Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dear Sugar: Meet Jill Murphy, Mom by Birth and Adoption

Dear Sugar,

A few years ago I "met" Jill Murphy online.  Soon after, she published her memoir Finding Motherhood, and I was blown away.  Jill placed a son for adoption, then later faced infertility which led her to choosing to adoption two girls internationally. Her story is one that offers us a unique perspective of mothering, loving, mourning, and rejoicing.  

Rachel:  You have a unique connection in that you're a birth mother and a mom-by-adoption.  What have these two experiences and ways of mothering taught you about adoption?  

Jill:  It is a unique situation. It has taught me that there are different ways of becoming a mother. And that falling in love with a child may take time. With my birth son I always loved him. That strong love I had for him help me know that he needed more than I could give at the young age of 18. It was a love that put his needs before my wants. Once we were reunited, I fell in love with him - it was like meeting a stranger and developing the love you feel after you get to know someone. Confusing I know! My daughters I feel as tho I fell in love the minute I saw their picture from the adoption agency and got to hold them in my arms. I would say the one beautiful gift I received with being on both sides of adoption is understanding it better. I am a birth mom of my son - but he has his real mom - I respect that and honor that 100%. I thought of him every day  of his life...wondering how he was and hoping nothing but love and happiness. That made it easy when my daughter asked "I wonder if my birth mom ever thinks about me?" - I could tell her that absolutely she does. I have walked her journey and can use my experience to help sooth the wonder and curiosity of my daughters. I think it has also helped my feel confident in my relationship with my daughters - if they ever wanted to seek their birth mothers, I would be onboard 100%. 

Rachel:  You wrote a book called FINDING MOTHERHOOD.  What compelled you to put your story on paper?  What has the response been like? 

Jill:  When I found my birth son 7 years ago - he was 22. I had realized that a lot of me feelings of loss and grieving never really got processed. It took me 22 years to open up the "closed drawer of feelings". It took my breath away how much healing I had needed. I needed to grieve the loss of placing a child, then the loss of infertility realizing I would never carry a baby with my husband and then the feelings you go through with adoption - proving you are good enough to be someone's mother. A lot of feelings all at once. I started blogging about it and thought that maybe my story could help someone else - there will always be a scared pregnant teen out there, a couple experiencing infertility and couple who my book came to be. I have had such a great response. The stories from people of how they had a hard time conceiving, to others who have been adopted and searching. I love connecting with others who share even part pf my story. 

Rachel:  For someone who is considering adopting a child, what advice do you have? 
Jill:  My advice for others patient and have a good pen! You feel lost in paperwork, but it is so worth it!!! Patience is key! It is not your traditional 9 month pregnancy...and if you know that going in, you will feel better. Also one thing I wish ALL adoptive parents knew - especially with closed adoptions - is that when a child searches for their birth parents, it is a normal thing. It has nothing to do with YOU as parents. It is all about finding who they look like, where they come from and learning their story before being adopted. It is for the adoptee about finding that missing piece of the puzzle. I wish all adoptive parents could know that and be supportive to their child if and when that day comes. SO many adult adoptees that I know always say "It would kill my parents if they knew I was searching" or "I don't want to hurt their feelings". It is a normal healthy thing to want to find out your past. 

Rachel: What about for someone who is already parenting and has children who are old enough to ask the "big" and "hard" questions about adoption?   

Jill:  Always BE HONEST. I think more so now a days it is open and talked about. Adoption isn't a big bad scary secret that parents keep anymore. The biggest disservice you can give your child is not being honest about them. Talk openly about it - answer questions the best way the age of the child needs. When I met my birth son my girls were 7 and 9 - of course they knew they were adopted because they are Korean and do not look anything like us. But when I had to talk about the choice I made for my son - I had to tell them in a way they could understand. I simply said some woman can carry a baby in their belly AND be a mommy. Some woman can carry a baby in their belly but aren't ready to a mom - maybe they aren't married or too young to be a good mommy and then there are woman that CAN be a good mommy but not carry a baby in their belly. God matches up people. They understood that. As they got older we would talk more about it. Now that they are teens our conversations are much different - as you can imagine! :) 

Rachel:  What are three things you're loving right now?

Jill: Three things I am loving right now...just 3??? Let's see - a quiet cup of coffee in the morning when the rest of the house is sleeping, sunshine of summer and trying to binge watch shows! I love me some TV!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated and published upon approval. Your thoughts and questions are also welcome via e-mail at whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com.