What Adoption Means To Me
Adoption can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people…for me, it is unconditional love that runs deeper than I will ever be able to express to my children. As a young child, I wanted to adopt from the moment that I knew what adoption really meant. Growing up in the late 80s, early 90s, it was not talked about. For me, it felt like something I needed, wanted, and the desire was much deeper. I have never been passionate about being pregnant, experiencing child birth, or having a biological child. Although I have always had a desire to help a child, to lessen the burden of another, to be there when someone else could not be or did not have the resources to care for that child.
Starting The Adoption Journey
My husband and I started our adoption journey in early 2006. We tried to conceive naturally and even began fertility drugs at one point. It did not feel natural, and I felt that it was not the road I wanted to go down. My husband supported me at the time, only telling me his fears and concerns three years later after our son was born and before our daughter was born.
We chose a private adoption agency, went through all the paperwork, the background checks, fingerprints, home study, and everything. We were so excited to become ‘active’ in March of 2007. Because we were both were working, had a wonderful home close to the beach, and loved our lifestyle, we knew it was the time was right to share our life with a little person. When we became active we were told that it could take a year to 18 months before we were chosen.
See, my husband is Jewish, and I was raised Methodist. We have very different views on religion, neither one of us were willing to convert, and we have always respected our differences. The problem was, the agency informed us that many young mothers do not understand the dynamic of interfaith marriages. They are typically young, want a cohesive couple that are both spiritually and financially sound. The agency warned us of the potential pushback about our religious differences and we were OK with it. We were not going to represent ourselves, our family, and our home in a way that was not who we truly are or represented.
Getting The Call
On September 10, 2007, we got the call.
“A birth mother has chosen your profile and the baby is due in three weeks.”
What? It had only been seven months. We were not ready for this. What should we do? If we say ‘no,’ would we ever get chosen again? This must be meant to be. What’s next?
These were all questions swarming around our heads. We were scared to death.
Fast forward to September 21, 2007. It was a Friday morning. My husband and I both went into work to finish up a couple things before we headed out to Arkansas for the scheduled cesarean on September 24. Our birthmother wanted us to be present for the birth, and she wanted me in the room. Our bags were packed, and we were ready… as ready as we could be.
But our son had his own agenda.
He was born that morning, the Friday we were supposed to leave for Arkansas. I got the call at 8:10 AM. Your son has been born. We were in the car for the 16-hour drive by 10:00 AM. We had spoken with our birthmother along the way. She was excited for us, and stated it was an easy delivery, and she couldn’t wait to meet us.
We had not a clue what to do, but we knew we would figure it out. We arrived at the hospital at about 2:00 AM, and we got to hold our precious baby boy, feed and change him. Out of respect for his mother, we left the hospital at 4:00 AM to return at 8:00 AM, to meet her for the first time. The bond was instant, the love was unconditional, and I knew this was the beginning to an extension of our family. There were tears, there was hope, and a ton of fear and uncertainty.
Two Years Later…
Fast forward again, two years later, March of 2010. We received a call from the same adoption counselor. I was standing in our garage, walking in with groceries, and the phone rang.
“Hello, this is American Adoptions, would you be interested in adopting from your birthmother again?”
What? How could this happen? Are you serious? YES, YES, YES. My husband was out of town, and I needed to discuss it with him, but how could we say ‘no’? This time, we had time to plan, time to process. Our daughter was born on November 9, 2010.
To this day, I share so much with their birthmother. She is a special person, and she made me a mother.
Our daughter has Pierre Robin, which is a birth defect. When she was born, her jaw was so badly recessed that her tongue did not fit in her mouth without cutting off her airway at times. For her first couple months of life, she had difficulty eating, breathing, and was in the hospital twice before we found a doctor to properly diagnose her. The doctors in Arkansas and our pediatrician in Florida missed it. At five and half months, she had mandible jaw distraction followed by five sets of tubes (to date) and a few surgeries to remove teeth. She is a warrior. She is my hero.
Adoption Is Resilience
If someone were to say to me 15 years ago, I’d adopt two children, start working for the agency you adopted your children through, assist other birthmothers with the adoption process, and then move into foster care adoption, I’d say ‘no way.’ The truth is, it is my passion, my love, and I am a huge advocate for adoption. Our birth mother loves my children, did not want to place them for adoption, but put their needs above her own and did what was best for them in her time of desperation and despair. She is someone I look up to for the sacrifices she has made. I am aware my children have a void in their hearts I cannot fill.
Adoption is love, but adoption is sorrow, and more importantly, adoption is resilience.
In all the obstacles my children will face, I hope that they know they are loved through it all. We are not perfect parents. I speak of their mother often. I share pictures of her with them, and I lay down in bed at night and share conversations that I have had with her. Our children are given to us in different ways. Whether it be the ‘traditional’ family, private adoption, kinship, foster/adopt or straight adopt through the foster care system, it does not matter. Life has a way of working out. I love watching my children grow, I love them talking about adoption, sharing their story with others, and helping others through the process.
About The Author
Ever since she was a little girl, Jodi Singer had a yearning to help others. When she and her husband adopted their son, Jodi says her life really started to have purpose. When her daughter came along, she knew her family was complete. Their births brought Jodi closer to the adoption sector, and she began her adoption career right after the birth of her daughter, and has never looked back.
As a Foster Care Coordinator for Arms Wide Adoption Services, Jodi manages foster homes in which children are placed. Her primary goal is to ensure each child is safe and has all their basic needs met. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Read more about Jodi here.