Welcome to the craziness that is my life!

This is my story in pieces. The good ones, the bad ones, and everything in between. It is messy and flawed...just like it's author. I am not a selfliss person...I am not an angel...I am a loud, opinionated, most of the time crazy, Mom. I write here the things I cannot discuss in my "day to day life". These views are my own, from my own journey. Adoption has changed my life forever, some for good, some not so good. If you don't agree with me, that's fine. It's not your story...it's mine. Consider it a manual on "How Not To Act/What Not To Do When You Are Pregnant and Considering Adoption". If you learn nothing else, learn to educate yourself to the long term affects on yourself, your family, and the child you chose to place.

Oh...and please, don't call me "bitter". I prefer the term "enlightened".


***DISCLAIMER-I don't speak for anyone but me...in this story or in life. It is here as an educational tool if anyone chooses to learn something. I appreciate comments always.***

P.S. Just because I don't actively blog doesn't mean I still don't LOVE comments. Yes, I still check them. I guess I would just rather hear YOUR thoughts, than share mine.

If you missed the story, start reading the "Posts of Some Significance" located directly underneath and to the right of this. That's the story in a nutshell.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always On Our BEST Behaviour...But why???

This post is not meant to offend anyone. The views and concerns expressed here are my own observations, and are not neccessarily proper, politically correct, or even things that should be said out loud. It is simply my opinion on what I have noticed when placed into a situation I really don't want to be involved in. Take it for what it is worth...


A few weeks ago, I found out that my best friend's sister was pregnant. It is not my place to share her situation, or her background with the rest of the bloggy world, but let's just say it's not good. After finding out that she was already five months, and that abortion was not a choice, she has decided to go the adoption route. So they came to me. Like I am an expert....lol. All I know are the blogs and the viewpoints, and the phone numbers, and the sites. I don't know anything about adoption as it relates to her...just as she knows nothing about adoption as it relates to me. But here I am, trying to help her navigate the path less taken...and now I am going to share my discoveries.


When I was pregnant, and starting my adoption journey, I did not have access to the internet. I did not spend hours searching profiles one by one trying to find "the perfect pair". You know my story...a lot of frustration, a well placed Craigslist Ad, and love at first sight is what brought me to my adoptive parents. I never looked at their "little book" or saw them on Parent Profiles...I simply knew. And for the most part it has worked out.


But this....this is different. For a lot of reasons. My involvement in  help T* find baby parents is limited to referrals really. I have been making the connections on various sites, passing along profiles of what I thought seemed to be good people. There is an amazing couple who has already been blessed through adoption that I really liked, and another one whom have had two failed placements. I cannot imagine their suffering, and I made her look at them twice...and wanted to make her pinky swear if she picked them she wouldn't change her mind. But what I have to tell myself over and over again is that this is not my decision...it is what's best for her and her unborn little one.


As a side note...I don't personally understand the moms who change their mind at the last minute. There is nothing wrong in them doing that...it's a given right. And I would never fault someone for changing their mind. It is, after all, THEIR child. I just don't understand it. When I saw my littlest one be born, I wanted her with my whole soul. My whole body and heart said "keep her..keep her..keep her..." but my head stepped in and reminded me that my heart would never change the circumstances surrounding my decision to place. Short of a shiny glass slipper or three magical beans...nothing was going to change that. But now I am off on another tangent.


FOCUS!!


My point of this post was to talk about "Best Behaviour" and how I think it relates to adoption. I have mentioned before that I feel it ridiculous that there are so many hoops that adoptive parents have to jump through, and after looking at a hundred different profiles in the last week...I feel even stronger about that. This is not a "pity for adoptive parents" post any more so than it is a "woe is me-the birthmom" post. Its just my views on all of the craziness that I have noticed.


I obviously don't understand infertility. I have had 5 children, and seem to be immune to birthcontrol. If my husband stands too close to me and the wind is blowing in the right direction, I get pregnant. For me...that is a curse of sorts. But I am aware that there are so many who would gladly trade places with me. The grass is always greener...My mother had three children, so no fertility problems there. My younger brother, on the other hand, has an almost zero sperm count, and combined with the medical issues his wife has, they will probably never have children. My younger sister is also infertile. She had poly ovarian something or other, and her doctors are totally convinced she will never have children. My brother is broken over their news, while my sister rejoices. I guess it's different for everyone. What bothers me, is that I can get pregnant as many times as I want and it wouldn't matter if I was a terrible person. I made them...I can keep them. There are people who have babies to keep troubled relationships together...there are babies made from crazy drunken one-night-stands...all of these people and all of these babies. I cannot imagine the frustration that these infertile women go through.

And then when they decide to try adoption...my god! Its like a Salem Witch hunt. I am not saying that some type of homestudy or background check shouldn't be done...but the extremes to which it goes just irritates me to no end. But again...I am off track.

What I have noticed in all of these profiles are some very similar themes.  Now, I don't know if there are "requirements or elements" that have to be satisfied in these, but they all feature pretty much the same things. I am sure that the point of the profiles is to showcase themselves at their very best, perhaps to fufill the "picture perfect, fairy tale ending" for a baby in order to attract a birthmom. Nice house, nice cars, always tons of hobbies, and I notice that these profiles always mention that they live in a "fantastic school district". There is always the charming "About Us" story, where they met and fell in love at first sight. And then there are the crazy pictures of the couple with random kids...nieces, nephews, neighbours...and always at some fantastic place like Disneyland or the ocean, or a big carnival. And then finally...my personal favorite...the "About Husband from the Wife" and vice versa section. Sometimes I just shake my head and thank God I will never have to do that. I cannot imagine the stress and the frustration that must come in having to think all that up.

I never looked at L* & M*'s "little book". Looking back, and realizing how much effort probably went into it, I often wonder if that upset them. I told them from the start that I was more interested in seeing pictures of them after they had been wide awake and unshowered for three days. Or dragging all of those "nieces, nephews, and neighbour's kids" through Wal-Mart at 9 p.m. to do grocery shopping on a budget. Or when they were busting at the seams from a cold and a migraine, and still having to get up at 7a.m. to try and find a missing shoe or a homework packet. I wanted to know that they fought like normal people from time to time, and that they didn't have white furniture, and that their house could get messy. I secretley hoped that they too had to deal with a crazy ex wife, or anything that would make them more real. Even after telling them that, they ALWAYS maintained their "Best Behaviour". But why...? They knew I was giving them a child...they knew I would not change my mind...and they knew I just wanted them to be normal people who would love this baby more than they loved themselves. But the plastic facade remained. And it is currently sitting in thousands of hopeful couples profiles. Personally...I think its bullshit. I understand the logic...but I still think its bullshit.

If I had ever been infertile...I would have lived a completely childless life. Very truly. I would never be able to jump through the hoops, and the red tape. I met my husband at work, while he was going through the world's nastiest divorce, and it took months to decide I loved him enough to deal with the baggage that came with him. I LIVE in Walmart...truly, I am there every day. Target is too rich for my blood. I don't run off to the zoo or an aquarium with a bunch of kids when I have free time. As for hobbies...yeah right. I have them...but NEVER have the time to actually do them. I work and work and work. My house is not a trainwreck, but it is very well lived in. I would not pass a white glove test...ever. My house isn't even child proofed, unless you consider two cupboard latches. If I had to sit down and write a 500 word essay on what I think of my husband it would probably include that he is intelligent, and dedicated, and has a great sense of humor. But somewhere in there, it would have to say, "He may be an ass...but he's MY ass!". And as far as him writing about me....I can only imagine. Its not that we aren't a strong couple who loves each other come what may...It's simply that we do not know how to "put on the show". And thankfully, we do not have to.

I always read about open communication, and honesty being key in balancing successful open adoptions. I also read about all of the birthmoms who had terrible experiences after the communication and honesty stopped. After reading a particularly sad story about that the other night, I had a rare opportunity to talk with my husband about all of this. "Adoption" is almost as bad of a word to him as "Yankees", and generally he won't talk about it. 

I was talking about all of the "plasticness" and his views were interesting to hear. While I don't neccessarily agree, he did make some good points. He pointed out that perhaps some aparents...after spending years going to classes and homestudies, and books, and pass along cards, and pitying looks from others...maybe they can't help their actions. Maybe after having so many people so far up in their business, and all of the money it takes to get through the process...maybe it is just human nature to take the baby and run. Maybe they feel that they have "paid their dues" and that they experienced mountains of paperwork and red tape as their "labor"...while all I had to do was get an epidural, six little pushes, and then take a nap. He wasn't making excuses for those aparents that cut off their birthmom's...he was simply playing Devil's Advocate with me.  But perhaps there is some truth in that. 

I have mentioned before that I wish my aparents were involved in the adoption community. I understand that they "just want to be parents", and while I can't really fault them for it, the fact still remains that their story would probably provide some inspiration to other hopeful adoptive parents. I LOVE their story (though I may be very biased because I played such a big part in their "happiest ending available")  and am so sorry and frustrated that they keep it so quiet. While they did not have an easy journey to get to me...once we connected, it was pretty much "smooth sailing" for them. I fought with doctors, nurses, ultrasound techs, social workers,  any and everyone who ever tried to make L* & M* feel like outsiders. I let them have as much involvement as they wanted, reassuring them if I needed to. It took hours of pep talks and dozens of emails from me before they finally loosened up enough to go buy a crib and start preparing to become parents. I was low key, and low maintanence as far as birthmom's go. I sacrificed my own needs to ensure theirs were met when it came to the birth and the bonding. I did not stop the placement. I let them experience as much as they could, since I had already. I personally feel like I should get a gold star for being such a "problem free" tummy mummy.

But even after becoming parents, there is still some of that "best behaviour" on display. I don't get many pictures or emails from them now, and never any phone calls or texts (which I would love), but when they do come...its always all of the wonderful things that are happening with her, and a "thank you" for giving them the baby. Almost a year after placement, I don't really want "thank you's" anymore. I just want to know what is going on. I want to know if L* still has time to go to the gym 4 days a week. I want to know if M* is going to be able to see a spring training game or if they'll have to stay home because of the baby. I want to know if they "feel" like they are really her parents, or if they feel like substitutes. I wish that they would push the facade away long enough to realize that whats done is done, and I would really just like to be their friends. Not their daughters birthmom...just their friends. I would like to see a game together. I would like to go shopping with L* one day. Have a drink or a dinner. Anything that shows we are two sets of very real people who have had very real struggles in life, but are overcoming them and moving on.

This post is beginning to frustrate me, because it has branched off in 10 different directions, and now in between the kids and the three days I have been working on it here and there, I have lost my original point.  I guess its just to say that its ok to just be who you are, and its far better than trying to be perfect all of the time. We are humans, whether BMom, AMom, Mom, sister, wife, or child.

If they can't love you at your worst...they don't deserve to love you at your best.

18 comments:

  1. I think it's a very interesting post.

    I think it would be amazing if you were able to have L and M read it.

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  2. They have no interest in any of this, whatsoever...though I really wish they did. Thank you for taking the time to read it though!

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  3. Oh my gosh, you so understand adoptive parents! This made me cry in its honesty. Thanks for telling it like it is. Maybe I'm just crazy but reading this was so validating. I want to put "I yell at my kids sometimes" on my profile. I want to say that being a mom is hard and horrific and makes me forget who I am once in awhile. I want to say these things because the point is this: I know the truth of what it is to be a mom and I STILL WANT MORE!!! I ache for more. It must mean something... Motherhood is the best of my life in spite of all that. Doesn't that make it all the more beautiful?

    Instead, on my adoption blog, I hover in between the cheezy (I just can't do total cheeze. Isn't me.) and frank honesty. I think such honesty would be refreshing. Maybe I'll get up the nerve to write a "here's who I really am" post. The problem is fear. I'm so afraid already that no one will ever "pick" me. I'm not barbie. I'm not married to Ken. We already have a couple of kids. I'm not a zillionaire. We live in an average house and make average money. In the adoption world that's a scary place to be. And after five failed adoptions It becomes even more frightening.

    You sound like a dream "tummy mummy" to me. I hope I find someone like you someday. Thanks for this post and for being the person you are. You make me less afraid to press on...

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  4. I have to say you really are honest and I adore you for it! I love it! Its so refreshing to read real feelings and thoughts once again! Thank you for being you!
    I know that you don't want a thank you and you do deserve hats off and more recognition because your pregnancy was good and you had a healthy child! That just makes you, personally, wonderful and unselfish! You did the right thing for the child :)
    I am so thankful that you found me and I am looking forward to getting to know you even better! There needs to be more honesty in this world! No one is perfect. Children don't come with handbooks. I have five, yes I am still hoping to adopt.... (I know in my heart and have since in my youth I would always adopt one! One child would come to us thru the gift of a birth mothers love) We will not be complete until he comes :) Plain and simple! I have never been a perfect mom... But I do try... and I have beautiful children who have only blessed my life. They are a gift from God to me. Just like you are a gift to a family and your child! :) And now thru your blog, so many others, because people need to hear what you have said...IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Thank you!

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  5. I love this post!!! As my husband and I wrote our letter for potential birth parents and had to post pictures, I was frustrated. Sometimes I feel like we are the most boring people in the world. Yes, we have the standard Disneyland and beach picture, but to be honest, that was one trip and if we're lucky, we'll get to take it again one day . . . some day.

    I had someone critique my letter, and she said the EXACT same thing that you did. She said we sounded "too perfect." Am I? Do I think I am? No. I didn't know how to say that I lose my temper sometimes and yell at my kid. I need time away. However, I didn't know what was "appropriate."

    Thank you for being honest; for being real. It encourages me to be. Reading your posts inspire me to be a truly open, supportive, friendly adoptive parent. I won't be as afraid to mention that I have faults, because I have them glaring me in the face every day.

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  6. Very, very educational post. Thank you for writing it, I hope to take it to heart!

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  7. I really liked what you had to say here and I wish that I had it in me to start a blog but sometimes I feel like I have a hard time getting out what I really want to say.
    All the paperwork you have to fill out with the agency's can be overwhelming and creating a profile- oh boy.
    When I first "signed up" I thought I hate these things I am not doing that...
    Then when we did create a profile you are told it's nice but maybe you should include this or that. Geez I started to get nervous that oh no I don't have any pictures of me with kids I'm not going to be chosen! Oh no I don't have a picture of the playground in our community and I can't take one now because it's filled with snow. You start to see how many families are waiting and think after you create a profile they all look the same. Sorry now I'm rambling.
    Again thanks for sharing your point of veiw. I find it helpful to hear about the adoption process from a birthmother.

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  8. Hi. Since you say it's ok to disagree with you....;)....here's my thing. I actually think do get why a mom would change her mind after delivery. In fact, I don't think any decision should be set in stone until after mom has had the baby and had some time to process. The thing is, we can plan all we want, but there is just nothing that can prepare us for the emotions surrounding the arrival of a child. A mom simply might not realize, before birth, the true gravity of permanently relinquishing her rights to her child.

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  9. new reader! thanks for your words of encouragement to keep it real. however, creating those profiles is really stressful. you get a bunch of advice from the agency on what to put in it and then are always second guessing yourself. this is a good reminder though to add more info about how we as parents are doing in our letters to tee's first mom versus just gobs of great stuff about him.

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  10. I LOVE this post. I know as adoptive couples we look like a freak show to people who come and look at our blogs and profiles. I hate the red tape. I hate that I have to put myself out for the whole world to see. I hate that I have to come up with all sorts of crap to make us look interesting. The truth is that we are just 2 normal people who wanted to be parents. We were blessed with our son through adoption and now we are hoping to adopt again so we are once again throwing ourselves out there. I appreciate your honesty on what you truly want from L & M. I admire you for EVERYTHING you did for them. With our first adoption we had our agencies open adoption criteria to follow. (which was basically the bare minimum) We basically learned as we went along and we are still learning. The level of openness with our sons birth mother continues to get better and MORE open as time goes by. If we were following our agencies guidelines we would only be sending her 1 letter and picture packet a year!! I can't even imagine that. One day when our son (and future kids) are grown and ask me "What can you tell me about my birth mother?" the last thing I want to have on my concience is that I didn't even try.

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  11. Michelle,
    I just found your blog and love every bit about what you have to say. Just adopted our first child through adoption, so your feelings and emotions are close to the surface with me. The 'profile' is what took us the longest in our application process. It was so hard because you are trying to 'sell' yourself and that is just not me. Anyway, love your blog and your insight. Makes me so grateful that we 'get' our bmom and talk to her about all sorts of stuff. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

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  12. LOVE this post! I'm an adoptive mom and was terribly annoyed when writing our profile. We had it sent back to us dozens of times because of one thing or another. It's pretty awful to hear that your profile just isn't going to cut it. We tend to be fairly private people and that privacy was stripped of us from the beginnings of infertility to bringing home a baby. As I gaze upon my beautiful daughter...it was all worth it...but the process...just heart wrenching.

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  13. Hi. I just found this blog and have spent hours reading, in between diaper changes, doctors calls and feeding 5 kids and school work. Really I do other things besides sit on the computer, lol. We were adopting from Russia and we lost that child. Long story short we found our son in Texas and had to write a birthmom letter. The first thing I thought was what do i say to a mother giving up her child to get her to give him to me? NOTHING. I told her she didnt have to pick me that who ever she chose was the right person because it was her choice. I consulted a lot of people on what to write, I was told DO NOT write that you are heavily tattooed or have a nose ring. LOL. Like she wouldnt see that. In the end I wrote what God told me I should, the truth. I told her I was heavily tattooed and didnt apologize for it. People gasp but she chose us and told me that was why. Now that we have our son I do sometimes feel like we have to be perfect. I dunno why. Maybe I am afraid she will regret her decision, think she made a mistake.

    I hope that by the time this finds you that you have an open relationship with your afamily. I really cant imagine having my son and not having his birthparents involved. We even keep his foster parents involved. I wish we lived closer and could visit way more than we do.For us though it is more one sided. His bdad has moved on very quickly and bmom seems to have also. I am the only one who speaks first and sometimes there is no response. Friends advise against us being so open with them but how do you walk away and never look back from the woman who handed you the world?

    Be blessed

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  14. When we made our book we didn't lie. We didn't say things just because we thought an expectant mother would want to hear them. We tried to give a sense of who we really were, but it definitely was us on our "best behavior" and I don't think that's wrong. It was always in our heads to look at it like someone who was looking for red flags would view it. Yes, we came out a little plastic, but that seemed better than losing out on a chance to be parents because it's easier to put a book in the "reject" pile than to try to get more info on something that gives you pause.

    I'm not the kind of person who believes that the "right" child was just out there waiting for us and that when it was time it would happen. I believe that a lot of families could have adopted our daughter and that she would be just as happy, healthy, and amazing as she is with us. I also believe that as much as I love my daughter and believe that she is perfect in every way, I could have loved another child just as much, even one who was very different from her.

    There's nothing innate to my wife and I that makes us the right parents for her and there's no genetic sequence in her that makes her perfect for us. Paradoxically, it's the imperfect time we have spent together that makes us perfect for each other. Us learning to care for her; figuring out what she needs and likes. Her getting to know us - our feel and smell and our routines; learning to trust that we will be there when she needs us.

    I wouldn't want to have missed out on the opportunity for all that just because one sentence in a short book made someone a little nervous.

    For example:
    My wife loves to watch true crime documentaries on TV. She always tells me what the murderer's mistake was. "So that when you kill me you won't get caught. I'd rather be an unsolved mystery than be killed by an idiot."

    It should go without saying that she doesn't really think I'm going to kill her (nor does she think I'm an idiot...most of the time). She's not some black-clad, death-obsessed ghoul. She's just a normal, slightly nerdy teacher who likes science, mysteries, overwrought narration, and dark humor.

    In my experience, for every person who thinks that's hilarious, there are two people who would close the book after that first paragraph.

    Past the homecoming day it was the same story but for different reasons. In our letters and in the photos we send we struggle with how "real" we want to be, not for ourselves but for the birth parents and for our daughter. I want to have more contact with them, but they don't seem to feel the same. I want our daughter to know where she comes from, but I don't want to hurt the people who gave me such joy. If I say the wrong thing now I might be preventing my daughter from ever knowing her birth parents.

    Does a picture of me with our baby make them feel good because they can see how much I love her, or does it just reinforce that she is with us, not them? Does my mom seem to be trying too hard in this picture? Does it seem fake or can they tell just how much she adores her granddaughter? Does this picture of her and her cousin look like they are having fun, or like she is about to be crushed by a mean, wild toddler?

    I feel like I'm starting to ramble too, so i'll cut it off here. Before we met her birth parents I don't think we could have been more honest and now I don't know if we should be.

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  15. Send this paragraph as an email to L* She might need to hear those words too - she probably fears you greatly because you have power she never will have. You are the birth mom. NO matter how wonderful she is for the next 100 years, you are the one who brought L* in to the world. Send her this paragraph....you might get to hear from your friend again that way.

    "Your words: Almost a year after placement, I don't really want "thank you's" anymore. I just want to know what is going on. I want to know if L* still has time to go to the gym 4 days a week. I want to know if M* is going to be able to see a spring training game or if they'll have to stay home because of the baby. I want to know if they "feel" like they are really her parents, or if they feel like substitutes. I wish that they would push the facade away long enough to realize that whats done is done, and I would really just like to be their friends. Not their daughters birthmom...just their friends. I would like to see a game together. I would like to go shopping with L* one day. Have a drink or a dinner. Anything that shows we are two sets of very real people who have had very real struggles in life, but are overcoming them and moving on."

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  16. Hi, Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your blog:) My husband and I have been waiting for over two years, so it's very easy to second guess ourselves and wonder why we haven't been "chosen." Your blog is a great reminder to be ourselves and not worry that we are not "perfect." I really hope you will get the relationship you desire with your child's adoptive parents. You have so much to offer:)

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  17. As an adoptive parent (well ... almost ... baby due in 9 weeks) I find this post very refreshing! I found that creating our profile was one of the most difficult and frustrating parts of the entire adoption journey. At our agency, they are VERY specific about what they require and what is not OK. I must have read through at least 100 profiles and became so distressed that they all seemed basically the same! I didn't want to be like that at all!!

    I had a lot of plans for how I wanted to write my profile. I was going to be REAL. But I quickly learned that the things I wanted to talk about were not allowed. First of all, I was not to mention my miscarriage or even my infertility at all. At one point I tried to "sneak" it in there by saying something like, "After all our struggles to grow our family, we are even more in love and committed to each other than ever." But our coordinator changed that to, "After five years of marriage ..." It was infuriating!!

    She also changed "We met for one drink and ended up closing the restaurant down after four and a half hours of effortless conversation" to "We met for DINNER and ..." Sigh again. She also omitted "poker" as one of the games we like to play as a family at the dining room table and changed it to "cards."

    These edits made me crazy! I thought, who are these birth moms that they would be judgmental of one drink or playing poker? Or that they couldn't handle the fact that we've ever had any hardships in our lives?!?

    In the end, I ended up going with all the edits suggested (not that I really had a choice). But, I figured that my coordinator had worked with hundreds of birth moms. I, on the other hand, had never even met one. So ... I agreed to just do whatever she said. Basically her reasoning is that the profile is just a tool to get a potential birth mom to contact you. So you don't want anything in there that might raise a red flag or turn them off. Once they contact you, you can be as open as you want. And that's exactly what I did.

    The first time our birth mom called us I ended telling her all about the things my coordinator wouldn't let me put in my profile. And I've been super real with her at every step of the way since then.

    I'm really sorry that the family you chose isn't more open and real with you. I can only imagine how frustrating that would be. I think it's just hard for some people. I am a very open and "out there" person who has no trouble sharing my business, so for me I think it was a lot easier. Maybe if you share your feelings with them it would help?

    In any case, thanks for writing this and for offering your perspective. I wish you the best!

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  18. @Mahine,

    Such a refreshing comment (and other similar ones) -- as a potential birthmom I'm getting upset at all of the profiles that seem the same, that display a life that is so 'perfect' etc. --I don't even read the statement anymore and just ask for their stats (ages, religion, etc) because I want to evaluate everyone on the same footing and not some BS statement. I don't even want to see a photo of the house (and it seems to be the same house in every photo).

    One profile that I particularly disliked was just because they put that the husband went to Harvard (no mention of the degree studied) but mentioned that the wife has a degree in x-field (but no mention of the school), as if the school and not the knowledge gained is what is important. I went to a good school, have a fair amount of grad work completed, so I found it egotistical that they mention Harvard -- yet, it could have been a suggestion/insistence from the coordinator.

    I personally would like to know if the couple went through a rough patch of some sort that drew them closer together and that their marriage is stronger because of it. I personally believe that if the image presented to me is all rosy, then that presents a red flag already (I feel as a birthmom that I have to really dig deeper in questioning the potential adoptive families).

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