I'm Heather and I placed my daughter for adoption 5 1/2 years ago when I was 27. My childhood was very tumultuous, being raised for years by a single dad because my mom was struggling with drug and alcohol. There were many periods in my life where she was not present, often disappearing and reappearing in my life at her will. The trauma this caused in my life is still something I struggle with to this day. At the time I got pregnant, I was separated from my husband, with whom I shared two kids. During my separation from my husband, there was a guy who was my constant emotional support. Anytime I had an argument or fought with my husband, I would turn to him. One night after a particularly bad fight, I turned to him again, but this time things went too far. We knew and agreed that that type of relationship wasn't right for us, and we basically ended our entire relationship, friendship, everything. This also led me to realize that I wanted to work things out with my husband and we reconciled and began to work on our marriage. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. Ultimately, my husband decided to support me and continue to work on our relationship despite the pregnancy. It wasn't long after this that I found out that my "friend" had a lot of issues with substance abuse and was really heavily into using Oxycontin. He of course, asked me to have an abortion as soon as I told him I was pregnant. I knew that it was not something I could do and told him as much. His life began to fall apart at that point. He was couch surfing with friends, bouncing around from couch to couch, finally ending up sleeping on the floor of his moms one bedroom trailer home. He spent my entire pregnancy showing interest for a couple weeks to disappearing for a month. I realized then that he would end up doing the same thing to my daughter that my mother did to me. She would grow up with a parent that would be absent 80% of the time, then show up like a tornado and wreak havoc the other 20. Knowing how that kind of life effected me, and still does, I could not willingly put this little girl on that path. This led to my decision to place for adoption. It's been five and a half years since I placed into a beautiful and wonderful open adoption. I am extremely close to my daughter’s parents, I consider them my friends, almost extended family. I am sometime reluctant to share our relationship because I know it is so idealistic and far from normal, even for open adoptions. My husband and I are still happily married, and our marriage is stronger now than ever. Our sons have a wonderful relationship with their sister. They've shared birthdays and just got together this last Christmas to make ornaments together. My oldest son, who is now 10, loves to tell people about his sister and has even wrote about her at school as someone "who has been very important in his life". I mentor so birthmoms can see there is hope for good, lasting relationships in open adoption. Placement doesn't have to mean goodbye forever. It is possible to cultivate and share in openness with adoptive families. I want to take the stigma away from birthmoms, that we are all baby crazed maniacs just waiting for our chance to steal our babies back. So often, the media and Hollywood get is so wrong...so many times on TV shows we see these birthmoms as hopeless and desperate...they change their minds, they try and take the baby, they're young and dumb...thats not who we are.We are all ages, with so many different stories to tell. We're single, we're married, we're first time mothers, we have kids already. We're not nameless or faceless...We are birthmoms.