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!

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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweet Baby Valerie

Ladies, (maybe a few gentlemen?) she is here! Our little Valerie Bo arrived on April 13, 2012 at 3:05 am. Hop on over to our ~Family Blog~ to read about her birth story (unmedicated!) and see hospital pictures. I'll blog soon about how different it has been from my last experience.

Motherhood so far has been amazing. It has been very difficult and scary, but I love this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Giveaway over at The Blessings of Adoption!

A sweet friend, Angie, was asked to review an LDS-themed children's book about adoption!  She is sponsoring a giveaway on *her blog*, so check it out! (Also, I encourage you to check out her other posts!)

I am always searching for positive and/or LDS adoption books. If you know of any, please comment!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In case anyone is wondering...

Yes, I am terrified to become a mother.  Do I regret that we decided to start our family so soon? Not one bit.

Brad and I were snuggled up watching TV last night, discussing if I should pick up a shift on Saturday or not. He said not to, because it is the day before baby will *hopefully* be here, and he wanted to spend the day together. It suddenly hit me... we are down to the last few days of *us*. If baby girl comes on Sunday, we will never have another Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of our little twosome. While the thought brings tears to my eyes and makes me wish for just a little more time, I'm also so grateful. We prayed for this, and we both know it is an absolute blessing.

I know I will miss my alone time. I know that I will miss just having BradSter time. Somehow, though, I feel that it is going to be worth it.

So in the next few days, we have decided we are going to try to do some last-minute things together we wanted to do, but won't be able to (at least, for a while) once baby is here.

I'm not so nervous about the hospital as I am about bringing little girl home afterward... I know I can make it through labor and delivery. I don't know squat about being a mom!

Maybe the hospital will be more difficult than I'm anticipating. Will I relive memories?  Will I suddenly be preparing myself to grieve, because it's all I know how to prepare for?  We chose a different hospital, a different doctor, and a different birth plan than what I experienced with little David.  I do not have a parent who is struggling to stay alive.  I feel free and I know I have so many people who love us and care about us.  I have a husband who will be the only person in the room, holding my hand, and who will be the first to hold our little girl when she arrives.  The experience will be completely different... but I can't help but wonder, still, if my emotions and the bittersweet memories I have will come back full force. I pray that they won't, but I am preparing myself anyway.  This little girl will be mine, all mine. 

I am so grateful for Brad. I'm grateful that we will have our weekends and evenings together as a family. I'm grateful for this little girl who is about to come into our lives. Regardless of how long or short a time it takes for a child to come into the world, and by whatever means that child makes it into a family, it is always a miracle.

Little David was a miracle on many sides.  I'm soon going to experience my own miracle... without the heartache.  Oh little girl, mom and dad cannot wait to hold you in our arms!

(PS... My wedding ring is on the wrong hand in this picture, we took pictures of it on my tummy and when I put it back on, I put it on the wrong hand. Oops!!!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


This will be a short post, but I've really been thinking the past week about February 2010, the month I placed little David into Dave and Amy's arms.  February 2010 also marks the 2 year anniversary since my beloved step-dad, Lynn Kraaima, became sick and slipped into a coma. It was only 11 days before I was due with little David, and I can still remember being in the ICU at McKay-Dee Hospital with him. I asked my mom if I could have a few minutes alone with him.

Lynn was unconscious by this point, and we wouldn't ever see him awake again. I started crying when my mom left the room and begged Lynn to wake up. I kept telling him that I couldn't do it [placement] alone, that I needed him, and I didn't know how I'd survive if he wasn't there to help carry me through. I held his hand and waited for a sign... any sign... that he would be there for me.

Lynn never woke up. Little David was born, and placement went flawlessly.

Knowing now that Lynn was never meant to wake up, and looking back and how perfect placement was, I truly believe he WAS with me.  Just before placing little David into Amy's arms, I took him into another room to feed him one last time. While in there, he got wide eyes and just stared past me into the corner of the room. That sweet little boy was so at peace in that moment, and I couldn't help but wonder who he was looking at. There was nobody else there.

Whether or not little David saw Lynn, I know that I did have his help at placement. More than anything, I had my Heavenly Father's help.

When Lynn passed away three months later, I gained a whole new perspective on placement and adoption.  I quickly went from "woe is me", in regards to placing and missing little David, to "I'm so grateful he is alive!".  Immediately after placement, I thought nothing could be worse than not holding "my baby". The empty arms feeling was devastating.  After Lynn passed away, I realized it could be much, much worse. Little David could be gone forever.  He could have died at birth, or been stillborn, or any number of things. But here I was, getting pictures and emails about a perfect, beautiful little boy who was happy and so full of life!  I may not be there to hold him, but I know that I will see him again in this earth life.  I know Lynn is in a happier place as well, but it will be some time (I hope?!) before I will see him again.

I still tell people I wouldn't wish the pain of placing a child for adoption on my worst enemy.  I also can say that losing a parent, for me, has been more painful.  I still have time to tell little David I love him (I do quite often in letters), but I so wish I had had more time to thank Lynn for everything he did for me, and tell him how much I love him.

I miss you, Lynn. I love you. 
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