As far back as I can remember, I knew I was adopted. My parents told me at a young age that they picked me, and were so happy to give me a home. There was never that “Oh my gosh, what? I’m not your real child?” moment. I just always knew. My mom and dad had adopted me, and I was theirs. Their house was my forever home.

As I got a little older, they shared the little they knew about my mom. She was a college student who had not planned on getting pregnant. Knowing that it would be a challenge to keep me, but not wanting to abort me, she chose to give me up for adoption. 

My parents, John and Janet, we’re waiting…

Their journey had been challenging. As older parents, in their late thirties, getting pregnant was a challenge. Try as they might, it just wasn’t happening for them. Science had not come as far then as it has now, and their options were limited. Adoption seemed like their only hope, and they went through the process but were warned they might be too old to get picked. 

As luck would have it, they got the call that there was a little boy that had already been placed, but the placement had fallen through. He needed a home – I needed a home. And so, when I was twenty days old, they made me part of their family.

They went on to have three more children, a daughter, and two boys. As I’ve always joked, once the pressure was released to have children, making babies became a lot easier for them. It was no longer work or involved chasing a goal. It could be fun, and they could enjoy it. 

My sister was born first. She had a birth defect and lived for about eight months. I don’t recall much about her but have seen old photos of the two of us together. My mom still misses her. I can hear it in her voice when she talks about her, or we visit her gravesite. After my sister passed away, my two brothers were born. I’ve always felt like they were blood even though I’m not, and we grew up with the kind of brotherhood relationship you’d find in any other family. We argue and fight like siblings, but love each other unconditionally.

John and Janet, or mom and dad as I’ve always called them, gave me a fantastic home. They stretched and sacrificed to provide me with everything I could ever want or need. Even when things were tight, they always found a way, and I never felt like I needed anything. When God chose to bring us together, it was the greatest blessing of my life.

Today, on Mother’s Day, I am thankful for my mom Janet. To step back in time and think about her taking me into her home, I can’t put into words how grateful I am. Her ability to love me, as a stranger, is impressive. She’s stood with me through challenging times… a fiery high-school rebellion and my divorce. Through it all, she’s always loved me with open arms and unconditional love. There’s never been any judgment, just empathy and caring, and the constant push to make myself better. I’ll never be able to thank her enough.

There’s someone else I’ll never be able to thank enough… my birth mom.

I’ve never met her, and likely never will. She may still be alive or may have passed. I may have other siblings, or maybe not. Regardless, I am eternally grateful to her for making the tough choice to carry me and then give me away. That selfless act of love is one I can never repay, and I’ll never fully grasp the weight of that decision or what it cost her. 

Mom, wherever you are today, thank you so much for allowing me to live this blessed life. 

People always ask me if I’ll try to track her down, or my siblings. My answer is still the same… I won’t. I have an amazing mom who has raised me, has been there for me every step of the way, and has also made great sacrifices for me. I have two strong brothers who mean the world to me. I have a family now, with my own amazing kids who have a mom and a stepmom who love them dearly. My life is full, I am content, and most of all, I am grateful.

So today, to my birth mom and my forever mom, thank you both… and Happy Mother’s Day. 

I love you.

– Johnny