GUEST INTERVIEW: Jeff, an Adoptee

This is Jeff, also known as my dad! My dad was born in the state of Illinois on Halloween of 1964. I have known his birth family my whole life. For my brother and I, it has never felt like they are any different from the rest of my family. The more, the merrier. 

I know that my experience as a birth mom affected everyone in my family in one way or another, especially my mom and dad. So I decided to sit down with my dad and ask him a few questions about his own personal adoption story. 

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At what age did you find out you were adopted?  
I was told by my mom and dad at a very early age. They told me that my mom wasn't able to keep me and they always wanted a little boy like me.  

What type of adoption did you have, and what information were they given about you?
Infant closed adoption.  All my parents had was my last name.  It was through a lawyer in Illinois. Back then, there was a 30 day waiting period to make sure I was healthy before transfer.  My birthmother was never allowed to see me at birth. She never knew if I was boy or girl until 2 months later.  She worked at the hospital. 

During childhood and adolescence, how did you feel about being adopted?
As a child, I didn't know any different, but as I got older I started to wonder how I got my looks and who I resembled and what traits I had and how I got them.  I just wondered where I came from.  It wasn't a bad feeling I was just curious.

How did your adoption affect you when you became a parent?
I was happy whether we had a boy or girl and just wanted the baby to be healthy. I knew that they came from a part of me. I was proud. I still had questions about my history but was overjoyed. My curiosity led me to press on to find out more information so I could pass it down to my kids.  I wanted them to know that being adopted was not a bad thing, just different.

Is your adoption open or closed? What are your thoughts on both types as an adoptee?
Mine was closed, but I searched for 8 months until I found out who my birth family was. The biggest reason I searched was to know my medical history, but I also had general questions. I was not searching to change families. My mom and dad are still my mom and dad. They loved me, raised me and provided for my needs.
Open adoptions could be wonderful when the boundaries are set and followed.  The welfare of the child should always be the priority. I think open adoptions can be very therapeutic for both parties as well.

Have you met anyone in your birth family?
I met my birth mother and birth father.  They were not together at that point, and the meeting of each was different.  I knew my mother sacrificed a lot to place me. My birth father was not around when I was born and we really didn't relate on anything.  He didn't provide any stability for me, my birth mother, nor my half sisters. I also found out that I had a half brother. We talk on occasion and get along great, but we aren't really that close. I think it's because we lived our lives separate for all these years and that affects the relationship. I'm okay with that.

If there was a woman you knew who was considering adoption for her child, what would you say to her to encourage and love her?
I would first off tell her that it is a decision that only she can make. It is very difficult but a mother wants the best for her child. I am living proof that adoption works, even as a closed adoption, but I think the best approach is an open adoption. It's important to provide help to the birth mother before and after adoption. It's not just some legal agreement, it's so much more than that. The scars, guilt, and emptiness can last a long time. I'm aware of groups that handle adoptions now who can provide a lot of support for birth mothers when they really need it - before and after theplacement. Hospitals are more aware of adoption now and how to deal with them because they are different. Birth mothers are incredible and unselfish. They put the health and welfare of the baby above their own. It's certainly not easy but I greatly admire them!

Jeff's Last Thoughts
I hope that when an unplanned pregnancy occurs and the mother can't provide for the needs of the baby, adoption becomes the top choice. I am pro-life and believe that there is a way to ensure that a baby has the best chance with a mother and father who can provide the life that a baby deserves through the adoption process. We can celebrate and hold the birth mother in high regard because of what she chose for the sake of the baby. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice my birth mother made for me.