Lauren was first connected with the team at Caring for Kids about 6 months after placing her son for adoption with a different agency. She was told about a retreat that was getting started in her area and while she didn’t quite feel ready to attend something like that, she promised herself she would check out the next one. When the fall retreat came about, Lauren knew she needed to explore it more and contacted the social worker through the agency she placed with, asking for the sign-up information. Lauren filled out the paperwork and mailed it in, registering for something that would change her life forever. She had always felt some kind of peace about her decision, but attending this retreat really set her healing into motion more than she would ever know.
After her first retreat Lauren received a phone call from the facilitators asking if she would like to join the team and help them with planning & facilitating the retreats. She gladly and enthusiastically said yes and says she learned so much during her first retreat and almost 8 years later is still learning from each and every one.
Lauren believes one of the greatest things about CFK’s post placement support program is the diversity of those in attendance. There are birthmothers who placed just a few weeks prior to the retreat and others who placed 40+ years ago. Hearing their stories, getting to learn from their experiences and finding common connecting threads between their stories and her own is always an awe-inspiring feeling. She feels privileged to have watched quiet and timid ladies find their voice in realizing they aren’t alone and seeing women in abusive relationships find the strength to leave. She has seen birth moms begin to advocate for themselves within their placement journeys. Most importantly to Lauren, she has witnessed a lot of birth moms meet and interact with other birth moms for the first time ever, realizing the true magnitude of connection and support.
Post Placement Care with Caring for Kids
Written by birth mother and facilitator Lauren Bujorian
One thing I truly love about our team at “Caring for Birth Mothers” is we are all birthmoms, with very diverse journeys. What more could you ask for in a group organizing support than a team of individuals who walk the walk daily & who understand every bit of grief and struggle you could be facing? We share our truths and vulnerabilities knowing that we are not alone in this, knowing that we certainly aren’t the first ones to feel this way, nor will we be the last. We might be “facilitators”, but we are healing, processing, growing, and evolving just like every other birthmom who joins our events.
Caring for Kids realizes the importance of this community we are building. They know that no one else understands this journey we’re on than birthmoms themselves. I’m so thankful I was connected to them and able to take advantage of these programs and to help launch them. We started with just 2 retreats; one in the spring and one in the fall. In the time I’ve been a part of the team, we expanded retreats to 3 times per year, adding a summer event, and also started what we call “pizza meet ups”. Our pizza meet ups started in Akron and have since expanded to 2 other cities. Our private, online Facebook group that I started after retreat has grown to 1.1k members including local members, members from across our nation, and even 60+ international members. Our retreats have had attendees from all across the country, with women driving & flying just to find this kind of support that isn’t offered in many other places. Our retreats tend to be a lot more structured than our other events. We have a schedule and discussions that encourage a lot of self-exploration and growth to take place. The first night we share deeply our stories that brought us to this place, of how we placed a child for adoption. This tends to be the most emotional of the nights, but also one of the most bonding. You begin to form connections to these women all gathered together in one place. Sharing their stories, often of their most vulnerable moments, is difficult to even put into words. The next day is filled with more educational modules. We’ve discussed a variety of relevant topics, including healthy relationships, love languages, grief, coping skills, and so many others. Our main goal is to help women have the tools they need to keep marching forward from this hard decision they’ve made with a metaphorical “tool box” of coping skills and information and a community of other birthmoms behind them. We do a few bonding exercises and of course our ceremonial goodbye that is often filled with pretty big emotions too, but in a good way. I honestly think every birthmom should experience this retreat at least once in their life. Every single one I’ve attended & facilitated has changed my life in ways I am forever thankful for.
Our pizza meet ups started with an identified need we saw at retreats. Our birthmoms bonded and really started to build a community by attending these quarterly retreats, but there was a need for continued support. Pizza meet ups were created to fill that need. So many women were attending our retreats and saying “I have never shared my story, let alone talked with another birthmom before in my life”, and we knew we needed to create more safe spaces for this kind of bonding to continue. We began with pizza meet ups in Akron on a monthly basis, and have expanded to include bi-monthly meet ups in Columbus, quarterly in Youngstown and will be adding bi-monthly meet ups in Cleveland this year as well!
Our pizza meet ups are much more informal. We tend to discuss our lives and catch each other up with what’s new. While it’s not required to share, we also generally share pictures if we’ve gotten updates on our placed child(ren) and share any developments. We are working towards a more structured curriculum and discussion based support system and I’m looking forward to launching that with the other facilitators once things with COVID-19 lighten and we are able to meet in person again! We are going to look at things like growth, healing, and aspects of our journey where we can keep each other accountable and work towards a more positive focused life. We are so excited about what the future may bring for our post placement support and community!