I’ve been in a really quiet, INtrospective place for quite awhile, but I decided it was finally time to speak about my recent experiences with adoption in hopes that it will add insight and understanding to my family, friends and others who are adopted, those who are interested in adopting a child or the families of those connected to adoption in any way.
My mother was an adoptive mother, I was an adopted daughter, my daughter is a birth mother and her child is an adopted son…
I am the adopted daughter of James Lynn and H. Aileen Calton. I could not have had better, more loving parents who were perfectly suited to patiently and diligently guide the development of my unique qualities and gentle spirit.
I was taken home from the hospital when I was two days old, and I was introduced to the fact that I was adopted before I can even remember. I came to know, first-hand, the beauties and blessings of adoption. On the other hand, I was also keenly aware that I was “different” from other children because of the way I came into my family, and when I was young, I struggled to understand why someone would “give me away”. It was a closed adoption, and there were no answers for me.
In recent years, I have remembered and investigated some of the beliefs I gathered in my young years. I sought to replace beliefs that were false or mistaken with the truth I’ve gleaned from my adult understanding and perspective of who I really am. I could now see countless ways that incorrect beliefs I took in as a child had replayed subconsciously as scripts that often influenced my daily living. Somewhere, down deep, I had accepted that I was unlovable and unwanted by my birth parents, therefore, along life’s path, early on, I concluded I was simply unlovable and unwanted…period! These thoughts were confusing then painful then repressed, until later in my life when I chose to remember and heal them with the truth.
During this introspection, I learned that my youngest daughter was expecting a child. Unmarried and in one of the most distressing times of her life, the baby had been expected by adoptive parents for a long, long, time, yet the baby was unexpected by my daughter and her boyfriend, and the pain and distress which was embedded in her circumstance were her constant companions for many months. She had worked and supported herself, but she was, at the time, without employment. The ripple effect was that she lost the ability to pay for her own apartment, therefore, she was living with family members.
Full of anxiety, my sweet Marissa wondered if she’d make it through the depth of emotions she felt and all the challenging experiences that accompanied her pregnancy. In spite of all her efforts, the only option that she could see that would bless her little baby was for her to choose adoption. I knew, from her childhood, that once she made up her mind, she would act with conviction and stick to her choice. She had exhausted all possibilities before she made her choice. Now, it was time to act.
And move into action she did.
1) I flew to AZ to help her cross the threshold to LDS Family Services to begin the adoption process.
2) She met her counselor/case worker and found out about the website www.itsaboutlove.org
3) She found out she was having a boy and was delighted. She began calling him Oli.
4) She courageously chose the perfect adoptive parents who decided his name would be Otto (a family name). They happened to be the same parents I saw online and thought would be “the perfect match” but whose names I withheld from Marissa since I knew it needed to be entirely her choice. She chose, and we came to find out that we had both found Matt and Courtney Earl.
5) Marissa continually chose whatever was in the best interests of her child.
6) She stood up to anyone and everyone who did not or would not act in the best interests of Otto.
7) She observed his amazing face and body as she viewed the ultrasound pictures. Through sharing pictures through texts and emails, our family and the adoptive family were able to share in the joy of his new, very real life.
8) Marissa used doTERRA essential oils to help reduce her anxiety.
9) Initially, Marissa thought she would need to choose a closed adoption to get through the pain of releasing her child to the care of other parents, but after meeting Courtney and Matt, Marissa began to see the wisdom in Courtney’s desire to have an open adoption experience. Here is a link to the experience Courtney wanted to emulate with open adoption: Click here.
9a) I was continually amazed and deeply grateful for Courtney’s ongoing kindness to Marissa. I could tell she had wonderful qualities of character which had been developed over a lifetime. Through their communications, Courtney and Marissa became close. They developed their own bond of love. Matt was amazing, too.
9b) My own children had been so blessed by their Grandma and Grandpa Calton, who were my adoptive parents, that our family was perfectly prepared for creating a positive experience with the adoption of Otto—even through any pain and the unknown connected to how it would really feel at the time Marissa transferred the care of Otto to the Earl family. It was all a mixed experience, that’s for sure.
10) Otto’s delivery was near. I flew to AZ. Marissa and I went to the doctor, and he scheduled her to be induced.
11) My children who lived in AZ and I had a get-together with Courtney and Matt on the Saturday night before Otto’s delivery.
12) We had fun, ate Mexican food, and had a cake with Marissa’s, Courtney’s and Matt’s names on it. They gratefully received gifts from us for their new and growing family. One of the gifts I gave them was a family tree that I designed (see note below text) that listed Otto as their son and Matt and Courtney as parents (with Marissa’s full approval, of course).
13) After fun, food and conversation, Courtney, Matt, Marissa, a friend, and several members of our family along with Tifa, Marissa’s dog, went on a walk to see if it would encourage the beginning of labor.
14) When Matt and Courtney went home, doTERRA essential oils were used to also encourage labor.
15) Scared and excited, too, Marissa and I headed for the hospital Monday morning. As mother and daughter, we were ready for the inevitable—both the sorrow of the eventual parting and the extreme joy of meeting the amazing little boy Marissa had loved and cherished and cared for since the moment she knew of his existence.
So, most of our Arizona family members stepped fully into the experience of delivery, and the placement of Otto into the care of Courtney and Matt.
Everyone experienced both joys and sorrows and processed their independent feelings, yet in spite of it all, I knew that the best and highest good was being served for everyone. I trusted that we were all under the continuing watchcare of a loving God who had a perfect understanding of the “bigger picture” for Otto’s life, Marissa’s life, Courtney and Matt’s and their extended families lives, and our families lives, too. I trusted God, as creator and deliverer of us all.
Courtney did a wonderful job of recording in words/documenting the experience we all shared together in the hospital. Click here to read what happened and see pictures, too.
Labor was easier than Marissa expected it to be, and yes, as Courtney put it, sometimes we even “laughed until we cried”—including Marissa. As difficult as her journey was, Marissa is grateful and has, at times, been filled with joy. Through her experience with Otto, I observed her remember what true love really feels like.
Marissa posted this on Facebook the night the adoption papers were signed at the home of her oldest brother and sister-in-law:
“We signed the adoption papers tonight. … Such a bittersweet time. I’m so happy with how everything went and how wonderful and supportive everyone has been. I couldn’t be happier with the beautiful couple that will be raising my son. They love him so much and I couldn’t possibly have chosen anyone more suited or deserving. I am so incredibly lucky to have found them, and I have fallen in love more and more every time we have been together. I’m so happy I will get to watch him grow and be a part of his life. I have never in my life felt anything close to how much I love this little boy. It’s so unreal. He is by far the most amazing thing to ever happen to my life, and every moment has been worth bringing him into the world.”
Being adopted myself and watching Marissa’s loving care and tenacious protection of Otto during her pregnancy and her care for him (shared with Courtney and Matt) during Marissa’s days in the hospital has helped me to see and know first-hand that some amazing birth mothers, without a doubt, DO deeply love and tenaciously protect their babies, and this is a definite act of LOVE—even though some adoptees may falsely conclude that they were not loved at all.
On Otto’s birthday, Courtney posted this message on Facebook:
“Otto Joshua was born to the beautiful and selfless super-woman, Marissa.
She honored us by choosing us to parent and raise him and so joined our families forever.”
Ours is a continuing story of love and connection that will go far beyond Courtney and Matt driving away from the hospital with Otto. They have become part of our family, and we have become part of theirs. Through the amazing model of open adoption that Courtney had the insight to embrace, we will all be learning, growing and loving—all for the best and highest good of little OTTO who, without knowing it, is helping many hearts heal and have an abundance of joy.
Matt’s first Father’s day
Download your free 8 1/2″ x 11″, 2 generation, Family Tree Chart, a smaller version of the one I gave the Earls, by leaving your email address at www.FamilyTreeQuest.com This is my website. Please accept the 2 generation Family Tree Chart as my gift to you.