It’s springtime in western Pennsylvania, 1981.
Two people who love each other very much had been trying to make a family. When conventional means didn’t work, they turned to adoption. Then they waited. And waited. And waited.
April 9th, the woman received a phone call that would forever change their lives. Their case worker said a baby girl had become available and they were next on the list. Would they still like a baby?
Pause here for a moment. Realize back in 1981 adoptions were mostly closed adoptions. You didn’t know you’d been “selected” to be parents. Can you imagine the emotions rolling through when being asked, would you still like a baby?
After I’m sure what seemed like an eternity of waiting, that one resounding YES changed everything. That one tiny word changed that woman into a new tiny word… Mom.
My Mom and Dad had 24 hours notice that they would become parents. Friends and family members rallied together and in less than a day gathered a bassinet, crib, clothing, diapers, bottles, and formula.
On April 10th, 1981, at 17 days old, I was literally dropped off on my parents’ doorstep. Nicknamed as “Baby Rose,” the caseworkers left me with a short list of what I seemed to like and then a quick goodbye. I was placed in my moms arms and in that one instant we became a family of 3.
After a 6 month waiting period, where at any point my birth mom could’ve changed her mind, I was officially adopted. November 13, 1981 became my Adoption Day. My parents were my forever parents. I call them “Mom” and “Dad.” (actually I still call my Dad “Daddy”)
I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know I was adopted. It was not a secret and it wasn’t something shameful. In fact, it was celebrated. Each November 13th, when I became “old enough” to “get it,” we celebrated my adoption day like a birthday. I could pick a family activity to do such as go to the zoo, or go out to eat at a restaurant. My mom would tell me about the day I arrived on their doorstep, like it was a fairy tale. My parents bought board books that answered questions like: “Why was I adopted?” and they always stressed how special I was to them. My life was a treasure and God had created my parents to become my parents.
There was never a question in my own mind who my “real” mom was. I never thought about the “what-if” scenarios. Not once in my adolescent or teen years did I ever throw out a phrase like, “well, you’re not my real mom!” Never once did I go to sleep questioning anything. I knew without a doubt how much I was loved and wanted; oh so wanted.
To this day, at age 36, we still “celebrate” my Adoption Day, even if now 800 miles apart, it’s just a card or a text message. To this day, at age 36, I have no desire to seek out medical information or my birth mom. To this day, at age 36, I already know who my parents are.
On the day everything changed. I called them “Mom” and “Dad.”
I always will.