Saturday, March 28, 2009

Birth Mothers Rock

I just had one of my favorite discussions about adoption. It's the one that usually starts something like, "What about the... mother?"

I smile sweetly and say, "I am the mother. Are you asking about the birth mother?"

And inevitably they are. Inevitably they're asking, "What's her story? How can she give her baby away? Why doesn't she want it? Is she on drugs? If she didn't want a child why did she let herself get pregnant? What's wrong with her?"

I don't mind those questions. Well, I've gotten used to them, anyway, and I believe that most people ask out of concern... concern for the baby, concern for my family, concern driven by the media's sensationalized presentation of the occasional adoption-gone-wrong.

But still, I'm working for the day when "What about the (birth) mother?" means "How is she doing? Did she have any medical complications? Is she with her family or the birth father? Does she have a post-adoption support system in place? Is she at peace with her decision? Is she OK?"

That would be awesome. Because birth mothers are as much mothers as any other women who have delivered children. Birth mothers get pregnant and share their bodies to give life the same way other women do.
Some birth mothers smoke during pregnancy and some don't.
Some birth mothers do drugs and some don't.
Some birth mothers have multiple partners and some don't.
Some birth mothers use contraception and some don't.
Some birth mothers receive regular pre-natal care and some don't.
Some birth mothers text while driving and some don't.
Some birth mothers get heartburn and hemorrhoids and morning sickness and gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and migraines and some don't.

But all birth mothers love their babies.
All birth mothers love the life within them enough to publicly admit their own shortcomings.
All birth mothers risk shame, judgement, grief, loss, misunderstanding, and physical pain to carry a child for someone else.
All birth mothers deserve respect for choosing to give life when it is clearly not the easy choice.

I sometimes wonder what I would have done if I had gotten pregnant as a teen or unmarried young woman. I wasn't ready to be a mother, and I like to think I would have had the courage and selflessness to make an adoption plan for my baby, but I'm not sure. I'm not at all sure.

So, what about "the mother"? I've jumped right back into the routine of parenting an infant. I'm high on the blessings of two fantastic kids, and with my husband's help (he's fantastic, too) I'm slowly catching up on my sleep.

As for the birth mother, she's healthy, certain, and loved by her family and friends. She's moving forward, and she's very OK.

Thanks for asking.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Friday, March 20, 2009

How To Jump Start Your Adoption

Oversleep and run late all day.
Skip your morning shower.
Skip breakfast.
Leave your family's dirty breakfast dishes in the sink.
Put more on your daily To Do list than you can possibly accomplish in a month of Sundays. Cram a few more in the margins of the paper.
Land a great new client and take on a massive writing assignment with an impossible deadline and zero margin of error.
Begin spring cleaning - empty every closet and most of the drawers in the house. Sort everything into piles. Distribute piles between the kitchen, the family room, the dining room, the laundry room, the playroom, and your bedroom. Add "finish piles" to your To Do list.
Spend an hour and a half making a complex, multi-pan dinner. Watch your family eat it in 7 minutes.
Start to wash the dinner dishes, muttering to yourself about your schedule, your fatigue, your missed shower, and the breakfast dishes you had forgotten.
Hear the phone ring. Say you can't answer it because your hands are soapy.
Hear it ring again. Shout that you can't answer the phone with wet hands.
Hear it ring again. Stomp across the kitchen dripping soap and water and wondering where your husband went and why he doesn't hear the phone.
Hear the caller answer your prayers. "A birth mother has chosen you." And suddenly the only thing you need to do is not on your To Do list.
Go meet your baby.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Friday, March 13, 2009

He's He-re!

Tuesday night, March 10th, we finally got The Call. A birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby, and if we were willing to make a leap of faith and drive across the state, she'd like to meet us as soon as possible. And oh, by the way, she's been induced and is hoping we can make it in time for the delivery. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????? Hmm... let me think about that for about .0000003 second!

Long story short, our son was born in the wee hours of Wed. March 11th. We were there in time and we held him immediately after.

We were doubly blessed to be able to spend a few days in the hospital with our son's birth mother and both of her parents. By the time we headed home we all felt like family.

Our daughter's reaction added uber-coolness to the whole experience. She was (and still is) beside herself with joy and pride at being a big sister. She was like a little carnival barker her first day back at school. "Who else would like a turn to meet my new baby brother?" She wore her "I'm a Big Sister" t-shirt to school three times that week. My motherly instinct (you can't wear the same shirt to school three days in a row!) didn't stand a chance against her beaming smile. Besides, every time I look at her in that shirt I break out in tears. She's waited a long time for a sibling, and on top of that, it was our son's birth mother who bought that shirt for our daughter in the hospital gift shop. She bought him his first teddy bear and said she didn't want to give a gift to him without giving something to his sister, too.

Yeah, I'm crying again. There is a post-partum component to adoption that no one tells you about! :)

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Adoption Financial Assistance

Economic instability affects adoption in at least two significant ways: more babies and children are placed for adoption, and prospective adoptive parents are more challenged by the financial burden of adoption.

Domestic adoption in the U.S. typically costs anywhere from $12,00 to $20,000 (more, in some cases), depending on medical, legal, agency, and travel expenses. International adoption may cost more or less, depending on similar variables. And as any parent knows, that's just the beginning!

is a national non-profit 501 (c)3 financial assistance grant program that will provide qualified couples and individuals (regardless of race, religion, marital status or sexual preference) with grants of up to $15,000 towards their adoption expenses. You can review their FAQs and download a grant application from the website.

The Financial Aspect of Adoption is an article on that offers a variety of strategies for funding your adoption.

Please let me know of other resources you've found helpful. I'll be happy to post them here.

Sally Bacchetta
The Adoptive Parent
My Google Profile+