The definition of the word identity is "the fact of being who or what a person or thing is". Usually, the first identity that we learn about each other is our name. But, we are so much more than just our names, aren't we? What I have learned in my short, yet very long, 21 years of life, is that usually, people aren't ashamed of their first identity, their name. When we introduce ourselves, we lead with something along the lines of "Hi, I'm ______. Nice to meet you!" We take ownership of it. So, why then, are we ashamed of our other identities? We all have that one identity that we just keep locked up in the closet, or hidden under the bed. We feel a certain sense of shame about it. But we don’t have to. Everyone has got a past. Everyone has got a story. Yes, some identities may hurt, and some you may wish that you didn’t have. But you have to own it. Each and every single thing that you identify as, whether you are proud of it or try to hide it, has helped to shape you into the beautiful and incredible person you are. So, here is who I am.
I am a birth mom. I am a new wife. I am a step mom. I am a daughter and a sister. I am a student studying physical therapy. I am a little crazy and a little broken sometimes, but that’s okay because I think most of us are. I have made mistakes, but I am not defined by my mistakes.
The best “mistake” I ever made was getting pregnant 2 years ago, when I had just turned 19 days before. The birth father made it clear that parenting was not an option, but other than that, the decision was mine to make. I still laugh about that. I felt very alone in my pregnancy. Even though I was in a relationship with the birth dad, lets call him Paul, I still felt incredibly alone during my pregnancy. Paul and I had just moved to the very center of Philadelphia so that he could go to school. I basically gave up everything and followed him there so he could be my support system. I guess the idea was better in my head than it ended up being in real life.
By early October of 2013, when I was just a few weeks pregnant, I was feeling really alone and desperate for answers. I hadn’t told anybody but Paul at this point, not even my parents. I was in a dark place and just had no idea what to do. I didn’t have insurance, I didn’t have a doctor, and I really couldn’t afford to be pregnant without those things. Since day 1, I wanted the very best for my baby. I hoped that the best could be me, but without the support from Paul, which he refused to give me, I knew I wasn’t enough. That night, I just felt so stuck. I needed something to click, to make sense. I just laid in bed thinking for hours. I needed some kind of sign for what to do next.
I got my sign. Weeks before this day, I was scrolling through Facebook and remembered seeing something that my cousin had posted. She posted a link to a website and said that one of her coworkers was looking to adopt, and she was helping him get the word out. I didn’t think anything of it when I saw it at a quick first glance, I don’t even think I comprehended it. I really never considered adoption until that exact moment, on October 1st, 2013, when I remembered what I had seen. I immediately called my cousin and said “don’t worry, this isn’t about me, but I was wondering if you knew who these people personally who are looking to adopt”. She told me she did, and told me a little bit about their family and how great they are. So I spent a long time looking through their website. It was now pretty late in the evening, but I sent them an email telling then who I was and about my situation. I prayed that they would contact me back somehow that evening, because honestly, that was our last hope.
They did. Days later, they drove to Philly from their home in Manhattan and sat with Paul and me in a local park for hours. It was the most uncomfortable “first date” in the world at first, but it quickly became very natural and I think we all fell in love with each other. After that day, I felt relieved. I knew my child would be okay. I honestly had the thought of “wow, I wish these guys were MY parents."
I think we all have moments in our life when we can pinpoint a change. The moment I met the future adoptive parents, everything changed. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I was still terrified, but now of different things, things that I could handle. That day, I stopped being an “I”. Now it was a “we”.
My adoption story is far from perfect, and I feel sad about it very often. But as often as I’m sad and hurt by it, I’m so incredibly grateful for it. Before my son, I was lost. I let my mistakes and my pain define who I was. I have learned so much from striving to be great for him. He is my motivation, my courage, and the reason I’m a fighter now. One day, I’m going to meet this beautiful boy that I created through more than just pictures. I will be able to stand up before him, and tell him all that I am now because of him.
Now, I am strong. I have determination and drive. I am his birth mom. I am a wife to the best husband I could have dreamed of, and a step mom to a crazy but beautiful little girl. I am someone who has big dreams and never gives up hope, even when it’s hard to find. These are my identities. The good ones and the bad ones. This is who I am, and I’m proud of it.
My name is Jackie and I'm a new blogger here at BirthMom Buds.