When I hear the word superheroes, I think of comic books, cartoons, and movie characters like Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman, and Spider-Man. My oldest son started his love of superheroes at a young age. His favorite shirts were the ones with a Batman or Superman symbol on the front. For his fourth birthday, he requested a Batman birthday cake. His favorite gift that year included superhero Lego figurines that he still plays with six years later. I like to think that he enjoys superheroes so much because of the qualities that they have. Some of the qualities that superheroes possess are bravery, strength, determination, and selflessness. These are some of the same qualities that I see in birth mothers and adoptive parents.
The birth mothers that I have met and talked to are some of the strongest women that I know. These women found themselves in situations where they had to make an incredibly hard decision. They made this decision to place their child for adoption because of the love they have for their children. It was a selfless decision, one that was not easy to make. These women are brave for making a decision that not everyone agreed with or supported them in. These women are superheroes.
Julie was 19 years old and pregnant. She felt a huge weight on her shoulders. She was living paycheck to paycheck and felt like she was not ready for the responsibility of motherhood. Even though she was exhibiting a positive attitude, deep down, she was scared and felt alone. On her 20th birthday, she spoke to her mother about her decision to place her son for adoption. Initially, her mother was hesitant about this choice, but within two days felt differently.
After reaching out to a close friend, the mother heard about the friend’s niece and her husband. They were unable to have biological children and were hoping to adopt a baby. The mother shared the couple’s website and adoption profile with Julie. After taking some time to read it and think about them, Julie felt like this was it, and it all started to make sense. The weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She showed so much strength in helping her mom see that this was the correct decision. She was brave in recognizing that she was unable to care for her son in the way that she wanted.
Because of Julie, I became a mother. I am the niece in this story. My husband and I adopted her son. He is now a 10-year-old boy. We have an open adoption with Julie, and she is an inspiration to me. When my son started walking for the first time or when he went to kindergarten for the first time, she was the first one that I texted and sent a picture to.
I admire her strength. I have seen her set goals for herself and achieve them through her determination and resiliency. She married a wonderful man and they are now raising four daughters as well as some chickens and ducks. She was determined to change her life and be in a better position. I love watching Julie being a mom. Her daughters follow her in the same way that the ducklings follow the mother duck. She teaches them, plays with them, reads to them, and shows them what a strong, confident woman can do. Julie is a superhero.
Annie found out she was pregnant in the Walmart bathroom. She suspected she might be pregnant and bought a pregnancy test. When she saw the positive sign, she panicked and felt overwhelmed. She was not together with the father and was looking for a job, though with no real prospects. After telling her parents, they showed their support in whatever decision she made. She felt scared and alone.
There didn’t seem to be many people that she could talk to without feeling shame. While out walking her dog, she ran into a friend from high school and decided to confide her struggles in him. He listened and became a great sounding board for her. Annie frequently turned to him to discuss the drama with her ex-boyfriend after she told him she was pregnant. Her friend from high school mostly listened and let her get her anger and frustration out, but one time he told the story about his brother and sister-in-law who had recently adopted.
This touched Annie’s heart and she started to consider adoption. After months of thinking and praying, she decided that it was the best option.
When she told the father that this was her decision, he did not take it well. He thought that she was doing the “easy” thing. She showed that she was strong and brave through her words and actions. Her friend had put her in contact with his brother and sister-in-law and she also got in contact with their son’s birth mother. They became close friends and she became another piece of support for Annie.
Annie decided to also place her son with this couple. They welcomed this decision and when Annie’s baby was born, the boys were only 15 months apart. Annie signed the relinquishment papers for the adoption, but the father refused to sign. It became a court battle, but Annie was strong and resolved in her decision for adoption. She sat on the stand and told the judge that her baby deserved a mother and a father who would not fight constantly over custody and who could provide the love and support that he needed. Annie showed her willingness to stand up and fight for the protection of her son. Several years later, she continues to be a force for good in her work at a non-profit organization. She loves to reach out and support other women who are in the position she was in and help give them the choice and love. Annie is a superhero.
I read Katie’s story about being a birth mother on adoption.com. When she was pregnant with her daughter, she lived in a dorm with other expectant mothers who were considering adoption. She said many people placed her on a pedestal, and she was congratulated on being brave and strong, but she did not always feel that way. She said, “Through many years of processing my story and feelings, I have determined that I am resilient and a mother who loves her children very much. I am proud to be a birth mother.” I do not personally know Katie, but from reading her words, I see strength and resolve to become the best person she can for herself and for her children.
Her son asked her about his adoption and she replied, “I always wanted to be your mother, and I still do. Not wanting to be your mom was never why I chose adoption for you. I chose to place you for adoption because I knew that you deserved the best life. I could not give you that life at the time, and adoption was the way to do it.” Katie shows selflessness in putting her child above the desires that she had. She is a superhero.
Many adoptive parents have endured some of the hardest struggles in life as they have faced infertility. This has helped them to become more resilient, braver, and stronger. They have shown determination and have been willing to fight for themselves and for their family. After making a decision to pursue adoption, they have worked to become resourceful. Some adoptive families wanted to make a difference in their own communities and chose to be foster parents. This is a sign of bravery to open their hearts and homes to many different children that need love and care.
The Johnsons were married and wanted to start a family. After a year of trying, they turned to a doctor. The doctor worked with them and determined that they had unexplained infertility. After several failed attempts of IVF, they felt crushed that they would be unable to start their family as they had planned.
They slowly picked up the pieces of their broken hearts and turned their mended hearts towards adoption. By watching other families who had adopted, they saw the love and bonding that can come even without a blood connection. They became stronger through the adversity that they had faced.
One day when they were leaving their house, a neighbor started talking to them and mentioned that a family friend was going to be staying over because she was pregnant and needed a place to live until the baby was born. The Johnsons shared their hopes to adopt, and the connection was made. They were able to adopt this baby.
A couple of years later, they were again hoping to adopt and were put in contact with an expectant mother across the country. They were there for the birth of the baby, but in the end, the mother decided to parent the child. The Johnson family was once again heartbroken.
After some time, they mended their hearts again and chose to continue on the adoption road; this time, it was fruitful. They met and fell in love with an expectant mother who chose them to adopt her baby. A second daughter was born and they brought her home from the hospital. The Johnson family was overjoyed and their first daughter was excited to be a big sister. It would have been easy for them to feel like their hearts had been broken enough, but they felt the pull towards adoption and bringing their daughters home. They showed resilience and strength through the difficult journey. The Johnson family are superheroes.
During a church meeting, I sat behind a woman who was holding a baby. I smiled and cooed at the baby. After the meeting, I asked the woman about her baby, and she told me that she was a foster parent and had been fostering this baby for a few months. She put the baby in my arms and I held the baby and made faces at her. This foster mother asked about my husband and me. We had been married for a few years and were considering foster care and adoption after a failed in vitro fertilization attempt.
She flat-out asked if we wanted to adopt this baby. She knew that the baby’s case was heading to adoption. We considered it but did not feel like this baby was meant for us.
This put us on the path towards foster care. A few weeks later we were sitting in an orientation meeting to become foster parents. We ran into another couple, the Cunninghams, who we knew from church. They had three children, and she was pregnant with her fourth child. The foster mom had also talked to them about the foster baby and they had an overwhelming feeling that they were supposed to adopt this baby. At first, they thought it was a crazy thought because they were about to have their fourth child. How could they go from a family of five to a family of seven within months? They couldn’t deny the feeling and decided to proceed with what needed to be done to adopt this baby.
They showed bravery to accept this feeling from God and moved forward with faith. They were willing to adapt to the circumstances and become this baby’s parents. I see so much courage from them. This child needed a family, and though they did not know it at the time, they needed her, too. It has been incredible to see her grow and know she is exactly where she needs to be. The Cunningham family are superheroes.
Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes in adoption. I see these birth mothers have so much strength and bravery as they make a decision that is very difficult. They are making this decision because the love they have for their children is above the love of themselves.
I see adoptive families with resilience and determination to do what is best for their families. They want to open their hearts and homes, even with the possible prospect of heartbreak.
Adoption superheroes have great fight and courage. And because of their fight and courage, adoption can be a beautiful and wonderful thing.Are you ready to take the next steps on your adoption journey? Visit The Gladney Center for Adoption to learn more.