Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spreading the Word

I got to tell my story again today.

It was a little different from usual. I'm used to teenagers, mostly. Today it was adults, and quite a few of them were older than my mother.

Every stake in the LDS Church has (or is supposed to have) an LDSFS Agency Representative (AR). I think the calling used to have the title of Birth Outreach Coordinator or something like that. Anyway. This morning was sort of a training for them, to get to know what it is to be a birth mother. I was one of three birth mothers telling my story. There was also an adoptive mom to give her perspective.

I could tell that for a lot of the ARs the concept of an open adoption was very foreign. Part of it is generational, I think. Years ago, when my mom was adopted for instance, adoption was very hush-hush and as adoptions were completely closed. I can imagine how strange it must be for people who have that picture of adoption to hear about how open things can be today.

The ARs all seemed fascinated by the birth mom stories. I guess I've been knee-deep in adoption for so long now that I forget that a lot of people don't have any experience with it. It was sort of refreshing. When I do school presentations, the kids aren't any more familiar with it, but they don't seem to care overmuch either. It was nice to have such a rapt audience for a change.

I think what I like best is seeing people's faces when it clicks for them - when they get it, so to speak - that adoption is nothing shameful or strange or distasteful. I love to see minds changed as stories are told. Adoption is a wonderful, amazing thing! I wish more people knew that. I wish the whole world knew it. I feel like there's still this stigma about it. People see it as a sad thing, a shameful thing, something that shouldn't be talked about. It needs to be talked about!

I'm so glad I have the chance to do presentations. I don't know if anyone I speak to gets anything out of what I have to say, but I know that I certainly do. I used to worry that every time I told my story I lost a little part of it - that it lost a little more meaning each time, that it became less precious, less special. Sometimes I still worry about that. But I'm starting to feel more like mine is a story that needs to be told. That maybe I had this experience not just for me, not just for Roo, but because it's going to give me the experience and perspective to help other people. I hope so.


Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

I didn't know every stake was supposed to have an LDSFS Rep. Huh.
PS: I'm sure they LOVED you!

Jill Elizabeth said...

I didn't either. I never heard a peep out of the AR for my stake.

Candace said...

Hey I just wanted to tell you I have loved reading your blog... I am pregnant and looking into adoption and I really do like reading things from a birthmoms perspective so thanks!

Jill Elizabeth said...

You're very welcome, Candace. If you have any adoption-related questions, feel free to e-mail me :o)