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Cherie Burton: Birth Mother and Adoptive Mother

Oct 18, 2018

She is an author, international speaker, and former Mrs. Utah. Cherie and her husband have three  biological children and they have adopted two babies.

She talks about the heartbreak and peace she experienced while doing her best for her first daughter. Cherie also opens up about the challenges she faced while going through the adoption process and what it was like to become an adoptive mother.

This is a very unique story told from two sides of the adoption triad.

First and foremost, April asks Cherie to take us back to the year 1994.

Cherie says that while she was a junior in college, she took some time off of studying to rethink her major, and she started working as a counselor for wayward teen boys. Cherie then started dating her supervisor while working at that behavioral facility.

The relationship quickly turned sour for Cherie. She describes it as “volatile” during the talk, and so, she had decided to end the relationship. It was that point that Cherie found out she was pregnant. She says she was devastated. Despite wanting to be a mother, she was close to finishing college and had many other grand plans to pursue before motherhood.

Cherie and her boyfriend broke up shortly after. Cherie says she got an apartment, a job, but she said it wasn’t feeling right. Then a family member gave her a book that described a mother who placed her child via an open adoption. 

This being around the time that open adoption first became a possibility in the U.S., Cherie’s whole understanding of adoption shifted dramatically. She said the idea of open adoption just wouldn’t leave her mind.

When asked by April what her parents thought about her pregnancy, she said they were supportive no matter what. She soon started to feel God’s hand in the whole experience.

“I knew when God was talking to me; I knew in my soul He was taking me somewhere; and I knew it was out of my hands to some degree...I was just the vehicle to bring this child to God’s plan.”

Cherie says that one of the most difficult things she had to learn was to listen to God, the baby, and herself. This meant that she did her best to stick with whatever was best for the baby, even though everyone in her life was telling her conflicting things. All of them were coming from a good place, a helpful place, but she realized that listening to God was her first priority.

So Cherie went forward with her adoption decision. She found a family and Cherie says she forged an instant connection with the adoptive mother Susan. To her, Susan was the ideal woman that Cherie wanted to mother her child. 

April asked if Susan functioned as a mentor or mother figure to Cherie. She says it was more like an older sister figure. Her fondness for Susan helped put her post-placement grief into a more positive perspective.

Although Susan was emotionally dealing with placing her child into the arms of another family, she said she also didn’t want to hold back the love. She remembers her child’s birth as a very bittersweet moment.

When describing how she had her baby for 3 days post C-section, she stresses the importance of making sure that baby knows you love them. Cherie says you are not dragging your heels as a mother, but are making sure you surround the child with love from the moment they are born. She describes how she did this with the birth of her child, and how the adoptive family supported her and were extremely patient during the process. This would lead to an emotionally devastating period where Cherie says she was catatonic with grief.

April asks Cherie if she could further explain God’s role in her experiencing that grief, Cherie says that she was subjected to her rock bottom state so that she further empathize with people going through a similar experience.

While she was staying at her Grandma’s house, clutching her baby’s hospital blanket and bracelet, smelling them and sobbing, she told God she wasn’t sure if she could endure it any longer. He clearly communicated to her that she had to feel it to help other women.

A year after this experience, she started running a birthmother support group. Cherie had finished her psychology degree, so she used that knowledge to very good use! She said it didn’t matter the age or circumstance, all mothers were welcome. It was a very amazing learning experience for Cherie. 

She soon met her husband Jess and they had 3 kids. And then Cherie started to run into obstacles with other pregnancies. She had four miscarriages in a row and these tragic incidents would ultimately lead Cherie to adopt.

Cherie was life-coaching a girl who found herself trying to manage an unplanned pregnancy. After living at Cherie’s house for 5 months of the pregnancy, the mother knew that Cherie and her husband Jess were supposed to parent her child. And they would parent little Eli, who Cherie says had always felt like her child from the start. 

But there’s more to the story! To hear the end and learn more about Cherie’s incredible experience with adoption, listen along!