I always like it when people come up to me and say, “You look just like your dad!”

It makes me giggle a little bit, because in spite of the numerous people I have told, it never really registers with them that my dad (Tim Durham) didn’t biologically father me!

I think this stigma that “adopted children” are never as REALLY as loved biological children is largely defeated by my adoption story. It has been a part of my whole life. Not only did my dad marry my mom and adopt me, he has helped several other women to place their babies for adoption, as well.

Durham

Adoption is a beautiful thing.

I was born in the early ’80s. It was a time — at least in our neck of the woods — that to have a child out of wedlock was not a good thing. “Single Mom” was not a desired title — guess not much has changed!

But when my biological father was not ready to marry my mother, it left her in an embarrassing or humiliating place, and the option of abortion was suggested to her.

In that situation, which I suspect many young or teen moms find themselves in today, I’m sure it seems a reasonable suggestion. Why go through the all of the judgmental looks and thoughts of “my world is ending” when you can just “take care of the problem?” I’ll tell you why…

Because growing inside you is a potential soldier, or doctor, or lawyer or scientist who could change the world. They most certainly will change YOUR world! And not in a bad way.

By having kids of my own, I have learned patience (NOT a fun lesson), sacrifice (annoying, but bearable) and a joy that only can come when your child starts talking to you about his or her dreams — mountains made of candy and being a Power Ranger are the dreams of my kids lately, just in case you wondered — or watching their reaction to seeing Mufasa die in “The Lion King” the first time they watch it. You will be changed!

But let’s say you KNOW for a fact that you cannot take care of this baby. You would be a horrible parent, for whatever reason … what then?

Adoption. Always, always, always adoption.

Having been on that side of the fence, as well, I can say that it is hard. The stigma and judgement that come from placing your child for adoption is not unlike what is received by having an abortion. Both sides have cheerleaders for their arguments, but only one of the options has a final and absolute outcome that cannot be undone.

Studies show all kinds of different numbers for this statistic, but somewhere ranging from 10 to 65 percent — either of those is a substantial risk, really — of women regret their decision to have an abortion.

The point of this, though, was to encourage you and let you know that whatever is weighing in on your decision, whatever argument you might have in favor of terminating your pregnancy, there is another possible solution.

Reach out to someone who can help you make that decision — don’t make it alone.

Adoption is beautiful. I’m adopted and I think I turned out pretty well! ?  I never once felt unloved by my dad, or felt like he didn’t love or care for me the way he does my sister, who is biologically his.

My kids know him as Grandpa and love him dearly.

This article was submitted by Arkansas City native Jeremy Durham. Durham is the adopted son of Family Life Services Director Tim Durham.

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