“Becoming a Big Tough Girl is a way of life,” said Ashley Mitchell, owner of Lifetime Healing.
What is a Big Tough Girl and why is a lifetime of healing important to Ashley and Destiny Adoption? First, it’s important because they are committed to providing birth moms with tools and support long-term.
Ashley’s organization offers training to adoption professionals. The training equips them with a curriculum and tools to provide support to women who place their children for adoption. Ashley’s program has its roots in her adoption experience as a birth mom.
She gets it. She’s been there and does have the (Big Tough Girl) t-shirt, but she’s not done. Ashley believes that owning your story and investing in yourself is a mindset and a choice you make every day.
“As I started to do the work, feel everything in my life and bet on ME, I learned so much about myself, weaknesses, strengths, who I really was and not what people wanted me to be. I started to talk to the woman in the mirror and, more importantly, I started to LIKE her,” said Ashley.
These tools and support — a lifetime of healing for you — is Destiny’s priority.
“It’s who we are,” said Robyn Robertson, executive administrator with Destiny. “The heart and focus of our agency have always been birth moms. We want to help birth moms begin a journey forward after placement. Adoption doesn’t define who you are, and you can choose to believe in, like and invest in yourself.”
Destiny provides post-placement support and care to birth moms and now is elevating it to the next level. Their monthly birth mom meetings will focus on two separate groups — expectant and post-placement birth moms. This structure will allow them to meet the unique needs and serve the different emotions experienced at each stage.
Having a safe place to share the trauma and grief of the post-placement journey is vital. Isolation isn’t healthy, and being surrounded by others who understand and share your experience can be validating and healing. It’s a space where birth moms can be genuine and authentic, whether you are ready immediately after placement or two years later. There is no timeframe for healing.
Ashley is proud of Destiny’s role as a trailblazer in this effort. She feels that agencies nationally are evolving, and the way adoption is managed is changing. She believes that if an agency is pro-birth mom then ethical practices, including post-placement care, need to become standard.
“It’s important that birth moms feel they can be 100% authentic and not hold back or filter their words and emotions,” said Ashley. The toolkit she provided to Destiny includes online resources, handouts, videos and more. It empowers Destiny to empower birth moms with tools for growth. “Birth moms feel permission to talk about their emotions, and after class, you can see a change — hope in their faces,” said Robyn.
After eleven years post placement of her son, two divorces, many failures and a few successes, she believes in herself and birth moms. She is a BIG TOUGH GIRL and knows you can be too. “Being a Big Tough Girl is any woman who gets up every single day and fights the good fight,” said Ashley. “That’s all you have to do. Just show up.”
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.