Ethical adoption agencies in the state of Georgia offer a multitude of services for birth/expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents.

Telling Your Story: The Adoption Community Needs You

Are you adopted? Are you looking to adopt? Have you adopted any children? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then the adoption community needs you. Why does the adoption community need you? The answer is simple: to tell your story. In this article, we are going to discuss the reasons why you should tell your story, the ways you can share your story, and the types of stories you can share. In this article, you will also find my personal story of adoption, adoption from a birth parent’s perspective, and the story of one family that chose to adopt.  As you read this article, I hope you consider sharing your story. 

Reasons You Should Share Your Story

We all have a story to tell. Whether happy or sad, your story should be shared with those around you. There are several reasons why you should share your story about adoption. 

The first reason why you should consider sharing your story is to educate those around you about adoption. For many people, there is a lot that they do not know about adoption. This leads to misconceptions and prevents people from pursuing adoption. By telling your story, you can help clear up any misconceptions that people have and encourage them to consider adoption. 

A second reason that you should consider telling your story is to bring awareness to adoption. Adoption takes commitments that many people are not aware of. When you decide to share your story, you can raise awareness of the needs that adoption brings. Your story can lead to more people considering adoption and more legislation that highlights adoption over other options. 

A third reason why you should consider sharing your story is to encourage those who are currently in the adoption process. Jumping into adoption can be an intimidating experience, but as an adoptee, adopter, or birth parent telling your story, you can be an encouragement and a supporter to those experiencing the things you may have experienced. Not only does sharing your story encourage others in the adoption community, but it can also encourage you. 

This leads to the fourth reason why you should share your story. Sharing your story can remind you of how blessed you are whether you were adopted or you adopted someone or you placed a child for adoption, giving both of you the best chance in life. Not all stories have a great beginning to end. Your story may be one that you are struggling to share because it brings you pain but once you share it with someone, you can look back at how your story brought you to where you are today. 

A fifth reason why you should share your story is that it builds community. Sharing your story will connect you with others who may share similar experiences. Telling your story benefits and strengthens the adoption community as a whole.

Avenues to Share Your Story

Sharing your story can be intimidating at first, but it will bless you as you impact others. You are considering sharing your story now, but you may not know with whom to share your story. The simple answer is everyone. I know this sounds very intimidating and quite challenging so I am going to give you some avenues for sharing your story. 

I am an adoptee and I have shared parts of my story with the adoption community many times throughout the years. You will have the chance to read my whole story later on in this article but for now, I would like to share with you ways in which you can share your story. To share your story, you do not need to publicize it. There are many other ways you can share your story with others. 

If you are new at sharing your story, the best way to start is by writing it down. Get a journal or diary and spend time just writing it out. Writing can be therapeutic as it releases your emotions and lifts the burdens off your shoulders. You can choose to keep this writing private or share it with loved ones. You can also use art to share your story. 

Express yourself through any form you choose whether that be through composing a song, painting a picture, scrapbooking, or sculpting. It is your story to tell and you choose how you want to express it. Through writing and creativity, you can practice expressing your emotions to yourself before you begin expressing them to others. 

When you tell your story, it is important that you are comfortable with it. Once you feel comfortable sharing your story with yourself, you can start to share with others. The best people to begin sharing your story with are those you trust, your family and friends. Telling your story to your family and friends not only helps you get comfortable with sharing your story, it builds stronger relationships with your loved ones and reminds of your personal support system. 

Other ways you can share your story without publicizing it include support groups and through therapy. Therapy is a confidential session where you can share what is on your mind in a safe place. It can be extremely helpful to those seeking help to work out their personal problems and better their lives. Support groups are a way for you to share your story to help support others experiencing the same thing and to gain support from others. 

If you are ready to start publicizing your story, you should start with social media. Through the various forms of social media, you can be transparent with just a small group of people. If you decide you are ready to share with larger groups of people, you can check with local organizations, contact adoption agencies, and contact your church for opportunities to share your story at large gatherings of people. Look for members of the adoption community near you. Your story has the potential to make a great impact. You never know who might be listening to or reading your story. 

What Stories Should I Tell?

You have a story to tell. Whether you are a birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent, your story has the potential to impact people, but what story should you tell? I am going to give you ideas for what stories you should share.

Birth Parents

As a birth parent, you play an important role in the adoption process. You gave life to a child and chose to place the child for adoption to give your child a chance at a wonderful life. Potential stories that you could share with other birth parents in the adoption community include unplanned pregnancy, rape or sexual abuse, choosing life, from pregnancy to placement, and open versus closed adoption. 

Unplanned Pregnancy – You may have come to the difficult decision of adoption after facing an unplanned pregnancy. Whether it was a teenage pregnancy or at an inconvenient time in your life, your story can encourage others faced with an unplanned pregnancy to place their baby for adoption or it may encourage more safe sex practices and possibly encourage the use of birth control. Your story is unique so you tell it in a way that you think will make an impact.

Rape or Sexual Abuse – It is very unfortunate, but it happens. Some women become pregnant as a result of being raped or being abused sexually. It is very sad, but these women choose to place their babies for adoption. If you were a victim of rape or sexual abuse, you can share your story of survival with other women so that you can give them a voice to share what happened to them. 

Choosing Life – When you place a child for adoption, you have chosen life for that child. Many women become pregnant unexpectedly and think about abortion. By sharing your story of choosing life instead of abortion, you can inspire other women facing this decision to choose life for their child. 

From Pregnancy to Placement and Beyond – As a birth parent, your role was to carry the baby to full term and remain healthy while knowing that you would not be raising that child. This can be an extremely difficult thing to deal with. You probably have tips and tricks that helped you to cope with this situation. Your story can perhaps provide really helpful information for a woman about to give birth to a baby she is placing for adoption. 

Open vs. Closed Adoption – When choosing an adoption plan for your baby, you have to decide between having contact with your child after he or she has been adopted and having no contact with him or her. This can be an extremely difficult decision. You can share your story on how you came to your decision and how it affected you. 

Adoptee

As a person who was adopted, you are very important to the adoption community. You were the child that needed a forever home. Your birth parents chose life for you. You have a unique story to tell. Potential stories that you could share with the adoption community include searching for answers, reunion, advocating for adoption, sharing the struggles, and the foster care system. 

Searching for Answers – Many adoptees desire to search for their birth parents so that they can find out why they were placed for adoption and confirm their identity. Perhaps you have tips to share with other adoptees who are searching for their birth parents. You may have even faced challenges in trying to search for answers that you could share and about how you overcame those challenges. 

Reunion – There are many adoptees who desire to reunite with their birth family. Your reunion story could perhaps inspire someone to try to find their birth family and provide them with information on how they can accomplish this. 

Advocating for Adoption – As an adoptee, you probably advocate for people to choose adoption. Perhaps you were impacted by adoption in a positive way. You can share that experience with others who are considering adoption. Your story of being adopted can educate the general population on adoption and dispel any misconceptions they may have. 

Sharing the Struggles – Not all adoption situations are perfect. There are some struggles and challenges that an adoptee may have faced. The stories and experiences you share can provide hope for other adoptees who may be struggling. Perhaps you can provide advice to someone who is facing challenges with their adoption. 

The Foster Care System – Did you grow up in the foster care system before you were adopted? If you did, perhaps you can share what it was like. Share your opinion, whether good or bad, and educate others about the system you experienced. This can help raise awareness that can help kids in foster care now. 

Adoptive Parent

As the parent of a child you adopted, you play an equally important role. You chose to open up your heart and home to a child who is not biologically yours. You have a great story to tell and it can provide inspiration to others who may not have even considered adoption. Potential stories that you could share with the adoption community include infertility and miscarriage, the choice to adopt, failed adoptions, the joys and struggles of adoption, and open versus closed adoption. 

Infertility and Miscarriage – It is a very unfortunate fact that many women struggle to conceive or carry a baby to term. It is this reason why many women end up pursuing adoption. If you struggled with infertility or miscarriage, you know how devastating that can be. Your story of infertility or miscarriage and how you coped can be a help to other women. You can also share how that led you to adoption. 

The Choice to Adopt – The choice to adopt a child is a life-changing decision for families. For others considering adoption, your story of how you chose to adopt can be an inspiration to other families considering adoption. You can also share about whether you chose to use an agency or pursue an independent adoption and what that experience was like. Your knowledge and advice can greatly benefit others considering adoption. 

Failed Adoptions – It is unfortunate that this happens, but some people pursue adoption only to get to the result of a failed adoption. Have you experienced this? If you did, your story of how you handled the situation can provide hope to a couple who recently experienced a failed adoption. 

The Joys & Struggles of Adoption and Parenting – It is not always easy to parent an adopted child, but there are joys that come with it. As an adoptive parent, you know that parenting an adopted child is not easy but perhaps you have some advice for new adoptive parents that might help them. You could even share resources you have found useful with the adoption community. 

Open vs. Closed Adoption – As an adoptive parent, you chose to either have an open adoption plan or a closed adoption plan. Perhaps your story can provide some insight into either an open or closed adoption and how that has affected your family. This can lead to an informed decision for the potential adoptive parent. 

My Personal Story of Adoption

My name is Emili Schurke. I was born and raised in Springfield, MO. I wasn’t always known as Emili. When I was born, my name was different. My name was Kelly Amelia Jones. That’s the name my biological mother gave me. For the next ten days, I wouldn’t be known as Emili. 10 days after I was born, I became very sick. I was not eating and I could not keep any formula down. I was quickly losing weight. My parents, Sheila and James Jones, rushed me to the hospital where they quickly made the decision that they could not care for me. On the afternoon of Sunday December 18, Jim and Marty Schurke were sitting down to lunch with their kids, Todd and Jennifer, when they received a call from Child Protective Services asking if they would like to take a 10 day old baby girl. They quickly said yes and rushed to the hospital to pick her up.

From that moment on, I would be a member of the Schurke family. It was love at first sight. They quickly knew they wanted to adopt me. Child Protective Services acknowledged that and decided to move on with other cases. Three years later, in January of 1998, the legal proceedings were held and I officially became known as Emili Noelle Schurke. Fast forward to 2017, I have contacted my biological sisters Trisha and Katie. We met and had lunch at CiCis Pizza in Springfield then went to the mall for a couple of hours. I enjoyed getting time to spend with my biological sisters. None of us look alike. Here it is, 2021, and I have contact with my biological mom and two of my brothers through Facebook though I don’t talk to them. I am still in the process of trying to find my dad and get in contact with him. I am blessed to have been adopted. I would not be here today had my biological parents not place me for adoption. 

A Birth Parent’s Perspective

Lacy Davis, a current storyteller for adoption.org, is a birth mom who placed her daughter for adoption. She was 17 years old at the time. Lacy found out she was pregnant when she was 17. At the time she was dating and they were excited to be parents, but things changed. Her boyfriend left her and her parents decided not to provide her any assistance either financially or emotionally in raising her child. Her dad sent her to an agency that housed her for five months while she was pregnant. She attempted to learn how to parent but eventually, she realized that she was not going to be able to give her daughter the life that she deserved. 

Through the same agency, Lacy was able to choose a family for her daughter with whom her daughter joined when she was just five days old. Lacy says that her experience has been mostly positive even though there has been a lot of pain and sadness. She was able to connect with other birth moms to find a community of support. Lacy says, “Making such a huge decision at such a young age helped me grow into the woman I am today.” Making the decision to place her child for adoption has made her strong and brave. Today, Lacy is an active member of the adoption community. She strives to share her experience to educate others about adoption. 

Growing a Family Through Adoption 

Gene and Amy Dascher and their two boys, Nate and Jack, were a happy family of four until one night in September of 2017. Amy woke abruptly from a dead sleep and felt very disturbed. She began to pray and ask God to give her the courage to accept what He had for the family. The next morning, while they were getting ready, Amy told Gene about her experience. He just chuckled and said, “I wonder what’s coming?” Fast forward to later that morning when they were having lunch with some friends from their homeschool co-op who had recently taken in some foster kids. Amy’s friend mentioned that there were two younger siblings and one on the way who needed a more permanent home. Amy felt that this was the reason she woke abruptly in the middle of the night. 

Later, she called her husband and they had a family meeting that evening. They got a text from the social worker. Two weeks and two days later, they became a family of 6. The family went through the licensing process in a very short amount of time. Their time was spent with case managers, team meetings, court dates, and learning to love and care for children that they would quickly grow to love. 

They changed their parenting approach to fit the needs of the kids who brought their trauma with them and quickly learned patience, humility, sacrifice, and the gift of being trusted. They made so many mistakes that they regret. The legal process took three years to complete, but the children became a part of the Dascher family in their hearts. The adoption was not assured at first. The Daschers prepared themselves for separation and heartbreak. Today, they are a happy family of six. The children are happy and well-loved. 

For more stories on adoption, visit these links:

https://adoption.org/stories

https://adoption.org/approach-difficult-reunion

https://adoption.org/sashas-story

https://adoption.org/anas-story

https://adoption.org/katies-story

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Emili Schurke

Emili Schurke is the youngest of three children. She was adopted when she was three years old. She has a huge heart for adoption and foster care. She currently resides with her parents and assists with the children in their care. Emili holds a special place in her heart for children with special needs. She works as a special education paraprofessional while she is pursuing her Masters in Teaching Special Education from Drury University. In 2018, she graduated with her Bachelor's in Elementary Studies from College of the Ozarks, located in Point Lookout, Missouri. She is excited to share her adoption story with those around her.