These stories were contributed by real women, their stories are their own words and experiences.
November is Adoption Awareness Month, and approximately 135,000 children in the US are adopted every year. Adoption can be a controversial subject; it can be a difficult, heart-wrenching decision, it can give new life to the innocent, and it can present major obstacles and conflicting emotions for some as well. Each adoption story is unique; each adoption story has a different perspective, but regardless, it is still real to the people who live through the process of adoption. In honor of Adoption Awareness Month, we at Primal Kidz Mag decided to do a piece highlighting several diverse stories of real women who have either adopted children or were adopted themselves.
“As a parent of two adopted children I wanted to write about this subject purely because when I was going through the process I needed someone to tell me that the feelings I had were normal. I needed someone to turn to, and I needed advice from someone who had adopted a child themselves, but I didn’t know anyone. My life was full of well meaning family and friends all willing to give me the advice they thought I needed but it didn’t really skim the surface of how I was feeling throughout this long and arduous process.
My background story is similar to thousands of other adoptive parents; I was straight out of years of failed fertility treatments. We were sitting on a beach in Egypt after just finding out that our final attempt at treatment had failed, and while we were discussing our future we decided the next natural step for us was adoption. Excited, we decided to make the call when we got back home. We spent the rest of the holiday talking non stop about our plans. On our return I called Social Services and was told someone would be in touch to pay us a visit.
I cleaned the house like someone possessed on the day the social worker arrived, and I tried my best to look like I had it all together. The social worker took down some details, and asked us some very personal questions regarding miscarriages, fertility treatments, and our relationship. She then told us the next step would be that we would need to go to a meeting for prospective adopters which would give us all the information we needed to know about the types of children needing loving homes and parents. Sadly for us she informed us that we were not able to attend this first meeting until we had “grieved” for the children we might have had through fertility treatment. Looking back they were right to give us that six months to recover but at the time the delay was torture for us.
Six months dragged by and we eventually walked like terrified kittens into the meeting, about twelve other nervous couples just like us were in the room too. We sat and listened as they spoke to us about the horrific lives these little children have had to endure in their ever so short lives; how many of these kids had been in foster care all of their lives and some of them would continue to be untill adulthood. I felt utterly utterly sad, I wanted to help them all and felt useless that I was unable to do so.
Next a really lovely adoptive couple came to tell us all about their experience as adoptive parents. They told us they had adopted a little girl then later a little boy, and I was mesmerized by their increadibly happy and heartwarming story and excited that this could be us in a few years time. We left the meeting knowing that we’d been put on this path for a reason and we understood for the first time why the fertility treatment hadn’t worked. I got in the car and cried, bucketfuls of tears. I’d never been more sure of anything in my life.”
– By Claire Louise Davison
On Being Adopted:
“Adoption! Most people think of adoption as a beautiful thing; moms and dads adding new babies and toddlers to their families, but most don’t envision older children being adopted. Well that is my story, how a nine year old learned that adoption is not always positive.
Parents may not always be prepared for the trauma, abuse, and mental barriers that a child may have experienced and may still be coping with. In my case I was taken from my birth family and placed into state care, where I grew a very strong bond with my foster family. I did not move around foster homes as much as some children do, as I was lucky to have an amazing foster family that was a perfect fit for me; a family that made me feel safe and taught me the love of Jesus Christ. My life was perfect! And then I was adopted.
This should have been great, because it was what I had always wanted. My adoption seemed to go smooth. I was able to meet the family several times and even spend the night on weekends. They were a great family with a daughter who became like a best friend to me. They were a family of Christian faith with a mom and a dad who loved and cared for each other, but above all else loved their daughter. This seemed like a perfect family for a child who had become accustomed to hearing the word of God everyday and praying every night; a child who fell in love with having a real family and even a sister!
Something didn’t seem right though. Many people felt uneasy about this adoption and said that we should wait a little longer before making it final, but the state gets what the state wants, so my adoption was finalized. My new family banned my foster family from coming around me.
Soon after, the truth started to come out and things began to change. It all started with their faith. They had lied saying they were Christians when in reality they were atheists. Now, I can see where you would say that they lied in fear that they would not be able to adopt, so I blame this part on the state. The system is broken. I can say that not everything was bad. For a few years my life was okay, as I got to cheerlead like I loved, and I did great in school, but I had to continue to battle for my faith.
Over the next few years the fighting in the family began and got worse and worse. I won’t get into that to much, but it was just a bad environment with a lot of fighting. I can remember a staircase railing being torn off the wall and thrown, and us children crying in our rooms listening to the fighting; parents in separate rooms and divorce papers on the table. Finally, they divorced and separated, settling with other people; but that didn’t stop the fighting.
I never had that “unbreakable bond” with my parents so they did not understand when I began to question my birth and who my birth family was. I lived with my dad for a while until the fighting was too much and I moved in with my mom. It was good for a while but of course it did not last and the fighting continued until one day the fighting was so bad I went and stayed with a friend to clear the air. I never thought that when trying to go back home the locks would be changed and the police would have to help get my stuff. I will not tell you I was a perfect child. I was your typical teenager who does not like to clean their room and always has to have the last word in an argument, but I do not believe I should have lost my family over it.
So for me, adoption was not a good experience and I will live the rest of my life learning to cope with my childhood and then my adoption. Although it wasn’t a good experience for me it has given me a passion for children and the hope to someday adopt a child; to give them the love that I wanted as a child.”
–By Lela Jean Hopkins
“I have known for as long as I can remember that I was adopted. I actually don’t remember ever not knowing. My parents did such a great job at making me feel normal that they got a call from my kindergarten teacher asking if I was adopted. Apparently I went to school asking where everyone was adopted from. I refer to my parents who adopted me ad Mom and Dad. I have never seen them as any less than that and they have never treated me as less. I call my biological mother by her name, Dee.
My mother had undergone several IVF treatments and was fighting the heart wrenching battle of infertility. After several miscarriages, she was told she would never be able to bare children. My mom adopted my two older brothers as toddlers. Dee was great friends with my mother and she confided in her that she was pregnant but did not believe she would carry the baby to term. She was unstable financially, didn’t have a job, and having the baby would end her relationship. She was dependent on drugs and alcohol and knew the baby would likely suffer because of those things as well. My mother promised her that if she would continue her pregnancy to term, she would help her find a home for the baby. Dee’s only condition to the agreement was that my mother never told her family she had given a baby up for adoption. My mom made and kept this promise to her.
Eventually my mother and father agreed that it was God’s will foe them to take the baby. At the time they believed they would be adding a third boy to their family and they were prepared for accommodating special needs. They were preparing their hearts for a long stay in the NICU and for a long road ahead of them.
Two weeks past her due date, Dee gave birth to a perfectly healthy 9-pound baby girl. Everyone was shocked, but filled with joy! My parents took me home and gave me the best life imaginable. I was always curious about my biological family, mostly my sister. Just before my 18th birthday, my mother and I talked and agreed that it was time for me to meet them. My mom found my sister on social media. My sister had known about me for several years and was thrilled to hear that I wanted to meet her. She had lived in the same city as me for several years. We had lunch and learned about one another’s lives. We instantly became best friends. My sister took me to meet Dee. She was ecstatic to meet me and see that she had made the best decision. I went to a family reunion and met more relatives.
Later I found siblings from my biological father’s side of the family. My biological father had already passed away. None of the family on his side of the family knew I existed, but they were excited to learn about me. They were mostly shocked that he kept such a big secret.
I have become close to a few of my biological siblings and have talked to all of them at least once. Biologically there are eight, that I know of.
Since then my mother has adopted two of my second cousins. They each have their own unique stories.
My father passed away when I was 17. Since then my mother adopted 2 more children. Out of the four children she has adopted, she was not actively seeking adoption at the time. We were each placed into her life and in need. She opened her heart and her arms every time. It is difficult to think about how any of our lives may have turned out if she had not been so self-less. I see her in myself, daily. She has taught me so many things, but mostly she has taught me the beauty that can come from opening your heart to others in need.”
– This person wishes to remain anonymous.
On Giving Up A Child For Adoption:
“My life has always been surrounded by children. I started caring for kids in my parents basement, running summer camps and activities for the neighborhood kids. As I got older, I got into child care, and a little later I became a parent. I had two little girls of my own, and then I decided that the gift of a child was so wonderful and life changing that I wanted to help another family experience that gift. I applied, and became a surrogate for a couple in 2011. They seemed to be a religious couple who wanted their last child to complete their family. When I met them they were loving and compassionate and I thought we had a great match. In October 2011, I had a double embryo transfer, and one of them survived. I was pregnant!!
At 18 weeks, a routine ultrasound showed potential complications. We had a repeat scan a couple of weeks later, but the potential problems compounded with each ultrasound, and it wasn’t long before I found myself being prepped for an amniocentesis at the maternal fetal medicine office at my local hospital. At the last second, the intended parents changed their mind. They didn’t want more testing; they wanted to terminate the pregnancy and be done with it. They came to me with their request, and I was heartbroken. They wanted to give up. Always the optimist, I had thought during the process that eventually things would be ok, but it wasn’t going the way I’d hoped at all.
What they never counted on was the wild card, and that was me. Being a pro-life person, I could not bring myself to honor their request. The little life inside my belly was a constant reminder that I had been given a very special job to protect this child. Her biology wasn’t important to me, what was important was that she be given a chance, even if that chance meant that I would suffer through a potential fetal death later on. I was willing to risk that chance to follow my gut, which told me that she was strong and capable of overcoming whatever she was facing. After all, she’d only had a 20% chance of successfully implanting as a zygote, and she’d overcome that even amidst power failures and Snowstorm Alfred which had left me without the medications I was supposed to be taking to maintain the pregnancy for over a week. This child was a fighter, and I was convinced that I was supposed to protect her until she could make her entrance into the world.
Little did I know I would be fighting for so much more for her. With no biological tie to the child that I carried, it was a legal gamble if I would be able to have a say in what happened after she was born. I no longer trusted the intended parents, as their wishes had been disguised through communication with their lawyer and neither myself or my own lawyers could figure out what they were trying to do. It took a lot of courage, and a lot of faith in other people for me to continue on that pregnancy journey on my own. I had very little outside help, and so many voices in my head telling me I was wrong for fighting for this baby and her life. But the decision had been made, and now I had to figure out how to get through, and what would happen to her after she was born. I didn’t feel like anyone else was fighting FOR her, so that became my job. I took on the responsibility by naming the child in my uterus… I called her Stormie.
I knew that once Stormie was born there would be a lot of things to work through. My lawyer and I were determined to get her into the best possible situation, but it was proving to be difficult to figure out how to do that in my homestate. Eventually, I moved out of state to a location that would have a good hospital for Stormie’s care as well as laws that would protect me and her from the intended parents. There were still some legal uncertainties, but we were much more confident about being able to find the best possible outcome in a place where I was considered the child’s legal mother, and where I would be able to have a say in medical and other decisions after she was born. At the same time I started really thinking about the reality of having a special needs child.
My life has never been one of glamour or affluence. My reasons for doing surrogacy were not for the money, but I didn’t have much. When the intended parents had asked for termination of the pregnancy and I refused, they stopped paying my monthly expense payment. This meant that I was on the verge of being broke constantly. I had stopped working shortly after becoming pregnant, and when I moved I was living off of the charity of various friends and family who believed that I was making the right choice. But I knew that after the child was born, I would not have the financial resources to be able to keep her with me and make sure she was taken care of well. I was already a single mother with two children, but my kids’ father and I were patching things up and I knew he was not mentally or physically prepared to care for a special needs child. At the same time, we also struggled with the biological tie that the intended father had to Stormie. They had the potential to make things VERY difficult for me as I tried to get proper care for her, and in the court’s eyes the intended family would look much more financially stable than I was. I wrestled with the choice to keep her or not for months.
I did find someone though. In the very beginning of my troubles with this pregnancy, I had reached out to a local woman who had two adopted special needs babies. Rachel* (changed name) had been an amazing resource for me, and was truly one of the few people that I believed to be on my side. When I started thinking about adoption, she was the first person I talked to. She was gentle and firm; we have very similar outlooks on life and how to raise children, and I was in awe of her support and resources. Although I was still unsure, and very much wanted to keep Stormie for myself, I asked her if she would be interested in adopting if I went that route. She told me yes in a heartbeat, but also emphasized that even if I wasn’t giving Stormie up for adoption, she would be there to support me in this journey anyways.
The last month of my pregnancy was incredibly stressful and uncertain. The intended parents started playing legal games, acting interested in the child, but maintaining that they did not wish to take custody or have anything to do with the child I was carrying. Their actions left me worried about what could happen after the birth. The hospital social worker was very involved, and kept me apprised of several legal developments. In the best interests of everyone we decided to cut contact with the intended parents and enter the hospital system anonymously so that we could focus on getting Stormie earthside with as little stress and outside influence as possible. She was born on June 25, 2012. Rachel was there within hours of her birth.
I spent the next days terrified. Stormie was in the NICU, as we had expected, and we were all on edge about what would happen next with the intended family. I had panic attacks when the phone would ring. Rachel and I decided that she could never be left alone, as the intended family tried to exploit any avenue they could to find out information. I was so stressed out merely by their influence that I could only imagine what they would try to do if I attempted to maintain custody. It was the most difficult decision of my life, but 11 days after Stormie’s birth I appeared in the family court to sign away my rights and allow Rachel to take over as primary custodian.
I was numb, and I didn’t want to, but I knew that giving her up for adoption was the only way that she would be safe. I didn’t want to spend the next 18 years fighting with the intended parents to be sure that she got proper care, and potentially lose her to them because of my own financial situation. At least with Rachel I knew she would be well taken care of, and loved for as long as she is on this earth for.
Stormie is 4 now. She’s amazing and beautiful and nothing that any doctor ever expected. Her fighting spirit reminds me of what I’m capable of.. and how precious and unpredictable life is. I still miss her terribly, but I also know that she is in the most capable hands I could have provided and that gives me peace.”
-By Crystal Kelley