My adoption story begins with my birth.
I was born to unwed, teenage parents in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1986. My birthmother had decided to place me for adoption, though my birthfather was willing to marry and raise me together. I am grateful to both of them--to my birthfather for loving me before he ever knew me, and to my birthmother for making the choice that was in my best interest.
I was raised by loving, doting adoptive parents. I grew up knowing that I was adopted, though I knew very little about my birth family--basically only a medical history they had provided. I had no pictures, no names, no contact.
That changed when I was 18. I decided that I wanted to find my birth parents, so began my search. It did not take long, as these things go, and in the summer of 2005, I reunited with my birth family. It was a sweet experience. My birthmother, living in Texas, was coming to Utah for a conference, and agreed to meet while she was here. I met my birthparents on my own. We visited for several hours, just the three of us. Then, that same evening, my birth parents and my birthdad's family came to my parents' house for a BBQ. My parents were incredibly gracious about the whole thing, and by the end of the evening, it felt like one giant family.
I have since maintained a strong relationship with my birth father and his family. I visit with them as often as I can. I go camping with them about once a year, and I have spent Christmas Eve with them every year since they reunited. Since marrying, my husband has also been included.
My birthmother, however, cut off contact shortly after our reunion. I have never met her family. As far as I know, they still are unaware of my existence. I hope to one day reunite with them, but that does not seem likely in the near future.
This is only one part of my story. Because in February 2006, I too bore a child out of wedlock, whom I placed for adoption.
My boyfriend and I had been planning to marry when we got pregnant. It was the result of one night's mistake, an error in judgment and maturity that caused me intense personal and spiritual anguish. Upon learning of my pregnancy, my boyfriend dumped me (he told me he'd been planning to do so for awhile) though, I have to give him credit for trying to be involved as I set out making an adoption plan.
I connected with my son's adoptive parents through mutual friends. We began emailing in the fall of 2005, and soon we had "novels" flying back and forth between our inboxes. I felt like Jen, and her husband Joe, were the only ones I could really talk to during that time. I relied on their friendship for months, and in November, in the midst of some extenuating circumstances, I told them of my intent to place my son with them.
When Ian was born, his parents were there. Jen joined my mother in the delivery room, while Joe waited in the halls with my father. Ian spent three days with me, first at the hospital, then at my parents' home. Those days were precious to me, and helped so much with my grieving. At the end of the third day, we held placement at my parents' home. It was incredibly bittersweet.
Placing my son for adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It caused me immense pain and grief, and to this day, it affects me in powerful, and often unexpected ways. But I have never doubted or questioned my decision to place him for adoption. I love him, and I have always wanted the very, very best for him--which was something I was not ready to provide at the time of his birth. I am immeasurably grateful for his dear parents, whom I consider friends. I know, without any doubt, that they are supposed to be his parents. They are his family. I am simply grateful that I was able to be a part of their story.