What are some things you’ve learned through adoption?

AMANDA

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned through the adoption process would be the strength of character that somehow is within me. I think it takes a lot for someone to choose adoption and it’s a really selfless thing to do and it takes a lot of strength of character to be able to do it and I had never considered that before when I was going through it. I just felt like this is my situation and I need to sort it out but after the fact, I think that’s probably the biggest thing I learned through the whole thing was that I was capable of making a really good choice for someone else and for myself at a young age and that, if there’s anything that I am proud of, I would say that’s it.

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The other thing, the practical side of it, I think I learned that adoption– I would say adoption isn’t what I expected before I had even began the process of adoption. I just thought it was, something like a last resort type thing or something that had happened like the people did a long time ago but I had never really heard of anyone doing it in my just realm of friends or family members, people that I knew. So I think what I learned the most was to view adoption in a way that it actually provides an opportunity. It provides an opportunity for myself because I was able to go on and go to college and do a lot of things that I had wanted to do, and just dreams that I had, and at the same time it also provided an opportunity for my daughter to have the best start in life.

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LEAH OUTTEN

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I’m strong. That I can do hard things. You might have seen that —–. I’ve learned that I can be proud of who I am and my choice and I can be proud of her and proud I’d took life for her and I’ve learned- I feel like I can, you know, 11 years later, I’m a mom of 4 young kids and I feel like I can be crazy and scattered and I feel like I’m drowning sometimes and I honestly look at my adoption plan in that point in my life, my lowest of lows of my life but I made it through that and I look at where it come to now and so I feel like, if I can do that, I can do anything. So having 4 kids running around and laundry that never ends is no big deal compare to that, I can do anything.

MAKENA LEIGH PORTER

I learned that adoption is beautiful. A lot of people would not really say nice things about adoption. There’s always, birthparents are these kind of people and adoptive parents are, you know, they are not always who they say they are and there’s a lot of stereotypes to get through and I’m not the kind of person who just believe in stereotypes and through the adoption process I actually needed to know real people to get through that and I did. Amazing people and I’m still meeting amazing people. Some of the coolest stories I’ve ever heard in my life and I learned that through the whole thing I want to do was right for me and I learned that it’s selfless, I guess is the word, for me on my part, it was- going through it I didn’t think it was that big of a thing. I mean, I’m 16 still kind of a teenager and once looking back now it was a hard thing that I went through but I got through it and I wasn’t worried and I learned that if you have enough faith you can do anything and nothing is impossible.

BAILEY CORRELL

It’s a long list. I think the biggest is that I cannot control everything. I’m very much a type A person. I like to be in control. I like everything to go the way I want it to go. I’m a planner and sometimes that just doesn’t work. Sometimes, your plans don’t come together. What you had in mind isn’t the best option. It’s something I’ve been relearning through college and grad school and the adoption and something I’m having to relearn frequently. I’ve also learned to trust more. When I was pregnant my boyfriend at the time had recently asked me to marry him and left when I told him I was pregnant and I definitely had some trust issues after that.

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It definitely was messing with me a little bit. So having to go from feeling abandoned and alone to let me trust someone enough to raise the single most important person in my life was a challenge. I don’t trust easily to begin with and this was definitely something that required me just having to put faith in someone [no audio] Be analytical, what you want in life, what you want to give your children in life, if you even want kids, just makes you confront a whole hosts of things. I realized that previously I didn’t really know if I wanted kids. I didn’t think I was that maternal. I was wrong, I was completely and utterly wrong. I want kids. I am maternal. I thrive off of taking care of somebody and I didn’t know that until the adoption happens and the pregnancy happened. With the adoption choice, you learn to forgive, people say things that are so hurtful. I’ve had people say when you have kids you’ll understand. That’s one of the ones that really has always gotten to me because I do have a child and I do understand what it’s like to worry, to be scared, to think of the worst case scenario. You learn to forgive this people and say, “You know what, they didn’t know what they were saying or even if I did, it’s not worth me being bitter over. I have a beautiful kid. I have a beautiful child that I made a great decision for and they’re not worth me going down over.” So I’ve learned to forgive and move past some things and I’ve learned to be independent. Adoption can be very isolating as a young adult that’s going to college and stuff because most of the people I was meeting were 18-19 years old. My age at the time, and no idea about the worries that came with having a child. They just wanted to go party and do the typical college thing and I had this child at the back of my mind the whole time. I couldn’t just go and be a wild crazy college student because in the back of my mind there was my daughter. I had a responsibility. I learned to be independent, to stand on my own and also to stand my ground when people would say, “Well, you’re not really her mother, you gave her up.” No, I am her mother. I carried her for 9 months. I still have the stretch marks. If you want to give her a DNA test, it will come back and tell you that I am biologically her mother. I did what mothers do, I took the best care of my daughter than I could, and that just meant that I wasn’t the one to raise her. So you’ll learn to deal with grief. You’ll learn to be independent, to forgive. There’s so many lessons that I’ve learned through it and it’s been such a learning experience and continues to be. It’s cool to look back at who I was 4 years ago before my daughter was born and look at who I am now and see there’s a huge [no audio].

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HEIDI RUSSO

Things I’ve learned through adoption are it’s a life long journey. I think there’s a lot of beautiful things that happened through adoption. A lot of really hard things that happened. A lot of messy things that happened. I think there’s a lot of pain in adoption and I think that can be on both sides. I think there’s a lot of fear of how do you manage these relationships. How do you manage your role as the parent of this child and if the birthmom wants to fit into that, how does that work? There’s no great book on how this is all supposed to work out. Everybody’s story is different.

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Everybody’s situation is different. There’s a lot of working through what each of you is feeling, what the adoptive parents are feeling, what you’re feeling as a birthmom, and as your child gets older, what does your child feel and how does that all fit together in a respectful way. Because you are no longer your child’s parent so how do you fit in? I think sometimes that’s hard. The co-founder of my organization is a birthmom. She’s in reunion with her daughter and it can be really hard at times. Some things that she really wants to step in and be like, this is my advice and I know because I’m connected to you, yet you’re not her parent and so I think navigating that and it’s not going to be smooth. It’s just not and yet through those difficult times, a lot of beauty and a really amazing relationship happens on the other side of that hurdle, if you will. I know we’ve gone through it in our relationships and as difficult as it was at the time, looking back now, I won’t trade it for anything because the relationship now that I have with Theresa is amazing and beautiful. I truly believe things can only get better the harder you work at it and respect each other’s place. The better the situation it can only be a great outcome.

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KELSEY QUESENBERRY

The biggest thing was I just learned about adoption as a whole. Education about adoption has become super, super important to me. I think anyone who’s involved in adoption should educate themselves about the other point of view. I try really hard to be understanding of waiting parents and adoptive parents even though sometimes how they feel and what they’re going through doesn’t exactly gone up to what I feel. Same thing with adoptees. There are a lot of different opinions involved in adoption and I think the biggest thing, like I said, even if they don’t wind up to what you believe is that everyone’s opinion matter and I really think that’s helped me be a little bit more understanding in real life. Honestly the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from it is just trying to be more open and understanding to everyone, not even just in adoption, just in every day.

JANEL BROWN

I’ve learned to be strong. A lot of people ask you questions and a lot of times they don’t like your answers, but you have to stand by what you believe. I’ve really learned to be strong. I’ve learned to be empathetic and very open. Openness with kids is so important because one of the reasons I got pregnant because my mom wasn’t open with me so instead of telling her the feelings that I was having about any kind of relationship, I hid behind her back. So being open, being a strong person, just knowing how to talk to people and being okay with having different opinions than other people around you.

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