Blog talk Radio Transcript: Madison’s Adoption Story – Air Date: 2/7/2017: A Birth Mother’s Concept of ‘The Most’ in Adoption. (You may listen to the podcast by clicking on the audio link, or read the transcript of the podcast below.)
The word ‘adoption’ stirs up a variety of sentiments, both positive and negative. Madison, a birth mother, shares the roller coaster ride of emotions she experienced when she first contemplated adoption. She learned through her caseworker that she was able to choose the family, and meet them if she wanted to. Madison was also able to decide on the degree of openness, or contact with her child, that she was comfortable with. With the help of her caseworker, Madison made an adoption plan. The adoptive family shares pictures and letters with her regularly, and Madison gets to visit the daughter she placed. Madison shares that she really feels a connection to the adoptive family, and that has helped her heal.
Jennifer: Hi, and welcome to adoption focus. My name 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 have placed well over 5,000 children into loving homes. Since 1990 we have advocated, supported, and nurtured both birth families, and adoptive families. Helping families, and birth parents grow through the adoption process is very important to us. Our offices are located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, and Saginaw. Our pregnancy and adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan.
Thank you very much for listening in today. We hope that you find this forum to be inspirational, educational, and thought provoking. I am honored today to welcome to Adoption Focus, Madison. Madison are you with us?
Madison: Yes I am, hi.
Jennifer: Hi, good morning. Thank you for coming on.
Madison: Thanks for having me!
Jennifer: I’m so excited. I know you’re a little bit nervous. So, we’ll just go ahead and put that out there, and get that out of the way. You’re sharing a little bit about your story. I recognize that that’s not always an easy thing to do. So, I am just tickled that you have taken this on. Even though you’re nervous. You are a former, and current client of Adoption Associates as a birth parent. I’d like to see if you could start us off by sharing a little bit about yourself and your connection to adoption.
Madison: It’s been a year now since I found out I was pregnant. It was quite a shock. Very unexpected. I had gone through all these different scenarios in my head. I knew that adoption would be the best for my child. Coming to Adoption Associates was the best decision I could have made. It was scary, and I was nervous. I didn’t really know what to do. The adoption process, and open adoption has been the best decision for me. I love it that I know what’s going on in my daughter’s life. Her accomplishments, and milestones, and things like that.
Jennifer: You said that you were very nervous, and you didn’t know much about adoption at the time. So, you delivered a few months after connecting with the agency. Is that right?
Madison: Yes. I found out when I was about six and a half months pregnant. I didn’t choose the adoptive family until just a couple weeks before she was born. So, I only had a short amount of time to really bond with the adoptive parents. But everything has worked out. The agency has been nothing but supportive. And very helpful, and caring.
Jennifer: Oh, that’s nice to hear. That is something that is really important to us. Because women like you, learning of a pregnancy that was unplanned, is a scary time. Undertaking an adoption for the first time without knowing much about it can be very overwhelming. So, I’m glad to hear that you had a good experience.
It sounds like you learned a lot along the way. So, today we’re focusing on the concept of ‘the most’. What you found the most challenging, and the most helpful, and the most surprising, and more. So, let’s just dive into that Madison. Could you tell us what you found to be the most misunderstood element of making an adoption plan?
Madison: I think the most challenging element is that people don’t really know much about adoption. That’s how I felt coming into it. I didn’t know that there’s all these different opportunities to have an open adoption, a semi-open adoption, or fully closed adoption. When placing your child up for adoption, you don’t know what the outcome will be. But, I was thankful to learn about open adoption. Which has been, I think, a true blessing that my adoption is super open. And the adoption went smoothly. The adoptive parents are beyond perfect. Everything that I would hope for my child.
There’s always that, “Oh, you’re placing your child up for adoption. Why?” “Why would you do that?” It’s not because there’s no love for my child. There’s a ton of love. She’s loved by so many, and she doesn’t even know it yet.
I thought, okay am I going to be judged? Obviously people have their different mindsets on different things. But, I feel like if you have the support, and you know that this is the best for your child, that’s a gift for your child. Because then your child will grow up to say, “Look at me. I’m doing great.”
It’s not that I’ve never not cared, or loved her. I think about her every day.
Jennifer: Of course you do. And now you have the experience of this adoption behind you, and you can look back on it. I hear that it’s still emotional for you, Madison, and that’s perfectly okay. You can remember what it was like during the pregnancy, and being nervous about the adoption planning, and the delivery. And now you have the benefit of coming through on the other side.
You being on today’s show is potentially benefiting others with your story. Let’s talk about what was the most challenging part, for you, of making the adoption plan.
Madison: I think the most challenging part of it was that I was scared. But, I was sure it was the right decision, which is awesome. You get to plan everything out, and do what is best for you and your child. The hard part was wondering if I was going to be able to see her. Am I going to see pictures? The hardest part is, obviously, placing your child up for adoption. Having your good, and bad days in that. I really feel like you have to be strong to continue to be able to see her. To keep yourself emotionally healthy, and continue to move forward.
I don’t feel scared anymore because I’m still continuing to see her. And I’m still getting pictures and letters from her parents. What I had wanted, and what I had wished for her is on track.
Jennifer: So, when you’re talking about the things that were written on paper, and the concerns that you had that all this looks really good on paper, but what will come of it. Are you referencing the plan for openness, and the continued contact with the adoptive parents, and your child?
Madison: Yeah, that was my biggest fear – the most challenging thing. Everything looked good, like you said, on paper. We’ll visit her once a month. We’ll receive pictures, and texts, and all that. I didn’t know if that was going to stay a thing, and happen. And it has happened. Every time it just feels like I get closer, and more connected with the adoptive family, which I adore. So, that’s what really makes everything so much better.
Jennifer: Those relationships are built upon trust. And they continue to build and grow over time. Even though it’s not been quite a year, and you know them better now than you did a year ago. That is a relationship that is continuing to grow. And that’s what we want to see.
You mentioned to me, off air, which I think is wonderful so I want to bring it up here. Even though the emotional aspect of making this adoption plan was tough for you, you continued to remind yourself of the importance of self-care. How to help yourself during those difficult times. Can you maybe just talk about that for a second?
Madison: Yeah. After everything, it seemed like everything was on track, going good. As the time passed, I got more upset and depressed. I noticed that I was holding myself back, and almost isolating myself. So, I had to reached out to the agency and said it’s time to see a counselor. I need someone to talk to other than my parents. Someone that I could really just share my thoughts with.
So, I started seeing a counselor. And that was beyond helpful. We bonded, and I was able to talk to her, and get advice, and reach some of my goals. I started doing yoga, to help keep the anxiety down. I recently started getting massages, which have been super relaxing, and helpful. It helps keeps me at peace, and occupied to the point where I’m relaxed. I’m able to keep my thoughts positive, and stay focused.
Jennifer: That’s so nice to hear. I think that’s something that we don’t really talk about enough – taking care of yourself after a difficult time. I love the fact that you’re doing counseling, yoga, and massage, and that it’s helping you. Hopefully, someone else will hear that this is working for you, and maybe give it a try themselves.
I know that there were some things about making an adoption plan that surprised you as well. So, what was the most surprising part for you?
Madison: The surprising part was definitely the openness. I didn’t really expect how open you can actually make an adoption plan. I had chosen to have an open adoption so I could still see McKenzie, and hopefully continue to be a part of her life. To actually be able to see her is an amazing feeling. Being able hold her is what actually keeps me going. She smiles, she never cries, she’s the happiest baby ever.
I think that if I didn’t have this open adoption, and if I chose a closed adoption, that ‘not knowing’ feeling would have really eaten me alive. That is the thing that really surprised me. To still a part of her life. And hopefully, I will always have this awesome bond with the adoptive family.
So, to have an open adoption is not only good for me, but good for my family as well. They get to see pictures, and see how much she’s growing and how well she’s doing. The little things are what’s keeping me going. Getting me up every day. I take a look at her picture. I think that is beyond amazing.
Jennifer: Does having the contact with the family, and with your daughter reinforce for you that this was the right choice? That you did the right thing?
Madison: Yeah, definitely. It’s awesome to see how much she’s loved by them, and by her brothers. That is what really makes me super happy. It just melts my heart to see how much she’s loved. And that’s exactly what I want for her. Not saying that she wouldn’t be loved by me, because she is. But she’s got extra love, and that really makes me happy.
Jennifer: That’s nice to hear. What about the most helpful factor? When you were putting your adoption plan together, what did you find to be the most helpful thing to you?
Madison: The helpful part was being able to actually choose the family. I had seen profiles of different ones that might be a good match for me. As soon as I saw this adoptive family, I just had that gut feeling. I just knew they were the ones. It was just that vibe. Being able to meet them before having McKenzie was super awesome. Meeting them was so natural. I just knew. Being able to meet the adoptive family was the biggest thing that helped me continue the adoption plan.
Jennifer: So, I have one more most question. This one really is for those people that may be listening right now – those who might be considering adoption just as you were last year. What would be something that you would most recommend to them?
Madison: I would say don’t go through this alone. Get your parents support, a friend’s support, or someone that you trust. I think that is the number one thing that you would need. For example, my parents are my biggest supporters. They have never let me down. They’ve been there through everything.
Jennifer: You’ve talked with me about the support that you’ve received from your parents, and putting that into words is tough to do. But they were your rock that helped you through, not only learning of the pregnancy, but in making the adoption plan too. What else did you want to say about those relationships?
Madison: With my parents, I feel like I let them down. But in the end, you can’t let someone down when you’re having a baby. Because it’s a life. It’s a miracle. You’re proud. I think my bond with my parents has grown a huge amount. And my brother. I think to have a support like that is what really is helping me. It’s so important to have someone there to support you, and stand by your side. I think, that’s what I would really recommend if you’re going through this.
Jennifer: I couldn’t have said it any better than you did. Unfortunately, not everyone has a lot of support. Or those people that can do that for them. We can help identify who that could be. Sometimes, it is the birth mother’s parents. Sometimes it is her friends. Maybe her co-workers. Maybe, then other times the agency, and the caseworker, and the staff that are here. We do genuinely care about the well-being, and the emotional health of each and every one of our birth mom’s.
So, hopefully there’s a sense there for you as well that we care about you, Madison. And we care about how you’re doing, and we’re here for you as well, moving forward.
As we’re approaching the end of the show I did want to shift the focus back, a little bit, on to you, and have you tell us what lies ahead for you. What you’re looking forward to in the future.
Madison: I hope to continue growing a bond and a relationship with the adoptive parents. To continue visits. When McKenzie is old enough to understand the situation, I hope to be able to have a relationship with her. I really feel that her parents are amazing. So, I feel like my future with them, and McKenzie, and everything is going to be perfect.
I feel beyond blessed, and lucky. This situation with them is very unique. McKenzie is going to have the love that she needs. She’s going to be loved from my family, her family, and it’s just going to be really good. So, I’m looking at the future with all positives. I feel like we’re all going to grow together, and keep building this relationship, and it will get stronger.
Jennifer: That’s such a loving story. And such a wonderful way to put it. You’re right, she’s one lucky little girl. She’s got two sets of families that love her unconditionally. I know that you’ve grown, personally, through this experience. I am very grateful that you agreed to come and talk about your experiences with us today. So, thank you Madison, very, very, much.
Madison: No, thank you for letting me talk to you. I hope that this helps others, and that others can see that there is good in all this. It’s not just sadness. There are positive, and good things in an adoption plan.
Jennifer: Absolutely, there certainly is. Many, many, many stories like this. We hope to be able to bring those stories through Adoption Focus podcast to our listeners.
So, we are now at the end of the show. For those that are listening if you would like to connect with Adoption Associates you can do so by calling us at 800-677-2367 or visit our website at www.AdoptionAssociates.net. We’re on Facebook as well.
Thanks again, Madison!
Madison: Oh, thank you so much.
Jennifer: For now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus, I hope everyone has a great day. Bye bye.