Thursday, November 6, 2014

Speaking from my heart!


When I was a little girl we spent a lot of time outside. There were no video games or cable TV. We entertained ourselves with bicycles, bugs, dirt, and games of tag and hop scotch. I remember many times being outside and seeing a dust devil and chasing it in hopes of being able to get inside of it and see how it felt. I was actually successful a couple times. They never lasted long, but when I was inside of them I could feel the wind whirling around me and the little dust pellets hitting my cheeks. The whirling and twisting wind felt funny as it pulled my clothes and then it was gone just as quickly as it came.

If I could describe my life in one word it would be "whirlwind." Whirlwinds are winding, twisty, fast, unpredictable, dirty and sometimes destructive. Because of the "nature" of my life, I think I have become accustom to the constant and unpredictable changes that have occurred throughout my years and I'm feeling unsettled. The only way I can describe the way I feel is for you to imagine yourself in an empty room surrounded by windows. Outside the windows is a HUGE meadow filled with all kinds of wild flowers just calling out for someone to run through them. Your standing in the middle of this room surrounded by windows and no door. You so badly want to get out of the room and run through this beautiful meadow but you cant because there is no way out. The windows represent my fear of what "might" happen in the future despite the fact that my present is secure. I can not allow myself to be fully happy because I am not sure if what I have right now will last.

In 2010 I started a journey...a personal journey to get healthy inside and out. I had a lot of weight to loose and I had a lot of emotional baggage to sort through. I have lost 130 pounds and I have about 39 pounds left to loose but my emotional journey is not over. I LONG to be healthy on the inside and I cant wait for the day that I will be able to let myself be free to be completely happy, and run through that "beautiful meadow" with my shoes off and my face to the wind. Fortunately, I have my faith in God keeping me grounded. When I reach an emotional low I listen to this song and this song over and over again. They calm me.

Lately I feel like the relationships in my life need some attention. For so long I have focused only on the things in front of me (usually those things have been pure chaos), and not enough on the relationships that matter the most. My relationship with my husband is strong and I am so grateful for that. I pray every day that the Lord blesses me this time with a LONG and lasting marriage...I love him so much and I don't want to loose him. My relationships with my children are the ones I feel have suffered. When you are a single mom with so many small children you go into survival mode. I made sure they were fed, and clothed, and went to school. I made sure I hugged and kissed them before bed and then I would take my weary emotionally tired body and sleep, only to do it all again the next day. I don't feel like I nurtured my children emotionally and many nights I would go to bed feeling so guilty and asking myself.....Did I hug them enough? Did I talk to them enough? Did I love them enough? I had so much guilt.

Now my kids are older. My oldest is 18 and my youngest (my sweet birth son, Tyrus) is five. I am trying so hard to make up for lost time even with sweet Tyrus. As many know I gave him up for adoption five years ago. I remember before he was born I vowed to myself that I would write him one letter a month for his first year of life and then after that I would write at least one letter every six months or so. I have literally FAILED at communicating very much with him. I really do beat myself up over it. How could I fail at such a simple task? If it wasn't for Tyrus's mother Rebekah, I don't know how much we would talk. She lets him call me and no matter how busy I think I am with the other four kids I have at home I always make sure to answer his phone calls. He is always so happy to talk to me.

In an effort to improve the relationships in my life I have tried very hard to make more phone calls and send more letters. I pat myself on the back for calling my grandma(lovingly called Nana) on her birthday last week. This was unusual for me and I was proud of myself for putting forth the effort to nurture my relationship with her.

About a month ago I made a video (you can watch it here) for Tyrus telling him that I was going to send him some seeds from my pumpkin patch so he could grow his own pumpkin patch from MY pumpkin patch next year. He was THRILLED to get this message from me. I thought it would be a great way to link my life with his in an unusual way. I went a little crazy though and decided to dry seeds from all my favorite foods and send them to him. I was so proud of myself for pulling this off. Two days ago I sent him his seeds. Here are some pictures of what I sent him.
 I made sure to write a special letter.
I turned 39 on October 19th. My goals this year are to get down to my goal weight of 150 (I have 39.2 pounds left, you can follow my weight loss journey here,) to get healthy inside so that I don't live in fear of what the future holds, and to nurture these relationships that I feel I have left behind. I believe we were created to have relationships...the things of this world will pass away some day but the people we love are lasting.









Thursday, October 30, 2014

Its time to prepare to say good bye to your brother: An article on adoption...



 As many of you know I am writing articles for an adoption agency relating to birth mother topics and adoption. Here is my latest article: 

Title: How to tell your children that you are giving or have given one of their siblings up for adoption.

Hello my name is Rebekah. I'm a 39-year-old birth mom to a five-year-old little boy named Tyrus.
When I became pregnant with my birth son, it wasn't until I was in the ninth week of pregnancy that I fully decided upon adoption. He was not my first child; in fact he was my fifth child. I had already gone through all the emotions involved in actually deciding to give my baby up for adoption, my challenge came in a different form, and that was telling my other four children that I had chosen to relinquish their brother, to adoption. At the time they were ages three, nine, twelve and fourteen. They knew I was pregnant, they knew that what was inside of my belly was a baby and, they knew the baby inside my belly was there brother. I knew this was not going to be something I could handle alone.

The plans went into action. I collaborated with my children's therapist, her name was Karen.  They loved her and they trusted her and I knew she would be able to help me.

Karen and I decided to wait a few weeks and then we would schedule a therapy appointment that included me and all the children with Karen. I was not looking forward to telling the children, they enjoyed watching my belly grow, and they would put their hands on my growing belly and feel the baby moving and kicking.
I tried to prepare myself as best as I could but when the day finally came and we walked into the room, sat down, and told the children that I had something very important to tell them. I couldn't stop the tears, they came before my words could. I managed to somehow get the words out and tell them that we couldn't keep the baby. I told them that I had picked out a different family for their brother, and they would have to prepare themselves to say goodbye.
The children looked stunned, confused, and a little bit like they didn't know what I was talking about. Three of the children seem to understand after discussing the subject more, but the second to the oldest one had not stopped crying since the words came out of my mouth. She was devastated and I didn't know how to comfort her. We left the therapy appointment that day sad. I expected that, now my job was to help them process the emotions of the up and coming events.

Fast forward five years.

I wanted to write this article because it has been five years since I relinquished my baby to adoption. My Birth son is five years old now and my other children are five years older as well. What I have noticed was that the effects of the adoption were lingering, and my children, although seemingly well-prepared, had to deal with the emotions of giving their brother up for adoption for years. It would break my heart every time they brought up the subject, and I knew I couldn't change anything I just had to let them grieve and process through their feelings. It took time but I can honestly say that my kids have accepted the situation. The most meaningful moment I've had in a long time came when my oldest daughter, now 18, and I were having a conversation about my Birth son. Even though I've told her hundred times, I told her again that I was sorry, sorry that I gave away her brother. She looked at me and the words that came out of her mouth caused me to cry on the spot. She said "mom, I believe everything happens for reason, and I believe Tyrus is with the family he is supposed to be with." I knew in that moment that she had grown to accept the pain of the past, and she was right, things do happen for a reason and Tyrus fits so perfectly inside of his family.

Life always throws curve balls, and none of us are immune to it. My daughter’s words that day told me that life goes on, people heal, and there's nothing we can't get through as humans because we are strong.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My birthday tattoo and what it represents!



Having children after placing a child for adoption...




Five years ago, as most of you know,  I made the very hard but responsible choice to give my fifth baby up for adoption, leaving me with just the four children I had chosen to parent. Going through the adoption process left me in a whirlwind of emotions as a mom. On one hand I felt like I made the best choice I could for my newborn because instead of living a life in daycare and full of custody disputes I had given him a chance at wholeness.  On the other hand I didn’t know where that left me as a mom.  What If I got remarried? What if my new husband wanted to have more kids? Did I deserve to have more kids? After all I just gave one away right? 

I chose not to date for a period of time after I had my birth son. I felt I needed time to heal and process all the events of the last nine months.  For about two years I just spent time with my kids and allowed my heart to settle. That’s when I met my husband. I didn’t expect to meet someone so soon but it happened and he fit so well into my life that I fell in love with him. 

We had such a special relationship. I loved him so much but I was having a very difficult time with the fact that he had three kids and they were very young. There was a battle going on in my head. I didn’t know if I was worthy or even allowed to have more kids. Wasn’t there some kind of written rule that someone who gave their child up for adoption shouldn’t have more? I was so confused and scared. There was no rule book or instruction book on this subject. How was I going to figure this out? I didn’t want to lose him…he was my answer to prayer. 

We dated for several months and our kids loved each other and our our love grew as well. The more time we spent together the more I started to become more comfortable with the growing feeling that I was about to be a new mom to three more kids, but I kept asking myself “Is this OK?...Am I allowed to be doing this?”

I think every birth mom will face the situation I was in. I am so glad that during this time I had a good support team to help me though this difficult emotional challenge I had in front of me. In my mind I just didn’t feel worthy to be parenting any more kids since I chose not to parent my son.  What I discovered after much prayer and council was that I was worthy. I was capable and I was allowed to have more kids. I discovered that there are moments in our lives that we have to make hard decisions, but that those moments do not define our future. 

Today I am happily married to a wonderful man. I do have eight kids….seven I parent….one I do not…but that is OK because I am just in another “moment” in my life. Things change, people grow, life evolves.

Friday, October 17, 2014

After writing my story......


After my birth son was born and I was starting to just get re-adjusted to my new "normal," I started thinking about what I had just been through. The tragedy of the situation was all over my life physically and emotionally. It was literally a process to just get through each day and start feeling normal again.

The good news is I did start to feel normal again. As the years passed I was able to loose a lot of weight, get a job, and feel human again. Today I feel like my life is steady. I longed for steady for so many years and even though I know that can change at the drop of a dime...it feels good to say that I am happy.

Five years have come and gone since my sweet birth son was born. Ive continued to blog on and off over these years, mostly about my children I have chosen to parent, but a little about the adoption. It hasn't been until recently when I told my complete adoption story here , that I started to realize that I did have a voice. It was apparent that my story was important to share and that someone could benefit from all my sadness and then of course from the beauty of it as well.

About a week ago I received a random email from a man from an adoption agency. The email basically asked if I wanted to collaborate with other birth moms writing articles on different subjects involved with adoption and being a birth mother. These articles would be posted on the agencies blog as well as other adoption related blogs.  I had received a few of these requests before and although I was eager to partner up with other birth moms to do this I never received an answer from these other agencies and nothing came from it. Thinking that this would be the same situation as before I sent a quick email to this gentleman telling him that I would be happy to be involved in such a wonderful cause. Again, I didn't expect to hear from him.....but I did. The same day he sent me a list of subjects to write about and asked me to pick one and submit it.

There were only a few rules that he explained to me in the email. He said that the article had to be on one of the subjects he sent to me and it had to be 400 words or more. That sounded reasonable so I picked a subject and set out writing. This was going to be fun. I was so excited to be part of something that might help out another sweet birth-mother to be.

The article I chose to write was titled: Why open adoption is better for everyone involved. And here is what I wrote.


Hello! My name is Rebekah. I am 39 years old and I am a mom to five wonderful children. Four of those children I chose to parent, and my fifth child I chose not to parent. My birth son is now five years old so I write this article with quite a bit of perspective on the subject of open adoption.

In my ninth week of pregnancy I started to consider adoption. It was such a foreign word to me and I didn’t know much about it. I did know that I had questions that had to be answered before I was to fully commit to placing my sweet baby up for adoption. One of the questions that had to be answered was, “Would my baby have any emotional damage in later years if I put him up for adoption?” I was very concerned about how he would feel about his life and the choices I was about to make for him.

So I set out to answer this question.



The first thing I did was look up the definition of adoption. That should help right?



According to Wikipedia.org, the definition of adoption is as follows: Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, In doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, from the biological parent or parents. 



Sigh!!



 That’s not what I was looking for. I needed something more personal…I needed to talk to someone who had been adopted. You can always read books and articles but I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen to my baby if I gave him up for adoption. What was he going to feel when he was fifteen or twenty or thirty? What damage will I cause to him by doing this if any at all. So I scowered the internet looking for anyone who was adopted who would talk to me.  I found what I was looking for. 



I spoke to several people who had been adopted…and I got the same answer from all of them. It usually went something like this. “Ive actually had a great life. My adoptive parents were always kind to me and I had a wonderful childhood….but….Im sad that I don’t know where I came from.”



A bell went off in my head. These people did NOT have bad lives…in fact they had very fulfilling lives but there was one thing that was missing…ROOTS!! Everyone wants to know where they came from. The sadness that these people were describing to me was something I could solve for my son if I gave him up for adoption. If…I went with adoption it would have to be open…very open. I didn’t want him to ever wonder where he came from. So when the time came to make my decision it was easy. I had my proof, and open adoption was my choice and I am so glad I did. My birth son is five years old now and we have a wonderful open relationship. He asks me questions (yes at five years old he is very inquisitive) and I am able to answer them honestly. My son will grow up never wondering where he came from. I hope as the years pass I am able to continue this open relationship with my birth son and his family.



Open adoption has helped me in more ways than one. I have four other children ages 8-18. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to tell my children they were going to have to say good-bye to their brother. Open adoption gave them the opportunity to always stay in contact with their youngest brother despite the fact that he was part of another loving family.



 My son will grow up never wondering where he came from. I thank God for open adoption.



Thank you for reading,

Rebekah Bancroft

http://wheredoibegain.blogspot.com/

You can find the published article here

I attached it in a word document and emailed it over. I hoped they would like it. I really don't see myself as a good writer. I write from my heart and that's all I can offer really. 

The same day I received an email from the agency saying that they LOVED the article and asked where they could submit the payment? PAYMENT? I didn't know there was payment involved. I was so excited. Not only was I getting the pleasure of using my voice and my story to help other people but I was getting paid to do it. What a dream. 

Two days later they emailed me back and said they would like me to write another article. There are no words that explain how honored I am to be able to do this. I hope that someone, somewhere, read my story and finds hope and encouragement.