A Baby by Christmas (part 2)

Hannah MillsDid you miss A Baby Christmas by Christmas (part 1)? Click the link to read it before continuing. 😉 And now, back to Hannah.

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We arrived at the restaurant, and although I don’t remember exactly who arrived first, the initial moments were slightly awkward. Then it was like meeting old friends, or relatives you haven’t seen in ages and yet pick right back up with.

We started talking and just didn’t want to stop. We traded stories—Kara, worried that I wouldn’t understand, or would be angry at her, shared her story in more depth than my parents had been able to, and was relieved I was okay with it—and memories, gosh, a lifetime of memories. We talked about everything. Personalities, hobbies, favorite memories. We had a lifetime to catch up on.

We discovered I’m a lot like Kara and Kristy, and that Kara and my Mom basically have identical parenting styles, that all of us love to read, and that Kara has an artsy streak. My parents say that explains where I got mine, since neither one of them are very artistic. We have a lot of differences, too, but our similarities matter more.

Eventually we were the only ones left in the restaurant aside from the staff. We closed the place down.

Since, we’ve kept in regular contact. They, along with Kara’s husband, their two children, and my biological grandparents came to my eighteenth birthday party. We babysat on Valentine’s day so Kara and her husband could have a date night (that was a hilarious surprise to plan with him!). I went to the art museum with them and they came to a church pitch-in with us. Birthday and Christmas phone calls. Running into them at the State Fair. Meeting up for dinner. All in all…it’s been great.

Now I’m almost twenty, and having a family and then an “extended” biological family is just my normal. It sounds weird when I talk about it, but actually living it isn’t weird at all. It’s wonderful, actually. I know I’m the anomaly in that, that some people never meet their birth family/mother, or if they do, it doesn’t turn out well. But that doesn’t mean it has to turn out poorly every time.

Adoption is an amazing thing. Sometimes an incredibly hard thing, sometimes scary, but amazing nonetheless.

If you are an adoptive parent, please be as open with your child as their maturity level allows. Remind them that their birthmother does care for them. If she didn’t care, she could have gotten an abortion. If she didn’t want them to have a chance at an amazing life, she could have sentenced them to death before they ever experienced life outside the womb.

All the birthmothers I have met are beautiful people. They aren’t perfect, but none of us are. They have made mistakes, but all of us have. It takes a special person, a special strength, to carry a child and voluntarily give it to someone else to raise.

From the day they brought me home, my parents have emphasized those things and I believe that is the main reason I’ve never had a crisis of identity regarding being adopted, or resented it, or wondered if I was loved or “worth it.” Adoption is beautiful—please, don’t let the adoptees you know lose sight of that.

A Baby by Christmas (part 1)

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Me and Hannah

My friend Hannah and I met through a mutual involvement in the One Year Adventure Novel. Actually, to be technical, our characters met. But that’s another story for another time and you probably wouldn’t understand anyway. Anyway, somewhere along the line I learned that Hannah was adopted and that’s when we started talking. These days I regularly forget the fact that made us start talking to begin with, but I was thrilled when she sent me this article. Welcome to an open domestic adoption. And now let me introduce Hannah.

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On multiple occasions throughout the course of my life, I’ve been asked the question “What’s it like to be adopted?” My reply is always, “What is it like to not be adopted?”

Often, when people talk about adoption, it’s about international adoption. International adoption is beautiful and incredibly important, but some of us adoptees had much more humble beginnings. We are “domestic.” There is a huge need for international adoptees to find their forever families, but, at the same time, the need for domestic adoptive families is also massive.

Older children, younger children. Infants. Some through the state, others through private agencies, there are many of us. We’re “given up” for many reasons—finances, we were unexpected, drug or alcohol addicted parents, the list goes on.

I am from an entire family of adoptee children. We’re all domestically adopted, and this is my part of the story.*

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My parents were married twenty-five years ago. They wanted children, but struggled with infertility issues and couldn’t get pregnant. So they turned to adoption. Two fell through, breaking their hearts. It hurt my mother so badly. She couldn’t imagine going through another Christmas, another Mother’s Day, another birthday, without having a baby of her own. They’d been married almost five years when finally, one Sunday, my parents went to the altar and prayed. What was the prayer? A baby by Christmas (come to find out later, the week they prayed was the week the first handful of cells that formed me, came into existence).

Not too long after, my mom’s cousin said she knew of a young pregnant woman who already had a toddler, and couldn’t support two children, so she was looking for an adoptive family for this new baby. Things started falling into place. A homestudy, paperwork, letter to the birthmother, et cetera.

The young woman, Kara, picked my parents as the adoptive family. They met in December, a month before I was born, in a hotel lobby. Kara was so tiny she didn’t even look pregnant. My parents were excited, even though I wouldn’t arrive until January. The three of them cried together in that hotel.

God surprised everyone and I was born in December, a week before Christmas. Mom got her Christmas baby after all, and there were more tears in the hospital when I was taken home. During my hospital stay, Kara tried to leave me in the nursery, so she wouldn’t get overly attatched…that failed. She ended up holding me the entire time before my parents arrived, and my birth grandmother crocheted me a blanket while sitting with Kara.

The years passed. I grew up knowing I was adopted, and not thinking it strange. It was just the way things were. It’s never bothered me even though I have often been curious—Mom and Dad have always been open about it, adding more details as I became mature enough to understand them, and letting me know that if I wanted to meet her, someday I hopefully could.

Three years ago, the cousin that knew my birthmom said a mutual acquaintance of hers and Kara’s had messaged her on Facebook, saying something about how he’d recently seen Kara and wondered how Hannah was doing.

That threw us all for a bit of a loop: he remembered me? That meant Kara must talk about me. Either that or he had a good memory.

Was this a Segway for me to meet Kara? Did I want to meet her? We decided it might be. And I decided I really did want to meet her. So we asked my cousin to write the mutual acquaintance and find out if my birthmother might be interested in meeting.

She was, and so was my birth sister, Kristy, who is two years my senior. We got into contact and set up a dinner-date at Don Pablo’s (nothing like Mexican food for nervous stomachs, right?).

Mom was a ball of spazzing, nervous energy. I stayed calm until right before it was time to leave for the restaurant. Then I freaked out, but knew I wanted to meet them badly enough that I wouldn’t allow myself to talk me out of going.

The drive was nerve-wracking.

And you’ll just have to come back tomorrow for the rest of it. 🙂

*Names changed to protect privacy