Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Danica's Adoption: Part One // The "Why"

People often don't believe me when I say that I'm adopted. Maybe it's because my brother (who is not adopted) is also a redhead, and people say we look alike. 
Or maybe because people say that me and my adoptive mom look alike. 
(I don't see it... she's obviously way prettier.)
But what people really don't believe is that my best friend Danica is also adopted. I don't know how it happened, and its not the reason that we became friends, but it is definitely a cool perk. It's nice having someone that can so easily relate. Even though our stories are very different, at the heart of them, they are the same. 

Way back in 2009 Danica did an "Adoption April" series for her blog. She broke her adoption into four parts which I will be doing as well; The "Why", Growing up Adopted, Her Thoughts on Adoption and lastly, a Q & A. Let's start with some introductions...
Hi! I'm Danica, and have known Shea for over 15 years! One thing we've always had in common and discussed is the fact that we are both adopted. It's been awesome having someone so close to me who also asks many of the same questions regarding biological and adopted families. We've both been there for each other through finding our birth moms and even though we come from very different "stories" the love we've both experienced throughout our life is the same. Adoption is an amazing thing and I'm lucky that it's something my best friend and I have in common!

The first topic I wanted to touch on was the reason why I was adopted in the first place. A little back story on my family is necessary since I will be talking about them.

My mom passed away after a four-year battle with breast cancer on April 6, 2006. I know my mom would have loved the fact that I’m sharing my story with so many people. I have a younger brother whom I will refer to as “T”. My father and I currently have a very strained relationship, but before my mom passed things were fine. My family used to be the “perfect” nuclear family, according to many standards. My parents were always happy, and we were more than blessed in the community where I grew up. I grew up in a Christian home and went through a Christian K-12 school system. So that’s a little background of the fam, now onto why I was adopted.

First and most obvious, my parents couldn’t have children. I have been told that not having children of her ‘own’ was one of my mom’s biggest ‘regrets’ in her short life. My parents tried a lot of different ways of getting pregnant but my mom’s body wouldn’t allow her to produce a child, and she had to have a complete hysterectomy in her twenties. They began to look into other options.

I think this is why whenever I stumble onto a blog about a woman trying to get pregnant I feel a twinge of pain in my heart. Sometimes I think maybe this is how my own mom felt while struggling with the fact that she could not get pregnant. I couldn’t imagine when everyone else around you is having children, and you want to have one so badly, how much your heart must ache. It would be miserable, and I feel like I can understand the pain some might be dealing with because I remember my mom telling me about the pain it caused her. I can’t imagine wanting something so bad and knowing it won’t happen for you like you planned. My mom told me sometimes she felt like she failed but I knew she hadn’t. I knew that the struggle she endured only made her a stronger person.

When they realized my mom couldn’t get pregnant, my parents then decided to explore adoption. The fees associated with adoption are costly, and I am glad my parents could afford it at the time. One of the first steps in their adoption process was to create books. Prospective parents created these photo books to ‘show/share’ with birth mothers that you are legitimate people. The books also described their hobbies, the church they were involved with and had pictures of them and their dogs. It is a glimpse into the prospective parents lives. I have seen these books and they are fun to look through. I couldn’t imagine being pregnant and looking through the books and wondering “if my baby would fit in” with this family, but it gives you a sense to the family, their beliefs, their story, and their extended family.

My parents were on the waiting list for a baby for quite some time. They prayed about getting a child. They hoped. They waited. They had no idea when and if they would ever get a child to adopt.

My mom was shopping at Costco when my aunt called her. The adoption agency had called my aunt to tell her that they had a baby waiting for my mom at the hospital. That baby was me. My mom was shocked. There was no talk of her and my dad getting a baby anytime soon. They didn’t have any names picked out. They were not prepared for me, but they were still so excited to have me.

After my mom passed away, my grandpa let me listen to the the voicemail she left for him, and it will forever be etched in my memory. Since then somehow it was eaten on the machine, but I will never, ever forget her voice on that message. The love that oozed from her tone, the excitement, the nervousness. It was all there, and it was all about me, being able to go home with her and my dad, and the beginning of a family.

I was born close to where I grew up and was incredibly small when I was born so they had to make sure that I was healthy and okay to go home. I will get into why it was a surprise when I talk all about my birth parents later but my parents were surprised but so happy that they finally had a baby.

Adoption allowed them to have the joy of having a child, even if I came to them in a non-traditional way. My parents’ prayers had been answered and they were surprised and shocked all at the same time. Now they had a baby to take care of. In the whirlwind of events that had taken place, their lives had completely changed. Though I was originally named Baby Girl Anderson, my parents quickly picked out my name from a list they had compiled for the past years while trying to have a child. I have two birth certificates, and one literally says my first name is Baby and my Middle name is Girl and my last name is Anderson.

My parents took me home from the hospital and I lived with them for a year and a half before being officially adopted on January 23, 1987. In order to make everything official you have to go down to a courthouse and sign paperwork and take vows in front of a judge. Obviously I was too little to remember my own adoption, but I do remember my brother’s adoption and traveling to the courthouse.

After the papers were signed, I legally was my parents ‘child’. Though my adoption day made it ‘legal’, I consider myself to be my parents child from the day I entered their life and we became a family back on the day I was born at the hospital.

In the next post, Danica will discuss what it was like for her growing up adopted. Thank you for sharing your story with us Danica!

1 comment:

Her. said...

Really cool series. Thanks to you both for doing this!

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