I always knew since I was a little girl that I would be a mom one day. I never knew that adoption would be any part of it. But now at the age of 47, I can look back and feel incredibly blessed that adoption WAS part of it. Not just one side of adoption—but BOTH sides of adoption.
My story starts as a young 17 year old girl. It was the summer before leaving for college. Pat and I were dating and worked together over the summer. I was packed and ready to go with one worry on my mind. I wasn’t worrying about moving away from home or even starting a new journey of life. I was worried that I was pregnant. After my first month at school I realized I was pregnant. Only a few people would know, and my own family wouldn’t know until months later. Pat and I both decided on adoption but we also ended our relationship. I knew both decisions were the right one. I didn’t want to marry because I was pregnant and I knew my baby needed more than I was capable of giving. I wanted everything for him, two parents, love, support—everything down to the white picket fence.
I had the baby June 16, 1987. A healthy boy. I chose not to see him or even hold him as I could not bear to think of the feelings that would flood to the surface. So instead I folded up the emotions and tucked them away. I signed the adoption papers and put up a wall of emotions. I knew this was THE BEST for him. His needs had to come before my wants. Period. A few days after being home, Pat showed up and told me he changed his mind and wanted custody and raise the baby. The judge made it black and white—if the mother doesn’t want the baby, the father gets custody. Doesn’t want!?! I was angry, hurt and heartbroken. MY PLAN WAS BETTER!!—so I thought. Pat later got married and his wife became Joshua’s mom.
Almost 10 years later, I had married the man of my dreams and we were ready to start a family. Our trying lead to months and years of trying, doctors, testing, fertility treatments and heartbreak. After almost 7 years of this I was told I could not have a baby. I was hurt, angry, frustrated and felt as though God was punishing me for choosing adoption all those years earlier. That kind of loss, the loss of a dream is so painful. Nothing can fill that void.
We still had the dream of being parents, but we switched our focus. This led us to adoption. It seemed ironic—I got pregnant at a time I couldn’t be the best mom I could be, and now that I was ready, I couldn’t get pregnant. We filled out the mounds of paperwork, got our background checks, were fingerprinted, pulled any skeletons out of our closets, handed over copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, income etc., and signed what seemed like a million papers. Then we waited. Finally, in May of 2001 we were blessed with a beautiful daughter from South Korea—our Madeline. She had the cutest chubby cheeks and darkest Asian eyes and she was ALL OURS. We were in love. Our family was complete!! So we thought… 2 years later we did the whole process over again and we welcomed Olivia into our lives in February 2004. With her large almond eyes and gentle frame she leapt her way into our hearts. Our beautiful daughters. Life was good. God showed me that He had a plan for me. He was showing me the beauty and wonder of being on the receiving end of adoption.
Now my journey to becoming a mother doesn’t end there. Since 1987 I had dreamed and wondered about my son. It was 2010 and he was now 22. I had started letters to him and never mailed them.
I looked for him online, but either no one turned up or hundreds did. I decided that was a sign that it wasn’t the perfect time. So one day I was wasting time on Facebook like we all do, and decided to type in his name. I guess that was part of God’s plan too, knowing how to find him because his father raised him. So I typed in his name and his page popped up—not a list of names to narrow down, but HIS PAGE. His eyes drew me in. I saw my eyes looking back at me. It is a feeling that just cannot be put into words. I scanned the birthdate to make sure. IT WAS HIM! And we had a friend in common! The 18 year old that lived next door. She was like a daughter to me. She babysat my girls, confided in me and me in her. Small world! They worked together at the mall. I was mind blown! I took some serious time and wrote a letter to his parents. I wasn’t even sure if he knew about me. He was one year old when his parents married. A couple weeks went by and I stalked his Facebook page trying to learn about him from afar. We had so much in common. Then one night I happened to check my in box and there it was, my first message from him. I was over the moon! We spent the next few weeks emailing tid bits of information back and forth. Then he said he was ready to meet. We met on a Saturday afternoon at a local coffee shop and spent the whole afternoon looking at each other in disbelief, anxiousness and excitement.
It has now been almost 6 years and he is a part of our family. I pray for his parents along with my daughter’s birth parents every day for this beautiful life. Adoption is beautiful!
Watch for Jill’s book, Finding Motherhood: An Unplanned Journey, coming soon!