I recall the moment it hit me. I was sitting on the nursery floor trying to fold laundry while listening to a screaming baby and a whiny toddler. The overwhelming sensation to run, run away from it all and not look back. I wanted to leave the very 2 humans that I so desperately prayed for. The boys would be better off without me and my husband would be happier without me there. Crying at everything and being overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks was what the first 60 days of partpartum looked like for me. Not only was I crying nonstop but I was angry. The littlest things would set me off and I was full of rage. Rage that made my whole body warm. It was really scary.
I didn’t bond with Bridger very well. I kind of pushed him away because he was the cause of my pain, physically and mentally. He cried nonstop and I couldn’t console him. I hated myself and I felt he hated me too. I felt very unneeded and unloved. This isn’t what I pictured postpartum to be. Not at all. I put so much pressure on myself, unknowingly, to be the perfect mom. I really thought that I would have the baby and life would continue on as normal. I never thought I’d suffer from postpartum depression or anxiety. How could I? How could I not be happy with the very thing I have literally always wanted? Your postpartum self doesn’t care about what you went through before. Believe me, none of that matters when you’re in the thick of anxiety.
My doctor and our pediatrician knew something was up. They asked me at our appointments if I’m eating 3 meals a day, was I showering regularly, basically “are you taking care of you?” I lied. I was fine. I would get myself out of this funk. I continued to battle my way out of it. 3 months postpartum now and I’m feeling better. I still don’t feel “normal.” I have to remind myself every single day who I am and what is important to me.
I’d like to offer some advice for those watching a loved one suffer from postpartum depression/anxiety. Speak up, offer support. Even if they don’t accept your help or even respond back to your text or call, it matters to them. I had a few friends reach out to me and express their own battle with ppd and it helped me so much knowing I was not alone. A simple “I’m thinking of you” text helped me out of some dark thoughts and to those who reached out, thank you! To those who didn’t, I remember the lack of support but when you need it from me, I’ll be there for you. We all need help at times. I fully believe that through hard times you find yourself and although I am still figuring out life as a mom of 2, I know I am needed. This experience has taught me a lot. I know I am worthy of what my life has in it. I was meant to be the mom of these 2 adorable boys, and I will fight through anything for them.
2 years ago we were anxiously waiting on the arrival of our baby boy. We knew nothing at that point. We didn’t know what to expect during delivery, after delivery, or how the whole event would turn out. We had faith we were where we were meant to be and I had a weird sense of calmness that hovered over me the whole 36 hours of labor. The moment I seen our son, I knew he was mine. He had my heart from the very moment I seen him. I also knew that our birth mom was meant to be ours as well. She chose us for a reason and I know it was a bigger reason than any of us knew at that point.
I’m so thankful for the gift of adoption and the complex emotions it has for all those involved in it. I believe we all have learned so much through the emotions we are forced to face. I’m so thankful I became a mom through adoption first. It has truly taught me more about myself than any other experience I’ve ever been through. It’s taught me resiliency and how to cope with unwanted or hurtful comments. It’s taught me possessiveness, over myself but most importantly those I love. It’s taught me the true meaning of love and that it’s not blood that makes you family. Adoption has made me a better person, which in turn has made me a better mom. I think I needed to start my family this way in order to fully embrace motherhood. Rhett will forever be my game changer, the one who taught me how to "mom".
I am so excited to welcome another baby into our family, this time through pregnancy. The Christmas season was changed for me 2 years ago when we welcomed Rhett into our family on the 2nd and now we are anxiously waiting for baby brothers arrival right around the same time. It’s such a special time for our family and I am so thankful to be the one who gets to experience it. Both of my boys were born in the most amazing circumstances. I hope they grow up knowing and loving their birth stories as much as I have loved witnessing the miracles of them both.
I’ve touched very briefly on this subject before, but I wanted to go into it a bit more in detail. When we first started with our adoption we started out with the intent on self-matching, meaning we were going to advertise ourselves, do our own marketing, and finalize the adoption with an lawyer instead of using an agency to do it all for us. The main reason we started off that way is because of the cost. We could save roughly $20,000 by not using an agency. I researched a lot into the options and the pro’s and con’s of each of them so we felt this was our best bet to start out with.
We started off by sharing our hope to adopt via social media and created a Facebook page specifically for our adoption highlights and updates. We then started a profile on Adoptomist.com which is a place where you put up a profile where expectant moms can view them to try and decide if a family is a good fit for her and the child. Within a few short hours we started having some contact with expectant families which was very exciting.
We had a few contacts that really seemed legitimate, others were full of red flags from the get-go. The first red flag that we always had was the grammar and word usage. A lot of scammers are from other countries so if there was a huge amount of language barriers, I was always on high alert. The other red flag we came a crossed a few times was the children were older and the mom had some huge story about why she couldn’t parent. They usually go into detail about their situation like “my baby is 4 months old and I just found out I have cancer. They’ve only given me 3 months to live. I need to find a family asap so I can focus on my medical problems.” We received a lot of sob stories like that. This may be a real case, but all of ours were not. Another HUGE red flag is the mention of money. Any time money is mentioned you should proceed with caution, extreme caution! Most of the scams that we were presented with we knew right away, but one caught us off guard.
We had a friend who seen a woman in a facebook group she is apart of, share that she was pregnant and looking to place her baby for adoption. My friend knew we were hoping to adopt so she provided her our contact information and we started Facebook chatting. The woman was from our same state, she seemed somewhat stable, and had other children who were older. She let us know that her and her husband were not in the best place in their lives and they couldn’t raise another child. We spoke with for a few weeks and there were very few red flags. Her communication was hit and miss. She would chat and respond frequently and then she’d stop. I never pressured her to reply and let her lead the conversation. One day, after not hearing from her for a bit, she reached out to me saying she would probably not be able to reply much for a bit because she didn’t have money to pay her phone bill. She never straight up asked for my help paying her bill, but that was the first red flag. I felt like she was fishing for financial help.
We became friends on Facebook and some of the things I seen on her profile page started confirming she was probably not really expecting. She kept updating her status asking for help with bills, moving expenses, etc. The more I read the more I knew she was scamming us. A few days after she mentioned her phone being turned off, she deleted me from Facebook. That was my answer. She was trying to scam be for money. That one hurt a bit because it was the first one we thought could lead to us starting our family.
These scammers pray on the vulnerable and they do it for many reasons. Some are emotional scammers. They don't ask for money, all they want is the thrill of knowing they played with someones emotions. Others do it for the money. That is why I strongly advise talking to an adoption social worker or attorney before beginning talks with a expectant mom. The more knowledge you have before diving in the better you'll be prepared on how to handle the tough situations.
After dealing with that, I had a strong desire to start researching agencies. I looked into a few and called to have a consult to see if they were the best fit for us. The one we ended up choosing seemed right. They provided counseling to the expectant mothers before they even began searching for families. They felt it was important to make sure the mother was confident in her decision before exposing her and the hopeful adoptive parents to the emotions that come with the decision. That was a really important piece of the puzzle for us which ultimately led us to choose that agency and being matched with our birth mom.
Being in the adoption process is so hard. It’s draining mentally, emotionally, and in most cases financially. When things don’t go as planned it’s even harder because you’re already so invested and tired from the process. Looking back now, I’m able to see that things didn’t work out because they were supposed to work out a different way. I’m glad I listened to my gut and didn’t invest any more time in the scams and moved forward with our agency. Having the extra help and expertise was worth the extra money to get our son. Everything worked out like it should have and for that I’m so grateful!
Being an adoptive mom is a lot different than I thought it would be. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding it and for some reason I thought none of it would get to me, but it does. There’s phrases said to/about me and our adoption that people say but don’t understand the significance of it. I want to clear some of it up. The power of words can be so strong and learning to adapt those to certain situations can be just as powerful.
Is vs Was- Rhett was adopted, not “is” adopted. By saying he is adopted automatically labels him as that being his only quality. Technically, is was only adopted once when his papers were signed 😊 Those lucky to know him know that he is so much more than a label. He is smart, funny, so damn cute, and the brightest star in our lives. My gut instincts tells me he is going places in life. He was meant for something big.
Gave up vs placed- This is something I did not understand before our adoption. I was on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. I would give anything to have a baby, so I couldn’t understand how birth parents could make the decision to choose adoption. Now I understand that they love the child so much to step back and realize they can’t give the child everything they need. Can you imagine the amount of pride they have to put aside to make this decision? These amazing women are not giving up anything by choosing adoption, they are giving more. I can tell you in our adoptive situation his placement was done in complete love. Rhett will grow up knowing that he was never not wanted. He was loved, cherished, and taken care of in womb and now outside. He’s never not known love and that is a beautiful thing.
Real Mom vs. Birth mom- I am Rhetts real mom. I nurture him, make him laugh, change his diapers, feed him, etc. I'm his mother. His birthmom is also his mom. She grew him and gave him life. We are two different moms who love him in different ways.
Adoption has been emotional, heart breaking, heartwarming, and the greatest blessing in my life so far. I’ve really had to step back and practice patience and understanding. I know that people who have never been part of the adoption triad (birth parent, adoptive parent, or adoptee) don’t understand and most of the time don’t maliciously try to hurt feelings, but I hope that the above paragraphs help bring some enlightment to the correct adoption language.
What else would you like to know about our adoption? I'm always looking for more topics to share!
This weekend Rhett, myself, and my mom all drove down to Vegas to have lunch with our birth mom and it got me thinking about a few things that I wanted to share. When we first decided to move forward with adoption the number one thing that really was hard for was the thought of a relationship with a stranger. I never doubted whether I could love a child, but I really doubted whether I could love their birth family.
I am not an easy egg to crack. I don’t like meeting new people and I don’t often come off as the friendliest person. This is something I really try hard to overcome, but it has been a struggle for a long time. I guess I have a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and being judged for it. I don’t like the idea of being hurt so I would rather stay to myself and not let it happen. Phew, that was kind of hard to write out (writing is therapeutic!) Moral of this paragraph is that I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to open up with our birth mom and bond with her. I feel like we have bonded, but I am still holding back from her.
She wants to be friends on Facebook, but I haven’t allowed that yet. I’m just not ready for that amount of sharing. We have set up a private facebook group where I am the moderator and have to approve most everything that happens within the group but becoming “friends” is still hard for me to grasp. On our way to meet up with her in Vegas we stopped in to the adoption agency we used and met with some of the women who helped Rhett find is way to us. It was so special to talk to them and bring up a few of the issues I have been facing with the openness of our adoption. They both assured me that what we are doing is perfect, that boundaries have to be set early, and we should never do anything we don’t feel comfortable with. Getting that validation from them felt really good and sparked confidence in my decisions.
I may not be an open book with our birth mom, but we are bonded more than I ever thought possible and it’s all because of one feisty little boy. We will forever have an unspoken bond that revolves around him. We both love him dearly and to think about not loving the person who gave him life is a really hard pill to swallow. We are bonded in a stronger way that I ever expected.
Just to be clear we are still completely following through with the promise that we made for our post placement plan. We agreed to 1 update every 3 months and 2 visits per year. We will never back out from that promise unless given a legitimate reason to. If we every feel something is not in Rhett’s best interest we will reevaluate and come up with a better solution. At this point in time we are doing what we feel is best for all of us involved, most importantly Rhett. He deserves to know the woman who chose life for him and who loves him tremendously. I would never want to hold any love back from him.
If you are debating on whether adoption is the right choice for you and are questioning the emotional side of it, please know that it is hard but so worth it. I promise that the right direction will be laid for you and the adoption journey you are dealt. No 2 adoptions are the same, no 2 birth parents are the same, and no 2 adoptive parents are the same. You will figure out what works best for you and your child while the relationship transforms. Please don’t let this fear hold you back from becoming a parent through adoption. It is so, so worth it!
Last month we had our first post placement visit with Rhett’s birth mom. I am very much a type A personality. I like to know what I’m getting myself into, plan everything, and I hate when plans change last second so these types of meetings are always hard for me. I never know how the emotions are going to be, if the conversation will be pleasant, or if words will be hurtful or judgmental. Our post placement agreement is that we will do 4 updates a year and 2 visits. We’ve set up a private Facebook group with her, so we are able to update her frequently, but this was our first face to face visit since Rhett’s birth.
We drove to Vegas on Friday which is about a 4-hour drive from our house. Rhett was a freaking rock star and barely even whined. We did stop in St.George to grab a few things at Walmart and to get him out of the car seat. This boy loves to shop, and people watch. I think he likes it so much because he’s always getting attention by people in the stores! We got to Vegas, ate dinner, and tried to sleep. I was nervous and couldn’t sleep and Rhett was out of his element and couldn’t sleep. Needless to say, it was a really rough first night. I’ve pulled all-nighters in Vegas before, but never this kind 😊
On Saturday morning, we agreed to meet BM (Birthmom) at a park outside of Vegas. We got there a bit early, so we got Rhett out and let him explore a bit. It was nice getting there before her, so we could pick the spot to sit and relax a bit. The park was super busy with a cross country meet going on but had a really nice playground and splash pad. We met at 10 am and it was already 95 degree's out. It's so, so hot in Vegas!
Birth mom and birth Grandma showed up a few minutes late and immediately found us. They were both taken back with how big Rhett had gotten. His birth mom bought him a bunch of nice winter clothes and shoes. We brought her a birthday gift that she was appreciative of. The conversation was easy, flowed, and she kept praising how great we were doing with him. A lot of people ask how Rhett was towards her and I had that same question before hand. Would he gravitate towards her? Remember her in a sense? No. He still crawled to me for comfort and kept his eye on me to make sure I wasn’t leaving him. I’m his safe place and his mom. Best feeling ever!
The meeting lasted about an hour and went as smoothly as possible. There were really no emotions involved, which I’m learning is his birth mom’s demeanor. I’m sure they get best of her at times, but while she’s with us she is always poised and strong. She played, held, and loved on him. I could tell the meeting really put her heart at peace.
I have a lot of people intrigued about our adoption and how it went. I really have to say we were so lucky with how smooth of a process it was for us. I can’t say enough good things about the agency we went with. They helped us before placement, during our match, and now after placement. About a week before our meeting I called my social worker at the agency because I was kind of freaking out. She let me know what to expect and what ground rules I could make, if needed. She really put my mind at ease.
Our birth mom has been easy to work with and I think our post placement plan is working out great so far. We overall feel so lucky with how it all played out and even more lucky that we were blessed with our little bundle.
I have touched briefly on our post placement relationship with Rhetts birth mom. I haven’t spoke too much about it because it’s still a very new, unknown territory. We have an open adoption with her and send her updates regularly, but we are just about to do our first visit since his birth. Mainly just because we both work full time and can’t afford to take time off work. We’ve told a few people about our upcoming visit and a few of those people have cringed and made us feel bad for going.
Here’s the thing that most people do not understand. We have researched the benefits of open adoption. We have researched the cons of open adoption. We are also parents. We will do what we feel is best for our child and we don’t need anyone’s approval for it. In fact, the more I think about it the more I get offended that people question that.
Open adoption is a new concept for a lot of people, especially older folk. They think adoption is a closed subject that no body needs to know about, not even the child. This is in most cases harmful. The child grows up, hears they’re adopted from a loose lipped cousin, and ends up resenting the parents for lying to them. The only time studies have shown that a closed adoption is beneficial is if there has been some form of abuse (substance, sexual, battery, etc.) If we ever feel that updates and visitation is not in Rhetts best interest we can and will stop them.
Rhett’s birthmom made the decision to place Rhett from a place of love. She knew that her life was not at a place where she could parent him the way he deserved. She is not a bad person, far from it. In a world where abortion is so freely talked about, she could have done that and been done. She chose life and in turn blessed ours immensely. She sought regular prenatal visits, ate what she knew to be healthy, and stayed free of drugs and alcohol. How could we deny her the chance to know and love the person she loved from the moment she found out about him?
Our relationship with Birth mom is very new. We are not at a comfortable place yet, but I have faith we will get there. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that our first visit goes well!
I want to start off by saying that the years leading up to Rhett were some of the roughest but these 9 months with him have made up for it. I wish I could say that every minute of it has been perfect and we’ve been living in a bubble of bliss, but that’s not the case. I am finally coming out of the fog of PAD’s (post adoption depression). I haven’t told anybody that I thought I was going through that. I didn’t dare admit it really. How could I when I’ve publicly yearned for a child for years? I honestly think being public about it might have made things even harder.
Post Adoption Depression has different symptoms for everyone but for me I felt withdrawn. I felt like only a few people were safe people to be around. Meaning I was on edge around mostly everyone except for those safe people. I felt judged by most. Judged that I wasn't really his mom, that I didn't know what I was doing, or what was best for him. All these thoughts and fears were self induced. I felt my mind start to turn negative in one of the happiest times of my life.
It’s not that I’m not extremely grateful to be a mommy. I literally thank god for him every single minute of the day. What I didn’t know would happen was the guilt I felt daily. That guilt led to depression and anxiety that I’ve never had before. I feel guilt towards my husband that I’m not the person I was before we became parents. I’m not “fun” like I used to be. We don’t stay up late, listen to music, and enjoy each others company like we used to. I feel like I’m letting him down daily and it hurts.
I feel guilt and sadness towards Rhett’s birth mom. We are still navigating what our post placement relationship will be like and it seems whatever choice we make, is not good enough for all parties involved. I feel sad for her that she misses out on Rhett. Not just the big moments he’s had but everything. She doesn’t get to see him eat his food like it’s going out of style or hear him say “dada” for the millionth time. She made the choice she did for a reason and she’s never once said she regrets it but I know her heart is hurting even if she doesn’t say it is. It’s hard being happy for the same reason someone is sad.
I sometimes feel like I fail Rhett. I feel an insane amount of pressure to be everything for him, plus some. To love him fiercely and to protect him against everything. What if I can’t do those things well enough?
I once read a comment from a person on Instagram stating that adoption was the easy path to parenthood. This boggles my mind and I wish more people knew the hard part of adoption. Maybe the only easier part of it is not actually going through labor, but it is definitely not easy. There are a lot of hard things that adoptive parents go through leading up to parenthood and there are plenty more hardships after parenthood. I honestly never knew that Post adoption depressions existed but it really does make sense. Adoptive parents lives get drastically changed just as parents by birth do and sometimes in a lot less time. The bond with the child can take longer which causes emotional turmoil for parents and right off the bat you feel like a failure. Most people think that because you didn't physically birth the child that you don't need help. Believe me when I say adoptive parents need help right after birth. We need meals prepared for us or help cleaning so we can spend those extra 30 minutes bonding. We need help just as any parent would.
Anyone who has gone through depression knows that what works for someone else will not always work for you. I am not one to run to the doctor to get on medication, but would never judge those who do. My outlet has been exercise. I immediately feel better after a work out and notice a huge decline in mood when I miss one. I have been consistently working out for about 6 weeks and the changes have been awesome. I feel more social, confident, and all around happier. It might be a quick walk with Rhett or a long HIIT workout while Rhett hangs out with daddy. I don't put pressure on myself for anything. Working out for me is now about feeling better, not looking better.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. Really it’s the best thing to ever happen to me, but adoption is also so hard. It’s turned my life into a whirlwind, that is just now slowing down. I am finally at a place where I feel like I'm not failing at something everyday. I've had to realize that perfection doesn't exist especially in motherhood. Motherhood is series of failures with a win thrown in there every now and then just to spark some confidence back in you. Motherhood is the biggest reality check I've every been given and everyday I can't believe it's my reality. I'm so thankful for the failures, wins, and everything in between!
While making the decision how to move forward with starting our family I was lead to adoption a few times before we actually started the adoption process. I kept backing out and not bringing it up to Nate because I had one huge worry... would we love this baby if it was not genetically tied to us? This worry was all in God’s timing. I had to work out the fear before moving forward. For those still in the wait, undecided on how to move forward, know this. The love of a child does not come solely on genetics. It comes from nurturing, love, and fate. I promise you that when you hold that baby in your arms you will feel love, you will have to desire to nurture him, and you will know fate brought you together.
When I held Rhett for the first time my heart was at complete peace for the first time in years. I knew without a doubt that he was mine, not genetically but spiritually. I was meant to love him. And boy do I love him. I love waking up to his cries every morning. I love watching his hands clasp his bottle that he so impatiently waited for. I love hearing him call me mama and his daddy dada. I love his dark brown eyes (that look nothing like mine) light up when he sees me. Most of all, I love how much he loves me. He loves me because I’m there. I nurture his every need and want. He loves me in all my imperfect glory. He’s loved me through learning everything about being a mom and he’s loved me through my bad days.
I know sometimes it feels like your heart will never heal. Like you’ll never know what it’s like to love so deeply it hurts, but I promise you will. Open your heart and let god (or whatever higher power you believe in) guide you to make the best decision. You’re worthy of love, you have a nurturing soul, and fate will find its way to you.
Last week I had a dental appointment where I found out I need a dental implant and an old root canal fixed (Thank you dad for the teeth genetics). The dentist was going over the price of it all before he asked when I’d like to get it scheduled. After the shock of the price tag wore off I told him I’d have to wait because we don’t the money right now. I let him know that we just adopted, and our funds are still feeling the sting of it all. After he worked the price out a bit (super nice dentist!) he left the room while the assistant helped the rest of the time. She started asking me questions about the adoption and told me that her and her husband are debating on trying IVF or going straight to adoption. I told her that we had literally tried it all before feeling the revelation to move forward with adoption. She asked me if I regret any of it, I replied with “No” but it isn’t an easy no. Nothing about our journey has been easy.
Do I regret taking/borrowing money from my parents to pay for our IVF and IVF with donor egg cycles? Yes. I really wish I didn’t have that hanging over our heads. Do I regret all the shots, tears, prayers, and crushed dreams. No. It’s made me who I am and it’s made my marriage stronger. Since becoming a mom to Rhett it really has all made sense. Would I have loved a child, biological or adopted, the same way I love Rhett if it had happened years ago? Sure, but it wouldn’t be Rhett. Before we even met him the universe knew he was out there waiting for us.
Whatever your journey in life is or has been there is always a lesson to learn. Usually it takes being out of the situation to really understand what is being taught at that moment. My goal as a new mom is to trust the process and enjoy the whole journey as we are going through it. I've learned in the short 4 months that parenthood is a lot of unexpected.
Now that I’m able to step back and relive the years of trying to become parents I can see things clearly. I’m able to take lessons from every heartbreak and setback that we’ve had. I now know that the trials have made me stronger. They’ve given me the strength it will take to be an adoptive mom. There is no doubt that adoption holds a different set of parenting obstacles. I’d be lying if I said the future doesn’t scare me a little bit, but I know we will get through it. Our journey to parenthood is done but our journey as parents is just beginning. Journeys never fully stop. They shift directions, but keep moving, and that’s what we will do together as a family.
Hi my name is Whitney and I'm a mom to 2 adorable boys. Here you'll find our story of infertility, adoption, grief, and hope. I'm an open book so you'll never know what I'll post next!