I can’t tell you my adoption story without first telling you about my Mom and my Dad. They met through letters. A mother and daughter duo, one lived in Oregon the other in
Michigan, realized the possibility between the two and (remember this is before social
media or personal computers for that matter) sent photos of my Mom to my Dad. The
rest, as they say, is history. Two years as pen pals and then my mom moved herself out to
Oregon to be with my Dad.
They were married soon after her moving out there and began a beautiful life together.
They were married on November 22 and they are 2 years and 2 days apart.
For many years they prayed about having a child. They tried and tried to conceive naturally but it was clear after a while (and many tests, trials, doctors visits and money spent) that it was not going to be possible for them.
They knew about Bethany Christian Services because my mom was from Michigan where Bethany is based out of and they had heard great things the organization. My aunt had also placed a child for adoption with Bethany many years prior.
Having this little bit of knowledge they chose to apply for adoption through Bethany and they ended up waiting for over two years. At one point my Dad said to my Mom ‘Hey wouldn’t it be neat if we had the opportunity to get a child that was born between our birthdays and then we would be three in a row!?’.
For the second time while waiting to be matched their birthdays came and went.
Then, on November 14th my mom gets the call that there is a baby girl available in
Washington State, would they be interested? Without hesitation my parents said "YES" and they were on their way to come pick me up. Before they hung up the phone they asked when she was born and they heard “November 9”.
Of course, that is where you have to begin the story, because no matter what anyone says God clearly orchestrated my adoption with my parents for a reason. Not only did He hear their prayers, but He answered them with a ‘YES!”.
I’m not saying that I am a special person in anyway shape or form. What I will say is
that God understood how important numbers were to both my parents and to our family in general. He was not done making them laugh with joy yet either.
The second time they went through the adoption process was a little bit different. When they got the phone call for this placement, the child was already nine months old but had only been in the foster care system for about three months.
They didn’t hesitate with this call either, and when they asked for more details about the child it was later found out that his birthday was July 11. Now to those paying attention that might strike a cord. Those dates of course are 7 and 11, he officially finished off the family by hugging our birthdays together.
…7 8 9 10 11…
My brother’s month is 7 my Dad’s day is 8, my day is 9, my Mom’s day 10 and then again my brother with his day at 11. There is always something special about our family feeling like God took the extra details and specifically knit us together to be one.
When I sat down to write my story I really didn’t know where to begin. I’ve been asked
many times by adoptive parents (and others) when I was told or how I was told I was
adopted. I’ve never been able to pin point it.
As I began to write my story more and more things began to spark inside causing me to
reflect on why I don’t have a specific moment I remember. Could it have been because of my Dad’s families love of numbers, lists and anything that combines letters, number and lists that in turn revealed the truth?!
Maybe it was talking about birthdays, how ‘voila’ I landed in the middle was it a planned
c section or something?! Was that the conversation that sparked it?!
Was it that my parents church had been on their knees asking God to bless my
parents with a child for so many years (my parents were the youth pastors at the time,
and were loved and still loved by the whole congregation) and then without notice right before Thanksgiving at the Churches 25th Anniversary Party, my parents walked into the celebration late, but holding a child, a baby girl about 2 weeks old, and the whole congregation began to sing “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”? And really do you not expect that story to be retold to someone at any one particular time moment in their life?!
Was it that my parents made sure to keep us included in adoption circles, going to special picnics, reunions, celebrations or parties?! I know these happened after we were told but I’m positive it is what helped to normalize it for me.
My parents got the call on the 14th from Bethany Christian Services, but on the 14th my dear dear friend Elisa was born. She was placed on the 20th. Had my Birth Mom, Amy, picked someone else it was more than likely that my parents would have gotten the call about Elisa. or even vise versa. We could have had each others parents…it was a funny joke we would fantasize about as kids. Looking back I see the coping mechanisms. I was trying to process but not aware thats what it was. Having such a close girlfriend during my youth that understood my life was so very helpful.
Maybe it was not seeing pictures of my mom pregnant or maybe it was a million other
things. The point is, I can't pinpoint it and I’m so grateful for that. What I did realize more than anything is that my childhood was just normal. It wasn't manufactured or protected. I was loved like any other child.
My life was so normal that I never asked about my birth family… at least not much after the first time. I was told since it was a closed adoption information could not be released to me until I was 18, so I just accepted that and waited. When I turned 18, I was given a big package of information but waited to open it until I was almost 20. I had moved to Mexico to work with Youth With A Mission. While I was away I started to
become curious. I decided to write my birth mom, Amy, for the first time. I wrote her about 25 letters before I sent one. She replied back around my birthday and with that reply I received a present that I still have on my wall to this day. She also sent photos and a 18 page letter.
We wrote for almost 2 years before I spoke to her on the phone for the first time. I got a letter one day after I had moved back to Oregon that said she had breast cancer. She made sure she asked the doctor if it was hereditary. Even when she didn’t raise me, her first thought in hearing about her own illness was wondering how it could possibly affect me…she’s a strong woman.
The more I got to know her story and what resulted in my placement, I fell in love with her. She was the strength that I needed the day I found out that I was pregnant and knew I needed to place my child for adoption. (more on her in a different post)
I met my birth father when I was 26. Amy gave me his name and I looked on
adoption.com and boom, he popped right up. He had been looking for me since I was placed. He had a hard time processing my placement. Honestly, I wish I had counseling education prior to meeting him so that I would have been able to handle those conversations better.
Even as an adult you can still feel like a helpless child at times, and sometimes that is how I feel when it comes to him. He was hurt and that is a hurt I can't fix, even now that we have a relationship.
One thing that my placement has taught me is how to handle the placement of my own child. There is no handbook that can give you the step by step instructions of how to handle an adoption, whether it is open or closed…hopefully the more we talk about it, the better we all become!