November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and that means adoption advocates across the country are hard at work to promote the beautiful gift of adoption. “Adoption is good, adoption is beautiful.”
This is how Dawn Milberger sums up her feelings and convictions about her own adoption, which took place within a month of her birth, in 1967. Dawn was raised by two incredible parents who taught her (and her adopted brother) that “some women are blessed vessels, some women are mommies, and some women are both or neither.”
When she was five years old, Dawn asked her mother if she was her real mommy. The question had been prompted by a 6-year-old friend who, knowing that Dawn was adopted, told Dawn that her mother wasn’t her “real” mommy.
“Well of course,” her mother replied. “But not like kittens are to cats, or puppies are to dogs, but like your baby dolls are to you. You take care of your baby dolls like they are your own. You love them, feed them, dress them, hug ’em, read stories to them, protect them, treasure them. Someone gave you to me and daddy like somebody gave your baby dolls to you; you’re mine and daddy’s baby doll.”
Dawn’s mother told her that God used two women and two men to get her to this earth, and that just because it was different, that did not make it bad or something that should be a secret.
By refusing to limit her view of what a loving family can be, Dawn’s parents made sure that she and her brother grew up with only a positive perception of adoption. But Dawn quickly learned that the adoption perception of many Americans was – and still is — a negative one, and is committed to changing this misconception. As a faithful Christian, Dawn points to the fact that Jesus himself was adopted, and that fact alone gives value to adoption. “As a follower of Jesus Christ, being adopted in this physical world, I have an assignment to relate the parallels of the spirit of adoption into the Kingdom of God.”
And just as her adoption by Christ was mutual – she also accepted Him – Dawn believes the same is true for her adoptive parents. Adoption shouldn’t be perceived as a one-sided decision, she says: “I wanted them too. I adopted them into MY life. If my parents had adopted me and I denied that they were my family, then I wouldn’t really have been theirs, or a part of their family.”
When Dawn was a teenager, “teenage girl curiosity” led her to seek out her birth parents, and then her story took an unexpected turn. Within three weeks (a quick turnaround time prior to the Internet age) the agency had located her biological mother and father. She set up a meeting with them, and learned the back story that led to her existence.
Her biological parents met at a party and ‘hit it off.’ They had a one-night stand, and her birth-mother became pregnant. Her birth-father was married and already had children with his wife. Dawn’s birth-parents admitted to her that they both tried to cause her birth-mother to suffer a miscarriage in order to end Dawn’s life. Her birth-father tried to force Dawn out by giving her birth-mother rough piggy-back rides and using her stomach as a punching bag. Her birth-mother’s nurse friend also came to her house in the evenings to give injections intended to induce a chemical abortion. Nothing worked – Dawn was resilient, and seven months later, she was born.
During her pregnancy Dawn’s birth-mother was preoccupied with herself. She had been so determined not to gain weight with Dawn that she left the hospital weighing the same amount she had prior to getting pregnant. At the hospital, staff asked Dawn’s birth-mother how she intended to pay the bill for her delivery. She said, “I guess I’ll give her up for adoption.” At this point, Dawn’s adoptive parents entered the picture.
By the time Dawn met her biological parents as a teen, they had transformed their lives. Four years prior to meeting Dawn – on Dawn’s birthday – they got married and lived a life of faith together. They apologized to Dawn for their attempts to end her life, and expressed their happiness that she had been given the opportunity to flourish with her adoptive parents. Dawn remained in touch with her biological parents for years after this first meeting.
Dawn beautifully summarizes America’s need for adoption, and the imperative that American culture stop stigmatizing the choice that, as she says, is “about love:”
Saying that adoption is a negative choice is not only unloving and hurtful to those on this earth who are adopted, but it also mocks our King, who was adopted Himself and adopts us into His Kingdom. The way society views and speaks of adoption as a negative has got to change. The more the horrific reality of abortion is revealed, the more children are going to need adoptive families, and if we don’t start campaigning for positive adoption talk, we are denying the beauty that should be celebrated. Adoption is not about being thrown away, unwanted, or unloved. It’s ABOUT love. It’s about being chosen by King Jesus to take a different path in life to bring Him glory. My birthmom wasn’t called by God to raise me, period. If it wasn’t her purpose, why is that bad? It was her purpose to get me here and the purpose of someone else to take me the rest of the way. It’s just beautiful proof of providence.
LifeNews Note: Dawn Milberger is an abortion survivor as well as an adoptee and is the founder ofGotcha Ministries of Central Texas. Dawn shares her adoption testimony through speaking engagements, and you can contact her on Facebook.