National Adoption Day is personal to me. Each year, during the month of November, and especially on National Adoption Day, it gives me time to reflect upon my family and the blessings that were not birthed to me, but are truly my daughters. Has parenthood been easy? Absolutely not! Has parenthood been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life? Absolutely. What makes it that much more rewarding is that we became parents by choice. We chose to go through the adoption process and have truly been blessed because of that choice.
Back in 2018, I wrote my first book, If You Really Knew Me: The Life, The Lessons and the Legacy. One of the chapters in that book tells our adoption story. Please enjoy our personal account of how our daughters were "chosen".
If You Really Knew Me
The Life, The Lessons and The Legacy
"Something” came over me! I’m not sure what it was but out of the blue, I wanted to be a mother! WHAT? I was 42 years old! What was I thinking? Why not 5 years earlier? Or for that matter, 7 years earlier when Phil and I got married? OMG! What was I thinking? I couldn’t get it out of my mind! I thought about it. I prayed about it. And I listened to God! God opened doors and confirmed that “it” was for me! But, it wasn’t all about me and my wants. It was also about my husband, my partner, my teammate, my soulmate. He had to agree. He had to want to be a father as badly as I wanted to be a mother. I thought that would be a “hard sell” since Phil said from the very beginning of our relationship, that he did not have to be a father. We had that conversation early in our marriage because I was 35 when we got married and I told him that if he wanted children, we needed to have them “right away”!
So, I was scared to have this conversation! We talked about the pros and cons. Pros: We really enjoyed our nieces and nephews and especially our youngest nephew who spent many weekends with us. We were settled in our careers and were relatively stable financially. We owned our own home and had space to grow. We had so much to give on so many levels – emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. We were ready to love. Cons: We were “older” which would mean that there would be a generation between us (all our friends had kids earlier in life and by the time our child was in high school, theirs would be in college or even married). We would need to adopt. I was 42 years old by gosh and there wasn’t any way that I would be “birthin” any baby! LOL!
At the end of the day, we weighed the pros with the cons and OUR passion was so strong (once I talked to Phil, he very quickly wanted a family, too) and we began to inquire about the adoption process. We met with the Children’s Bureau to get a better understanding of the adoption process. We attended an all-day adoption preparation class. We had decisions to make. What kind of adoption did we want to pursue? Infant vs older child? Open or closed? Local vs national vs international? We completed a “home study” through the agency which was the process used to determine if we would be successful parents. We were approved and we decided that we wanted a national search and we wanted an infant. Still lot’s to do. We reviewed a packet of birth mother’s from around the country. We selected several that had a profile that would be acceptable to us (closed adoption where there is no contact after birth, healthy and we specifically requested a girl). After the initial selection of birth mothers, we provided a profile to those birth mothers who then had the opportunity to “pick us back”. The final decision was the birth mothers. Over the next five months, we matched with three different birth mothers but once it was time for the baby to be placed with us, they changed their mind. We were devastated!
August 1, 2000, we received a call from the agency. That morning, a birth mother walked into a hospital in Houston and stated that she was in labor and wanted to talk with a social worker about adoption. She had her baby that day. She had a girl. She saw our profile. She wanted us! The agency asked if we were interested. What? Were we interested? That was OUR baby! Of course, we were interested! We waited the 24-hour period. We got the call. She was ours! The papers were signed! We could make our flight arrangements!
The next day, we flew to Houston and picked up our daughter right from the adoption agency. It was late at night and as we walked up to the agency door, all we saw was a little bundle with a head full of hair. Our hearts were full and we shed so many tears of joy! We completed paperwork and took her to the hotel. After a short stay in Houston, we brought her home. I look back on this experience and realize that God had a plan for all of our lives and that we were positioned in the place that we needed to be in to have the child that He wanted us to have.
Four years later, we began the process to adopt for the second time. We used the same process for this adoption where we went through the birth mother matching process. We were matched quickly and since she lived in the same state, we actually met with the birth mother prior to being matched. Since it was late in her pregnancy, we didn’t have long to wait. We were invited to the hospital the day after the baby was born. We went to the nursery and were instantly in love! The birth mother signed the papers for the placement to be official and we went to meet with her before she was discharged from the hospital. She had one final visit with the baby and then placed “Ciara” in our arms. Here is what she told us:
“THIS CHILD will never go hungry!
THIS CHILD will never be on welfare!
THIS CHILD will never be homeless!
So, I give THIS CHILD to you out of love!”
What a love story! This selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love is the love that I think of daily – every time I look at my girls!
If you want to hear more about my adoption experiences, you can view my Ted-type “Walk the Talk” speech that I gave on the title “Letting Go: A Sacrifice for Love”. Also, stay tuned for the new children's book, "The Chosen Baby: An Adoption Story", by Denola M. Burton, written twenty-one years ago but now it is "coming soon".
Denola M. Burton is the Founder and CEO of Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, LLC. Through Enhanced DNA: Develop Nurture Achieve, Denola develops and nurtures individuals and organizations to enhance their Leadership, Communication and Performance “DNA”. Denola is an author and a publisher and has created the Enhanced DNA Publishing Division of her company and now assists new and newer authors in publishing their books accordingto the IBPA standards.
Denola retired in December, 2017 from Eli Lilly and Company where her career spanned over 27 years. She has been married to her husband, Phillip, for over 27 years and they have two daughters, Danielle and Ciara. Denola is a member of the Recorder Women’s Auxiliary, which is an elite organization comprised of professional Women with a heart for the community. She serves on the Board of Directors for Steward Speakers and also serves as a Legacy Leader, mentor and member of the Board of Directors for Pass the Torch for Women Foundation.