The Adoption Experience
People are often curious about the entire process of adoption and what it must feel like. There really is no one way to describe it correctly; it is a blend of hundreds of colliding emotions and thoughts. It goes without saying that this is no easy task for a birthmother, who does eventually decide to go down this route for the greater good of her child; on the other hand, it also does not mean that it has to be a tiring or excruciating experience.
With the help of experienced and professional adoption agencies like A Act of Love, women can now make the transition from pregnancy to adoption under proper guidance and with ample support. The adoptive process may seem like a mountain that cannot be conquered, but you would be surprised to learn as to how comfortable your counselors can make you feel.
Never once will you feel like you had to go through it all by yourself, as you will have people right beside you consistently and constantly. Whenever you have any questions, fears or concerns, you will know exactly who to contact and you can trust their response to be in you and your baby’s best interests. So much so that when the papers are signed and all has been completed, you will begin to see these counselors as no less than your own family members. Just last week, a year after I placed my son, I had an amazing brunch with some of the employees at Act of Love who have become my friends and family. We caught up with each other and marveled at the difference a year can make. You form a bond based entirely on trust with them which will make the adoptive process a lot less daunting than it would seem otherwise.
I never have to worry about confidentiality being a problem which takes away a major chunk of the stress away from my head, leaving me free to concentrate on the important things, like moving forward.
Love – What does it look like?
I am very affectionate towards my children. I give them hugs and kisses. I play with them and let them sleep with me every once in a while. I love them very much, and I want them to know that. More importantly, I want them to know what love looks like.
Many hugs and kisses have been exchanged between my boys and me. When I pick them up from their dad’s after school, they run to me with smiles on their faces and with their arms outstretched. They yell “Mommmmy!” When they finally reach me they wrap their arms around me in a death grip and say, “I’m so very happy to see you!” (FYI-NONE of this happens when they have received a bad conduct grade. If that is the case, they put on pout faces because they know they are about to lose privileges or receive some kind of punishment. 🙂 It is incredibly gratifying to be greeted in such a way, and it never gets old for me. I also know it will eventually end at some point.
Seeing this, I know that I am doing something right with them. They may not fully understand it, but they know that I love them very much. And I know that they love me! I tell them I love them every day they are with me, and I tell them often, not just once a day. Truly, I cannot help myself. The love I have for them is overwhelming sometimes, and I just have to express it. Telling our children we love them, verbalizing it, is so important to their upbringing. Even after they have finished a time-out, we have our little talk, and I always end it with “I love you.” Always.
Showing appropriate affection as they grow teaches them appropriate ways to express love. Those ways will change as they get older and as their personalities develop. There will come a time when they will not want any hugs or kisses, but I can still tell them I love them. I can be there for them always, no matter what kind of mistakes they will surely make. When they get older, have their own families, they will know how to treat their wives and their children. And that is why it is important to teach them from the time they are born. That love, nurturing, and affection affects them for the rest of their lives, and in return, it affects the lives of others.
Answers to where your baby will go after delivery
Fear of where your baby will be after delivery is a great and valid concern for birth parents placing their child for adoption. It makes sense for birth parents to want to know what will happen to their baby after delivery. When birth parents consider adoption, they do it because they want what is best for their child. They want their baby to be safe, healthy, loved, cared for, and given the best life possible. When looking into adoption, birth parents have many fears, many of them stemming from concern for their child. Adoption can be a scary process at first, but having the correct information helps to ease concerns over the welfare of our children.
At A Act of Love Adoption Agency, the birth parents make all the decisions regarding the adoption. This means that the birth parents choose what kind of adoption plan they want (open, semi-open, or closed), choosing the adoptive family (if you prefer, Act of Love can choose for you), the birth plan, and relinquishing rights to the child. Every step of the way, the staff at Act of Love will support and guide birth parents through the adoption process. When it comes time for birth parents to relinquish their rights, they will no longer have any legal responsibility for their baby. After their rights are relinquished, the adoptive parents then sign papers assuming custody and responsibility for the baby.
What happens if the selected adoptive parents choose not to follow through with the adoption?
The birth parents will maintain custody of the baby until they relinquish their rights. Act of Love will give the birth parents the option to choose another family. If they have already relinquished their rights, they are given the option to place the baby in Act of Love’s transitional care and to help select another adoptive family.
What is Act of Love’s transitional care?
Transitional care consists of families who are approved through Act of Love to provide temporary care for children. This type of care is used when birth parents have relinquished their rights, but an adoptive family has not assumed responsibility for the child. Transitional care is NOT state care, nor is it meant to be a permanent home for children. If birth parents choose to relinquish their rights and place their child in transitional care, they will still have the option to choose an adoptive family for their child.
Act of Love is diligent in their work and genuinely love the birth parents and adoptive families they work with. They are diligent in matching a birth parent’s wishes to the appropriate families, which means that adoptive parents almost always follow through with the adoption. It is very rare for an adoptive family to change their minds. It is important to note that in order for Act of Love to provide birth parents with appropriate adoptive family profiles, birth parents should always be completely honest about their pregnancy and medical history.
At the end of the day, birth parents, adoptive parents, and Act of Love all work together to place children in permanent, safe, loving, and nurturing homes.
Explaining the Weight
I was talking to a new friend the other day about my efforts to get back to my goal weight. We talked about different exercise routines and how to push past my plateau. I mentioned that I put on 50lbs last year and lost 30 of it already. She was shocked.
“Why did you put on so much weight so fast?”
I almost replied matter-of-factly, “When I was pregnant.”
But I caught myself. My pregnancy and adoption is not a secret, but it’s not something I throw out to any new co-worker during a conversation about working out. This is something I wonder if other birthmothers experience. How does one explain the 9 month gap of time down the road? How do you explain the weight gain or weight loss? Or the break in schooling during job interviews?
I’ve decided not to explain for now. I just ended up replying. “Lots of different ways.”
We got back to the conversation and she was none the wiser, but I left with a new problem to think about. How much of myself can I reveal? The fact that I am a birthmother is so much of who I am now and sometimes I feel bad that others can’t see that. And then there are other times when I don’t want others to identify me as a birthmother to avoid prejudgment.
It is a continual maze that I am trying to navigate. I look forward to experience teaching me how.
Love in Pregnancy
As sentient beings, we are designed to love our unborn children. It is a natural affection that helps us to care for our babies. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, it is natural for her to love that baby, and developing a bond with her unborn baby comes naturally as the pregnancy progresses. The love that women feel for their babies while pregnant becomes tangible when he/she is born. I think that process of finally meeting the object of our affection is a part of what makes adoption difficult for birth parents.
Before Matthew was born, I was absolutely certain I wanted to place him for adoption. There were no doubts about whether or not I would go through with it. I loved him, and I could not help but to love him. He is my son. During the pregnancy, I knew I loved him, but it did not feel like the same kind of love that I felt during my pregnancies with Edward and Matthias. I loved Matt, but I felt detached from him. I still rubbed my belly and played music for him. I talked to him and cried over the loss I was already feeling. However, I also had to tell myself every day that at the end of this pregnancy, he is not coming home with me. That act of self-preservation kept me from fully bonding with him.
The love that birth parents feel is just as real and intense as any other parent’s love for their children. Matt’s parents loved him before I even decided to place him with them. It was just something I knew and felt in my heart. It was amazing really. When I talked to them as I was looking for a family for Matt, I could tell they already loved him. When I told them I have decided to place with them, it seemed they loved him even more. They were able to experience that pregnancy love. When we met, we were all able to bond with each other, each of us sharing a love for our son.
The Month of Love – Part 2
The stores are teeming with hearts and teddy bears and flowers and chocolates, all those things that suggest love and affection. With all the buzz of love going around, I have reflected upon the kind of love I have experienced in my life. In some instances, the type of love I thought I was experiencing, turned out not to be the love I thought. Other times, I have had genuine feelings of romantic and friendship love towards others, but those feelings were not returned. At this point in my life, I am aware of what real friendships look like. I have a better understanding of what love between a man and a woman should be. Most importantly, I have learned about Christ’s love, and as a result, I have experienced positive changes in my relationships with others and improved upon loving myself.
One of the things I struggled with before I placed Matthew for adoption was that I did not love him the same way as I do his brothers. Feelings of guilt plagued me. I love Matt, very much. Today, I love him just the same as his brothers. At first, it really was different. During the pregnancy, I told myself that he is not my baby; ergo, I stopped myself from becoming too attached to him. I thought it would be too hard to think of him as my son. As it turns out, there was nothing I could do to turn off those feelings; he is my son. There is nothing I would do for Edward and Matthias that I would not do for Matthew. Now, because I am not raising Matt as my own, I am not able to show him the kind of love I feel for him; I am not able to show him I love him in the same way I show his brothers. I do know that Matt’s parents love him just as I do, and they will let him know that I love him very much.
Different types of love-different ways to express them. I would not show love to my family in the same way I would my spouse (I will eventually have one of those). Romantic (Eros) love stems from a mutual respect for each other. That kind of love should not harbor jealousy nor control. When I do eventually date, I will know whether nor not my date respects me based on how he treats me. With my children, it is different. Their love for me stems from a different place. I have loved and cared for them their whole lives. We are openly affectionate with each other, though they are becoming less affectionate between the two of them.
Going forward, I know what kind of love to expect in lasting relationships, whether they are friendships or a romantic relationship. I know that I have come a long way to experiencing self-love and acceptance, and I still have a long way to go.
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Act of Love Adoption Agency on Facebook
Act of Love Adoption Agency is on Facebook. Our Facebook page allows us to connect with all of our followers and help them stay updated on current information. Adoptive parents that follow Act of Love Adoption on Facebook stay informed about current adoption situations that are available. Our goal is to find loving homes for babies that need adoption and we hope that by sharing the information about these infants on Facebook, we can help find homes for them. We also post detailed articles about a variety of adoption topics that are informative to both adoptive parents and birth parents. Many of our staff have adopted children and understand how adoptive parents and birth parents feel. We love posting images of adoptive parents who have recently adopted their babies through A Act of Love Adoption Agency, sharing these special moments with other Facebook friends. We also love sharing stories and testimonials from our birth parents and posting pictures of new babies that adoptive parents share with us, which includes sharing uplifting quotes about adoption. We want our Facebook page to be welcoming to all prospective adoptive parents or birth parents that want to place their babies for adoption.
The Month of Love – Part 1
With the month of love upon us, I have been thinking quite a bit about love. There are different types of love, and I think about the many different ways we experience and express love. The Ancient Greeks categorized love in four different types: Agape, Phileo, Storge, and Eros.
Agape love is unconditional and love that sees beyond imperfections, mistakes, and shortcomings. It is similar to what I would describe as Christ’s love because it is the kind of love that one would feel towards all human beings. I feel this love for some of my coworkers, acquaintances, and others I meet or see in passing. When I think of the people I read about in the news, those people who have lost loved ones or are struggling, I feel this kind of love for them. With these feelings, I have hope for them that they will experience comfort and peace. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
Phileo love is the kind that is affectionate. It is the love of friendship. I feel this love for my friends and some of my coworkers. I desire to understand them, to talk to them, to share a bit of my life with them. The people I share these feelings for are the ones I go to in times of need. “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself!” (C. S. Lewis)
Storge love refers to love we feel for our family. It is the kind of love that is unconditional and allows us to want familial relationships despite wrongdoings. I have a very small family, and we have had many trials. I put my family through much turmoil as a young teenager. I have caused them much heartache, but we all still love each other and desire to be in each other’s lives despite the things that have happened. “It is my pleasure that my children are free and happy, and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents.” (Abraham Lincoln)
Eros love describes a passionate or romantic love. This love is the type that compels us to want intimate relationships. This is the love one would feel towards a significant other. I would say that I have felt this before, but because those relationships did not last, I am wondering about what I really felt. I definitely want the lasting love in a future relationship. I will not settle for anything less. It must be genuine and come from a place of faith. “Eros is not tranquil – it gives us spikes of happiness rather than a constant feeling of wellbeing. It’s the love we feel at the beginning of a love affair and corresponds to the expression ‘falling in love’ since it is as involuntary an impulse as a physical fall.” (Francois Lelord)
There is so much love at Act of Love Adoptions for all of our children, birth parents and adoptive families! It is truly “A Act of Love”! We celebrate all of you in this month of LOVE!
Life Goes On
Elle is a lady who is humble and loving. She is one who has faced great challenges and overcome them. Her story is this: At 19 years old, Elle found herself in college, unmarried, and pregnant. All the good things she hoped for herself suddenly became impossible for her to achieve, so she thought. She was told some staggering and sobering statistics that her child, a daughter, would have even greater struggles and challenges because she was an unwed mother. She considered adoption throughout her entire pregnancy, but she ultimately decided to keep her baby and raise her. She struggled to get on the path she wanted, but by taking it step by step, she became the person she wanted to be. Elle’s unexpected pregnancy did not ruin her for the rest of her life. Choosing to raise her daughter did not keep her from achieving her goals. Elle learned self-acceptance and self-love and understands that she is just as deserving to be loved as anyone else. She finished college, married, had more children, and is now a great example and inspiration to others. Her daughter, who is now 18 years old, has also become a fine young woman who is a great example of selflessness and unconditional love to others.
I, too, have two boys that I get to raise on my own. I was never married to their father, and, like Elle, I was 19 and in college when I found out I was pregnant with Edward. Then, I am sure you could imagine the great disappointment and panic of finding out that I was pregnant yet again only nine months later with Matthias. Life did not end for me, or their father. Sure, I had to endure lecture after lecture about abstinence, safe sex, and the value of marriage. It was humiliating and really degraded my self-esteem and sense of self-worth. However, I have overcome that stigma of being an unwed mother. I find it a privilege to have children, to raise them, along with their father, and see them succeed in school. I again have had to relearn to forgive myself and overcome the guilt and low self-esteem after placing Matthew for adoption.
So you see, even when we face challenges, whether they be created by ourselves or circumstances beyond our control, we have choices. Those choices, in most situations, are incredibly difficult and more often than not, have lifelong consequences. They affect us, and others, for the rest of our lives. In circumstances when a woman truly struggles with the decision whether to place her baby for adoption or keep her baby, the choices always have lifelong consequences. Those circumstances do not define who we are; they do not determine our fate, nor do they determine our worth or what we are capable of. We are neither doomed for life nor undeserving to be happy. We may struggle with shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, and loss of hope. However, no matter how much we believe we have screwed up, or how much we believe we have messed up our lives, life goes on. We make mistakes and find ourselves in difficult situations, and from there, we make the choices we think are best. No matter what we decide, the journey becomes one of learning self-forgiveness, self-love, and self-worth. When we learn these things, we experience peace and true happiness because it means accepting and loving ourselves.
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At the Beginning of the Year
At the beginning of the year, I made all these plans to work on personal progress, self-improvement, and things of that nature. For most of my life, I have struggled with self-esteem issues. My mother just about always gave me negative commentary about my physical appearance growing up. I was never thin enough, my boobs were not big enough, my nose was too flat, my butt was too big, and my hips were too wide. When I see pictures of myself from childhood to young adulthood, and there are not very many because I was extremely self-conscious, I am always startled by how beautiful I was. I was not fat at all, not even a little bit. I was not skinny, but I was an athlete with a strong body. I weighed more than my classmates did, but I was physically fit, lean.
After three pregnancies, my body has changed considerably. Within the last three years now, I have gained a lot of weight. This started probably about halfway through my pregnancy with Matt. After I gave birth, I felt like a blob of fat, and I looked that way, too. Matt will be two years old in less than two months, and though I have lost some of the weight, I am nowhere near where I would like to be. During my struggle to being okay with what I look like, I have really pondered about how to accept my body. I have questioned, at what point will I be happy with my appearance? At what weight will I be comfortable in my own body? Will I never be happy with myself if my dress size is not a size 10? Am I going to go through life always wishing that some part of my body, or my appearance were different?
In my effort to boost my own self-esteem, I have been working really hard on accepting me, myself, as in my personality. Instead of reminding myself of the mistakes I have made, I tell myself I have done a good job getting through my trials. I give myself a pat on the back for pulling myself up from those low times I have experienced throughout the last three years. Instead of telling myself I am a bad person, something I used to do frequently, I remind myself of the many good and decent qualities I possess. By doing these things, I have experienced change in myself, just within the last few weeks. When I look in the mirror, I do not see my imperfect body; I see a strong woman who has courage, who makes sacrifices for her children, who makes other people smile. I see myself as someone who put the broken pieces back together to create a very unique and beautiful masterpiece that embodies strength and inner beauty because, that masterpiece that I am, symbolizes the determination and strength to face life’s challenges, learn from my mistakes, and smile every day.
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