The holidays are a time filled with family, friends, love and gratitude. For birth parents who chose adoption, however, the holidays can also be quite difficult. Kayla, a birth mother who placed her daughter for adoption through Adoptions With Love, wants you to know that it is completely normal to grieve. But above all, she says, try to remember that you provided the best possible life for your child. Below Kayla shares her story in hopes it will empower other birth mothers this holiday season.
Can you give readers a little background on your adoption story?
My adoption story began February 13,2016. I woke up in the morning feeling crampy, but nothing out of the ordinary, and went on with my day. As the day went on, the cramping got worse and by 6:00pm I was driving myself to the hospital with the idea of my appendix bursting. As I entered the ER, an appendix bursting was what I wish I was hearing instead of the words, “sweetie you are in Labor.”
How could I be pregnant, I thought to myself, I’ve had no signs and I’ve lost weight. Nothing was adding up and I began to panic. The next few hours are all a blur, as nurses and doctors rushed around to save the baby. I fought with them saying they were wrong and there was absolutely no way this was correct. At 1:15am, my beautiful baby girl entered the world at six pounds. The happiest and scariest moment of my life. More panic set in as I held her in my arms.
Do I keep her, and struggle as a single mom? Or do I make an adoption plan and give her a chance at an amazing life, one that I was unable to provide for her at the time?
The tears, support, and comfort that swarmed my hospital room over the next 5 days was mind-blowing, from nurses who themselves made adoption plans in the past, to people over hearing my story and coming in for a shoulder to lean on and try to give me advice. I made my decision to make an adoption plan and the first struggle came: I had to pick a family.
The best advice I got was from a nurse who was by my side the entire time. Simple but stuck with me. One night around 3 or 4am I was in hysterics with family profiles spread all over my bed, the floor, just a mess – and she came in, hugged me. and just simply said, “Kayla, I promise you when you find your family you will know. Everything will make sense and you will not think twice about it. You will just know.” At first, I didn’t believe her and continued my melt down until the next morning. I was brought in one more book and everything started to make perfect sense – they were the family. They were everything I wanted and more!
Do you have a relationship with your daughter’s adoptive family? If so, what’s that relationship like?
The relationship I have with my daughter’s adoptive family is unlike anything I could have imagined. During the process of deciding whether or not to go through with adoption, my main focus was to find a family who would be willing to have an open adoption. Many of the families I looked at did not want as much of an open adoption as I did, which is completely fine for other families, but for my daughter to go with a family, it had to be the perfect one.
From the moment I saw their book, I knew they were perfect and they have proved it over and over by going above and beyond for her, their family, and even mine! We’ve become one family celebrating birthdays and holidays together and a summer ending cookout.
February 21, 2016 was a day full of fear, excitement, second guessing, and every possible emotion combined into one. It was the day we met our family and signed the papers. Walking into the agency for the first time, I saw them standing in the office. The second we got a glance of each other there was not a dry eye in the room.
I then received a beautiful bracelet that day from the adoptive family, with my daughter’s birth stone in it. They told me how my daughter had the same one (obviously smaller) and when she was able to finally fit it, she’ll wear it to remind her of me. It was the most thoughtful thing and one of the only things I really remember from that day. We stay in contact with texts, constant pictures, doctor’s updates, even just little cute moments captured. We try to get together about every 3 months.
Is this your first holiday season as a birth mom, or have you experienced the holidays before?
This year will be my second holiday season. Last year was extremely difficult, but not as bad as I expected it to be. We got together during Christmas break to celebrate because most of us were off from work and school. Something memorable I look forward to is just being able to come together with both families. Normally, visits are just my mother and I and the adoptive family. During Christmas, they welcomed anyone we wanted to bring with open arms and it really made me so happy!
Last year, there were about 12 of us who got together to celebrate the holidays. This year, we will be doing the same thing. we have lunch catch up, take lots of pictures, and have the best time! So I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, especially because I haven’t seen them since August.
Do you have any holiday traditions you’ve created, or would like to create, with your daughter?
One thing growing up my grandmother did for me every year until she passed away was get me a Barbie Christmas ornament every year. It was something special to me and our special thing. My mom has done that with my daughter to start their special Christmas tradition every year! Which warms my heart.
Do you have any advice for other birth mothers on coping with grief during the holidays?
During the holidays, you most likely will have a very difficult time. For me, it’s the hardest time of the year and I won’t lie, I have days where I do nothing but cry throughout the day.
Though we don’t want to, it’s a very normal thing to feel this way.
My advice is to have someone you can talk to, whether a friend, family member, or even another birth mom to just let your feelings out. If you have an open adoption and can ask for a picture of your child to cheer you up, that has helped me also many times.
The main thing is to not second guess your decision. You provided the best possible life for your child and you have to take the good days with the bad.