Blogtalk Radio Transcript: “I Chose Adoption”  (You may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below.)

An unexpected pregnancy at a young age can be a real shock – especially when you find out you’re carrying twins. Stephanie wanted the very best for her twin girls, so she chose adoption.  She chose to give them a mother and a father and a loving, stable home. Stephanie wanted them to have everything they needed to survive and thrive and be happy. Join us as she shares her journey.

Adoption RadioJennifer J.: Hi, and welcome to Adoption Focus. This is Jennifer Jaworski and I’m a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associates’ premier talk radio blog show. Adoption Associates and its staff are trusted leaders in adoption and we’ve placed over 5,500 children into loving homes.

Since 1990, we have advocated, supported, and nurtured both birth families and adoptive families. Helping families and birth moms grow through the adoption process is important to us. Our offices are located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, Freeland and the Upper Peninsula. Our pregnancy and private adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan.

We’re really glad that you’re listening in and we do hope that you find this forum to be inspirational, educational, and thought-provoking. Today on Adoption Focus podcast to pay tribute to the brave, selfless, loving women birth mothers who make such a life-giving and life-altering decision as to place their children for adoption. We are talking about adoption issues that are important to birth mothers. Today, I’m pleased to welcome to our show Stephanie. And Stephanie, you are on the line?

Stephanie: I am.

Jennifer J.: Good morning.

Stephanie: Good morning.

Jennifer J.: Thank you very much for being with us today. We’re going to talk about choosing adoption and making a plan and what that experience was like for you and kind of where you’re at now and how you’ve processed through that period of time. Stephanie, I know that it was 13 years ago that you were faced with an unplanned pregnancy and you were shocked and scared. And when someone brought up adoption, you weren’t too sure about it. Is that right?

Stephanie: That’s correct.

Jennifer J.:  In time, your thoughts began to change about that. Can you tell us about that a little bit?

Stephanie: Well, my parents had brought up the adoption thing. They actually called Adoption Associates and Paula came out and talked to me. And I started warming up to the idea a little bit. After that meeting I found out that I was carrying twins.

Jennifer J.: Twins, wow.

Stephanie:  I actually argued with the ultrasound tech and kept telling her no. That there weren’t two.

Jennifer J.: And that didn’t change the fact that there were two, right?

Stephanie: No, it did not.

Jennifer J.: Could you talk about the emotional part of it. Please share with our listeners about choosing adoption and what your thought process was like. How were you feeling emotionally?

Stephanie: Scared, especially once I found out that I was going to have two. Just the thought of raising one by myself was daunting. And then to be faced with two of them, it just kind of came slowly. Like, “I’m not going to be able to give them everything that I want to give them. I’m not going to be able to give them a mother and a father and a loving, stable home and everything they need to survive and thrive and be happy.”

Jennifer J.: And those were things that were important to you, it sounds like.

Stephanie: Yes.

Jennifer J.:  It sounds like it was a gradual process of you making the decision that adoption was in the best interest of your children. How did you come to that decision, and was there anything or was it just education in general?

Stephanie: I wanted them to have everything that they needed. They deserved the best life. Choosing adoption was the best decision I could have made.

Jennifer J.: So once you made the decision to make an adoption plan, what happened next?

Stephanie: I started going through profiles of families who were waiting to adopt a child.

Jennifer J.: Paula, your caseworker with Adoption Associates, helped you with that process, right?

Stephanie: Correct.

Jennifer J.: So you were ready to move forward and your next step was picking a family. Let’s talk about that. How was that process for you?

Stephanie: Very daunting. I just remember thinking how am I supposed to know who to choose, just looking at pictures and some words on a piece of paper. But surprisingly, as I was going through profiles, one just kind of popped out at me and I kept going back to it. Finally, I decided that I wanted to meet these people.

Jennifer J.: A lot of women feel that it will be difficult to choose a family from profiles. But Stephie, you did just that and you didn’t feel like you were settling in your decision. What information do you feel enabled you to choose the particular family that you did?

Stephanie: I don’t know if there were really specific things. But, some of the things they had put in there about raising a child gave me such a secure feeling. And just knowing that they had been in a loving relationship for so many years was important to me because I wanted stability for my babies. They were happy and stable, and they couldn’t wait to bring a little baby home.

Jennifer J.: Were there things you worried about as you began putting your adoption plan together with your caseworker?

Stephanie: Probably the biggest worry was if they were going to follow through on their end with continued contact. If I was really going to get the pictures and letters from them as the twins grew. But they were happy to follow through with my request and sent pictures and information to me regularly, just as they had promised. I think when a birth mom chooses adoption, she needs reassurance that the adoptive parents will honor her request.

Jennifer J.: At what point did you say, “Hey, I don’t think I need to be worried about this anymore”?

Stephanie: Probably after the first few set of pictures and letters came in. I mean, she’s still very thorough. I knew when they ate their first cereal, and how much they weigh at every doctor’s appointment.

Jennifer J.: What did mean to you to actually get to see those details of the girls’ lives?

Stephanie: It meant everything, just to know that they’re happy and healthy and I can see how spoiled they are and they don’t want for anything.

Jennifer J.: Are there one or two things that you wished you would have known 13 years ago? It’s been some time now, but thinking back to when you were pregnant and you were scared and you were still trying to decide. What do you wish you would have known at that time that you now know?

Stephanie: That there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and there is hope. That I wasn’t going to be in that dark place forever. Choosing adoption gave my girls the life that I had hoped for them.

Jennifer J.: So the pictures and letters helped you with your worries. What other things would you say were helpful to you when you were having tough days or tough times?

Stephanie: My family. That was a big one.  I was living with my parents at the time and my mom decided that it was time to get a new dog. That actually was a very big help because I was home with her all the time and she was my baby. My mom likes to think that she was hers but she was really mine. That was really one of the biggest helps was having the focus on her and it took my mind off of other things for a while.

Jennifer J.: You had a little companion for a while.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Jennifer J.:  What about worries or fears that your daughters wouldn’t know about you, or what they would know about you?

Stephanie: Well, the adoptive parents were very open, saying that they were going to raise them knowing they were adopted. I sent letters to both girls. And at the release hearing, I brought two little miniature Care Bears. One for each of them. They were actually the ones that me and my sister had when we were growing up.

Jennifer J.: So what about the concept of choosing adoptive parents? When you first began contemplating the idea of adoption, was that something that was in your mind? Were you aware that this was an option, to pick the adoptive parents and to meet them and get to know them?

Stephanie: It wasn’t until I talked to Paula that I learned that. She explained the different levels of the openness and what they involve.

Jennifer J.: A lot of women who choose adoption are really intimidated when it comes to meeting the family and some of them are just in fear of being judged because of their circumstances. How would you respond to someone who would say that to you? Someone who is interested in making an adoption plan, but is just unsure about picking a family. And unsure about meeting them and being a little bit vulnerable. What would you say?

Stephanie: To not worry so much. I know it’s hard and I was nervous meeting them, but the moment that I walked into the room and laid eyes on them, I just felt comfortable.

Jennifer J.: Did you?

Stephanie: Yeah.

Jennifer J.: What was the meeting like? What do you recall when you left from that meeting? Like how you felt?

Stephanie: Well, I walked out of there just knowing that these were going to be my girls’ parents. I don’t think it was any one thing in particular that they said or did. It was just something that I felt.

Jennifer J.: It felt right to you at that point.

Stephanie: Yes.

Jennifer J.: So time has passed. Can you share the insights that you’ve gained about adoption and the decision to choose adoption? Let’s talk about that a little bit.

Stephanie: Yeah. That it’s not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed. At least I feel that way. I don’t hide the fact that I placed my girls. If somebody asks me about it, I’ll tell them the whole story. I’ll sit here for an hour and tell you everything that happened.

Jennifer J.: But there was a period of time, Stephanie, that you were not as open because you felt judgment. Is that true?

Stephanie: Yes. I didn’t really have anybody who was close to me that was judging me. Just things that you hear on the news or on social media. Things that people say like, “Well, you had the baby. You need to raise it and how dare you give your child up and you’re just abandoning them.”  That’s not it at all. I’m giving them a better life. I’m giving them everything that they deserve that I couldn’t give them.

Jennifer J.: Right. You and I had a nice conversation about that off the air – people talking about it being the easy way out. How would you respond to that? I know a lot of birth moms who might be feeling a little angered about that type of comment.

Stephanie: Yeah, that is the farthest from the truth. It is the hardest decision that a woman will ever have to make.

Jennifer J.: Right, it’s certainly not easy. And the concept of being responsible, you know? Having an unplanned pregnancy and now having to deal with that pregnancy. I like what you said to me Stephanie, and maybe you don’t even recall it. Do you remember when we talked about this idea of people saying you need to be responsible?

Stephanie: Yes. I am responsible and chose adoption because it was best for them.

Jennifer J.: Absolutely! This adoption was a responsible option to your unplanned pregnancy, and it was certainly not easy. But now you’ve come through that initial period of grief. It’s 13 years later, and you have a clear perspective. And I know that you wear your adoption plan as a badge of honor, as you should. I’m glad that you do, Stephanie. So let’s see what else is going on with you. Tell us how things are for you these days and what’s happening in your life.

Stephanie: Well, I got married about four years ago.

Jennifer J.: Congrats.

Stephanie: I have a beautiful son that I’m raising. He just turned six.

Jennifer J.: Fantastic.

Stephanie: And I’ve been lucky enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. I actually just yesterday returned to work after almost seven years. So it’s an adjustment but I’m happy.

Jennifer J.: So 13 years ago you made a plan for adoption for your twin girls. You were eventually able to move forward with your goals.

Stephanie: Correct.

Jennifer J.: You did the things that you wanted to for your life. I think this is something important that I want to acknowledge. I know that for women who are in the very difficult time of making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, the grief associated with this seems so big. It sometimes seems insurmountable, especially if we’re going to include some of the stereotypes or lack of support from others.

Having you here today and hearing that your life goals continued on, and that you did have a period of time of grieving but that you’re doing well, is awesome.

Stephanie: Yeah. I’m in a very good place.

Jennifer J.: And you still have contact through pictures and letters with the adoptive parents and your daughters that you placed for adoption, is that right?

Stephanie: Yeah. I just got another set of pictures and a letter last month.

Jennifer J.: And it means as much to you today as it did 13 years ago, right?

Stephanie: It does, yeah. Although now the tears that I cry are more. I’m not sobbing over the pictures – they’re tears of joy. I guess because it’s seeing how big they are and how they’re becoming young ladies, and I can see myself in both of them.

Jennifer J.: Wow. Happy tears are good tears. Thank you, Stephanie, for today. This is such a personal conversation that we’re having and I know that sometimes that’s not easy. Choosing adoption, and making a plan for your children is something that you’ve shared with us today and hopefully will touch our listeners.

We would love to hear from you if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re interested in receiving information from Adoption Associates. Or if you would like to connect with women that have walked the same path as Stephanie and chose adoption.

Stephanie, thank you very much for talking with us today.

Stephanie: You’re welcome. I’m happy to share my story.

Jennifer J.: For those of you looking to connect with Adoption Associates about choosing adoption for your baby, please can 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 www.AdoptionAssociates.net.

For now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. I hope you all have a great day!