Given More


The other day I had a conversation with someone who said to me,

"I could never give up a baby."

And let me add, this was said while my daughter was standing right next to me. What kind of message is this sending to my daughter? And even more what kind of spurious ideas are there about the realities and beautiful miracles that occur in adoption?

This question left me fuming. After a good night's rest, I'm not so upset. Her question is real. And indicative of a view point that is innocent from not knowing, experiencing or hearing about the positive and unimaginable joy that comes through adoption for all parties involved. So today, I am going to answer this common statement, from my heart. Knowing that for every negative story on adoption that swarms the media, there are thousands of miraculous ones.

My children were brought to us through the miracle of adoption. And when I say miracle, I mean it. Part of this miracle involved our beautiful Birthparents. Who by no means whatsoever "gave up" their sweet child.

It takes an incredible amount of love to do what they did. It takes more than love.

I have never witnessed such love. Nothing reminds me more of this love and sacrifice then the Savior's atonement for each one of us.

There is such a misconception about this part of adoption. Pictures of Birthmoms' extremely young or strung out on drugs are often the thing people assume were our children's birthparents circumstances that led them to choose an adoption plan.

Nothing could be farther from the truth in our case and in a majority of domestic adoptions. Our birthparents’ chose adoption. Our birthparents’ consisted of mothers and fathers who are well-educated, spiritual and come from families who have over 30 years of marriage experience. They didn't choose adoption because it was an easier choice or an easy way out! And they most definitely, unequivocally, did not choose it because they were "giving up" this precious life they created.

This is a choice that created much pain and grieving in their own hearts. Not a day goes by that they don't think of us.

They love their child so much that they wanted something better for them. In spite of the pain that they will naturally have to face because of it.

No doubt they found themselves in an "unplanned" circumstance. But never did they treat or feel that their child was not "wanted" or desired.

As a mom, I never had to wonder about the kind of care my children received in the womb. My daughter's Birthmom was so careful to eat only the healthiest of foods, get great pre-natal care and read much literature about the needs of this special child growing in her. My son’s Birthmom continued going to church and school during her pregnancy despite the judgments made on her. It is because of their great love that they wanted something more for the child growing in their belly. Something that would involve many sacrifices.

The next comment this person said to me was,

"If my child found herself in a teenage pregnancy, I would watch or raise the child for her, so she could go to college, finish school, carry on with her life, etc."

This way of thinking is very common in society and most often is the norm!

Adoption is "out there." And this is the norm!

I didn't find what this person was saying to be noble. I didn't view this as true love. I didn't think to myself, "Wow this individual must really love their child to do this for her."

Quite the opposite actually.

The question that comes to my mind time and again is this,

What about the child?

One thing my son’s birthfather said to us before his birth was,

“This child is a gift from God.”

I found this an extremely profound statement from a boy in an extremely difficult situation. And yet, his statement is not a politically correct or popular one. Because if our children are a gift from God, shouldn’t we be making choices for them accordingly? Shouldn’t their needs be at the very top of our agenda despite the sacrifices involved?

Our children are a gift from God. This is not just our child. It is first and foremost God’s. And as such, we have such a responsibility to them.

I’m not saying every unplanned pregnancy should result in adoption. Obviously, I am an advocate for adoption because I have personally witnessed the beauty of it. I just wish and hope wholeheartedly that the myths surrounding this beautiful act could be properly understood.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world. Things happen. Unavoidable things. Avoidable things. And it is during these moments that we choose to make the very best choices because we know our lives are also a gift. And we hopefully want to make the choice that will please our Heavenly Father and create the most benefits.

The problem is, too many choices are often self-serving and often reflect what will make us more comfortable.

We live in a world today that treats children as commodities. Having a child is more about "your" wants instead of the child’s. Daycares are the norm. Fathers are not necessary. And as of today’s propaganda…families aren’t even necessary! Children are starting competitive sports before they are eight and are enrolled in every class imaginable to ensure they will get into their Ivy League schools. Preschools are turning as competitive as universities! Are we really doing these things for our children or our own pride as a parent?

This has hit such a nerve with me lately. Maybe it's because of the comments I keep getting about me not pursuing my career by "just" staying home. Or maybe it's a combination of the many comments I get about my children being "unwanted" or "given up" from their birthparents. As if our birthparents did the easy thing by not trying to raise the life they created.

Our Birthparent’s love their child so much that they are willing to go through any amount of pain so that their child doesn't have to feel it throughout their life. They want them to have a life with two parents. They want them to have a stable home life. They want them to know the innocence of childhood.

Lets not mince words. It isn't easy for a child to grow up without a father or a mother. It isn't easy for a child's main source of parenting to come from a daycare provider. How sad is it that many children's first words, first steps are witnessed by someone who will never be around to share those moments with them. Yet, we make these choices, because they benefit us! We, as parents can still go to work! Further our careers! Wear the latest clothes, drive the nicest cars and buy the biggest homes. And we think this is success. And the adults who choose to "stay home" or "give up" are doing so because they are lazy or have no talents, intelligence or drive.

Is there not a correlation between this false perception on adoption and the “me” mentality that is saturating our families in today’s world?

I know in saying this, I am leaving a large portion of parents who work really hard and do so for their children out of the equation. I am also deeply aware of parents who are both working or single parenting out of circumstances not of their choosing. Life happens. Difficult things happen. I get that. Believe me, I do!

I am speaking up for myself, my children and our courageous birthparents. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them to hear the callus words "given up" and "I could never do that." As if it is an easy thing. As if the person who "could never give up a child" is saying something noble. It would be a much easier thing for our birthparents to have raised their baby. But they weren't just thinking of themselves when they made their choice. And THAT takes more love, more courage, more pain than any love I have seen a parent give their child in raising them!

It is this love that reminds me how lucky I am to raise my kids. It is this love that makes me love my children’s birthparents so much. It is for this reason that our birthparent's are honored in our home. It is this love that I hope my children will feel so abundantly as they grow. It is this love that makes an open adoption indescribable.

Our birthparents wanted more for their child. A child, who was wanted from the moment they were conceived. A child whose future was agonized over, prepared for, prayed for and sacrificed for. Even before they would ever breath their first breaths of life.

Yes, this child may have been unplanned but never “unwanted.” This child was given more. Not given up.


Moonbeam said...

What an amazing post! From a truly amazing woman!! You have such a great insight through experience of the incredible selflessness that accompanies adoption.

I saw that same selflessness first hand when I watched a friend of mine, as a senior in high school, place her baby for adoption. I watched her in amazement as her whole life changed while making decisions based soley on what she felt was going to be best for her baby. It was the deepest love I had ever witnessed at that point in my life. It left a lasting impression on me of the courage and sacrifice it takes to be willing to give your baby more. I have a very tender spot in my heart for women who are willing to take themselves out of the picture and do what is best for their baby when they not in a position to be all their baby needs or give their baby all their baby deserves to have.

The woman saying to you "that under those circumstances she would raise the child for her daughter is such a common thing in our society". And I think it is such a selfish thing to do to the child, in most cases. Their is a reason we have children when we are younger and have the energy and drive to be truly committed to them and raising them. As a teacher's assistant in an elementary school I have seen too many cases of "good intentions", not followed through. And my heart aches for those children!

I had an experience just the opposite of yours the other day. I was talking to a friend of mine about how hurtful I feel it is for a young unprepared mother to keep her child purely out of selfish reasons, just to have the grandmother end up raising him/her, when their are so many couples that yearn to give a child so much more. As I was thinking about couples like you I completely forgot that I was talking to a mother who had sacrificed much as a 16 year old to keep her baby, who was at that moment outside playing with my kids.

My hat goes off to single mothers who understand the seriousness of the decision they are making in keeping their child and the sacrifice it will take to keep and raise that child on their own. But I think their are really few who do what it takes to make sure they continue to be the mom and not pass those responsibilities off to someone else.

In any case, being pregnant as a teenager and having to step back and really look at your life and the future life of your baby has to be a terrifying look at reality. I applaud the women who can take that look and selflessly do what it takes to give their baby the best life possible.

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