The Hardest Decision a Mother Must Make: Giving a Child up for Adoption
Welcome to “Healing From Within.” I am your host Sheryl Glick author of the newest book in a trilogy A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening which shows us that our challenges are not economic political societal but often a disconnect from our inner wisdom or soul being and that understanding our dual nature as both spiritual and physical beings leads to healing, peace, and acceptance of all hardships. Today I welcome Hope O. Baker is the author of Finding Hope as she shares the story of an Open Adoption along with the pain and depression that followed that choice even though she knew it was the very best choice for everyone concerned, until she found a way back to the light. Hope offers solace to the many young women who are unable to care for a newborn but love them and wish them the best life possible.
As listeners of “Healing From Within” have come to expect over the years Sheryl and her guests share intimate stories and insights into the human condition and the situations that lead us past sorrow trauma doubt to a greater awareness of our true human/divine nature and the reasons we experience situations that seem daunting but eventually help us to grow in mind body and spirit. We are complicated human and energetic beings and have a life plan and destiny specifically designed by our souls before we enter a physical life and we can triumph no matter what difficulties we have deemed necessary to take on in this life.. That is the truth!
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” Hope Baker shares the details of her earlier life having an abortion while in High School and the adoption process she chose when she got pregnant in college and how it affected her and her family and friends. Hope learned that no matter what stage or type of parenting experience one has there are shared moments that are relevant to all of us. She shares how messy and chaotically beautiful adoption can be and her struggle and how the community can help you rebuild your life.
When Hope is asked to think back to her childhood and remember a person place event that might have signaled to them or others the values life path and interests they would pursue as an adult she immediately tells us of a teacher she had when she was ten years old who told her she would never make it to college and was not up to par. Sheryl as a former elementary school teacher for a short time in her earlier life is horrified and tells Hope of when she moved to a new school in 6th grade and as a sensitive child intuitive and empathic had difficulty adjusting and one day while singing with the class the teacher walked around and stopped by her desk and told Sheryl to stop singing and only mouth the words as she was off tune. Sheryl was horrified and embarrassed and still loves singing and music even after that horrible encounter. Sheryl goes on to tell Hope that nothing is random and what happened to them helped them to strengthen their resolve and self reliance so they could go on to become the powerful leaders they are no matter what challenges they face.
Hope tells us about the pregnancy and conditions that lead her to decide on choosing adoption for your child. At twenty-one years old, she placed her son up for adoption. She opted for the open route or Open Adoption which would allow her son to know his birth mother and to be included in some way as he grew up. Hope met (and even lived with) her son’s adoptive mother before he was born. She knew it was the right decision for my son’s life at the time, even if it didn’t feel best for her life. Hope did it for him. “As mothers, that’s what we do, right? We make the best decisions we can for our children, even if those decisions break us. And let me tell you, I was fucking broken. Over and over again, a little more every day. We’ll get to that later”
Hope has been on the other side of the story, too having had an abortion when she got pregnant in high school. She found out at nine weeks and remembers getting sick at school and having her mom come pick her up. (Turns out it was morning sickness.) Her mom drove Hope to a Walgreens and bought a pregnancy test. While we waited for the results, Hope sobbed. How did this happen? She was on birth control. After we saw a positive result, we drove to Fargo, North Dakota, to get an abortion. Hope writes, “ I remember protestors at the clinic. I remember having to stand before a judge and say why I wanted an abortion—a required act when both parents weren’t present to consent to the procedure for a minor, and my dad wasn’t there. I remember sitting in the little waiting room, reading letters other women who’d also gotten abortions had written. I remember having a couple emotional breakdowns in the car on the way home. I remember being in pain. But it was the right choice. All that’s to say that I am not writing this book about being a birthmother because I’m anti-abortion. I’m not. I want to make the point that pain is pain. I’ve seen it everywhere, including watching my mom and sister suffer miscarriage after miscarriage. But there’s light through all that pain. My mom looked at me then, and I could see her heart break for me. There’s this face my mom makes when she’s going to cry but is holding it back, and she made that face then. She held my hand, acting as my advocate. She said we would look at all our options and make an educated decision based on the information we had. All we wanted was more information. We both asked a version of “What are my options” at least eight times, but the nurse and the OB doctor on call only answered with statements like, “You’re halfway done,” or “There are people out there who would want this child.” Having had an abortion in High School this time was different.”
In the morning, I debated going back to the clinic in Alexandria. I didn’t want to, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. I was so ill that my skin was turning gray, and I needed my medical records to take to Kansas City. When I checked in, the nurse who wanted to adopt my baby stood behind the counter—a skinny woman with long, dark straight hair. She was waiting for me. We looked at one another, but never spoke. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, I thought. I walked to the OB-GYN side of the clinic and checked in. When my mom and I met with the doctor, we explained we’d done our research and that I’d be going to Kansas City to get an abortion. The doctor urged me not to and said it wasn’t right. My mom and I knew we were within a couple days of the cut off to be eligible for an abortion— and the doctor must have known that too, because the dates she included on my forms made it appear I was further along and thus ineligible for the procedure.
My son was conceived when I was twenty. It was a Christmas party. A drunken night. A college, one-time thing. Both sides made mistakes. There’s nothing more to say about it, other than I was sure of the date more than I was sure of anything else in that moment. The day after it happened, I drove home and learned my mom had cancer, and I wasn’t sexually active after that. There was no doubt in my mind.
When the doctor said it would be touchy, I felt relieved. Maybe in my head, I was looking for a reason for it not to work out—but not because I thought I wanted to keep the baby. I didn’t. I was so confused: I knew I couldn’t have the baby, but I didn’t want to abort the baby, either.
Hope tells us about the decision to have a child and how she navigated all the material about adoptions.
As she began to navigate the adoption waters, she pursued a couple of different options. Her sister knew a couple in Iowa who wanted to adopt. She had several conversations with them, but it never felt right. They were too close to home, and it wasn’t clicking. I spoke to a gay couple from New York City who seemed like lovely people, but it didn’t click, either. I also registered online with adoption agencies—and let me tell you, they were on their game. I registered one day, and the next day, a packet showed up at my door. In my research, I saw the adoption “books” for many couples—the packages hopeful adoptive parents put together that they already read thousands of adoption books from prospective parents. Then, I saw it, there on the side of the page like an ad: an adoption book that would change my life, and my son’s life, forever. Holy shit, I thought. This is it. I just knew. As I read more, I learned this adoptive mother lived in California. She wanted to be a mother more than anything—something she’d decided later in life—and wanted to do that as a single parent by choice. She had her life together and wasn’t on anyone else’s timeline. She wanted to do this and knew she was capable! I could tell she was very in tune with herself. This is who I want to be someday, I thought. This is the kind of life I want my child to have. I didn’t even know the woman, but I had a warm, comfortable feeling as I reviewed her adoption book. We even looked alike, in a way. I emailed her to reach out (and also her lawyer, to make sure she was a legit person) and I felt my son kicking in my belly—just more proof that it was all for a reason.
After emailing and texting back and forth for a short time to tell their stories. It tells you who they are, what kind of parents they’ll be, and why they’re seeking adoption.
We decided to video chat via Skype. My mom met her, too, that way. My mom had thought the adoption book was fake and had hoped I didn’t see it, but I did. In fact, the more this woman and I talked, the more I wanted to pursue her as my baby’s adoptive parent. I looked up to her instantly, and I never even searched again for another placement option after her ad came up on Google. We’d only communicated using technology at that point, but I already couldn’t imagine breaking her heart. About two weeks after that fateful Google search, I was on a plane out to California to meet the woman who would become my son’s adoptive mother.
The next day, we went to the beach, and she brought her friend along. Both their dogs came with us—Sadie and Koda. We picked up sandwiches and packed the car together. From those early moments, she included me in her life, and meeting her friends gave me a better sense of who she was as a person. That day at the beach, I wasn’t just meeting my son’s mother, but I was also meeting the life my son would have. I envisioned it—these would be his sandwiches, his ocean days. My son’s mother also told me her dad owned a couple McDonald’s, and we joked that the baby would have chicken nuggets for life—funny, because I loved chicken nuggets. This made me feel warm.
I fell in love with the idea of my baby growing up with her and me being a part of his life in some way. I still wasn’t sure how much contact I wanted, but we both agreed we wanted the baby to know where he came from. It was an open adoption from day one—we just needed to sort out the details.
Hope in her truthfulness gives birthmothers the voice they so well deserve and encourages them. Hope writes, “This is a story of my brokenness, and this is a story of my healing. This is a story that shows birth mother isn’t a dirty word. This is a story that shows adoption can be messy, but also that it can be beautiful. This is a story that says whatever choice you make, that’s okay; you are still worthy of love. I will stand by you. You walked this path for your child, as I did for mine. Mostly, this book is a love letter to my son. It is also a story of connection and what is meant to be and that life is not random and by sharing the following story that happened with Hope and the mother she chose to raise her son you can see that there are no coincidences just a plan that must unfold.
Hope writes, “What do you think you’re going to name him?” I asked. “I have a couple names picked out. There’s one I really like, though. I think it sounds powerful.” Then, she told me, and it did sound powerful—and amazing for another reason. I couldn’t believe it. The name she’d chosen as the baby’s middle name was a family name for me. In fact, my dad had always told us that the first-born grandson should have that middle name. It was incredible. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. “It’s my brother’s middle name, my dad’s middle name, and my grandma’s last name.” She had no idea! It was just one more example of our connection and how I believe it was all meant to be.
Hope tells us how she went on to graduate college and excel in your career but still battled with depression and addiction. After the birth and leaving California Hope had trouble living with her mom who had health issues of her own and the truth is that after her baby was born, she had to mourn losing his adoptive mother, too. That was so hard. She had become like a mother to me, and Hope felt doubly traumatized. Sometimes, Hope felt a sense of panic around the loss. She remembers one day, on a walk she just needed her son. She’d been having a semi-panic attack all day. She called her son’s mother and asked if she could fly out to see him because she just needed to hold him. She said to give it time, as everyone was still adjusting. Hope doesn’t remember if she dreamed this or not, but felt like remembers her saying, “You don’t want him back, right?” She was as scared as I was, sometimes, I think. I was also sad to leave California, which took me years of therapy to be able to admit. I’m from the Midwest. Hope went to live with her sister Amber who was very supportive and that was also part of her healing process.
Hope had ups and downs while living with Amber, but none of the downs were her fault. It was difficult living with her because she was pregnant and Hope had just given birth, but she couldn’t have imagined being anywhere else—besides, of course, LA Amber has been and always will be my person. Being with her gave me room to breathe. She’s always supported me, holding me while I’ve cried on more occasions than I can recall. I remember laying on her couch, watching Law and Order SVU, during some dark moments of my depression when even moving felt hard. Looking back, I know I should have worked a lot harder at the internship. She was kind enough to get me, but I just wasn’t capable then—and she knew it. She let me be who I needed to be in those moments, and I’m forever grateful to her for that. The drinking was no longer a social event—it was just what I needed. I drowned myself in alcohol—absolutely drowned myself. I was waitressing, this time at a restaurant called Old Chicago, and she also lobbied at the state capitol as part of my courses.
Sheryl says, “Personally I do not like the way liberals teach young women and teenagers that it’s their body and their choice. That encourages using abortion as a birth control method which is not prudent. Having an abortion leaves an indelible effect on a young person and it is not easy to get past what is often a trauma. Better to teach them that actions have consequences and it is prudent to use your mind, heart and good sense to try to avoid unwanted pregnancies wisely. Better to prevent the unwanted pregnancy then to go through an abortion or perhaps adoption process which are life altering. Too many unwanted pregnancies but a society which just nonchalantly disposes of mistakes and life. Not the best way.”
There were some challenges in the adoption process also. There was some friction between my son’s mom and my mom. At the time, part of me thought it was because my mom thought this other woman was taking over the maternal role for me—which, in a way, she was. I don’t know exactly what happened, but one morning when I was sleeping in (I’ve never been an early riser), both the moms in my life had a conversation that would alter their relationship forever. My mom said that as they sipped their coffee one morning, my son’s mother told her a story about a client who overstepped the boundaries of the birth mother/adoptive mother contract. She may have just been telling a story, but what my mom heard was, “Back of. You’re telling me to know my place.” There was another moment, too, when we were out for a drive: my son’s mother called herself my “sugar mama” because she was paying my stipend, and it rubbed my mom the wrong way. She couldn’t handle it. She still can’t, to this day. Even now, when they communicate, my mom will bring up how hard the adoption has been on me and the family, and I hear about that communication from my son’s mother. It was challenging then, and it’s challenging now.
Hope did find their light after adoption has taken place and knowing they are not alone She writes, “Even today, after a long journey of finding my way back to the light, I’m still not all the way healed. Yes, I have a wonderful fiancé and beautiful step kids who fll my days with love. Yes, I love my family and friends. Yes, I am successful professionally. Yes, I have found a way to love myself again. Yes, I get to see my son on our scheduled visits, and that time together is more precious than gold. And yes, he is thriving with his adoptive mother—someone so perfect for my son, someone who is a wonderful mother to my son. I’m better than I was during all those on-the-floor Christmases and better than I was during my downward spiral into depression and addiction. I’m blooming now, again.
Hope tells a very interesting and unusual love story as actually she has had an amazingly interesting life journey so far, meeting so many people and conquering so many fears as she spiritually moved forward. Hope tells us something about the man she met in London. The night I met Boujemaa, something in me sparked. But as I walked in and saw Boujemaa on the stage, it didn’t matter. He was singing in a different language—which I’d later learn was Arabic— and I swear the world stopped around us. I turned to my friend—who had in no way been trying to set us up—and gasped, “Oh my God. Who is this man? I’ve got to know him.”
Sheryl says I usually have coincidences with my wonderful guests and you tell of the first time you meet Boujemaa’s son Sully and Hope writes, “Boujemaa has five children, and one of them lives in our house on the weekends. When he first told me about his kids, I was unfazed. I had a stepdad come into my life when I was young, and he was one of the most important people in my life. I’d seen it work. I knew it was all about love. It didn’t scare me. It still doesn’t.
The first time I met Boujemaa’s son Sully in person, though, I was incredibly nervous. Will I be able to look him in the eye and not see my son? I wondered. I came from a background where I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted kids, and I was worried how I’d explain to my son that ultimately I ended up with five stepkids. I had so many questions: How can I make sure my son knows he was always enough for me? Will he hate me someday? All these thoughts and more ran through my mind before I met Sully. I didn’t know if I was capable of being a good bonus mom. I didn’t know if I could be who he needed me to be. I’d finally gotten myself to a place of healing; Would this open old wounds? It was a pivotal moment for me: I was either going to sink or swim. When I met Sully, though, my worries melted away. I instantly knew I could love this kid. I instantly knew that my mom’s statement that I wouldn’t be a good mother was false. I instantly thought, I can do this.
Sheryl says My first grandson Is Sullivan….Everyone calls him Sully but I always love the power and energy of the whole name so I am the only one to call him Sullivan.
Another coincidence with Sheryl Hope tells the story of shopping for her engagement ring. Boujemaa and I fit so well together because he is an addition to my life. I didn’t need anyone to complete me. He has always made me feel complete just how I am. So, when he asked me to marry him, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I would have married him the day I met him. So, when we went to the mall to look at rings after I’d moved there, we found some we loved. The next day, we went back and tried to find the jewelry store. We walked around and around, and we couldn’t find it anywhere— but we did find another store. There, we found an even better (and cheaper) ring, and he bought it. When we left the store, we both turned and laughed—the original store was right next door!
Sheryl says that nothing is random and they were supposed to end up and find the ring in the second store. She goes on to tell a similar story about her daughter. “When Sheryl’s daughter was getting married she realized a week before that they had everything but the right earrings for the special day. Sheryl fell into a jewelry store and found the perfect earrings, but the shopkeeper told her they were on hold for someone. There was no time to order them. Sheryl asked the jeweler to call the person and ask if they could wait to order them. He called and she said to let me have them. After the wedding, Sheryl went back to the store to thank the man again and the store was gone. Sometimes Spirit, it seems, makes things happen miraculously, to increase our joy and reward us for our trust, faith and love. Your story reminded me of that event.
Sheryl is sure this life altering experience has helped Hope grow spiritually and personally for she believes good can come out of the most challenging times in our life Sheryl also believes we have a life plan that our souls created before we incarnated and as nothing is random or left to chance, the people and experiences, we deal with are necessary in that life plan to help us grow our soul energy in greater love and compassion.
We had a birthing plan: both support people—the two moms in my life—would be in the room. My son’s mother would cut the umbilical cord. Every detail and special touch—from the music that would be played in the room to my first meal after giving birth—had been discussed well in advance so we’d be ready by the time we actually headed to the hospital. At least, that was the plan.
It is possible and advisable to bring all the people involved in the birth and parenting process together. By discovering and forgiving herself Hope found the way to be involved in the parenting process and bring all the people together. Hope wrote, “I had light? I looked out from the balcony then, cigarette smoke snaking around my head, and stared at the mountains in the distance. I saw the beauty of the landscape around me. I saw the beauty of my friend next to me, her words still electric in the air. I didn’t yet see the beauty in myself, but for the first time—the first time—I thought it may be possible. The mini funerals didn’t stop altogether after that, and I didn’t suddenly become an angel. But Giana’s words helped show me that even if I didn’t love myself yet, I could. That it was possible. That I had pain, but I also had light. That there was a path forward, and all I had to do was step onto it. That small moment on the balcony changed me. It started me on the path to forgiving myself. To seeing and loving all of me, even the broken parts. It pushed me toward a light I hadn’t known existed. It helped me find hope. The key was gratitude for all in her life and acceptance for having a child when she was so young and unable to care for him but still being part of his life and knowing she had made a good choice in picking the adoptive mother to raise him.
Sheryl feels that perhaps Hope would like you to know to trust in the plan of your life or destiny and see opportunities even in the most challenging of times and learn gratitude and appreciation for life and continue to seek inspiration through reading and meeting interesting people. Hope also believes it is necessary to take some risks and find out what makes you most happy so you may become your best self: full of light and love. Hope wrote, “Today, in my light, I know my boundaries. I know what I need, and I’m vocal about it. There’s nothing wrong with that. I know when to say what I’m feeling. Those affirmation cards that used to be in my car are on my desk, reminding me. I have a vision board, reminding me. I have an alarm that goes off every day at 11:11, saying “Would you follow yourself for success with what you achieved today?” It, too, reminds me—I have ownership of my life, today and every day. In the past, I used to think, I’m a drug addict. I don’t deserve happiness. Now, I think, It’s okay to feel sad, and I am a good person. I say those things all the time—in the mirror in the bathroom, driving—anywhere and everywhere.”
We thank Hope Baker, author of Finding Hope for sharing her story and the implications of having a child and using the Open Adoption process which she thought best for both her son and her mother and family for herself . In time Hope came to deal with that challenge with love and courage and now offers hope to others who may find themselves in that position so they may know whatever choice you have to make is the right choice and no matter how it turns out it offers personal growth and can lead to positive results.
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within Hope Baker has shared her incredibly successful family friend and work life after having a child while in college and going into an Open Adoption where she was still able to maintain contact with the adoptive mother and her birth son. Along the way she found her soul, self love, and purpose. Nothing could be better than that. So from the challenges of our younger days often we evolve into the finest version of ourselves and move past fear, doubt, self -recrimination to find courage, peace and happiness.
Hope shares with us “Looking back, I can pinpoint moments in my life where my self-sabotage spiked. Lots of sexual interactions with men before having my son and after, and not many of them sober (before Boujemaa). I used sex like I used drugs—to get high, to take my mind of the pain. If I couldn’t feel love, I wanted to feel something. Don’t get me wrong—I am a firm believer that people are entitled to sleep with whoever they want, however often they want. Sex with a stranger? Go for it! Live your life. It’s not bad that I was having sex with all these people— it’s bad that I was making that decision not out of joy and love for my own body, but out of sadness. Out of self destruction. It took finding true love to see that. It took finding myself. Ultimately, I now know I spent almost five years trying to fill a void that didn’t need to be filled. The person I am now—writing this book, being a stepmom, a good partner, traveling to see my family, spending time with my son, trying to build a social following to help other people—the person I was before could never have done this. Not in a million years. Now, not only am I doing them, but I’m doing them well. I needed to find myself, live for myself, and build a positive life. Here I am: new city, new love, new career, new Hope!”
In Sheryl’s new book A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening Sheryl shares that each day is a new day to choose love over fear, connect with people in our lives and find the beauty of nature people places and life itself, and indeed, through all trauma know you are not alone, for there are those souls in Spirit and here on Earth to support and help you always.
I am Sheryl Glick, Host of Healing from Within and invite you to visit my website to read about and listen to the changemakers of these times share insights into the world of new beginnings, love health prosperity and finding the truth of your dual nature as Spiritual beings having a physical life. Shows may also be heard on www.webtalkradio.net