American Adoptions’ Director of Social Services, Jennifer Van Gundy, shares her experience of being adopted as an infant and how it has impacted her life as a mother and a professional.
Thirty years ago I was given the most awesome gift: my family. I know it sounds odd, but my birth mother decided that placing me for adoption was the best choice for both of us. I still can’t imagine all she went through to come to that selfless decision.
My mom was working as a nurse at a local hospital, so my dad was home alone with my brother when he got the call. It was happening. My parents could come to the agency the next day to meet their baby girl. (That was me!) They had been waiting three years for that call, and they were frantic, pulling cribs out of the attic to get ready for my arrival. My brother, who was 9, was pretty psyched too.My brother is my parents’ biological son, but my mom had complications from his birth that rendered her unable to have any more biological children.
Within four months, I became very sick and had to go to the hospital, where they discovered I had been born with a congenital heart defect. How ironic is it that I was adopted by a nurse?! My family went through so much with me that year, but it was all worth it.
People often ask if there is a difference between the way my parents treated my brother and I, since he was biologically their child. I always tell them the same thing: “No! My parents actually liked me better!” We were honestly treated the same. I was daddy’s little girl and he was a momma’s boy. He treated me just like any other annoying younger sister. Now that we are older we are very close, and I have enjoyed being a part of his new family!
I don’t know much about my birth mother. I was adopted in a time when adoptions were closed. She was able to hold me briefly at the hospital, and then she left without having met the adoptive family. She didn’t get to have that communication with my parents to know what they were like or what my life would be like with them. She got no closure.