Birth Parent Stories
Natalie & Jon's Story
All is truly well here and we are so happy for Sammy and his new family. James and Kathryn really are the parents that Jon and I both dreamed about as kids. Jon asked me to email his letter, following, to you so you can read it to everyone when we all get back together on the 17th.
This is all good stuff for all of us. You were the first blessing to us in this process. Jon felt like you understood him and that he could trust you. That is a very big deal for him to feel trust at all. So thank you for that. Alyssa is also someone that he felt like he could trust and that you both had our best interest in mind the whole time.
Then, after meeting James and Kathryn, he could see that there was real compassion and love to be felt that he didn’t know existed before then.
I also am sending you this email so I can tell you and Alyssa what I need to say clearly and without being emotional over the phone. I only have tears of happiness and pride right now, but it gets a bit hard to get words out through sniffling. I’m only talking about positive emotions.
I know that this seems like it might be overwhelming for us and me especially, but I promise that I’ve got it together and Jon is figuring himself out as I write this to you. This is a healing time for him and it should be celebrated.
I know that he and I are going to be able to reach our goals together. Life really is good to us right now. One step at a time though. I am sure that you will have some questions for us or me, so write me back or call Thursday if you feel.
Thank you again for just being the reassuring and understanding guy that you are. You and Alyssa really are a great team. You have both changed our lives for the better by just being yourselves and listening without judging either of us. I will talk to you again soon.
Dear Tom, Alyssa, James and Kathryn,
I have the pleasure of explaining how giving James and Kathryn their dream has given me a dream.
Natalie and I spent a great deal of time searching for the perfect family for Sammy, and I was so nervous to make a mistake in adopting him to the wrong family. I obviously wanted to have a great family for Sammy, although I was blinded by my drive to find him a great father. My childhood, my family (outside of Natalie and our daughter, Angie) and first marriage had me so jaded that I was absolutely determined to find the perfect family for him.
I was abandoned the first time as a young child and from that moment on I have, without even realizing it, honed survival skills to protect myself and my two sisters. I believe deep down these defense mechanisms have saved my life on more than one occasion. These same skills later contributed to the personal success in my life, including my lovely wife.
I learned how to read people’s eyes and body language along with circling conversations for my own informational purposes. Without even thinking about it, I will control a conversation to find discrepancies to discredit the individual in question. I am programmed in this manner and have no ability to turn that off. I look back and know I have destroyed a lot of friendships before they could even start. I wonder now how much these so called skills, abilities, or curses have hurt myself and others but I will never know for sure.
I spent a lot of time researching James and Kathryn, driven solely by my wife’s love and my love for Sammy. I had a good feeling about them but was not in any way prepared to let him go that day. I wanted to talk to them, watch them talk to others, look for any sign of strange body language and assess the look in their eyes.
I walked with James and I found him to be very impressive in every way. I brought up subjects to get his point of view on them, and it took no time to know he was going to be the father many kids could only dream about. Very logical, honest, disclosed a very intelligent view on religion and most of all a concern for his wife being alone while he was talking to me.
I also felt Kathryn’s pain and was aware there was more to the story than I was being told about their path to parenthood. I waited for this information to be disclosed and James did so, contributing to the honesty I was seeking. As we walked back towards our lovely wives, I could see everything I needed to know in Kathryn’s eyes.
There were many other things that I noticed but they were all laid to rest very quickly. This felt too perfect and it was such a foreign feeling to wrap my head around, how something could fit so perfectly in my eyes.
I sat with Tom and could not keep my eyes off James, Kathryn and Sammy. I had no idea I had the ability to be that happy and proud at the same time. They looked so perfect together. I watched them to the point I felt rather self-conscious for staring in awe for so long.
While watching this miracle, if you will, I leaned over to Tom knowing he left criminal law to be involved in adoptions and asked him, “This is what it is all about right here?” There was no point in him answering because I could see it in his face.
Like a rogue wave crashing into me, I connected the dots and it was like plugging in a massive strand of Christmas lights in my mind and had an epiphany. I realized James and Kathryn’s trust in Tom and Alyssa and our trust in Tom and Alyssa had a great deal to do with this event. Granted, I was already aware of the connection but this was of a different caliber.
I am not sure the words exist in the English language to properly portray what I’m about to say. I knew what my purpose in life was then and there. The details were of no concern to me but the big picture was crystal clear. I was unable to stop smiling.
My childhood, my hardships, my trials and tribulations were a gift. Every scar, emotionally and physically, was for a reason and meant to be. Even the ones that I could never tell my beautiful wife about because I just simply know it’s in her best interest not to know what has ever happened to me because it would break her heart.
My purpose in life is to help troubled youth. Plain and simple. I heard Tom’s words ringing in my head from when I asked him about being a criminal lawyer and he said, “I was good at it”.
I have seen and felt so much that I know I would be great at helping kids that others have given up on. Like I said, I don’t know the details but they still are no concern to me at this point.
I also learned from James and Kathryn that people marry their best friend in life out of respect and admiration. Asking someone to marry you is a gift to your best friend. Even same sex couples are not an exclusion from this process. Same sex couples even fight for the right to marry their loved one.
We returned home and I could not even look at my wife and daughter the same way. I spent time with my daughter, carried her to bed, tucked her in and sat there and watched her sleep for a while. I found a whole new meaning for the word precious. I then sat with my wife as we shed tears of joy to be given a chance to have the opportunity to make a dream come true for people that beyond a shadow of a doubt deserved their dream. We were beside ourselves.
I told my wife about the series of events that led up to my epiphany and she was so happy to hear my words. I dropped to my knees and asked my wife to marry me. Even after the yes, I felt so comfortable kneeling before her that I continued to do so. I was so proud of myself to do this, but also to do something that felt normal. I hope that makes sense. It was an amazing experience and we plan to renew our vows at a point when we have the ability and can take Angie with us on our honeymoon.
I just wanted you all to know that I feel our selflessness has propelled my life in a direction that I couldn’t have ever imagined. I’m committed to taking whatever steps I need to take so I’ll be able to help the children and teens in the world who need me to listen to and understand them the way you have done for me. I am incredibly optimistic! This may take me some time but I realize I have so much to fight for now.
Tom, Alyssa, James and Kathryn, I am eternally grateful for your time, effort and compassion. James and Kathryn, I have no doubt in my mind that our son — “our,” as in “James/Kathryn/Natalie/Jon” — will be loved and cherished.
I would like to give a special thanks to James for his compassion and understanding while talking about my baby girl Angie. You will probably never know how much that talk meant to me. I will cherish it forever. I will cherish this whole experience ’til the end of time.
With all my respect and admiration, Jon