I’ve given a lot of thought to what I would say to a prospective birth mother, if she asked me to tell her about myself. What kinds of things would I want her to know – what kinds of things would she ask me? I wonder if it matters how I grew up, what my home life looked like… Was I privileged or did my parents struggle to make ends meet? What did my teenage years look like? Would she want to know that my parents were young when they had my siblings and I, and this directly shaped how we grew up. Would she want to know about my mom, my dad, my siblings… Or would it be all about my present life now that I am an adult with a husband and children of my own.
As I pour over these details and consider how important this is, I have come to the conclusion that what matters most is that I am honest. After all, the reason she would want to know about me is not to make kind chit-chat that neither one of us will really think twice about later; she wants to know about me – YOU want to know about me – because of the nature of why you are here in the first place.
So it matters where I came from, and what kind of childhood I had. It matters what big lessons I learned as a teenager, and in my early adulthood. It matters how I parent my children, and that I have been married more than once. These facets of my life are a part of what makes me, me – and it is my goal to help you understand who I am so that you feel comfortable enough to want to know me better.
It matters because you are not here by accident. And neither am I. We are here because my family is not complete, and you are here for your own deeply personal reasons. This moment, and this situation, is built upon the most precious thing: A child.
It is not a small thing for me to consider how it must feel to be here, for you. I know this is a monumental moment in your life, and the decisions that led you here are significant, and hard, and scary. I know this because I have a niece who was adopted into a loving home, and I got to witness the emotional impact it had on my brother to let her go. He was doing the best thing for his daughter because they were still in high school and he found a loving, wonderful family for her, but it was hard on all of us. It is a decision he does not regret, though she is still a part of who he is, and we all hope some day to meet and know her again…
I want you to know that who you see here is who I am. The real me. The imperfect well-intentioned woman with so many prayers over this letter to you that it has taken me a long time to write this… I want you to know how important this is to me, because I can understand how important this is for you.
I was raised by young parents who had my siblings and I all before they reached their early twenties. I have three brothers and one sister, and two bonus sisters because my dad remarried a few years ago. My home town is in Washington state, and we take a trip at least twice a year there so that I can visit my family, and see all my nieces and nephews there. We enjoy a lot of outdoor adventures whenever we go, from hiking to rock climbing, swimming, to river trips on rafts and exhilarating slides down mountain slopes. It is important to me that my children know where I came from, and it is a tradition now to go back there every year and fill every day with some wonderful outdoor adventure.
I grew up loved, with parents learning how to raise children while still young adults themselves. Things weren’t perfect, we didn’t have the nicest clothes or a big house, but I always believed that my parents did the best they could. They divorced when I was in 5th grade and that changed a lot about our life, but it taught me that God provides even when things get complicated and hard; I was never without love and I think when it comes down to it that’s what mattered most.
My dad is happily married now and is an empty-nester. He fixes motorcycles in his garage in his spare time and plays the drums and guitar when he is not working as an HVAC small-business owner – my three brothers all work for my dad as heating and air conditioning technicians; I love that it has always been a family business. My stepmom works as a para-educator at an elementary school, and my step-sisters (I only call them that for clarity, because really they are just my sisters) are both heading to college soon. My sister by my parents lives here in Texas with her family; we are blessed to see them often. When I was 21, my mother passed away; I miss her every day.
I moved from Washington shortly after my mom died and have lived in Texas pretty much ever since – I still miss my hometown but Texas has been a wonderful home for me since then, and I have no plans to move from our current home because I believe in making a stable environment for my children.
I would never take my older two daughters from their father. Regarding that, we have a great relationship and they see their father often; it is a great experience to be able to co-parent without any issues. Though things did not work out for he and I, we are all doing the best we can, and everyone who meets us says it’s the best divorced situation they have ever seen. We do holidays together whenever possible, and we have always respected each other as parents which is really the best thing for the kids. I consider that a blessing because I know, from experience of my own parents’ divorce, that it doesn’t always go so well.
When I met John, my two older daughters, Layla and Jemma, were still quite little. Layla was just about 3 and Jemma was a one year old. I was not looking to date because it was already enough on my plate to raise my children alone, and I was also going to school and working at that time. But I believe God made sure I noticed when John crossed our path, because meeting him was a definite turning point in our lives.
It was a struggle to get by most days with my two little girls and me doing it alone, and because my plans did not go as I had hoped, I did not feel like anyone could love us – after all, I came as a package deal! I guess I did not believe that I would be lucky enough to find someone to love all of us, but boy was I wrong.
John helped me see that not only was I worthy of love, but I was not irreparably broken by any means. Divorce did not make me damaged goods. My history did not make me damaged goods. There was good in me, and he put a mirror up to my face and helped me see that my story was not finished.
I have gone through a lot of soul searching and healing throughout my life, but there is nothing quite like unconditional love to help a person see that all hope is not lost. John, my amazing husband, was that for me. I believe God used him for this purpose, and I am eternally grateful because now I have a rock-solid marriage, and we made another baby girl together, adding more pink bows and girly dresses to the mix. Delaney is two years old and has brought us so much joy.
My parenting style is a mix between silly, pretend the spoon is a microphone, to let’s sit on the couch and watch movies all day. I have been given the extraordinary gift of being a stay-at-home Mama, so basically I run the ship. I do have the girls help with chores that are age appropriate, and as far as discipline goes, we use time-outs, and really try and encourage the girls to talk about their emotions, but not let them use their emotions to justify wrong actions. Because my older two daughters do go to another home some of the time, we have healthy and ever-evolving conversations about their needs so that they always know that we are there for them. I understand from experience that having two homes is tough, and I try my best to help them navigate that, and they know that “home” is where the love is. Love is the unifying force in our family, and while I have had to adjust my parenting to their needs, I always come back to the fact that it is love that makes a family strong. We are all quick to forgive, open and honest with our thoughts and feelings, and we make sure to make time for tickling matches in between home work, and hugs even when we argue.
My belief system, throughout my life, has been a deeply personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I know this is not for everyone, and that is okay, but I know that it is important I am honest about this because it will reflect in how I parent, and what I teach my children. I am not “perfect” in this endeavor, meaning I am not always patient and entirely kind, but I try and be a reflection of what I believe, and the principles Jesus taught us. We have a regular church that we attend where we are members, and the Lord is the foundation of our lives. It was His strength that got me through the unanticipated death of my mother, my parent’s and my own divorce, and single motherhood. It was, and still is, His love that keeps me going. I do my best to teach my children about God and the Christian faith, and it’s this core belief that most defines who I am, and who I hope to be. The Bible teaches that He is our rock and our salvation, and I have experienced this so much that it has become a truth I cannot ever live without.
Moving forward, I want to get personal about why I am here. What led me to the decision to adopt? It’s the most central question to why you are here (I am sorry it took me so long to get to this but I wanted you to know who I am first!)
Since I was a small child, I dreamed of having boys. I dreamed of raising a little boy and watching him, helping him, grow into a man. I guess cause I had two older brothers – we are all born in April, and all a year apart – so we were really close growing up. Also their friends were always around, so I was always the one girl among a sea of boys. Boy stuff is what I knew. Football. Riding dirt bikes on muddy hills. Baseball (that was a big thing in our family). I just always felt that I would grow up and have a bunch of my own little boys running around someday.
Well, God saw fit to give me three amazing, beautiful daughters! They have shown me so much about myself, and I am grateful in my soul that Layla, Jemma, and Delaney are a part of my life. They ARE my life, really.
When my youngest was born, we did not know if she was a boy or a girl. We intentionally waited on finding out her gender because we wanted it to be a surprise at her birth. When I held her in my arms and realized she was my third little girl, it was just amazing. It was, and still is, exactly what needed to happen. God taught me that we make our dreams, but He ultimately provides for us what He knows we need, and was He right! She is a tremendous blessing – all my daughters are!
Still, I knew in my heart that our family was not yet complete. I kept this quiet for a while, and I prayed about it a lot. I think Delaney was about a year old when I finally brought it up to John… The desire for a son had not left me, and I was not sure what that meant. Did it mean we “try” for a boy? Did it mean that maybe it is just a desire I live with but never honor? I was not sure. But I brought it to John, we talked about it a lot, and I found out that he felt the same way as me.
So why are we not trying for a son, biologically? Because I KNOW that is not the right answer for us. The only way I can explain is that I just… Know. I know that he will come, that I will love him completely and wholly, and I know that not giving birth to him myself does not mean he will be any less our beloved child. Because I have prayed for him my entire life. The option to biologically have another child is off the table for us, and I am okay with that; I have faith and hope for this process.
When I turned to my husband and said to him, “I think we need to adopt our son” (after months of dreams about adoption, and thoughts that the Lord was giving me to pursue this), he did not even hesitate but responded, “Okay, let’s get started”. His willingness, immediately, to go forward with this decision meant one thing: This is right for us. We both strongly desire our son, and we are willing and ready to do this because it means our family will finally be complete. My lifelong dream of raising a son is worth whatever I have to give.
I know, dear reader, that you have not come here by accident. That this decision is one you’ve cried about, and worried over, and maybe you’ve even prayed about it. I know that I am one of many potential choices you may have.
My heart is dedicated to my family, and I believe in the power of God to answer our prayers. My prayer is to raise a son. To guide him as he navigates this world. To be there when he scrapes his knee falling off his bike and encourage him to get back up again. I want to teach him to respect women and that even though he has three big sisters and he will be the “baby”, he will still learn to honor and protect them as their brother. I want to stand on the sidelines while he plays sports, or during his chess tournament, or whatever activity he is into – I will be the cheering Mama there to embarrass him with my support. I want to teach him how to build campfires and change the tire on a car… I yearn for the chance to say, “my son”, and believe me when I tell you that it will be the most amazing gift I could receive, and I will never be able to show you how grateful I am, because I have literally wanted this my entire life.
I want you to know that I cherish these moments, even now. Sitting up late at night in my bedroom typing on this computer… Because it is even in this moment when I haven’t even met you, dear reader, that I am praying for YOU. I am praying that your heart finds peace, and rest. I am praying that while you make this incredibly big decision, and give a piece of yourself away, it is not lost on me what you are going through. I pray that we can support you however you need, and that you feel comfortable giving us this gift, because we know – we KNOW – that this is one of the biggest moments of your life. I promise that I will never stop praying for you, and I will honor you, as a mother, and as a person, because you matter to us more than you could possibly imagine. You matter to us, because we could not complete our family if not for you. You matter, period. This matters, and it is big. So whatever you need from me to feel comfortable, I will do my best to help.
When I was young, I thought I’d have many boys when I grew up. Turns out, things don’t always go as we hoped when we were kids. Now I know I will just have one. My daughters will get a brother, my husband the son he’s always wanted. And, as for me, well… I am so grateful to God that this is the road we are on, because it will help me appreciate the beauty of the moments that end up changing our lives. The moments that define our existence, and why we were here. I am here to be a mother, and a wife. To hear my daughters laugh and play, and to finally hold my son’s hand and know what an absolute gift it is that he is with us, and it is all because of you.