A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of sharing part of my adoption journey with our church family at Petaluma Valley Baptist Church (my dad is the pastor there and you can check out their website at http://www.petalumabaptist.org/ ). My church family has been a huge part of my adoption journey and my whole life and it was such an honor to share with them. Below is my testimony that I was able to share:
“Good morning, Church family! Thank you for allowing me to share some of my story with you today about my adoption! I have been honored to call you all my home church family over the last 14 years and I sincerely appreciate your support and prayers over the years, especially since I’ve been gone for almost a decade. If you don’t know who I am, my name is Jordan and I am Pastor Tom and Stirling’s daughter and I was adopted!
To give some background, my parents met, feel madly in love, got married, and then decided to adopt a baby. They went through the adoption process with an adoption agency in Texas, near where they were living at the time and they adopted me when I was six months old. We had a closed adoption plan, meaning that there is no contact between me and my parents with anyone from my birth family, meaning my birth mother, birth father, or anyone in their families. Once I turned eighteen, I was legally able to open my adoption records, but all identifying information would be kept secret until someone from both parties for open communication, if that was to ever happen. To this day, we don’t have any identifying information on my birth parents or their family.
As a kid, my mom and dad always let me know that I was adopted but only in the most positive way imaginable. My parents did an outstanding job at letting me know that I was and still loved. Questions were always welcome, discussion was a constant part of life, and talking about our feelings and our lives was pretty much a daily occurrence. I’ve been immensely blessed by their love, support, and our continuous dialogue about everything going on in our lives, including my adoption. I had a wonderful childhood, I was blessed with a great extended family, and I was surrounded by both my family and a loving church family throughout my life and it was truly a blessing.
During the last couple of years, I felt ready to open my adoption records and begin the process of finding information about my birthparents. After many discussions, prayers, and more discussions, I started the process this past September. A couple of months ago, we got my records and we, being my mom, my dad, Chris, and me, decided to open them together as a family on the anniversary of the day we met, which we refer to as our Family Anniversary on March 18th. We found that my birth mother was seventeen when she got pregnant and that there was no information on my birth father at all, but that most likely, my birth father was her high school boyfriend. We found out that my birth mother was five feet tall, she liked to play basketball, and she enjoyed reading and writing, and didn’t like studying government. We also found out that she was originally from Laos but had been in the United States for some time. Her father was a factory worker and her mother worked as a clothes manufacturer. And to my relief, we found out that she had been in good health and had had no prior health issues. When she had been asked why she was choosing to put her baby up for adoption, she had simply stated that she wasn’t ready for the responsibility of raising a child and had wanted her baby to have a better life. And that was it. That was basically all of the information that we got from opening my adoption records.
While opening my records with my parents and my husband, I was a little bit let down; I felt upset and even a little angry that there wasn’t more information. I was upset that my birth mother hadn’t given me more. I thought, how could someone go through a planned adoption and then just fill out the basic paperwork and only give the bare minimum? Why didn’t she write me a letter or including something personal or just do a little more? We got through a few pages and I could feel myself feeling upset. Then, we got to the papers from my mom and dad. My parents had been asked to write letters back to the adoption agency and give a report to them on how I was doing and what we were doing together as a family. That’s when I cried. Most of you hear my dad speak weekly here are church and I’m betting most of you would say he’s a good speaker. I agree with you, but to me, the words he wrote to the adoption agency about how much he loves me and my mom will never compare in my mind. My mom read the letters she wrote and they were full of her stories about me as a baby. Immersed in these letters and updates, was an overwhelming sense that my mom and dad loved me. Every word they wrote was a demonstration of their love and their joy.
That’s when I fully realized that that was the “more” that I had wanted from my birth mother. That was the “extra” that I had been craving all along. My parents were what my birth mother couldn’t give me. My parents were the “more” and the “extra.” This is why she put me up for adoption. It was never really about the tangible—ballet lessons, a good education, or a better life in the sense of the material. It was about giving me a home where my parents wanted to be parents. It was about giving me a home where I would be loved. It was about being in a home that could actively demonstrate God’s love, and God’s mercy, and God’s grace. It was about giving me a home where I was chosen. She did her absolute best for the short time that she was my mom, because that’s all she could give me. She did her very best to be a selfless mom by taking care of me when I was in her womb. She did her best to make sure she could be healthy and get medical care while she was with me by risking her relationships by telling her family early on that she was pregnant and needed medical care. She went to the adoption agency months before I was born so that she could make sure she was getting good care and that there would be a well thought out plan for me. She did what she felt would be best and that was to let go of any selfish desires to keep me for herself and trust God that I would be with a family that would love me and give me the things she couldn’t give me. She wanted to give me “more” but she herself could not, so she made sure I had a chance to have “more” and my parents were the “more.”
Being adopted was one of the first and best things to ever happen to me. I believe my birth mother in an amazing woman; a woman who is selfless, who is loving, and who is a woman living out God’s love. I admire her and her choice and I am completely grateful for the sacrifices she made for me. I’m not upset anymore and I have a peace within now, especially after going through this process of opening my records, because I see that my mom and my dad is the “more” that I needed. And I’m grateful to them for their love, and their joy, and their sacrifices that they have made for me. Thanks for choosing me, mom and dad!”