As most of you know, my brother, Nathaniel, is adopted. His birth mother, Angie, gave birth to him when we were both 17. She gave us the most precious and selfless gift anyone could possibly give -- her beautiful son.
Yesterday Angie was killed in a tragic car accident on her way to work in Hickory.
We are all shocked and devastated. There are no words to describe it.
Angie had one of the most beautiful souls of anyone I've ever met. She did what was best for her son, whom she loved, and, even though it broke her own heart, she gave him to us.
Over the years, Angie became a very real member of our family, joining us on trips and coming to Florida for regular visits.
She will always be in our hearts and minds, for she touched everyone who knew her with love and generosity.
I could explain to you how she became one with our family, but I think no one could say it better than she did. Here is a blog posting from her MySpace page she wrote about 2 years ago:
The love of my life
I would like to share a piece of my life with all of my friends here on MySpace. Some of you are aware of this beautiful story and some are not that is why I want to make sure everyone is aware. On 6/28/97, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was 21 inches long and weighed 7lbs and 11ozs.... (Barb, make sure I have that right...) He was perfect in every way, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 2 arms, 2 legs, perfectly normal in all aspects. The only thing not so perfect was the decision at hand. I was very young and had experienced very little of life to even begin to know what it would hold for me and my newborn son. I had given it plenty of thought and had already made the decision to allow another family to take my son as their own. With that decision written in stone in my mind, my heart yearned to reconsider. You never fully understand unconditional love until you look into the eyes of your child. It is a love that surmounts any feeling for another human. It is a little piece of your heart you never new existed. It is like an epiphany for the soul. It creates a whole new world of feelings you never felt before. As I looked into his little eyes, barely open, I promised him a good life and that I had his best interests at heart. I said a lot of things to that little baby, most I don't remember verbatim, I just poured my heart out to him and hoped that somehow he knew I loved him very much. I knew that he might never understand and that I may never see him again. I knew that I may regret it and that I may never be the same. I also knew that I was responsible for making sure he would have the best life possible and if that meant that he must go live with another family, so be it. If that meant that I would have to wonder where he was, so be it. If that meant that he may never know me but know a life much better than the one I could offer, so be it. The decision was made. So I told myself, SUCK IT UP!! Get on with it and left it at that. My heart stood still for a couple days so I could get through it. People often ask "How did you do it?" I have no idea. I just had this feeling that everything was going to be okay and that I would have this little boy in my life if it wasn't more that pictures and postcards. I knew that somehow someway he would make it back to me and he would know everything I told him was true. He would have a good life and I loved him more that anything in the world.
I placed my son with an agency that would agree to open communication between families. I had 5 profiles to choose from. My mom and I poured over these files, just flat papers and grainy pictures of my "choices". At first glance, none of them stuck out. They all seemed like nice families wanting to add a pivotal part to their family, a new baby. I don't know what made me choose the family I chose, if it was a "sign" or if it was just a "feeling". Maybe in my stomach, Nathaniel made the decision for me somehow, I have no idea, it just happened that way. I picked a family that like the others had nice smiles and nice profiles but that just seemed right. I don't know what I saw in those papers or in those eyes in the photos but somehow I seen my son's future within. So the time came to meet my son's new parents. They were so happy to finally find what they had been searching and waiting so long for. I felt a kin ship immediately. Never once did I look at these people with doubt and never once did they look down or judge me. We held a dedication service with pastor who was a friend of the family. Everyone gathered round the bed as I held Nathaniel close to my heart for what I thought would be the last time. To be honest, I barely remember the moment. I think I was trying to be strong and do what I needed to do for my son and that was not cry and make it harder on everyone as well as myself. The time came for me to hand him to Barbara….Her eyes were bright and shining as she looked at his little face and I knew she would be a great mother to him. Richard rubbed his head with his hand, which where HUGE in comparison to Nathaniel's head and I could see the love in his eyes as well. I knew those hands would nurture, protect and guide Nathaniel through life. The service concluded and we talked a few moments, as I said before, it was all a blur at this point. All I remember is it was time to go home now without my son. During the ride home, I could feel my mom looking at me every so often, I suppose waiting on the break down. Being the good mother she is, she wanted to catch me should I fall from my rock. I stood fast though, knowing that everything would be ok. My son would have a wonderful life and that was comfort enough. When I seen other moms holding their children I longed for that feeling. I seen other moms kissing boo boos and fetching binkies. All the while, I knew there was a mama holding my baby and kissing boo boos and fetching sometimes 2 binkies at once.
:) Sometimes I questioned myself about my motives and wondered if it was the right thing to do. In my heart of hearts I knew that I would see that baby again and perhaps I would chase a binkie as well.
The days went by, then a couple weeks and then a couple months. I had received several letters and pictures from the agency and had sent several of my own. I would get sometimes 2 at a time but it seemed as if the agency was holding the letters for a period of time so it was hard for us to correspond accurately as our letter were passing each other and sitting a while in someone's office before being sent. We were forbidden to offer any "identifying information" such as last names, work places, etc at the hospital. However, they must have not told the hospital that who pasted my last name all over his basinet which come to find out, Richard who was shooting the video was sure to zoom in on…just in case. My mom had the best idea ever a couple days before I went into labor. We had a set goblets that had been in the family for quite some time and she said we should give them to the family for Nathaniel so he would have part of his heritage. She also included a business card with all our "identifying information", ss#'s, address, full names and an email address. With approval from the adoption counselor, we handed over the box and Mama said to Barbara "Wait til you get home to open it…they are packed tight for the trip home." This was so the counselor wouldn't catch us in our feat. I think Nathaniel was about 9 months old when I was sitting in the living room watching TV as my mom was on the computer checking emails. She called my name and I thought, Oh hell what have I done now? Little did I know, my son's mom had broken the ice and emailed us. I couldn't believe my eyes. The email simply said we would like to communicate person to person if it's okay with you. I get a little choked up writing this as I can say besides giving birth to Nathaniel this was the happiest moment of my life. My heart swelled with joy. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I knew then that I would hold my son again. I would have the chance to see him grow. I would be able to kiss his cheek and tell him in person how much I love him.
We corresponded via email and began talking on the phone and finally arranged to meet. They agreed to come to my house and we would celebrate Nathaniel's first birthday together. He was a little past one but that didn't matter! We celebrated his first year and our reunion. Some of my family came and my mom made a big dinner. Nathaniel opened his gifts in the floor, tearing paper, baby talking and smiling the whole time. I beamed, just shined like a beacon seeing him sitting in my living room floor…MY LIVING ROOM FLOOR!!!! As always, his adoptive family was so nice to me. I felt like I had known them all my life and you know, if you think about it, maybe I have. God works in mysterious ways that is for sure. He knew all along that this family would find what they so desperately needed and knew that with His guidance, I could do possibly the hardest thing any one person can do; give your child up for adoption. The rest is history folks. Not only does my child have a wonderful life and future ahead, but I have gained a circle of family that are some of the best people among us. They have been very open and honest with Nathaniel and he has known from the beginning that he is adopted. This made it so much easier for me and more importantly, Nathaniel. I often wonder who is luckier, me or him. Nathaniel is now 9 years old and growing so fast. He is such a handsome little boy as well, spitting image of his birth mom J (I know, I know but I had to do it) Time has flown by. We spend time together when work schedules allow and remain tight knit. I thank God everyday for my son and his family. Take a moment to cherish your family, the ones you can't pick and the ones who pick you. I know I do.
Angie, you are in our hearts and souls always. We love you.