I know that I have been talking about help us adopt.org a lot lately, but I had such a fun time at their event last month and I’m so honored to take part in such a worthwhile cause. With that being said, hopefully in the future, you’re going to hear so much more with this incredible organization. This leads in today’s adoption spotlight because I actually met this fabulous person at the benefit. She gave a wonderful speech, so I want to make sure you get some parts of it since it was so outstanding!
It my privilege to share with you, Jacqui Hunt’s adoption story.
“I stand before you as both an adoptive mom and a birth mother. I became a pregnant teenager in the early 1980's. Considering that time and my upbringing in a Catholic family, the idea of being a single parent felt too shameful to consider. I felt my son deserved a better life than I could provide so I made an adoption plan and decided to work with an adoption lawyer. I lived in a maternity home while I was pregnant so that my extended family didn’t have to know about my condition. When I gave birth, I waited one day before calling the lawyer to relinquish my son to his adoptive family. I remember when his new family came to pick him up. They were so happy. As I walked out of the room. His adoptive father kissed me on the cheek. Back then, there was no such thing as a post adoption contact agreement. So other than one picture, that one day was the last I saw of my son until he was 22 years old. Later in life, when I was approaching 40, I began to think of having a family. I became pregnant at 41, but unfortunately I lost my baby. I thought of my son, and decided to send his adoptive mother a letter. Soon after, I got an email from Patrick, my son. We met and had dinner at a restaurant on the Lower East Side. He was wearing a grey hoodie sweatshirt and jeans. And one of the first things he said to me was, “Thanks, for the moles.” About a year later, he moved to New York. We would get together, have dinner, and just talk. I loved to hear about his life and the successful person he had become. Now he lives in California with his wife. We stay in touch through email and occasional visits. Being in contact with Patrick brought up many unresolved feelings. So I sought support and found Spence-Chapin. They had a birth mother support group which helped me to start a process of healing. This was my first contact with Spence-Chapin and I already felt supported. I guess that’s essentially what home is, right? A place of healing and support. My journey to build a family continued. I spoke with Patrick about starting a family. He gave me a vote of confidence by telling me "I think you would be a wonderful mom.” After 2 IVF attempts and countless mornings spent at the fertility doctor, I started looking into adoption. I was adopting as a single mother, so I wanted to create a strong support system. I started to let people know I was trying to adopt a baby. When I heard that Spence was taking applications for domestic adoptions, I immediately applied. Monica was so warm and supportive through the many opportunities that didn’t work out. She would stay on the phone with me for the disappointments, and then, for the one, glorious call when I first heard about Carina. That call is still burned in my memory as one of the best calls of my life even though at first I was careful not to get excited, for fear it would be another disappointment. I knew it was real, though, when she asked me to fill out 'just a few’ more forms. When Carina came home, that support system I had built came through. My family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, my son Patrick, basically everyone I knew was on board. Unfortunately, I lost my mom about a year before the adoption, but she was supportive too before she passed. Her quilting group threw me a baby shower and now Carina has about 10 grandmothers. Because that’s what adoption is about. Love for a child. She’s a happy baby who has a sweet demeanor, she’s strong, smart, healthy, and she has a great sense of humor. Although I’ve been a mother for decades, now I get to be a parent every day to my lovely daughter, Carina. It’s more fulfilling and joyous than I could have ever imagined. I absolutely love being a mom.”
Carina was born August 1st and was adopted on August 14th of 2018, and she is so LOVED!
Jacqui’s story is so inspiring because it really shows the connections of adoption and how it can really affect one person. Jacqui had numerous opportunities to adopt and time where she was really close as well. In fact, it was 3 times birth families placed their children in interim care, but they ended up changing their mind and kept the baby. She remembers every detail of it. She said you need to build a support system. As a single parent, that system helps and then when the baby comes home, you have all those people to celebrate with you!
She shares her wisdom from all her experiences she faced with us which is so kind of her. She says to keep going and have the mindset that it is going to be hard. Don’t get too attached to each opportunity and try to believe in the process, keep going through the motion even though it’s so painful, keep believing. If you don’t keep trying, it will never happen. You will feel sad, but keep doing what you have been doing and try to change it up, maybe new agencies, speak out about it, advertise to give yourself the control you need. Keep believing that it will work out and have a process of healing, give yourself time and put one foot in front of the other. Keep doing something. She is so inspirational and I really hope her words help you out!
As for me, I hope that I am inspiring you to do something. Whether it’s reading educating yourself about adoption by reading these stories or you have your own organization, every little action matters and makes a difference. They help many people and go a long way. I want to thank Jacqui for sharing her story with us and I wish her the best of luck as she changes the world with Carina!