South Dakota

South Dakota recently passed legislation that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQIA couples. It passed, 43-20-7.

I know there are people in the world today who have very different opinions about the community than I do, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to share with you my feelings and opinions about the bill that SD has passed.


 

I talked with my sister about this and she said, “I wish this was something no one had to feel any way about because I wish it wasn’t a thing that happened.” And that’s how I feel about it too. But as a birthmom, maybe I have stronger feelings than someone who doesn’t know the adoption process or have any connection to it.

I feel that adoption should be available to anyone who wants to expand their family that way, LGBTQIA couples included. I honestly don’t understand why people would say that they’re not worthy of being able to adopt. It pains me to think that. LGBTQIA couples can be amazing parents, just like heterosexual couples.

Why are they different? To me, they’re not.

When I chose the family to place my daughter, I felt it that they were right. It wouldn’t have happened with the agency we used, but if the family I fell for had been part of the LGBTQIA community, it wouldn’t have mattered. At all. I knew they were right because I just felt it in my heart and my gut.

But South Dakota passing this bill that legally allows discrimination against these couples is preventing prospective birthmoms from having that same moment when looking through profiles as they just connect and know they’re right. It’s forcing couples to go through lawyers, which can be more expensive and take more time and effort.

I have a good friend, Courtney of Living Queer, who is part of the LGBTQIA community, so I asked them a few questions.

Q: As part of the LGBTQIA community, would you and your partner consider adoption?
       A: Yes we would

Q: Because you can technically pass as female, would you make it known to the agency that you are an LGBTQIA couple or would you fear discrimination and not tell?
       A: I honestly would probably fear discrimination and not tell unless I had continued my transition and couldn’t pass anymore


 

In doing more research, I’ve discovered that other states (Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia) have similar bills that allow discrimination without fear of retribution. I wasn’t aware of this, and it bothers me. I live in one of those states.

It will also allow agencies to discriminate against single and divorced people, couples who engage in premarital sex, interfaith couples, and anyone else whose behavior or identity violates an agency’s “religious belief or moral conviction.”

Sen. Alan Solano is a Republican from Rapid City. He wrote the bill with help from a staff member of Catholic Social Services. They are an agency who will only place infants with couples who are opposite sex, married at least two years, and unable to conceive children on their own, among other requirements.


 

I don’t know why I thought that this was something new, or that similar things hadn’t already happened in other states, but even days/weeks later, it makes me upset. I hate the idea that there are couples out there who are being denied the chance to adopt. There are so many couples (straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, of differing faiths, it doesn’t matter) who are wanting to adopt, but there are these rules that are preventing them from doing so with certain agencies.

And yes, I understand that there are other ways to adopt than private agencies. But that could require going through the state foster system, and that can cause more stress than necessary.

Yes, every child deserves a loving home, but some couples just don’t have it in them to handle the foster system. Especially if the child is older and can go back to their case worker and say they don’t like the family they’re with. That may be something the couple isn’t emotionally ready to face.

Self Care Ideas

  • Unplug for an hour
  • Take a quick nap (10-20 min)
  • Write out your thoughts
  • Splurge a little
  • Have a self date (an hour alone doing something that nourishes you)
  • Take a home spa
  • Do one thing a day just because it makes you happy
  • Activate your self-soothing system
  • Check in with your emotions
  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Deep condition your hair
  • Apply a face mask
  • Turn off your phone
  • Escape with a TV show
  • Light a candle
  • Paint your nails
  • Color
  • Write in a journal
  • Have your favorite dessert
  • Take a deep breath and put things into perspective
  • Go for a drive
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Read a book
  • Wear comfy clothes
  • Watch your favorite show/movie

Open Letter to Prospective Birthmother

Hey there love,

I know things right now are scary. I’ve been in your shoes. I know how you feel.

You’re afraid of judgement on your situation. You’re afraid your child will grow up and hate you for placing them. You might be afraid that the adoptive parents will break their promises down the road.

I heart stories about all kind of different ways adoptions turned out. I know there is no way to predict how things will go down the road, so all you can ready do is hope for the best.

My daughter was placed when she was ten days old. Her parents didn’t have any kids before, so we’re all navigating open adoption for the first time together. But now I want to share some things I’ve learned along the way.

If your adoption agency allows you to have a hand in choosing the family to place your child with, do it. It can be overwhelming, but I highly suggest following your gut. You’ll know the right family when you see them.

When you go into labor and deliver your baby, there will be lotsof emotions. You may cry, and that’s totally okay. See your baby when you feel ready. Don’t let anyone rush you or tell you you shouldn’t.

Take pictures of your baby. Take pictures of you together. Send them to the adoptive parents if you can. Those moments with him/her in the hospital are precious memories. Having those pictures and memories are a help when you’re having a bad day – or at least they are for me.

Don’t be afraid of the social worker who comes in while you’re in the hospital. It’s standard procedure, and they want to make sure you weren’t pressured into choosing adoption for your child.

You are not less of a person because of the choice you made to place. I know you might feel that way, but I promise you are still such an amazing person. Do not let anyone make you feel bad about the decision you made.

You are giving the family you choose such an amazing gift. You are giving them a baby! You are gaining a new family through your child’s adoption. Enjoy your new life to come!

xoxo
Katy

Talking

This is actually an entry in my journal from today:


My mood seems to be kind of all over the place lately. I go back to my psych on Friday, and I’m thinking we may need to up my Zoloft from 50mg to 75mg. It’ll really be up to her though, even though she really does listen to me and take my feelings/opinions into consideration when making medication decisions. Whcih is a totally different approach than the previous two psychiatrist I had. I’m very grateful for the difference, but it’s taken some adjusting to.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that I never really felt comfortable really opening up to doctors in the past, but it’s the opposite with her. I told her about my daughter, and she told me her sister adopted a child and has a relationship with the birthmohter. It’s like a small connection with her, and I like that. There wasn’t a hesitation when I would answer her questions. I felt like I could be completely honest without fear of harsh judgement.

The fear of harsh judgement actually comes from a psychologist/therapist I went to in the past. I told her that I had self-harmed (I’d cut myself), and she told me that depressed people don’t cut themselves. ONly people with distorted thinking patterns do that. I’d never really gotten along with her very well, so I took what she said as my breaking point and never went back to her again.

I also haven’t gone to another therapist or psychologist since then, and it’s been almost four years.

#AdoptionTalk – Navigating Open Adoption & My Feelings

 

It’s never an easy thing to navigate through open adoption, especially if it’s the first time for all involved.

My birth daughter’s adoptive parents and I are currently navigating our open adoption. We are always re-evaluating things as she grows up. For example, our visits for the first two years were lunches in restaurants. Then we realized that that wasn’t going to work since she was more active an independent. So our most recent visit also included letting her run around a play area in the mall.

Things will continue to change as she gets older, and that’s how it should be. What works now when she’s a toddler won’t be the same as whatever works when she’s eleven or twelve.

I’ve seen other open adoptions through social media that are very different from mine, but that’s the nature of the situation. Every adoption, every family, every birthmom, they all vibe differently and their structures vary.


I was originally scared of open adoption, and didn’t think that I wanted one. I had heard so many horror stories about adoptive parents who would go back on their word about updates and visits and communication. Leaving the birthmom or birthparents hurt and clueless and wondering what happened.

But now, two and a half years into my open adoption, I honestly love it. We don’t have one where we talk or see each other all the time. We get together twice a year. They send updates halfway between visits. If something major happens, I know I can email them and they’ll respond within a few days. I’ve done it when family members were very ill or passed away.

At this point, I couldn’t imagine if I had gone with a closed adoption. The pain of not knowing what my daughter looks like or who she’s growing up to be. It would be too much to bear.

I know that it’s not for everyone one, and that’s perfectly fine. But it is definitely something that I would encourage birthmoms to think about when making an adoption plan for their child.


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Click here to see the rest of the link-up

Brain Dump

  • There’s so much going on right now. Dad’s back to work this week after his knee surgery Jan 23.
  • I’m trying to form some kind of sleep schedule, but it’s not really working terribly well.
  • I’ve been running errands all over the place since dad’s surgery.
    Two of my favorite shows are now back on the air on Tuesday nights back to back – Switched at Birth and The Fosters.
  • I need to start reading another book soon. It’ll be my fifth or sixth one in 2017. I haven’t quite decided how I feel about the newest James Patterson mum and I picked up at Costco.
  • I was talking to Courtney about YouTube videos and blog posts. I’ve made a few videos in the past, but they were pretty crap. I think I want to start making some again, but I haven’t got a clue what kind of content it’d be. They suggested tag videos, so I’ve noted a couple that I wanna think about doing.
  • As for blog posts, I’m lacking ideas but I’m also lacking motivation. I’m hoping that watching my two shows again will spark something in me enough to start writing again – even if it’s just in my journal at first.
  • Watching Emmett be placed on a 5-day hold because he overdosed, and then be told that depression runs in his family, it struck a familiar chord with me. I know what it’s like to feel like something’s wrong but also be unable to explain it to anyone. To wonder if things are better off without you. It’s a scary thing to deal with, but unfortunately, I think most people with mental health diagnoses face those at sold point or another.
  • I need to finish my adoption talk blog link-up piece about navigating open adoption and get it posted ask I can participate and meet more birthmoms. I don’t know how well it’ll work out though cause I haven’t really planned for it.
  • Sitting in the vet’s office waiting for blood results for Magic. We don’t know if it’s senility or renal failure, but this will show us if it’s anything major. She’s 16, so whatever we do won’t be long-term.

Depression

I feel like I don’t have the right to complain that I’m tired. I haven’t even been awake for five and a half hours yet. I’ve done nothing that would make me tired. It’s just my depression that’s causing this. And I feel like that’s not a good enough reason to allow me to complain.

A couple nights ago my depression decided to tell me that everyone was just sticking around to be nice and eventually they’d all show their true colors and abandon me. I cried. I knew it wasn’t true, but nothing in me would let me believe anything but what the depression was telling me. It was awful.

And in gearing up to go do a third session at a training weekend with my adoption agency, I feel like all my emotions are surfacing and not going away. The feelings of shame and embarrassment projected from my dad. The grief from placing my daughter two and a half years ago.

But this training is also bringing back happier things too. The overwhelming love the first time I held my daughter in my arms in the hospital. The amazing calm I felt the first time I met the couple I’d chosen as her parents. The smiles all the pictures of her elicit. The heartwarming little hugs from her when we visit every six months.

But this depression isn’t just all the adoption emotions. There’s more to it than that.

It’s the overwhelming feeling that no one cares.
It’s being ready for bed at 8:15, but knowing that you didn’t do anything to make you that tired.
It’s knowing that these feelings aren’t real, but being unable to deny them.
It’s wanting to cry at any point and not knowing why.
It’s no longer caring about the things you used to love and enjoy.
It’s isolating yourself away from everyone, including your family.
It’s sitting on your bed indecisive about what to do because you’re going numb.
It’s not sleeping at night.
It’s sleeping all through the morning and waking up at five minutes till noon.

The list could go on, but I’m going to stop there. This is just a little insight into what’s been going on in my head the last week or so.