EPISODE 016: A Birth Mom on Open Adoption, the Decision to Place, Building Trust with the Adoptive Family, Releasing Grief, and Healing

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In this week’s episode, Leah Outten tells us how she became a birth mom while digging deep into how she found herself on the path of teenage pregnancy dealing with tough emotions and decisions.

In this candid conversation, Leah discusses depression, hitting rock bottom, rediscovering her values, and the impact of her decisions on her birth daughter and other children. Leah tells us about choosing an open adoption, what that means, and how she built trust and relationships not only with her birth daughter’s adoptive family, but her birth daughter.

Listen in to learn about the different ranges of openness in open adoptions; navigating the relationships involved in open adoption; and about Leah’s passion for educating families on the importance of holding up their promises to one another in open adoptions.

LISTEN

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Love is the root of all that is important for Leah.

  • Learning, researching, and learning from the past to harness it into improvement and forward movement.

  • A day in the life with 5 kids - 3 in school and 2 toddlers.

  • Attention seeking.

  • Teenage pregnancy.

  • Parental support.

  • Combating the mentality of “A permanent solution for a temporary problem.”

  • How Leah looked at family profiles and selected the family to adopt her birth daughter

  • What is open adoption.

  • Feeling at peace when your’e on the right path.

  • What is a profile and what does it have in it.

  • The importance of being respectful of each family’s roles in the birth child’s life in an open adoption.

  • The different ranges of openness in open adoptions.

  • Navigating and coping with the grief and loss that comes with adoption - the openness makes it easier.

  • “…It helps me, when your’e looking back at it to see the big picture of how it’s all worked out and the beauty within that pain and what its turned into.”

  • Meeting the adoptive family for the first time and showing up with a list of expectations.

  • The first week after placement where the open adoption promise was upheld and exceeded within the first year.

  • Openness as a tool for healing from separation trauma.

  • “At the end of the day, she’s theirs…” 

  • The awkwardness that sometimes comes up.

  • The relationship between Leah and her birth daughter’s parents - a strong bond.

  • How the foundation of trust was laid between Leah and the adoptive family.

  • The impact on Leah’s other children.

  • “She was trying to start unwrapping why this is my life…”

  • Talking to her birth daughter about adoption and why she was adopted.

  • Describing the process of healing - with levels such as initial grief and shock, but also triggers throughout the years.

  • How Leah felt called to be a bridge between the adoptive parents, the adoptees, and the birth parents.


TAKE AWAYS

  • Talk to other birth moms in online forums to learn from their experiences.

  • Faith helped comfort Leah and helped her trust the process of adoption while keeping the big picture in mind.

  • Therapy and an unbiased opinion is important throughout the adoption process. 

  • Deal with and release grief as it comes in the waves that it comes in instead of bottling it up - “You shake a soda bottle with the lid on. If you’re just releasing a little bit of the pressure at a time its not going to explode on you. But if you shake, shake, shake and then all of a sudden open it, it bursts everywhere.”

  • Have an outlet to help with the release of grief and process it - for Leah, that was journaling and blogging.

  • The biggest thing that helped Leah build trust and a foundation with the adoptive family was spending time together. And the adoptive family filmed their neighborhood and house and sent videos to Leah to help her trust them.


ALL THE COOL THINGS LEAH MENTIONS

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