Tuesday, July 2, 2013
What My Adoption Journey Has Taught Me: The First Year
Although, I have only been at this whole adoption journey for a year, there has been so much I have learned! I, first of all, can't believe it will be a year on Sunday that I gave birth to the most amazing little girl! Time has flown, but it also has stood still! I wanted to write this blog because I often find myself reflecting on the changed person I have become in this eventful year and I wanted to write them all down in one place!
Although, I would never want to do this whole adoption over again or wish it upon someone, I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father I was the chosen one to do the job. My life has changed in almost every aspect because of this, and I truly feel, it has saved my life. So I guess I'll start listing all of the things I've learned this past year:
1. How to trust
From the very beginning of my pregnancy, I had to learn to trust in The Lord. I was in the darkest part of my life, and I had nowhere else to turn than to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have learned to trust in Him that if I do what I'm supposed to, I will be blessed and things will work out. So many times I didn't know if I was doing the right thing (choosing adoption) because I was so scared and I wasn't sure how I was going to go through with it. But had to trust The Lord that he would help me along the way. I still to this day, underestimate this sometimes, but I've never been let down.
Another aspect of trust I've learned, is the people in my earthly life I have learned to trust. My family is one. I have grown so close to my parents and siblings through this journey. I've learned no matter what mistakes I've made, they are going to be there to support me every step of the way. I've also discovered which friends I have that I can count on. People i least expected to be by my side through this year have shown me what real friends are. Along with learning who to trust, I've also, unfortunately, have had to learn who not to trust. When hard times come, people's true colors show, and I have sadly had to witness people fade out of my life.
2. How to love
The moment I found out I was pregnant, I had a sense of what "A Mother's Love" is. As my pregnancy went on, I created the most amazing bond with Kinley that is like no other. And when she was born, the most powerful sense of love flooded my heart and body! I had never loved something so much as that 6 pound baby. Nothing can compare to what that little girl does to my heart. I always wondered what true love was, and Kinley proved it to me int he first second she was born. When I was dating Grant, I knew I had fallen in love with him, because a lot of the same feelings I had when Kinley was born, I had with Grant. Grant and I share a different love than Kinley and I, but Kinley taught me what true love feels like, and in turn, I was able to know when I was truly in love with Grant.
3. How to look at the big picture
When I became pregnant, was the start of this. I was now taking care of another person, so I had to think before I did anything. Choosing adoption, in itself, was looking at the big picture. I had to set all my emotions to the side, and think about what was best for my little peanut.
every time I had melt downs, I would always remember why I was doing adoption. Even in the hospital, when I didm't want to say goodbye, I had to tell myself "This is for her, not me.". If it were all for me, I would have parented her, but Kinley was more important than me, at the time.
Even still now I have to look at the big picture. Whenever my mind starts wondering off and thinking what if- I have to bring myself back to home- plate and remember I did everything for Kinley. All of my decisions are based off of if Kinley would be proud of me. She is always that little voice on my shoulder.
4. How to express myself
Before this whole journey, I was very good at hiding my feelings and keeping them bottled inside for no one to know. And when I would share them, I didn't really know how to express them the way I wanted. When I was pregnant, I started going to counseling. I was able to learn how to express my feelings and not be afraid of admitting them. It had helped me so much because I don't feel like I get trampled on as easy and I am able to resolve things. I have even started this blog, which I never would have imagined a few years ago! It's such a new thing for me to spill my heart out to my computer, but I find it so therapeutic.
Even with Nicole and Toby, I have had to learn to express my feelings to them, and for them the same i'm sure with me.
5. How to be a friend
I've never really had a tragic thing happen to me where I've needed my friends or support until now. I've really learned how to be a friend from my friends' examples. They have shown me that you don't need to have all the answers to give good advice, you just need an open ear and their best interest at heart. My friends have stepped up to the plate and have taught me how to be a friend.
6. How to be open minded
Being a teen mom, pregnant out of wed-lock, AND choosing adoption are all things against "the norm". Being the one in the situation really opened my mind that ANY one can fall into this. I wouldn't say I was mean to the girls in my high school who were pregnant, but I didn't really lend out a hand either. I always thought they chose to be pregnant and they wanted to be teen mothers. Falling a "victim" of this, I totally dropped all stereotypes I ever had concerning pregnancy and adoption. I am proud to say I don't judge people as harshly as I used to. I try to imagine their life situations before making any judgments, and I feel like I have been a lot more open to learning about others' situations.
Even in the adoption world, there are different kinds of scenarios. With getting my hands wet in the birth mom support area, I have learned to even have an open mind with other birth mothers. We all come from different back grounds and situations, and we all made our decisions based on different things, but with all the same best interest in mind; our babies.
7. How to be patient
I would not consider myself patient by any means. I'm the type of person who wants things now and I don't want to wait. I learned I had to be patient in waiting for my due date. I had to be patient in finding Kinley's adoptive family. I also had to be patient in The Lord's timing. I still have the tendency to want to rush things, but I think I've come a long way. Heavenly Father has a tie frame for things and I've had to learn to let go and let God. And again- I have never been let down by waiting for things.
8. How to be a mother
This last one is so dear to me. I get told all the time that I'm not a mother. But- I AM a mother! I am and will always be Kinley's first mother. I may not be her parent, but I am her mother. Even though I may not parent Kinley or see her everyday, doesn't mean those "motherly instincts" turned off. I still always have her best interest on mind. I think so much differently and I credit Kinley for that (all in good ways of course). I don't consider myself a typical 20 year old. I don't find partying appealing. I don't really care if I'm watching the right shows or going to the coolest concerts. My whole mind-set has totally altered. I think about what kind of mother I want to be when it's my turn. I think of all the things I can do for Miss Kinley. From this experience, I have been taught a lot of the things I find are important to be a "real" mother some day. It makes me more and more excited to be a parent.
This is all I could think of. There are probably so many more things I could list, but these are the ones I find the most prominent. This year has changed my life; for the better of course. I have grown into a strong woman (brag time;)) and I couldn't have done it without my friends, family, and of course, Heavenly Father. I know that I am so new to this process, but I feel I have mastered a small portion of being a birth mom. Knowing I have my whole life left of this, both scares me but also excites me. It's scary to know I will be carrying this grief with me, but it excites me to be able to learn more things to add to my list. This has been a roller coaster year: I placed Kinley, moved to Vegas, got engaged, moved back to Colorado, got married, we've added a dog and a cat to our little family, and all the other things life throws at us. It's been crazy, but I wouldn't change one thing!
Thank you all- friends and strangers- for reading my blog. I have gotten so many inspiring comments and it makes me more and more excited to blog! Stay tuned for an update for Kinley's birthday! Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July- and for those of you in other countries- have a fun and safe weekend!