I first heard about BirthMom Buds when a large package showed up on my doorstep the week after my birth daughter was born and placed, nearly 16 years ago. To be honest, I was a bit freaked out at first. How did they know....who told them about me? As I unpacked the box filled with delicious smelling comfort items, adoption related music, things to read, and a journal to write in, I felt in awe that someone else knew my pain and took the time and money to send this to me. Eventually I found out that my online connections had notified BirthMom Buds that I was a newly placed birth mom. Since then, I have stayed involved with this amazing group of women helping to love on others, too.
Every May for many years BirthMom Buds has gathered in the Carolinas-- usually Charlotte, NC-- to shed tears, show off photos of our children, make cute little crafts, and create inside jokes. All because Coley and LeiLani became best friends and founded BirthMom Buds in 2003, this incredible resource has been available to birth mothers both near and far.
I know, because I’ve been to quite a few myself. I have made soul sisters that have lasted miles and years apart. I have even led a workshop (or a few) to help lead my fellow birth mothers to a better mental place with coping tools. I have comforted those who needed it, and been comforted when the whole in my heart felt too much at times. (I have even gotten two of my kitties from local BirthMom Bud friends!)
There is nothing like being in a room with women who know exactly the complex depth of loss and joy you feel.
That said, unfortunately this will be the last year of BirthMom Buds retreat. As us birth mothers flock to make plans to attend one last time together in this setting, Coley and Lani need help making sure that they can provide the materials, conference space, the yummy food, decorations, pampering prizes, etc. that they have always worked hard to keep free for attendees.
Will you help keep the retreat free?
Post-placement care is severely lacking in adoption and should be free as much as possible. A birth mother-- regardless if you know them or their story-- still has a place of honor in someone’s life yet lives with loss. Us birth mothers all need support, whether it has been 1 month or 40 years since watching our child go home with another family.
If you have a heart for adoptive parents and adoptees, you also need to hold close those who break their own hearts in creating an adoption plan for their child. Remember, their loss is your joy.
By being burdened for the women who are making-- and living-- this incredibly difficult choice and supporting them through opportunities for healing, you are better supporting the full triad. Not only caring about the pieces that bring you joy or that affect you personally, but instead shifting the entire culture and heart of adoption to care for others’ pain.
I ask you this: consider donating in honor of your child’s birth mother or a birth mother you know. (And, maybe even consider sponsoring a special birth mother in your life’s travel costs to get to the retreat as well!)
If you feel lead to donate to BirthMom Buds for the 2020 retreat, you can do so here.
Lastly, if you have ANY questions or would like to donate items to put in the gift bags to welcome the birth moms to the retreat, you can email Coley here: email@example.com
Written by: Leah Outten, birth mom of 15 years
On Arrow + Root's team.