This blog entry was inspired by a beautiful young lady that reached out to me asking if my husband and I knew the birth parents of our beautiful children. It really is pretty amazing how adoption has added layers to our relationships with others. You never know who may be on the same journey or how someone else in your life may have been affected by adoption. This particular situation just solidifies my strong convictions on why it is so important for adoptions to be open. I completely understand that this isn’t the case in every adopton scenario. I totally get that some adoptions have to be private/closed to protect innocent children and the adoptive families. However, even in these cases, I believe it to be extremely important for birth family information to be obtained and kept for a time that the child is older and begins their own journey to discover “who they are”. Being able to give this information to my children when they become adults or even old enough to begin asking questions is so important to me because I feel like they have a right to know where they came from. However, this has not always been my heart …
To be perfectly honest, when I began visiting the idea of adoption approximately 20 years ago, I had absolutely no desire what so ever to have an open adoption. My entire mind set was “if they don’t love their baby enough to keep them, then why should they deserve to know them throughout their life?”. Man, what a twisted and selfish way to think, I know. Even now typing those words out in black and white, I cringed just a bit because my mindset was so selfish. Let me begin by telling you why my heart was so ugly.
All I’ve ever wanted was to be a mother, so when I got married (at a very young age) in the pursuit to obtain this dream of becoming a mother, I was devastated when it just didn’t happen. With every doctors visit my hopes slowly began to diminish and the reality began to sink in that this dream my never become a reality. My heart began to turn bitter, my tears of sadness became tears of anger. I felt so hopeless and I just couldn’t understand why everyone around me was having babies, while I was suffering all alone in the darkness of my own world. No one understood my pain, so I was all alone on this little island of hopelessness just waiting for my turn to come. I begrudgingly attended baby showers with a very heavy heart trying to smile my way through when all I wanted to do was escape the festivities and cry. I became so angry at God and my heart began to harden with the disappointment and realization that infertility was quickly becoming my reality. Adoption was discussed but not really in great detail or with any hope of pursuing that road. My husband at the time was not really open to that idea and was only interested in natural children (which I was unable to give him). Eventually, my own anger, sadness and frustration began to take over and ultimately ended the marriage.
(My “About Me’ section gives my full testimony so in the interest of staying on point for this particular blog entry I will just focus on the adoption.)
As you can imagine with each year that passed, my heart continued to desire this child, yet my body just couldn’t do what it took to make it happen. When I began exploring the world of adoption we were faced with the different options: closed, open, private, domestic, international etc. There was so many different avenues to choose from, but that only added to the frustrations because there were so many hoops to jump through in order to obtain this dream. First you have the financial aspect, which is beyond ridiculous with the fees that you have to pay. Then you have to prove that you can financially provide for this child, as well as, obtain medical clearances and pass background and credit checks (which are all fees that you have to pay for). Again, I didn’t see any promising options because financially it was impossible at the time.
This is where my mentality came into play when asked about an open adoption. I was very vocal in the area of wanting a closed adoption. I truly felt like anyone who “gave their kid up” (again a very terrible mind set) didn’t deserve to know anything about them. Please keep in mind that my heart was hurting so bad and I was angry at the world for something that I just couldn’t understand. However, after 15 years or so of infertility, God began to do an amazing work in my heart. He began to soften it and gave me a completely new outlook.
I can’t tell you when it happened or how, I just know that at some point God spoke to my spirit and gently reminded me that without the sacrifice of birth parents, I might not ever have the opportunity to be a mom. WHOA!!! What an amazing revelation that was for my heart?!?!? I then began to see what a blessing birth parents were and how selfless they have to be in order to place their child for adoption. Choosing adoption for them is about choosing their baby over their own happiness. It was at this moment that I began to see birth parents in a whole now way, they weren’t “giving their kid up”, they were choosing to give their baby a better life than what they could give them in that moment. I began to have a new respect for women who openly chose adoption for their babies.
This journey has taken me on all kinds of highs and lows, but I’ve been connected to some pretty incredible people along the way. Some who fight the same battle with infertility, some who have been adopted, some who have adopted themselves. However, the most incredible people I’ve gotten to know on this journey is our birth parents. Both of our children came to us in completely different ways, one came to us through foster care and another through a family friend. One we picked up at the Child Protective Services building and the other I had the great honor and pleasure of being in the delivery room at the time of birth. I don’t discredit either parent because the choice of adoption is still a very difficult choice to make, regardless of the circumstances that brought them to that decision. In the end they both chose to give their children a better life than they could provide in that moment. Regardless of their own pain and sacrifice, they chose the well being of the life that they created and carried, over their own happiness.
My friends this is where I applaud these selfless people whom God gave the strength to carry a child and then allow someone else to raise and love them into adulthood. Their decisions didn’t come easy as they let go of their own flesh and blood, allowing them to be adopted into another family. I seen first hand the emotional toll that it took and my heart hurt so bad during the process. On the day we finalized our son’s adoption his birth mom was so strong and courageous. She stood in the chambers with us as he was officially being given to us, and I can not imagine the thoughts that must have been going through her mind. She held herself together throughout the entire process, but when we got to the parking lot and she and I embraced, we both broke into a fit of tears together. My tears where a mixture of happy, relief and sadness and I imagine hers were probably about the same. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at our son and see her, not just in physical features, but her loving and kind spirit. She is one of the strongest women I have the pleasure of knowing and I love her dearly. She made the choice to make me a mom and I am forever grateful for that most precious gift.
Our daughter’s adoption was a little different. While I am not as close to her birth parents, I am equally thankful for their sacrifice. Every adoption is different with different dynamics since we all process things differently. Each relationship we have with our birth parents is unique, but we take nothing away from their sacrifice and choice to allow us into their lives as “mom and dad” to their birth children.
After many years of infertiltiy, God was using my pain to soften my heart to the pain of someone else making a sacrifice in order for my dreams to become a reality. This is why I am adomant about our children knowing “who they are and where they came from”. I personally think it would be unfair of me to deny them that right of knowing that they have more people that love them and care for them. Both of our kids have extended family members that I hope they will someday get to know. This is why having an open adoption is so important to us because we welcome their extended family into our lives to love them and to see that they are happy and healthy.
Has this journey been an easy one? Absolutely not, but it has taught me so much along the way. It has taught me to love beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It has tested me on every level and has at times frustrated me to no end. There never seems to be an end to the paperwork, or the social workers, or the probing into our lives, but in the end it was worth every obstacle, every tear, and every frustration. Being able to hold our sweet babies and knowing that this was God’s plan for me all along is a beautiful realization. I wouldn’t change a thing, because without the struggle, I wouldn’t understand the magnitude of the blessing!
On a personal note, this blog entry comes from a desire within to know my own biological father. I myself was adopted by a step parent and I have no idea who my birth father is. I’ve gone through stages in my life where I’ve wondered “who he was, does he know about me, do I even want to know him etc”. I have thought about that side of my family, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. I’ve wondered do I have medical issues that come from that side of my dna? I was told that he knew I was born and knew where to find me, but no attempt was made to see me. I obviously only have one side of the story so it makes it a bit difficult to be angry with him on some aspects. However, this only strengthens my desire for our kids to at least have the ability to know who their birth parents are. We will leave that decision up to them as to when they are ready, but at least we will have the information to give them in order for them to make that contact.
In closing, I want to encourage any one who is on this journey to keep going. I know it’s hard, but it is so worth it! For those that have been on this journey, thank you for blazing a path for others to follow. For those that are searching and seeking answers, I pray that you can find what you are looking for. Adoptions today are so different than what they were in previous generations, now with social media and the willingness for people to be open, adoption isn’t so taboo any more. Adoption has been such a beautiful blessing in our lives and it has taught me so much in the process. Thank You all for taking the time to read, I hope this has brought some encouragement into your heart.