From the time I can remember I knew I was adopted. When I was three days old my parents brought me home from the hospital & my mother would tell me my adoption story as she rocked me to sleep. By the time I was 5, I understood what being adopted meant. My birthmother was 16 years old when she gave birth to me & placed me for adoption and I have always been thankful for her decision. I knew she loved me & wanted me to have a wonderful life full of opportunities.
My parents, Rick & Mary Horder, two professionals, had struggled with infertility when they chose adoption as the way to create the family they had longed for. At the time of my birth, my father practiced environmental law and had had no experience with adoption law. After my adoption, my father became very interested in adoption issues and ultimately, with another attorney, rewrote the Georgia Adoption Code. Since then my father has been an adoption advocate on many different levels!
Just months after adopting me, my parents became pregnant with my sister, Alexis! We were two peas in a pod! We have such great memories of playing outside, riding Amtrack to DC & the trolleys through San Francisco, sharing rooms, playing school, and attending St. Bede’s Episcopal Church…. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. And when I was 9 our family was completed with the adoption of our little brother Allen. He was a special-needs baby that God placed in our care for his 16 years on earth. God knew of no better family to provide for him the love & care us Horder’s only could.
Since I was 5 I knew I wanted to spend time in the adoption arena- I had plans of becoming a teacher, getting married, having a couple children & then adopting at least one child… however, I had no idea where the Lord would take me & how he would prepare me.
At age 16, I became pregnant with a son. My very first thoughts were that there was no way I could have this baby. I didn’t want anyone to know; I just wanted to go back to my catholic high school, graduate & go on to college. But, almost immediately my thoughts turned to my birthmother… while I had never met her I loved her. I knew if she could place me for adoption, I could choose life & create a family too.
It was important to me to continue with my high school education, but my high school would not allow pregnant girls to attend classes. I was very lucky because my Nana was a teacher and was aware of a program in her small town in Michigan that enabled young pregnant girls to continue their education and to get the other support they needed. At first we were not going to tell my Atlanta high school why I was dropping out, but the assistant principal was so caring my parents decided to explain the entire situation to him. My high school was very supportive, and agreed to give full credit for all the classwork I did in Michigan.
I had always said I would name my first son Christopher and when I found out my baby was a boy, that’s what I, and my entire family called him by name. His adopting parents knew this and decided to baptize him with that name.
While I had him in the hospital I held him all night long, I stared at him all night long. I fed him all his bottles & changed all his diapers; He was beautiful; and after I said goodbye to my precious baby boy I received letters & photos in the mail. While I mourned his loss, I could also celebrate his life. This month Christopher turns 17 & next year he will begin his senior year of high school.
After his birth, I returned to school. Because of the support I received from my school, family and friends, I graduated on time and was a member of the National Honor Society. I also had the honor of being selected as one of two seniors to be an Olympic Torch Escort Runner for the 1996 Summer Games. I attended Elon University where I met Shawn my freshman year, traveled Europe my senior year & graduated in the Spring of 2000 with my BS in Business.
While attending Elon my parents helped me locate my birthmother & we had the opportunity to meet her & her family. While my parents are my parents I always wondered where I came from & who I looked like…. Today birthmothers have the option to create their adoption plan; but back in 1977 most adoptions were closed & very limited information was given to adoptive families. Our meeting answered so many questions & today we still keep in touch through emails & holiday cards. Shawn had the pleasure of being there with me too!
One year after graduating college Shawn & I got married; shortly thereafter I began teaching at Forsyth Central HS- teaching Business Education & coaching cross country & track. I loved it; however, with the birth of our son Shawn-Michael, Jr I chose to stay-at-home & be a full time mom. We just celebrated our Ten Year Anniversary and Shawn-Michael is the oldest of our four boys- yes, we have Four Incredible Little Men- 8, 5, 3.5 & 14months. Motherhood has been such a blessing. I am grateful that such a painful experience I had as a teenager allowed another woman to become a mother; and I am grateful to have experienced motherhood for the first time and every time with joy & hope rather than fear & anxiety.