It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. On January 24, 2013, our first child, John Kimball Spencer was born. It was the best day of our lives. After years of waiting, we finally realized our dreams of becoming parents. You can imagine how excited we were. Ever since we were married in 2004 Lydia has wanted nothing more than to be a mother. Michael always loved little children and looked forward to that day since his youth. We were anticipating this opportunity in 2005 when we were first expecting, but we tragically suffered a miscarriage. Since then we have wrestled with infertility and the heartbreak it brings, particularly to someone who’s looked forward to raising their own family for so long. We didn’t give up. Where nature has failed, pure love has taken over. We adopted, a process that was also filled with anticipation and uncertainty. Now, a year later, we keep counting our blessings—365 and counting—each day that we have John in our lives. 2013 was without a doubt the best year of our lives, and we have high hopes for the future. The day that John became ours and we brought him home in our own vehicle to our own home was truly the best of times.
That day, a day of relief, joy, wonder, and celebration for us, our friends, and our family—the best day of our lives—was for another person, who spent that day in the very same room as us, the worst day of her life. After enduring nine months of discomfort and a full day of the most painful experience known to mankind, she went home empty-handed. Putting aside the important reasons and mutual benefits of adoption, for a woman to sacrifice her body to bring a life into the world and then to hand that precious life over to another in the same 24 hour period with the understanding of an indefinite separation has to be the worst day of her life. Mind you that for the ensuing days, weeks, and months she would not be exempt from the common postpartum physiological and emotional infirmities. I cannot imagine how hard it was for her. This is not what we want to dwell on; we simply want to acknowledge it.
While for us it was the best of times, for her it was the worst of times. Her life months earlier experienced an unexpected turn, and she was faced with difficult, life-changing decisions. She could have aborted, and no one would have to know. She could have decided to become a single mother and raise the child the best she could, but that is not the life she wanted for her child, and it was not the life she was at that time prepared to face. She knew that the life she helped to create was precious and important. She believed that every child deserves a mother and a father who can give it the needed attention and support and to be reared in righteousness and raised in a gospel-centered home. She decided not only to choose life, but to choose the life that God desired for her son (and His son) and for her. Of course, it was not an easy decision to make. The consequences of it cost her job, her health temporarily, and sent her life in a direction she didn’t expect to go. Some may wonder how a person could just give away her son, her own flesh and blood. They may think that she was thinking mostly of herself, that she cared more about how her life would be changed by the “inconvenience” of an “unwanted” child. On the contrary, we believe she was thinking of her son first. She didn’t do it for her. She didn’t do it for us. She did it for him, and it was undoubtedly the hardest thing she's ever had to do.
We don’t know if she comprehended at that time how much her decision would bless not only her son’s life, but also the life of a family who was searching and waiting for a void to be filled, a family anxiously desiring to grow and to accept another as our own. We hope that over time she catches even a glimpse of what her sacrifice means to us. Even though that special day a year ago was the best day of our lives and probably the worst day of her life, we know that each day only gets better for us and for her. Our open adoption allows us to keep in touch so that she can see how happy he is and observe that her hopes for him are being fulfilled. It allows us to express our gratitude to her in simple ways and to allow—if only in a small way—us to be a part of her life and her to be a part of ours. One of the beautiful things about an open adoption (and maybe unique to ours) is that we feel as though we not only adopted John, but Kim also. We remain friends, but we feel like family because of the special bond we share.
2013 was full of happiness, joy, learning, anxiousness, adventure, and togetherness, and we anticipate more of the same in 2014. As we get ready to celebrate John’s big 1 birthday, surrounded by family and friends, Kim will be far away, but she will remain near and dear to our hearts. On this day of celebration for us, we can’t help but think back on that day a year ago when our dreams began to come true. Happy birthday, John Kimball Spencer!
Adoption: it's about love.