This season we celebrate a young woman who faced unexpected pregnancy, who overcame much from a place of love to do what was best for her baby. No room for them at the inn, no room for them in society, an unwed pregnant teen gave birth to the One who would change history forever. Out of love she sacrificed. She gave life. She overcame obstacles. She fled unstable, even dangerous circumstances to give her baby a brighter future. From theChristmas story we find hope, love and peace, exactly what we pray the women we serve would experience this season and always as they make big decisions for their crisis pregnancies.
Our founder Molly Rampe Thomas always says "Unexpected pregnancy rocks worlds." This is the story of our amazing intern, Michele. Already a mother of a 3-year-old at age 22, found herself pregnant with her second, knowing she couldn't raise the child. She answered an ad in the USA Today, and she and the family agreed to a semi-open adoption -- only sharing pictures.
As time passed, the relationship grew dark, the family sadly made no room for Michele in the life of her child. The agreement didn't stand, and today, over ten years later, she grieves the loss of her child, knowing she'd chosen adoption out of love, out of protection, wanting a life she couldn't give. Yet she doesn't regret her decision to place." Even as hard as it was and even though my circumstances changed over 10 years later, I would rather have given my child 10 years with a wonderful stable family than 10 years of being raised by a babysitter because I had to work two jobs to pay the bills, watching me worry about never having enough money, moving from place to place. I know without a doubt it was the right choice for us."
Years later, Michele and her husband, who had a few biological children by then, felt led to adopt an older child. "As an adoptive parent at the age of 34, I always knew I wanted to adopt or foster other children who did not have a parent...I knew I wanted an older child," she said. "After inquiring about several children in foster care without any responses from case workers, I was researching foster care/adoption in general and came across a picture of our boys posted with basic info about them, not knowing they were from another country. When I received their file, they had the same birthday as my youngest bio child (except two years younger); those were the children who were meant to be a part of our family."
Unfortunately her sons' adoptions are closed, due to country rules. Michele wishes this was different and says she thinks of their birth mother often, hoping she knows they are OK and doing well.
Michele has such a uniquely valuable perspective as both a birthmother and adoptive mother. Her advice to women placing for adoption? "Relinquishing a child will most likely be one of the hardest, if not the hardest thing you will ever do. But it may be what you need to do -- what's best for you and the child." To adoptive parents, speaking from her heart as a birth mother, she says "Cherish your child's birth parents, form a relationship with them, you cannot go wrong giving them that part of their identity. If the birth parent does not want to keep in contact, always keep that door open." We agree.
Adoption can look many different ways. At Choice Network, we are all about coming alongside each individual woman as she considers all options for her pregnancy. We are Pro Woman, Pro Love. In the case she chooses adoption, most women desire to choose the family and stay connected through open adoption, which is what we specialize in. We like to call it "Next Gen Adoption." While cases like Michele's closed adoptions still occur, especially internationally, these days open adoption is on the rise domestically, and stats show leads to better outcomes for the children. Open adoption typically means the birthmother is given dignity and respect, and is able to build solid relationships with her child's forever family based on love and trust, leading to happy, healthy children. Many of our women don't have support; there's "no room for them at the inn," so to speak. Society may look down on them, turn their backs to them, or even take them out of the picture, only to celebrate the happy ending for the adoptive family and the baby. (Just look at the media -- when a celebrity adopts a child, do you ever hear the story of the birth parents?) We have to remember, there is no happy ending without the important and meaningful choice of the birth mother (or birth parents) to place their child for adoption.
A pregnant teen 2000 years ago allowed God to use her to change history. We know He does similar work through many women we serve -- He has created each of them with purpose and a future, and they are world changers! We pray they would know there is room for them. They are special. They are unique and they are wanted. They do not need to live in fear or shame, but know they are worthy, and trust the goodness that He has in store for their lives.
Thank you, Michele, for sharing your adoption story of love, heartache and sacrifice! We are grateful for your efforts at Choice Network to serve women and families.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Choice Network!