*I have met so many amazing women during this journey. I have watched women blossom and heal and connect and find great peace in their life because of the amazing birth mom community that started this all! These women have become my soul sisters and have fought many battles by my side. I am honored today to share an amazing story, two birth moms from a very different generation of adoption and how they have survived these past years, how they came to find BTG and what this community has done to change their life forever! xo Ashley Mitchell
My name is Roanne and I am a Big Tough Girl!
I was 19 years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was informed by the doctors as I was trying to enlist in the NY Army National Guard. When I told my boyfriend at the time, we decided to look into abortion. When we went to the doctors office, I was told that I was at least four months along. Abortion was not an option. We talked about raising our unborn child together. We picked out names. When I was around seven months along, the birthfather announced to me that he was leaving. His parents gave him $300 to walk away and forget about us both. I was alone and terrified. I was heartbroken. I was losing my best friend. I moved home to my parents. My mom and I sat and talked about what I was going to do. My parents told me that it was my decision and they would support my decision....
A couple of months after I placed, I was living alone for the first time in my life. I was trying to work through my grief and depression. One night my whole world was turned upside down. As I came home from work and unlocked my door, my neighbor forced his way into my apartment. That night he raped me. I was devastated and felt more alone than I ever had. The very first people I thought to call were my birthson's parents. They called my parents for me. My mom showed up at my door with my black Great Dane and we called the cops together. For years I allowed him to take what strength I had left. I tried to allow myself to heal by burying it. It is still very hard for me to talk about.
A year later I allowed my demons to consume me. I attempted suicide. I slit my wrists because I didn't want to feel it anymore. I believed I couldn't handle the pain anymore. My best friend saved my life that night. She made me call and talk to a therapist that was offered through our work. My best friend also sat and reminded me how amazing of a person I am. I am thankful that she was there for me. She still reminds me every so often. I feel this helped me push to make my adoption the way it is. I needed the extra love and support and thankfully my birthson's family was willing to give me their love.
Being a birthmom is an emotional roller coaster. There are still triggers that I deal with. I suffered from depression in the beginning and hid it from my birthson and his family. They were my happy place and I didn't want them to know how much I hurt. Leaving after a visit was very hard in the beginning. I felt my heart break all over again. Over time it has become easier on me emotionally. I have discovered so many things about who I am. I found strength that I didn't know that I had until I needed it. In the beginning it was very hard for me to be a birthmom. I always thought of how they felt. I understood that they may feel threatened by me and did everything I could to show them how amazing they are as parents. I understood that I had to step back and was no longer a parent to the child. I never thought of my birthson as my son. Our relationship is very special....
My birthson is almost 17 years old. He is an amazing young man. His family is my family. I can't imagine my life without them. They are amazing. My birthson was the ring bearer at my wedding. He is a big brother to not only their other four children but to my youngest. We text every day. He is becoming one of my best friends. I treasure every moment with him and look forward to our time together. We have a special bond that we both treasure. His parents have done an amazing job raising him.
Over time my journey has become easier. There are still hard days, but I know I am not alone. I have an amazing support system. I belong to positive support groups. I have a special group of women that I call my sisters now. I have a wonderful extended family. We celebrate every Christmas Eve as a family. They have opened their home not only to myself and my parents, but to my siblings and in-laws. I am invited to all of their family gatherings and special events. I consider my open adoption my first marriage. It has taken a lot of hard work and time to build the relationship and trust with my chosen family. I can honestly say that I have never regretted my decision to place my birthson. I learned so much about who I am because of my journey. I am proud to be a birthmom. My only regret is that I didn't have his mom there for his birth. Having a successful open adoption is like having a successful marriage. You have to think of what is best for everyone. I always put their feelings before mine. It was hard and hurt at first. Now, it just comes naturally. They have done the same with me....
Open adoption taught me about unconditional love, not only of a child but of another family. My amazing family that I am blessed to have. I can never thank them enough for all their love and for the amazing job they have done. Seeing my birthson with my son is music to my soul. Seeing the love that they have for each other is amazing. Adoption is not an easy choice or journey. Do the research first. Know what you are going into. If you put the hard work in from all sides it can be amazing and beautiful. I'm proud to be a birthmom!
After 16 years of trying to navigate my journey as a birthmom with only a few close friends, my parents, and my birthsons family there to support me, I decided to look for support groups through Facebook. I found a few that I am a part of. I refuse to allow negativity into my life. The support groups I belong to are all encouraging, loving and supportive of me. We are always there to help each other when needed. Having others who understand your journey is amazing.
Hi my Name is Bridget. I have been a birthmom for 36 years. My journey starts in rural northern New York in 1977. I was a 17 yr old girl with a boyfriend who was in the military. I found myself pregnant in the spring of 77. Too afraid to tell my parents I waited until I was 5 months to tell them. Although my father deep down knew. My parents did not take the news well. In my generation teen pregnancy was to be ashamed of to be kept a secret. By the time I was 7 months along my boyfriend dumped me. One of the last things I ever heard from him was “you and the baby could die in labor. ”...
I had no where to turn, no idea what to do. You see I lived with an a alcoholic father and my mom had self commuted to a mental institution. My whole family was in turmoil. My father teld me I “could not bring that baby into his home.” I went to Social Services for help, but the only help they offered me was adoption. At first I was shocked! I wanted my baby. I kept thinking once I had the baby my boyfriend would come back to me. But as the pressure mounted at home and also from the social worker I decided adoption was my only choice....
My baby girl came into this world 8 weeks early. I was not prepared. My mom had just returned from the mental hospital 2 days before I had her. I held her every chance I had in the hospital. The day I left the hospital and left her there was the hardest day of my life! In my day the baby did not go to the adopting family until after a 30 day stay in a foster home. After I went home I wanted her so bad that finally my dad said I could go get her from hospital and bring her home. I was so excited! We went and got her....
The first thing my dad said to me when I walked in the house with her was “You have 2 weeks to get out of my house.” It was the middle of February and I had no placed to go. So after two days of listening to my parents fight and my Dad telling I had to get out, I knew I was defeated. I knew I could not raise this baby alone or in the dysfunctional house that I lived in. So on the second day I called my caseworker to come and get her. That was February 25,1978. It was the last time I ever saw her....
In my generation you never talked about the baby you had and gave up. I had family members and friends who never even knew I had a baby. I had signed the papers and let her go. For 33 years I lived in shame and guilt never telling people I was a birth mom. I was ashamed of being a birth mom....
Fast forward 33 years. That is when Becky form helpusadopt.org came into my life. She was was able to take away all the years of shame and guilt. She helped me see the pride and courage that it took for me to sign those papers relinquishing my parental rights to my daughter. She was able to change my whole life in more ways than one. If we fast forward again another 2 years, that is when Becky introduced me to Susan. Little did I know that my whole world was going to change again. Susan is a search angel that helps birth moms find children they placed for adoption. I had never heard of a search angel before.
On a Sunday in late sept of 2013 I had an hour conversation with Susan on the phone. Her last words to me were “It may take some time Bridget but, I will find your girl.” Even after we hung up I knew she would never find her. I knew that NYS records were sealed never to be opened. So, you can imagine my surprise when exactly one week later my phone rang and it was Susan with 3 questions:
“What county is Massena in?”
I said “St.Lawrence County.”
“What county Is Norwood / Norfolk in?”
Again I said ”St.Lawrence County.”
“Where is Brasher Falls.”
Once more I answered ”St.Lawrence County.”
The next sentence changed my life forever! “Bridget, your Daughter lives in Brasher Falls.” That was only 50 minutes away from me. I was floored. Susan wouldn’t give me her name. She had called and left messages for my daughter but my daughter hadn’t called Susan back yet. Susan wanted to explain everything to my girl since the search angel normally breaks the news. The best news Susan gave me was that my girl had searched for me for 5 years. That gave me hope. The next day my girl still hadn’t called Susan, so Susan gave me all the info that she had found. My first step was to get on Facebook and just look at her. “Oh my Heavens she looks just like me.” At 4 pm that night I called and she picked up. My words went something like this:
“Hi I am Bridget. I am not a tell a marketer. This is a serious call.” She said “Yes what is it?” I said “I am your Birthmom.” She said “shut the —- up.” Then she kept saying “How do you know,” so I kept repeating her birthdate, her weight, and height. Then I said “I took you home for two days.” She then got silent and said “That is the only fact we ever had. Mom took me home for two days.”
Two hours later we where standing in a Pizza Hut Parking lot in Canton N.Y. hugging. We have not let go yet. We just celebrated our first anniversary and I will never let go again. We are one of the lucky ones because we got our happy ending. We have each other back.
BRIDGET AND ROANNE JOIN BTG.
These women came to find us in different ways but we have been SO blessed in our group because of them. These women never shared their story, they had never met up with another birth mom and they had never been able to openly share about adoption and what it has meant to them. Through our community all of this has become possible. THEY have showed up, they have done the work in their life, they continue to participate, take our classes, create opportunities to meet-up, share gifts and support for each other and have blossomed in their own strength and have let go of so much that has kept them stuck. I am so honored to call these women my friend. I am so honored to stand with them not only as a Birth Mother but as a Big Tough Girl. Reading their following words about BTG and what it means to them brings me to tears. xo Ashley Mitchell.
From Roanne: I spent the first 16 years of my journey searching for women who knew how I felt. Who could truly understand the emotions and loss. I had support from a few members of my family and one dear friend, but none of them could fully comprehend my decision. I decided to do a search on Facebook for birth mother support groups and there was BTG. I joined and am thankful every day that I did. This community is absolutely amazing! We all have our own stories but we are there for each other no matter what.
After about a year in the group I knew I wanted to meet birth moms who I had grown close to that lived within a few hours of me. I contacted Bridget and we decided to meet at a local mall. I was nervous as I always am meeting someone for the first time. When I saw Bridget though and we hugged, I felt as though I had always known her. I was comfortable and relaxed. It was a wonderful afternoon together.
BTG means so much to me. It is a place where I truly feel I belong. I am building new friendships everyday. I know I can brag about my birth son or just open up when I am feeling down. It is the first place that I felt comfortable to open up and share my story. I found my courage and my voice through BTG. All of my BTG sisters are amazing women who I hold very close to my heart.
I love you all!
From Bridget: In the fall of 2013 I reunited with my 35 year old Birth daughter. The first few months where like a.honeymoon. Then reality set in. And I found myself struggling with many issues long since buried. Becky who was instrumental in helping me find my girl called to check on me one day and I told her I was struggling. She is the one who once again helped save me. She told me about BIB and my World changed yet again. Through BIB I found BTG.
It took 35 yrs for me to find women who walk my journey. Who knew what I feel. It was truly amazing. I felt like I became part of a sisterhood. Someplace I truly belong. The first major effect BTG had on me was 1 word. Placed. You see for 36 yrs I have given up.. To me it meant I gave up on her, I gave up on me. Ashley and BTG taught me. I never gave up. I was strong and brave and I Placed my baby girl with Love.
Then I posted a question in BTG asking if there was any BTG sisters from NYS. And that how I met Roanne. We started chatting every now and then. I think what drew me to Roanne was the wonderful working open adoption she has. My generation of adoption was closed sealed and never to be talked about. But the more we chatted the more I realized what a special bond we have. Ro has taught me so much. She has helped me grow so much. So we decided we had to meet. As we only live a few hours apart. To finally meet and be able to sit across from each other and share our stories and not just about Adoption but about our lives in general was amazing. I feel such a sisterhood with Roanne. BTG and MY BTG Sisters have changed me. I finally belong. I finally I am understood...
If you are birth mom, no matter what stage you are in your journey please contact us. We love you and we are here to support you!