I have wanted to share this small “book” that I wrote for about a year now. I had a difficult time figuring out a good way to publish it without spending a fortune. Thankfully, it is short enough for me to share on this blog. I hope my story may inspire someone who may be considering adoption or wonders what happens to the child when a woman puts her baby up for adoption.
This is dedicated with so much love to my “little sister”.
My Existence begins
I have no memory of how it all began. Who would as an infant? Sometimes I have feelings or sensations from certain moments. I used to wonder if they are made up in my mind or if they really exist. I choose to believe the latter. Quite possibly a child unconsciously remembers the feeling after they are born of laying in their mothers arms. Even more so for an adopted child as somehow they sense this is the first and last moment they will share with this woman they have been bonding and growing together with for 9 months. I had to take that short time of nurturing and keep it with me to remember for my whole life. Even though, I can only picture her in my mind, I feel her strength with me always.
There are times I feel my birth mothers anxiety. That what she wanted more than anything in the world was to keep her first-born child. Watch her grow up, braid her hair, take her to ballet classes, read her stories and sing her to sleep at night.
A time comes, in a mother’s life when she must do whats best for her child and not for herself. No matter how much grief or pain it causes because in the end all that matters is that the child, her child, has a good upbringing and will be offered all the chances possible to learn, grow, be safe, happy and loved.
How does a young emotional mother guarantee that love & happiness will happen? She just has to believe it will happen, trust God and pray like she has never done so before.
This… is my story.
I am Born
The year is 1966. The month is November, the day after Thanksgiving. A baby girl was born weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches long. Her condition was considered good, according to the records.
If I dig deep into the crevices of my mind, there is a feeling that I have. A feeling I have decided just to accept as real and not one of fantasy. That feeling is one of immense love. I can feel my mothers arms cradling me. Her lips on my head. I feel her joy at delivering me into the world but also her fear and sadness. Even at 20 years of age, she knew she could not raise me on her own.
I feel for my birth mother and have immense respect for her. Especially, when I learned my birth father and her had intended to marry but he had met someone else and broke off their relationship. I will be honest, here. I do have many unresolved feelings toward him. As a woman, I couldn’t imaging going through that pain. Pregnant with a mans child, whom you love and want to marry and then one day, when you need his support the most, you find he is interested in someone else.
My birth mother is described as an attractive, but a nervous girl who was quite shy, quiet and passive, she was very likeable and of average intelligence. With more self-confidence, she could probably have done quite well. Those were the words from my case worker.
I think my birth mother to be strong and so full of love and determination. She has nothing but admiration from me and I would like to think that because of all the circumstances surrounding my birth and adoption, she has developed self-confidence and strength.
On December 13, 1966, she signed a release of parental rights. I now was placed in a foster home.
It wasn’t until a physical on January 6th, 1967 that I was recommended for adoption. At that point, I weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and was 20 ¾ inches long. From a physical standpoint and rules from that decade, I was ready to be placed for adoption.
So what happened to me during that time from December 13, 1966 and the day I was placed in my new home on February 4th, 1967?
My foster-mother was most definitely an angel. A woman blessed by God to keep children in her care until a suitable family was found for them. How do I know this about my foster-mother? The best way for me to explain it is by sharing a letter she wrote to my adoptive parents.
„Dear Mother and Dad,
What can I say about this baby, that looking at her won’t tell. She is in perfect health and beautiful besides. She is on one can of Enfamil and 13 oz. Of water.
Her day begins like this.
Breakfast – 6 cc Tri-Vi-Sol
, 1 good tbs. Of cereal with about 1 oz. Of her milk, after she eats her cereal she will take 4 oz. Of milk.
Lunch – ¼ jar pears, applesauce or banana with tapioca and 4 oz of Milk.
Dinner – ¼ of chicken noodle soup and 4 oz of milk.
Before bedtime – same as breakfast but no vitamins.
Peaches cramp her, the other vegetable meat soup makes her sick to her stomach. I never tried her on just plain vegetables. She likes all cereal but rice it tends to constipate her.
I give her a bath every other day and she truly loves it. I use Dial soap on her (white).
She loves to sleep on her tummy. She loves to kick with no clothes on, like after her bath or with each diaper change. She loves when you talk to her and kiss her on the cheek.
She is a very good baby and we never had a bit of trouble with her. We love her very much and will miss her terribly. She goes to bed about nine p.m. And sleep the night through. I keep her in pajamas like she has on all the time, then this way it gives her the freedom to move around the way she wants to and she stays nice and warm.
I use Desitin baby powder on her. She also loves to suck a pacifier. I forgot to mention after each feeding, I lay her down on her back and put a toy or two by her so she could see and almost reach it, this way she plays for about an hour or two. Then I turn her on her tummy and she goes to sleep. We call her Barbra Ann.
May I take this time to wish you the best of luck and may the good Lord watch over you and yours.
I remain as always,
A baby sitter for God“
Every time I read this letter, I get such a warm and fuzzy feeling. She must be an amazing woman to care so deeply for children; knowing from the onset that the child will one day be leaving her loving home. I respect woman who are able to do this job and do it so well.
What else can I say that doesn’t come through in her letter to my new parents.
My Adopted life begins
I was placed in my new home on my „new moms“ birthday. I suppose I was a wonderful Birthday present. My mom tells the story of “how they met me” like this.
They had gotten a call from Social Services saying they had a baby we may be interested in. The case worker also told my parents when she greeted them that they didn’t have to feel obligated to take this baby. I think that really stood out to my Mom, thinking this is a human being, an innocent baby, what a strange thing to say. How could anyone not „like“ a baby!
Mom told me that just one look into my big baby blue eyes that it was love at first sight. I now had a family and what a family too!
Instantly, I had a big sister and two brothers. Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and cousins galore. I had a permanent home.
I suppose life was pretty normal those first two years of my life and then something happened. My parents adopted another baby. I now was a big sister. Of course it was years before we ever knew any different.
In fact, the exact moment that I found out I was adopted is a bit fuzzy. I believe I was around 6 or 7 years old. I remember one of my cousins or quite possibly a friend even, was teasing me about being adopted. I still remember a chorus of „am not, am too“ and I honestly don’t remember who confirmed I was adopted, my sister or my Mom. I remember thinking, okay, so what? I am quite sure I was too young to truly comprehend what „being adopted“ meant. I was happy, so this new news didn’t really bother me and did not seem important. In fact, it has never, to this day even, bothered me.
I’d like to think I had a completely normal childhood. But then again, it may have not been quite that normal. All I mean by that is my Dad was transferred twice through his work to a different Country. So, my Mom, younger sister and I moved with him. My older siblings were already out of high school, were working and in college, so they stayed behind for that first move. I was going into 3rd grade at that time.
Again, I am not sure I really comprehended the fact that it was a big deal to live in other Countries. It was just something my family did. We stayed in Belgium for 2 years that time. It was fun, being able to travel, making school friends from places all over the world, eating some great food and good chocolate.
We moved back to the United States at the end of Fourth grade. Making friends was not hard as my parents kept the home they had and we seemed to just blend right in to American life 2 years later.
Even with having to go to yet another new school (we are at my 3rd school now and it is only 5th grade) it wasn’t hard to make friends.
My parents did good by me with schooling. We went to Catholic school from K through 12. Three of my highschool years were at all girls schools at that. I even had a year at a Catholic college.
Let’s get back to 5th and 6th grade.
I had the normal activities as a young growing girl at this time. Piano lessons, ballet lessons and even started to learn the Flute and joined the school band.
We always seemed busy and we still travelled a lot then, only this time around the United States in our motor home. I feel so lucky to have had such travels early in my life. We visited family around the U.S. and took weekend trips around our state often.
It was about this time I realized how wonderful it was to have a big family. We hosted many family get together and barbecues at our house. Number one, because of the space. We lived in a 4 bedroom 2 and a half bath Colonial in a suburb of Detroit, with a large backyard. Number two, we had an indoor pool. With so many kids in our family, the pool was instant entertainment.
We got together at least once a month to celebrate the Birthdays and Anniversaries of the current month. Luckily, my mom was a pretty good cake maker & decorator, so homemade cakes were usually done by her. Every family would bring a dish to pass. Of course there were always gifts. Not expensive and sometimes creatively wrapped in the Sunday comics. Those were the best!
Some of my most favorite places for these get-togethers were at my Grandparents house in the City. Oh, we had the most fun there. Playing kickball in the Alley, walking to the corner store for Grandma. The friendly neighbors. Hanging out on the front porch. The bedroom in the attic where my sister, cousins and I would sometimes have sleepover’s. My cousins were some of my best friends.
We also had an Aunt and Uncle that lived on an inland lake. Ten years old was the age we all learned to water ski at. We swam and enjoyed the park across the street. Their place was the one for all of the Fourth of July celebrations. In winter there was always ice skating and hot chocolate and yes more cousins! We never had a shortage of kids to play with.
Childhood was fun and good. I always felt like I belonged to the family, in fact I never gave it a second thought.
Junior Highschool followed. I was average in school although I did require a math tutor. Definitely a subject that does not happen for me. I tried though. I always tried but unfortunately my grades did not show it.
I always had friends but did not hang out with the popular kids. It was then that I began to notice boys and had my crush on two. But the boys I liked only liked the popular girls. I definitely was quite gawky then, braces, glasses, tall and so skinny but I was quite outgoing despite that.
I was still playing the piano, flute and took ballet at a dance company. I also developed a love for horses. At this time I wanted to be a veterinarian, a nun and a ballerina. I also took a big interest in our baseball team.
My earliest memories of baseball was with my Grandfather. He lived with us until he passed away in the 1970s. I remember sitting on his lap while he was listening to the Tigers game. Maybe this was when my love for sport began. I even kept a scrapbook of the box scores and game highlights for a few years. Yes, my childhood was very good. I was happy and did not have any worries.
The Highschool Years
Now it was time to go to Highschool. Another new school. The new school count is now at 5. I went to a very well-known, all Catholic girls school. It was huge and pretty scary. Even though I liked my freshman year, I do recall just how big the place was but again, yet another change was in the works. I was only to attend for one year as my Dad would be transferred again to Belgium. I did not really want to go this time, but for my parents sake I was enthusiastic.
At this stage in my life, the fact that my younger sister and I were adopted would come up now and then in conversations when my parents entertained. With my Dads job, we entertained a lot in our home. I enjoyed those times too. Yes, I was a bit of a show off and loved to receive compliments.
I think my Dad was proud of the musical talents I had been developing and at times he would let me play the piano for guests. I ate that up! Sometimes, he would bring up the fact that we were adopted. He was so proud that they were able to adopt us. He called my sister and I his second family since there is 10 – 15 years between my older siblings and us. I admit that I did like hearing him tell the story. It made me feel special.
My sophomore year was one of my favorite years in my life. I discovered that I loved living in Europe and travelling which we did a lot of. I really liked speaking French and was pretty good at it. I was so happy when I had the opportunity to translate for my Mom. She really wasn’t all that keen on learning a language at that time. I got to study piano at the Conservatory. My piano instructor did not speak any English but that was okay. My French knowledge was enough and when it comes to classical music, It speaks the same language throughout the world.
We did attend the same International school as before. Although, none of the kids we knew from before were still there. Most Expats always move on after a few years. It was aways easy to make friends though in Europe. Some of my dads co-workers also lived in various European Countries with their families. We also had extended family in a neighboring Country. I forgot to mention earlier that my parents hosted a foreign exchange student when I was very young. To this day we are very close and she is more like a big sister to me . It is nice to have extended family all over the world. We would visit her and her family when we could and sometimes when my parents had to travel without us, she would drive down and stay with my sister and I.
I also was a cheerleader for the basketball team. For the only time in my life I finally felt popular, but in foreign schools there isn’t as much of a distinction. Everyone is liked and there doesn’t seem to be bullying. It is a nice feeling to belong with the other students. In the United States, I would sometimes get teased for wearing glasses and having braces. That never happened in Europe.
It was at this age that my love affair for European life began. I was so happy to know we would be living there for 5 years. I think I bloomed at this time. I even had my first boyfriend! It was an exciting time and then…. yes, the economy changed and companies were being bought out and the 5 years in Belgium would end 4 years too soon. I was devastated! I wanted to stay. I really felt like I belonged in this place. How could fate do this to me? I remember crying for the first hour on the flight back to America.
I made a deal with my Dad that if I truly was unhappy back in the U.S. He would send me back to finish school in Belgium. They do have boarding for students. Of course, I’m sure he knew I would make friends again and wouldn’t want to leave. It may have had something to do with living on a lake and having a boat, I’m not sure.
The last two years of my highschool life, were at least at the same school. It was tough at first. The other students nicknamed me „that Belgian girl“. I thought that was quite hilarious as I wasn’t even Belgian. My European experience did gain me an A in French class though.
I finally, graduated and began a new season of life as a college student. That only lasted for one year as I had a hard time living away from home. The following year, I enrolled in a secretarial school and landed a very good job with a bank.
Why am I telling this very short biography of my childhood years? I guess it is to share a few things with you. To show I endured the ups and downs of normal children and mainly that being adopted gave me a chance at a childhood I more than likely would not have had. Opportunities, wether it be dance and music or travel were given to me.
Growing up in a large, close-knit, Catholic family, was a great foundation for my life. There was and still is so much love and a bond between us all. We are a family who loves to hug and is always there for each other.
The Effects of being adopted
I know some would argue the fact that being adopted makes one unstable in the adult years. Many suffer depression struggling with the idea that they were rejected by their natural parents. Some people begin to over analyze every little thing. This could be true, I have made many mistakes as an adult, but honestly, do not think my being adopted had anything to do with them. The past is just that… the past. One has to accept things happened and move on.
Sometimes people go through many emotions saying that their birth parents didn’t love them and they want to find them, thinking that will solve all their issues in life. Again, it just isn’t so. I believe, one needs to stop worrying or dwelling on the family that they did not have and embrace the family that they do have.
I can honestly say, I didn’t have the desire to find them. Of course as a child, I imagined my birth parents to be famous movie stars and singers. My friends would try to match me up with famous people saying that I look exactly like that person. I think, they were more curious about my birth parents than I was. I just didn’t feel the urge that I needed to „find them“ as some do.
There was one time I did contact Social Services at the request of my Doctor. Not to locate my birth mother, but to find out if they had any additional medical history.
The letter I received from my case worker did not give me any further medical background but much non-identifying information about my birth parents and their families. It seemed to give me closure which I did not realise I was even seeking. As an adult, I occasionally would wonder why I like to play musical instruments, or where my skills and some desires come from. You know that old saying, „the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree“? That definitely pertained to me. My hobbies were the same as my birth mother, my musical talent came from my birth father and grandmother. My strange interest in another religion? It turns out his family is that religion. According to the description of both families, my looks take after my birth father, my eyesight my birth mother. My birth mother and I even held the same job for a while.
I found I enjoyed knowing this bit of information about them. I had no idea as a child that I would ever know anything about them and I accepted that, was fine with that and continued on with my life.
After reading this letter, I felt compassion for these people who were there at the start of my existence. I realized that I had this thought sometimes in the back of my mind. This need to know how a woman can give up her baby. That reason was also shared in the letter. That thought is what prompted me to write this. I am glad for her sake and mine that she decided on adoption. I couldn’t imagine not being raised and nurtured by my parents, or never knowing and loving my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I feel God watching over me. After all there is a verse in the bible that states that “He destined us, planned in love for us to be adopted”. I can’t help wonder at times what my life would have been like being raised by a single Mom living with her mom and step dad. Not knowing my real father even. At least, I know more about him now because of that letter than I probably would have known if I wasn’t adopted. Of course that is only speculation.
Some Final Thoughts
It is one thing to have a baby but an entirely different thing to be „chosen“. My parents chose me and chose to take on the responsibility of loving me and raising me as one of their own. It was important to them to have more children in addition to the three they had. I do not feel rejected because I was given up for adoption. I feel special. I feel accepted and loved more than ever. I was chosen to be a part of a family. Chosen to be a daughter and a sister. This warms my heart.
I read about so many teenage pregnancies and yes I know of a few woman personally, that keeping their child, turned out extremely well for both. But I have also seen some that have not.
Because of the unselfishness of my birth mother, I had an incredible childhood and family. My Mom told me once that she prays for my birth mother daily, thanking her for the gift she has given to her.
I love them both and feel blessed to have two mothers. Even though I will never see or get to know my birth mother, she is always with me. She is the one who gave me life. Not just in birth, but by her choice to let another woman raise me. She knew she couldn’t do it alone and give that baby the life she deserves.
I feel her thoughts every year on my birthday and send up a special prayer to her on that day.
As for giving children up for adoption, who is to say what is the right thing to do. Every situation differs. I would just hope a woman or girl thinks hard on it. Talks to reliable people on the subject. Let others help you and pray for guidance. Be realistic and do not think of a pregnancy as a mistake. In the end, make the best choice possible for that child.
After all, when a person decides to give a baby up for adoption, they are giving a baby a chance to be loved by two families. They give a child a start at a good life, perhaps the ability to go to a good school, take dance or music lessons, art classes, play sports, travel and see places and do things that quite possibly a birth parent may not have been able to afford. It means that one loves their child more than anything.
And all I can say, personally speaking is that I love my birth mother very much for doing what was probably the hardest thing in the world for her.Giving me to another woman. A woman her daughter would now love and call Mom.
That has to be one of the greatest gifts one can give to another.
© Happily Mrs. 2016
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