It is my greatest honor to be able to share this piece. While it is a story near and dear to my heart because it involves my daughter and her birth family, it is also a rare look into the thought process behind a family choosing to make an adoption plan from the point-of-view of the birth mom's mom; information that is invaluable to everyone, everywhere. It is my passion to cultivate a culture of adoption the best that I can with those I regularly interact with; stories like this contribute to that cause.
I urge you to re-post this, pass it along, print it off and send it to someone, and lead people to it who need to know what adoption truly can be and how fantastically noble and selfless it is. It is my hope that pieces like this can begin to chink away at the fallacies that exist about choosing adoption. Little by little, one story at at time, it is my dream that we can change the trend that is teenage parenting in this country; that we can encourage, support, and walk besides those courageous kids and their parents who choose to make an adoption plan, who choose to give a child the best chance there is in life, and who choose to make one of the most responsible decisions in the face of incredible hardship that there is.
Thank you Sharon for sharing your story. It is a priceless gift for my daughter.........and for everyone else who reads it.
It’s in the early morning when I’m having my first cup of coffee in the quiet house that I head over to Pink Shoes—a favorite blog of mine. It makes me smile and sometimes I just sit there laughing at the stories that Maggie, the blog’s author, tells.
Maybe it’s because I’ve raised 3 daughters and it brings me back to those early days when everyday things became an adventure. My daughters are practically grown now, they are 21, 19 and 16. And while I love watching them go out in the world and become confident, strong and caring young women, I also miss those fun days of playing in the snow, ice skating after school on our lake, swimming all day in the summer, playing games, reading books to them, having a houseful of little girl friends around giggling and talking nonstop.
But maybe—actually most definitely-- it’s because my 19 year old daughter Tarah, is the birth mom of Georgia, the little girl that is the subject of most of the entries on this blog. Georgia reminds me so much of Tarah and also of my other daughters; Hannah and Helene. And Maggie, Georgia’s mom, reminds me of me as a mom. She is an amazing mom and she writes about everything I have felt about being a mom and raising my girls.
I love being a mom, it’s what I’ve always wanted to be. When I learned that Tarah was pregnant at 16 I thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen. I guess because I felt like a failure as a mom. Didn’t I talk birth control enough and how did I not know her relationship with her boyfriend had progressed so far? I was embarrassed, scared and angry; most days I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
We decided Tarah would quit school for the trimester and the school helped us set up homeschooling. I didn’t want her walking through the halls pregnant with everyone talking about her. I felt so helpless, I couldn’t see anything good in this situation and I had always been able to see the positive in everything. I prayed and prayed. I willed myself to accept it—it was what it was—and I knew we had to work through it, we had to handle it well. God gives you answers if you really pay attention and that’s what I did.
I let go of the “I’m a failure as a mom” thing. I told everyone close to us and I told everyone at our church. I knew we would need the support of everyone we loved to make it through this. Tarah’s sisters were also there for her every step of the way. They were so supportive though this journey they were forced into. Sometimes I think they felt left out, but they were there through everything, supporting their sister. They are both amazing. I am so proud of all three of my daughters.
I’m still amazed at the amount of unconditional support we received. And we needed it, we had big decisions to make. We didn’t have a lot of time either. We found out Tarah was pregnant in November and she was due in March, just over 4 months to figure out the future of this little baby girl growing inside her.
From the beginning Tarah wanted to make an adoption plan for her baby. You see, my daughters had grown up without their father in their lives. He met someone else while we were married, left our home and eventually our state to start his new family. He was never there for them physically or emotionally. I tried, but I could never replace the loss they felt not having a dad in their lives. This is why Tarah was adamant about adoption; she wanted her daughter to have a mom and a dad in her life. She knew if we raised this little girl, she would start her life with visitation schedules, every other holiday schedules, and two homes. She also knew that at 16 she was not ready to be a good mom; the kind of mom that this little girl deserved.
Yes, she could have taken care of a baby. I was a pediatric nurse and I taught all my daughters baby care. We loved babies at our house; we are the kind of people that carry everyone’s baby, we beg to babysit, we plan special things just for kids…..we love them. My girls knew how to change diapers, use bottles and how to rock and pat a fussy baby. But raising a child was different, they are only a baby for a short time…….and then they’re toddlers and grade school kids, and adolescents, and…….and…..and.
So we started our journey toward adoption. The first agency we went to they gave us about 20 scrap books of potential families. We were so overwhelmed, how do you choose a family to raise this little girl, who could ever be good enough to trust our little girl’s life to? I wasn’t sure I could do this. So again I prayed for strength and it came from a couple we knew that had adopted their son 20 years ago. They told us, “if you’re not completely connecting with this agency, go to another one.” That sounds so simple but at this high stress time we had never thought about that and it really did sound overwhelming to start over again.
But we did it and we ended up with an amazing social worker who introduced us to Chris and Maggie. They were the only couple we met and after that first meeting we knew they would be our little girl’s parents. I’ll never forget that first meeting when we talked about what kind of adoption we wanted. We said we would love to get pictures just to see how she was doing and what she looked like growing up. That was really all we expected at that time. Who would have guessed it would turn out like it has.
About six weeks after that first meeting Tarah went into labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Georgia Elyse. Her middle name the same as Tarah’s. We spent an amazing weekend with her in the hospital. I spent the nights there and Georgia stayed in our room. Chris and Maggie came the day after she was born and we all sat together, taking pictures and holding her.
Releasing her was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Tarah dressed her and put her in the car seat, Maggie and Chris were there, we kissed her, we cried. I’ll never forget the emotion. Tarah had asked one of her nurses to come in to be with her during this process, she’d felt a real connection with her, and she did, on her day off. That was such a support for Tarah. This nurse had given Tarah a baby blanket to wrap Georgia in while in the hospital and then to take home to hold while she was missing Georgia; she still sleeps with it. Maggie was crying and we held each other. I told her to take her baby girl home and love her and I would take my baby girl home and love her.
I knew everything was going to be ok, hard but ok.
Chris and Maggie had given us their address, home phone number and cell phone number. That gave me such comfort. You see, as hard as this was there was never a point when Tarah or I ever changed our mind, or ever thought this wasn’t the right decision—we knew it was what was best for this little girl, for Georgia. I was so proud of Tarah. I had done a good job raising her; she was a strong, brave loving young woman.
So we went home, it felt so lonely. Tarah slept with me and her blanket. We cried. I wanted to call and go see Georgia the first day home. Tarah said no, we needed to let go first. How wise she had become. We enrolled her back in school and that Friday, just one week after giving birth she was in school all day trying to catch up. And she did.
She graduated 2 years later with honors, a member of student council and was accepted into Michigan State University. She was where she was supposed to be and Georgia was where she belonged; the adoption was working exactly as it was intended to work—how any adoption can work.
Meanwhile, during those 2 years we saw Georgia often. Chris, Maggie and Georgia had become a part of our family. They came to our house and we went to theirs. They are a family, Chris and Maggie are Georgia’s parents. There has never been a point where I thought any differently or regretted our decision. I love seeing them and since the day she was born Georgia’s picture has been my screen saver on my phone. I look at her face every day and smile. Maggie is an amazing mom and Chris is the kind of dad every girl dreams of. Georgia will always know where she came from and that she is loved so much by her adoptive family and her birth family.
It has been so wonderful being able to be a part of her life. I never dreamed we would be this involved, but I truly believe it is the best thing for Georgia. We don’t see her as often now, but I think of her every day. I talk about the adoption to everyone. Most people look at me like I’m crazy, “isn’t it so hard to see her,” they ask. “No,I love seeing her, there’s nothing hard about it.” I feel so lucky and privileged to be a part of her life.
Maggie has done such a good job of talking about adoption to her that even at her young age she knows she came out of Tarah’s tummy and her mom and dad took her home from the hospital. She knows that I am Tarah’s mom, but I’m not her grandma [everyone asks if she calls me grandma]. She is comfortable in our home and when they come over it feels like family. She looks [and sometimes acts] like Tarah, but she also looks and acts like Maggie and Chris. Tarah and Maggie are a lot alike; they have the same style and personality. We fit together so well. Our friends and family have all met Chris, Maggie, and Georgia.
I love watching Tarah and Georgia play together. There is nothing sad or hard about it. Georgia is where she belongs, where she was meant to be. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and if you just pay attention God will show you the way. That’s how one of the worst things I thought could happen became one of the best.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that adoption isn’t about “giving up” a baby, it’s about choosing to give a child the best chance for a stable and secure life. Adoption is about everyone doing what’s best for the child. Maybe if more people talked about adoption it would become a more accepted choice when teenagers get pregnant. I know that I had no idea what to expect when we first began this journey, but I do know that it has been an amazing one, one that I feel blessed to be on.
I found a saying in the book store the other day that sort of sums it up “ just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”
Adoption is my butterfly.
Written by Sharon Miller