By Gina Crotts
When you were young, did you dream of becoming a mother?
Did you dress up your dolls and cradle them as you sang lullabies and kiss their foreheads as if they were your own flesh and blood?
When you were nineteen years old, did you yearn to be a mother?
Did you see yourself responsible enough to carry out such a task?
I never dreamed of becoming a mother or even yearned for it. In fact, the daunting task frightened me. I was a wanderer, a free spirit, a gypsy soul. I wasn’t going to allow anything to tie my feet to my hometown. I yearned for wings, to see a world I had sparse experienced.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent hours playing Barbies as a young child. However, my Barbie women weren’t at home rocking children to sleep; they were kissing Ken as they quickly left for work.
As I sat on the chilling cold tile floor of my college dorm bathroom, I found no irony in the double red lines that stared back at me. The one who never longed to become a mother was now becoming just that.
My decision to place my baby for adoption came quickly, but not without a lot of anguish, tears, turmoil, and fear. My answers confirmed that this was the path I was to take, but it did not erase the haunting question of whether, when it came down to letting her go, I’d be strong enough to do so.
The only knowledge I had of adoption was from a thirty-minute high school presentation that an abortion clinic presented. In the last five minutes, the presenter nonchalantly said, “or you could choose adoption.” I remember walking out of that classroom, backpack in tow, and thinking to myself, I would pick adoption.
Surrounded by those who had supported me from the first dramatic announcement of my pregnancy, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was nineteen years old. I was now a mother.
Her tiny lips, her tiny hands, and her piercing eyes reached to the center of everything maternal inside of me. She was a piece of me, and I a piece of her. For the first time in my life, I knew why my friends held their dolls and kissed their foreheads. Not a moment was wasted while she was in my care. I sang lullabies to her, I kissed her forehead, I wrote her poetry and I begged her to remember me. She was my little butterfly.
When you were young, I’m sure you didn’t dream about becoming a birth mother.
You didn’t think that someday you would give birth to a perfect little girl, love on her, kiss her, and four days later sign away all of your parental rights.
When you were nineteen years old, did you yearn to make a decision that would pave a path you would never be able to get off of?
I didn’t either.
In fact, seventeen and a half years later, I still wake up in the middle of the night and wonder how I ever had the strength to say goodbye. How did I allow my little butterfly to fly so far away? I also find myself waking up with gratitude in my heart for an experience that shaped me into the mother I am today.
Becoming a birth mother ignited the ability for me to love more fully.
Now, as a mother of two teenagers and an adorable 7-year-old, I know that every day is a gift with them. They are aware of my little butterfly and where she lives, why I made the decision I did, and how someday we may be blessed to all be together again.
Adoption has taught me that a mother’s love holds no boundaries.
No, I didn’t envision myself as a mother or even more so a birth mother, but such a title holds responsibility in me that I now announce with pride and gratitude.
Growing up in Utah County, unwed pregnancy by age 19, Gina always found herself outside of the Utah cultural box. Shortly after placing her baby girl for adoption in the fall of 2000, she started her own non-profit organization, Birth Mother Baskets. Her goal was to provide hope, support, and courage for birth mothers, post placement.
After fourteen years of running Birth Mother Baskets and being an adoption advocate, Gina stepped away to pursue a corporate job as a Creative Arts Manager.
A severe concussion in 2016 led Gina back to rediscover her true passion for writing. She left the comforts of the corporate paycheck and is now writing a memoir.
Gina still lives in that cultural bubble of Utah County with her husband and three children. She enjoys changing people’s perception of birth mothers and their place in adoption.
You can find her writings at ginacrotts.com or follow her on Instagram at @ginacrottswriter.