My name is Sterling, I'm 22-years-old, and I am the birthmother to the most gorgeous little boy in the world. I started this blog to share my experiences, thoughts, and help myself move forward after placing my sweet little boy. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I invite you to read my story (top of the left column). Feel free to comment with questions or requests. If you follow me, I'll follow you!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm still here!

Wow.. it has been a very, very long time since I last posted to this blog. Over a year!

Well, here is my year in a nutshell -

Little David turned 3 in February 2013, my little Valerie turned 1 in April. At the beginning of June (and over my birthday!) Brad, Valerie and I took a trip down to Arizona to visit Brad's aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. It was so much fun! I hated the heat, but it was so difficult to leave. I told him that if we ever felt that it was right, I would move down there in a heartbeat. (Although I know that I would miss all of our siblings and parents sooooo much!)
In July we celebrated our 2 year (whattt???) anniversary. It was simple and wonderful.

Ooooh... I need to go back to June. Just before we left on our trip to Arizona, Amy messaged to ask if I could chat for a bit. They had decided to do IVF, and their first round would be in the middle of June. I was so excited for them! Since placing little David, I had been praying that somehow they would be able to experience pregnancy (with all of its ups and downs and crazy!), but obviously I had no way to make that happen. So those three weeks were soooo long...

Fast-forward to the end of June... IT WORKED! AMY IS PREGNANT! Her due date is in less than two weeks now - March 4. She is having a little boy. David will be a big brother! Oh, I seriously can't contain my excitement about this... I get giddy every time I think about it!

Little David turns 4 today - and it feels a little surreal. He's a little boy, not a toddler! We're hoping to Skype this afternoon, depending on how their schedule is and how Amy is feeling (oooh... those last two weeks of pregnancy are soooo hard...).

Oops, I forgot to mention my little bit of fun news... We're having another baby, too! I'm due May 19... so I still have a few months to go. It's a boy. We are thrilled.

I've had some thoughts running through my head the past few days about why I still grieve over placement, but I'm okay with where I am now and how everything has turned out. I'll be posting my full thoughts within the next week. But if any birthmothers are reading this - do you ever feel guilty for not regretting, or for feeling at peace? I'm curious, because I always feel a strange mix of joy and sadness... the sadness because I still remember very strongly how heartbreaking placement was, but joy because my life and Dave and Amy's lives have turned out so beautifully.  It's contradictory, it feels, to not have regret. I often hear that I should, or I will later, or that I'm drinking the adoption kool-aid (see birthmothers4adoption in regards to this...) and have been brainwashed.

But the truth? The Lord knows my heart, and has blessed me beyond what I feel I deserve. I know this, I believe it. The peace I feel is because of Him, and the sadness I feel is because I am human and I NEED to remember it - if I don't, I won't remember to depend on the Lord.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Letting go... again.

Every now and then, I get blindsided by something that gets me so emotional that I just HAVE to write about it. But then I realize that if I write about it, then I run the risk of the person/people I am hurting over reading it. So I chicken out. I suppose that is what a journal is for.

But, I am opening up now. Almost three years ago, my step-dad died. I miss him terribly. If you have read more than a few posts, you will know he made a huge impact on my life and I have been changed for the better because he was in my life. I long for the day I see him again. For a while after his death, I handled it pretty well because I still had his family ("my" family) to lean on and when I was with them I felt connected to him again. Since then, life has happened, misunderstandings, families have fallen apart, and somehow in the midst of it I lost most of them. I miss my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins... and especially my sister (step-sister, I guess). I check up on them now and again through Facebook, just to make sure they are doing well and happy. For some reason today I am feeling especially sentimental and just wish I could make everyone make peace with everyone else.

Unfortunately, I know that won't happen. My picture has been taken down (literally), my side of the family all but forgotten or written off. Loyalties have been tried and, sadly, blood won out. It is devastating but it is what it is. I have done all I can do, and lately I feel that gap getting wider.

Argh! It is so frustrating! Wanting to just love and care about people, but they won't let me! It is so out of my control, and I can't stand it. I have prayed, visited (or at least tried to visit), given space, expressed how much I care, but I feel like I am hitting a brick wall.

If I have learned anything in the last 4+ years, it is that family is the MOST important thing. I just don't know what to do when the family you long to be near, the family you want to feel connected to won't let you. What do I do? Someone help me... What do I do?

Do I let go? Do I keep trying?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stay classy!

So I heard new song on the radio this morning (well, new to me. Who knows how long it's been out?) and couldn't help but giggle when I heard the chorus. It's from Miranda Lambert's song "Mama's Broken Heart". Here's the chorus -

~Go and fix your make up girl, it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin' like a lady
Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart~

Man alive... You know how you see some people and think, "Pull yourself together, woman!" and others you think, "How do you always look so put together?!"... well, I'm more of the "Pull yourself together!" types. I can rock a mean ponytail without makeup, especially when I am an emotional wreck.  So here's my call, LET ME BE A MESS SOMETIMES! Okie?!

... So as I'm thinking about the lyrics, I started thinking about how amazing my mother has always been. She's the queen of "suck it up" when she needs to be (that time I slaughtered my solo at the state band competition), but when I have truly been hurting inside, she has been there for me. There are few times in my life that I remember her just holding me while I cried (at least, not since I was a small child), but I know that she will always be there if I need her.

During breakups... okay, I would definitely go a little crazy and act like a complete child, and those were the "suck it up" times.
Three-and-a-half years ago, when I found out I was pregnant out of wedlock, I was in the middle of a mental/emotional crisis. I was already acting crazy, and my mom was already at a loss of what to do. After dragging my butt to counseling, and when I started realizing I really did need help, I remember crying on the couch and my mom just holding me. It was exactly what my breaking heart needed. I was pregnant, single (for all intents and purposes), and just needed my mom to love me. And she did.

Soon after that, she encouraged me to keep my head held high, and stay classy.

I still think about that... "stay classy".

I can rock a mean ponytail and have absolutely no makeup on, yet still be classy. Being classy is more than shiny earrings and a cashmere sweater. It is being kind to those around you, being confident, and being compassionate to others. That's true class.

(Although, I probably shouldn't wear pajamas to Wal*Mart)

So here's my point - Fall apart, cry, eat an entire tub of ice cream, but do not lose your class. Walk tall, you are all daughters (and sons) of a loving and eternal Heavenly Father. It is okay to feel grief, to feel loss, to feel pain... but don't let it ruin the beautiful person inside you. Stay classy, ladies. Even when you fall apart.

PS - This cutie is the reason I haven't been blogging as much lately

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I am Mormon (or, the post where I ask you to please pick a different reason to hate Mitt Romney)

With the upcoming debates, my sweet hubby and I have decided to stay out of the political debates on Facebook. That is, not get involved. I do love to scroll through my newsfeed, find posts slamming one candidate or the other, and read through the heated comments. It takes me back to my college days, listening to all of the poli-sci majors that I worked with (Katie, Jon, :-)). Brad and I are outwardly neutral, and have not stated who we are voting for (except to family) or which issues mean the most to us. It is not worth losing friends over. I guess you could call me a closet politics junkie. ;-)

Here's the deal, though. I don't get upset when I see slams on "bad foreign policy" or "inaccurate claims about coal and oil industries". (Those are two different candidates who receive those slams, by the way). Whatever. What hurts the most is when I see a post that says 'I hate Romney, he's a mormon' 'Mormons are evil' or even better (one I read today from someone I consider a good friend, I will just say the last part) 'are we really ready for a Mormon to run this country?' (Uhm... Kennedy was Catholic. GASP!)... I feel like screaming "What does Mormon matter?? I'm a Mormon! You like me! At least I thought you did..."

Could it be that what makes me who I am, if my friends understood it's because I am a Mormon, would make them hate me instead? Terrifying.

Here is my plea. I don't care who you vote for, (well, I guess I do, but that isn't the point), but PLEASE, for my sake and for the sake of any friendships you wish to continue with us crazy Mormons, find another reason to hate Mitt Romney. When you hate him because he is a Mormon, it implies that you hate ALL of us who are Mormon. (And if that's the case, you can forget about getting any homemade green Jell-o carrot cookies for Christmas! Ha...)

Well, for anyone who has read thus far, here goes. I am about to tell you why I am a Mormon. Understand that yes, I was raised in the LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the real name of the Mormon church). I left the church for a while toward the end of high school and through college. These are the reasons that I am now a fully active "Mormon".

My church teaches, above all else, to live a clean and honest life. The ten commandments apply here. We also are encouraged to live by a code of healthy living and conduct called the "Word of Wisdom"... the most significant parts encourage abstinence from dangerous substances, including tobacco (yes, dangerous. It can cause cancer, it has been proven to be extremely unhealthy, don't argue with me on this, ok? I don't care if you smoke. That is your choice, I still love you, but I don't smoke), alcohol, strong drinks such as coffee (which is where most people have a problem. Again, drink your coffee. I love the smell. We can still be chums), and recreational drugs. The other side of the Word of Wisdom encourages healthy living choices. This includes a diet of lots of veggies, grains, fruits, etc., and encourages exercise. Take a step back and look at that again... does that really seem bad? Nowhere in there does it say to not drink caffeinated sodas. That is a personal choice that many members make for themselves, and has somehow become understood as "gospel doctrine". It is not. We do not believe you are damned for drinking Diet Coke. Heaven knows I love a cold Diet Coke when I'm not breastfeeding. :-) Now to the "honest" part. Don't lie, cheat, steal, abuse, covet, or otherwise hurt others. Plain and simple. Are you really going to hate on Mormons for that?
*side note* I know there are some in my faith who "hate" on people who are not Mormon. Please understand those are PEOPLE, not the LDS Church as a whole. The LDS Church has, over and over, encouraged acceptance and love of everyone, regardless of faith. My mom once told me, "The Church is true, the people aren't always." This is true anywhere. I know very, very wonderful people who are Catholic, Muslim, Baptist, and Atheist. I also know some big jerks. We all do. I am guilty of being a big jerk sometimes. That's not in the name of the LDS Church, though... that's all me. :-)

The LDS church teaches that our souls existed before this Earth life as spirit with a loving Heavenly Father (God). It also teaches that our souls will continue to exist after our mortal bodies die. Before this life, during this life, and after this life we have purpose and a divine destiny. Marriage and family relationships will not end at death. They will continue eternally, through our personal faithfulness and sacred covenants made in this life. That means that my wonderful husband, the man I love more than anyone else, will be with me forever as long as we are faithful to each other (shocker, right?) and God. It will not end at death! My daughter, and my future children, will be connected to us for eternity. What a beautiful thing to know! It is this knowledge (or faith, if you will) that helped me cope with the death of my step-dad, an incredible man who helped me turn my life around when I hit rock bottom. I know I will see him again. That relationship did not end with his death.

My church encourages humanitarian service and helping the world. "Love thy neighbor" is very literal.

Members of the LDS church are NOT secretive, contrary to what many believe. We send out missionaries to tell people all about it! We want so badly for EVERYONE to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father, who sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins so that we can live with Him again. Our lives have purpose! We know where we came from, what we are here to do (prove our faith in Heavenly Father and live virtuous lives), and where we are going. There are no mysteries! In response to our Temples (sacred places) being secretive, they are not. Worthy members of the LDS church are encouraged to attend the Temple and learn the things taught therein. We believe that Temples are sacred, and God's spirit dwells inside. Not just anyone can go inside the temple... But we sure do want everyone to be able to! I would LOVE if my friends who are not members or who are inactive could make the changes necessary to come inside with me. I have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than in the temple. He knows me personally. I am a unique, loved daughter of an eternal God.

The LDS Church encourages following the laws of the land and supporting our elected leaders. Sure, Mormons complain with the best of them about politics, laws, etc. Who doesn't? But being Mormon doesn't make us superior to the law or governing bodies. On that subject, the LDS Church never has and never will side with one political party. It is true that most members of the LDS church identify with the republican party, but many also identify themselves with the democratic party. I even know quite a few who consider themselves independent. The LDS Church will, on occasion, make a statement regarding some political issue if it is in direct conflict with church teachings. For example (this is a biggie), abortion. Abortion, except in extreme cases of rape, incest, or threat to the mother's life, is against church policy. In circumstances listed before, it is then a personal choice and is to be considered very prayerfully by the individual. (Being against abortion counts as a reason I am Mormon... but I could just as easily be Catholic, Baptist, or any other pro-life denomination).

We have a living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. Thomas S. Monson is the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As members, we revere him as a prophet. He receives direct inspiration from God, and has been called by Him to lead and guide our church on the Earth today. "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth." (Articles of Faith #6). This is the same organization that existed before Christ came to the earth, and that Christ established while on the Earth. (Any faith that believes the Bible to be holy scripture will not deny that). If then, why not now? God does not change. Nor do His laws or organization.

Love. Love is the biggest reason I am a Mormon. When I found myself at rock bottom a few years ago, very alone, single, pregnant... I had lost all hope for my life. I was terrified of telling my family. I didn't want to ask for help. I thought I would be kicked out of my house (I had only just moved back three weeks earlier from college), shunned, and a huge disappointment to my big, Mormon family. Instead, I felt love. My mom and step-dad wrapped their arms around me and told me I would be ok. They would help me. They would support me in whatever decision I made concerning the baby. My local church leaders, instead of looking down on me as a sinner, loved me and encouraged me to hold my head up, ignore those who would judge me, and helped me through the process of fixing myself mentally and emotionally. My parents invited me to attend church with them through my pregnancy... Oh how embarrassing, with all these good, upstanding, never-do-bad Mormons?!?! I was shocked... instead of receiving the "hateful, judging stares" I had always heard people talk about (and slammed on myself), I was greeted warmly and accepted. Nobody made me feel dirty. Nobody made me feel like an outsider. If I had treated them badly, then things would have been different. But instead, I opened my heart to others and soon learned I was not the only one who had made mistakes, felt alone, had poor judgement, or ached. I connected with women who had been in the same situation as me, or had been on the opposite end - could not conceive and had felt alone and felt judged harshly for NOT having children. I was reminded that the love of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would not, could not end. No matter how badly I had messed up my life, how many people I had hurt in the process, they still loved me. They still wanted me to come back to them and give my heart to them. There is no greater feeling than when you are scared as a child, and your father (or any parent) wraps their arms around you and tells you it will be ok, you are safe, you are loved. That is the feeling I have when I pray to my Heavenly Father. That is why I am a Mormon.

For more information, or for clarification on anything I have said, visit and search for it. Also, you can link HERE to read our Articles of Faith, or the very basic beliefs of the LDS Church. And HERE to learn about how the LDS Church is not a breakoff of another church, but is a restored church.

Oh, and if you comment and tear me apart or hate on my faith... I probably won't delete it. But understand that I am not ridiculing anyone's beliefs. Only stating mine. (But uh, please share some love, those who support me!)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The ~Real~ Happy

So over the past two years, I have met many expectant single mothers. Some have placed, some have parented. Each have made a decision that has been tough. Each has had to really evaluate themselves... and I'm proud of almost every single one of them. They are great girls who became women.

Today I learned about the daughter of a dear friend who is expecting. My heart broke a little, thinking back on who I was when I was in that position. (Of being unwed and pregnant).

I was pretty selfish. Emotional. I didn't care much about my family, or expectations. I didn't have much of a belief in God, let alone a testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Why did I think back to who I was? Because I have made some very, very wrong calls on what I *thought* an expectant mother would decide for her child.

I am guilty of assuming that because a girl does not live the law of chastity, and doesn't initially seem to understand the importance of a family, they will not make the decision to place. I have been proven wrong on many occasions. Then, when I know a girl is absolutely not going to parent, she does.

It's not fair that I make these assumptions... because I'm almost positive that until I was well into my pregnancy, nobody expected me to place.  But then... my heart changed. I don't know when, or how, or exactly why. But I know that it did. I know that between June 2010 and December 2010, my world changed completely from "me" to "baby". My heart began to burn with the knowledge of an eternal truth - families are forever. My baby deserved an eternal family... not a "maybe" family.

As a new mom, with my own sweet baby, I still can hardly believe that I was able to place. It was so hard. But because of what I have NOW, it was all worth it - the unexpected pregnancy, the horrible and dramatic breakup (which ultimately ended up in happiness for both parties, separately), and the decision to live at home at age 20. It was because of all of that that I ended up meeting Bradley, falling into a love I never dreamed possible, and starting my little family. If not for my adoption experience, I would not have had so many opportunities open to me. I would not know so many wonderful people across the world.

Before I got pregnant, I was living a "happy" life. I thought I was happy. I thought I was in love. I thought life couldn't get any better.

But this... this is REAL happy. I have a firm faith in God and my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that I have been forgiven for the things of my past that hurt others. I know that I am a precious daughter of a Heavenly King. I am destined for incredible things.

My real happy is this - knowing that I helped create an eternal family, and through that experience, I desired my own. And now, every morning, I wake up to my wonderful husband next to me. I gaze at my daughter's beautiful face... and I am home. I am whole.

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