You see, I've never met my dad, even to this day. My mom is mentally disabled and did not and does not have the mental capacity to take care of my brother and I. We moved from family member to family member – just to whoever could take care of us. I often felt unwanted, a burden, and like no one really cared about me. I felt like people looked at me with pity because of my mom's circumstances. As a young girl, I felt lost – no mother and no father. I once lived with a family member that told me that the only reason I was living under their roof was that nobody else wanted me. This stuck with me for a long time.
Fast forward and I'm 17 and pregnant. I decided that I would do whatever it took for my daughter to avoid the kind of life I had, even if that life didn't include me.
So a few months after I turned 18 I gave birth to a baby girl. While I was pregnant, I didn't know much. But the one thing I knew was that I didn't want my daughter to feel like a burden just as I felt most of my life.
I was okay with walking away so that she would have a better life.
When I made this decision, I didn't even know there was such a thing as open and closed adoption. I thought you choose adoption and 16-17 years later this angry teenager is asking you "why didn't you want me?" I gave birth on September 17, 1998. I remember looking down at her and I swear she smiled at me. (It could have been gas, but I choose to believe it was a smile.)
The nurse came to get her, and I chose not to watch her leave. I wanted the last memory to be of us looking into each other's eyes. I slipped a short letter with her and sat there crying, knowing that this was best for her.
The first time I met Christine's parents was in the adoption office. When I saw Julia's face (Christine's mom) she had a smile that put me at ease and reassured me that everything would be alright.
To my surprise, it didn't stop there.
Julia kept giving me updates on our daughter. She sent pictures and even offered to meet up so I could see Christine. When Christine was almost two I joined the Air Force. Julia and Kevin (Christine's dad) sent me pictures and told me about how our daughter was doing. I deployed overseas, and Julia would send me care packages. Every time I was stateside I would visit. I was just blessed and grateful that Julia was allowing me to be in her life. This kept going on and the bond between Julia, Christine, and I just kept getting stronger.
We never had any disagreements because we were both so grateful to one another. She was grateful to add to her family, and I was grateful that Christine was in her family. We celebrate all of Christine's milestones together. Now we are celebrating our baby girl getting married.
Julia said one thing to me that I will forever be grateful for: "You know, Debbie... when we adopted Christine, we adopted you too."
She has always treated me like I am part of her family. I love her so much. Most people don't think something like this can happen. I am a living testimony that it can happen.
I love my adoption story and I wish more people could have the same experience I had.
Debbie is a Career Advisor for the United States Air Force for which has served for 17 years and is still currently serving. She lives in Oklahoma City, OK where she enjoys volunteering at a local Christian adoption agency. She also serves as a mentor to young girls. She enjoys traveling, photography, and crafting. Her goal has always been to be the person that she needed as a child, love everyone and to smile. Everyone can use a smile.