1. How do you define the moment when you first became a mother?
Many moments stand out for me when I think about our adoption journeys. First, making the decision to choose adoption and sharing the plan with our family and friends. Secondly, starting the ‘work’: meeting with our social worker, reading the literature, and connecting with other adoptive parents and birthmoms. Third, there’s the waiting. That was the tough part for us.
Then there’s the call – for Brechin (5) it was Thanksgiving weekend. We were walking with friends on the beach by our family cabin. That is a moment that is seared in my memory. I remember the feeling so well, the smell of the ocean and the many many happy tears. For Lex (2), we were at home. More time had gone by waiting and we were getting less patient. I was working away thinking about how I could redo our portfolio and wondering if there was something we should have said differently. And then the call that changes everything. This time the baby was due in just 7 weeks.
Next, meeting the birthmom for the first time. For me, these were the single most nerve racking moments in my life. With Jasmine (Brechin’s birthmom) we flew an hour to have lunch with her and her mom. And with Kristin, we facetimed with her and Lauren, her social worker. Both meetings were emotional and stressful, but both times I left knowing it was a wonderful match.
The next moment is the moment I became a mom and then a mom again. For Brechin, it was a call while I was coaching a volleyball game saying “get on a plane tonight”! We were there by midnight and she came into this world at 3:10am with some complications at first, and then we were home two days later completely changed people. Once again, Lex made us wait. A rushed trip to South Carolina thinking he was coming, followed by 4 weeks of waiting for him, and then two weeks with him waiting to come home.
2. What would you like to say to your child/children’s birth mother(s) in celebration of Mother’s Day or Birthmother’s Day?
Finding words that carry enough weight seems impossible. How do you thank the women that have blessed you with motherhood? It is never lost on me that my family exists because two extremely strong and selfless women made excruciatingly difficult decisions. Because of these brave women, I have two healthy and amazing children who will know their stories and know their birthmothers.
3. What advice to you have for those who are hopeful mothers-to-be through adoption as they are in this time of wait?
Live your life while you wait. It will happen, you won’t know when, don’t sit idle. Get out there and live your life, travel (when it’s allowed again), see people, and share your story. It will happen and when it does, the stressful times and the tough feelings will melt away.
4. Are there any special traditions you celebrate with your family in honor of Mother’s Day?
We celebrate this day with our children. We make contact with their birthmoms. We go through their birth story books and talk about how they came to be our kids.
We often hear the comments that we are so nice to keep the openness with our children’s birthmoms. For us, the idea of more people loving your children is amazing. We believe it is important for our children to know their stories and have access to the people that helped us become the family we are. We didn’t know how it would go or how it would feel, but we couldn’t be happier with our story and all of the family we have gained by having open adoptions.
Thank you, Kristen (and Jasmine and Kristin) for sharing this story and the beautiful relationships you all work so hard to maintain for Brechin and Lex.
For more information on how to begin an adoption, click here.