Air Date: 6.28.16 Do you feel broken? Scared? Not sure where to turn. That is how Annie felt when she learned she was pregnant. Annie a mother of three, didn’t have a job, her husband left her and her life was spiraling out of control. But out of her brokenness, Annie found redemption. Read the transcript below or listen to the podcast by clicking on the link.
Blogtalk radio. Jennifer: Hi and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jaworksi and I’m a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associates’ premiere talk radio blog show. Adoption Associates and it’s staff are trusted leaders in adoption and we have placed well over 5,000 children into loving homes. Since 1990, we have advocated, supported, and nurtured both birth families and adopted families. And helping families and birth mothers grow through the adoption process is our goal. Our offices are located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, and Saginaw and our pregnancy and adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan. One of Adoption Associates’ commitments is to this weekly radio show. So thank you for listening in today. We hope that you find this forum to be inspirational, educational and thought-provoking. If you’d like to call in during the show with questions or comments, we would encourage that. And you can call 347-850-1100. Again, please feel free to call in with questions or comments to 347-850-1100. And today, we’re talking to Annie about her decision years ago to plan adoption. It’s a very personal story. Annie, are you with us?
Annie: I’m here.
Jennifer: Wonderful. Thank you so much for being on the show today. I’m honored that you’re with us and that you’ve agreed to share this story and your experience. So I believe it was ten years ago that you found yourself in an unexpected situation. Could you maybe tell us a little bit more about where you were and what was going on in your life?
Annie: Sure. Well, I was a young mom. A young stay-at-home mom with three children. And I was raising a stepson at the time. So, I was a stay-at-home mom of four children. And was just in a pretty toxic relationship. We were both young, not knowing how to deal with pain and baggage and each other. And although we were both Christians, both involved in our church, both on the praise and worship team, we had a lot of bad things going on in the house and our relationship was falling apart. And I didn’t know how to deal with a lot of the pain of a young mom. Just not being loved and cared for and just doing different things to take away the pain. And although infidelity was not at the beginning, after six years it crept in. I wasn’t mature enough to deal with the pain in a way that I should have.
Annie: Yep. So in 2006, my husband and I at the time, we separated and I began drinking a lot and going out and doing everything to just stay afloat emotionally. I was just a wreck and ended up getting pregnant by the first person that I met.
Jennifer: I imagine that was very shocking, right?
Annie: Yeah, it was very shocking. Even though I knew what I had done and it was wrong, I was still … Some of my questions at the time were like, “Lord, how could you let this happen to me?” I was already alone. As low as you could imagine. I was depressed, alone, scared. I had no education, I had three young children. I had to work. I had to find a place to live. And really all I wanted was to be at home. But it wasn’t working and it was really harsh.
Jennifer: So you were already in a situation, it sounds like, that was stressful and difficult and you were trying to find a way to maneuver through that. And then on top of that, you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant. Kind of perpetuating more of this cycle of crisis for yourself is what it sounds like. So, who did you have in your life at that time that you could confide in?
Annie: Well, I was always making appointments with our pastor’s wife. She knew pretty much everything. Our counseling sessions were full disclosure, raw, hard. And even when I was on my own and I was sharing everything that I was doing, one thing that she said to me was, “Annie, you could get pregnant.” And I just kind of, you know, I never believed that that would happen to me I was just, you know, young and stupid. And it happened. And a week prior to having another conversation with my pastor’s wife, I was talking to teenagers about abortion and my strong stance against abortion. I’d never had one before and I just thought it was wrong. But when I found myself pregnant at 29 years old, I was 29, for the first time I considered abortion. I had four children, no education, no job. And the idea of raising another child who wasn’t my husband’s child was … I couldn’t see it and I didn’t know what my life was gonna turn out to be. I was just in a state of shock. So I told my pastor’s wife, and I told her honestly what I was considering. Even though I was scared, I told her I was considering abortion. And she looked at me and she said, “Annie, don’t make your baby pay for a mistake that you made.’ She said, “At least consider adoption.” And from that point on, adoption stayed in the running. Abortion got out of the running. And that’s when I began to do some research.
Jennifer: So as you were coming to terms with the fact that you were indeed pregnant, what was going through your mind? I mean, obviously you talked about abortion being something that you considered, but your thoughts and your feelings. This obviously was not an easy circumstance and certainly not one you were prepared for. What was this like for you on an emotional level?
Annie: Well I never thought I would be faced with a situation like this. So instead of being totally proactive in a direction, there was a lot of introspect. There was a lot of day to day, just trying to get through the day. Honestly, raising my son and adoption, they both seemed equally as painful and equally as impossible. So I called my uncle who had adopted himself from Adoption Associates. And I shared it with him. And that was hard sharing it with him. Because of my age, because of my situation with already raising four children. But he gave me some information. And so I called them. And just began to pour over the whole website. I probably looked every single thing up on that website and read every single thing. And eventually, I think it was a Friday, and I made a phone call that night with a person on call and they called me back on Monday. And then I started a process of meeting with a case worker and talking things through with her and made an appointment. A face to face appointment.
Jennifer: So what was the time frame like from when you learned of the pregnancy and then you went through the period of time when you were in counseling with the pastor’s wife, until you finally came to this decision that adoption was what you wanted to do? What was the time frame there?
Annie: I probably called them at about two months. Called Adoption Associates and talked with them and had not quite made a decision until around five or six months.
Jennifer: Okay. A lot of-
Annie: And, yeah.
Jennifer: I was just gonna say a lot of women in this position that you’ve described that you were in, they talk about how there’s this back and forth tug as they’re in that process of making the decision. And coming to that, how would you describe that? Was that similar for you? And what did you do about that? Annie: Definitely. One time I was talking with my pastor and sharing how torn I was. It’s such a big deal. Such a big deal to release your child. I am the most sensitive person ever. And the thought of releasing my child … I just didn’t want people to think that I was just doing this cold-heartedly. I thought of the ramifications of keeping my child versus releasing him for adoption. And they were both equally hard. But he told me to do a pro and con list which was one of the best things that I had ever done. And I literally did a pro and con list for keeping him, and I did a pro and con list for adopting him out. And it was clear there were both gonna be consequences and emotional ramifications. But it was clear that adoption was winning. And I was becoming more and more comfortable with that. Jennifer: So you made that decision and you selected a family, is that right?
Annie: Yeah, well, as I would meet with my case workers, they let me know that at five and six months, between that time, it was too early. They didn’t quite want me to choose, or they didn’t want to notify a family that I had chosen because of their experience with mothers changing their minds too early. And I had totally respect for that and it let me know that they were not in the business of just trying to … they were advocates for both the birth mother and the adoptive parents. And they didn’t want to hurt the adoptive parents. And so I had to wait. And when I finally was able to choose a parent, or a family, one family stood out amongst the rest. And I knew I had a group of friends and we all went out to dinner one day and I showed them the profile. And before I pulled out their profile I said, “I think these are the ones.” And they all confirmed with me after reading and looking at the pictures.
Jennifer: So it doesn’t sound like that part of it was as hard for you. Is that accurate say? You came to a decision relatively quickly?
Jennifer: About a family.
Jennifer: And then what happened at that point? Did you meet them?
Annie: We did eventually, I’m not exactly sure how soon after I found them. But I was surprised at myself because the agency was asking my preferences, and I had some preferences. I didn’t want them to be with a family who had a lot of adopted kids and seemed to collect adopted kids. I wanted my son to be in a special place and different things. I was a stay-at-home mom and so I preferred that my child was able to be with a mother who would raise him at home at least half of the time. Different little things. So it was surprising when I found the family. They had four biological sons of their own. And I knew that it didn’t matter to me that they had all those kids, four kids. It didn’t matter to me. Something drew them to me and I knew he’d have a great life with all his brothers and a mom and dad with a twinkle in their eye. And so far, what I know of them, they are living the life that I’m just so blessed for him to have.
Jennifer: That’s really nice to hear. So what do you recall about delivery and being at the hospital and what that was like for you, knowing that you were going to release him for adoption?
Annie: It was pretty surreal. I knew that I wanted her there with me. I knew that I wanted her to hold him first. And these are things that just came to me. All of these ideas. She asked me about a name and I let her know I wanted her to name him. And she included me on that. I just felt like she was gonna be doing the hard part also with raising him ’til he’s 18 and being his mom, being called Mom. And part of me just felt like that was right. It might not be right for others but that’s what I wanted. But she in turn, we talked about names together and she cared about what name I wanted. And so we came up with Elijah. And that was his name.
Jennifer: Very nice.
Annie: Yep. And so she was there. She helped me. She was right next to me when I was pushing and holding my hand. My mom was there and she got to hold him first in the hospital. I had three days to spend with him. And it was just … I mean, I know that I experienced the piece of God that surpasses all understanding because I had three days to spend with him and to kiss him and to hold him and to kiss his little small face. And I never mourned that he was going to live. I just prayed over him and just enjoyed having a newborn in my hand. And so at the end, when it was time to leave, it wasn’t sad for me. It wasn’t. I really don’t know how to explain the way I felt. It doesn’t mean that sadness did not come. Sadness did come. And I was just grateful to have resources through Adoption Associates and family and friends. But most of all, I had that peace. The peace of God that let me know that the decision I made was the right one … I was totally at peace with.
Jennifer: That’s very touching. That’s very touching. Could you talk a little bit about how your life changed through doing this? Through making this plan for adoption.
Annie: So before I had any children. I was at a community college and I was in a group of other kids my age and I remember this gal who was in there. And she was just talking about how she had a child that she wasn’t raising, that her parents took care of him. And I remember her being so proud and so … in my eyes she was a little bit too proud. I felt like she needed to be ashamed. I felt like she seemed fine enough to raise a child, you know? And I totally judged her. Totally judged her. And I will never forget my smug attitude towards her. And I got a little bit of that during my situation, too. But then, having to go through this myself, and not only was I old enough to take care of this child, but I had other children. And it helped me to just realized to not judge people, what they’re going through. It helped me not to be hard on people and to just think that I could never be in a situation where I would be … do something immature. So that’s a major thing. I have no stones to throw. I really don’t. It helped me to learn how to deal with my pain in life in a Godly way, more so. We do things to heal our pain in different ways. Different addictions, whether it’s sex, or alcohol, or shopping, or violence. Which was all a part of my earlier relationship. And we just need to get help if we struggle in those areas where we are dealing with ways to take away our pain in a dysfunctional way. We hurt more than just ourselves. We hurt so many others. We hurt our children. And we pass on those traits. And so, just learning how to take away pain in a healthy way is probably one of the biggest things that I’ve learned from this.
Jennifer: Thank you. So you came from this really tough place, this unplanned pregnancy and everything that you just described to us that you went through. Where are you at now? What’s going on with you personally these days?
Annie: Well, I’ll begin with after I released Elijah. My ex-husband and I tried to make things work, but there was so much damage done. And understandably, me going through a pregnancy was even more devastating. And so we divorced and I was single for two and a half years. I got my undergrad at Grand Valley and just began to repair my life and try to be the person that I wanted to be or wanted to attract. I let the Lord know that I made my request known for wanting to be … to find love again. But I laid that at His feet. I wasn’t … I had three children and I made my request known and I just tried to better myself and didn’t know what would happen with that. But God blessed me. My husband and I met in 2010. And he was just everything, he was a gift. And everything that I wanted in a family. And so we’ve been married for almost six years now and we’re walking this out together. We both have pasts of just having those come to Jesus moments, so we’re … you know. Really-
Jennifer: I apologize, go ahead.
Annie: No, just, really wanting to live the life that we wanted before the Lord and raise our children.
Jennifer: With your focus, it sounds like your focus is on your family now. Annie: Yep.
Jennifer: So as we’re approaching the end of the show, I want make sure that we don’t run short on time. Because your message is really powerful. And right now we potentially have listeners that may be facing a crisis of their own. Who may be in an unplanned pregnancy and are feeling scared and alone. And I was hoping you could share your message with those listeners.
Annie: To people who are feeling scared and alone about making this decision? Jennifer: Correct.
Annie: Yeah. Okay. I would just say, don’t make any rash decisions. Do what feels best for you. Pro and con list is totally helpful. I would make sure I’m having … you have people that are not for or against anything totally, but will just walk with you to help you find out what’s good for you and your heart. I had people that totally didn’t want me to place him up for adoption. Totally wanted me to keep him. And I wasn’t sure. It’s a humongous deal. It’s a big deal that should not be made rashly, decision not made rashly. So just take your time and fight for your peace.
Jennifer: Thank you.
Annie: Trust God. Yeah.
Jennifer: I really appreciate the honesty and you being willing, Annie, to share the personal details of your story in such a touching and loving way. So thank you very much for being with us on Adoption Focus. For our listeners, remember that we’re live every Tuesday at 11 Eastern Standard time. And if you’re looking to connect with Adoption Associates, you may reach us at 800-677-2367 or on the web at adoption associates dot net. Please join us next week we’re speaking with Paula Springer, who is going to talk to us about what birth mothers are looking for in adoptive families. How they go about selecting an adoptive family and what’s important to them. Thanks again, Annie. And for now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. Have a great day everyone. Bye bye.