My VIP for this week is Holly Shearer and the many young women like her. Shearer was 15 years old in 2001 when she discovered that she was pregnant. At five months into her pregnancy, she made the decision to put her baby up for adoption. She knew at the time that the baby was a boy, and she named him Benjamin.
Shearer’s reason for her decision: “He deserved a mother and a father, a home with a playset in the backyard that he can play on, a dog, all of those things I couldn’t give him.” She selected Brian and Angela Hulleburg to be Benjamin’s adoptive parents. “When I handed Benjamin to them, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.”
Shearer stayed in contact with Benjamin’s new parents for the first three years, but the communication stopped for some unknown reasons. However, the Hulleburgs told Benjamin that he was adopted and as much information as they could about his birth mother. However, they did not know her last name because the adoption was closed.
Benjamin grew up with the desire to meet his birth mother. “To talk to her and, more than anything, thank her because I knew that I had been given a really good life, full of opportunity.” At age 18, Benjamin decided to look for his biological mother. He was interested in having a physical connection for who he was.
I had never had somebody that I can say, like, ‘Oh, that’s where I got my eyes from. That’s where I got my nose.’ … I never had that physical biological connection to say … ‘This is who I am and this is where it came from,’ … So for me, it was a lot less about trying to find a family or, like, trying to find a long-long family member. But it was more about trying to find where I came from.
Benjamin was not successful in finding his biological mother. However, two years later Shearer found him on his 20th birthday and sent him a message on Facebook.
You don’t know me, which is weird to have a stranger message you…. Twenty years ago, I made the hardest decision of my life and placed my beautiful little baby up for adoption with a beautiful family. I have no intention of flipping your life upside down. I have thought about you every day and finally had the courage to send you a message. Wishing you a happy birthday.
Shearer and Benjamin met in person two days later and discovered that she works at St. Mark’s Hospital where he volunteers. Her shifts ended at 4:30, the same time that his shifts began. It is possible that they passed each other without knowing it. They are in the process of getting to know each other and developing a relationship. Benjamin sent Shearer a message on Facebook:
Thank you for your selfless decision 20 years ago, today, to set me in the arms of my parents. I will always be grateful for it. Now, as I look to the future, I can’t wait to build a relationship with you and my biological family and have you be an active part of my life.
I have been a witness of the adoption issue from both sides. My older sister and her husband adopted their only child, a baby girl, in the late 1960s. She has given their lives meaning, and their lives are intertwined with their daughter and her children and grandchildren. My oldest nephew and his wife adopted their first child, a baby boy, in the early 1980s. They adore their oldest son and his family even though they went on to have three children of their own. I am a witness of the joy that adoption can bring into the lives of infertile parents.
On the other side, a great-niece became pregnant in her early college years and dropped out of school. Even though we lived thousands of miles apart, I had the opportunity to visit with her several times during her pregnancy. I saw how much she loved her baby boy and how much she would like to keep him. However, she made the difficult decision to give him up for adoption. The young man wanted to marry her, but she did not want to marry him. She gave the baby to a family with three cute boys and stayed in contact with the adoptive parents. She is now married to another young man and seems to be happy in her marriage.
Our family has been touched by the courage of three young women who loved their babies enough to give them life and then to give them to another mother to rear. I am grateful that neither I nor any of my daughters had to make that decision, and I hope that none of granddaughters are faced with it. However, I know that adoption is much better than abortion. Adoption allows for life and opportunity to meet one’s potential, and abortion brings only the death of a child of God.
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