Emily Morehead, LPC, is joined by two amazing women on this special episode of the reFRAMED Podcast where we unpack and reframe birth parent identity. Muthoni placed her child for adoption in 2016. Katie placed her child for adoption in 2010.
At Gladney, we believe every child needs a place to call home and people to call family. Forever. Together, we can ensure children have permanent, loving, and caring families, because every child deserves them.
Muthoni and Katie chose adoption for their children. Each utilized the assistance and services of Gladney to make individual placement plans.
Society has some stigmas around who a birth parent is, why someone would choose to place their child for adoption. These stigmas can write a story that is not the birth parent's story. As Megan Devine says, "joy and pain can coexist". Adoption is beautiful and families are made, and it is born out of loss.
On the flip side, there is loss. You have to acknowledge the pain to see the beauty. Muthoni acknowledges that therapy is hard and makes you vulnerable. Katie grew up going to counseling and as a child wasn't able to process the benefits that counseling brings to her life. Today, she can see the positives of acknowledging things that are coming up in her life and how she can work through them.
Muthoni's employer walked through her pregnancy with her and made sure that she was off for appointments, etc. She thought it would be awhile before she shared about her daughter with her boyfriend, but she found herself sharing that very soon in their relationship and was pleased how supportive he was.
Katie as an adoptive child, is very open with her friends. Her family, of course, is very pro-adoption. She found it interesting that she has heard more hateful comments from men than anyone else. It is really difficult when she starts that conversation in the dating scene because she is waiting for the negative comments to start pouring out. It's really difficult to be brave and say "this is my story". Knowing that situations in her life didn't happen by chance and that her story has meaning, and that's why she chooses to share it.
"Never should a birth parent be shamed for what she chose to do -- what she found best for her and her child." ~ Katie
Because Katie has experienced negative and hateful comments about her choice to place her child for adoption, she tries to share that part of herself as quickly as possible when dating someone so that knows that they can support her story upfront. Katie believes that transparency is so important in adoption because she doesn't get to live side-by-side with her daughter but she still knows that Katie did everything for her. Placing her daughter was all for her daughter. Her identity as a birth mother has evolved as her grief has evolved.
- Muthoni's life after placement
- She shares that she's a birth parent with everyone in her social circle.
- Muthoni saw life after placement as a second chance to do something with her life.
- She has chosen to share her adoption story with others through speaking engagements.
- She didn't allow herself a place to grieve for awhile. Now through counseling, she is able to talk more honestly about her story and the grief behind it. She finally feels that she is able to be more self-aware of the grief, anger, and sadness of placing her child.
- Through growth and therapy, Muthoni is able to acknowledge situations around her that might be a trigger for sadness and grief.
- Life after placement for Katie
- Pride in being a birth mother and an adoptee.
- At the beginning, Katie was in a huge state of denial.
- As an adoptee, she felt that she had it all under control and that she didn't need to go through the cycle of grief that placing her child brought.
- Through counseling, she has been able to look at the trauma and has been able to be okay with working through her different emotions.
- Katie's grief is not consistent and comes in waves. One of her triggers is going to the OB/GYN and seeing happy couples in the waiting room. She finds it bittersweet. She doesn't regret her placement, but she also grieves it.
We are so thankful for Katie and Muthoni to share their stories, their grief, and their vulnerability.
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Gladney birth parents can reach out to our Post Adoption Department
Listen to this bonus Podcast episode now.
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