February 9, 2008

A First Mother's Story

Below is a piece my little sister wrote about her life experience as a first mother. There are so many different scenarios out there and so many things to learn from each of them. Enough from me...introducing Jewels! (an introductory post about Jewels is below this one)
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First, thank you to my sister for that absolutely wonderful introduction! I guess that means I should try to live up to pedestal shes put me on! A little bit about me and my adoption histories. I first found out that I was pregnant with my birth son when I was 16, just finishing my junior year in high school. At first, I was scared beyond belief! I was too young to have a baby, not to mention telling my family! Growing up in a Christ centered family this was the last thing they wanted to hear. But, I came to the conclusion that this guy loved me and would help me raise this child growing inside me. Well, I was wrong. The birth father left me when I was about 3-4 months along. I was heartbroken. But for some reason I still thought I could raise this child on my own.

On Thanksgiving of that year, my dad set me down and had a one on one talk. By the end, I realized I was being selfish and needed to think of this child first. That was when I made the choice to give my child a long and happy life with two parents. The adoption process was long, but I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. I ultimately chose a close friend of our family. It just so happened that they were going through the adoptive parent side of things at the same agency I was using. When I gave birth to Theodore (Teddy), and realized it was almost time to give this child over to his new family, it was the hardest time in my entire life. I new I was making the right decision, but the very thought of "giving up" this child whom I had bonded with so closely for nine months was breaking my heart. This was the start of the grieving process.

After the adoption, it didn't take me long to realize that I had made the best decision in the world. I was blessed to have an open adoption and was able to see my birth son first hand being raised by people I already cared deeply for. The bond between myself and the adoptive mother grew so much deeper. I came to have a new, deeper respect for her as I watched her play with and rock my baby boy to sleep. Teddy is almost 8 now and I have the wonderful joy of being able to watch him grow into a young man.

I have also given up a baby girl for adoption. Years ago, I was in a very rough spot in my life. I was doing drugs, living with men who disrespected me, and did unspeakable things that really hurt myself and my family. Luckily, God had a different plan for my life. It just took me awhile to realize it. I ended up going through some pretty intensive treatment programs. While I was in treatment, I found my way back to the Lord and started apologizing for everything I had done. However, also while I was in treatment I was raped by one of the van drivers. I never saw him again after that night but the effects of what had happened will stay with me forever. I got pregnant. Again, scared, alone, not wanting to go through the pain of handing over another child, I thought I was going to parent her. And again, God had a different plan.

As if in the same timing sequence, my dad had another talk with me. And amazingly the adoptive parents of Teddy were going through the adoption processes again. At first I didn't know that they were looking to adopt again so I was closing in on other families. I know it seems silly, but one of the most important things to me in finding a family for my baby girl, was that they would know how to do her hair. She is bi-racial and with the birth fathers dark skin I knew her hair was going to be a handful! I just wanted to make sure she looked good!! Once I heard that my son's forever family was in the adoption process I knew in my heart what I wanted to do. I originally wanted to name her Isabelle (I've always loved that name). One day when I was in church with a friend though, she leaned over to me and suggested the name Grace. It hit me. It was only because of Gods Grace that I had made it through my meth addiction and was alive to give birth to this beautiful child. Grace was her name!

Again, it was hard to hand over a baby I had bonded so deeply with for 9 months, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I had to get my life back on track and this baby girl needed two parents who could give her all of the love, attention, and worldly possessions that I could not. Grace is now 3 years old and is such a wonderful handful! I cant imagine not having a relationship with Grace and Teddy. They are the reasons I want to succeed in life. To make them proud. And the relationship with myself and the forever parents has grown so much, that I can't imagine my birth children with anyone else. They are such wonderful, Godly parents who are raising my babies to be respectful, honest, God fearing children. I would not have done anything differently throughout either of these adoptions.

I pray that my sister and brother-in-law can meet the first family of their baby. I know first hand the lifelong effect that it can have. It is such a special bond that I would never give up for anything. Best of wishes to everyone going through adoption process now and in the future!

~Jewels

9 comments:

Gamma! said...

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13
These verses have been a respit and a promise that we as a family have claimed. Each adoption story is very different, and your own. You will become the loving arms that the birth mother is unable to be. hat an awesome responsibility to have been chosen! God bless my daughters and all of you who are traveling along this incredible journey of bringing love and hope to someone just waiting for you.

Amanda and Andrew said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Sometimes it's difficult for me to remember that there's another mom in this situation, just one on the other end of things.

I admire your strength and I'm so happy that you're able to watch Teddy and Grace grow up.

I can definitely see why Jo puts you on that pedestal! ;)

Stacie said...

Jewels- thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is beautiful - the love you have for your birth children and their family. Thank you for providing the insight of a first mom's heart.

sara said...

Jewels,

I have tears running down my face! I love to hear this from your perspective. You sound so happy & healthy & loved. Thank you, for your transparency & your love for your children & love for Christ. I think you are a hero. We are in the process of adopting a little girl from China and yes, it is easy to forget in the waiting & the dossier process, that there is another Mother out there. We know Grace & Teddy's forever family & we love them and are thankful for the opportunity to know them and to hear this amazing testimony of God's grace. Amazing. God bless you :)

Anonymous said...

Jewels,

I have taken a lot from your strength in this post. Thank you for being so straight forward and clear for all of us to whom these issues are constant struggles. It is important for me and my future child to know that everyone in their life has a lot invested in them. Your example is an inspiration.

Thanks!

Jen said...

Jewels...I don't know if you remember me from way back at Trinity. Your story made me cry. I've thought about you a few times over the years and wondered how you were doing. I'm sorry you've had to deal with a lot of really hard stuff, and that you've experienced things no one should ever experience. But I'm also so happy to hear that you've come through these hard times and found joy and peace in the midst of very difficult circumstances. Your perspective is beautiful.
Blessings to you
Jenny Halverson

Cloverland Farm said...

Jewels, thanks for your courage and posting this story. Such an incredible story...I celebrate your recovery and what God has done in your life and your children's life.
Jolene, thanks for including your sister in your story. Very neat. We pray also that we meet birth family. Such an important opportunity.
Laura

Rebecca said...

What amazing stories you've shared! It touches me to the core to hear what it's like from your end. I so appreciate your decision and am glad that you made the right decision for you. Such a blessing to have an open adoption and know your bio children. Thanks so much for sharing.

Katy said...

I am now crying at my desk at work. Thank you so much for sharing this story/your lives.