Sharing my story of placing my daughter for adoption has been a long journey of understanding why and how I should tell the world of what has happened to me and the choices that I’ve made along the way. I’ve questioned why I need to or would want to tell anyone that I chose open adoption. My thoughts are always filled with fears of what people may think or say to me about my choice, so for a long time, I took a sort of oath of silence on the topic of my daughter and her placement.
In college, I recall getting the courage to share of my choice in a speech class. I was so nervous, but excited because I genuinely thought people would respond well to what I had to say. For the continuance of the semester, there was a girl who would constantly come up to me and say things like, “I can’t believe you had a baby, that’s so weird to me”.
This made me want to run as far away from her as possible. She scared me, because I felt that she only wanted to gossip, and that hurt me badly.
In a writing workshop I took, I chose to share my story with a smaller group of peers whom I’d just met, but in a written format this time. I laid it all down on paper, and I remember one of my readers asking if she could make a comment before we started my critiques. She said, “Cameron you are so strong, and I bawled my eyes out reading this”.
I knew she was genuinely being kind and that my words impacted her, but I often wonder why my story must make people cry.
A couple of years ago, I was given a wonderful, spontaneous opportunity to have a portion of my story recorded and shared at a local pro-life event to raise money and awareness for a women’s center in my community. I knew that this was a big deal, and I felt like this would be the perfect place to share. Even though I was blessed with such a platform to share my story, I felt like it wasn’t right. People witnessed my placement story as I stood on a stage. They heard me speak of open adoption, and many of these people, I will likely never meet.
I thought I had found a safe place to share, but this encounter made me feel so vulnerable. Even if everyone was kind and genuine upon hearing my testimony, I still felt that I didn’t want to share it with them, because it doesn’t change the fact that I had to make such a strong decision through such overwhelming pain.
I have only chosen to share my story of open adoption and placement in a few public settings, and I’ve only shared it in person, in front of a large group of people three times. In those encounters, I learned that other people’s perspectives may alter the way that I see my own story, thus I’ve done so much to safeguard who I am as a birth mother. My testimony is a part of my identity. It took me several years to recognize that their perceptions can’t and won’t change who I am and why I did what I did.
Most people outside of the open-adoption community truly don’t know how to respond to stories of placement. I often wonder if that is why many birth mothers keep their stories a secret as I did for so long. Even the communities that often declare support for women like us so often fail to consider that we are people aside from our stories. Our placement is just one chapter of the collection that makes up our individual books of life.
As birth mothers, our stories are unique. I’ve never heard one birth mother’s story that was like another’s, and that’s what I love about adoption. We have endured great loss and pain, but because of our individuality, we have a blessed community that supports women and their families whole-heartedly. Never are we alone as birth mothers when we learn to share, because as we do share, we often find that birth parents, adopted children and adoptive parents are all around us. Since we aren’t alone in this, we are free to be who we want to and dream of being.
I’m Cam; a birth mother, but also an aunt. I’m a sister, and I’m a friend. I like reading and writing, thrifting and styling outfits. I listen to bluegrass and folk music, and I like dancing when nobody, or everybody is looking. My favorite thing to do is swim, and I love living near the mountains. I’m a lot of things at a lot of different times to many different people. Being a birth mom is one of the wonderful chapters I get to claim within my story.