Thursday, November 3, 2016

How Adoption Changes Lives

In the summer of 1969 a young woman, upon realizing she was pregnant, had a decision to make. Clearly the most unselfish, and arguably the hardest decision she had ever had to make, in a era that frowned upon unwed mothers, she determined not to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.

There are no known details of the the young woman. Was she in her early teens, or was she older, was she tall or short, athletic or academic?  We have no idea what she was passionate about or what her dreams were.  There is no documentation (written or photographic) that shed any light on the circumstances in this young woman's life that lead to a pregnancy or that were endured throughout the pregnancy.  There is just no way of knowing.  There is no family history. No record of health issues.  The identity of the father is just a much a mystery as the identity of the mother.  There are no records of prenatal care, pregnancy concerns or issues leading up to or during the birth of her child.

What we do know however is that in the spring of 1970 a baby girl was born.  A baby girl that was given up for adoption.  That first many months of the baby's life are also a great mystery.  As a side bar, it is my opinion that some of the greatest unsung hero's of the world are the many men and women, regardless of the time of day, answer a ringing phone, where on the other end a hospital or case worker, is asking them to provide for a newborn child that the mother does not or can not care for.  Thank you to foster parents everywhere!

What we do know that within a year this child was removed from foster care and was placed in a loving home, surrounded by immediate family and friends that desired,  and wanted a child.  This baby girl grew up knowing and understanding security, unconditional love, structure, discipline.  She was nurtured physically, mentally and spiritually.  All her needs were met.  Probably most of her wants were met as well!  She was loved.

She always knew she was adopted.  It was not a secret in her house.  She also had a brother and no surprise there, he was adopted too.  Even the memory of adding a sibling to her home was unique. No one else that she knew, got to go to the courthouse, and sit up with the judge, and talk about how she wanted a brother, and then, there magically he appeared, strapped into an infant car seat and ready to go home.  How great to grow up knowing that you were chosen to be part of a family!

While growing up, no part of being adopted seemed unusual. Many times folks that the family ran into were surprised to hear that she and her brother were adopted.  Occasionally, when meeting someone new for the first time, she and her brother enjoyed listening to adults discuss,  how cute they were, and how they looked so much like their parents,  and then just at the right time, interjecting loudly, "We're adopted!", just to see the reactions of those in the discussion.

The years rolled on, and she had all opportunities to grow and thrive.  She learned to walk, to ride a bike, went to good schools, she struggled with math, she played sports, she attended and volunteered at church, she was outgoing, and friendly, loved to read, argued with her brother, had power struggles with her parents, got her license, bought her first car, went to college, fell in love and got married, had children of her own.

In 1969, because of one young woman's decision not to terminate her pregnancy, or attempt to provide for a child she knew she could not.  A gift was given.  This woman chose life.  Because she chose life for herself and unborn baby,  she changed lives.

She changed the lives of all those that her baby would come in contact with as she grew and matured over the years. She filled a gap in a husband and wife's heart and home for a baby they could not have.  Because of her selfless decision, that baby girl became a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a student, a friend, an employee, a neighbor, a co-worker, a volunteer, a wife, an aunt, a mom, and mother in law.

If there is one thing that I could share with the woman who chose to give me life, it would be simply, Thank you.

Thank you for doing the hard thing.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  On my behalf if you were scorned, or looked down on, know I so appreciate what you did.  My life is full, my heart is full, many call me mom, my husband adores me; and I him.  I have had encounters in my life that have made me the woman that I am today, because of you.  Because of the gift of life.

Every November I think of you.  National Adoption Awareness Month.  I praise God for you, where ever you are, with a grateful heart, for your sacrifice and dedication to a child that you would never know.    Thank you!