Read the previous article in this series: “The guys want to get married to someone who is pure. You haven’t kept it a secret that you had a baby.”
There are numerous reasons a woman considers placing a child for adoption. Whether she is single or married, a teenager or not, with a good support system or not so much, the ultimate decision to abort, keep, or place is one that will haunt her for the rest of her life. For me, I was 16 years old, with a loving, supportive family and an awesome boyfriend. I was simply too young. It was 1984 and choosing to place was a forever deal—closed and sealed with no choice about who the parents would be and with no option of ever seeing your baby again. This is my story about grief and healing but most of all, about love. I dedicate this series for all birth moms, whether their adoption was closed, partial, or open, for their sacrifice and grief and loss that is so profound and so deep and complex that even their closest loved ones don’t truly understand. May you find healing and peace.
Barry Taylor was a whirlwind I wasn’t prepared for. I accepted his invitation for a second date, but I didn’t think anything would come of it. He wasn’t from Casper and didn’t know my past, so I was sure that as soon as I told him I was a birth mom he would tell me that I wasn’t his type and move on.
Our second date was at the putt-putt golf course in town. My dad was a golf fiend, so putt-putt was always part of our summer activities. I knew the course and was pretty good at it. Because of my intelligence and personality, I knew that some guys were a bit intimidated by me. I was going to crush him at putt-putt and test his man-ego and see how he handled that. On our first date he had failed miserably at trying to impress me by being macho. If it continued, our second date would be our last.
I admit, that wasn’t the best attitude for me to have for our date. I had been hurt too many times, and wasn’t about to have it happen again. Men were poo, and I was just waiting for him to prove it. That was why, on the second hole, I almost fell over. He was going first, and I was standing back watching him (it was a trick hole, and he was teeing up in the wrong spot—the logical spot, but if you didn’t know the trick, the logical spot was disaster). All of a sudden, the Holy Ghost shouted in my mind, “You will marry him.” This startled me so much that I suddenly backed up and tripped over the boundary to another putt-putt hole.
“Lisa, are you okay? What happened?”
I stammered, not wanting to tell him what had happened because at that moment I was questioning my own sanity and didn’t want him to question it, too. “Uhhhh, I’m fine.” To distract him from my awkwardness, I said, “You might want to put your ball on that other tee—it’s a trick hole.”
He actually took my advice, and I let my guard down a bit. As I had predicted, he lost significantly, but we had fun. Over the next three weeks, we talked every day on the phone and saw each other frequently. At the end of the three weeks, I packed my car and drove back to college, but not without getting a kiss good-bye.
I was chicken. I knew I needed to tell him about being a birth mom before things got more serious. He was already talking about coming to see me over Labor Day—just two weeks away. He needed to know before he made the eight hour trip for nothing. The day after I got back to college, I sat down and wrote him a letter and told him about my son. I knew that he would read it, and that would be the end of it, but to my surprise, I didn’t want it to be.
Over the next few days, we talked on the phone every couple of days, and I forgot about the letter.
After a few days, the phone rang. My roommate answered, “Lisa, it’s Barry.”
I excitedly ran to the phone, but my heart dropped to my toes when he said, “Hi . . . ummmm . . . I got your letter.”
My letter. I braced myself for the apology and the good-bye—at least he was man enough to tell me on the phone instead of just not calling anymore and ignoring my phone calls.
“Oh. You did.”
“Lisa, you are one of the bravest people I have ever known. That must have been so hard for you. I’m sure it will always be hard for you.” He asked a bunch of questions about my son. It was at that moment that I let my wall down. I told him the whole story. He shared with me that he, too, had a past and shared some things he had done before he had found the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked of repentance. He told me that he was a man of very little, temporally, but that he had a strong spiritual foundation based on the hard knocks of life and an undeniable witness of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We talked for over an hour and made plans for him to come and visit that weekend.
Barry came on Saturday and left on Monday (he had to work on Tuesday). By the time he left, I had a ring on my left hand.
Read the next article in this series: What is Was Like to Become a Mother Again After Placing My Son