One Mother's Courageous Choice

posted in: Get to Know Me, Motherhood, Parenting 78 comments

This is the  first of five posts over the next ten days as part of Momalom’s Five for Ten.  We are all writing about the same topics in an honest effort to get to know one another better and make more connections. Our first topic is Courage. If you are already a regular Mommy Words visitor, I hope you enjoy these posts.  If you are here as a part of the Five for Ten, welcome!  I can’t wait to get to know you.

This is the hardest post I have ever written. It is taking great courage to write it and to post  for people to read who may not know me and may have difficulty understanding the situation.  My courage is nothing compared to my sister’s, who gave me permission to share this story and had the courage to live it.

A year ago I said goodbye to my 4 year old niece and nephew at the airport.  My heart broke into a million little pieces as they left, with my baby sister Katie, their birth mother,  to meet their forever family.  It almost killed me.  I can’t even imagine the courage it took for Katie to bring her babies to to their new parents.  I don’t know how she said goodbye.  I just know that she dug deep and sacrificed her own desires to give her kids a stable and secure forever home.  A home she could not give them herself.

The twins were born at 32 weeks gestation when Katie was 23 years old.  They were unplanned miracle babies.  The tiny babies spent a month in the NICU after they were born by emergency c-section.  Katie almost died after the surgery and spent a week in the ICU while doctors attempted to figure out why her lungs had collapsed and whether or not her heart was strong enough to be released.  My mom was in the delivery room and was the first to hold the babies.  I arrived at the hospital after a 6 hour drive to find alarms going off in Katie’s room and watch as doctor’s rushed to save her life.  Katie developed pneumonia and could not visit the twins, so for the first few days my mom and I wore the NICU bracelets and embraced the babies as often as the nurses would let us.  They were her first grandchildren.  They were beautiful.  When Katie’s pneumonia was gone, I wheeled her to hold her infant children the first time.  I thought my heart would explode.

Katie was determined to keep her twins, but from the very beginning it was much easier said than done.  As a single mom of twins with no college degree and no job after being on bed rest for most of her short pregnancy, her options seemed limited.  She moved in with my husband and me to begin getting her life back together.  We went to social services to make sure the twins had medicaid and WIC for their super expensive special formula.  Katie saw how single moms with no money lived while we waited for hours to be given a meeting time.  I remember her telling me she needed to figure out how she could give them everything they deserved and get out of the social services system. Over the years we spent many hours and days at Social Services.  Each moment there was heart breaking.  I remember wondering how she would be able to make a life for herself while taking care of 2 high maintenance preemies. 

I was right to be worried.  While I know it was possible, it never happened.  The stress of being a single mother was more than Katie bargained for.  She began to have serious panic attacks and lived with severe anxiety most of the time.  Her blood pressure was constantly elevated.  She sometimes struggled for breath.  I struggle for words to express how excruciating it was to watch her little family, to watch her struggle to provide and to be a good mother, to watch her wonder if she had made the right choice.

Over the years Katie and her twins lived with us off and on as rent payments were often impossible to make and jobs impossible to keep.  She was always trying to find something that worked with her small children.  She started her own cleaning company but became frustrated with all the last minute cancellations and inability to budget the actual money that would come in.  I paid for her to get her nurses assistant certification but from the beginning she had trouble finding a daycare that could take the twins in time for her to check in at the hospital by 6:45 a.m.  I was at a loss.  I didn’t have any brilliant ideas.

The only jobs she ever found that made enough were jobs at bars, working into the middle of the night.  Moms should not have to work these jobs.  For Katie, working at bars brought her back to her life before kids and she had trouble making the right decisions for her family.  She began to befriend the late night crowd and started to feel like her only connections to society were the bar crawlers she met.  She didn’t have mommy friends.  She barely had any friends with day jobs.  In truth, she had very few real friends at all.  She started to drift away.   The late night parties and lifestyle of her single life came back with a vengeance as she reconnected with the only crowd she had been comfortable with before the birth of the twins.

We, her family, could see that we were losing her, and that she needed to make a major change in her life to be a great mom to her kids.  The whole family was together for Christmas in 2008 and the situation was the worst it had ever been.  Katie had no job and we were paying for her to live in a home near us.  The kids spent as many nights here as they did in her home and we watched as her mental health deteriorated and real depression took hold of her life.  She did not seem like my baby sister anymore.  She was a mother in need of serious help. 

With the family gathered, we confronted her in my living room the morning after Christmas about her lifestyle and the choices she was making.  As a family and with all the love in our hearts, we expressed our real belief that at almost 4 years old, her kids would soon be very aware that their mother was not providing them with the safe and secure life they deserved.  I want to be very clear on this.  She always loved them with all of her heart, but that love was not enough to defeat the demons in her life.  With a mixture of  terrible anger and tears of sorrow, Katie screamed. She said she knew we hated her and ran out the front door. 

In the time she was gone, we discussed the future.  We knew both that Katie needed help and that her kids needed a family.  At that point, I thought that Ross and I could be that family.  The twins had been with us since they were born.  Our house was their house.  Our kids were like siblings.  They played together, slept together, ate together.  The twins welcomed Sophia and Miles when each was born.  In my own heart, I felt like they were my children too.  I took them everywhere with us.  They had the same childhood as my own children when we were together.  We went to zoos.  We took music classes.  They were 2 happy little people.  In this time of extreme pain, I thought we could be the solution.

When Katie came back, I think she thought we could be the solution too.  She could go somewhere to get herself better and we could be the family the kids needed.  She admitted that she was not in a place to be a good mother to her kids as much as she wanted to be.  She needed real help.  That admission was the beginning of a new conversation, one that would lead those beautiful children to a home that was not ours.

We were all, save my husband, naive.  It turns out that in family adoptions are often not the best solution at all.  You see, the problem was, they were not my kids.  They were my sister’s.  What seemed so simple would be very confusing for them and much more complex than we ever imagined.  To put it as simply as possible, counselors told us that the twins would most likely have trouble figuring out who their mom was and might struggle to feel permanence in this situation.  They would wonder if and when they were going back to their mom.  They would question whether or not our home was really their forever home.  As small children, they would not understand the tough love their mommy Katie needed to heal herself and why she could not be a part of their lives.  In addition to the children’s struggle, as adults we would need to set strict boundaries for Katie as we tried to build our new family.  She would not be allowed to be a part of it for some time and if we adopted her kids, I would be their mom first instead of her sister first.   We were overwhelmed with love and sorrow and confusion.

With all the help my sister needed and our real desire for the twins to have the best possible life, the counselor suggested we consider an open adoption.  She told us that Katie needed her family’s full support to make a change and that it would be very difficult to do this while bringing the twins into our home.  She also told us there were many families that were interested in open adoptions of older children where Katie and the rest of our family could remain a part of their lives.

At first it was unthinkable to imagine our lives without those precious children in them.  They were, and always will be, in my heart each and every day.  While we cried and cried and Katie felt the situation spinning out of control, she somehow found a calm place in her soul and asked me if we could talk about the possibility.  She was honest for the first time about her pain and suffering and the major changes she needed to make in her life.  She told me all the things she wished her kids had and that she wanted them to have a life like my kids filled with friends and activities and opportunity.  She was brutally honest with me and with herself about the limitations of love in providing the kids of home she wanted for her kids.  She also said that she wanted them to be proud of her one day and that she needed to make a huge change in her life for that to ever happen.  She really did, and does, love them with all of her heart, and that love gave her the strength to do what was best for her kids, even though it broke her heart.  That love gave her the courage to find a forever home for her children that was not hers…or mine.

The next few months flew by with unbelievable speed.  The adoption agency had hundreds of families who were interested in getting to know more about us and the twins and who wanted an open adoption.  We couldn’t believe it.  It was both sad to read all those profiles and absolutely wonderful to learn that so many people wanted to make older children a part of their homes.  We had massive numbers of psychological tests with the twins and just as many special memory days spent with their cousins to make our time with them as wonderful as possible. 

I will never know as a mother what it feels like to choose a new Mommy and Daddy for your children.  I know for Katie, it would have been an out of body experience except the pain was so real that the profiles were quickly soaked with our tears.  In those pages of pictures and information though, Katie found hope for her children.  She found just a few families that seemed like a good fit for her babies and her desires for them.  We cautiously contacted the adoption agency to set up phone calls with these families.  We had a list of questions.  We had a list of desires.  We were terrified. 

We found a family that wanted what we wanted.  We found a young couple about my age with no kids who wanted to adopt older children.  They had a similar belief system and they wanted an open adoption.  They liked our profile and our family.  They wanted the twins to maintain contact with my family and my kids from the very start.  They wanted them to know their birth mother and have communication and visits with her in the future.  Katie chose this family to be what she could not. 

Katie wrote down everything she could think of about her babies and what she wanted and I called the couple to tell them about their future son and daughter.  Through muffled tears I told them everything about Katie’s kids that she could think of since they were born.  She wrote stories about them and went through their strengths and weaknesses but also conveyed their likes and dislikes, their fears and desires, the names of each of their stuffed animals, and even their favorite colors.  She tried, through me, to give this couple as much of the kids as she could so that they could make them as comfortable as possible from the very beginning.

As the day for thier departure drew near, every experience with Katie and her twins seemed surreal.  I started thinking this is the last time about everything we did.  I think Katie was in a mild state of shock at this point.  I don’t know what other state she could have been in.  I felt like I was choking every time I spoke and it was difficult to hold back tears when I saw them, talked to them or touched them.

On their last night here we were busy packing and talking about their new mommy and daddy.  This was, to this day, one of the hardest things I have ever done.  It is part of the transition – to prepare them for their new home.  We sat and talked about their new family, their new rooms, their new doggie.  We told them about the weather where they were going and how far away it was from Sophia.  Katie told them that she loved them dearly and that she loved them so much that she found the very best mommy and daddy that she could but that she would always be their birth mother and that should they ever need anything she would be there.   She told them that they would always be in her heart and that they would always be the most important thing in her life.  She told them they were so important that she found them the most wonderful forever home in the world. 

This is true.  She did what a mother is supposed to do.  She did the best thing for her children – not herself.  She would have loved to have these two beautiful kids around her, loving her, forever.  But she was not at a place where she could be a good parent – and that is what they needed more than anything.  Katie had the courage to see this.

I took Katie and the twins to the airport on a lovely April morning in 2009 and on the curb I hugged them for the last time, my tears flowing freely.  She flew with them and said goodbye to them in their new city as she was introduced to a transition family that would help them get into their new home.  She had to sign many papers on this day, each of which caused her immeasurable pain.  She has told me she wanted to run out and get them.  She wanted to keep them forever.  She wanted to run away with them.  She told me she would have if she could but she could barely breathe when she thought of how she would support them, that the panic attack she had when she imagined herself failing as their parent actually allowed her to sign those terrifying papers.  If I had been there – I might not have been as strong.  After signing the papers she got on a plane and went to live with our brother and figure out what to do to fix her life.

When I thought about the subject, Courage, my sister displayed more courage in this act than I have ever seen before.   She had the courage to admit she was not in a lace where she could be a good parent.  She had the courage to put her children before herself.  She had the courage to give them what they deserved. 

Katie’s babies will be in her heart forever.  She had their names tattooed on her arm as a constant reminder to make something of her life they could be proud of.  It has been a little over a year since they left us and Katie has had the courage to make a change.

Memorial Day weekend my sister Katie will graduate from Marine Corps basic training and she will be a U.S. Marine.  She took complete control of her life and chose to serve her country and make her kids proud.  The twins and their new mommy and daddy have been writing her in boot camp and drawing her pictures.  I cannot express how proud I am of my baby sister and how she has turned her life around.  Every letter I get from her she tells me that every ounce of her strength comes from thinking of her twins, safe and happy with their new family and knowing that she is finally doing something they can look up to.  She no longer has to be ashamed.  She doesn’t have anxiety attacks anymore.  She is becoming both physically and mentally strong. 

After graduation, Katie will see her twins again for the first time.  She will meet their new parents face to face for the first time.  We are flying to see them with Sophia and Violet.  They are excited to see their “Birth Mommy Katie” and ask her about the Marines.  They are excited to see their Aunt Brittany and Cousin Sophia and meet the new baby.  They have been talking to Sophia all year and they want to see how tall she is and talk to her about things like princesses and gymnastics.  We are all going to a baseball game.  I hope it will be wonderful and that I don’t cry though the whole thing.  While the kids are all super-excited, I am pretty sure all of the grown-ups are as petrified as I am.  We are just going to take it slow and make it as fun for the kids as possible. 

The new family assures us through regular pictures, emails and phone calls that the kids are doing really well and that they are healthy and happy.  The twins keep pictures of both their new family and their birth family in their rooms.  They have a life book where they put notes and letters we send them.  We are overjoyed at their happiness, but we will always live with the pain of losing them.  Katie will always be aware that day to day she does not have her kids with her.  She hopes that seeing them thrive will give her the certainty that she made the right decision.  I pray she is granted this wish.  She deserves to know they are in the right place.

For all her courage as a mother in a way we never expected, I applaud my baby sister.  For all her courage as a woman after giving up what was most precious to her and doing something good with her life, I am proud of her.  For all her weaknesses as a sister and a friend while she was in her darkest hours, I forgive her.

I love you Katie, and I am proud of you.  You will always be my best friend and my baby sister.  I will carry the memories we made with our families close to my heart forever and look forward to making more.  They are lucky to have a birth mother who had the courage to love from afar.

Note:  This may not be the most well written post, but when I saw the Momalom word was courage, I knew I had to finish it and get some of these feelings out or risk never writing about this experience.  I will certainly go back and revise my words, perhaps condense what has turned out to be a very long post.  Please forgive any errors in this first draft of my feelings.  I wanted to share a part of my family’s story and add my view on one more attribute of a good mother.  I will continue to post about adoption and the enormous courage it takes on both the birth family and adoptive family fronts.  This has been a life changing experience for all of us, and one that has made our hearts break open and become even larger.  Thank you for coming on this emotional journey with me.

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Brittany
I'm Brittany. I believe that simple is best and that smiling can make or break a day. I love being a woman, a wife and a mother. I like to make pretty things and making things with big tools. I am a huge fan of good design. I love to travel. Hugs make me happy. I share my life, experiences, tips and tutorials in the hope that this community can find a whole lot of awesome together.
Brittany
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77 comments… add one

  • Wow. That must have been nearly impossible to be a part of. Putting those kids first, while suffering with the thought of losing them? Courageous. Unbelievably courageous…of all of you.
    .-= LZ @ My Messy Paradise´s last blog ..Courage. A post about my father. =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 nic @mybottlesup

    *weeping*

    this is absolutely beautiful.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Kisha Floren

    My heart is full of love for your sister, and for you-because that is what true mothers do-they make the correct choices, even when they are the hardest. I am also so glad that she is making the best out of the situation and turning her life around-what an extraordinary woman.
    .-= Kisha Floren´s last blog ..Courage =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Shawna Cevraini

    Oh my, I should not have read this while on my coffee break at work – now I have to go back sniffling!

    I simply cannot fathom the pain you all must feel, but know the comfort there in doing the right thing.

    “She really did, and does, love them with all of her heart, and that love gave her the strength to do what was best for her kids, even though it broke her heart. That love gave her the courage to find a forever home for her children that was not hers…or mine.”

    This is a story of absolute TRUE mother’s love – it is the epitome of doing what is best for those babies, even though the pain must be so hard to bare.

    Damn, I’m crying again! Thank you so very much for sharing this beautiful story that every mother should read.
    .-= Shawna Cevraini´s last blog ..The Opposite of Courage =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Sue Campbell

    Absolutely heart wrenching. I am in tears at my desk. Thanks to you and your sister for sharing.
    .-= Sue Campbell´s last blog ..Five for Ten: Courage =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Amber

    This was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. My sister placed her first baby for adoption. Like you, we initially thought that my mother or I could adopt the baby, but it just did not seem like the best solution. I am incredibly inspired by my sister’s decision. I am fiercely proud of her. Like you are of your sister.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..That Was Love =-.

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  • May 11, 2010 Christine LaRocque

    I have no words. I am crying. Amazing story.
    .-= Christine LaRocque´s last blog ..Courage =-.

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  • May 11, 2010 C @ Kid Things

    Strong. So, so strong. I can’t even imagine.
    .-= C @ Kid Things´s last blog ..Courageous =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Jen

    Your sister’s–and your–story encapsulates courage in a way that most of us could not imaging having to face. I keep trying to write more here, but honestly, I can’t even put into words the respect and feeling of awe I have for a young woman who, with great support, can look to the future and do what is right for the lives ahead–hers and her twins. I can understand why this was so difficult to write, and I thank you for sharing this story with so many. It’s powerful, to say the least! I wish you all happiness and peace.
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Courage is =-.

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  • May 11, 2010 alicia

    Absolutely beautiful. That must have been so hard for her to do but what a wonderful display of a mother’s love!

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Sarah

    This story is full of pain, but so much hope! The strength that it must have taken for your entire family to come to this decision – and your sister’s courage to not only acknowlege her weaknesses, but to act in the best interest of her children.

    It breaks my heart that we live in a society that throws up so many barriers to single mothers. That any mother has to face the decision your sister had to for the reasons she did is just not ok.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..A Lesson in Courage =-.

    Reply
  • Thank you so much for sharing this story. I have never read anything like this and cannot even imagine the emotions that your sister and your family had to face regarding this decision. You are right–she is brave, and you are brave for sharing the story and supporting her in such a life-changing event.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 coffee with Julie

    Your sister is indeed the definition of courage. A weaker person would have kept the children, and lived in denial. And now she is a US Marine? Wow. She is one amazing and determined woman. My words are escaping me … but I am so thankful that the world has such self-less people like you and your sister in it.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 denise

    Bless you and your sister. She indeed, embodies courage. As do you. Thank you for sharing your, and her, story.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Carol

    Never as a woman or a mother have I had to be that courageous. I don’t know how she did it, I don’t know how you wrote about it. I hope your sister knows that she did more for those children in the time it took to sign those papers than most do in a lifetime. This is the most unselfish act I’ve read about in a long time, and she didnt do it for recognition, fame or fortune, she did it simply because it was the right thing.
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..A weekend in paradise =-.

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  • May 11, 2010 Amy

    This is a devastatingly beautiful post. I am crying as I read it. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really hope that the twins now have the most joyful life possible with their forever family and that they come to know that it was all possible because your sister did the most motherly thing possible–she gave her children the life she knew they deserved. It also gave me so much insight into you as well and must be a part of why you seem to be one of those moms that cherishes every second with her kids. Again, thank you for sharing this heartbreaking and hopeful post.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 becca

    This has me all choked up. I read it an hour ago and am still “feeling” it. I cannot even imagine having the muster the courage to do what your sister did. She is the most selfless person I have ever heard about. To put her children’s lives so far in front of her own is unimaginable to me. And you, being there for her and her children and having to watch all of this unfold … also heartwrenching to me. I’m so happy that you and Katie can still be in contact with her children. That must make this at least slightly more bearable?

    Thank you for sharing this story. It puts so much in perspective for me.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Kelly

    Wow. I didn’t know when I began reading that your story would take me on such an emotional rollercoaster. I adopted my sister’s child for all the reasons you wanted to adopt your niece and nephew. And we’ve dealt with so much joy and pain as a result. I know that if my son wasn’t a newborn when I brought him home, it wouldn’t have worked. What strength and courage you both showed in letting those babies go to the family that could give them what they needed without the baggage and dark clouds of family backstory. Your sister is a role model that more women should be looking toward as an example.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Natalie

    I’m ashamed to say that I was not nearly as supportive of my baby sister through her baby’s adoption as you were for yours.

    Katie and you and her babies are in our prayers.
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..five for ten: courage =-.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Rudri

    I am crying. So unbelievably hard what you and your sister had to do. You are courageous too, for your unconditional support.

    I am glad you wrote this.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2010 Cheryl

    Amazing. Heartbreaking. Amazingly heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine. Your sister is amazing and I hope she is proud of the changes she has made in herself – and in the life of her children.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Courage is within all of us =-.

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  • May 11, 2010 Melisa

    So beautiful, so very beautiful.
    .-= Melisa´s last blog ..Fashion Talk: Post Two =-.

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  • OMG I couldn’t even finish reading this because I was getting chest pains just thinking about what your sister and family went through. Motherhood is hard, the hardest thing I ever did. I am glad that your sister had the courage to do what she did for her children. They are in my prayers.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Lynn

    I admire your sister, you, and your family for all the courage it took to do what was best for her and the twins. Courageous, indeed.
    .-= Lynn´s last blog ..Beautiful Boy =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Shawna

    Your sister’s actions were nothing short of the embodiment of courage. The love and support from you and the rest of her family nothing short of amazing. Those children will KNOW what true love is. Thank you for sharing it!
    .-= Shawna´s last blog ..Without Borders =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Erin

    Brought tears to my eyes. What a difficult and brave decision. I wish all of you the best !
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Why I chose to Ferberize =-.

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  • May 12, 2010 MommyB

    Thanks so much for sharing! It must have been very difficult for you to pour your heart out. Please know that you are not alone in this circumstance. It sounds like a few of us have had similar experiences thank God your sister’s children are with a great and loving family and that your sister has done so well getting her life back in order. Also know that you had part in that and be proud of yourself as a sister and as a mom!
    .-= MommyB´s last blog ..Calico Critters Card Game Review =-.

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  • May 12, 2010 Eileen

    I made the mistake of reading this when I came into work this morning and am sitting here crying at my desk.

    How brave and *courageous* Katie was to do what was best for those kids. Also for you, for being there to support her decision.

    Reply
  • You did a wonderful job telling this difficult and touching story. I hope you have a great visit with the family.
    .-= Annie @ PhD in Parenting´s last blog ..Züge in das Leben – Züge in den Tod (trains to life – trains to death) =-.

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  • May 12, 2010 Rachael

    Please do not spend a millisecond rewriting this post or correcting anything. It is beautifully written and raw with emotion. What a tremendously trying and challenging experience your sister and your family faced. What love and compassion and support…I am moved beyond expression.

    How could these children ever question this level of love? They are loved – deeply, completely, and always by so many people. Courage. Amazing.

    XOXO Rachael
    @PineappleBabble
    .-= Rachael´s last blog ..Why I Suck at Math… =-.

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  • May 12, 2010 Jessica Warrick

    I read your story and couldnt help but cry for those children and that mother. I too adopted out my first child to my mother and it was the best thing that could have happened at the time for that child. However i dont agree with your decision to adopt outside the family. They would have had a better relationship with the family than outside. My oldest son is not confused or hurt in any way he understands and loves us for it. I think that you could have made it work for he better for both parties if you had taken the kids in since they already new you and your family well. However i understand were you were coming form not being informed properly on this matter. i hope that everything goes well for those children and your families and congratulations to your sister for making the right decision for her and getting her life together. It takes true courage to adopt out your children when you know you cant provide them the right kind of stable environment. please dont take offense to anything i have said here just some advice from a mother who has been there.
    .-= Jessica Warrick´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesdays =-.

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    • May 12, 2010 Brittany

      Jessica, thank you so much for your honesty. I do not take offense. We were totally torn about the decision and I have many days where I have regrets. I will say though, that when I talk to them, they are happy. They tell me about their new family and their new life and I am happy that they can have that without the massive amounts of drama in our house over thier mother. I could not relate in the post how many counselors we talked to about this decision and I think the fact that Katie needed massive amounts of help herself made a big difference for us. The twins were 4 – and we felt like they needed a permanent home without the terrible pain and drama that were a part of our family due to Katie’s troubles. We also have 3 children and were the only people financially able in my family to adopt the twins but my husband lost his job last Spring and we did not know what we would be doing or where we would be in the coming years. In any older child adoption the kids need counseling throughout the process and an enormous amount of time spent making sure they were thriving. I was not sure a family of 5 kids 4 and under would give them that, while I would have tried my hardest and I know there are families that do it all! There were so many reasons on both sides of this decision and while we mourn our loss every day I know we are all committed to being there for those kids throughout their lives in whatever ways they need and I think that Katie tried to do what was best for them – not her. We always say what if they were younger or what if we didn’t have kids and dozens of other situations but we dealt with what we had and like you said, we tried to do what was best.

      I am so happy to hear that everything is working out for your family and your eldest son. I am sure that Katie and my whole family imagined a similar positive outcome!

      Again, thank you for your comment.

      Reply
      • May 12, 2010 Jessica Warrick

        Im so glad everything has worked out for the best. i can imagine how hard it is to have them in your life for four years then taken away like that. It would hurt me so much. I have struggled with giving my first child to my mother for so long. Its not an easy decision and its not something you just get over. It is something that sticks with you for the rest of your life. It is something that once its done there is no turning back and if you ever do have more kids which i did it hurts you to know that you couldnt keep the first one. it pains me to think that he would ever hate me for doing what is best for him but i know deep down that he does not that he understands and is better off with my mother. He knows me and who i am and it helps him to have a bit of family history and background. So as you can see i know how your sister feels having to give her children away and i feel the same for my own lose. im glad she got her life back together but saddened buy the circumstances behind the situation. I hope the children are truly doing well and enjoying there life and i hope that your family gets to spend time with them and grow with them.
        .-= Jessica Warrick´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesdays =-.

        Reply
        • May 12, 2010 Jessica Warrick

          thank you its os nice ot have some one to talk to that is in the same situation and has the same experiences. any time you want to talk you can email me at jessicawarrick@ymail.com or you can check my blog out at http;//punkrockmomma.com
          .-= Jessica Warrick´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesdays =-.

          Reply
        • May 12, 2010 Brittany

          You are a sweetheart Jessica and I think you are right in that we both have fears of what the kids will think later. Katie is terrified of what they will think if she ever had more kids and I know they will wonder why we didn’t take them even though we wanted to so badly. We will just have to take it a day at a time. I will let you know how our first get together goes this month. I am SO nervous!

          Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Chibi Jeebs

    I’m having a hard time seeing through the tears. I can’t even BEGIN to fathom what you all went through. I am in awe of ALL of your courage, strength, and love for the twins.
    .-= Chibi Jeebs´s last blog ..Back in the saddle again (HYC: Week 19) =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 subWOW

    I don’t know what to say. Bless your heart, Katie’s heart, the new parents’ hearts. I am not a religious person so I am thinking and sending wonderful positive thoughts for you, Katie, her twins, your family.

    Reply
  • As a single mom who has had to do the less typical jobs to make ends meet, I relate strongly to your sister. Working all night and being surrounded by people with fewer responsibilities makes it much more difficult to play supermom during the day without resentment toward your children and situation. I am deeply touched by her selflessness in wanting better than that for her children.

    What a good mom Katie is, and a good sister you are.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Cindy

    I am a mother, in part, because of two women who made the same courageous choice for their children as your sister made for hers. I saw their pain, and their love, as they made this beyond difficult decision. And I tell my children every chance I get how much their birthmothers loved them. It does take real love and courage to realize that this is what is best for your child. And I strive to be the best mother I can be for them – I owe their birthmothers nothing less.
    Thank you for sharing this. And I agree with Rachael – don’t change a single word!
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Letting Go =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 amber

    Oh my goodness. I’m a little sick to my stomach, imagining the pain you all went through. Your sister is beyond brave to do that – and very selfless. This does indeed, define courage.
    .-= amber´s last blog ..Just Right. =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Alli

    Oh Brittany,

    Please don’t condense this! It is so real and an absolutely beautiful telling of your family’s story. While it broke my heart to read it (I could picture Katie’s so cute little girl smile the entire time!), and I can never understand the pain, it is so evident that this was exactly the best thing for all of you. How wonderful that you will get to see those precious babies soon! I will be praying for all of you!

    Alli
    .-= Alli´s last blog ..Who Knew? =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Zandi

    Don’t you change a thing about this post! Its utterly perfect, equally heartbreaking and incredibly COURAGEOUS. To live it and to post it. I am sitting here sobbing with a heaviness on my heart for what you all went through and how difficult your visit is going to be. But in awe of Katie’s and your strength. Complete awe.
    ALL MY LOVE Zandi
    .-= Zandi´s last blog ..Blog on Pause =-.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Candice

    What an amazing post. Reading this 2 days postpartum, you can figure I bawled my eyes out – but I think I would have anyway. I hope you don’t alter a word of the story. You told this incredibly difficult tale amazingly well. Truly touching.
    .-= Candice´s last blog ..3… 2… 1… motherhood… =-.

    Reply
    • May 12, 2010 Brittany

      OMG did you have the baby??? I am off to see. I am so freaking excited I cannot believe it! XOXOXOXO

      Reply
      • May 12, 2010 Candice

        Yes but I didn’t blog it yet (bad mommy blogger). Maybe tonight or tomorrow if I can get my little boy to stand being put down for more than 30 seconds.
        .-= Candice´s last blog ..3… 2… 1… motherhood… =-.

        Reply
        • May 12, 2010 Brittany

          CONGRATULATIONS! Dear lord I feel like a family member or something all up in your business. Seriously I am so excited for you and your family. Please give him a kiss for me and of course…send pics ASAP! I am missing tiny baby love around here!

          Reply
  • I am incapable of saying anything comprehensible at this point. I am crying. Your sister is a brave and wonderful woman. I am very very proud of her. And you.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Megan

    I am without any comprehensible words. *wipes eyes* that is for sure the definition of courage and I am not so sure I have even an ounce of that. beautiful post.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Kitchen Adventures =-.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2010 Brittany

      Thanks so much! I think that all of us moms have that somewhere in us. It’s the mama bear instinct from another angle. It’s about protecting your children.

      Reply
  • May 12, 2010 Jane Swinglehurst

    Wow, this is such an amazing story of a families strength and a mother’s courage, I can’t even wrap my head around it. I’m very sure I will be back to read this a few more times.

    I truly believe it was selfless of your sister, of you and your family to make this decision. It would have been far easier to keep the children even if it wasn’t the best thing for them. Making the choice to give them a stable, forever family, that’s incredibly selfless.

    You are a brave family. Thank you for writing something so honestly about something so heart wrenching.

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing this story. I’ve been crying almost the entire time of reading it. It was truly a blessing that your sister realized that she could not provide for her children even though she wanted too. That she had such a strong love for them, they will be stronger for. In time they will understand.

    I felt your pain as well though. Lately, we’ve been considering the option of allowing the rest of our kid’s birth family to see them. I think you helped me to see how very important it is to them to do that.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2010 Brittany

      Wow Tami, thank you so much for commenting. This is the post I was going to send you to read before posting but then I felt like I needed to just post it when I saw the Momalom word was courage. I think you, as an adoptive parent, possess that same courage. We are so happy that we found an open adoption situation and really focused on finding a family that would be totally open to our kids remaining “cousins”. Sophia grew up with the twins and we thought it was really important they were allowed to keep this bond. I am sure the kids will do fine when they see each other…I will let you know how it goes with all us grown-ups!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2010 PrincessJenn

    Wow. Just wow. This is an awesomely inspiring post. It takes a special person to be that selfless.
    .-= PrincessJenn´s last blog ..The One Where The Roll Of Toilet Paper Turns Into A Polar Bear =-.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2010 Bay

    Wow- what an amazing story. Your sister Katie is an amazing person to do what is right for her kids, and not the selfish choice. And the same to you as well. This story is the definition of courage. God bless!
    .-= Bay´s last blog ..Healthy Toddler Feeding Festival – My little experiment = Parsnip Fries =-.

    Reply
  • I’m choking back sobs and read most of this through tear-filled eyes. What a huge sacrifice that your sister and your entire family have made. It was not only gut-wrenching but very brave and raw for you to share this. I’m so glad to hear that everyone is doing well now.
    God bless all of you.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2010 Lu@masmom

    Wow. Katie is amazing. You know this has given me some perspective on the 2 children my brother gave up for adoption. If I decide to post on it, would you mind if I link back here?
    I have high hope for you all on the upcoming trips. You will definitely be in my thoughts. I can not even imagine the courage it took YOU to write this. HUGS.

    Reply
    • May 13, 2010 Brittany

      Thank you so much. Of course you may link back here. I hope to have more discussion in the future on the subject of adoption as it is now so close to my heart. I am glad the post gave you some perspective. This is tough stuff. Hugs to you too!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2010 Holly

    So sad, but so hopeful. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..On Mothering =-.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2010 TheKitchenWitch

    Holy cow. What a story. I’m sitting here with my jaw on the floor.

    That is probably one of the biggest sacrifices I’ve ever heard of. You all were so strong.

    I’m proud of Katie and her ability to put those children first, and to then save herself.
    .-= TheKitchenWitch´s last blog ..Veg-Head Monday: Zucchini Stuffed Tomatoes =-.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2010 Harriet

    Adoption is so emotional, so deep and so complex. We are new adoptive parents in an open adoption and even though our son’s birthparents were very, very young and we see them regularly, I can’t get over the feeling of pain that enters the room with every visit. The feeling is lifting ever so slightly over time but I doubt it will ever totally dissipate. They constantly tell us how happy they are that we came into their lives. I just can’t fathom why they thank us. We thank them every day.
    .-= Harriet´s last blog ..“Family Matters: Blogging the Parenting Experience” =-.

    Reply
  • May 14, 2010 Stacia

    Wow is the only word I can think of here. What a story. Your sister, your whole family, are made of strong, strong stuff. To put those two children first … what a heartwrenching yet brave choice. Courage indeed.
    .-= Stacia´s last blog ..Five for Ten: Memory =-.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2010 Cranky Sarah

    I read this yesterday and spent so much time recovering from it, that I didn’t get to think of a reply.
    All parties have been courageous here. Your sister for thinking of this, your family for trusting her / allowing her / recognizing that she’s right, and the forever family. This is a story of true and pure love.
    .-= Cranky Sarah´s last blog ..Me without makeup: Status Quo =-.

    Reply
    • May 17, 2010 Brittany

      Thank you so much Sarah. We feel the same way – that we have gone through a great sacrifice to keep the love going! We have made our family larger. Also, I too am still recovering and it has been more than a year!

      Reply
  • May 18, 2010 Joanna

    I found your post through Scary Mommy and I’m in tears. I can’t imagine going through that and you wrote about it so beautifully.

    Reply
    • May 18, 2010 Brittany

      Thank you so much. The post was very freeing for me as I begin to open up on my blog and explore who I am and what I am made of and most importantly what my family means to me.

      Reply
  • May 18, 2010 Scary Mommy

    Wow, what an amazing story. No wonder it’s your favorite- I have chills.
    .-= Scary Mommy´s last blog ..Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes… =-.

    Reply
    • May 18, 2010 Brittany

      Thanks Jill. It’s my fave because I am finally opening up on my blog and making it all mine and also because I actually made a difference in the lives of some adoptive parents who have been considering meeting with the birth parents.

      Love your new community area. What a great idea!

      Reply
  • May 19, 2010 Melissa (@adventuroo)

    Stopping by from Scary Mommy’s forum.

    Wow- what a beautiful and heartbreaking story. I can’t even fathom the pain in having to do that…. and the relentless courage. And kudos to her for entering the Marines. Brave, courageous and strong!
    .-= Melissa (@adventuroo)´s last blog ..Can I Tell You a Secret? =-.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2010 Brittany

      Thank you Melissa. Al of the comments mean so much. I am copying them and bringing them to my sister. She will be overwhelmed when she sees all the support. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  • June 4, 2010 Mungee's Ma

    I am at a loss for words. It’s gut-wrenching, heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time. It is the ultimate act of selflessness.

    Reply
  • June 4, 2010 magda

    how is a person with ADD supposed to get through a blog when every paragraph has a link to something else wonderful with other links. wow. i can not imagine the equally portioned pain and strength of Katie, of you all. what a gift to have a brother and sister and mother there for her. what an amazing expereince to get to be there for her. so much love!!

    xox
    .-= magda´s last blog ..Kindness: Pass it on (Note to Self) =-.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2010 Brittany

      You are back where have you been babe!!! I am emailing you tonight and sending my cell phone I have MISSED you!

      Reply
  • June 5, 2010 Melinda

    Wow. I am SO proud of Katie. This is such an incredible post. Thank YOU for having the courage to write it. What a selfless act. Beautiful.
    .-= Melinda´s last blog ..Worry Free =-.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2010 vicky rodriguez

    This story made me cry,but it was a good long cry,athe kind of crying that comes from an overflowing warmth of the heart.I can not imagine how it must of felt to give up those children but your sister is and always will be a mother.People think that giving birth means you are a mother of the ones that came out of your womb but i feel that your actions really define you as an actual mother. my mom had me at 15,who is ever ready at that age to take care of a child being a child yourself? she abandoned me and my two sisters and when i was younger being raised by my grandmother,my grandma never lied to us about where our birth mom was at and how she had been addicted to drugs and men. i use to hate her for leaving me but now that im older i know it was the best thing she could have ever done.i was raised by my grandmother and now i have my own kids to raise :) please thank your sister for me for serving our country.being married to a husband who is currently deployed,i understand first hand the sacrafices that our women and men make for us.god bless!

    Reply
    • June 9, 2010 Brittany

      Aw thanks Vicky! It’s great to meet you! I am going to be posting soon looking for other military families so I am so glad I found you! I am so happy that things worked out for you and I am so sorry you went through that pain as a child.

      Reply
  • January 4, 2011 Joan

    What incredible courage Katie has shown in putting her children first and what incredible courage it took for you to write about it. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Joan recently posted… Taking a BreakMy Profile

    Reply
  • January 10, 2011 Maria's Random Rants

    This post was bittersweet and reminds me that there is a fine line between the right decision and a wrong one and sometimes even the right ones hurt like hell. My sister is mentally ill, her ex a drug addict – we took a different route. After 5 yrs of my niece being in our care via foster care, we adopted her and to this day I feel like no one understands how hard it was to make that decision, and to live with the repercussions of it, good and bad. It’s been 2 yrs since and we’re making it work because that’s what we do, but it is never easy.

    More power to your family, your sister, and your niece and nephew. I’ll root for them, too.
    Maria’s Random Rants recently posted… Sick Notice – The Extended Director’s CutMy Profile

    Reply

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