sean and not love. Leave the lovin to me! ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I need a break.....

From work that is! And I got one!
School is out officially (I work summer school the month of June) and now I'm officially off for the next month (well alittle more then 3 weeks now because the first week is almost over). I love this time of year and now I love it even more because I get to spend it with my wonderful family.

We have lots of things planned for this month off and that makes it go by pretty quickly, which is a bummer, but I'm glad we are getting to do things.

And the most important thing.........I get to spend a month with Brielle.

I have had a few people tell me that I'm lucky I'm a working mom because I get a break from my kid. First off, I know how blessed I am to have a job. There are so many out there that don't and I thank my Father in Heaven often for blessing me with a good job. But really....I don't believe my job is a break from Brielle.

Let me explain a little something about the work I do.

I am a paraeducator. We are essentially a care giver to special needs students but we also throw in some goals for them to work on. I work in the 2nd to lowest class. My day is filled with potty trips, which include changing diapers (so baby poop is nothing to me), wiping drool, dealing with seizures,doing the heimlich (which I just did on a student during summer school), pushing wheelchairs, restraining the more violent students, chasing after kids and cleaning up messes. I have been spit on, hit,slapped, scratched, punched, kicked and drooled on (Sean has actually been bit AND thrown up on...I have not had those luxuries yet). We take the kids on trips once a week, which involves lots of planning and making sure no on gets hurt, lost and that we are prepared for possible seizures and other health problems. I love my job. I really do. If I HAVE to work, I'm glad it is with these wonderful kids. I usually come home exhausted, even before I had Brielle. You really put all your energy into these kids. So, when people tell me it's nice that I get a break from Brielle, I just laugh. Because it is not a break. Doing what I do has made parenting seem like a breeze. with anything (work, parenting, marriage) things that are worth it take work. Even though my job can be exhausting, I choose for it to be "good" work and not "bad" work. Its all in your attitude. I get beat up some LITERALLY! But I still laugh about it and just put it into my "good stories" catagory of life.
Sean and I choose to see parenting the same way. We know there are sleepless nights (we've experienced them!)But we choose to have view parenting as "good" work. I don't need a break from my daughter (I think "me" time is differnt then a break). In the almost 4 years I've been married to Sean, which 3 I've worked with him at the same school, I've NEVER needed a break from him. Yes marriage is work, but it's "good" work.

So, even though I view my work as "good" work, it's the only thing I need a break from. Not my husband or my daughter. They are my joy and my best friends. So if you tell me I'm lucky to be a working mom because I get a break from my daughter and I laugh at you, please don't take offense. It's just silly to me that I would enjoy work more then being a mom. Because even though I do enjoy my "work kids", NO job is as great as being a mommy.

/ My beautiful fourth of July baby! She was so tired but was being such a good sport during our photo shoot.

A 4th of July tea party! And in case you thought I looked differnt, I put some highlights in my hair. I'm actually planning on going a little lighter very soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dear Daddy.....

Dear Daddy,
I may only be 6 months old, but I can already feel how much you love me......

That was the start to Brielle's fathers day card to Sean. Let just say the rest made Sean cry. Brielle and I also made Sean a DVD, which showed her first 6 months of life with her daddy, which also made him cry.

I am so grateful for my wonderful husband. He turned out to be the BEST father. I think growing up with a single mom somehow made him more appreciative towards women, motherhood and helping out. He truly is amazing. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father put us on the same path so that we could meet. And I'm so grateful that Brielle chose him as her daddy.....she's one lucky girl!!

This is how Brielle spent her 1/2 birthday this last Saturday! Poor thing! She was so tired! We went to a birthday party and I really thought she was going to have a melt down because she had not taken a nap. But she just feel asleep in daddy's arms...sitting up (she loves her daddy)!

Brielle had her 6 month check up today.

Brielle's 6 month stats
weight: 17 lbs 6 oz (75%)
height: 26 1/4 in (75%)
head: 17 (60%)
She is one healthy girl!

Brielle's 6 month milestones;
* She now can sit up. Before, it was only a few minutes and now she can go about 10 minutes.
* She has her 2 bottom teeth! I really had no idea her teeth were coming in (besides the drool). She was acting perfectly fine and happy. A few nights, she wwould whimper and cry in her sleep but I just thought it could be a growth spurt or a bad dream. Well, one day I stuck my finger in her mouth for her to chomp on and there it was! And just a few days ago, Sean discovered the other one. She has been such a trooper! I was not expecting such a pleasant teething experience.
* She still LOVES to growl! How did she learn this?? I have no clue.
* She loves to smile with her whole body. (You know....kinda seizure like)
* She has not started solids yet. I talked to the doctor and I'm going to wait just a little while longer.
* She loves to pull things over her face! Pillows, blankets, toys....whatever she can grab that will go over her face. Of course I don't let the object stay there. It's just funny that she enjoys this.
* We have the loud baby!! Not the "unhappy" loud baby, but the "I'm so happy I just gotta squeal" loud, or the "I just learned I can make this sound" loud. Its so funny!! Sean and I were talking through home depot last week and Brielle was just singing and talking away....REALLY loudly! People kept staring at us and Sean and I were just laughing!
* Brielle loves loves LOVES her daddy. The are a match made in heaven.

Sean and I are really enjoying being parents. We can not believe that these last 6 months have flown by so quickly. I hope the next 6 don't go by as fast.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mom vs Birth Mom

I have not yet been asked the question, "is being a birth mom different then being a mom?" I'm actually quite surprised. Maybe people think I don't want to talk about the adoption anymore (not true!). Or maybe people really just have not thought about it. But I have.

So, what is the difference you may ask? Well, there is the obvious. Mom = raising a baby. Birth mom = no baby. But there is so much more to it then that.

When Brielle was first born, I was happy! But I had this extremely strange feeling that over took me in the hours after she was born. I'm sure it had a lot to do with exhaustion and hormones but I know that it was more then that. I watched Sean as he talked and loved on our new baby. What was wrong with me? I didn't really want to express this strange feeling with Sean because he was so happy!

As the day turned to night and Sean finally fell asleep in a little bed next to me. I began to stare at this little girl and ask myself, "why am I feeling this way?" As I had these thoughts, a little baby's face came into my mind. It was a little boy instead of a little girl. It was C. The last time I had been at the hospital to have a baby, it was not a joyful experience. As I'm laying there holding Brielle, with C's face in my mind, I began to weep. They were tears of sadness.

I missed C. I missed the newborn baby that I had held at the same hospital 4 1/2 years earlier. I missed his baby smell and baby sounds. I missed him.

As the tears slowed, something began to happen. The strange feeling started to go away. I looked at Brielle and my heart began to swell! I realized then why I was so hesitant at first. I was afraid I was going to replace C with Brielle. There is no replacement for C. I think any mother who loses a child feels the same. You can not replace one child with another. I had to figure that out and sort out my feelings. Brielle and C both have my heart, but separate parts. All my children will have their own parts.

So here I am, trying to find my place as a mother and birth mother. Two different titles. Two entirely different roles. At times its tough. I don't ever want to forget about C. But I also want Brielle to always know how special she is to me. And though I'm sure at times, both roles will be very difficult, I know that Heavenly Father will be there to get me through those tough times.

While both being a mom and a birth mom are both entirely different, they are two roles that I will take on with full force and love. I LOVE the fact that I am Brielle's mommy. I love that I get to cuddle her and nurture her and watch her grow. I also LOVE that I'm C's birth mommy. I love that I gave him life. I love that I gave him a family. I love that even though it was hard, I put his needs above my wants. I love that I get to watch him grow and be nurtured through pictures and letters that his parents send me. I love what I have learned in being both a birth mom and a mom. I love that being a birth mom has made me a better mom.

Heavenly Father has truly blessed me. He has blessed me so much in both of my roles. And in order to repay my Father in Heaven, I will continue to try and be the best mom AND birth mom. Because in the end, there really is no competition between the two.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm such a bad blogger

I've been so bad at blogging lately. Really it's because when I get home from work, I just want to spend all my time with Brielle and blogger is the last thing on my mind. (If it wasn't for the internet on my phone, I probably wouldn't be on facebook either.)

Life has been extrememly caotic! (but when is it not!)

Brielle is 5 1/2, almost 6 months!! Here are some interesting facts about her in her 5 month!

* She is a tumbleweed!! She roles all over the place!
* Tummy time is getting better! She doesn't despise it as much, but still does sometimes.
* She loves to go out and about and she ESPECIALLY loves when she's in her stroller facing the world. She likes to look at everything.
* She is a grabber! She grabs everything! And most times, whatever she grabs makes it to her mouth.
* She is really becoming a momma's girl(which i love). She is really good and will go to anyone, but if she is tired, she only wants me! =)
* She is still nursing great! I planned to nurse her a year but I think i'm going to try 18-24 monts! Better for her anyways!
* She loves getting her ears cleaned! She'll be all wiggly but the second I start cleaning her ears, she gets calm.
* She is a spaz!! She will go super hyper and giggly! It is so funny to watch!
* We think her teeth may be starting to come in because she is chomping pretty hard on our hands but we haven't seen any teeth yet.
* She still has TEENY TINY feet! I could probably still squeeze her in newborn shoes, but I don't and she still wears size 1.
* She has the biggest thighs ever! I just want to eat them!!
* She is learning to make some pretty funny noises!
* She is a screamer! A happy screamer! Its pretty funny when she does it in church.
* Her hair is gettng a teeny tiny bit longer....but I really only think I can tell.

About a month back, we had family pictures taken. Sean and I took them with the great camera he got me last year. It was the first time my family had been together in 2 years! It was so great to see everyone! Here are some pictures of that and of my sweet daughter! Isn't she a beauty!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our little girl is growing up!

Brielle is already 4 months! She will actually be 4 1/2 this next Monday, so I figured that I better blog about her 4th month before she turns 5 months!
Brielle is still such a joy!! I LOVE being her mommy! We were definitely made for each other!

4 month stats
Weight: 14 lbs 8 oz (75%)
Height: 25 inches (75%)
Head circumference: 16 in (60%)

Interesting facts about Brielle:
* She just rolled over for the first time a week ago! YAY! She's only done it a couple of times since.
* She recently found her feet and even more recently, her feet found her mouth!
* She HATES tummy time! I mean loathes it. I always feel so bad making her do it. As soon as we flip her over, she's all smiles again.
* She has this fake cry that makes her look Chinese! And even the sound she makes sounds Chinese! Its so funny and Sean and I can't help but laugh when she does this. (Sean is 25% Chinese 75% black, so she does have a little bit of Chinese in her.)
* She makes all sorts of sounds. She loves the sound of her voice and she even growls! One time she growled and scared a lady in Walmart! So funny!
* She loves when Sean talks "gansta" to her. She'll laugh and laugh. Sean says the black in her likes it. haha.
* She loves to be tickled.
* She will just look at me sometimes and just bust up laughing. I gotta I really that funny or is she laughing AT me?
* She takes a lot of short naps, (30 min-1 hour) all throughout the day UNLESS we are traveling or running errands. If we are traveling or running errands, she will fall asleep for a LONG time. She slept all 6 hours to and from Utah and to and from San Diego. If I put her in her carrier, she will knock out in a matter of minutes. I think it's because I was working and so active when I was pregnant so the motion puts her to sleep.
* She goes to bed between 9 and 9:30. I know that seems late, but due to me working, I want her to sleep when I sleep.
* As long as I'm asleep, she'll stay asleep.
* She "snacks" all day long, so she still nurses pretty frequently, (except at night). But I really don't mind it at all. I'm away from her for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week....she can nurse all she wants!
* She LOVES to stand! I think she'll be an early walker.
* She has no interest in most of her toys. She would rather watch me and Sean or listen to herself talk.
* She is drooling like CRAZY! Maybe some teeth soon?
* She LOVES her Binky! And she loves sucking on her hand....but she hasn't found her thumb yet.
* She loves when I sing her the ABC's and gets the biggest gummy grin when I do.
* She loves to make funny faces.
* She smiles a lot but you would never know from pictures. It's REALLY hard to get a picture of her smiling because once she sees the camera, she just stares at it.
* She seems to be getting more bald every day, but we are not worried about it. I love her little bald head. Sean and I were both bald and when our hair finally came in, we both had a TON.
* Everywhere we go, people tell us she looks like a doll....and I agree!!

Beautiful Easter dress on a beautiful girl!

There is the little spazzy smile that I love so much!

Checkin out her Easter basket.

Yes, Brielle is a Laker fan too!

YUM! Toes taste good!

Mommy reading the book she got from the Easter bunny.

This little girl is so much fun. I still hate leaving her everyday, but going to work is getting easier. Heavenly Father has truly answered my prayers in giving me peace while I'm still working. And I've learned such a great lesson and that's to cherish every second I have with this sweet beautiful daughter of mine.