When deciding to share my story with you, I had a lot to consider… do I start from the beginning? Wait, where is the beginning? Because it’s more than just a story, it’s my life!
Well, first things first: My name is Jessica, and in April of 2006 I placed my son, David, with a couple through FIA. My journey to open adoption has been a wonderful one, but no journey goes without a few bumps in the road!
After college, I was just beginning to get used to living on my own, and struggling to get my career in graphic design started. I was also dating Tony, a long time co-worker and friend. When I would come home from college in the summers, we would always pick up where we left off, and the casual relationship seemed to work for us. When fall came around, we seemed to drift our separate ways, running into each other occasionally, and maintaining our mutual friends. I think we were both just looking for different things.
At that time, things weren’t going so well financially. I was in debt from college, and I couldn’t afford heath insurance. Since I was 16, I have dealt with the effects of having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and told by my doctor at that time that pregnancy was going to be difficult if not impossible. I had learned to deal with the side effects of the condition, and didn’t really consider pregnancy was the cause of my weight gain the summer after college ended. I also remember being at a holiday meal, poking my ever-growing physique and saying to my mom, ‘Gee, I better get to the gym!’ It wasn’t until my birthday, February 1st, that I finally had enough and took a pregnancy test.
Things were a bit of a blur after those little pink lines showed up on the test strip. A trip to Planned Parenthood confirmed it— I was nearly seven months pregnant. That is when Friends In Adoption came into my life. I met with Mary and looked at profiles of couples wanting to adopt. Somehow, I narrowed it down to one couple. I met them that very week, had pleasant conversation for a couple hours, and that was about it. I thought, ok, this will work, and told Mary it was fine to continue with my adoption plan. The couple and I exchanged emails and handshakes and went our separate ways.
A week later, Mary called with unfortunate news. The couple I had met and agreed to work with had been presented with a baby from another agency that would be born sooner. I was crushed, that they didn’t want me or my baby, and discouraged, because I thought things were all set with this adoption. Back to the drawing board, I looked at more profiles with Mary, and chose a couple from Rhode Island: Lisa and Anthony. I met them that following weekend and from the moment we sat down to talk, I felt like I was talking to old friends. They were warm and funny, genuine people. Needless to say, I was thrilled to tell Mary that we were going to move forward again!
I went into labor April 14th. Lisa and Anthony were able to drive up from Rhode Island in time to see ‘David Michael’ be born into this world. He was absolutely perfect in every way. I knew, at first sight, that I was in love. But I also remembered the reality of my current situation, and I knew that at the time, Lisa and Anthony could do so much better for David than I could have, with Tony not wanting to raise a child. To this day, I have no regrets about my decision, though my grief was something very real. Lisa and Anthony, unknowingly, gave both David and I a second chance at life.
Eighteen months since those emotional days in the hospital, my life has changed immensely. I have become a successful graphic designer, and love what I do. I also began working with FIA to help others see the birth family’s side of open adoption. And most importantly, I feel as though I have gained a whole other extended family, and this family is built on love and trust and patience. I have enjoyed two FIA picnics with Lisa, Anthony, and David (of course!) and we leave the day with warm hugs and cameras full of pictures. I was even able to travel down to Rhode Island to see David for his 1st birthday, and stay the night with them. I feel so lucky to have met these wonderful, inspiring people, and for them to accept me as I am. I know that the amount of ‘openness’ in this adoption is somewhat rare, and it does take time and effort to maintain. While at first we used the agency as a ‘buffer’ to communicate, we have moved on to keeping this relationship alive by our own means. Lisa and I email regularly, with pictures, funny stories, and sloppy kisses always attached.
Reprinted from Journeys Fall 2007 —From A Birth Mom