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Accidental Parenting
Accidental Parenting

Episode 20 · 2 years ago

S01E19: Open Adoption

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Aubrey interviews Jessica Lundin and Rachelle Liddle about their open adoption.

Well, thank you for being here today. Ladies, this is the first time there's been three women on this podcast. It's women heavy today. I know we are making his storys exciting. So have Rochelle, my good friend, and then also her good friend Jessica, which we're good friends now, obviously, obviously as of the last few minutes. Yes, so, yeah, I like to start these interviews with an awkwardly personal question. It's just fun for me. So my question for you, each of you, Rochelle you can answer first, is what's the shortest amount of time that you have ever kept a New Year's resolution? Okay, well, I have a really, really bad memory, so I don't remember remember US keeping that up. But lately I have been doing themed like for themes for the year. So I usually pick a physical health theme and a spiritual health theme and try to follow it all year. So this year theme was prayer and trying to learn how to do a pull up, both of which I'm still working on. You haven't got the pull up yet. I did this with Rochelle. We were like, that's true, you had an injury or you had gotten it for sure. I forgot about that. I did. So I'm start arting over. I had a risk issue, but it is resolved as of this week. Actually Nice. You're ready to start again. So New Year, new pull up goal. Yes, I was actually surprised. I was in Idaho when I I was like, I'm just going to see if I can do one yet, and I was able to do one and I was so excited because I also had never been able to do a pull up before and it was very exciting. I can do too now to you're so legit, but that's it too, and then done one day. I'll get there,...

...all right. What about you, Jessica? Shortest time you've ever kept a new year's resolution. I feel like I always want to start one, have a new year's resolution and then I forget to do them just at all. Never even said one. Well, that keeps you from not following through on them exactly. So yeah, that's me. Yeah, I set them, I always set them, but like days, like two days, and then I'll write whatever it is, like, Oh, if I'm gonna go to the gym, and then I just don't, or I'm any and then I just don't. I'm really terrible about it. So it's almost worse. It always be better to not set them and then not fail. No expectation, right, yeah, exactly. Okay, so I'm going to introduce you both by making some assumptions. I know a little bit about Rochelle. I really don't know that much about Jessica, so this will be interesting. I'll be totally guessing about these things. So Rochelle, will go with you first. I'm going to guess that you grew up in Colorado, Provo, Provo, UTAH. Yes, I should have guessed that right by by you, nice, I did not know that. What about you, Jessicat? I'm gonna Guess that you grew up in California, Oregon, but a northwest girl. Okay, all right, at least I got the right coast, right coast girl. There you go. Okay, first job, Rochelle, I'm going to guess your first job was wet cells pretzels in the mall. And nope, cashier at a grocery store. Oh what she start legit when I would have heard of no, that's very small one. Okay, nice, that's fun. In provo. No, actually, by a Snow College. Oh, okay, that's in there, like by set George. Right, SOUTHERN UTAH. So by the Anti. Okay, I don't thought. This is not near St George. No, I don't know. I don't really knows that. No, it's not real the right. It's well, start a Provo, then a hundred miles maybe. I don't know to look. I'm not that's fine. Okay, Jessica, I'm gonna Guess Your First Job.

Bath and body works. Oh, in the mall, the Abercrombie. They were like right across the hall, probably from each other. I'll sprit sing stuff that. I didn't know that about you. Stephen was also an Abercrombie employee. Is that your husband? Did you meet that Abercrombie? No, but I heard rumors about the boy and Abercrombie and Fitch and I was like that's cool, nice, that's a good job for a young person. It was really fun. Got Discounts. Oh Yeah, so I my first jobs were not that glamorous. Glamorous compared to potato factory, followed by Burger King. Actually did work of a girl. Yeah, I had AH girl though. I did in high school I had a job working for the Jefferson Star. I was like a journal will copy editor for the newspaper in Rigby, Idaho. So that was pretty good job for high school kid, but I would rather have been working at Abercrombie, for sure, or anywhere else really, probably. Okay, let's see last question. I'm going to say when you were in Middle School Orchelle, your crush? You had a crush on Doogie houser. Please tell me I'm right. Be Amazing wrong, but literally every boy in my yead a crush on every boy. Yes, I thought about this and like, I think I had a crush on every on a person, everyone in my classes. That's funny. Did you, for watch teen girl squad homestar runner? They were like these online come like little animated cartoons strong bad and Home Sertner, and he does this little animated girl and at one point she says, I have a crush on every boy. I love me. I have to send that to you. You're going to love that. Teen Girl Squad. Shout out to team girl school. Okay, Jessica, I think that your middle school crush was Taylor Lattner, Jacob from twilight, with the long hair, like I read cutting his hair. Oh No, no, did, but it would have been if you had also...

...very quite crazy just every boy in school. Yes, but I got pretty exclusive with the boy name Ryan because our lockers were close, such a proximity crush. Yep, mine was Theo huxtable. who had a huge crush on Theo huxtable from the huxtables? No, it's from the cause ofby show, saying it was called the huxtables. Now from the causby show. Yeah, he was. Oh, he was just so cool and so good looking. But I don't think. I don't remember having really crushes at school much, just people on TV. So my assumptions were that you guys would have crushes on TV, but it was real people you had crushed song. Yes, well, we did not have that in common. Maybe I just didn't have as goodlooking boys in my middle school. Boys are very looking in middle school. Yeah, so, Rochelle, my friend, part of the reason that I have these two ladies with me today on the podcast is Rochelle's oldest son, Emmett. Jessica is his birth mother, and so there it's an open adoption and we're going to talk about that today. I'm excited to ask you guys some questions about it. Rochelle, my first question is just when did you first start considering adoption? What was the process like for you? So we've been trying to start her Hanley for a while and we'd started some for chility treatments and adoption started coming to my mind at the time. Our Church, the Church of Jesus Christ a Latter Day Saints, had an adoption program and so I decided to go to an orientation. My husband and I went and we learned a lot about it there and it sounded great, but we were told that it took two to five years for a placement and I was really turned off by that. I didn't want to wait that long, so I kind of shut the door on it and we put it on hold for a while, but that was when we first started considering. It was around then. It was August two thousand and eleven, not August March two thousand...

...and eleven. Okay, Gotcha. And then so, Jessica, when you you know, how did it happen that you decided on adoption, like we're the did you consider the other alternatives at all? I only ever considered parenting or placing. Really. I knew that for me I needed this baby in this world for whatever reason. So I think it was it's just natural to go parenting first and then, with circumstances and stuff, placement just popped on my heart. But going back to them, we started dating in July of two thousand and eleven and it's when they first started thinking about yeah, yeah, yeah, well, it's crazy because we started thinking about it in March and had really closed the door on it and went really heavy into partill treatments in my husband around July was like we need to do adoption. So and I actually was devastated because I was like, I can't wait that long that we've we felt such an urgency. So it was it's incredible the story. Looking back at the timeline, it's just amazing. Yeah, so then when you, I don't really know that much about the Churches Program when you placed your baby for adoption. What how like? What's the process? So I've the first step is going to Eldius family services, which I had heard about growing up and stuff, so I knew that was safe and I'm also a member of the church, so it was easy for me to go there. And then from there you work with a case worker and I happened to move to California, I was in Utah, and that it moved to California, and so they just transferred me over there. They worked with a case worker and my whole entire pregnancy and then like counseling, making sure I knew like what all like went into my decision. And then, and then, are you able to choose the couple? Oh it is that work. Yeah, so you get these like you get this like log in online, okay,...

...and you check out profiles. It's like a dating APP. Yeah, kind of, but you put in every single requirement. Okay, sin ever, like weird stuff. I was like, I don't even like I want thought of a birth mark on their left shoulder. Yeah, know, like like we really specific. Yeah, wow. And so I picked ten people. They were one of them, okay, and like I knew I loved her from like the first second I saw, which is sound like she looks so fun. She does, she likes. Looked so fun. She liked pizza. I'll take that. Was One of your requirements. Must like pizza. Really, I was like, oh my gosh, you're talking about this great pizza spot. But I was like, okay, you can't make a life decision on pizza, you know right. So I called my dad and they were his number one pick. So did he look through all the profiles of all the people? And Chen I told him to rank them one to ten and I had ranked my people, went in and they were one and then when he sent his less back, it was them and I was like this is so weird. Yeah, not a coincidence. Maybe they're just don't think he picked him on pizza. No, we did nothing with pizza for him, because I guess. And then, Rochelle, what was the process like for you? They contact you and we're use of prick because it was quicker than the two to five years. Right, it was really fast. We felt a huge urgency and we started to get everything together, our paperwork. It's so much paperwork, and we'd heard it took six months to finish paperwork to get certified and you can't be on this dating website, adoption website, until you're fully certified. Okay, and so we hustled. We actually had a pool on our backyard and it takes longer if you have a pool, so we buried our pool. Oh Wow, yeah, like we just felt this crazy urgency and we were able to get certified in two months. So what's crazy, as we've been on for two weeks, three weeks maybe,...

...before Jessica contacted us. So are you? Is IT JESSICA? You're the one that contacts them directly? Yeah, Oh, okay, but the tricky part was I was only like eleven weeks pregnant. I think you were nine. Really, you know, I think I was known in eleven when we met. Maybe. Okay, we met. Yeah, it's like really, really, really, really really early. Don't my case worker was like, I don't really want to give you this information yet because you're not even in the clear. Really, like all of these things could happen, and I was like I think I could handle it, like I can do it, and I saw them in my heart was so sad because I knew that someone was going to pick them and my case workers and please do not contact any of these couples. And I couldn't, like I just felt an urgency, like I have to, I have to email them, so I just ignored the case worker. Yeah, I come going road. I was like, I'm just gonna like see a minute, make my move here, and then they decided. Like yeah, how long did it take? Yeah, Oh, we were like over them and excited that we were contacted and yours like, yes, yes, we're of course nervous, but yeah, we were so excited and we met Jessica the month the next month I think we met you, and I just instantly loved her. There's something about someone choosing you to parent their child that's incredible. And Yeah, I can't imagine the trust it was like. It was just incredible. I just loved her from the minute I met her. Yeah, even the minute she emailed me. I was like, I love her, just from the email, like I want her life to be perfect. And we both like pizza. Yeah, and we both like neaters. Well, everyone eaters. Is there any who doesn't like needers? We met at neaterers in Provo, their special spot. So how did you decide on open adoption? Like, was there ever a question?...

Did you consider? Not while when I went to the orientation that I talked about earlier in March, there were two adoptive mothers who had adopted before and talked about the way their adoptions were. Both had open adoptions, which at the time it was new ish. Maybe a couple years adoptions had been going more toward open and they talked about their relationships with their kids birth mothers, and I just knew it was something I wanted. I wanted for me, I wanted for are if I was able to adopt, I wanted it for the birth mother and I wanted it for my child, and it was just I just imagined it that way and that was the only way I could imagine it. I was your husband, he felt the same. He was on board. And then what about you, Justica? Did you want and open adoption for the beginning or no? No, from the very beginning, I wanted a closed adoption. Okay, and it was really hard for me because I was so afraid. I didn't know, like because adoption is kind of like open adoption is kind of new and adoption has, you know, some like negative light on it sometimes, and I just thought, like this would probably be easier for everybody. And then the birth father and them, they were kind of all on this like open adoption thing, and she said to me, like we really want you to be a part of this baby's life, of our life, and I was like yes, what me it, you know, like I felt like so loved and even though I was kind of just at the bottom, I felt like they wanted me to be a part of their lives and it was like I felt so wanted, you know. Yeah, how old were you? Can I ask? You were pretty young. I was twenty. Okay, so, yeah, yeah, fresh twenty. It's a fresh, fresh twenty. Yeah, very real,...

...ten year old world. I think I remember saying we had to go on vacations together. This can't be clo oath. She was like, and I was wait, do you know me, like I'm trouble with actually, I don't know if you want. Are you sure? So, Jessica, you married MT's birth father. And how long after the adoption did that happen? And it was two and a half. Okay, yeah, but it was a big deal, big process. I think, like we really wait our pros and cons, because it felt like like why would we do this, you know, but we after talking to them. I feel like we always like counsel them on everything. You're in, Rochelle, and I don't know, they just made us feel so comfortable with it and like we found love after a placement, you know, after we left the hospitals, kind of when are like love story started and for there's next two and a half years we just I don't know, we had to be together. I always felt like Emmett brought them together, connected them in a way that they needed each other and connected so much, I feel like through EMT. So were you a part of Emmett's life from the beginning, even when you and he were dating, or or has that sort of evolved? No, from the very start. I mean, like so when I was pregnant, I had decided I wanted an open adoption. I don't really remember when it was, but at some point during the pregnancy, yeah, you are on board. Yeah, she was like a can do it. Actually, think it was after we found out he was a boy, and I just like, couldn't you know, like this is a real person. Yeah, it's a real person, and then you see their face and like all these things and I was like, oh my gosh, you know, he looks like me, or he looks like this or whatever, and then I had to be with him. But and then to know that they were so open to it and wanted...

...you to be such a big part of his life, I'm sure that had a huge impact. If they if that hadn't been the case, then maybe maybe it wouldn't have those you know, those feelings wouldn't have developed as much and you would have felt like, okay, this is fine, I can close this door. But knowing they wanted you to be a part of his life, I can see how that would really make a difference and I think like meeting so early on, we formed this like bond in this friendship, and like we have, we've always had it like it's never I mean, like you know, there's hard times or whatever, but I don't know, I always felt a part of their family or yeah, that weird. Well, part of a lot, probably richelle and Aaron's personalities. I feel like you're very open, accepting, friendly to like, as far as I know, everyone to everyone. Right when we go to have a game night, you're like, I want to invite everyone and I want everyone to be able to come. Let's do it at the park. You're like such an inclusive, loving person that way. That you know, wouldn't you say? I yeah, I guess that is definitely when you say I do like to in buy everybody. Yes, it's true. But I've just been amazed with ESCA's family. I I feel like particularly her grandma, her dad's mom, she's like adopted all my children as her grandchildren like, and they get extended family. Yes, and I just I really feel like you can't have enough people loving you or loving your children and having them rooting them on and being so on their side. And it's been amazing having just can steven from the beginning, because nobody really cares about all the milestones like they do. I know that I can text her anything that Emma does and she's just as excited as I am and there's something really special about that. You know, I always know she's listening and she genuinely cares and that's incredible. To have that support for me would be really nice. What's it like, just like daily,...

...daily life? Like what is Emmett call each of you? Well, he calls me mom and he calls Jessica Jessica, Stephen Steven, and does he refer to you as his birth mom, like he knows you're a set mom me. Yeah, but not like they just calls you by your name. Yeah, I know you had told me a story about like that. He was how old when he realized that not everyone has parents and parents? We had a little kindergarten play group, so I picked up him and his friends to bring to my house after school and they were talking about how Emmett only has sisters and his friend only had sisters, but their other friend had a brother and only one sister and La and Emma goes, well, I don't just have sisters, I have a birth brother. And they're like what's a birth brother? And I think that's when he realized, Oh, like, you don't have birth brothers, like I think he assumed like everyone has birth kind of yeah, brothers and then also sisters and yeah, Gotcha. Yeah, and hear and he realized, yeah, yeah, that Oh, not everybody was adopted. Go figure, what a bummer for them. I have all these fun parents. I'm exactly he's gonna Brag about it to everybody. Well, and Jane Nowise as school, who are my birth parents? And I was like, you don't have birth parents, but just because and Steven, they're your birth friends. So she has birth friends. That works. One really cool thing about Emmett. The other day we were able to go to school and I I was like super anxious because I didn't want to put him in like a weird situation. They you know, we never we don't really have a lot of time in the day to have these like wrong conversations about this is okay, you know. And so Stephen I went back and forth, like you know, you don't want to make this weird for him, but we want to be a part of his big things and we'll just leave it like the ball in his court, leave it up to him. And he did, like he introduced him as his birth dad, and I thought that that goes to like are in Michelle like that. He really like...

...thinks of us, like you know, where this family. It's not weird to him and it's because of you guys. Well, and you got the best picture. His face is so proud when he's pointing at Steven. This fi birth father will. Steven's in the Marines. He's a captain in the Marines and it's pretty cool, pretty pretty proud of that. Yes, and Steven's really cool. That's a lot of good weights. Yeah, right, working on it. The uniform, get all the school points. Yeah. So does Emmett consider all of your kids siblings? Do you feel like there's any difference in the relationship or not really. I think it's a little different when the same day when we're at the school we had her two kids were there and one of the boys said, is that your brother and I'm it goes yes, sort of. So I guess it's just very slight difference. In a way. It's incredible that he has two biological siblings, almost three. It's amazing that he can have this relationship with them and I mean I hope that they fill that connection in bond always. Yeah, definitely, I think as being here now has made the bond like mad for my kids. I the Uys just moved here not long ago, right, and we just want you. Yeah, yeah, so we are close by and I think like for our kids, especially our sun trace, he loves M it and he's just now starting to figure out like Oh, okay, so you know this whole baby pregnant, so that when are you do? Can I do in February, I know, but the whole baby talk and like Oh, you know, he's very out. He lived in my tummy, all of these things, and Emmett lived in my tummy. So like he's like okay, so what does this mean? Rosie's my sister and this could be like a brother or sister. It kind has to figure out, like as Emmet my brother, is he my friend? Yeah, is you bowl. So we're just starting that conversation, but with Emmett being like he's so inclusive of...

...the kids and there is something special, especially between the two boys. I there's something like really cool and special, and I think it's because Emma is the leader of that and it goes back to them. You know, I love that you give them so much credited. I mean because, yes, for sure right, but also you guys, because you a lot the relationship you have with Emmet and how much love you can give it. It's is your choice still, regardless of how open they are to that right. So for sure, both of you, like it's a credit to you both that you're able to make this work so well and have this very unique situation but feel so normal to your kids and to you. Right. It's awesome. When your Risha was first telling you about it, I just was like this is the best story. I was love it, it's awesome. I really didn't. I'm kind of like Emmett that way. I felt like all adoptions are like this and it was a big eye open arturalize how unique and early different are circle sumstances are. We're so fortunate. That's such a great relationship. Would you recommend open adoption to other families? Oh, for sure. I would assume you. I mean I almost feel like only I mean have as open of an adoption as you can. I mean, in our circumstance it was where Jessica picked us. And a lot of times maybe through the foster system, the birth parents don't get to choose to place their children for adoption and might be against their wishes and maybe in that circumstance it's harder to have an open adoption. But still, I think as open as you can, maybe even just having an email address that they have that they can contact each other through, or just some way of contacting, because kids need that and you need that. I need em it to have that and as life, if he had all these questions, I couldn't answer. I it would be so hard for me. And so know as much as you can and give them all the information that you can and it's healthy and good and nothing to be ashamed of. Yeah, I know for sure. What about you...

...just go like no regrets going back. You wouldn't change no. Never. And I think for birth mothers a lot of the Times from breath other birth movies that I've talked to, it's really healing. You could see your child like growing and living and, you know, being successful, and you did. You brought them here, you know, and they're like, I don't know. For me it's been really hilling and I know for a lot of other birth mothers it's healing. It can be hard, you know. You know, like, especially now that I'm a you know, I'm parenting two, three more children, you realize how much you miss. Even though they try, they've kept us like in the loop. Like for the first year I was like, oh my goodness, okay, lots going on, but you still miss stuff, the little tiny things, and you realize it when you parent. But it's still all worth it. Well, and I feel like it's a very unique situation that you married M's birth father, right. I think that's very rare, like for the average case. He you know, you probably would have married someone else and so that too, you know, I think would heighten that for sure. Oh yeah, yeah, that's still full siblings. Yeah, technically they share all. Yeah, you're stuff exactly. Incredible. Yeah. Well, I'm so grateful you guys were willing to come and chat about this today. This is really fun to have you are like looking really cute. Your hair's done. I'm like just got back from the gym. I didn't really go the gym, but I'm like ponytail. There's not a video that. Thanks for coming. Oh, we're going to play a game. You guys up for a little game? I Know Rochelle Ice Games and that game game player a little competitive. Oh Nice, I like it. We will get along just by it. Okay, this is a game called blurt. Very complete the game blurt. It's a board game called BLURT. I think we found it like a yard sale. I had never heard of it. It's very fun. So this is how to work. I'm going to read. There's two ways to play the game. The first one is I just read this little description and the answer is just...

...going to be one word and you guys blurt it out right. And then the other way. I'll explain in a minute, because what we're going to do is we're going to roll this day and if it's odd, will play that way and if it's even, I'll explain the other way. So let's say we get even. So I'm gonna play this. I'M gonna explain the second way. So each of these has a certain amount of words and I'll tell you the number of words and you're going to go back and forth saying like, Oh, I can get this in six words, oh I can do five, until someone says okay, you go ahead and try and then we'll see if you can get it, and if you can't, then the other person gets a point. Right. So let's see. One that has a few words here will do okay. How about this one? Two, four, six, eight and twelve, thirteen words. So we're shall you go first? How many words do you think you need out of thirteen that I will guess? Yeah, that I would give you that many words and you'll be able to guess the word that it's describing. That's kind of tricky, right. I haven't heard one before. I want to say all thirteen, but I'm going to say eight. Okay, eight. Do you think you can do it in less than eight, or you going to say go for it, Oh, I guess the word. You have to get it with just eight. Two, four, six eight. What do you think? Let me go less than eight. Okay, seven. She's gonna say for seven. Yes, okay, all right. Do you want to try six or you want a letter, try I try. Six. Okay, six. You want to go for less, I'M gonna stay. God Pay Seven. Okay. So, Richelle, you have six words. A sheltered place along a coast is six of thirteen. See if people Oh, a cave very close. You want to hear the rest of it. That serves as a port for ships, harbor, you would think. Cave until you get all the rest of the their beach commanders. Okay, that's really good. Here we go when. Okay, this is odd, so I'm just...

...gonna say it and you guys yell out. Yeah, whoever blurts it out first gets the point. Ready. and insect that has hard glossy front wing beetle that full. Nice, Rochelle, that was a good one. You got that one, but Jessica got the first one. He can get it any okay, let's see otter even again. Okay, so gonna blurt this one out. Okay, to argue in trying to agree on something such a compromise ice. Oh it's that word. You hear this word very often, actually sorts of the h haggle. Yes, haggle, haggle. I've not heard the word haggle in a while. Let's the other word, like Negotia, negotiation, but yes, to argue in trying to agree, haggle. All right, two to one. Let's see what we got here. A reward. Ay, even so, I'm going to give you the number of words for one of these. Oh, she these are hard. Okay, two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, fifteen. Words. You go first, Jesska. How many out of fifteen do you need? Okay, ten. What do you think? Christian? I think I need ten. Also, try film. And yes, that was really tricky. And okay, ready. One of the two bony growths on the head of what? Head of what exactly? You know? Get the rest of the wordy crops. MMM, I'm Unicorn and accord. So it's the one of the two bony gross that you'd have to name on the head of a deer or related animal. Oh yes, Unicorn. They have a little horn. I was going to say Giraffe, like too. Bony Growth.

It could to raft the hats of those. I don't know, they're gone out. I don't think of an Antler as a bony growth. Let's describe it, right. Okay, let's see. Rochelle has three Jessica, you have one. Okay, so this one's going to be worth three. Whoever wins it wins. Okay, let's see five. Okay, so this is just a blurt. Ready to just yell it out. I like this. Okay, here we go, a mineral that is a crystal form of carbon and is the hardest of all known substances. Salt, the carbon through. You off. You don't think this is a mineral, titanious mineral, but crystal form of carbon. Diamond. Yes, UH, diamond. I love diamonds. You should know that one. All Right, Jessica or Rochelle, he won, killed her a ladles, win, win, win, and you gave me that point. It's well done, ladies. I love this game. Actually it's very fun. We play with our kids, but we'll pull out the ones where we're like, oh, they'll know these, but we don't make them guess the Bony Growth One. That'd be like what, I don't know, yours talking about? They would get it with your gestures. Yes, right, like this. Oh, antlers, you can't see me putting my hands up on my forehead, but I am. Well, thanks for coming. This is really fun to chat. All right, and see you guys later.

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