How It All Began…
Adoption was always on the horizon for couple Mark and Misty. “It was never a matter of if, but rather when,” Misty says with passion in her voice. When Misty was only sixteen she witnessed a multi-vehicle car accident. While helping on the scene, she cared for a toddler who became an orphan as a result of the accident. After this, Misty saw adoption in her future. Her husband Mark grew up in a family touched by adoption. Therefore was passionate about adopting a child as well.
They were led to An Open Door Adoption Agency by friends who alerted them to the fact that the agency was seeking families who were particularly open to adopting African American children. Eight years ago they adopted their daughter Isabelle with nothing but joy in their hearts. Four years later, they received a call from the agency that Isabelle’s birthmother was pregnant again and looking to place her baby for adoption since she was not in a place to parent at that time. Mark & Misty were blessed with Nevaeh, “Izzy’s” birth sister.
When they traveled to adopt Nevaeh, they were able to spend time with the girls’ birthmother and her family. Misty reminisces, “It was overwhelming draining, fulfilling, awful, and wonderful all wrapped into one very long trip and two short visits. Our caseworker with An Open Door was a blessing! She walked us through uncharted territory with grace and love.”
A Series of Unexpected Events
Many people today still view adoption as a closed, secretive affair. Open Door commits to empowering adoptive families and birth parents to make connections when it is appropriate for both parties. Placing a child for adoption does not mean you will never hear from them again. In this scenario, it was quite the opposite.
At that visit, Mark and Misty made a connection with the girls’ birth uncle. Over the years, they maintained an online connection. About a year and a half ago, they were contacted by the girls’ birthmother. The caseworker helped them to schedule a visit at a trampoline park. They spent the day visiting and catching up. “We visited like we had known each other for years.”
Through a series of unexpected and divinely ordained events, the two families ended up going on vacation together. They spent the weekend visiting, doing hair, eating food, laughing and living life.
Loved By All
Misty says, “I got to know who the woman who carried my children was. Who she was, is much different than what she was, their birthmother. I got to know HER story. I began to understand her gifts, her heart, her struggles. She was able to do their hair and hold their hand. Their birthmother saw them smile, live, and know that they are fully loved. I was able to ask questions. Questions that were real and hard. And she was able to do so in return. We filled in blanks to a story that had been written seven years prior.
I never realized that in my mind I had made her into some idea I had, based on the stigma of birthmothers. This woman didn’t give her girls up for adoption because she couldn’t care for them, she is AMAZING! She is an amazing mom to her now three kiddos and she is as beautiful inside as she is out. She has gifts that are so much like mine. Loving on others is something she loves to do. She is strong, she is talented, and she is smart. She has made a beautiful life out of ashes. The only difference between her and I are the cards life has dealt us. I went through different hills and valleys. However, I was raised by both my parents. She was not. I never wanted for anything. She has had to make and fight for everything in her life, and she has succeeded.“
It Takes A Village
“Throughout the weekend, we built a relationship and she stepped into a role in my girls’ life that I would compare to a favorite aunt. She honored my place as the girls’ mom and respected and backed me. I loved when she taught me how to take care of their hair! After encouraging me as a mom, she answered questions I had. She cheered me on as an adoptive mom. She told me that I was doing great. The magnitude of that is unexplainable.
At the end of a very long, overwhelming, but fulfilling weekend, we decided we were going to do this together. This was a relationship worth the work. The siblings were going to know who each other was. We decided to maintain communication. We agreed to make sure the girls know their story has been written by ALL of us. They are loved by ALL of us.
We made memories, we wrote pages to this story, and we made plans…to make them part of this big, crazy story. Our story was written by the hand of God seven and a half years ago. That phone call that changed my life, would eventually changes the lives of a small village of people.”