New Horizons

I have been so bad about blogging lately! Lots has happened and a little big thing called life has been keeping me busy!

In September, my husband and I welcomed a sweet little girl into our family. Her name is Allie Jane. Our lives have been forever changed by this little ray of sunshine of ours! I have a lot of things I want to blog about pertaining to this whole experience, but I will save it for another post all in itself.

2014 has defiantly flown by. It was such a busy year filled with traveling, over coming trials, adding to our family, and the other things life throws our way!

I was able to attend another birth mom meet up put on my Adoption: Share the Love. It was such a great experience!

I was also able to participate in a video put together. 

2014 has been such a great year! I wasn't able to get a lot of blog posts written, but I was out there doing my best contributing to the adoption community! I was able to visit Kinley both in May and in September. My relationship with Toby and Nicole has bloomed into something truly beautiful! It really does feel like we are a big family! 

So, now what is next for 2015? I have continued running my Instagram page and I recently started a Facebook page. All places to talk about positive adoption stories and also an easy place for others to follow this journey of mine!

I always say this every year, but I LOVE new beginnings. The opportunity to look at what we have accomplished and then dig deep to find what we can work on. I am truly thankful for this life and journey and I am curious to see what 2015 has in store! A big thank you to those who have been here along the way since the start of this blog!

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Well, can you believe it? another year has gone by! I swear this second year went by way faster than the first. I hope the years don't pass by faster and faster each year.

I wrote this post the night before Kinley's birthday and almost deleted it because I felt like I wasn't being optimistic enough. Then I started thinking, why do I always have to be optimistic? My goal for this blog was to be honest to give people a realistic idea of what being a birth mom is. And quite honestly, I don't feel optimistic or happy or smiley 100% of the time. So, here is what I wrote on the eve of Kinley's 2nd birthday:

It doesn't feel like it's little Kinley's 2nd birthday already. I feel so much different this year than last. I haven't let the emotions come. I've been pushing them away and trying to avoid them. I've been keeping myself busy. I feel guilty if I cry or feel sad. I don't want these emotions to effect this unborn child. Even though I know it will have little to no effect on her at all. I feel guilty if I feel sad because birthdays are supposed to be happy. I am happy, don't get me wrong! Kinley's birthdays are just bitter sweet because of their nature. I feel guilty if I feel sad because I don't want to create something awkward for Toby and Nicole. I am happy, I really am. I love talking about Kinley and my journey (obviously) but when July 7th rolls around, I just feel like crawling into a hole and not coming out until the 10th. Raw emotions come back and it feels so real. The vivid memories come flooding in like I'm being taken back in a time machine. Is it bad I haven't taken out "the box?" The box that stores the hospital bracelets, blankets, certificates. It's like a time capsule. I want to so badly open up the box, but I'm scared it will trigger all the emotions. I just don't want to feel them. I don't want to sort through the emotions. I don't want to cry and dry my face with a hundred tissues. I don't want to feel that pang in my heart. I know I need to because its healthy and normal, but I just don't want to. I want to just think happy thoughts. I want to just celebrate her birthday like a "normal" person. I want the sweet without the bitter.

The past week has been flooded with tiny memories. Like her first cry. That precious sound of a little baby, almost like a mouse because it was so little. The split second her little body came into this world and my sister and I just locked eyes and smiled in amazement that she was finally here. The moment they laid her on my chest. The moment I looked at her for the first time. I remember her being so little and I thought she was going to slip right out of my hands because she was all slimy. A beautiful slimy. I remember the rush of emotion I had when I held her for the first time. I couldn't help but cry myself. All I could do was sob in happiness. My first words were "Oh my baby! Shh baby. I love you baby." She was the most perfect thing on this earth. The moment I fed her for the first time. She was so hungry she was sucking her little hands so we gave her a bottle and she sucked it down. I was so worried I would not know how to take care of a baby, but from that moment on, I instantly knew what to do. I had the instinct to feed her, burp her, sooth her.

All these memories have been in the front of my mind. No matter how hard I've tried, I can't make them go away or wait until I'm ready to acknowledge them. The smells of the hospital, the sounds, everything is like I'm sitting in the hospital. I wish I could be back there. But at the same time, I wish the memories would just go on their merry way because of the emotions they bring with them.

Kinley isn't 6 pounds anymore. She is a 2 year old. She can walk, talk, run, and jump! She is a different person almost. I think thats what makes things hard. I've missed so much of her life. She calls someone else mommy. Someone else feeds her. Someone else soothes her. Yes, I am happy for her. I don't want to sound like I'm angry about it. I'm not. I am so so happy with how everything has turned out. I've had my closure and I'm taking control of my grieving process. I'd say I'm on top of it pretty well. I just feel its fair to be able to be honest and express the sad and real emotions that come this part of the year. I'm happy with my decision to place. I'm content and regret nothing about it. I wouldn't change a thing actually.

I still haven't brought myself to open "the box." I may not for a few weeks. Reliving those emotions are hard. I know we can do hard things, but I'm not ready. I think a big reason her birthday was a bit harder this year was because I didn't visit her. We agreed we would just have a visit around her birthday-which I'm so good with! As she gets older, she is going to have friend birthdays and how fun would it be for her to have to explain to all her friends who "that lady" is? Not fun and I totally respect that! I was able to FaceTime with Kinley though. She has grown so much and her vocabulary is exploding! She is so smart! Her and her sister love the movie, Frozen! She sang me some Frozen songs and showed me her Anna doll she got from her Uncle. She even told me her favorite food is Tacos! It was so great to talk with her and chat with Nicole. Kinley gets really excited when I talk with her and she is always saying "Lowa(Laura) watch this!" or "Lowa look here!" or "Lowa guess what?" 

It makes me feel so happy! I made her a little cake also. When she face timed me, I showed her the cake and I sang Happy Birthday to her! I just couldn't believe she used to be a tiny little baby and now she is a ball of energy and personality!

I also made Kinley a video which I burned onto a DVD for her here it is: (if the video doesn't play, here is the link)

Happy Birthday sweet Kinley! I love you so so much!


Toby and Nicole are Hoping to Adopt

That's right, they are! And I couldn't be happier for them!

As some of you may know, LDS Family Services (LDSFS) has recently changed their dynamics. They will no longer serve as an agency, but rather a place for birthmothers to find couples and then be referred to other agencies for all of the legal stuff. One thing I've loved about LDSFS is that their fees are low for hopeful adoptive couples and it served as a very helpful agency. For me, I loved knowing my baby was going to a worthy LDS couple. Anyways, with all that said, couples who are already on the website ready to adopt have until the end of the year to be matched or else they need to find a new agency. For lots of couples, this puts a financial burden on them. Most agencies are a lot more expensive than LDSFS.

Sooooo to the point of this post! Toby and Nicole don't think they will be able to adopt using another agency and I have taken it upon myself to help promote them and get their profile out to the public so they can hopefully be matched by the end of the year! I thought my blog would be a great resource knowing that it reaches many viewers, some being expectant mothers looking into adoption.

If you click HERE, It will take you to their profile on the It's About Love website.

Toby and Nicole are amazing parents. They love adoption and especially love birth parents- I would know. Adoption is not easy for any side, but they have made it an enjoyable journey. They are honest, thoughtful, they keep their commitments they have made in our open adoption, and they go out of their way to make things special. I really could go on. Throughout my blog posts, I can't even convey 100% how awesome they are!

If you could do me and them a favor and share this blog post or the link to their adoption profile, that would be awesome! Its crazy how far just word-of-mouth can spread! I am so excited for them to grow their cute family and especially excited Kinley may get to be a big sister!


Being A Birth Mother Has Prepared Me To Be A Mother

As some of you already know, my husband and I are going to be parents in September! We are both so excited and blessed! We found out a few days ago that we are going to have a sweet little girl!

It is amazing to see how much has changed and has been accomplished in the 2 1/2 years since I looked at that first positive pregnancy test. It almost seems unreal that that was my life since my life has undergone some major makeovers. Even looking back to a year ago when motherhood was tugging at my heart so heavily. I wanted to be a mom so badly, but Grant and I decided we needed to wait a little bit before we started trying for kids. It was a hard time in my life. BUT I'm glad I have a smart and patient husband because I needed to go through those difficult times. I needed to feel out all those stressful emotions that placement brought to me. They have made me stronger and have prepared me to be a mother.

Before I was ever pregnant with Kinley, I knew I wanted to be a mom someday, but that was in the future and I never really thought much of it. But those 9 months changed my mind-set completely. When Kinley came into this world, there was nothing more I wanted to be than a mother. I never grasped the amazingness a mother's love was until they laid her tiny body in my arms. Signing my parental rights away was the hardest thing in the world because I so badly wanted to me that little girl's mommy. But I knew I couldn't. From the moment after I placed Kinley all I wanted was to straiten my life out because I wanted to be a mom. I made big changes in my decisions to be worthy to marry a man in the temple, and I made personal emotional changes to be the best future mom.

Being a birth mom has made me rethink motherhood a million times over. Having a taste of motherhood for those 48 hours and it slipping through my finger tips has made me never take it for granted. After placement (and still to this day) it would bother me so much when mothers would complain about their babies being up all night or their toddlers getting into trouble. I wanted so badly to say, "Well, at least you have your little one with you every day." It's true though, I would give anything to be up all night with a cranky Kinley or pick up all her toys at the end of the day or clean up spaghetti sauce that she splattered all over my new dress. Those are things I miss out on and actually wouldn't mind doing! Having the opportunity now to be a mother, I don't want to take those things for granted. I will cherish all the sleepless nights and temper tantrums we will endure. I will take every chance I can to tell our sweet daughter how much we lover her. I will finally get the chance to witness all the milestones I have missed out on and be the mother I have always dreamed of being.

Over the past almost 2 years after placement, I have daydreamed and planned out what kind of mother I want to be. I have waited so long to fill these motherly "shoes" that have been empty and calling my name. No one or anything could ever replace my Kinley girl, but for the first time in almost 2 years, there is an ache that isn't there anymore. Those motherly instincts that came and have stayed are finally being able to be put to use. Those feelings of being useless and incompetent are fleeting. There is nothing I would rather be than a mother, and that dream "career" position is finally being filled with me! It still feels unreal, but its an amazing feeling.

Being a birth mother has prepared me for this. It has made me take the sacred role of a mother so seriously. It has made me not take the morning sickness, child birth, and all the things being a mom encompasses for granted. I have waited, prepared myself, and prayed for the opportunity to be a mother. Heavenly Father knew that I needed to wait a little while so that I could truly be ready to care for one of His children.

It has been such a rocky road over the past few years, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

Being a birth mother has prepared me to be a mother.

Gave Love, Gave Life, But Never Gave Up

I'm joining Birth Mother Baskets (BMB) in their #Placed campaign to erase the "Gave Up" stigma that seems to be used! I was so excited when I heard about this campaign! I hear too often people use the term "give up" when talking about what birth mothers do. For example, "I bet it was hard to 'give up' your baby." or "That is so brave of you to 'give away your baby'." Most of the time I here this from people who are unfamiliar with the correct adoption terminology. Also, "give up" was the term people used back in "the day."

The correct term is PLACED! I didn't "give up" or "give away" Kinley, I PLACED her! You give up soda and junk food for your new years resolution. I PLACED Kinley in the loving arms of a family. You give away old worn out clothes that don't fit anymore, I PLACED Kinley in a stable and safe environment.

I cringe when I hear people use the term "give up." It sounds…just…blech.

I will admit, I used that term a few times when I was first pregnant. Not because I felt like I was "giving" my child away, but because I didn't know what word to use! I HATED that term but had no idea what the alternative was. But after a few counseling sessions, I caught on to what my case worker was referring to it as. I totally understand that it can be a tricky thing to word. Especially when you are unfamiliar with the "adoption jargon." So lucky you, I am here to inform and educate you that PLACED is the correct terminology!

Birth mothers don't "give up" their babies- that's what you do with an old pair of shoes.
Birth mothers spent countless hours thinking, praying, and crying(lots of crying) preparing to PLACE their children in amazing families!

Gave love, gave life, but never gave up.

Why I Celebrate Mother's Day and Not Birth Mother's Day

So with it being Mother's Day "season" and for the adoption community, Birth Mother's Day "season," I thought I'd take it upon myself and add in my little two cents.

As usual, take it or leave it.

I actually never even heard of Birth Mother's Day until like a few weeks before it came last year. It sounded really cool, but the more I thought about it and tossed it around in my head, the more I decided it just wasn't a day for me.

I am one to believe that birth mothers ARE real mothers. Yes, we are a "different" kind of mother. We grew and cared for our babies for those 9 months. We love and will do anything for our child(ren). Sure, we don't parent our children but we are a mother to them. We worry about their well being and we want them to succeed. We are mothers! I love the day set aside for the women who sacrificed their bodies, their life, and their time for the well being of their child. I feel I fit into this category too.

I love the idea of a day to recognize birth mothers. It really is an awesome thing. But I feel having it the day before Mother's Day is borderline insulting. They wouldn't have miscarriage awareness day the day before Mother's Day. *No I am not comparing placing a child to a miscarriage. I would NEVER do that. You can't compare two very different pains together- its not fair*. But one thing is the same, we both don't have our babies with us. And it feels like a big slap in the face to feel excluded or devalued. Both types of mothers (a birth mother and a mother who lost her baby to miscarriage) are mothers and they need to be recognized on this wonderful day!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think Birth Mother's Day should be in another time of the year- like maybe in November, when it's national adoption month or something like that. I don't like it being right there by Mother's Day as a day to exclude us from real actual holiday. I'm also not saying those who celebrate it are dumb or wrong, they can do whatever they feel is best. There are women out there who LOVE Birth Mother's day and that is great and fabulous. I just won't be celebrating it!

Last year Grant and I went to the Temple on "Birth Mother's Day" and we will do the same this year. Last year Grant gave me flowers for Mother's Day and he will probably do the same!

So, happy Birth Mother's Day to those who celebrate it and happy Mother's Day to every single woman who has grown a child in her belly (even if it were for a short time) or has raised a child!

Let's face it, motherhood is about love!

I Am So Blessed!

It's true! I really am! Some days I get the urge to just shout it from the roof tops- today is one of those days! I have been feeling the need to blog, but nothing was really coming to mind. I could think of some topics to rant about or share my opinion on some other adoption related things, but I just feel the need to express my gratitude I have towards this whole journey!

Many of you have either experienced first hand or have heard about the struggles and trials that come along with adoption, no matter which part of the triad you are on. But, I think sometimes society and the media gets stuck too much on the negative and doesn't share enough of the positives! So if you are wanting to read a nice long post about the amazing-ness of adoption, then you have come to the right place!

I'm a part of several birth mother/adoption groups and friends with many people who are a part of the "adoption world" and have come to find so much diversity in this small (but huge) community. I hear about birth mothers who don't have the support from their friends and families in their journey and I also hear about open adoptions being closed for selfish reasons. It makes me sad for these amazing women. They are facing unnecessary struggles! But at the same time, it makes me step back and think of all the things I am thankful for in my adoption journey. Two things in particular stand out the most to me that I am oh so grateful for: my immediate family's support and my amazing open adoption!

I couldn't imagine going through this journey without the support of my family! From the day I told my parents and siblings I was pregnant, they were on board with whatever support they could offer! They were there to support me if I chose to parent and also if I chose adoption! Sure, they were disappointed, but always supportive! My parents and siblings weren't just supportive of my choice to place, they have been so open about it also! They aren't afraid to talk about Kinley or refer to her as their grandchild or niece! They consider her part of our family- because she technically is! Some families don't even want to talk about their grandchild or niece/nephew who was placed (which is their choice and totally fine). It gives me a little flutter in my heart when I hear my mom count Kinley as one of her grand daughters! I love talking about Kinley (as you can tell) and it would make things really hard if my family kept her "hush- hush."

I was asked who my biggest support was throughout my pregnancy and placement, and I get a huge smile on my face when I can say my amazing mother was! My sisters were also, but my mom was there for most of it! Not every birth mother can say their family helped them along the way. I am so blessed to have had such big support from my family! I know the adoption didn't just impact me, but also my family. I am so grateful they stood by my side even though it was heartbreaking! This journey has truly brought me closer to my family, especially my dear mother!

Another thing I am so so beyond blessed to have is an amazing beautiful open relationship with not only Kinley, but her parents! I have expressed so much of what Nicole and Toby do to accommodate me in their lives, but honestly its impossible to express how it makes me feel! It is so easy for adoptive parents to say "well, its been long enough, this is too hard, we are closing this adoption," but they have never once said that and I have the faith they will never do that! They are true to their words and they go above and beyond what I could have ever imagined! They are busy raising two young girls and the fact that they think to send me a quick text or picture is just great! Nicole always thinks of the little things and is so good about keeping me updated and involved! It truly is a blessing! I really couldn't have asked for a better situation! Our adoption relationship may not work for others, but I feel it works perfect for us!

Well, now that I got all of that mushy stuff off my chest, I guess I should go to bed! Thanks again for reading my blog! I loving blogging and its the best way for me to heal! Sharing my story over and over again makes the grieving process a little easier and it lets me reflect on all the blessings I have! Adoption has blessed my life in so many ways and I want nothing more than for others to hear about the positive adoption stories and have the positives erase the horrible stereotypes! 

New Year, New Beginnings

Wow! Has it been another year? Crazy! Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you all had lots of fun! Grant and I stayed in and played battleship and watched the ball drop from our living room! Since my parents were out of town- it was just us two! It was fun to play it low-key:) 

Seems like yesterday I wrote last year's New Years post! 2013 was absolutely amazing! It was a bit rocky in the beginning but it has ended up being pretty fabulous! I was married, Kinley turned one, and now she is old enough for nursery at church! 

Well, last year's resolution was a pretty profound and difficult one to accomplish! I challenged myself to overcome anger and resentment I had towards Kinley's birthfather. Have I overcome it 100%? No, but I would say I have improved 100% compared to where I was at a year ago. I have had a lot of closure in that department and I think it has all improved as much as it can for right now. Will I always have a tiny ounce of sadness when I think of all the memories of the past? of course, but forgiving doesn't always mean forgetting, it means learning and moving on. I will NEVER forget how I was treated or how I feel, but I CAN choose to not let it  define me or my emotions. And I think I have come to that point in my journey. Yeah, it stings a bit when I think about it, but I don't obsess my thoughts about it anymore, and I have learned to direct my attention to the positive aspects of my adoption. In all honesty, there a LOT more positives in my journey than bad! I am proud to say that I have accomplished my 2013 new years resolution! It was one of the hardest things I have ever done! Training your brain, heart, and emotions to do something is no simple task.

Now, I have thought long and hard about what I want this year's resolution to be. And I think I have narrowed it down. It's not as huge and challenging as last year's, but it is huge and important to me. I want to continue to grow and cultivate the relationship I have with Kinley's mom. We have always had a great relationship, I can't think of a time we really ever had a rough going, but I want to develop a friendship and sisterhood that is amazing. Don't get me wrong, what we have is amazing, but I want to make it that much more amazing.

I believe that with a strong bond between Nicole and I, it will be something amazing for Kinley to witness. Kinley will know that we all love each other and that adoption can and is an amazing thing. She will not only be surrounded with love in her own family, but also her birth family.

I hope for my relationship with Nicole to be like best friends or sisters. It already is like that sometimes, but I guess I would love for it to be a deep relationship. I love her and care for her so mush as it is. She is amazing and is such a great mother to her girls! Nicole has had to overcome a lot of obstacles herself, and I admire her strength and beauty!

I can't wait for what 2014 has in store! I'm hoping to keep my blogging up and I'm also wanting to have some guest posters! If you are interested in guest posting, please let me know via email (in the about me section) or comments! You don't have to be birth mothers, you can be adoptive parents, adoptees, or someone who has been touched by adoption!

Happy New Years to you, my amazing readers!