Thursday, November 17, 2016

Voices of Birth Parents and Adoptees: Maribeth's Story

As an adoption consultant with CAC, I have the crazy amazing gift of walking with hopeful adoptive parents during their adoption processes. In this space, you'll often find me sharing their stories because those are the stories I know to tell. But the adoption triad is not just composed of adoptive parents. Listening to the voices of adoptees and birth parents is absolutely essential in the conversation about adoption. I am honored to feature some of those voices on my blog this National Adoption Month!

First up is my friend, Maribeth. She's been such an encouragement to me in our own adoption journeys. Several years ago, she shared her adoption story with our church community and I was one of many in tears hearing her speak. I am always struck by the way she views her own life story through a lens of love. Thank you, Maribeth, for sharing some of your story here!


The Face Of Adoption: by Maribeth
I have been blessed to know some amazing women in my lifetime.
Which isn't to say that I haven't known some amazing men, but today I want to share a story that starts with three specific women who have definitely had an impact on my life.
The first woman, I’ve never actually met.
In 1968, there was a very poor woman living in rural West Virginia. She had a houseful of children and a husband whose paycheck just didn't stretch far enough each month to provide for his family.
Oh, and there was another baby on the way.
Just hours after that baby was born, he was adopted by a grateful young couple.
The boy would become my big brother.
The second woman, I met very briefly.
In 1970, she was a young college co-ed who found herself "in the family way". Which meant that she was unmarried and pregnant. At that time, this was not as widely acceptable as it is in today’s culture.
As was commonly done in those days, she was sent away to wait out the remainder of her pregnancy, so as not to bring further embarrassment to her family. This is important, because the New Orleans institution called "The Protestant Home for Babies," arranged the adoption of her 2 week old baby girl.
That baby girl was me.
Which brings us to the third amazing woman about whom I need to share.
My mom.
For years my parents tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child. In 1968 they adopted a beautiful baby boy through private adoption.
See, Dr. Irvin was not only the doctor who assisted that first woman with her pregnancy, but he was my grandfather's best friend. Dr. Irvin and an attorney made all the arrangements for the adoption.
A few years later, my parents wanted to grow their family, so they sought out an adoption agency. My parents were told that most families do not receive multiple babies and that they really shouldn't get their hopes up.
My mother always told me about the day the agency phoned to tell them about the baby girl that had just been born and how, in the counselor’s words, "you are the perfect family for her and if you want her, she's yours!". There was no moment hesitation for my parents.
The day my big brother met me, the first thing he did was to count my fingers and toes to make sure I was all there. He's been keeping tabs on me like that for 43 years now.
There is no doubt of God's hand on both of these adoptions.
It was no coincidence that Dr. Irvin was placed in a position to help a family in a desperate situation provide a son for my parents who were desperate for a child.
Again, it was no coincidence that a college co-ed left all alone to deal with her unplanned pregnancy was shipped off to New Orleans because that is where my dad's company had recently transferred him.
God selected very specific parents for my brother, Eric, and me. They raised us in a very open, loving, and supportive Christian home.
From the earliest moments, we were told about our adoptions.
Adoption was always presented in a beautiful and loving manner. Never shameful or ugly, but a sacrificial act of love from one mother (or family) to another.
Our birthmothers were always praised and held in high regard. It was clear that our birthmothers made extremely loving and selfless sacrifices in tough situations to provide us with the best opportunities they could.
Even if it meant...placing us for adoption.
I am so glad that our parents provided us with such positive images of adoption.
It came in handy when neighborhood bullies would spew hateful comments that I "wasn't wanted" and that I "had been given away". Or even when thoughtless adults would imply that the parents who raised us from birth somehow weren't our "real parents". (That happened just last year.)
Luckily, my little mommy always told me that I was "chosen, loved, and wanted by my family".
I was raised with a very healthy and open view of my adoption...and I see that it is a HUGE part of who I am.
Over the years, Greg and I have discussed the possibility of adopting a child. We don't know if it is God's will for our family or not, but we are definitely still open to it.
There is so much more to my story than I can squeeze into this segment of time. If you find yourself wanting to discuss or ask questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk about adoption with you!
The image(s) that most people have when they think of adoption are the sweet little children. But remember...
I am the face of adoption.
I am chosen.
I am loved.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Voices of Birth Parents and Adoptees: Maribeth's Story”

  1. I can't stand it!! This is too good!! Thank you, thank you for the hope that we as adoptive parents can shed light on the beauty and value of our son's story, and that HE can grow up valuing, not resenting, his story!! This is beautiful.

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