My name is Brenda. I am 38 years old.
I have 4 boys aged 20yrs, 16yrs, 13yrs and 17 months. What is unique about me is that my first born was adopted out almost 21 years ago. Ben was born on the 10th October 1986.
I still remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was given a general anesthetic as there were complications with the birth so the whole giving birth experience never happened for me. When I woke up after he was born I thought it was a dream.
I had already made the decision to adopt Ben out before he was born and had selected a family, (from a huge number of prospective parents). I had short listed the number down to 3 families and decided on Ben’s parents them because they had been on the waiting list for a long time. They had a daughter of there own and they had lost 2 babies in tragic circumstances. I had just started an apprenticeship as a Motor trimmer and loved my job. I was in a relationship with Ben’s father for over 2 years. We were High school sweethearts and I really felt he was the one. Unfortunately we got pregnant and my whole world started spiraling out of control.
I didn’t tell my parent’s that I was pregnant until after I was 6 months along. I was scared that the family would pressure me to have an abortion so I kept it a secret from everybody. When I finally told them my mother suggested adoption. I was horrified at the thought of giving my baby to strangers and really knew nothing about adoption. My mum got me a social worker and we went through the whole open adoption process. It sounded okay to me but I still wanted to keep my baby. Mum told me to do a list of pro’s and cons about keeping my baby or adopting him out. I did the list and the only decision that I could make for my baby's sake was to put him up for adoption. I wasn’t an easy decision as I swayed back and forth but it was a decision that I had made. I went through hundreds of files of prospective parents and was shocked at how many loving families there were wanting to have a baby but in the end it was the Hutchinson’s who I selected and I haven’t had a day where I’ve regretted my decision.
Ben’s father and I went to see him when he was 6 months old and he was a healthy, happy baby. I knew I had done the right thing.
My relationship with Ben’s birth father and I started to unravel. A lot had to do with me and the trauma that you go through after giving up a baby for adoption. I was grieving for him but didn’t understand why as he was still alive and I could see him whenever I wanted. Being the type of person who doesn’t like to intrude, I stayed away and waited anxiously for any news of how Ben was. I would get letters and photos regularly but felt I needed to let them get on with parenting Ben.
I went to see Ben when he turned 5 and then again when he was 11. I have had regular contact with the family throughout the years and then when Ben turned 18 his adoptive parents turned the responsibility of contact over to me and him directly.
That first letter I received from Ben is my most treasured possession. He has written to me about once a year since then and is a very well rounded young man. He is at university studying science. He has a great group of friends and plays in a band. Adoption has been a positive in his life not a negative and I can only thank his adoptive family for being open and honest with him. He has no resentment and I have no regrets.