Open Adoption, Teen Pregnancy, and Placement

After our interview with The Ann, my friend shared with me the below Facebook post. I knew instantly that I needed to tell Erin that her post spoke to me. I already knew Erin a little bit. I was a major fan girl of her Studio West fitness classes.

Erin shared her story of teen pregnancy, giving birth to a baby girl May 4th, 1994.  (My son was also born May 4th.) She is a strong and successful woman, amazing mother, fearless entrepreneur, and fitness superstar. Erin is also on a mission to help others with her story. She gave me permission to share it here.

Many of my friends know my story, and many of my friends don’t. Here it is: May 4th, 1994 (22 years ago today) on one hand feels like yesterday, and on the other, feels like a lifetime ago. I was 16 years old, a Junior in a Catholic, all-girls high school, facing something no other 16 year old I knew was. I was having a baby. Yes, I was pregnant and in labor with a baby girl. My high school sweetheart and I had gotten in over our heads with something we knew very little about. We ourselves were babies yet faced with a huge decision that would impact our lives and the lives of many others forever. We KNEW we did not have what it took to be the parents this baby girl deserved. We KNEW we weren’t ready to grow up yet. We KNEW there were many people in the world unable to have children. We KNEW (thanks to the awareness from my mom’s new volunteer position at a teen pregnancy crisis hotline center-ironic or miraculous?!) there was another way. We were so scared, but with the support of our amazing families, friends, and teachers, we KNEW would get through it.
When I was 5 months pregnant we were introduced to open adoption at Catholic Charities in Louisville. We were counseled through the process then hand selected from portfolios a couple we wanted to meet to possibly adopt our baby. We were so blessed to have staring back at us the perfect couple who would later end up adopting and raising this precious baby they named Sarah.
While this decision was so completely heartbreaking and difficult, it was the BEST decision we could have made. Sarah turns 22 today, is graduating from college this weekend, and is such an AMAZING and beautiful woman inside and out. Her parents, Bob and Marianne, have done such a wonderful job raising Sarah and giving their daughter the best life. Unselfishly, they have let our families be involved throughout Sarah’s life with tons of visits, phone calls, cards, etc.
I love my relationship with Sarah today. I love our trips together, our texts, our visits. I love her relationship with my husband (who told me he knew he wanted to marry me when he heard my story), her relationship with my kids, her relationship with her parents. We have been so blessed.
I am sharing this with you today because I want to create awareness. Teen pregnancy happens…and it is not prejudice. It can happen to anyone putting themselves in the situation. There are so many wonderful people out there yearning for babies to love. While open adoption was the right decision for us, I am not saying it is the best decision for everyone. I am, however, more than happy to talk to ANYONE (parents, teens, family members and friends) out there who may find themselves in a situation like mine. I am happy to answer questions about open adoption, about dealing with pregnancy as a teen, or anything else relating to this subject. If I can help even just one person by sharing my story, my mission is complete.
I love you, Sarah!! Happy 22nd Birthday, sweetheart!! 💗💗💗

I look up to Erin; First for her bad ass workouts and now for creating a life and world that would not exist without her. She’s a big deal. You can contact Erin here.

Adoption Day! What it’s Like to Finalize an Adoption

Finalization is a very special and emotional day for a family built through adoption. It is an end and a beginning. I told myself that finalization was going to be just another step in the process of this very long journey. I was definitely wrong.

The time between birth and finalization is a complicated and unique time for families built through adoption.  When we got home from the hospital, Chris and I were obsessed with this new little boy that we were going to raise.  We loved him unconditionally; getting to feed him, take him to his check ups, and swaddling him just right.  We love being parents.

The part that is different when you are building your family through open adoption is that simultaneously, you are adding more than a baby. I was overwhelmed by how many people my family grew by. During this time, I was in full on take care of everyone and everything mode. I was determined to make sure that Knox’s birth mother knew she was never going to be forgotten and that I was the very best mother ever chosen to be a mama through adoption in history. I was also planning the biggest and best Sip and See for all of our friends and family who supported us tirelessly and endured all of the waiting to meet our son.  I was balancing all of my new relationships, party planning, and managing all of the business around finalization. I was ready for it to be done.

When the actual day came, I was nervous. We were going to be in a court room before a Judge to be judged. Being judged is intimidating. It is really intimidating when a person is going to tell you that the family you have worked so hard for is really a family. It is also a surreal moment having the Judge announce that you are in fact the very best parents for your child, that he is in the right place, and you are all a family. It’s hard to describe. I imagine the level of joy and relief is similar to when your baby is born to you.  Stress and anxiety was lifted that I didn’t even know I was caring. We were a family. Not just any family, a real family.

Our Adoption Day anniversary is coming up. I don’t know if we are going to celebrate. I’m not really sure what you do on the day your family became legal. I became his mother way before finalization.  We were meant to be a family just like any other. I would, however, like a cake 🙂

Do you celebrate Adoption Day? What do you do?

 

  • Worth noting: The process for us in getting to finalization was clear, simple, and fast. This is not the case for many families.

Originally published on 8/18/16

What is Open Adoption? And What is it Like?

Open adoption is a type of adoption in which birth and adoptive families have some form of initial and/or ongoing contact. Contact may begin with a meeting between an expectant mother and potential adoptive parents. Sometimes, an expectant parent may choose the adoptive family based on such a meeting or other communication. After placement, birth mothers and/or fathers and members of their extended families may interact in various ways with the adoptive parents, as well as with the adopted child or youth.

Communication may happen through letters, emails, social media exchanges, telephone calls, or visits. While some families may exchange brief notes and photos, others may spend more time together and celebrate birthdays or holidays together. The type and frequency of contact will be decided by the people involved and can range from several times a month to every few years. Contact often changes as a child ages or as family members’ needs and wishes change.

Most domestic adoption these days have some degree of openness. (more information on types of adoption)

Michelle and her family are hoping to grow again through adoption. Below is her experience with open adoption.

Each relationship and each adoption is different.

Our adoption is open, but to this point we haven’t had much of a relationship with our son’s birth mother.  Our son was an immediate placement and we met his mother briefly in the hospital room.  In the hospital we riddled each other with questions and exchanged contact information. We had one lunch meeting before the adoption was finalized, but otherwise we have communicated through emailed updates.  Her responses have been sporadic, which could be for any number of reasons.  We don’t judge that or make assumptions.  We have made sure to make it known that the door is always open for contact and communication.

It is not about me, my husband or even the wonderful mother who placed with us…. it is about our son and whatever is best for him.  To me that is our job, to support and empower him to grow into the man he wants to be.

To learn more about Michelle and her family click here.

Adoption Anxiety: How to Cope

Building your family through adoption isn’t easy. The whole living in the unknown is kind of miserable. The whole living in the no control over anything is also a bit tricky. A few weeks ago, we had a weekend trip planned. A day before we leave, we were notified about a possible adoption situation. The expectant woman was due a day before she decided to make an adoption plan. So basically, we said yes please look at our profile along with all the other families in the pool. We proceeded to rework every imaginable possibility of our impending weekend away plans and the reality of having a newborn in the matter of any minute.  The long and short of it is that we were not chosen. (More on what that’s like here)

The thing that people outside of the adoption community seem to not understand is how hard it is to have your life go from dreams come true to square one instantly and often. I always feel like to make an out-of-town plan, it requires me to choose between that and my next child. I always choose my next child. I am so ready for a vacation. And my second child 😉

So what do you do? In 2014, we ran full and half marathons, 5k’s, anything, and everywhere.  We ran for hours.  Running gave me something I could control. I could run a mile. I could run 20. Somehow, I could do it and I would. It wasn’t pretty or fast, but it was a goal I could control. At this point in life, spending 4 hours running and the rest day recovering doesn’t seem practical with a toddler for us.

Ab challenge anyone? Check it out. I didn’t come up with it. I have the privilege of working out with some pretty tough ladies and we are all doing it this month along with Chris and of course Knox 🙂

 Just 10-15 minutes each day!
MARCH 1-12 AB CHALLENGE. WILL UPDATE WITH THE REST ON 3/13.
March 1, 6, 9: 50 crunches, 25 reverse crunch. Plank to failure (2 times through)
March 2, 7, 11: 40 bicycles, 40 scissors with head and shoulders off the ground. Side plank to fail on both sides (2 times through)
March 3, 5, 10: 20 V-sits, 20 double crunch-to-extend (elbows the outside of the knees (repeat 3 times)
March 4, 8, 12: Rest.
JUST DO IT!!!!
Let me know if you are going to join in! What are some ways that you cope with the unknown and deal with anxiety?

Unplanned Pregnancy, Healthy Habits, and Medications to Avoid

Medications and Your Unborn Baby

Sometimes life takes us by surprise. You may not have planned to become pregnant, but now is the perfect time to begin caring for your unborn baby. Let’s explore some ways you can provide a healthy start for your child.

Healthy Habits During Pregnancy

First and foremost, you must find an obstetrician or other pregnancy healthcare provider who you trust. Ann Arbor Adoption can direct you to the appropriate resources if you feel you can not parent. For the duration of your pregnancy, you will need to have regular medical checkups to ensure that you are healthy and your unborn baby is thriving.

It is more important than ever that you eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and eat regular meals and snacks. Whenever you can, choose fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain carbohydrate sources like beans, and lean proteins like skinless chicken breast.

Pregnancy can be tiring throughout all three trimesters. Get adequate rest. If possible, go to bed and wake up at consistent times each day. Whenever you have the chance to catch a quick nap, take it! As contradictory as it may seem, exercise can actually help you get better sleep. If your doctor approves, aim to get in 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week.

Reduce stress as much as you are able. Take time to relax and let yourself have “the little things.” For example, you may like to fill the tub with warm water and soak your feet. You can ask a friend to paint your toenails. (This is especially helpful in the third trimester, when many expectant mothers cannot reach their toes!) Enjoy your favorite meal. Visit a location that soothes you, such as your favorite park, library, museum, or place of worship.

What to Avoid

You may already know the basics: avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and risky activities like contact sports. But did you know there are some medications you should avoid during pregnancy?

Several potentially harmful and confirmed dangerous drugs during pregnancy are as follows:

Proton Pump Inhibitors – Gastric problems like acid reflux are very common in pregnant women, with 30–50% suffering from heartburn. In order to relieve this discomfort, you may reach for an over-the-counter Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medication like Nexium, Prilosec, or Prevacid. However, know that there is insufficient research to confirm the safety of these medications during pregnancy. While they could be safe, your doctor may encourage you to use an alternative method for heartburn relief, like chewing antacid tablets or drinking a glass of milk. (Always ask your doctor before you use any medication during pregnancy, even antacid tablets.)

Retinoids – Acne medications like Accutane are among the most dangerous drugs to use during pregnancy. They can cause severe birth defects in your unborn baby. Never use oral or topical retinoid medications while you are pregnant. If you suffer from acne during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about safe ways to reduce this problem, such as non-medicated face washes.

SGLT2 inhibitorsInvokana and other SGLT2 inhibitor diabetes medicines lack adequate research to determine safety. Animal studies indicate that these medicines could impact your baby’s kidney development. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to control your blood sugar during your pregnancy. Only your doctor can decide if SGLT2 inhibitors’ benefits would outweigh their risks for you.

Some antibiotics – These powerful infection fighters should only be used with caution during pregnancy. Tetracyclines like doxycycline and minocycline should never be used while you are pregnant, since they can damage your liver and discolor your unborn baby’s teeth. Studies have shown that some other antibiotics such as trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole may cause birth defects. Always consult your doctor before using an antimicrobial.

As you continue your pregnancy, remember that your baby’s health must remain your top priority until you give birth. Whether you choose to experience the joy of parenting or the joy of adoption, you will reap the rewards of caring for your baby.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495872/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/antibiotics-and-pregnancy/faq-20058542
Sarah Teach regularly contributes to DrugWatch.com, along with other publications. Her natural curiosity and childhood dream of becoming a writer propelled her to earn a degree in writing, rhetoric and technical communication from James Madison University.

image003

#RANBonusBox New Fashion and Beauty Products

On instagram I posted that the Q4 bonus box had arrived! Here is what was inside.

DL 1961  I am so excited that a denim company is participating in this box! Good jeans are hard to find, and DL has something they call smart denim.

DL1961 is a New York City based company that specializes in high performance and technologically advanced denim. Our denim is engineered to be a utility. With 98% shape retention, 360 degree movement and a wide variety of washes, fabrics & weights, our collection provides customers with denim that outperforms everything in their closet.

Technical fabrics are so exciting to me! If you can learn about how your clothes are made and with what, you can get so much more out of your closet.

FullSizeRender(1)Monica Vinader Fiji Friendship Bracelet 

Monica Vinader is a British luxury jewelry designer. MV is a bridge between fashion and fine jewelry. All of her pieces create instantly wearable style.

I love the Fiji Friendship Bracelet! It is small and adjustable chic and a little bit edgy. I actually bought one for myself last year. MV is truly a line that you can gift to anyone. All of the styles are so versatile and you can wear them everyday.

FullSizeRenderForeo Luna Mini

The LUNA™ mini’s cleansing brush is made of rounded silicone touch-points that glide across the face, making it gentle enough for daily use and delivering nonabrasive, extra-gentle cleansing that feels amazing on the skin. Thanks to the 8,000 T-Sonic™ (transdermal sonic) pulsations the LUNA™ mini channels every minute, its silicone cleansing brush can deliver effective cleansing that remains gentle on the skin.

I already tried this! The rumor is that your skin will look better in 3 days. I have only used it once and I did like the squeaky clean feeling without the roughness from bristle brushes.

FullSizeRender(3)

e.l.f. eyes lips face Day to Night Eyeshadow Palette

At e.l.f. Cosmetics, we believe that beauty comes from within all of us. Our line of luxurious cosmetics captures great looking skin with gorgeous colors and quality ingredients. Our products are designed to let your inner beauty shine through.

I use e.l.f cosmetics. I have a rosy blush and a bronzer so I am very excited to try the new Day to Night Eyeshadow Palette.

FullSizeRender(2)TB Dress Water Drop Shaped Rhinestone Earrings

Tb Dress is new to me. They seem to carry fast fashion at an affordable price. The earrings are a nice weight, not to heavy or to light. I think they will look great for some upcoming holiday parties!

FullSizeRender(4)

Time to Spa Elemis samples

Time to Spa offers everything you need to look and feel your best each and everyday!

I am most excited to try the Elemis Pro Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm. The description says that it instantly brightens the complexion and exudes health and vitality. Who doesn’t need that, right?

FullSizeRender(5)

A Girls Guide to Grooming a Beautiful Beard

How to take care of your beard!

1. Beard wash. A gentle, silicone free cleanser will remove dust, debris, and cleanse your face underneath. Thorough washing will also help to relieve itchiness and beard flakes.

2. Beard Softener. Similar to hair conditioner, it is designed to condition and support a soft supple beard.

3. Beard Comb/Brush. After you have properly and thoroughly cleansed your beard, you will need to detangle and comb it out. Just ’cause you get a little out of control every now and then doesn’t mean your beard should do the same. Use a wide tooth comb at first, moving to a more fine tooth after the tangles are out. Beard oil may help in this step to get out any unruly tangles.

4. Beard Oil. This step is best when your beard is still damp from a shower. Oil can be applied when dry also. Start from the top, closest to your face and gently massage in dime sized amounts until you reach the end. Continue to comb the oil through to ensure your beard is evenly coated yet not greasy. The benefits of a beard oil that is made of high quality essential oils is it aids with mood and takes you to the wild. When smelling the Timberline Trail, you become transported to the Pacific Northwest with the lingering scent of sub alpine fir, spruce and pine, spring water, charred firewood, late-summer wild berries and glacial silt! If that’s not your thing you can pay homage to your ‘Four Vices’. It’s scent is earthy and subtle, blending together the notes of coffee, tobacco, cannabis and hops.

If you can not grow a beard, instantly update your manly look in a playful way with this trim-fitting crewneck T-shirt.

Your best alternative to a beard.
Your best alternative to a beard.

Shop these or the full collection of beard and beard alternatives here.

coffee, tobacco, cannabis and hops
coffee, tobacco, cannabis and hops
Tree Ranger Beardsman's Kit. Everything but the wash.
Tree Ranger Beardsman’s Kit. Everything but the wash.
Pacific Northwest with the lingering scent of subalpine fir, spruce and pine, spring water, charred firewood, late-summer wild berries and glacial silt.
Pacific Northwest with the lingering scent of subalpine fir, spruce and pine, spring water, charred firewood, late-summer wild berries and glacial silt.
Tom Ford for Men Beard Comb-Beauty.
Tom Ford for Men Beard Comb-Beauty.

Handbag Gift Guide Must See

Handbags are a gift that always fits. These luxe leathers will delight every handbag lover on your list. The backpacks, totes, bucket bags and more are all on trend, created by the top designers with the best materials.

Shop a few stand outs below and the entire collection here.

hayley-small-hobo-bag-black-chloe-14
Chloe Hayley Hobo
hudson-mini-suede-shoulder-bag-black-chloe-6
Chloe Hudson Mini
mini-pandora-box-patent-shoulder-bag-black-givenchy-k
Givenchy Mini Pandora
paloma-small-triple-gusset-tote-bag-nude-christian-louboutin-17
Christian Louboutin Paloma
ai-reversible-medium-cervo-tote-bag-deep-petrol-akris-h
Akris Cervo Tote
olimpia-mini-intrecciato-crossbody-bag-red-bottega-veneta-1c
Bottega Veneta Olimpia Mini
monogram-small-fringe-bucket-bag-black-saint-laurent-i
YSL Fringe Bucket Bag

Radley London Luxury UK Handbags

Radley London is a UK based handbag retailer. They specialize in wearable luxury bags. Check out the Border backpack for an on trend work bag. The Hepburn clutch for a night out, or the Downtown collection for a timeless statement bag. Also be sure to check out their new collaboration with Jonathan Saunders.

Shop some of the Jonathan Saunders collection and more below. All of my picks here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book 2015 has Arrived!

Neiman Marcus is known for the ultimate in luxury gift giving. This year notably there is a fantasy gift experience that is a first production Arch Motorcycle Company KRGT-1 motorcycle that is designed to be ridden. The company was created by Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger and the fantasy includes a two day California coastal ride with Reeves and Hollinger for you and a guest.

NMO5643_mxAnother less fantasy, Shinola Detroit, American luxury through American quality. I had no idea Shinola Detriot was sold at Neiman Marcus. Which pulled at my heart strings because we operate from Michigan very near Detroit as well.  Midwest fashion and forward.

NMN3FYX_ekSome highlights for Her

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And for Him

This slideshow requires JavaScript.