Blog Talk Radio Transcript – AIR DATE: 2.19.2019 “Kaitlyn’s Story – Adoption is not giving up a baby.” (You may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below.)

The world tells Kaitlyn that she gave her baby up. That’s not how she sees it. Kaitlyn is a loving birth mother who made an adoption plan for her child. She says, “Adoption is not giving up a baby. Adoption is loving your baby enough to put her needs first.” This is Kaitlyn’s story.

Adoption RadioJennifer:  Hi, and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jarowski and I’m a social worker with Michigan adoption agency, Adoption Associates. This is our Premier Talk Radio Blog Show. Adoption Associates was founded in 1990 and we specialize in domestic adoption. We provide private adoption services throughout all of Michigan with offices located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills and Mid Michigan. No matter where you’re located in Michigan you will find a connection to Adoption Associates.

Adoption Associates brings knowledge, support and understanding in adoption. Adoption is not only our specialty, it’s our passion. One of Adoption Associate’s commitments is to this radio show to help educate and support adoptive families, birth families and the adoption community. So we are very, very glad that you’ve joined us today and are in support of our adoption focus podcast.

Today we have Kaitlyn with us, and she’s going to be talking about why giving up a baby for adoption is really not giving up a baby. I’d like to welcome Kaitlyn to the show. Kaitlyn, are you with us?

Kaitlyn:  I am. Thank you for having me.

Jennifer:  Oh, thank you so much for being on today’s podcast. I know that sometimes this can be a little bit intimidating so hopefully not for you. It was five years ago, Kaitlyn, that you placed your child for adoption and you’ve agreed so graciously to come on today to talk about this. I was hoping that you could share a little bit about the circumstances that you were facing when you made your decision to plan adoption for your baby.

Kaitlyn:  So, at the time I was in a relationship with the father and I was actually on birth control. I had experienced about a month worth of really bad morning sickness that lasted all day. And that was really the only thing that kind of led me to wonder if I was pregnant. So, I took a pregnancy test. I was in disbelief so I took five more pregnancy tests, which all came back positive. I decided to schedule an appointment at a Planned Parenthood actually, to confirm the pregnancy. You always hear the stories of false positives and that sort of thing with pregnancy tests. And I just wanted to make sure.

The test at Planned Parenthood came back positive. It was for sure. And it just kind of left me thinking, “What do I do now?” By the time I had confirmed the pregnancy, I could tell that my relationship with the father wasn’t going to work out. I found myself having a conversation with him basically saying, “I want to break up with you and by the way, I’m also pregnant.”

Jennifer: Wow.

Kaitlyn:  Yep, that was an awkward conversation to have.

I ended up going back to Planned Parenthood because I had decided to have an abortion. Before they provide the abortion, they actually give you a survey. The survey asks about your awareness of other options. And based on that, they took me aside before the abortion procedure and said, “Have you thought about adoption? Adoption in recent years has really changed and evolved, and it’s a lot different than what most people think adoption is.” At the time, my idea of adoption was that it was always closed. I thought that I would never get to meet my child. And that my child would never get any information about me.

So, basically we had a therapy session in this private room. They gave me information, including phone numbers to call and names of different adoption agencies throughout Michigan. So I started to consider the possibility of adoption. They would not allow me to go through with the abortion until I had explored adoption and had decided whether that was a path I wanted to take.

Jennifer:  So really, Kaitlyn, first of all, thank you for sharing that. I know that’s very personal to you. But it’s very interesting to me that you went in with a plan, and this one question changed the course of your decision making. It changed the course of how you chose to handle and address this unplanned pregnancy. Had you thought of adoption? That simple question. What was your original or initial response or thought or feeling when you heard that question?

Kaitlyn:  My initial feeling was no. I am the only child of a single parent. My mother raised my by herself and I have no knowledge of my father. I don’t know his name, that sort of thing. And I, of course, am approaching it from the idea that it’s a closed. It’s always closed.  The child never gets information about her parents and you never get to contact your child until a certain period, if ever.

And I just remember growing up as a teenager and having questions. And I didn’t want my child to have those same questions. So the turning point was in that meeting when the counselor said that adoption has really changed. It’s really evolved over the last couple of decades and there are other options. That was really the first time that I started to consider, “Okay, well maybe adoption is an option for me.”

Jennifer: Okay. So here you are hearing this for the first time thinking maybe this is an option. Let’s talk through how you ultimately made the decision that you were choosing adoption for your child.

Kaitlyn:  So, I got home that day and I was still processing everything. I called the first couple of phone numbers they gabve me. One went to a voice mail and I was just not comfortable leaving a voicemail. I wanted to talk to a person right away. And I know that that’s not a feasible thing all the time. But at that moment in time I was already uncertain of what I was doing and I was unsure of adoption. I just wanted to talk to somebody right away to kind of get that reassurance.

Jennifer:  Of course.

Kaitlyn:  The second place I called left me with a feeling that I was a number. I felt like all they were interested in is convincing me that I should give up my child. They acted like they had all these families waiting and “we just want your child.” It was almost like a transaction. That just left a really bad taste in my mouth, because I’m a person, you know? I’m going through all these feelings and all these emotions and thoughts and I want there to be somebody on the other side of this understanding or at least empathizing with what I am going through. I just never got that feeling from that agency.

Jennifer:  Okay.

Kaitlyn:  And so I called the third number, and that was Adoption Associates. When I called, it was a different feeling right away. It was very warm. I made an appointment with Nancy and she has been amazing. From the very beginning she’s felt like a mother to me. I know that’s kind of odd to say, but she’s just been very nurturing, very empathizing, and understanding. That’s exactly what I needed to help combat the feelings of not being enough, and whether or not I could go through with this.

Nancy was very reassuring about it, and that was very helpful to me making my decision to actually go through with adoption. And feeling confident that adoption was the right path for me.

Jennifer:   Yeah. You needed someone to stand next to you to understand you, to hear you and to help answer probably the hundred questions that you had.

Kaitlyn:  Yeah.

Jennifer:  Absolutely. So once you made the decision, and you chose a family, how were you feeling at that point? You had a bit of a path to even get there, and for many people that’s the beginning. But that wasn’t really the beginning. You went through a lot. You went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, then you educated yourself, and you called numerous agencies. You met with a caseworker from Adoption Associates, and now there you were. You were into this adoption planning and you picked a family.

What were you feeling at that point?

Kaitlyn:  It is so hard to describe the feelings that you have at that moment. I feel like it is a daily, even sometimes moment by moment decision that you are continuously making. Is this still right for me? Is this still right for my child? And it’s something that you have to do a lot of introspection on. I am not the most self-aware person in the world, and it was something that you really have to dig deep into yourself and basically peel back all the layers of who you think you are.

And you really just have to kind of bare your soul and figure out who you are as a person and what you are going to stand for. What you will accept, what you won’t accept. And it’s a very, very difficult process.

And there’s a lot of different feelings kind of intertwined with it. There’s shame. There’s grief. There’s joy. The adoptive couple that I chose for Alyssa, are amazing people. Funny enough, I always tell them that they are exactly the kind of parents I would want. The adoptive father is the father that I wish I had, and the adoptive mother is actually exactly like my mother in some ways. So it’s almost like I was kind of choosing the family that I wish I could have provided for my daughter.

And it’s something that you have to kind of come to terms with that, you know, this is something that is the best option and the best choice for my daughter. And it’s a lot to deal with, the feeling that you are not enough. That’s a big thing that you have to deal with, is that feeling of not enough. And over time you kind of have to deal with that emotion. You have to swallow that emotion and work it out and piece it out and kind of be realistic about the situation and about your feelings. It’s so complicated. It’s really hard to describe.

Jennifer:  Well, Kaitlyn, you’ve done an excellent job describing that, even though you say it’s difficult. You described the process of coming to terms with, “What’s best for my child?” And, “What’s best for my child may not feel like what’s best for me personally.” Those are complicated emotions that you just described.

So for those people that are listening, I do hope that we’re depicting this in a way that is clear that this was not an easy decision. This isn’t a decision that you ever planned to make or circumstances that you ever intended to be in. But I recognize, Kaitlyn, that you put a lot of time and consideration into your decision.

When we were talking before the podcast today, you mentioned something. I want to get it right. You called it the, “After-effects of adoption.” What does that mean for you? Help us understand what you’re talking about with that.

Kaitlyn:  The aftereffects of adoption. I basically had this box. And in this box were all the emotions I experienced throughout the process. And all the emotions that I continued to experience after placing my daughter for adoption. It’s an ever-changing box. It doesn’t look the same from day to day. It doesn’t look the same from month to month. And it’s the effect of having to be so strong and yet be vulnerable at the same time.

Like in order to do this, you have to have strength in your vulnerability. And unfortunately, vulnerability also is kind of tied into fear. And sometimes on some days that fear speaks louder than the strength of your vulnerability. And you kind of have to process that fear in the same way that you process that vulnerability.

You have to be realistic about your decision and the decision that you made. Like I said, there’s a lot of feelings of, “I’m not enough.” There’s shame tied into it. And you have to process it and pick out each of those emotions and look at them from different perspectives. You have to understand that it’s not that you weren’t enough, rather, it’s that you were strong enough to make the best possible decision for your child.

Jennifer:  Absolutely.

Kaitlyn: To decide that the best possible decision was placing your child with a couple who was ready. And that they had planned for years and were so eager to have a child. At the same time you’re sacrificing for your child, and also giving them the best possible life. Processing those emotions is an incredibly long and difficult process. The place I’m in today in regards to my decision is definitely not the same place I was in even just a couple months or six months after the decision I made. So it’s kind of an evolving process.

Jennifer:  And when you talk about picking it apart and processing that, first of all, kudos to you for facing that and doing that. It’s not an easy task, and that’s something that women have to find a way to do, but what did that look like for you? Is this something that you did independent of anyone else? Is this something that you did with the assistance of a counselor or a friend or a parent? What did it look like for you, this process?

Kaitlyn: So, one of the things that really helped with me is Nancy had the great idea to get a birth mother support group together. We all met every so often and sat down and kind of just spewed our emotions, so to speak.

We shared some pizza. We shared some crackers, and we kind of talked about everything. We talked about the emotions that we were experiencing, about our thoughts, about the way that we were processing things. And that was so important for me to realize that I am not the only one in this situation that feels this emotion or feels this way, or has this particular thought.

It was very important for me to understand that the emotions that I was going through are okay. You know, it’s okay to feel shame. It’s okay to be grieving. As long as we can process it and understand it and kind of manage it and kind of tuck it back.

Initially when you’re going through this process, you kind of have your emotions and what you’re feeling and the grief that you feel out on your sleeve. You’re very, very vulnerable. As time goes by and you’re using the support group with fellow birth mothers and you’re processing your emotions, it slowly kind of moves back to where it belongs. It’s kind of tucked back into your heart and your soul and you’re able to re-examine it and process it from a place of privacy. A place that doesn’t feel quite as vulnerable and allows you to have a better perspective on everything that happened.

And like I said, the birth mother group was so important for that. I am still really good friends with all the birth mothers. We don’t meet as often anymore, but I still maintain very strong friendships with all of them. And I know that years from now, decades from now, if we meet again, if we haven’t met for a long time, that it will just click again, and it will be like the time hasn’t passed.

Jennifer:  So we’re five years later now. What is your vantage point at this time? How do you see your adoption plan and adoption in general?

Kaitlyn:   I view it as one of, if not the most, positive things and most heart wrenching things to ever happen in my life. I feel like this was the stepping stone to make me who I am today. Now I have a strength and a conviction in my decisions that I never had before I had to make that decision. And I feel like I am a lot more empathetic to other people.

It’s made me understand that we really don’t know what other people are going through in their daily lives. If you walked by me on the street, you’d have no idea. And it’s just overall made me a kinder person. I am more caring about the relationships that I make.

I have a great relationship with the adoptive couple. And, I have a great relationship with my daughter. It kind of strengthened all of the relationships in my life. I think it’s the most important thing that happened and it’s the basic foundation of who I am today.

Jennifer:  Wow. That’s a really, really incredible. Thank you so much for sharing that. I’m very touched by your words and your openness today.

We are approaching the end of the podcast, but we’ve still got some time. Kaitlyn, I want to give you a minute to offer any other thoughts or maybe discuss something that I overlooked in our conversation today. We touched on a lot of very personal and important topics. I want to make sure that we’re getting everything here that you feel is important to be said.

Kaitlyn:  I see adoptive couples that are out there. I want to give them hope. This is such an amazing experience and one day their day will come too and they’ll get to experience the joy of parenthood. And I just want to make sure that they understand that from the birth mother’s side, we appreciate what they do so much. That they would be willing to love and provide for a child that is not biologically theirs. I could not have made the decision that I made from a place of love and vulnerability if it wasn’t for the love and vulnerability of the adoptive couple. I treasure the adoptive couples that are out there and just patiently waiting for their opportunity to love a child that’s not theirs.

Jennifer:  That’s incredibly kind of you to bring up the adoptive family perspective in our podcast today too. That’s fantastic.

I did want to ask you, today our topic was why, “Giving up a baby for adoption is not really giving up a baby.” I think that in your words today you have demonstrated to us the time and attention and the self-education you put into the process. Placing your child for adoption was a very well thought plan for you. Clearly, this wasn’t an easy decision or one that you ever planned to make.

Kaitlyn:  One of the things that you come to realize is that motherhood is not necessarily about actively mothering your child. Even though I am the only one that will look at my daughter as being my daughter, she will grow up and consider her adoptive mother as her mother. So even though I’m really the only one that will consider myself her mother, the sacrifice and the thought and the planning that went into this adoption plan is just as much mothering as actively mothering her would have been.

Jennifer:  Yeah. Absolutely. It was a parenting decision. It was your first parenting decision to choose her parents and to choose the kind of life that you wanted for her, Kaitlyn.

From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story today. I’m sending hugs through these podcast wires for you for today. Just a fantastic amount of information that you’ve given. So Kaitlyn, once again, really appreciate you today.

Kaitlyn: Thank you so much.

Jennifer: For those of you looking to connect with Adoption Associates about choosing adoption for your baby, please call us any time at 800-677-2367.  Or, you can text us at 248-919-8094. We also have very helpful information on our website

For now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. Have a great day, everyone. Bye. Bye.