(Our First Resident)
I was 16 years old when I placed my firstborn for adoption. I wanted an open adoption, so I could maintain some type of contact with my child, throughout her life.
During my time at APFU, I remember thumbing through portfolios and reading letters from prospective parents telling me why they would be good parents for my baby. It was a hard process, I wondered how I was supposed to know these were good parents from rather generic “about us” packets. What if they turned out to be the wrong parents for her? What if they change their mind about an open adoption and decide to shut me out of her life?
Through Devine intervention, God brought me the information for an amazing couple who had already been through the adoption process with their other two children. After several phone calls and meeting in person, I just knew in my heart they were the ones. I was only 16 and it was such an incredibly difficult process for me emotionally but somehow God directed me to the best family.
Before I decided on adoption, I had named the baby in my belly “Grace”. Later, during one of my initial visits with the adoptive parents I chose, they asked me if there was a name I had thought of for my baby. I told them “Grace”. Several weeks later her adoptive mom called me and said that they prayed about it and God told them our baby was a “Grace” so they wanted to know if I was okay with them keeping Grace as her first name. I was shocked. Of all the names they could have given their baby, they would choose the name I loved. She also said they wanted to use a combination of my name and adoptive mom’s middle name for Grace’s middle name. This was my first experience with the adoptive mom putting my broken heart ahead of her excitement. She knew I was a child myself and that the loss of a baby would be devastating to me, so this was a way my baby would carry a piece of me into her new life with her and that would be something I could hold on to forever. It was an incredibly selfless gift from her adoptive mom to me before my baby even took her first breath.
Through God’s grace and the kindness of her adoptive parents, I have been blessed with a relationship with Grace and her family from the day she was born. The first few years after placing Grace were the hardest as I grieved the loss of my child. I went through many emotions in my grief but the adoptive mom held steady in her love for me. She didn’t feel threatened by my desire to stay connected to my little girl - through cards and pics and visits. Grace is 20 years old now and is a wonderful testament to the true beauty of adoption. She is proud to be adopted and she knows God hand-picked the perfect family for her. Not long ago, she told me that her mom is her absolute best friend. Yes, it’s sad to think that maybe I could have been that for her if circumstances were different but OH MY GOODNESS how heartwarming it is to know that she is exactly where she was always meant to be.
Adoption is not the easy way out. Adoption is hard. The adoption process and raising a child in an open adoption can be an emotional rollercoaster for adoptive parents. It’s also absolutely the toughest decision a woman can make for her child. There is no greater love than putting your child’s needs above your own heart’s desires. I cannot explain the deep heartache that came with handing another woman my baby. However, there is true peace that comes in knowing I loved my daughter enough to give her a better life than I could have given her at that time.
After placing Grace for adoption, I went on to finish high-school and college and became a nurse. I pursued higher education, eventually obtaining two Masters Degrees and ultimately becoming a Nurse Practitioner. I married and had 5 more children. Grace is in her last year of nursing school with the desire to become a Nurse Practitioner as well. She is an amazing woman who loves God and has a passion for caring for others. She is an excellent role model for my other children who adore her very much.
Some Positives of an Open Adoption
Positives from Charity's story:
1) seeing my baby loved so well by her family and really having true peace in knowing she’s well taken care of (instead of wondering where she is and if she’s okay)
2) my birth daughter is not wondering who she looks like or where she came from, but most importantly she is not wondering “why didn’t my birth mom want me?” Instead, she knows that I DID want her, but I wanted her to have so much more than I could give and that I chose adoption out of LOVE
4) my birth daughter knows her adoptive parents wanted her more than life itself and that she was an answer to their prayers.
3) I’m lifelong friends with her and her family instead of being some dirty little secret that no one speaks about
4) it has normalized adoption for my birth daughter and for my children who absolutely love and adore her
Charity's thoughts about APFU...
APFU maintains a special place in my heart. Tammie Price was by my side every step of this journey. She prayed me through my darkest valleys, and she rejoiced alongside me at my highest peaks. APFU and all of their staff loved me fiercely, when I didn’t want to be loved. They prayed and believed that God would bring glory through my journey, and He did.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11