Ashley is a Licensed Professional Counselor with experience working with children in foster care and completing domestic and international home studies for families.She currently serves as the Birth Mom Program Manager with BraveLove where she helps create community among birth moms all over the country. Ashley is a birth mom who placed her amazing son for adoption over twenty years ago. She and her husband, Chris, reside in Missouri with their three, lively boys. Their youngest was welcomed into their family through international adoption. Ashley is dedicated to educating those around her of the beauty, pain, and realities of modern adoption.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant. I denied this reality to those around me and felt paralyzed by shame, fear and loneliness. Over the next several weeks, I had many inner conversations and so many prayers about what my next steps should be. I desired for my child to have everything I felt I was unable to provide at the time and, while I knew little to nothing about it, felt like making an adoption plan was for the best.
When I was around six months pregnant, I went to my parents to share the news about my pregnancy and my desire to place my child for adoption. I placed my son in 2001 and was educated by my agency about the different forms of adoption. I honestly do not remember open adoption being an option at the time, but when presented with semi-open adoption, I knew this was my desire. I chose a prospective family that shared many morals and values with me and vowed to raise their child knowing how much their birth mother loved them.
The first several months following placement were very difficult for me. I had finished high school and was beginning college. The desire to be acknowledged as a mom, but also the pull of wanting to fit back into the carefree lifestyle of my peers was so very difficult. Eight months after placement, the adoptive family reached out and desired to have a fully open adoption. I will never forget that first meeting and every get together that followed. The ability to see my son, speak openly with his family, and see him live his life was healing.
I am twenty years into my role as a birth mom and it is still very much a journey. My longing to have a family began to shape my choices in life. I completed my degree in Elementary Education so that my schedule would align with any future children. And through this, I found my desire to be there for families. I completed my masters in counseling and began to work with children in foster care. Through this I felt the tug from the Lord to use my story to dig deeper still, and began to work in adoption through completing home studies and later working with an amazing nonprofit organization that desires to break stigmas surrounding adoption.
When my son was nine years old, I married my husband. We have two beautiful biological children and when my husband approached me and said he felt like we should adopt, my first reaction was to reach out to my son I placed and talk through this with him. He lovingly gave his blessing and my husband and I adopted our son in 2018 through international adoption.
My life is so full. While adoption has pain attached, there is so much joy. I love my son I placed, I love my son I adopted, and am so grateful the Lord continues to place paths in my life to use my story to point to His grace and mercy.