An Adoption Story

shutterstock_79601152Cuddling during a movie, reading books together, drawing silly pictures for him to color… these are just the few things I love to do with my three-year old son. These are things that I never thought was possible at times and as I reflect to write this I am still amazed that I have the opportunity to do these things with him as his mom.
My husband and I were lucky enough to start our family through open adoption. Adoption is a journey, with many ups and downs. Many times during this road, we thought that maybe we would never be parents until the day that his birth mother called us. She found us through a website that we placed our adoptive parent profile on. We were the only family she called. I knew that it was meant to be once she told me her name, Kylie. From the moment my husband and I started dating we knew that we were to marry and if we had a son, we would name him Kyle. I got chills when she told me her name because of the similarity to the name that we had so loved, Kyle. We knew we had met our miracle. We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful relationship with her and her family throughout the pregnancy and ever since. Our son, even though he is so young knows all about her and we exchange pictures with her and her family. We are hopeful that one day we can meet again in person. We think of her daily and thank her for the opportunity to become parents. If it were not for her, I would not have our cuddles, I would not have our book time, and I would not hear the laughter of my child when I am silly.

We always thought that we would attempt a second adoption and after Kyle was about one and a half years old we started the process again. This time around it has been a very different experience. We don’t have an agency working for us and I spend my evenings after Kyle goes to sleep trying to reach out to spread our profile on the internet. Our hope, well, it is to find another Kylie, although I am not sure if that is what God’s plan for us. We would love to meet someone who is expecting and considering an adoption plan. Sometimes thoughts from our first adoption creep up. The biggest one is ‘why someone would choose us when there are so many beautiful families to choose from.’ But we put aside our thoughts of not having a second child and keep hoping that someday we can become parents again.

106I write this story not only to share how wonderful adoption has been for our family but to also let others know that we would love to adopt again. I spread our story on Facebook, websites, and through blogs but I have also heard word of mouth is very powerful so hoping one day that is the way our son or daughter may find us. To learn more about us or share our ‘hope to adopt’ story please call or visit us at toll-free at 1-888-620-2025, email angandmatt@live.com or our website: https://www.adoptimist.com/angela-matt

Written by Angela Bernier

*Embrace Grace is a 3rd party sharing this story – all background checks and verifications need to be conducted by an attorney or adoption agency.

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A Peanut for Christmas?

shutterstock_92219029We were going to be pregnant together, my oldest sister and I. I was due September 4th and she September 6th. This was particularly exciting given I’d had a miscarriage the month before and she had two before considering fertility treatments. For my sister and her husband there was another aspect of importance. My brother-in-law, who had been adopted at birth, would finally have one blood relative—something he thought he really wanted.

Imagine the blow when my sister miscarried—again. She and her husband now needed to decide what to do next, and I felt the guilt of carrying my child to term “without her.” The fantasy I’d had of calling her every day to share our experiences—our sonogram visits, the first kicks felt—fell away like sand through my fingers. I also knew the birth of my child around her uncompleted due date would be, for her, a poignant moment of grief.

Then God lay on her heart to adopt. Because of her husband’s desire for a blood relative, this idea had previously been pushed aside. But God had other plans for him.

My sister researched some organizations and settled on the idea of an open adoption. She and her husband attended an information session to learn more. They sat through stories from adoptive parents about their experiences. They listened to them recount the same fears and insecurities my sister and her husband had about adoption. They also had a chance to experience the unfathomable love these parents had for their children.

This touched my brother-in-law most deeply. You see, he’d grown up in a family where one sister had been adopted, like him, and the other had not. You could imagine the lingering questions he might have had about his parent’s love. But now, he heard the depths of emotion these people had for the children “not of their blood,” allowing for a better understanding of his parents’ love for him.

God is amazing, isn’t He?!

They decided to adopt then and there. And God continued to show Himself as only He can. Within months, they were chosen by a birth mother whose first name also happened to be the same as what they’d planned to name their child. She also loved animals—which further endeared her to my sister—and her due date was the same as one of my sister’s miscarried pregnancies. Their only concern came with the knowledge that this young woman had epilepsy which required her to be on heavy medication. However, she chose to reduce the amount she normally took in order to lower any potential impact it might have on the baby she would not raise.

That September my son was born. My sister and her husband came to “meet” him and held him, not with the knowledge of what they would NOT have, but an expectancy of what was to come. I mean it. I have the pictures. You can see it in their eyes! It was exciting for us all.

Then the birth mother went into very premature labor. My sister and her husband, whose goal it had been to be there for the birth, flew out to Texas just in case. Doctors were able to delay the birth, which was good because the baby’s lungs were not yet completely formed, but there was no guarantee for how long. So my sister stayed.

You may not think it a big deal my sister stayed in Texas for a month by herself, but considering she’d suffered from agoraphobia (a fear of public places) not too long before, it was. Somehow, God was working in the details and strengthening her every step of the way. My sister is now a mental health therapist herself.

My beautiful niece, who I like to call “cousin peanut” (cuz she was shaped like one back then), was born on Christmas Eve. A joyous holiday for my sister and her husband, but one the birth mother will not remember well, because she had spent most of that day either having a grand-mal seizure, recovering from the effects of it, or being run through neurological tests to assure her wellbeing. All this because she had chosen to reduce her medication so much. She had put her health at risk so this little “peanut” would have a better chance.

No one can say my niece is not loved! She was loved first by the woman who risked much (in the age of easy access to abortion) and gave her up so she could have a better life. She was loved by the parents who’d raise her every day. And she is loved by her extended family (us) who couldn’t wait to meet her.

My sister and her husband later considered trying to grow their family some more, but they chose not to. Why? Because they couldn’t fathom loving another child, biological or not, as much as they did the “peanut” God gave them that Christmas.

Written by Connie Almony

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Connie’s experience includes working as a Christian Counselor in Columbia, Maryland. Though she no longer counsels, she continues to work with wonderful people in this field. She has been married almost twenty years and has two beautiful children who inspire her to become all she can be.

Connie hosts the blog Living the Body of Christ created to encourage readers to use the gifts God gave them. She also writes for InfiniteCharacters.com, a group blog dedicated to guide writers in their pursuit of a dream, and readers in their pursuit of a good read.

Behind the Lens :: Adoption

parkergraceUntil the summer that I turned 19 I thought I knew what life had to offer.. In one year, my parents got a divorce, I dropped out of high school, I got pregnant and had an abortion, and my own brother was ripped out of my life only to be seen behind a glass window.

I expected to be hurt. I expected that no one wanted to be bothered. But, I knew I could smile through anything.

I was 18 the first time my eyes ever met a positive pregnancy test. Sitting there, on a toilet in a little house I was completely and totally caught off guard. I had notexpected this. I stared hard at the stick that was changing my life; like a tiny plastic magic wand with pee all over it. I double checked the instructions hoping I’d got it wrong. Oh how I wanted it to be wrong.

I spent the next 4 weeks pretending the test was wrong. Living as if there wasn’t another heart beating inside of me, I filled my body with unbelievable amounts of cocaine and vodka, all the while, saving and borrowing money for the $250.00 abortion. Smiling.

I went to a Pregnancy Crisis Center to get the proof of pregnancy I needed in order to get an abortion. It was free. I endured the kindness from the older women who volunteered there. I even sat through all of their pro life videos. I smiled the whole time. They told me my due date was Feb 19, 1999. I went home and scheduled my abortion appointment for July 14, 1998. The amount of drugs and alcohol I was using increased. On July 5 I was kicked out of my house. I slept in a park, couch hopped, and used people. Still smiling.

I was relieved, when I drove into the parking lot of the West Side Clinic to find the protesters had taken the day off.  It was a Tuesday. I was prepared for this day. I’d done everything they’d said to do. I’d taken a warm bath. I packed my bag with everything they had listed. I also brought $250.00 cash, my I.D., and proof of pregnancy. Smiling, I walked into the clinic.

I struck up conversations with everyone in the waiting room.  I sat next to a young couple who was aborting their baby that day because it just wasn’t good timing.  On the other side of me was a dancer who was worried because they said she had to be off of her feet for 6 weeks. Behind me was a mother and her 14 year old daughter. The mother said she just couldn’t wait to put all of this behind them.  I was there because I was afraid to tell my mom I was pregnant.

I remember getting a sonogram that day.  I giggled when I asked the woman, who wouldn’t smile at me, if it was a boy or a girl. She didn’t look at me but she said, “It’s a boy.” I knew she couldn’t know and I wondered why she said that.  She kept looking at the tv screen where she could see my baby’s heart beating. parkerbirthmoms

During “the procedure” (the moment I ended my child’s life) I was fully aware of what was happening.  My heart started beating really fast because I had justchanged my mind but I knew it was too late. My baby was in pieces somewhere close by. Heart not beating.

A few hours later I was resting at my friend’s house in their parent’s bed.  The pain I felt was extraordinary; both physical and emotional. I writhed. I sobbed.  I wanted to take it back. The next morning when I woke up, my heart was hard. Still smiling.

But Jesus…

I spent a lot of years convincing myself that I was an exception. That I hadn’t been effected by my abortion.  I started to believe in Jesus when I was 22. Although I hadn’t given my life to Him yet.  But in my belief, I believed that I needed to tuck this abortion thing into the dark parts of my heart. He could just let me handle that because I was under the impression that he only dealt with nice girl problems.  But Jesus didn’t just die for good girls.

Jesus didn’t leave me laying there on that table in the abortion clinic.  He’s walked a long hard road with me, loving me, repairing me, putting broken pieces back together, and giving me reasons to really smile.

But Grace….

I gave my life to the Lord, like, no take backs, gave my life to the Lord. on Aug 26, 2012.   I gave him cigarettes too.  I was a 2 pack a day smoker and he told me to give him my cigarettes and he would give me something even better than sitting on my porch smoking.  He gave me photography.  He gave me birth photography.

But Redemption….

parkeradoptiveparentsOn Friday, March 22, 2013…13 years, 8 months, and 8 days after my abortion, I met a girl who found Embrace Grace. A girl, who probably looked at her own pregnancy test and thought the timing was not right. She may have thought an abortion would be a quick and easy way to put it all behind her.  She may have even been afraid to tell people she was pregnant.  But she chose to do something amazing.

The Father, my Father who made my heart beat, plopped me right down in the middle of the birth of this amazing girl’s baby.  The baby that would not go to her arms the moment it took it’s first breath but would be passed to another woman.  This amazing girl chose to let her body be stretched, torn, and bruised so her baby could live, take a breath, and be loved.

My friend stood next to the amazing girl while she worked hard to bring their baby into this world. I was there when the baby was passed from the amazing girl’s body to my friend’s waiting arms.  10 years of waiting behind her and a lifetime ahead of her. In a moment of memories, breath, life, and happy tears my friend was holding the person who will call her “Mommy”.

I smiled.  I smile.

Written by Crissy Terrell and Photography by Crissy Terrell Photography

A Beautiful Life

It was September and I just found out that I was having a baby with my baby mama Jordyn. 

The past few weeks we had become more distant than before.  Our constant fighting and bickering towards each other was only becoming more irritating for the both of us.  I kept thinking maybe time apart from each other would be better off in the long run.  We decided it would be best to go our separate ways.  The days were passing quickly and soon our time apart turned into weeks which turned into months …

I couldn’t help but feel lonely, lost, and just out of life.  How was she doing?  Is everything going okay with her and the baby?  Are we ever going to get back together? I felt hopeless as the thoughts overtook every moment without her.  Stress and anxiety were controlling my life and I needed a way out.

I didn’t know how to cope with all of these emotions so I turned the wrong direction and took the wrong path …  I got caught up in drugs.  My new reality was just to get high  and then all my pains go away for a short period of time.  And when that time would run out and I sobered up, I would just work on getting high again.  This seemed like the life.  I felt powerful like nothing else in this world … I was so wrong and deceived.

My friends and I spent all of our time doing this and thought it was the best life.  We felt like nothing could stop us and we would do this forever because we kept thinking this was “the good life.”

I had been noticing a steady change with all my friends getting arrested for drug related crimes.  Some reason I barely escaped ever being caught by the police.  I thought that if I were to get arrested, then that would give me the strength to change the path my life was going.  It was so pathetic – I just didn’t care.  I began dealing drugs, but that didn’t last long.  I just didn’t enjoy doing it and felt so unfulfilled with my life. There had to be something more to life …  Was God trying to tell me something?

By March, 5 months had passed since Jordyn and I split up.  I couldn’t stand being without her.  She was truly my heart and soul and I just couldn’t go on without her.  I just kept thinking about how she has my baby inside her and that she is my baby mama, and that meant so much to me.

Do I really want to keep living this life of the unknown, doing drugs and destroying my future and risk throwing everything good in my life away? 

That question hit me one day and that was the moment I decided to make a change the path of my life.  A veil was lifted and I could see the truth so much more clear.

Those people that I had been hanging out with were not my friends.  I had a much more important person(s) in my life that I need to step up for and that meant the world to me.  It was time for me to be the man I was meant to be and that I truly wanted to be.

We are God’s creation and sent to be on this earth for a reason that only He knows.  Doing drugs with your “friends” is the devil trying to bring you down, I promise.  Within a matter of moments I decided to ditch all my friends and live the life I wanted to live without their influence.  I did not want them near, in, or around my life because they were the sorriest examples of friends I could have ever imagined.

I will never do drugs again.

I will stay sober.

I will be the best man I can be for my family.

That choice I made was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  My life and future is now looking bright.   It’s never too late to change your life.  I prayed and got back up on my feet, lifted my hands to the heavens, and asked for God to show me the way.  Fortunately, He led me straight back to my baby mama, Jordyn.

April came way too fast. Jordyn was about 8 months pregnant and I needed her back in my life.  Now that I had gotten rid of all the bad influences it was time that I ask Jordyn for my forgiveness.

One day I called her and poured out on my heart. I asked her if we could push through our past problems because I was a changed man.

I am so blessed that she forgave me!

We began prayerfully considering options other than parenting because we were simply too young and not financially stable enough to care for our child.  We wanted our child to have a more supportive home, where she would be provided with everything that she wants and needs.

We came to the difficult decision to place our baby for adoption.  Not closed adoption like some couples choose, but an open adoption.  We wanted to still be in our child’s life, loving on her, giving her birthday gifts, even while she is in the care of another family.  We felt like this is what God was leading us to do.

We contacted an adoption agency called Chosen Heritage.  We instantly knew they were the agency to use because they had the sweetest, most encouraging, and supportive leaders I had ever met in my entire life!  We got the process going pretty quickly our baby was due in just one short month.

A few weeks into counseling with Chosen Heritage, Jordyn and I began looking through adoption profiles.  This was so fun to say the least! We were looking through a bunch of different profiles when I came across a particular family that we felt a connection with instantly. The family just seemed like they were filled with so much happiness and joy.   We both just knew that they were really the family our child to be raised by. As Jordyn read through their profile, the reaction on her face I’ll never forget.  But let me tell you, nothing can describe the reaction on her face after she read through this beautiful profile.  Tears began streaming down her face and we both just looked at each other and knew, even before we had met them.

God was speaking to both of our hearts and we were excited for our next season and for us to meet our baby girl Abby for the first time.

Written by Josh Malkosky

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Tissue paper was flying as the birthday girl opened her gifts. She would pull each present out, inspect it quickly and then toss to the side because the gift bag always looked way more fun. Abby was the star of the party and every move she made, the family and close friends would watch in awe. We would all follow her around on her little trails she would decide to go on and giggle every time she did something cute (which was the entire time).

 I think the entire party I was either laughing or crying. There was so much love for this baby you could just feel it. Even though Abby was only celebrating her first birthday, her life already has impacted many.  

Most of you have read or heard the story of “Jayd.” She was a sweet girl that I had the honor to walk through a season of her being pregnant at 16 and made the brave decision of choosing adoption. (If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read here http://destinyinbloom.com/love-big/) She had baby Abby last May and her life changed forever.

I want to introduce you to the face and the real name behind “Jayd.” Her name is Jordyn and she is STILL my hero.

Jordyn decided that after 1 year, she was ready to reveal her true identity. Along with this reveal, Abby’s birth father and boyfriend Josh would like his story to be heard (watch for his blog post tomorrow). He has been there with Jordyn from the dedication ceremony, at every visit with Abby, to the 1st birthday celebration. His life changed drastically this past year and he is excited to share his part of the journey.

Through this journey, Josh and Jordyn’s relationship has only strengthened. They have had each other to lean on in moments of mixed emotions. They both have grown closer to God and more confident in who they are. They are starting to see the impact on lives by sharing their story with others.

For Jordyn, this year has had its ups and downs of emotions. She gets to see Abby every other month and it is her favorite thing to look forward to. She still rests confidently in her decision to choose adoption, even on the hard days when her heart misses Abby so much. She just looks at her face and sees how happy she is with her adoptive family. She is being raised in such a great family and is loved by so many.

As I sat watching baby Abby opening her gifts while her adoptive mom, birth mom and birth dad sat next to her helping her, it just made me wonder that if girls that wanted to pursue an abortion knew that this could be an option, would they be more willing to save their baby’s life?

When a brave pregnant girl chooses adoption, there are usually 3 choices: open, semi-open or closed. But what if there is another choice?

The only story of adoption in the Bible was the story of baby Moses. His mom had to let him go so he could live. And even after letting her baby go, God still allowed her to have an integral role in her child’s life. Later in life, he knew who his birth mom was and loved her.

So what if there was another adoption option? An option that had more strategic visits and connections that strengthened the bond between birth mom and child? Sure there would need to be structure and rules made to enforce protection of adoption mom and this option isn’t for everyone … but I’ve seen firsthand how, with the right adoptive family and the right birth mom and dad, it could be a relationship that is life-changing for everyone.

We will post frequent updates on Josh and Jordyn and how their lives unfold. God has such great plans for the both of them. They want to be a light and voice for the unborn and to bring awareness to adoption.

Even when it’s not easy, the reward is great.

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Josh (birth dad), Tanya (adoptive mom), sweet baby Abby, Jordyn (birth mom)

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Written by Amy Ford

Photography by Rachel Kevil