Adoption is sometimes romanticized, and generally from the adoptive parent’s perspective. It really is a miracle in so many ways, but adoption cannot happen without loss. Today I have a guest sharing her adoption story. This story is a little different from most stories that have been shared. Most who have shared have been adoptive parents or adoptees. Today Missy is sharing her bittersweet adoption story. Missy is a birth mother who has humbled me with her story. I am honored to introduce you to Missy, who shares about placing her son at a time when closed adoption was the norm, and how her son found his way to her decades later. Full disclosure, you are about to cry.
When thinking about adoption of a child, the focus is on the paperwork and the waiting for that final day when you bring that child home and into your family. My story comes from the opposite side. You see, I am the Birth Mother. I am the woman who carried the child you so anxiously awaited the arrival of, the child you will care for and love with all your heart. My journey is still fresh, carried within my heart and memory.
I was the young girl who was in love and not yet a senior in high school, finding myself pregnant that summer, and not knowing what I should do. The summer of 1967 took me away from my home in Hawaii and re-settled my family in Southern California where my father was stationed in the Navy.
In December of that year I returned to Hawaii to visit my boyfriend and his family for Christmas. It was then that I wrote my parents with the news that I was five months pregnant. My decision was to stay in Hawaii, and with the help of my boyfriend’s mother and doctor, I moved to a Salvation Army home for unwed mothers where I was counseled. There were many weeks and hours of discussion about our situation. The best plans for our future and the baby’s best interest was for him to be adopted into a family who could care and provide in a way we were not able to at so young an age.
Through my pregnancy there was an extreme closeness felt for my baby, we were together and I would talk to him. We were connected heart to heart. With my decision made, plans were set for his adoption. In May, I delivered a healthy baby boy. As I looked at him, I knew that I was giving a most precious gift to a couple who would never have the opportunity to have a child. This consoled me and I was brave with the outlook of what was best for all of us.
On the day I signed the adoption papers, as I held him one last time, I kissed him goodbye knowing that that would be the last time we would be together. In those days, Birth Records would be sealed and remain sealed, never to be accessed or opened, revealing the most intimate details of lost love, sin, illegitimacy…safety for all those involved. This was something that was most final. All I was told was that they had found a good home with parents who were professionals. I knew he would be loved and well taken care of.
Emotions running strong, I cried that day knowing and feeling the loss of our child we could not keep. My boyfriend consoled me with the words,” Maybe someday the Lord might return him to us.”, although we were not actively following the Lord. It was of little consolation to me, my heart was empty and I was lonely. I kept my chin up because I knew I had been able to give the greatest blessing one could give, my son.
I knew I needed to return to my home and family in California, and soon my boyfriend and I were separated once again by distance. After several months it was apparent our interests were no longer the same. We no longer had anything in common but our son.
I went to Dental Assisting School, and though my life continued on I often thought of my son and marked his Birthday every year, wondering what he looked like and hoping he was happy and healthy.
I was married five years later and we soon started a family of our own. Our daughter was born and brought us much joy. Soon two sons were added to our family. My husband was aware of my story from the start of our relationship and supported me, however, very few knew the secret I harbored in my heart. I did not share this with my children as easy as it would have been to share it at their young ages. I never wanted them to think or feel I might give them up.
As we had our children, our greatest focus was raising and teaching them about life. One of the most important issue was our walk in life. Church and Faith became the cornerstone of our home and our lives.
One day while listening to Christian radio, I heard an advertisement for a foundation called Tri-Adoption. The records of adoptions had been opened and released for the public to search for Birth parents and records. What had been promised to be kept locked was now opened.
I know that although I cried so many tears for my son, that I would never threaten his family by introducing myself into their lives. It would have to be he who searched for me, and so I made the way possible, if he ever chose to search, by contacting this agency, my information would be made available. I was hoping that this would be a signal of the love that I had and that I was open to contact. I knew that the odds would be slim, because I felt boys are not as inclined to want to search as girls might be. I went ahead and registered.
I did imagine what it would be to have a stranger come up to my door and introduce himself as my son…. What would he look like?
At this time I was raising teens and pre-teens and life was full of busy schedules…
My daughter had matured, and one day I shared my choice in compromise with my boyfriend and the pain I had carried all these years giving my son up for adoption. It was really hard for her to hear and process. I thought I had made a mistake by sharing with her, but my reasoning was so that she would never have to go through the pain I had felt.
Almost 25 years later, I received a telephone call from my mother telling me the news I never thought I would hear. My son was searching for me! He had been looking for me for 4 years! They had finally found me through my father’s Military records. My son had found his birth father’s information because I had purposefully written his address on the adoption paperwork those many years ago.
The Lord blessed me with this news and I was complete with joy, that this miracle had happened. I immediately called the Social Worker’s number. Later I found out that he was a Christian and worked hard to find me. My father’s Military records were a last resort. I asked him if I might call my son, rather than he call me, showing I was reaching out in love, our first step in reuniting.
His first words to me were, ”Thank you for my life.”
It was an incredible conversation and we made plans to meet soon. We were able to have a reunion with him coming to meet us. We spent several days and enjoyed our time together and became a family.
My son’s name is Jonathan. On his 25th birthday I was given the amazing opportunity to share that time with him. I reflected upon that day 25 years before as I struggled to see his tiny little face, the little one I had harbored and grew within me before they whisked him away from me. The emptiness I carried all those years had been restored one thousand times!
Our lives now are filled with many stories and blessings by the hand of God, and we marvel at these experiences He has allowed us to experience and see. He, God, had His hand upon our lives and knew the love and heartache I felt, the empty chapter not completed until the way was made possible for Jonathan to find me.
Jonathan is now married and has a beautiful wife and a son of his own.
The Birth Families are bonded together Paternal and Maternal as one large extended family. The Lord has indeed renewed us with the restoration of those 25 years, and although they were a lifetime of lonely years, our hearts are full now!
The closing chapter of my adoption story is that I was honored to be the Mother of the Groom at His wedding, something that I would never imagined possible.
49 years have passed since I struggled to see his little face, just one glimpse of it please. My most precious gift that I could ever give.
Although this was the toughest part of my life, if I could go back and do it over again, I would have to say I would bear all the heartbreak and tears to experience this inexpressible miracle. The extreme joy that has been the outcome of meeting this child. Jonathan was well cared for and loved, given the best, more than we could do at our young ages, and I thank his parents for their care those 25 years.
I am so thankful to Missy for sharing her story today. As a mother by way of adoption, I read this and I am undone. If you are a parent through adoption, I hope you hear your child’s birth family a bit in her voice. I know everyone’s experience is different, but this encouraged us to reach out again to our kid’s birth families. Thank you, Missy for sharing your heart today.