I was first introduced to Kinship Center in 2004. I was pregnant and wanting to place my child for adoption. Through Kinship Center, I met the couple that would adopt my son. Throughout my pregnancy the staff at Kinship Center offered me support and helped me through a difficult time. My social worker was my voice when I needed one. Kinship Center taught me and the adoptive parents to set healthy boundaries and share our fears and joys. It was a safe place for me to go when things got difficult.
After I had placed my son, I thought that all the love and support would stop, but I was wrong. Kinship Center offered me counseling and continued to look out for my well being. This was something that I was not used to. I was so grateful to have a place to go where I was able to share with others what I was going through and not be ridiculed.
My son is now 5, and I am happy to say that I have a great relationship with him and his family. I still attend the monthly support group at Kinship when I can. It is so nice to know that I have a safe place to go when I need to. I get to go back to Kinship Center every couple of months and do a panel along with other birthmothers. It is healing for me to be able to share my experience with others.
Two times a year Kinship Center celebrates birthmothers. That is something that I appreciate more than words can say. It means so much to be able to share my experience and hear other birthmothers share theirs as well.
On November 10, 2005, my life changed forever. I had to take a very important test. This was one test I was hoping not to pass. It came out positive. I was now a child who was going to have a child.
I was seventeen years old, a senior in high school, planning to move away to college, but no where in my plans was there room for a child. I thought to myself, “Why me? My life is hard enough as it is without this. What am I going to do?” Unlike my normal indecisive decision making, the answer became clear to me within a matter of seconds. I knew that the perfect answer to my problem was adoption.
It started out slow. I became very frustrated with trying to find a couple worthy of raising my child. Thankfully, Kinship Center gave me the opportunity to meet a great couple. We hit it off the first time we spoke on the phone. Eventually, we got together for dinner one night. We talked, laughed, and cried for hours that night. I knew before dinner was even over that they were the right ones for the job. From that day on we spent just about every weekend together getting to know all about each other. We would go out to eat, take long walks after Lamaze class and feed the ducks.
At times, I would feel so overwhelmed with insecurity, scared to death that I would change my mind at the last minute and choose to keep this child. That would have hurt two very amazing people and destroy this child’s life.
The adoptive couple had become extremely close friends to me. They were very easy to talk to and they always accepted my fears openly and lovingly.
When the time came, I found that there was no doubt in my mind I was doing the best thing. I became confident that for once, I was making the right decision.
My child is now four years old and we have all kept in close contact through the years. We have built a strong bond and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have gained so much knowledge and joy, having them in my life. I often wonder how the next fourteen years is going to be….
It is simply amazing how many lives have been touched since that day, and how each one of those individuals have made an impact on the way I will live the rest of my life. One thing I am sure of is that I am anticipating nothing but great things.
There are no words to describe how I feel when I look at a picture of a very happy little girl, and her two very extraordinary parents. I am happy to know I have done well for my child.
Four years ago, I was a child having a child. Now I am a child, who had a child, and made parents. I am very proud of myself.
Much to my surprise, I was not alone when I learned I was pregnant at the age of 28. I had thought unplanned pregnancies were something that “happened” to teenagers or other women and certainly not to someone like me! I was in shock and denial. I did not seek medical care early in my pregnancy. I did not tell anyone, especially the father. I felt paralyzed and it led to fear and guilt and shame. How did I get here?
Continuing to avoid emotions, I began researching adoption like I was writing a thesis. It was the only way I could move forward. I went to libraries and websites. I contacted a few attorneys and agencies once but could not call back. I finally came to Kinship Center. I knew adoption was the right choice for me despite my inability to accept the choices that had led me to an unplanned pregnancy. I discovered the differences between “Open” adoptions and “Closed” adoptions. Openness in adoption was encouraged, if I was interested. I was assigned a social worker. When she advised me that prospective adoptive parents would want to meet me, and know where I came from before adopting my unborn child, I realized this was not just an exchange of information but the opportunity to build a relationship. The idea was so new to me. With the urging of my social worker, I began the most overwhelming and rewarding ride of my life.
My son was born on September 16, 1996, almost four weeks early. I hadn’t pictured my delivery this way. I had met his parents for the first time just four days before. We never had the “Will you adopt my baby?” or the “Will you be our birthmother?” conversations I had dreamt of. We had seen one another just three times before their arrival at the hospital. Everything happened so fast that we didn’t talk about names or holidays or the future. Nobody had the opportunity to entertain the idea of an adoption plan. Because of this timing, I sought out many support services from Kinship Center after my son was born. I had many questions I wanted answers to. . .How often would I see my baby? Would we celebrate holidays together? What about the birthfather? Kinship Center offers a monthly open adoption support group for anyone touched by adoption. I had the opportunity to attend this support group once at the end of my pregnancy and couldn’t wait to go back. I had met wonderful people at the group: birthparents, prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents and adult adoptees. With all the insight and experience available to me through both Kinship Center staff and the group’s attendees, I knew my adoption journey would be overflowing with others who had walked through similar experiences.
My son and I have celebrated our birthdays together every year, as they are two days apart. This year was a little different. In the past our extended families have been included but this year, due to busy schedules, it was just the two of us. We spent the afternoon and evening at the beach; walking, talking, playing games at the arcade, riding the Ferris wheel and eating dinner. Our conversations are very easy. We have built a foundation with thirteen years of experiences that are invaluable. There is no substitute to openness in adoption.
For the majority of the last thirteen years, I have attended Kinship Center’s Open Adoption Support Group. I reach out to other birthmothers, hoping that sharing my experience will ease some of their fears. I am thankful to be living an open adoption. My relationship with my son and his family is a real relationship. It cannot be defined by how many visits I am granted, amount of phone calls I make or receive or number of pictures taken. I have learned each adoption is special, so what works for me may not work for other birthmothers. This is how my connection has unfolded and it is ideal for me.