In honor of Mother’s Day, this month’s special blogger interview is with Ashley (left) and Amber (right). Ashley and Amber are birth mom and adoptive mom, respectively, to the darling four-year old “B”. Amber writes at Bumber’s Bumblings, where Ashley has written a number of (very popular!) guest posts. One of the limitations of blogs is that they usually only give one side of the story, so to speak. It’s a treat to be able to hear the perspectives of both of B’s lovely mothers.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to open adoption.
Amber: My name is Amber and I am a mother of two children, both placed in our family through open adoption. My husband, Nate, and I will have been married 10 years this coming fall. After a brief (in retrospect, brief) struggle with infertility, we turned towards adoption to build our family. We have a very open adoption with our four year old son’s birth mother and her family. Our daughter is just a few months old and we also have an open adoption with her birth mom, though not nearly as open as our son’s, per her birth mom’s desire.
Ashley: I am a birth mom to the most beautiful, lovable, intelligent little man. I placed him with an amazing and open-minded couple that have blessed me with a wonderfully open relationship.
How did you start blogging?
Amber: After our son’s adoption was finally finalized, I had so many questions in person, through email and facebook messages on a daily basis about our adoption, and especially the openness side of it. Friends saw Ash as part of our lives and were very genuinely interested and curious. It was really easier to just put our story out there and let people read it for themselves instead of having to individually respond to every email and question. I tend to overshare when talking, so it also helped with only sharing the things that I was interested in sharing in writing.
Ashley: Actually, blogging scares me and makes me nervous. The idea of people peeking into my brain and seeing insecurities and crazy ideas is a little intimidating. I am a super reserved person and often times can’t seem to say what I feel. However, Amber is a social butterfly and has encouraged me to spread the word on open adoption. I believe 100% in open adoption and the psychological benefits for all parties involved . I think it brings healing to birth moms, strengthens family ties, and above all erases any question of rejection from the child’s mind. My greatest fear in life is that my son would ever feel unwanted. I get a little crazy about my opinions and I find myself being able to communicate my thoughts through writing. So, Amber’s to blame for my soapbox rants :)
Have you ever been surprised by something the other one wrote? Has knowing your son’s other mother is reading changed your own writing?
Amber: I had a family blog before we adopted, but shut it down through the process for privacy’s sake. I only started blogging again when Ash was aware of it. I seek to always portray my true self in person and in writing.
I then turned to Amber. She was beautiful and very nervous. Hugging her was special because Bundle hugged her too. I’ll never forget when she looked at me and then at Bundle. It was a defining moment in that day and in my life. It wasn’t the sparkle of excitement in her eyes or the kindness that I saw, those things I expected. It was the sadness that I saw, not for her or from her past but for me. I had put myself in her shoes so many times and I knew she would be nervous and hesitant and excited. But the fact that she had thought about me, my feelings, what I was about to do, made me realize that she already loved Bundle. She had a kind heart, she understood me.
I expected the hardships, anger, frustration, etc. What I was not expecting was Amber. Our talk on Mother’s Day melted my heart. For her to tell me that I am very much included in this holiday with her was over and above my wildest dreams.I was fully prepared to watch from the sidelines and cheer her on with this special holiday. By sliding over and making room for me she gave back a small sliver of my heart that I handed over four years ago. Her greatest dreams and desires in life are to be a mother. I know how much she treasures her role. For her to honor me is redeeming, sacrificial, and shows her love for B. What else do you need in a mother?
Ashley: I am surprised more by a progression rather than a particular blog. Amber’s idea of Mother’s Day and me has slowly evolved into a shared day between us. It started out with recognizing me on “Birth Mom’s Day,” which made me so happy to be thought of! Over the past couple years, Amber has progressed to honoring me on Mother’s Day. Any recognition is over and above, but sharing the spotlight with me is overwhelming. I have come to understand that being a Mommy is so very special to her and then she goes and shares her day with me!
Amber’s capacity to love takes her relationships the extra mile even when it is not asked of her, in all areas of her life. I have this idea that in the adoption world the role of Mommy is so coveted and protected that the Birth Mom thing is often seen as a threat. To put it simply, this makes Amber a weirdo, a pioneer, a shining light. I couldn’t love her more for it. Knowing that she reads what I write makes me want to fully express my appreciation for her because my words, face to face, always fall short of what I am trying to say…mostly because I blubber and can’t function.
If a reader were going to read just one post on Amber’s blog, which would you choose?
Amber: Our most recent post together. It’s short and simple and perfectly describes our family built together through open adoption.
Ashley: The post by Amber I would recommend is “What is openness in adoption to you” because it is such a simple but powerful description of our family from her eyes. As for something I’ve written—I would say “Birth MomBoogeyman” because it touches on a common fear for birth moms that is not always expressed.
If you could go back to the beginning of your adoption experience and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
Amber: I was sharing recently with a friend who was struggling with infertility, how I felt like I couldn’t handle the emotions of the infertility process any longer. That I felt like we were meant to adopt, and I do still feel that way. But I had no idea what an overwhelming emotional process adoption is and continues to be. It’s not something that ends when you finally have your baby. In our case with our son, we were sent on an emotional journey that rocked us to the core and is still overwhelming to think about. I guess I would say, HOLD ON, you definitely do not have the strength to handle what you are about to go through, and the only way you will survive is through God’s grace. Adoption is not the easy route. It’s rewarding and has amazing parts of it, but it is also has difficult parts that will continue to be for the rest of your lives.
Ashley: I would tell myself “Don’t panic! The heart of life is good.” Life has thrown me a few fastballs in the past. The idea of adoption and placing my son seemed like it was going to be the final strike for me. But I have come to believe that Divine Intervention always steps in and orchestrates when innocent lives and sacrifices are involved. I could not have dreamed a better situation for my son or myself. All I wanted was for my son to be loved, safe, secure, and in a functioning family. I was prepared to sacrifice my desires and involvement for this. But God out did himself, life redeemed itself, and we hit that final pitch out of the park. It is certainly not always skipping through fields of daisies hand in hand. Amber and I have had to establish roles and work on our balancing act. Nothing worth having is easy. There is a spectacular beauty in open adoption that sprouts from compromise, openness, and sacrifice. I am not Mommy. Amber is not Birth Mom. But our common ground is made of rock and builds a foundation that can withhold the questions, disapproval, feelings of rejection, and whatever else is coming our little family’s way.
Thank you so much to Ashley and Amber for answering our questions! You can check out past interviews with other bloggers from the Open Adoption Bloggers blogroll here including two other birth mom/adoptive mom pairs: Erica and Rebecca and Rebekah and Rebekah. Have a blogger you’d like to see us interview? Let us know!
About the author:
A mother by open adoption, Heather Schade is the founder and editor of Open Adoption Bloggers. She writes at Production, Not Reproduction.