About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Near the end of senior year I ended up pregnant. My mom, although what she considered a devout Catholic, gave an option for abortion. Instead, I had the baby, and gave her up for adoption at birth. I read profiles on potential parents and made a choice for them. It was going to be a closed adoption.
    The pregnancy and birth were relatively easy, compared to some stories, and the births of my other children. The difficult time was the choice of not seeing her, not having any contact. Leaving that hospital was near impossible. Signing the papers a few days later, making a forever thing, was even worse. It was really never spoken of again in our house. Each year, though, I celebrated her birthday myself.
    She was never spoken of again in our house until I got a letter from the adoption agency asking if I would mind answering a few questions for her parents because they were going thru some very tough times. She was already fighting drugs at 14.
    It wasn’t long after that she began writing to me thru the agency. She only knew my first name, and that I was in FL now, nothing more. I had wanted a closed adoption, so this was already opening a deep wound I had not wanted to re-open, and we also did not want to give her the chance to run away and try to get here. The letters were sporadic, and filled with pain, anguish, drug use, just so much that she was going thru. It was a fine line for me to walk because I was not her parent, her mom. I gave birth to her, but gave up that right. I did not want to step on the toes of her parents or do anything to undermine them in any way. She had times of soberness that lasted from a short few weeks, to many months. Usually if I didn’t’ hear from her for a long time, she was using.
    Then I got a call from the agency saying they were sending a letter, and wanted to forewarn me about it. My daughter had a son. She was 18, just like I was. His name was Lucas. Unlike me, she kept him. By now I had pictures of her, and now, also of my grandson. A couple years later she had another son, Danny. It was just after that things turned

  2. Oh my. Thank you both for sharing your stories.
    Thanks Jennifer for your perspective – you’re right, it’s not one I hear often from adopted children. But it is one I see in the Bible because God adopts us and makes us whole – however, our world is far from perfect and doesn’t often work like that.
    And you, HeartofHope, my heart breaks for you. I am glad you got some beautiful memories.

  3. Wow…I loved hearing both of your stories and how God met you and cared for you. So beautiful.
    Jennifer, one thing I feel very strongly about is that giving a child up for adoption is one of the most sacrificial things a person can do. Often I hear people making almost critical remarks about people who do that, but I SO disagree. Thanks for sharing that. And I love how God put you in a family you could knit too. So awesome.
    HeartofHope…I ache for you and prayed for you after I read your story. Wow! So much heart ache and so much joy. I really loved seeing your faith in God stay so strong through it all…you aren’t letting the hurt make you bitter and I was SO inspired by that! Thank you!
    Adoption is something very dear to my heart. My dad was adopted and I have a nephew who is adopted. It is something I would love to do, but so far my husband hasn’t felt the same. And so I wait.

  4. After reading these stories, I had to share this message. My sweet daughter was 17 years old when she found out she was pregnant. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 18. She chose to place her with another loving Christian family. The adoption was semi-open in that we knew the family lived 2 hours away, knew their first names, their occupations, religious affiliation and a few other facts. We all hoped that someday we could see our little Sarah again. Through the years, my daughter would get pictures and updates from the adoption agency who was the liaison for the adoption. My daughter would share them with the rest of the family. My daughter went to college, married and has three children – 2 sons and 2 daughter. One day the adoptive parents decided to alleviate the go between and directly contact my daughter. In June 2007, my daughter received a phone call from her daughter’s family. Sarah needed to meet my daughter. On July 5, 2007, my daughter and I met she and her mother at a restaurant. What a wonderful time of sharing! Then in August 2007, Sarah met her brothers and sister. In October, 2007, Sarah met my mother, her only living great grandmother and finally, in Janaury 2009, the entire family celebrated her 16th birthday. Sarah and her parents came to family reunion to meet the extended family. Step by step we have been celebrating the wonderful life that was brought into this world 16 years ago! We have all begun to heal seeing the wonderful life that our Sarah has been given. My daughter has been able to close that chapter in her life and begin a new one. We all have praised the Lord for His gracious love! One other wonderful addition to this story. This past summer, my daughter was asked by her pastor to share her testimony about her daughter and adoption. There were many joyful tears shed by many as she share her story. I rejoice daily that God was gracious to allow me to see this beautiful story as it unfolds and be such a part of it. There is so much more to the story but I don’t have the room to write it. I pray that this story bless someone today.

  5. Jennifer, I admire your concern for your biological mother’s soul.
    “Oh Precious Jesus,
    Does she know you? Does she have the same hope? I want her to know you, my Jesus – the Redeemer of our past mistakes and the hope for our future.”
    What an awesome attitude to have!
    smooches,
    Larie

  6. Oh the blessed floodgates you’ve opened. Allowing women to share their stories of being touched by adoption! I’ve cried as many tears reading the comments as I did your post. I, too, am a birthmother (of two,actually) and there is not day that those girls are not in my thoughts. And now, in the another twist of my life we will pursue adoption to complete our family…wow!
    Thanks for sharing,
    Wendy

  7. Jennifer,
    Wonderful heart, wonderful home. Thank you.
    As an adoptive mom of three, two girls and a boy, I know they need to grieve the loss of their birthmoms. My eldest and youngest seem to have done this. Only time will tell.
    My passionate middle child had fleeting suicidal thoughts at age 12. She thought, “She could have so easily aborted me. I shouldn’t even be here.”
    While abortion is the #1 form of birth control in the country where she was born, her birthmom carried her nine months. She chose life. So has my daughter.
    I think she’ll make an amazing mom one day.
    ~ Blessings, Lucy

  8. How utterly beautiful and heartwarming these accounts are. Even through the pains and trials, one can see His hand and comfort.
    I was not put up for adoption but my father left my mother when she was pregnant with me. He and my mother were married when my mother was pregnant with my brother–even though he was not the baby’s father. I always thought that he was a good man because at least he tried to give my brother and mother a name. i was also so sad that he left and had nothing to do with me at all. Mind you, I did not have that “empty hole” just as was referred to in this post. My life was difficult as my brother and I are only 12 months apart, my mother went on to have another child and put him up for adoption and then when I was 12 she had my sister whom I will EVER be grateful for since abortion was legal at that point.
    Long story short, about 3 weeks ago I was given the opportunity to contact my biological father. He responded and we have been in contact ever since via one phone call and MANY e-mails. At 44 years old, I am very thankful to be able to get to know my father. it will be a long journey to be sure, but I am excited to see how God can use this.
    over the years I spent many hours praying for him and for God to work it out if I was to ever know him. When i tell you I did next to NOTHING to find him, I mean it! Out of nowhere my mother shared information with my sister and we put it onto the computer and VIOLA! A father :0). He gets all the glory and I am praying for an opportunity to share the gospel with him. he lives 3,000 miles away so seeing him IRL may take some time, but I have peace about it all.
    Sent up a prayer for all who posted that His peace will reign in your hearts as you deal with these challenging circumstances!

  9. I just found this site yesterday. What a beautiful post and a beautiful tribute to your birth mother! If I could go back in time to 18 years old, I wish so much that I could have made the unselfish decision your mother made. Instead I chose the route Planned Parenthood presented … termination.
    There have been many years of wishing I could go back in time and make a different decision. Many hours of counseling where I learned to forgive myself and accept God’s forgiveness. Many tears cried over the only child I would ever carry in my womb.
    I wish more young woman today had the courage your birth mom had and choose to give their child a chance at a “better life”.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  10. This is beautiful Jen. Thank you for sharing this powerful perspective with all of us. As a young mom of 2, I could never imagine giving up one of my children to another. I can just imagine the heartache, agony, indecision and worry she must have felt while trying to figure out her life and the life of the child inside of her.
    Thank you!

  11. Thank you for your story, Jennifer. I believe my daughter, knows as you do that her birth mom loved her enough to want what was best for her and was selfless enough to allow her to have a life, a childhood, a mom and a dad and all that goes with it. My husband and I were the ones blessed with that life, that joy, that gift from God. She is just as beautiful (inside and out) as the one that chose to give her life and she glorifies her Lord with her life.

  12. My grandmother for the longest time had no desire to search for her birth parents. My mom did. I guess it would have been more than 10 years ago that she found out there names, and started searching. Both had passed away. But we found out that she has an older sister. What a blessing! Time became short, and my grandmother only got a couple years to get to know her. We are so thankful for those years, and for the expansion of our family.
    I worry for the many young mothers who are afraid to make the sacrifice your mother did. It seems that so many of their children repeat the cycle of teenage pregnancy and single motherhood.

  13. Praise God for your beautiful words. I the mom to three adopted children and one biological son. Your words warms my heart and call me to praise our Creator for his perfect plan for our lives. Thank you.

  14. What an amazing testimony, Jen! You are such a precious human being, created by God for His glory! Your mother may have thought she made a “mistake” but God never makes mistakes. Thanks you so much for sharing!

  15. The call to adoption has been growing in my heart but I always stop short at that idea of the other mother’s pain. Thank you for sharing your perspective here… the outcomes for you and for generations after. That is the hope I needed to hear.

  16. I’m adopted too and feel exactly the same way. There is no loss from it, just joy and thankfulness. I have a great family and am thankful for the time she carried me long enough to put me in a great home. I have no idea who or where she is, but she existed at one time and made a decision I am grateful for 🙂

  17. What a beautiful perspective to have, and how eloquently you have given voice to it.
    This was one of my favorite lines:
    “As her heart shattered, mine formed. How can such an ironic dichotomy exist?”
    You are a lovely, amazing woman. I am glad to know you and now to know this part of your Story.

  18. Thank you for sharing. We adopted both of our sons and are so thankful that the women who carried them chose life. We pray for them, that they too would know Jesus.

  19. As the adoptive mom of a Russian princess, I’ve often longed for my daughter to be able to know her birth mom. We have searched using birth parent searchers . . . only to have the birth mom tell them to tell us that she wants nothing to do with us or her daughter–that she will never forget her, but that getting pregnant with her was a mistake she wants to forget–she’s married and terrified her whole pleasant life will be lost if her husband ever finds out . . . The searchers say she wept as she viewed the pix of our daughter–her child–that we had sent with them, but she refused to take a single one with her due to her fear. We long for her to know the comfort and peace of God, and pray for her . . .

  20. I honestly never enjoyed a story with all the comments too.
    Thank you all for sharing.
    Bless you all