Not a single day has passed, on my adoption journey, where I didn’t feel loved, accepted, and supported by these four people in my life. Words can never fully express my gratitude. If you are pregnant and making an adoption plan, communicate with those around you. Do not make assumptions. Voice your needs and your concerns. Allow them to be there for you. If you are pregnant and feeling alone, please find your tribe of supporters in positive, adoption support groups, with the adoptive couple you pick or within the agency you place with. No one should have to walk alone!
My Mom & Dad
After I announced my “mother-to-be” status, my parents were supportive and backed me up on my adoption plan. I know that time was difficult for them; they had critics, within their group of friends and church members, who openly disagreed with my decision to place my baby for adoption. My parents are religious, they didn’t agree with my lifestyle, and yet they stood by me from day one and ignored the naysayers.
Years after placement, I interviewed my parents about the day they found out I was pregnant and asked my father what his first thoughts were. He replied, I failed you. My heart sank. For many years, I thought he was angry, and I mean angry by the way that he didn’t speak a word to me for a week after I told him I was pregnant. I had no idea the weight he was carrying in my decisions. Now, as a mother of three, I understand his response with greater depth.
My mother was the first person I called when I found the couple who I wanted to raise my baby. My mother was there when we met them. My parents were in the room when I delivered. My parents were present when I placed my precious baby girl in the arms of her father. They were both by my side when I started speaking out about my story as a birth mother, in the middle of our religious community. I can’t imagine my adoption journey without the two of them standing next to me, as they still do today.
My husband and I were engaged one month after I placed my baby girl for adoption and married three months later! He held my hand while I was nine months pregnant and he encouraged me to do what I felt was right. Our first year of marriage, we spent countless, restless nights together as I cried and voiced my grief. He listened to me, held me, and guided me the best he knew how. When I started a non-profit organization that supported birth mothers post placement, he believed in me. When I told him I was going to quit my well-paying job to write my adoption memoir, he said, go for it! Having a spouse that has been a part of my adoption journey from day one has been a benefit to me emotionally, and together we have taken this unfamiliar and emotional path.
My high school friends were the foundation for my courage! Courage to make difficult decisions and the courage to believe in me. During my pregnancy, they threw me a baby shower, but instead of baby gifts, they made me a scrapbook of our photos together. The scrapbook also contained a letter of encouragement from each of them. If I lost friends during my pregnancy, I didn’t notice, because my core group was strong and believed in who I was and who I was becoming. I can’t thank them enough for seeing me way before I discovered myself. I love you guys!
I am the youngest of four children. I have two sisters and one brother. During my pregnancy, I lived with my brother, his wife, and their four children. They had a full house, to say the least, and yet they opened their arms and made me feel welcomed. Moving in with them was a choice I made; my parents didn’t send me away in embarrassment. My sisters have always been an example to me, in their unique ways. I never felt that I brought shame to them. Family surrounded me in the delivery room, and I am surrounded by their love now, as I continue to serve in the adoption community.
I know, without a doubt, that I am privileged to have these beautiful people in my life. I know not every birth parent will find such support, and many have no support at all. I can’t imagine how that would feel and how much courage it takes to walk in those shoes. I do believe in our given power to overcome. In lonely moments of fear and doubt, I hope you find peace within.
If you are supporting someone who is pregnant, in the middle of their adoption journey or post-placement, be a strong foundation for them. Listen without judgment. Love unconditionally. Trust them and their path. Don’t look upon them with pity, look upon them with belief; the belief that they can do and become anything they desire. Be someone they can be grateful for on their adoption journey.
As a public speaker and birth mother, Gina has engaged audiences at adoption conferences and birth mother retreats nationwide. After placing her baby for adoption in the fall of 2000, she founded Birth Mother Baskets, a non-profit organization focused on providing emotional support to birth mothers post-placement.
After 14 years of running Birth Mother Baskets, Gina stepped away to pursue a career as a Creative Arts Manager. A severe concussion in 2016 led Gina back to rediscover her real passion for writing and adoption. She has been working on her adoption memoir since that time.
Her writing has been featured on America Adopts, Adoption Today, American Adoptions, Adoption.com, AdoptionLife.org, and CAIRS News Room. Gina has received the UAC Community Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to adoption in Utah.
Gina currently works as a content writer, blogger, and birth mother advocate for CAIRS Solutions. She lives in Utah with her husband and three children. You can read her independent work at ginacrotts.com and follow her on Instagram at @ginacrottswriter.