AMANDA

I wish I had known someone else who was going through it. I think I really had to make the choice based on my expectations of what the situations would be and that with parenting- I had known people who had parented but I had never known anyone who had went through adoption before. So I had no idea what to expect during or after really. I wish I had just known someone who could even talk me through it from the point of view of a birth mother. I wish I knew beforehand how to cope better afterwards. I don’t think I prepared myself well enough for what it was going to be like after the adoption.

LEAH OUTTEN

One thing I’m finding out 11 years later into this open adoption is that it affects more than just me. It affects more than just her birth dad. It affects more than my parents or her adoptive parents. It affects everyone. It’s like a ripple effect. And 11 years later into this and I’m married and I have 4 kids and I’m finding it affects them, it affects my husband because it’s something, it’s part of my life and so it’s gonna touch their life. My kids, they feel her absence as much as I do now. There are night that they cry along with me that I just miss her and I just don’t understand why, why can’t she live with us.

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Have many question that we have to process together. And I don’t say to this to discourage anyone from it because I still would not change my decision. I still have peace with it and I know I did what’s best and I always come back full circle to that but I still have moments of feeling those along with my kids and so I just wish that I had thought to prepare myself for that when having kids and a family in the future. Just to think of how you’ll all explain this things and to know how you might answer them.

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MAKENA LEIGH PORTER

I wish I knew that there were other people out there that had gone through the same thing. At the beginning, I thought I was the only one. All my friends that were expecting at the same time, they were all doing different choices for what to do with their pregnancy and I didn’t know. I thought I was alone for the longest time until the adoptive couple, they’re in this huge group on Facebook and they added me into it and suddenly I had so many friends. I could ask other birthmoms that already placed different questions and what they’re going through and how it is. The adoption community is huge and once I found it, it helped me so much.

BAILEY CORRELL

I think the legalities would have been nice to know. Thankfully, it’s never been an issue having to hash out an open adoption agreement adoption for us but like I said, I like research. It would have been nice to have a few more resources that compile all of the states, all of the places I could have placed her and just been able to really see what I was getting myself into. I wish there was more research which is why that is what I’m trying to get into, researching adoption and the effect on birth parents because a lot of the data is from the 80s and before, and things have changed quite a bit [no audio].

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I wish I would have known some of the mental health effects if life as a birth parent is not managed well [no audio] and either that can range anywhere from PTSD to depression to anxiety and in that I wish I would have known to go to a counselor or psychologist just to decompress and deal with the emotions I was feeling versus struggling alone.

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HEIDI RUSSO

Things I wish I knew in placing would be nobody can prepare you how difficult the journey is going to be post-placement. It is like the loss of a child, like your child has died, but yet you know they’re out there somewhere. I think it would be different if it was a completely open adoption which I can speak to, I can only, people I know who are doing that and have done that say that it’s really helpful on both sides but for me I guess I wish I would have known that that you can have a relationship as your child grows up and just in a different role and you can maintain some of that contact. At the time I wish there were more support post-placement and pre-placement.

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I had some support, but after placement it was like, okay this is done and then what? I think I may have been offered a support group at the Lutherans Social Services at the adoption agency but quite honestly I can only speak for myself and a couple of other birthmoms I’ve talked to but that’s the last place you want to go, post-placement, is back to the place where you place your child which is a very painful experience and memory. That’s not a building I wanted to step into again. I wish there had been more support groups. I wish I had known other birthmoms. I didn’t know any. I didn’t even know any people who had adopted. I wish there had been more information about what this would feel like post-placement, what the relationship would look like and I think people can tell you you’ll get letters or you’ll get pictures but they really don’t tell you how that’s going to look long term and I think the more information you can have to decide what level of contact and openness you want I think the better decision you can make. And again, this is almost 28 years ago so I know things have changed quite a bit and I’m glad and I think the more education that’s out there, the better. I think the more support that is out there for birthmoms and adoptees, I know adoptees have a difficult time as they get older some really feel like there’s something missing as well, so I think the more education and the more support, literature, everything that’s out there to help everyone through it, the better people are going to be adjusted on both ends on it to the decision that’s made because it’s not a decision that’s made out of not loving your child, it’s a decision that’s made because there’s so much love for your child and I don’t always think that that’s understood.

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KELSEY QUESENBERRY

There’s nothing for me personally that I wish I had this one piece of knowledge but I wish I just had more knowledge about adoption in general and just about how kind of grey it is. It’s not black and white issue and I really used to think of it that way because I literally had no concept of adoption outside of what I’ve seen in TVs and movies which is not really a good baseline. I wish it was talked about more outside of the scope of waiting adoptive parents. I didn’t realize that birthparents were kind of a silence part of the equation.

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There was not a whole lot of support out there unless I really searched for it. My agency did what I could. They tried to put together birthmom meetings and support groups and it all kind of fell flat. But you know I kind of wanted to talk to other people who went through what I did. I didn’t even realize that adoptees had some of the same struggles until I started being more active online. I am active on Reddit and I see a lot of adoptee stories that I honestly had no idea. I really didn’t. You don’t hear a lot about that. So for me, personally, I just wish I knew more about adoption before even going into it. I don’t think it would have changed my mind but I think it would have just given me a much better and clearer picture of kind of what I’m getting myself into.

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JANEL BROWN

Definitely the amount of openness that I could have asked for. I wish I would have known that there are other people that struggle with the grieving process of being a birthparent because it is different than the grieving process of losing somebody. I went to a counselor way later on, probably 8 years later, I went to a grieving counselor because there was nothing in the area that I lived in for birthparents. I stopped going to her because it just didn’t line up right for the grieving that I was doing.

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I wish I would have known more about counseling and accepted that I needed support. If you don’t know that you need support and if you think that you’re supposed to be the strong person all the time, it becomes a very difficult thing to deal with. So I wish I would have known that there is support out there and that there are other birthparents out there that feel the same emotions. I wish I would have known more about having open adoption and how to make that more of a reality.

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