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Beautiful Birth Mom’s

So Chopper is a new mom via adoption and she’s gotten her first taste of one of the reasons why I opted to make my blog private.

Amongst the supportive comments and emails I received after Ava’s birth, I also managed to secure myself a little stalker. Somebody who persisted in commenting on my blog and sending me emails, making pretty much the same statement:

“Stop pretending to care about the BM.  If you cared, you would have helped her keep the child”.

I can’t help thinking this could even be the same person, given the comment is the same. The only difference is that the psycho who made those comments on my blog and emailed to me insisted on calling a BM a Bowel Movement.

Most people don’t really know or understand what is invovled in an adoption, there are some people who are clearly completley ignorant.

But for those of you who are interested, I thought I’d give you a little bit of back ground into how our adoption worked. Our adoption is a pretty standard adoption, the bulk of adoptions going through private social workers will run pretty much the same way.

The most important thing to note is that NOBODY takes the baby away from the birth mom and the SW’s ensure, through various means that the BM never feels that her baby was taken from her.

Firstly, the birth mom’s go through extensive counseling by the SW’s. Obviously, some BM’s only decide as they’re giving birth that they want to give their baby up, in those cases, the SW’s have to make a quick decision, but still do at least a one day, intensive counseling session with her before even notifying adoptive parents that they’ve been selected.

In our case, our BM only found out at 7 months that she was pregnant. She does not have regular periods and from my experience with IF, it definitely sounds to me like she potentially could have PCO.  She thought she had a hernia, in her defense, the day before we gave birth, her tummy was still so small she could have past for 5 months pregnant. When she discovered that she was pregnant and 7 months along, she knew straight away that she wanted to give her baby up, for many reasons, reason’s only Ava needs to know. She immediately contacted our SW. From that day, for two solid months, my SW met with her EVERY SINGLE week to council her. Ever week, for a day, they would spend the day together, discussing all her options. Wilna even goes so far as to get the BM’s to write a list of what they’d need for the baby and then she takes them “shopping” to price everything, so if there reasons are financial, they can be absolutely certain.

Any good SW will tell you that while she has the best interests of the BM’s and AP’s at heart, ultimately, her first and no. 1 priority is ALWAYS to the unborn baby and what is in their best interests. So our BM was councellied weekly for two months, only after that did our SW show her the profiles. They will not introduce the BM’s to any of the profiles until they are 100% certain that that is what the BM wants to do. Our BM was shown all the profiles and just never really felt connected to anyone, it was then that our SW called us, 2 days after our meeting with her, to tell us that from the second she met us she had this feeling we were a match for this BM and we should do our profile as they were having a counseling day with her that Saturday and wanted to introduce her to us.  Apparently, the way the story goes, the second our BM viewed our front page, she told our SW that this was it. She looked at the photo on the cover of our profile and immediately knew we were the couple.

But STILL our SW did not inform us, even though she knew we were frantically waiting to hear, she would not put us in the line of fire till she was 100% convinced. It took another two weeks and another 2 counseling sessions for us to get the call to say we’d been selected and to come to Cape Town immediately and meet our BM. I think that is why the large majority of adoptions seem to happen so quickly, because the AP’s are not notified until the very last minute. Because there is so much going on for months before the time that no one ever gets to see.

Once the baby is born, there is a lot of symbolic things that happen in an attempt for the BM to NEVER feel that her baby was taken away. For eg. we were told that the baby’s are usually not allowed to leave the hospital until after the BM leaves. This is to ensure that she does not feel like her baby was taken away from her. In our case, we left the hospital together. BUT…. our BM was asked to hold Ava, she was given some time to hold her and cuddle her and then she was asked:

“…. are you sure this is what you want to do?”

“Yes”

“…. are you sure you are comfortable with Walter and Sharon leaving with Ava?”

“Yes”

“Ok, then pass Ava to Sharon”

All of this done so that on a subconscious level she does not feel her baby was taken from her but rather that she gave the baby. Remember, BM’s do not have babies taken from them, they give them up.

When we went to court to sign the papers, two days later, we met at a private location afterward so that our BM could have a chance to say goodbye. The same ritual was done again, again to ensure that she didn’t feel her baby was being taken from her.

We had tea at the SW’s flat, she held Ava the entire time, her Mom and Dad took lots of photo’s of her holding Ava, of us all together, such beautiful photo’s. She was allowed to undress Ava, change her nappy and drink in the scent and the look of every tiny detail of Ava. After an hour the SW started asking her again:

“…. are you sure you want to do this?”

“…. are you comfortable letting Walter and Sharon take Ava?”

“…. are you comfortable you’ve made the right decision?”

And then she was requested to pass Ava to me and we left. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, walking out that flat, carrying her baby, she cried, silent, giant crocodile tears, that made her lips tremble and her shoulders shake, but she stood stoic in her decision, she hugged me to her, pulled away, put her hand to my cheek and nodded and then I turned and walked out carrying her baby.

I guess the point of this very long winded posting is that I wish more people could no that adoption, this type of adoption, obviously there are different types of adoption, abandoned baby adoptions and fostering with the intent to adopt would be a very different process, but this type of private adoption is a labour of love. There is nothing violent about it, nobody snatches the baby from the BM’s, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes which culminates in a beautiful and magical experience.

My BM assured me that while it was painful for her to give Ava up, she had a tremendous amount of peace about the choice she’d made, she could rest easy and not live a life of turmoil wondering what she’d one, she would not be haunted by the choice. She believed Ava is where she’s meant to be.

I say it over and over again, there is a magic in adoption, there is something so selfless and so beautiful in it that there could not possibly be a truer expression of love.

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39 Comments

  • Reply lisab809

    Thank you for sharing this. It really is insightful to hear what is involved in an adoption process. I cried huge crocodile tears whilst reading this, for both you and the BM. To have to give your baby up to ensure she has a good life is truly an act of selflessness. The emotions for all involved must have been so bitter sweet. You and the BM are both wonderful people and Ava is truly blessed to have been part of both your lives.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:49 am
  • Reply natasjap

    I shouldn’t read your blog at work, I will be constantly crying. I could almost “see” everything happening by the way you describe it, and having a baby myself, I can never, ever image what that mother must have felt like…
    What a great gift to receive. This was just meant to be, as she chose your profile at once.
    Thank you for sharing, I have always wondered how it works, and what exactly happens. Give that baby-girl an extra hug and kiss tonight!

    July 23, 2010 at 9:50 am
  • Reply hcouperus

    WOW, thank you so much in sharing and explaining your/BM and Ava’s journey, words can’t really describe the selfless act of the BM, can it?

    July 23, 2010 at 10:25 am
  • Reply merphin

    Thank you for sharing Sharon! I am sure the process is very similar here in NZ and while I didn’t know how it worked, I for one was under no assumption that babies where “taken” away from mothers. What a special gift to be chosen by Ava’s Tummy Mummy!!

    July 23, 2010 at 10:30 am
  • Reply skrambled

    Lovely post Shaz. I have actually been quite surprised at how people have reacted to the news of our decision. I never expected people to know so little about this and to make so many silly comments. I also expected them to share my excitement, but they don’t. Or at least not to the extent that I expected. I guess its a new journey with new frustrations.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Nisey

    What an amazing post. a birth mom that makes that kind of decision must feel so much love for their child to be able to make such a huge decision. she truly has the best interests of her child to heart.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:53 am
  • Reply lea2109

    Sharon, I have tears in my eyes. I must say I never knew that this is how it is done. I somehow always thought that the BM gives birth and the baby is whisked away before she saw it. What a beautiful beautiful post!

    July 23, 2010 at 11:06 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Lea, that’s how it used to be done up until the late 80’s. BM’s were treated as nothing. They were not allowed to see or hold their babies and in some cases the process was so barbaric their faces were covered with a towel while they gave birth. I was horrified when our SW told us of this! She was saying that the way adoptions are done these days is far less traumatic for the BM’s and results in far healthier relationships for all parties (child, BM and AP’s) when the child is an adult!

      July 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm
      • Reply shirl34

        Its true Sharon, even as late as the early 90’s. I gave birth in ’92..thankfully at home accidently..because as soon as i arrived at the hospital, she was taken from me not to be seen again until it was time to leave, where the nurses just pulled her bassinette out into the corridor and thats where I said good-bye.Leaving the hospital was extremely traumatic and my social worker was no-where in sight! If I never had that time at home with her between birth and arriving at hospital, I probally wouldnt have seen her, nevermind held her.(and fyi, this was an OPEN adoption)

        Your story re the birth mom is very touching and I can absolutely feel her pain. Thanks for sharing this post!
        xxx

        July 27, 2010 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply mayflowerladybugs

    Thank you Sharon, that is beautiful and amazing.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:36 am
  • Reply aussiekim

    What a powerful photo accompanying your post Sharon.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:48 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Kim, if I moved that heart slightly over to the right you’d see the tears streaming down her face!

      July 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm
  • Reply marina1605

    Wow, I can only imagine the intense emotions felt through a process like this for all parties involved. What a selfless act of pure love by the BM. Must’ve been an incredibly difficult decision to make and follow through. Huge respect. And she can certainly be at peace with her choice in you and Walter as AP’s. Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:49 am
  • Reply mommy2m

    Thank you! We have just started the adoption process. This has given me a tremendous amount of peace. Right now my heart is sitting in my throat and I am feeling overwhelmed by emotion.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:52 am
  • Reply rvdmerwe

    It has been a while since I have visted your blog, and I wont leave it so long again! What an amzing story. You really give me hope that one day I wil also be able to share such an amazing experience. Lots of love. xxx

    July 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply thebsdiaries

    wow. crying. again.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm
  • Reply vroutjie

    Hi Shaz,

    We actually also had a discussion about this last night! The act of giving up your baby is a choice made in love for that child and people who make these type of comments make me so mad!!! But the problem is they don’t know what they are talking about the bloody idiots! Sorry if I get a bit upset but it makes me very upset.

    Your story is beautiful and I can only hope that we will experience the same kind of adoption.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm
  • Reply tanyakov

    Another beautiful post, and a good insight too into your process. I’m sorry that at times you have to defend the process.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:54 pm
  • Reply Mash

    THis is very strange – yesterday I typed a long comment to you, asking you to please consider writing a post on this very subject. Something weird happened, and the screen closed, and the comment was lost. I got called away, and didn’t get another chance to type it. I got cold shivers when I opened your page this morning and the post was there, answering exactly my questions. Did you somehow still get that comment??? Divine intervention???

    July 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm
  • Reply wheresmybun

    This is such a beautiful post Sharon. Your BM is such a beautiful and selfless woman. The paragraph about the hospital room and at the SW’s flat really brought tears to my eyes. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for you leave that room.

    July 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply kirstymac72

    beautiful post! The BM is an angel on this earth. May she be forever blessed. The anonymous commenter who calls birth moms bowel movements…may the fleas of a 1000 camels etc…

    July 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply dee

    Thank you for sharing this story. I would have had my heart in my throat every time the SW asked that question. I love the part that your BM knew when she saw your profile, made me get chills – wow!!

    July 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply little29

    wow what a powerful post – Thank you so much for sharing this with us. There truly isnt a greater gift of love. Some heart wrenching words…brought tears to my eyes!

    July 23, 2010 at 2:58 pm
  • Reply lizdb

    BM’s are beautiful and wonderful people and I will always be grateful to the BM’s who gave life to my two wonderful children!! (Made possible by Wilna). Thank you for sharing your story Sharon.

    July 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm
  • Reply zamom

    I think the only people to really appreciate the “magic” are all those that have been blessed through adoption. I think it takes very special people on all sides of the equation, SW,BM and AP’s because I just know I wouldn’t have the strength. Wow, something very,very special.

    July 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm
  • Reply hanneke001

    Wow, what an amazing post, i am crying all over again, i never knew how it worked until now .

    July 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm
  • Reply pandoragelb

    Thanks for this Sharon, people should understand that it is no longer done the way it used to be. In our case the BM chose not to meet us. Sometimes the SW’s who have so many years of experience, feel that a BM may still change her mind, so they do not notify the AP until the 60 days are up, and the papers are signed. This is what happened in our case, and even on the last day, the BM still had her chance to say goodbye, and we have a photo of them together, where the BM is hugging our baby. We only communicate through the SW, I send photos and updates, and the SW tells me that the BM is at peace with her decision. She was not forced in any way, and still she chose to give us this amazing gift. I will be forever grateful. I hope to meet her one day to tell her in person.

    July 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm
  • Reply orbit365

    Sjoe….this post had me in tears.
    It is sooooo beautifully written. I am in awe of Ava’s BM.
    And of course all praise and glory is due to God who is the Author and the Finisher of this awesome miracle. Thank you so much for writing this..xxx

    July 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm
  • Reply petrom

    Wow thanks for sharing this with us. It must have been hard doing that. I am actually without words here. Firstly due to the first part of your post talking about the idiot (still a nice word for such a person) sending you those messages. I can not believe that. And secondly due to the lovely story and people involved. It just made me realised once again what amazing strong and lovely people all of you are involved in this process. I admire your BM for being the person she is as well as the way you and Walter handles the whole process. Ava is such a special little girl being blessed by having you in her life.

    July 24, 2010 at 11:09 am
  • Reply anynamesavailable

    shari this is absolutely beautiful post. filled with so much love. xxxx

    July 24, 2010 at 8:16 pm
  • Reply aussiekim

    Your expression in the photo speaks volumes also Sharon, it gives me goosebumps, the look in your eyes, such a poignant moment in both her and your life – showing so clearly in your eyes. This photo is so powerful it brings me to tears. Sisterhood at its finest!

    Hugs

    xxxxx

    July 25, 2010 at 4:13 am
  • Reply Murgdan

    Lots of tears reading this…such a beautiful story…such a gift. Just getting back into my blog reading and getting caught up on life (now that we’re finally getting some sleep)! I’ve missed you! 😉

    July 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply ldr1604

    Thanks for sharing this with us Sharon, it really makes it clearer in my mind exactly how the process works and I’ll be sure to pass on the education (obviously not ever refering to any specifics) to people skeptical about adoption.

    July 26, 2010 at 10:21 am
  • Reply ineke1981

    I have tears in my eyes … adoption is such a selfless act. And it comes with so much love. What a great God we serve that makes miracles like these possible.

    July 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm
  • Reply jonivdw

    Brilliant brilliant post!! I cried my eyes out!! What a special special story! And I can’t get over the idiots out there who HAVE to add their stupid comments!

    July 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm
  • Reply emk808

    What a great post. So beautiful.

    July 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm
  • Reply reluctantmom

    Thank you for writing this wonderful post – me, big crocodile tears. My friend cannot get access to your blog as she is not a blogger, but if you do not mind, I would like to cut and paste this blog post to her – will wait for you to say it is okay.

    Wow – you really have written this from the trenches and give the “real” of what happens.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply abs30

    Stunning, stunning post Sharon! Brought tears to my eyes. Hats off to you for attempting to educate society on adoption. I can only imagine the hurtful comments AP’s have to endure time and time again and the assvice they have to listen to. Intended or not – words can hurt all the same.

    July 30, 2010 at 11:50 am
  • Reply jbarff

    I really cant believe the stupid idiot’s comments on Chopper and your pages …. Royal a$$… Me off course in tears for you and your amazing BM . What a special bond …

    August 7, 2010 at 8:30 pm
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