Recently Kim contacted me and asked for advice on how get more involved in adoption advocacy. I told her that one of the best things she can do is to tell her story. I don’t know about you, but I could read the experiences of adult individuals who were adopted all day long. I believe there’s is a perspective that young adoptive mothers like me need to hear. This is also a powerful story of open adoption. I love Kim’s birth mother’s quote at the end. Wow.
Allow me to introduce you to Kim. She’s amazing and her story totally touched my heart.
I’m adopted and I’ve always known that. I was loved in the best kind of way growing up.
I never had too much of a desire to find my Birth Mom except to tell her “Thank You”. In my 20’s it was really more my friends wanting me to find my Birth Mom that pushed me on that journey. When I started my search for her all records were sealed, after 4 years I found out the records had been opened and you could order them! I was 24 years old at the time. I ordered the records and saw her name, Betty, for the first time–it was pretty amazing. I didn’t contact her myself because I wanted her to have the opportunity to decline contact if she wanted. Ninety minutes after my friend made the first contact, Betty called me. This was the first she knew anything of me since the day I was born! We talked a long time. She was 21 when she had me. She had wanted to keep me, she was scared but determined to make it work. Then a friend encouraged her to just talk to a social worker about adoption. It wasn’t until she saw the profile of my parents that she decided to adopt me out.
We met 6 months after our first conversation and have been a large part of each others life ever since. In fact, because my own Mother had already past away she was able to fill a spot that was void. My family visits Betty in her lake town at least once each year, and she comes to visit us at least once a year, as well. I love her so much and she truly has become one of my very best friends in my life. I am so thankful for the gift of Motherhood she gave my Mom.
After I was married my husband and I were anxious to start a family of our own. I got pregnant right away, the first time. I had a beautiful daughter, Lucy, but when I started trying for baby #2 I could not get pregnant. After 4 years we started looking at adoption. It seemed like a natural fit for me and our family since I had such a positive experience already, but it was hard for me to wrap my head around an open adoption since that wasn’t my experience. I was afraid of a Birth Mother changing her mind and stalking me, kidnapping “her” child back and haunting me forever. How is that for honesty? I started reading The R House and talking to anyone I could.
I became friends with a girl named Rosa who attended my church.
She was 17 and pregnant, I took her dinner to talk to her about adoption. I told her reason after reason that I would want a closed adoption and she told me reason after reason she wanted an open adoption. We became good friends, and I wanted to support her in her decision to adopt out her baby. She picked a family but started spending every day at my house–eating dinner and hanging out with the family. I grew to love her and I realized that if I had someone like her as a part of my life, as a part of my family’s life for the next 18+ years it would be a good thing. I saw so much beauty in her, so much love in her heart. Rosa drastically changed my view of open adoption.
With 10 weeks left in her pregnancy the other family ended up not working out; it was a decision that the adoption agency helped Rosa come to. Then, Rosa asked us to adopt her baby! She wasn’t going to stalk us, or tell me how to parent, we trusted each other. She was a young girl who made a mistake and was coming to me for help. Although I hardly felt like I was the one helping her, I felt like she was coming to my rescue instead. I could finally stop crying and praying and searching for our child that I knew was meant for us.
I had been reminded of so much in those weeks of becoming friends with Rosa. Birth Moms are just young girls who may have made a mistake, and are trying to make it right. Finding my own Birth Mom helped me understand that women who hand their babies over to someone else to parent are selfless, humble, and beautiful. They are not scary, they are not going to stalk me and tell me how to parent my child. Rosa trusted us to raise this baby. Rosa and I are both religious and spiritual and we believe that we were sent to answer each others prayers.
Rosa moved away when Sarah was 4 days old. We would video chat with her weekly that first year and we flew her back for Sarah’s first birthday. It was as much a reunion for Rosa and I as it was for Rosa and Sarah. My daughter Sarah is now 2-1/2 and Rosa just got married this past summer to a great man who is grounded, fun and just pretty awesome. We all went as a family to her wedding and I was a Bridesmaid in her wedding.
I am so happy for her and I am so grateful that we got to be a part of her journey. She is pregnant again, and we are so excited for her!!
Now I want to become more of an advocate for adoption, especially open adoption. One of the things my own Birth Mom told me once was “I always thought I made the right choice by choosing adoption, but I never got to KNOW that until 24 years later.”
Open adoption can seem scary to someone who doesn’t have experience with it, but it is beautiful and has blessed the lives of my family drastically. I can’t imagine now not having Rosa in our lives.