I couldn’t allow myself to hold him in the hospital. I was afraid that if I looked into his face I would not be able to go through with the adoption. But the nurses told me not to worry; they were holding him and giving him lots of love.
Hello and Goodbye
I was an unsaved 20 year-old girl, pregnant and scared. The baby’s father and I had no plans to marry, so adoption seemed the best option for our baby and me. We made all the arrangements, but I still struggled. Was I doing the right thing? No one in our families knew I was pregnant, and that was the way we wanted it.
We went to great lengths to keep me hidden from everyone.
I didn’t realize then how many people would later be affected by my decision to place our baby for adoption. I was only thinking about me. True, my friends kept encouraging me, telling me I was being so selfless — that I was only thinking of what was best for the baby — but I didn’t agree. I believed I was being selfish, only doing what was best for me.
I tried hard to shut out feelings of guilt and sin, but those struggles actually drove me to the Lord. I had always felt He was there. But in that difficult time, He became real. In the years the followed, my walk with the Lord deepened, and I accepted Him as my Savior.
Gone But Not Forgotten
At the time, the baby’s father and I had not planned to marry, but we did get married later. And we had four more children. We waited to tell first two children about their brother until they were older, until we thought they could understand. But by the time our younger two children came along seven years later, we had decided it would be easier if they just grew up only knowing they had an older brother.
We told them he was away at college, which probably was true by that time.
Our daughter graduated high school and began to make her plans for college, but when our youngest heard the news she broke down, crying hysterically. I pleaded with her to tell me what was wrong, and finally she told me: “I have a brother at college I have never seen, and when my sister goes to college, I will never see her again!”
It took some convincing to calm her down and assure her we would still see her older sister, even after she went to college. We knew then it was time to tell the little ones the whole story about their oldest brother.
All of it.
The Wait is Over
He was about 16 when we felt it was time to tell our parents about him. Needless to say they were surprised. They’d had no idea. But to our delight, they were happy and encouraged us to find him right away.
Once we’d told everyone about the child we had given birth to so many years ago, I began a quest to locate him. He was 18 years old by then and of legal age. However, Alabama state law dictates adoptees have to initiate the search; legally we could not contact him.
I began putting all the information I had on different adoption sites, and I made myself as available as possible. We wanted to be found. We prayed to be found.
Five years later, I received an email from a third-party adoption site informing me they had a possible match. The adrenaline rushed; the sleepless nights began. Was it him finally? Could this finally be happening? It would take two weeks for him to get his original birth certificate before he could be given our phone number, before we could have our first conversation.
So, for two weeks my mind raced with a million thoughts and emotions. What would our conversation be like? What questions should I ask him; what questions would he ask me? Was I emotionally prepared to face this child I had given away? Would he be angry that he was given away and all his full-blooded siblings weren’t? Finally the phone rang. I had waited 23 years for that moment. I prayed. Then I heard his voice for the first time, and I learned his name.
He said he mainly wanted a relationship with me, but he wondered if I happened to have any information about his father. It was difficult for me to find my voice. I didn’t want to tell him over the phone that I had married his father. That we had four more children. I wanted to be able to look at his face and see if the news hurt him. I wanted to be able to comfort him if he felt abandoned. I hesitated. I tried to get him to wait until we met in person, but he pressed me.
I prayed, “Oh Lord, help me to find the right words!” Then I told him I did have knowledge of his father. That we were married, and he was the oldest of our five.
He was quiet. I knew it was a lot to take in. In his adoptive family, he was the youngest of two, and now he had found a complete family, not just a mom.
We had our initial meeting three days later, and we were all there. For a moment, time froze as we all stared at each other. He looked just like our other children. For several moments, we were locked in an awkward silence, trying to find our way in this new relationship.
I was relieved when he told me he was happy growing up, and he wasn’t angry. It was amazing watching him interact with his new siblings. They were all so alike.
It has been fourteen years since that first meeting. We are making our own memories now. Tommy is very much a part of our family. He is married and has a son of his own. He loves his adoptive family, for they are his family. His parents prayed over him, cried with him, disciplined him and loved him as their own.
Every day we praise the Lord, for He restored to us that which was lost!
One woman’s sacrifice became another woman’s joy;
9 months of confusion, 8 months of guilt, 22 years of regret.
Natural knots untied and replaced by legal cord.
5 years of searching, 2 weeks of anticipation, 1 second of breathlessness.
Dusty jars of memories in one arm. New, unopened jars in another.
2 hours of enlightenment, 3 days of waiting, 2 hours of travel.
Worlds of feeling collide. Questions answered. Stories revealed.
2 Sisters, 2 Brothers, 2 Parents – 1 sister, 2 parents.
A heart torn – one half beating wildly, the other sulking grievously.
0 ways to explain the storm inside.
One woman’s youngest became another woman’s oldest.
23 years – I’ve ordered tears, but they haven’t arrived yet.
There are so many who want to know and so many who want to help.
None that can.
Out of the many things already lost, there are countless treasures yet to be found.