When Love Is Not Enough
Everyone wants to see themselves as a loving parent, for obvious reasons, but where is a desperate parent to turn when love is not enough?
It’s a question Juana (name/s changed) found herself asking, when she and her kids lost their home and got kicked off a friend’s couch and began staying under a north Texas bridge.
“I never thought that would be me,” she said. “I used to see moms whose kids looked dirty and think geez, clean your kids up, why don’t you? But that was back when my husband had the pipeline job and we had the house and things were good. A few bad choices later, and look where we were?”
Her husband had begun drinking too much and walked out on the family. Juana had begun seeing another man, but when she told him she was pregnant, he admitted he was married and went back to his wife. Juana got on public housing, but lost eligibility for letting some relatives move in, and by the time the new baby came, Juana was dealing with an addiction and trying not to lose her other kids to the State.
“If love was all it took, then no, I would never have done what I did. But being a good mom, it takes so much more. My baby, he needed more than I could be or give. And even messed up as I was, I knew it.”
That’s when she found Abrazo’s number and called for help.
That’s how she found Troy and Sabrina, the couple she chose to be her baby’s parents.
And that’s when her life and that of her children really started to turn around.
“The baby’s parents, they’re the best!” Juana smiles big, just thinking of the relatives adoption added to their lives. “The first time we talked, it was like we just always knew each other. Sabrina is like my sister, and Troy, he’s just like a big ‘ole kid himself. My kids took to them right away, and ever since they came down to meet us for the first time, I knew they were the people we needed to have.”
Juana had not known about open adoption when she first called Abrazo. She admits that the idea originally freaked her out, but she says after seeing them with her baby, she knew she wanted to stay in touch and see how things turned out.
That was eleven years ago. With Troy and Sabrina’s encouragement, Juana found the inspiration to kick her addiction, and she even went back to school for her GED.
Her kids look forward to the adoptive parents’ visits, and that “baby” has grown up proud to be a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, since that team represents the city of his birth.
Says Juana: “I tell everyone I know: if you can’t feed your kids and keep them safe, then love is not enough, you gotta think about adoption, and call Abrazo. You guys saved my baby, and you saved me and my kids. I don’t know where we would have ended up if it wasn’t for you. But I know where my son did end up, thanks to Abrazo’s open adoptions. And that changed everything.”
Life changed for Troy and Sabrina, as well, of course. For one thing, Troy and Sabrina found that knowing their child’s birthmother was an advantage, in ways they’d not expected.
“After we got to know Juana and her kids, we realized that having birthfamily in your lives is really a bonus,” Sabrina admits. “It’s hard to believe there was actually a time when we’d thought of adopting internationally, so we wouldn’t have to know anything about where our adopted child came from? We’re so grateful to Abrazo for teaching us about open adoption and helping us get over our fears.”
And Troy (who had himself been adopted in a closed adoption) found the courage to go looking for his birthfamily, too… and in doing so, he discovered that his birthmother shared his penchant for practical jokes, and he also learned (to his son’s sheer delight) that his own birthfather had once tried out with the Dallas Cowboys, bringing things full circle, in a way.
Troy says “I’m so grateful they did what they did and gave me the family that I had. And here’s the thing: I know without Juana and her kids, we could never be the family that we are. I used to worry about whether I could really be a good dad to a kid that wasn’t my own. But from open adoption I learned that love just multiplies. The more people that love a child, the better.”
When love isn’t enough, keep searching for options and answers… because when you mix caring hearts and open adoption, what you find just might help grow you in all sorts of wonderful new directions.