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Caden's Story
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The story of a birthmother and her journey through pregnancy, adoption and the path beyond

Where do you start with a story like this one? Well, the beginning, I guess. The beginning is fuzzy, though. I suppose I'll start when I found out I was pregnant.

I knew before I ever took the test that it would come back positive. If truth be told, I knew "the morning after" that something was definitely different. I knew that I was pregnant. After the second blue line appeared, I looked at the world through a different perspective. For about a nanosecond, I thought, "Wow, I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to be a mother." Then reality kicked in and I thought "No way can I raise a baby now. I don't have the best job, I don't have my own place, what kind of environment will I provide?" So I decided on adoption.

I know there's "the other choice." And I considered it. What made me so sure that adoption was the right choice for me was that I had been so careless for so long, I considered myself so lucky to be in the position I was in, I couldn't terminate that pregnancy. I was out of school, a college graduate, making decent money, not your regular unwed mother statistic. I owed it to God and that baby to give it life.

I soon told my mother, who was very supportive of my decision to carry the baby and find it a good home. I started looking for agencies shortly thereafter. The first agency I called is a well-known national adoption agency, who asked me some simple questions. How old was I? I had just turned 21. Was I married? Well, no, and I didn't think many women in my situation were married. She said that she would send some information to me in the mail. I waited anxiously. When I got the package, it contained information about single people wanting to adopt children. Was I not clear that I WAS PREGNANT? My search continued.

In this high tech day and age, I found Creative Adoptions on the internet. I called and was given an appointment within the week, in person, at my house! I was not very familiar with the concept of "open adoption." It turned out to fit my needs like a glove. What I had wanted was more than pictures and letters. I wanted to be an active participant in my child's life. I wanted him to be able to know me, to ask me questions about where he came from, why I decided to place him for adoption. I didn't want his parents to speak for me, when I can speak for myself! I didn't want to look into every stroller that passed by, into the face of every baby, asking myself "Is that my baby? Does my baby look like that now?" I didn't like the ambiguity that closed adoption presents. I needed to know my son, and needed him to know me.
Cutie! 1999

After it was judged that I was firm in my decision to do an open adoption, I started looking through books that these prospective adoptive families had prepared, portfolios of their lives. It was very touching, how these people just opened themselves up, wrote letters and shared pictures of themselves, their lives, their past and their dreams. I tried to picture myself having a relationship with each of these families, so if that was okay, I knew this baby would be okay in their home. I chose Sally and Dan.
I met them in September, while I was seven months pregnant. I felt I had totally prepared myself for this first meeting. Then, when I was driving down to the restaurant, I was talking to the baby, and I said, "We're going to go meet your mom and dad now." And it hit me like a fist. It was real, I was changing lives, life was changing me. I was going down a path that I'd never dreamed of taking, but there I was, foraging my way.
  I loved them! They were not perfect, but they were nice and they liked me. They seemed like good people, and my first impression was very favorable. I decided that Sally and Dan would be my baby's parents. We spent a lot of time together after that first meeting. I got to know them better, they got to know me better, and I felt so good. They treated me like a queen, asked my opinion on important issues like what to name him, and I even brought Sally with me to a doctor's appointment so she could hear her son's heartbeat. They were like a second family to me, which was important to me, because I needed to feel like I could be open and honest with them.

Did you know there's a Birthmother's Day? Click here to read all about it! 

Hangin' with Amy 2000
My son was due to be born on Nov. 17, 1998, but he wasn't ready until December 2. I think everyone was frustrated. Sally's parents came across the country for Thanksgiving, expecting to see their new grandson. I felt I had disappointed everyone. Finally, it was time to go to the hospital. I called Sally and Dan and told them what was happening and to come the next day, when hopefully, we would be celebrating a birth! Everybody was in the hospital room with me when it came down to the wire. And I mean everyone! It was pretty crowded in there, and there was soon to be one more!
Lunching on corndogs - 2002
I will never forget the look on my mother's face when she caught the first sight of my son's head. That look will live forever in my heart. I'm so glad that Dan and Sally were present to watch their son being born. I think that was very important to them, too. Sally cut the cord, and our little boy was finally in the world.

I named him Dominic James at birth. He got his little footprints printed and a birth certificate with that name (and my last name) on it. Sally and Dan renamed him Caden James. They also got his footprints and birth certificate with that name (and their last name) on it. He was a hefty little guy, probably because he ate too much turkey! Caden and I spent two days together at the hospital. We were both fine, and the nurses were so supportive of me and the decision I was making for that little boy. That was so important to me, being treated with respect. You hear horror stories of nurses who berate and belittle birthmoms because they're placing their children for adoption. I will be forever grateful to the nurses at the hospital where Caden was born!

Adoption is a decision I do not regret. I am so blessed by being an active person in Caden's life. I'm not saying that there weren't bad days. Of course there were. Leaving the hospital empty-handed was absolutely the hardest step I've ever had to take. Some days I would get so angry that they were getting to raise my boy and I was not. But every day gets better.  To hear Caden say my name just pulls my heartstrings. His little eyes shine so much, and he's so happy. Best of all, he knows me, he knows that I love him, and I know he loves me too.
Caden is growning leaps and bounds.  The summer of 2004, I brought him with me to my firm's annual picnic at Invesco Field (which will always be known to me as Mile High Stadium).  Caden and I had a blast that afternoon.  There was an inflatable jumpy castle type thing, filled with air from an air compressor.  Caden loved running all over that thing, racing other kids, climbing and bouncing and fully enjoying himself.  We tossed a football around on the field, kicked a ball or two, got our picture taken a bunch of times, and Caden even got his face painted (like a tiger/cheetah, he couldn't decide which he wanted to be).  We have a couple people in this firm who have adopted kids, a couple who are birthmoms like me, and it really made me feel awesome to be able to bring him to an outing like that where people can see the wonderful decision having an open adoption really is.

Zoo Day 2001

The one thing that kept me going through this whole process was that this is an open adoption. While relatively new, open adoption is gaining huge strides in being a preferred method of raising adopted children. I know more about Caden's mom and dad than I would have 20 years ago. We see each other often, many times including my own family (mother, grandmother, aunt, cousins, etc.) so Caden has this enormous extended family. People ask question about confusing the child by having so many people who love him. (Huh?) Or am I co-parenting Caden? (Definitely NOT, I allow Sally and Dan all the joys of parenting! I just get to hang out and be the cool birthmom!) I encourage you to email me if you have any questions about my experience with open adoption. I think we are a success story. I've been on a lot of message boards and in a lot of online communities where people haven't had such warm, wonderful experiences. Talk about it! We can all learn from each other!