Thoughts on Adoption

I was talking with a woman about her and her husbands decision to consider adopting their foster son. She said something that particularly stuck with me, she said she, “struggles to see herself as his mommy.”

I don’t know anyone else in my daily life that has placed a child for adoption. However, I know many that have either adopted children or are considering adoption so I quietly listen and watch from another perspective. Most are not aware of my experience and when given the right time I do share but its not exactly the story you just throw out there. It tends to be a bit heavier than talking about parenting.

As thoughts stirred, the “heart of adoption” kept coming to mind. Adoption is referenced several times in the Bible . Here is what I found using a study tool I frequent. God is the original author of adoption. He purposely predetermined, through broken man (Adam and Eve), that He would send His Son Jesus to restore us through adoption. We are heirs to the Creator of all creation, given full rights to his kingdom.

The theme of adoption wasn’t just a New Testament thought, its carried throughout the whole Bible. I hope I am not coming off as some theologian rather just sharing through my experience the expanse of God’s ways and yet the very practical nature of adoption. The extent and complexity of adoption is far beyond comprehension yet a simple sacrificial act of love.

I think of that woman often as I haven’t seen her in a while. Meanwhile I continue to be surrounded by families who have adopted. It reminds me that my choice to provide my daughter an intact loving family through adoption was a simple act of love. Though the pregnancy was a consequence of pre-marital sex, God, who makes all things beautiful, redeemed a hard situation. And not only that but adoption is straight from the heart of God and ultimately what he intends for all mankind – new birth into a new life through saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all called to be a part of God’s heart towards man kind.

I give all praise to my Father God who adopted me into his kingdom, mends all the broken pieces from poor choices and gives me new life.

Remembering My Story

When I realized it had been a year since I started blogging, I decided to celebrate by changing the theme. If you have blogged for any period of time you know that when you do that you have to edit the posts to “work” with the theme. So I did just that.

Not only is it my blogging anniversary but it will also be Mary’s birthday on February 27. After all, that story was the original purpose of blogging. How fitting that I decided to re-post My Story:

I grew up in a humble home, free to run around barefoot, with un-brushed hair and skinny legs. I am Italian, Irish and something else…I became aware of how different I was from my cousins, dad and even my mom but mostly my sister. She has blonde hair with blue eyes; I have black hair with brown-hazel eyes. My Dad, I would eventually learn was my Step-Dad. He treated me as his own, just like he treated my sister (his biological child); he was a car mechanic by night and an Electrician by day. I remember him coming home late at night from work; he was a hard-working man most of his days. When he was home he took us for rides on his motorcycle, he let us crawl under the car while working on it and had a voice that could sing.

My extended family I would describe as kind to one another. The memories we hold are many – as a child we Aunt Claudette and Dadwere together every holiday and birthday. My grandparents lived two houses down from my childhood home and my biological father’s sister, my Aunt (picture to the right) on the other side, next door over. For the most part my childhood was normal.

Around the time I turned 12, my Mother and “Dad” were divorced and before I knew it we were moving out of the only house I ever knew and called home.  I started middle school and other things I had no business starting. I was pregnant at 15, my freshman year in high school. I didn’t last very long in a traditional high school and eventually attended a program through the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association). There I would meet lifelong mentors who I am indebted to; they would be my support system as I would make the hardest decision of my life – to place my daughter for adoption.

Family members and friends encouraged me to have an abortion and for different reasons. I remember being told that pregnancy would cause stretch marks and ruin my skin for the rest of my life; that I wouldn’t be able to go to college and hardest of all I was told that if I chose to keep my child that I would have to move out and handle my responsibilities. At the YWCA, I eventually experienced similar responses from peers that were also pregnant, and thought I was crazy to consider adoption. While most of them wouldn’t tell me directly how they felt it was implied by their skillful ability masked in a comment like, “wow, I couldn’t do that.” Only a handful truly had compassion and concern and would befriend me, after all, we were literally walking the aching road of pregnancy together.

My sweet boy and meIn 1994, I decided to go in the United States Air Force (USAF). I will never forget the moment that would awaken the hardest day of my life – kissing my 18 month old goodbye as he lay in his crib. I left at 5:00 AM on March 3, 1995 for basic training in San Antonio, Texas. I had high aspirations and nothing was going to stop me, not even the emotional waves of leaving that sweet little boy peacefully sleeping.  However, this gut wrenching twist in my stomach and knot in my throat that stopped the tears wouldn’t let up; visions in my mind of leaving her sweet little face through the glass window at the hospital on February 27, 1991.

Initially, I wasn’t going to see her but at the last minute I told the nurse I changed my mind and wanted to see her. There she was a head full of black hair, that same black hair that left me unsure of myself as a child. She was beautiful with fair caramel-colored skin and long legs, the same skinny legs that reminded me of myself running around barefoot with un-brushed hair. As tears ran down my face, my mother did the only thing she knew to do which was wheel me out of the room as quickly as possible to the closest exit.

Xaviar is a handsome, wide-eyed, inquisitive little boy, full of wonder. He has a way of getting himself in trouble by unwittingly “telling” me all the happenings of his day. I will never forget the phone call from his kindergarten teacher, “please come and get him, he has been kicked in the private part and is in a lot of pain.” Our time, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, per orders of the USAF were very difficult, though I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything; but I didn’t have family to call on for help. I rushed to his school and took him to the doctor. He always had a way of creating, let’s just say, situations like this. Today, he is taller than me, still has handsome brown eyes that draw you in, a personality that demands attention upon his presence and a sweetness that still tells everything.

His sister on the other hand, I don’t know, the last time I saw her was the day I was wheeled out of the hospital in a wheel chair with tears running down my face. Yet, that is not with regret. I have never regretted placing my daughter up for adoption. In fact, I can’t help but think about the letter the adoptive parents sent me a few weeks after her birth. It included a precious verse from the Bible, Ephesians 1:3-5: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure…”  I experienced a glimpse of God’s nature by placing her up for adoption just as God adopted me into His Kingdom.

One day, I look forward and hope for the chance to meet my daughter Mary Elizabeth, to see her beautiful long skinny legs and pure black hair. I am grateful for the experience. I would eventually have stretch marks and graduate from college. My mother and I are very close now; God has restored what once was a very broken and hurtful relationship to one that is open and growing in love each day. My mother is also blessed to have many grandchildren including the 3 from my husband and me.

20131225_181322Eventually, I would take steps to build a relationship with my biological father despite having been adopted myself by my step-father I call “Dad”.  My father and I see each other regularly and he enjoys brief times with his energetic, loud grandchildren and has grown fond of our new relationship. I have also spent the last two Christmas’s with my biological brother, from my father’s previous marriage. However, I will never forget lying under the Plymouth Valiant with my Dad, rides on the motorcycle, and best of all, his rendition of Randy Newman’s Short People while gracefully strumming his guitar. I look forward to hearing Mary’s story but until we meet again, I will share the beauty that comes from the ashes of an unplanned pregnancy!

Unplanned pregnancy? Afraid?

When I decided to share my story of adoption, I realized I would need to talk about the details of the story at some point –  like when I would walk two blocks from my house to a pregnancy center for the pregnancy test; and how I would feel after being told; or when I would tell my mother, and how she would respond; or what it was like to go to the first doctors appointment.

I don’t remember all the details surrounding this time in my life. However, certain things trigger the emotions and memory, strumming the strings of my heart that often lead to a sad melody while others just down right hurt. While emotions are what they are, what holds me up every time is that I have never regretted the decision to place Mary for adoption.

Yet still, every year on February 27, I wonder how much more beautiful she is, whether she has pimples, what she wants to be when she grows up, what she is good at, and all the things that stir a mothers heart!

The same block the little girl with skinny legs and un-brushed hair ran down was the same block the afraid and pregnant young lady would walk down to face the reality of her choices. I don’t remember what was talked about or even being told the test was positive. Clear as day, though, I remember standing with a family member as we discussed my options, and her telling me that my beautiful skin would be ruined for the rest of my life by stretch marks, if I had this baby.

When I came to the decision that I would choose adoption instead of abortion, I knew in my heart it was part of the plan, and that indeed the God I learned about as a child was real. I felt a part of something greater than myself and bigger than my 15 year old mind could fathom. I am reminded that God uses our finite minds to weave the infinite plans designed for each one of us. We are not puppets or aimless beings rather creation – purposefully designed for relationship and love with one another and God Himself.

photo 4 (3)

When I left the hospital that day, I wouldn’t have known that years later I would have the privilege of raising 4 children to include two beautiful girls, surely I hoped for this. I didn’t know what the next day held, or that I would still have a long road to pave, but what I did know is that I had made the right decision to not get an abortion.