November is national adoption month and so I found it fitting to share my adoption story. Anytime this topic has come up with close friends, I’ve found that people are more curious about it than I realized. For me, it is honestly just a part of life since my siblings and I were all adopted. However, the older I have become I have realized that I probably have an abnormal curiosity with child birth and pregnancy because my exposure to that has been limited on the other end 😉 .
I shared this story with permission of my Mom and Dad and left out more personal details on purpose. People always want to know more details about everyone involved, but they are private especially in this type of format.
My story started with my parents who tried to have a child for eight years. They had many adoption processes fail and investigated every avenue of fertility. My Mom told me she remembers talking to a girl when she was young girl and the girl mentioned she was adopted; she said she has always remembered that conversation, but didn’t think much about it. In my Dad’s own family, adoption seemed more common as different family members raised other children in the family as chronic illness came up and because he was adopted by his step-mother after his mother died when he was a young child.
My parents had already adopted my brother and sister through foster care and had not been looking for any adoption opportunities since; they had their hands full becoming instant parents overnight. Friends close to my parents sometimes sent my parents items that left a place for another child (if your friends are struggling with infertility or in the adoption process, I don’t recommend this, but I do think they were inspired). My parents were turning 40 soon, planning out future retirement and savings plans, and then life surprised them.
While my parents were struggling with infertility, my Mom was called to be the young women’s organization president at church (like a youth pastor for all of the girls 12-18). Her work was pretty cut out for her because most of the girls came from part member families and needed rides to all of the activities, church, Wednesday night, and anything else that came up. My Mom threw herself into it taking the girls to dances, having sleep overs, and my Dad supported her as a non-member creating memories with the girls as well.
One particular girl in the group had been orphaned as a child and was living with her brother and young family in Arkansas. My parents lived nearby and often had her spend the night when she had a teenage fight with her brother and sister-law or would throw baseball around the yard with her. She became a grown up and got married and her family moved elsewhere.
My parents would receive post cards from her family sometimes and visited them on vacation, but mostly they had lost touch.
On February 17th, 1989 my parents received a call from that young woman who was now in her mid-20s. She wanted to know if they wanted to pick up a little girl who was 5 months old and take her home.
My Mom basically had a fit of anxiety and my Dad was already in the car to get the baby.
As you’ve probably guessed, that baby is me, and they brought me home that day. Five years later, I was able to be formally adopted and I will always remember getting to write a different last name in school. I will also remember being so excited to help my Mom that I put stamps on all of the adoption announcement envelope that my Mom planned on handing out to people. When I found out she was going to hand them out to people and I wasted the stamps, I started crying and I remember my Mom getting on the floor with me and hugging me. I’d like to say that I was crying because I was five, but I still cry over everything so that’s just me and it likely won’t change 🙂 .
I grew up with being able to see pictures of my biological mother going to youth camps growing up and stories about my biological family. At the same time, I was very integrated into my own family and busy getting very spoiled by my grandpa and other family members. I felt my parents did an excellent job integrating my biological family into my life and I have always appreciated how secure they were in doing this. I’m grateful for my parents driving me all over Arkansas to different family member’s homes so I can hear family stories or have someone tell me I look like my biological grandmother; these experiences have meant a lot to me.
My biological great Aunt sent me a card once that said “some families don’t have one family that loves them and you have two.” I’ve always found this to be an overwhelmingly positive miracle and blessing in my life. However, mostly, I’m just really happy I have my parents.