Read the previous article in this series: God Strengthened me as I Grieved for the Son I Placed for Adoption. 

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 to 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.

Wind. Gale. Breeze. Zephyr. Blizzard. Wind.

I am a sturdy girl from Wyoming. The “Windy City” (Chicago) has nothing on Wyoming. I once read that Chicago is ranked 13th in the windiest places in the US. Wyoming has eight of the top 10 (including 1 – 5). Wyoming people learn to walk at an angle to keep balance in the wind. There are specific ways to get in and out of the car in the wind. In the winter, a windy day means it is safe to drive on the highways because it isn’t going to snow. As a result, Wyoming doesn’t have any litter, and in the fall, most of the leaves blow to Nebraska, keeping raking to a minimum. Roofs, fences, trees, and people are stronger in Wyoming because of the wind.

After my first year of college, I went back to Wyoming for the summer to work. I was excited to show my home town the new me and to experience home with the strength and freedom I had discovered. Even though people change every day, others are slow to accept or trust the change. I got home the end of April. The first Sunday, I attended church meetings designed for young, single adults—like me. I had loved being part of a group of faith-driven young people at college, and I was excited to extend that experience to young adults in my home town. People were accepting and nice to me that first Sunday, and I was invited to attend the weekly activities, which I did. It was fun.

After a few weeks, however, I discovered that while I was always invited to the official young adult activities, I was not invited to the casual parties and get-togethers that most of the active people went to. These were often group dates out to restaurants or movies or even to homes and apartments just to hang out. I learned that the guys in youth group were also dating the girls, and I found out that I was the only one not being asked out. I finally asked one of the girls about the group activities and the dating that I wasn’t part of. She got that “oh, crap” look on her face. I have to hand it to her—instead of trying to blow off the question or answer in a roundabout way, she was straightforward.

“People like you, Lisa. You’re great. Everyone loves your testimony of Jesus Christ. The other activities are more like dating instead of church things.”

“Yes, I know. Why am I not being invited?”

“Well, you know,” she said.

“No, I don’t know.”

“Everyone is looking for THE ONE . . . the one to get married to. The guys want to get married to someone who is pure. You haven’t kept it a secret that you had a baby.”

Even though I knew that was the answer before she told me, it still hurt. “So these are guys who preached repentance on their missions and told people that true repentances washes sins away. They believe it for other people, but not for themselves? Do you know that hypocrisy is also a sin?”

“I’m sorry, Lisa. I don’t know what to say.”

“Thanks for telling me.”

I still continued to go to church, but I no longer went to the official weekly activities. As I prayed to my God about how much it hurt, I came to the resolve that I could be a successful, righteous career woman and could make a difference in the world even if no one ever wanted me to be their wife. “Men are poo” became more solidified in my mind.

A few weeks later, I got a call from a guy from church asking me out on a date. I knew about him. He was several years older than me. As soon as he got home from his mission, he started to date EVERYONE. His next mission was marriage and everyone knew it. I had been warned that he was weird. He had dated all the older girls at church and had finally gotten around to me (at least that’s what I thought). I had a personal policy that if a guy had the courage to ask me out, then I would go out once. I didn’t have to go out more than once. The first two times he asked me out I said no, not because he was weird, but because he called at the last minute and I had other plans. He finally wised up and asked me several days ahead. I agreed to go to the fair and rodeo.

The date was a disaster. He tried to show off and be cool, and it was a real turn-off. I could see why the other girls thought he was weird. It was a 20-minute drive from the fair to my home. On the way, he stopped trying to be cool and just started to talk to me. We talked in front of my house for over an hour.

The next day, he asked if I wanted to out with him again. I hesitated.

“It depends,” I said.

“It depends on what?”

“It depends on if the fair-and-rodeo Barry shows up, or the sitting-in-the-car-talking Barry shows up.”

He replied, “Was I trying too hard?”

I rolled my eyes and nodded.

“Sorry. I know people think I’m weird. So, will you go?”

“The real Barry will be there?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. But, you need to know something about me first.” I was half-hoping he would change his mind. “Men are poo. I don’t like the species as a whole.”

“That’s okay, I’m patient,” he smiled.

Sometimes the whirlwinds of life blow in something quite unexpected.

Read the next article in this series: How My Boyfriend Reacted When I Told Him I Was a Birth Mom

Read this author’s other series: “Silenced by Society: A Birth Mom’s Tale.”