When I was 17 and thought I was pregnant, my parents took me to Birthright in Kansas City. I was met there by very supportive, compassionate, and non-judgmental volunteers for my pregnancy test. They put me at ease; the test was positive, and I knew they would always be there for me.
I was still in high school and knew I was not ready to raise a child. Birthright put me in contact with Mary Schimburg, a social worker at Catholic Charities who handled adoptions.
Mary was wonderful in helping me with my situation. She had me put together a few pictures and she asked me to write a letter to my daughter letting her know that I was giving her up for adoption so that she could grow up in a family with both a mother and a father, whom I knew it was what was best for my baby and that I loved her.
The photos and letter were then given to the adoptive parents to share with the child when they felt it was appropriate. I had the baby and gave my daughter a loving mother and father. I knew I had done the right thing.
Three years later, while in college, I became pregnant again. This time, I lived with a caring family who had offered their home to Birthright girls. I attended the weekly rap sessions at Birthright and counseling sessions with Father Mulhearn.
I had originally planned to keep the baby and raise him or her myself. However, as more time went by, I had to admit that taking care of a child, working and going to school, all on my own, might not be the best thing for my child.
I contacted Catholic Charities, and Mary was still there. She again was so helpful and supportive, and she assisted in helping me find a wonderful family that adopted and would raise my son.
Again, Mary asked me to put together some photos and to write a letter to the child. The items were given to the adoptive parents. My son was to be raised by a loving and supportive family.
Although I thought about my children from time to time as life progressed, I knew in my heart that I had made the correct decision. I held onto my faith that if it was God’s Will, I would see my children again.
I was close to my parents and continued to live in the Kansas City metro area after finishing college and had a successful career in the travel industry. One fateful evening in 2003, when I stopped by to visit my parents, they handed me a letter that had been delivered to the house for me. It was from Mary at Catholic Charities. Both of my children had contacted the agency and wanted to meet their mother.
I was thrilled. Not just one of my children, but both had contacted me and wanted to meet. It was amazing!
My daughter, Julie, was a sophomore attending an area college. “My adoptive parents had been wonderful, and they had always been open and honest with me about being adopted. I had an adopted sister with my family too. My adopted mother had passed away earlier that year. It was getting close to the Christmas season, and I was really missing her. I felt that it might be the right time to try to get in touch with my birth mother. The only fear I had was that my adoptive father might be hurt. When I shared with him what I wanted to do, he was supportive with me finding her. So, I called Catholic Charities, contacted Mary, and she helped me contact you,” said Julie.
Joshua, my son, was 17 and in high school, and had wanted to contact his birth mother to find out who she was, and to find out about any family medical history. He too had been raised by a family in the metro area, and they had been open and honest about his adoption. Josh contacted Catholic Charities, was connected with Mary a few days after Julie had contacted her. Mary assisted him with reaching me.
I knew that I wanted Julie and Joshua to meet each other, but I wanted to meet them separately first. I made plans to meet Julie first, and then Joshua.
After connecting with Julie, I met with Joshua a few days later and shared with him about Julie. He wanted to meet Julie too, so we all met at my home a bit later.
Within two months, I had met both Julie and Joshua and each of their adoptive families. I knew I was very lucky. Everyone had been so supportive in our reconnecting. That year was a very special Christmas. I told both Julie and Joshua that I would be in their lives as long as they needed me to be.
That meeting was 2003, and I have been an integral part of both of my children’s families since that time. We have spent many Christmases and other holidays celebrating together. However, one specific moment does stand out in my mind.
Both Julie and Joshua have children and families of their own now. When their children started to call me ‘Grandma’…nothing touches your heart like that. I know that I am blessed.
I continue to be grateful for the mission of Birthright, and I will help as a volunteer as much as I can. Even through my work schedule, which is mostly travel, the love and gratitude continues.
by Teresa Cameron