This guest post is by Madeleine Melcher, an adoptee, adoptive parent and owner of Our Journey To You
My life story began with adoption. Well, almost.
As my sweet mommy shared with me when I was a teenager, it really began in a car with my birthmother and an older child she was parenting.
At some point she took me to a friend’s house and did not return.
After it was reported to the state, I became a foster child until 14 months old when I once again got out of a car to start a new life. A life with my forever family.
I was loved and cherished and I embraced the fact that I was adopted— freely sharing the fact with others whether they asked me about it or not.
I loved telling my story when I was younger but did not know what an impact the full story would have on my life’s direction.
Growing up with a mother who had such a positive and grateful view of adoption and who not once ever said anything negative about my birthmother no doubt led me to the feeling that I would at some point adopt a child myself.
How blessed I was to marry a man who jumped in with both feet when I said I would like to have children both biologically and through adoption.
Little did we know that our plan to include biological children was not to be.
I suffered through months of testing, fertility drugs, mood swings, negative pregnancy tests and more fertility drugs. My legs were on fire from all the injections I put myself through, not a single spot left for the next one required for the latest fertility procedure.
I had given it the old school try—my best effort—yet was left empty handed. My body had betrayed me.
Even having known all along that I would adopt one day, I still first dealt with those feelings of loss. It is hard knowing your body will not cooperate in following through on one of the most basic steps of womanhood.
I let myself sit on a pity pot for a little bit, cried a river of tears and then got to work finding an adoption agency. You see, what I had really always wanted was to be someone’s mommy.
I wanted a child. That door was not closed to me.
As a matter of fact, adoption was a door I had always planned to pass through.
Over the next years, my husband and I were chosen not once, but three times to be parents to our little ones. I did not take lightly the responsibility I was given, having been entrusted by our children’s birthparents with these little lives.
Each of our children was in our arms faster than the one before, all in less time than I could have carried them myself. One day shortly after our second adoption I received a call from our agency asking if I would consider helping other families with their adoption portfolios (profiles).
It was here that my life took yet another turn I had not expected.
Here was my opportunity to help other families hoping to adopt, as well as to hopefully make a difference for the expectant parents who were considering an adoption plan.
I thought about my own birthmother, driving away that day, leaving me with her friends. I like to think she left me there, not only because she trusted the people she left me with, but because she wanted something different for me than what she could provide at the time.
I thought about how full my heart became with the entrance of each of our children into our lives and family. How could I not do it?
My course was set and “Our Journey to You” was born.
In the last 9 years I have dedicated my time and efforts to helping hopeful adoptive parents create adoption portfolios/profiles used by their agencies or attorneys to assist expectant parents in choosing a family for their child.
But creating something “pretty” was not enough. I wanted to be sure the families I worked with had a portfolio that truly showed who they were and what they had to offer a child, because that is how families are truly chosen and the most honest relationships formed.
I have had the privilege to speak to a number of birthmothers, some who chose not to continue a relationship with the adoptive family after their child was born, some with successful open adoptions, and some left hurt and betrayed because the open adoption they hoped for had not turned out to be open at all.
I wanted the prospective birthparents that looked at each portfolio to walk away with the greatest sense of peace they could have under the circumstances, in knowing they had chosen the family they believed offered the life they wanted for their child and the ability to connect with a hopeful adoptive family that wanted to share in the same kind of relationship, if any, that they did.
In recent years I have lived in the middle of two sides of the adoption triad.
I am blessed to receive phone calls, e-mails and pictures when the families I work with are able to truly become a family through adoption. Some of them have been chosen in days, rather than the month or more that we waited.
I always cry when I get the news, remembering how I felt when I learned of our children for the first time.
I am also honored that so many birthmothers have shared their stories with me.
I cry when I hear them too, but they are different tears.
Adoption is a funny thing, I have never heard two adoption stories exactly alike and depending on what side of the triad you find yourself on, they may be rife with pain, beyond all joy or somewhere in between.
My life story so far has started and finished with adoption, but more importantly with love. Whatever your story ends up being, I wish that for you as well.
Madeleine Melcher is an adoptee, mommy to three blessings of domestic adoption, owner & profile designer at Our Journey to You ~ Adoption Portfolio Services and author of How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio: Easy Steps to Help You Produce The Best Adoption Profile and Prospective Birthparent Letter which can be found on Amazon and at Jessica Kingsley Publishers.