“I felt like I had to defend my decision.” Lisa’s Adoption Story

Lisa, who chose an open adoption for her son talks about being judged for her decision.

Lisa Discusses Being Judged for Making an Adoption Plan for Her Son

Video Transcript

Slide: Did you feel judged about your decision?

Lisa: Yeah I was judged a lot and I felt that I had to defend my decision. I was angry, I was angry for being judged. Because it’s like, Who are you to think these things, or approach me and say these things? You don’t know the full story. You have zero idea about what the process was, what I went through. Instead of asking me, you’re just coming up with these conclusions, these myths, you know, that everybody else had… fears that everybody else has about it. As opposed to asking me.

And then I was in frustration talking to John about it and he was like, you don’t have to defend. We did what we did. We know why we did what we did. There’s no reason why you should feel that you have to defend it. But, you know, I still did feel like, No, you have no idea. You don’t know what you’re talking about. And so that’s another reason why I share because I want people to know like, listen you have these ideas. This is wrong. Let me tell you what happened, clear your mind on this. And usually most people are like, oh really? That’s what happened? Oh. And then they are more open to the fact that this was a great option and leave it alone after that.

Lisa's Family Reacts to Her Open Adoption Decision

Video Transcript

Lisa: I was 18-years-old, in college, Augustana college. And shortly after I started, I got pregnant. I made a phone call to my mom on my way to chemistry class that I was pregnant and she did not take it very well at all. And shortly after I got a call from both my parents. We were talking on the phone about what we needed to do about the situation. So we went back and forth and argued, and they wanted me to choose some other options like parenting. That’s pretty much the only other option, was to just parent.

My parents after I told them I’m looking into adoption, they are not very comfortable with it. My extended family is really weary of all this. How can you give your kid to somebody else? We don’t do that. I’ll raise your baby, this that or the other. I got extended family being like well I’ll take, I’ll take him, I’ll take him - this that and the other. And I was like no, you’re not really setup for this either.

And I wasn’t really being supported by anyone through all of this, at the time. And I understand because nobody in our family has ever gone through this process. You get pregnant you either abort your child or you keep your baby. So this was like new waters for everybody. So that’s how they chose to react.

To be honest, it took like a good two years for everybody to be at ease and at peace with the decision. And it took some serious conversations and some yelling at, and some arguments, you know. But I know that they are okay with it now, definitely. But it took a couple of years for them to see that this was the best choice for John Miles. This is the best option for him. And I think that’s something that I had to continue to remind my family, I had to continue to tell myself. I would have loved to have kept him for myself for my own selfish reasons. This is my child, you know, he came from me. I would have loved to have raised him myself. But would he have had the life that he deserves? No, and I did not want anything else for him other than the life that he deserves. And so once my family was able to see that, then they were able to really appreciate and understand that this was a good decision. But it definitely did not happen throughout any of that process. It took some years.

Lisa Chose Adoption for Her Son: Learn Why

Video Transcript

Slide: How did you decide on adoption?

Lisa: I didn’t know anything about adoptions, whatsoever. So I just typed into my computer adoption and up pops The Cradle. And they set us up with a counselor immediately who came out to our school and sat down with me to talk to me about what adoption looked like and the different forms that it can take. And it was really interesting me the whole concept of open adoption.

Slide: How did your adoption process unfold?

Lisa: So we decided that open adoption was the appealing route and then we went through a list of things outside of that, that were appealing to me. I really wanted my child to be raised in an African-American family being that I’m African-American and there would be that relation. I did want a Christian home, having other kids was an option as well and just a couple that really loved each other.

She took note of all of that and sent me five packets of different types of families that fit within what we had come up with, and from those packets I decided who I wanted to meet. So I told my counselor, we’re really interested in John and Donna. Let’s move forward. We set up a meeting. And it was just a moment of clarity, a moment of this is what is supposed to happen, these are the people that are supposed to parent my child.

And so fast forward to today, he is seven-years-old. He is, and I know people say this about their kid all the time, but he is the smartest, beautiful boy ever. And he’s at the age now where he is asking more and more of the questions because they talk to him about how he’s adopted and who his birth parents are. He has pictures of us, he has pictures of my sisters and my parents. That’s been ingrained in him since the beginning. Now that he’s older and able to understand more clearly, he’s starting to ask the questions. Despite those hard questions that are to come, he is still wanting to be around us and know who we are. And so I’m looking forward to the future and just continuing on this great, interesting journey.

Choosing Adoption in the African American Community

Video Transcript

Slide: Adoption in the African American community

Lisa: I just feel like, for African-Americans - young African-Americans - there are two options when you get pregnant: you either abort or you raise your child. There is no even consideration for adoption and that’s baffling to me because it’s a great alternative for when you are finding out that you are pregnant. My family is like, what is wrong? We don’t do this with our kids. I just think it’s wrong for us to not, I don’t know if it’s to not be educated, but not priviledge to the knowledge of all choices. It’s all about just getting all the information and being able to see what’s the best choice for you, and I just feel like in the African-American community it’s either not presented well enough or … it’s not presented well enough. That’s what it is.

Lisa Discusses Her Connection With Her Son's Adoptive Family

Video Transcript

Lisa: So we decided that open adoption was the appealing route and then we went through a list of things outside of that, that were appealing to me. I really wanted my child to be raised in an African-American family being that I’m African-American and there would be that relation. I did want a Christian home, having other kids was an option as well and just a couple that really loved each other.

Slide: Based on the qualities Lisa and John wanted, her counselor sent five profile of families.

Lisa: I get to this one, it was actually the last one, and I’m looking at it and right away the name stood out to me. Their names were John and Donna, and my boyfriends name is John so that was an instant connection there. And then my moms name is Donna. I gave all five packets to my boyfriend, I didn’t say anything about who I liked or who I didn’t like, I wanted him to decide on his own. And he was drawn towards this couple as well.

Slide: Lisa’s counselor set up a match meeting with the family John and Lisa wanted to meet.

Lisa: So I decided to bring my mother and I brought John, my boyfriend, with me to this meeting to sit down with John and Donna to talk back and forth to see if we had any chemistry. And we get in there and we just start talking. Their sharing their story of how they met, there’s a connection being formed. And then we start getting down to the knitty gritty and the whole concept of open adoption is brought up. We started talking about that, and they are very open, they were very open to open adoption. Once again another sign put at ease and then we started talking about names.

Well my boyfriend and I were talking about names, we had decided that if it was a boy we wanted him to carry John’s name, my boyfriend’s name John. And they were mulling around middle names, back and forth, and we finally decided on Miles. The adoptive father, John, had brothers and they had sons and they named their first sons after themselves so it was very fitting that the first name should be John. So we were all in agreement on that. Then we come to the middle name and they were like, we kind of mulled it over back and forth and we really didn’t know what we thought was best. But they were like, we love the name Miles. I jumped up and immediately started crying, my mom’s on the left crying, John is on my right like jaw dropped. They’re looking at us like what’s going on. And we’re like, that’s the name we picked too. It was a moment of clarity, a moment of this is what’s supposed to happen, these are the people that are supposed to parent.