Krynn Ledah Umm shares the “hard path” she walked through heartache, sacrifice and joy. Out of respect for the privacy of those mentioned, all names have been changed along with some minute details, but this is her truth and a small glimpse into her journey to place her child for adoption.
I was in the car heading home from my high school with my Mother; she had come to pick me up because I was sick. It was morning sickness, but I had not told her this, although I am sure she already knew. I had been acting strange around my parents, hiding my face as to not let them see my fear and constant puddle of tears in my eyes, but staying close because I was terrified and so badly needed them. She asked if I was pregnant and I told her that I would rather answer that when _____ (the biological father) was there. Obviously, that answered her question.
She said nothing in response, keeping her eyes forward on the road. I saw her through my peripherals, but I was too terrified to turn and fully look at her and to hear what she was going to say next. She took a long pause, I am sure to let my words sink in, and then she looked at me with eyes full of sorrow and tears overflowing down her flushed cheeks. She was disappointed and upset, but she did not yell. I do not remember her exact words because I was too terrified at the time to retain what she said, but I do know that she was calm and she was kind, not giving me the verbal lashing I thought I so deserved. I know now that my Mother acted in the grace and mercy of God. She loved me unconditionally; she still showed me love in the midst of being disappointed, angry and hurt. I was not expecting that reaction from her and looking back I believe I appreciate it more now that I have my own child who tugs at my heartstrings from time to time. I understand that my mother put her hurt and anger aside and allowed God to take over. She could have yelled, she could have belittled me for my choices, but she showed me mercy. Agape. It means a love not based on feelings, rather, a love based on self-sacrifice. This is the love that Christ had at the cross and the love my mother showed me that day and many days thereafter. She asked me more questions on the way home and I answered them all with tears running down my cheeks and hers. When we finally arrived home, I went to lie down on the couch and she went to tell my father the heart-breaking news.
I was thankful that she told him and I did not have to go through telling him. I felt like a failure, ruined and unworthy; I was convinced my father would only confirm my feelings and I could not handle hearing him belittle me because I already felt so small. He was by no means a bad father. He simply mirrored his father’s parenting style; one in which a father did not show affection for his children through physical touch and quality time (which I desperately wanted). Rather, he viewed a father’s love being shown through the act of providing. So, given the dynamic of our relationship, I was surprised that when he was told of my pregnancy, I was not given the verbal beating I thought I deserved. Yes, he was disappointed and he was upset, but he did not raise his voice and he did not make me feel small. With tears in his eyes he talked to me with the love and mercy of Christ, just as my mother did.
After processing the devastating news, my parents tried to tell me that I had to place the baby for adoption. I had done my research previous to them finding out; I knew that they had no legal control over what I chose. But, I had known since almost the first day of finding myself with child that I was going to place her for adoption. This was my reply to my parent’s loving recommendation and I can still picture standing in our family room telling them this:
“What I choose is adoption, because I chose it; not because you suggested I should. Like a beautiful painting in a museum, each brush stroke is exquisitely thought out and given to the canvas through the artist’s own mind, not by someone giving painting instructions to the artist on how to bless the world with their art. I too, am going to be a blessing and I need you to understand that I need to be the artist of my own canvas.”
I needed my parents to support me, but not push me; to guide me, but not force me. I knew this was going to be difficult, that I initially would have no control over the pain that was to come flooding in after I placed Siri; the pain that only a mother who has given up her child can completely understand. Once my baby was gone, knowing it was my choice to have her go to a better life would be one of my few strongholds that I would so desperately need.
My parents were supportive, not just at this time, but the whole way through and even to this day. God knew exactly what He was doing all those years ago when he made them my parents. Even though my father and I had our hardships, I never questioned his love for me. For many years he did not understand my love language, though he spoke provision and I spoke affection, though I didn’t always feel “liked”, I always felt loved because in my time of my greatest need my father and my mother were my greatest supports.
Initially, when I told Siri’s biological father, Jeri, I was pregnant he made the choice to not be involved. This hurt, but I knew it was for the best. Months later, I naively decided that I would give him another chance, to see if he had actually changed. I went to his parent’s house and from there we got into his truck and he started to drive down the country road adjacent to his home. I am not sure where we were heading, but I do recall that we did not get far before I asked to be taken back to my car so that I could go home.
“Whoa! She is SO hot!”
He was gawking at a woman bending over in the parking lot of the tiny hole-in-the-wall diner a short distance from his home.
Here I was, scared, obviously pregnant with his child, and emotionally raw from his previous words and actions, yet I was gracious enough (or stupid enough) to give him another chance. I felt a knot in the pit of my belly after he spoke those words of lust towards another woman, but my mind was clear in that moment and I was able to stand up for myself in asking to be finished with this atrocious get-together. By state law, if Jeri did not give me emotional or monetary support it was considered abandonment. Jeri made it abundantly clear that he had zero desire to give me emotional support and I can assure you that he did not pay for anything during my pregnancy.
Yes, I was abandoned and treated poorly by Jeri, but I have forgiven him for that, and harbor no ill feelings towards him. I sincerely hope that he finds it in himself to forgive himself, to be able to live a life free from guilt and full of happiness; I truly hope he finds Christ. It took me a long time to get to this place of forgiveness. Had you asked me 10 years ago if I hoped he was happy and able to forgive himself I would have replied with something spiteful and bitter. But, over the years, coming into a deeper relationship with my Christ, I have found that I am forgiven by God. If Christ can forgive me for my transgressions, who am I to withhold forgiveness from others who have wronged me?
I am not trying to paint myself as a victim. I was a teenager who made a mistake. I was fully aware of my action. I chose to have sex. But, let me be clear with this now: my daughter was never a mistake. She never will be and she never could be. She was created when I sinned, but her birth was not a sin. She is the creation of the Heavenly Father who knit her together in my womb; she is fearfully and wonderfully made by her Heavenly Daddy who claims her as His beloved child.
I want you to understand that I did not make my adoption decision lightly; I wanted her with every fiber of my being. But, as a sixteen year old, putting her up for adoption was the best thing that I could have done for my daughter. She deserved more than Jeri was willing or able to provide and more than I was capable of providing.
I think most people make the assumption that those that give their children up for adoption are bad parents dumping their kids off into other people’s care. But, not all birth moms are bad parents (and not all birth dads for that matter). Often, they are good people that see their shortcomings and their inability to amply provide emotionally and/or monetarily for a child, so they lay their desires to be a “mommy” and “daddy” aside and place their child into the care of parents that are better equipped.
I chose to face the hard path of adoption head on, to accept my shortcomings as a potential parent, accept the gift that life is and to give that gift to Siri’s adoptive family. Adoption is not for everyone. I truly believe God calls those in unwanted or mistimed pregnancies to either parent their child or place their child for adoption, but each person is uniquely created to walk a distinctive hard path with Christ. As long as we as parents and birth parents seek God’s will in our journey down our chosen hard paths, we can acknowledge it, work through it and overcome it without ever being alone.
I can honestly tell you that if I did not walk the hard path of unplanned pregnancy and adoption I would not be where I am and who I am today.
Now, 13 years after I placed my birth child in the loving arms of her adoptive family, I have come full circle. I have been refined by my past and by my God. I now am an adoption coordinator, helping women through their adoption journey. I am able to empathize with their current struggle, but share with them the joy that eventually comes after placement. Recently, after helping one of my precious clients with her decision to place her child for adoption, I stood up from my seat, walked around the table and asked, “May I hug you?” With tears in her eyes, she willingly opened her arms. As I held her tight I whispered in her ear, “You have done something so beautiful.” To which she hugged me tighter.