Ever since I can remember, I’ve always found self-worth and gratification in helping others. I blame my loving family for instilling this behavior in me. While we didn’t have the means to go on amazing vacations or have a lot of materialistic things in life, we never went without. Family gatherings had enough food to feed us, the neighbors, and their families all for months to come, and they always made sure there were presents galore for every occasion. I still remember the Christmas morning that I received my first pair of Jordache Jeans. I know how hard my parents worked to afford those for me, and I felt like I would finally be just as cool as the other girls at school. Turns out, like every style of fashion, those Jordache jeans faded quickly but the joy of the gift has lasted a lifetime.
The behavior and instinct to take care of others is natural to me. My girlfriends always referred to me as the “mom” of the group, as I would be the one to remind them of “what a bad idea” our next adventure was about to become. I always want to protect my loved ones, and keep them safe, and still do to this day.
In my late 20s to early 30s, my desire to have a family was always in the back of my mind but I focused on life that was in front of me, single with a really great career, working full time and going to school part time, amazing family and friends. I decided that one day I would adopt, regardless of whether I was married or single. I knew there was a child out there in need of a loving home, and I felt strongly I would be able to provide and in some way be able to give back to others.
Fast forward to January 2018. My husband Bryan and I had come to a tough decision to throw in the towel on our quest to adopt. After almost two years of an emotional rollercoaster, we felt that it was time to move on. We had an amazing life and could continue to help others and we were a family, regardless of not having children. Nephews, nieces and children of OEF were our kids.
Then on February 1st, 2018, our lives were changed forever. Our social worker called to tell me she was meeting with several birthmothers and wanted to submit our profile to them for consideration. Like so many other times when we received these calls we of course agreed, and moved on with our day. Around 4pm that day, the social worker called back and said “you’ve been matched with a birthmother.”
After many tales of emotion, and what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, our Addison was born on May 10, 2018. I was the first to hold her, minutes after she was born, and felt an immediate bond with her. From the moment she was born, we knew she was forever ours and we tell her that every day.
Addison has recently turned two years old and is now of the age where she is repeating everything we say and mimicking our actions. It’s an amazing time, and a very fun time without doubt. As I think about the challenges we are all experiencing with shelter in home during this COVID pandemic, we are incredibly lucky to have this time with Addison together as parents. Our hope, along with the many things she will learn from us, is that she understands the importance and has the passion to help others in need, regardless of the magnitude of the need.
My passion to help others and keep them safe is why I love being a part of The Orange Effect Foundation.