My Gotcha Day
April 24, 1990 was my Gotcha Day (a term used to describe the anniversary of the day a new member joins a family through adoption). A quick 55 days after I was born, my world changed in the best possible way. I never could have imagined all that life would bring me and let me experience.
I was adopted through New Life by my parents Lee and June in 1990, but before my adoption was fully finalized, my adoptive dad, Lee, died of a heart attack. My adoptive mother had to then fight to keep me as a single mother, which was not readily allowed at that time. By the grace of God, she was able to legally adopt me on October 4th, 1990.
In 1992, my mother remarried to a man named Mark, who I had already viewed as my dad. On June 13, 1993, he legally adopted me and my older brother Brandon, who had also been adopted through New Life Family Services.
“Chosen,” not Adopted
I grew up knowing I was adopted. It was no secret. I mean, I looked like Pocahontas compared to the rest of my family, so it’s not like they could hide it! Having another sibling that was adopted too made the sibling bond closer, since we had that in common. My brother Brandon and I were proud of being adopted, (we preferred the word, “chosen”), yet still were so proud to bear the last name of our mommy and daddy.
I remember in court when my dad adopted us that my brother and I were over the moon excited to become one of the “Scott’s.”
I understood what adoption meant at a young age. I was taught how Jesus cared for all people, especially those who didn’t have a place to go or needed love. I always viewed adoption as such a selfless act versus a selfish act. To be able to put your child ahead of your needs, feelings, and plans is beautiful, selfless, and sacrificing. I think because my parents taught me this, my whole outlook on adoption was so positive and I was never angry or hurt by the notion of being “given up.”
I never once questioned my adoptive parents love for me (except for those few times during my teen angst years, but I digress). I always felt loved and accepted no matter what I did. No matter what I said. No matter what.
A Heart of Empathy
I had a closed adoption up until I was eighteen. That was honestly okay with me, as I was always told that my birth mother was very young and not quite ready to be a mom yet. I understood at an early age why I was placed for adoption and my parents did a phenomenal job in explaining all the limited information they knew.
My birth mother was just 15-years-old at the time, and was contemplating having an abortion. I can’t even fathom trying to raise a child at fifteen. Today, at age 27 even I am uncertain if I am raising my child correctly half the time! It would have been so much “easier” for her to abort me versus going through nine months of pregnancy and then giving me to another family to raise.
It would have been so much easier for my birth mom to abort me versus going through nine months of pregnancy and then giving me to another family to raise.”
At that time, everyone in my birth mother’s life told her they didn’t think she could handle being pregnant. New Life helped change her mind, to realize she can do this, she can choose life and place her child for adoption.
A Family Reunited
I was fortunate enough to meet both my birth mother, Jennifer, and her family, and my birth father, Chhoeum, and his family shortly after I turned eighteen. My adoptive parents were so very supportive of this and selfless in encouraging me to meet them.
I was pretty scared to open myself up to the possibility that my birth parents might choose not to meet me. I have seen the devastation of that happening first hand, so I went in guarded and apprehensive. After notifying my birth parents that I wanted to meet them, I quickly heard back that both sides of my birth family wanted to meet me. I cried and felt both nervous and excited at the prospect of meeting them.
I met my birth mother, Jennifer, and her family first, then my birth father’s family a few weeks later. It’s funny because my parents kept pointing out how similar our personality traits, expressions, and physical appearances are. I never had that kind of comparison growing up, so it was fun to find out “whose eyes i had”, etc.
I went from having two siblings to having eight. Yep, eight. I have so many aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and cousins. It is just the best. Thank goodness for social media, because although we all live in the same state, we are hours apart. Through technology, we can stay connected with each other, which is such a blessing.
I married my elementary school sweetheart Andrew (cue the awes) in 2013 and it was amazing to have my entire birth mom’s family, birth dad’s family, and my foster parents present at my wedding. I cried seeing them all stand when the parents were honored. It took each and every one of them for me to get to where I am today. We just recently found out that the social worker who facilitated by adoption in 1990 attends the same church as my mom! The way God orchestrates things is amazing, isn’t it?
Flash forward a couple years to 2016. I was told in my early teen years that I probably wouldn’t be able to have kids. Did you hear that? That was God laughing. I had that hanging over me for years and was intent on adopting as many children as legally possible since I just wanted to be a mommy. Well, when we were looking into becoming foster parents, I found out I was pregnant. My miracle baby! Only by the grace of God were we able to have a feisty son named Aiden in February 2016. Both my birth mother and adoptive mother were able to be with me that day, which was incredibly special.
Although our plans for fostering have been postponed, that is still our vision. We will adopt. However and whenever that opportunity comes about, we are ready for it. Babies and kids of all ages need love, and we have plenty to go around. If we can change the course of a life like my parents did with me, that is a challenge I am so willing to accept.
If it hadn’t been for New Life Family Services, it is quite possible I would not be alive.
I am so thankful for their outreach to expectant mothers in crisis. Had they not been listening and obedient to what God had called them to do all those years ago, I probably wouldn’t be here, and that is a sobering thought. They are helping so many women, children and families. I am thankful and proud to be able to share my story with and through them. To God be the glory.