I will never forget the day, almost six years ago, when my husband and I were leaving the fertility clinic after another failed procedure and still no closer to our dream of becoming parents. Our faith, our sanity, and our marriage had all been pushed to the brink the previous four years and we were so close to falling over the edge. Sitting at a stop sign waiting for the traffic to clear, my husband said we were going to have to go home a different way since an accident had closed the freeway. I looked at him and burst into tears. It was just too much and I felt like everything was slipping. My body could not do the one thing it was supposedly created to do, and now we couldn’t even drive home the way we wanted.
I felt like the car was too small to contain the depth of loss I was grieving. My husband pulled over and as we looked at each other through our tears, we knew in that moment that we needed to change the course of our lives. Our bitterness was dangerously close to destroying our faith and the despair was driving a wedge between us. It was time to finally accept that God had a different plan for our family.
That evening we talked well into the night and decided it was time to learn more about adoption. We sought out friends and acquaintances who had adopted, listened to their stories, and went to introductory meetings with various agencies. We asked countless questions, and wrestled with the risks that come with adoption. Would a birthmother select us? Would she change her mind? Could we live with more disappointment after everything we had already been through? Eventually, we decided that despite the risk, adoption still represented hope, and to us that hope was a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. We knew this was what God had intended for us.
When we met Rachel, she changed my view about birth mothers. I was surprised that she wasn’t some irresponsible kid who had gotten pregnant. She wasn’t on drugs; she didn’t have five other children in the system, and most importantly, she wasn’t just a selfish girl looking to give up her baby so she could get on with her own life. She actually was a lot like me; fiercely devoted to God and her faith, with a tightly-knit family that had instilled strong values and morals in her. And despite her youth, she was incredibly poised, articulate, well-educated and committed to continuing her schooling. Rachel was raised to believe that every baby deserved life, and she knew her baby deserved much more than what she could give him at that point in her life. She wanted her son to have a mother and a father, a family, a home, and opportunities in life.
But the thing about Rachel that changed my perspective on birthmothers forever was that she never talked about what she wanted for her own life after the adoption. She never spoke of how hard things were for her, because she truly believed only in what was best for the baby. And isn’t that what being a parent is all about? Putting your child above all else, even yourself? After meeting with her it became clear to me that adoption wasn’t about giving up a child; it’s a parenting decision that is motivated by selfless love and devotion.
Carson was born on a perfect fall day in October. My husband and I were at the hospital during his birth. We stood outside Rachel’s room, listening, crying, clinging to each other, and praying. Only minutes after his birth, we were able to see and hold Carson, and even cut his umbilical cord. That first time I held him in my arms, I knew he was ours; he was meant to be our son, and every obstacle we had faced getting to that point was absolutely, 100%, without a doubt worth it. All the tears we shed, every time we had questioned God and each other was all because we were meant to be the parents of that tiny, perfect baby boy. He represented so many things to so many people; a baby that quite literally put my heart back together again, and allowed my husband and I to truly believe in the power of love, prayer, and faith.
But amidst feelings of all-encompassing and unconditional love also came a fear that only other adoptive parents can understand. In the state we lived in there was a possibility that Rachel could change her mind any time during the first month after the adoption. If she did we would have to say goodbye just as she had to say goodbye at the hospital. It was a gut-wrenching fear that consumed us. A fear that no agency or book can really prepare you for. But Rachel didn’t change her mind, and my heart goes out to all of those who have not been so lucky.
Our adoption is what is known as semi-open, but over the years it’s grown to be much more. Rachel has become part of our family; we love her, and are proud of all she has accomplished in the last five years. She is in college now, studying social work, with the ultimate goal of someday working at an adoption agency. Each year she throws a huge birthday party for Carson, and we talk to her monthly on the phone and email frequently. Her courage and selflessness inspire me to be a better woman, wife, and mother. At a time in most girls’ lives when they can’t see outside of themselves, she nurtured another human for nine months, gave him life, and then gave him the WORLD by choosing adoption.
Carson just might be the biggest adoption advocate of all of us. At five years old he already knows the story of his birth, and tells it to anyone who will listen. From the day we brought him home, we’ve told him how blessed he is to have so many people who love him and about the courage it took Rachel to choose adoption. I am truly humbled by how far-reaching adoption is, touching the lives of so many. Instead of something that is whispered about, it is celebrated, and in many cases open so adoptees can know where they’ve come from. That is not something that my husband and I fear. Instead, it is something that we nurture through our relationship with Rachel. We do it for Carson; because it is important for him to have that connection.
Just like the Adoption Creed says, even though Carson is not our flesh and bone, he is still our own. He grew inside of our hearts for so long, and when we finally listened to God at that crossroad and took a different way, we were able to see so clearly what was meant to be all along.
Kristy and her husband Joe live in Michigan and are parents to three beautiful boys, Carson (5) and twins Gavin & Grayson (2) who were conceived biologically. They continually look for ways to share the miracle of Carson’s adoption with others in their community and beyond to raise awareness and help others with their adoption journeys.