Dana, age 19, California

A story that starts out horrific but doesn’t end that way is always one that catches my attention. I am a sucker for a happy ending. I am blessed to be able to have lived such a story.

In 2006, my story starts out horrific. 

As a freshman in college I was drugged and raped at a party in February.  I do not remember the details and since the brain is so powerful I did not even realize what had happened to me until many months later. I continued to enjoy my freshman year of college and contributed not getting my period to stress. I moved back home over the summer and had decided that I didn’t want to go back to college by the beach, unbeknownst to me there was a reason. In September my mom forced me to go to the doctors, she knew something was wrong. I remember sitting in the waiting room thinking what is the doctor going to do. When my name was called and I walked into the room the nurse looked at me and said your mom has requested a pregnancy test. I broke down in tears and told her that I didn’t need one because I was almost 100% sure that I was about 7 months along. She smiled and said it looks like an ultrasound is what we will need instead. She called in the doctor who I have known literally my entire life, he was the one who had delivered me, and he said ok let’s see if it’s a boy or girl. I was surprised they were able to do anything over my sobbing. Both the nurse and doctor asked if I needed anything before I left and I remember saying “I need options.” They both smiled and said, you can keep your son or we can help you find a family to adopt him.

I knew I had to think long and hard about this decision and needed help from friends and family.

The first person I called on my way home was my mom’s best friend who had adopted 2 sons when they were infants. I figured that was the best place to start and she would make an excellent buffer for telling my family. When I got to her house we called my mom together and all 3 of us cried. Then we had to tell my dad and brothers, we all cried together. The next decision was what I was going to do with this baby boy. The following day I called the doctor and asked if I decide to go with adoption what is my next step.  He put me in contact with Family Formation. They were so warm and welcoming and answered all of the bazillion questions I had as well as all of the questions my parents had. They never once seemed to be annoyed with anyone who asked questions. I said I was interested in finding a family but didn’t want anyone to know because I wasn’t sure if this was the route I wanted to go, but wanted to see options.

I called Family Formation and said that I found the family.

Coming across the 1 page intro letter from Greg & Laura was when this horrific story starts the happy ending. I was sitting in a park on my mom’s lunch break and seeing both of their smiles and reading about their life, I knew they were the ones who were going to raise this child.  I called Family Formation and said that I found the family. They then told me that we need to meet and both sides have to agree.  My heart dropped, what if they don’t like me, what if they don’t want my baby. I didn’t know anything about the father so that was terrifying. We scheduled a date for them to fly from Southern California to Northern California and spend the entire day together to make sure we all agreed. I remember thinking what in the world are we going to do all day with this couple. At the end of their visit they almost missed their flight home because we had lost track of time. I spoke to Laura and/or Greg almost daily until October 28, 2006.

Dana and Thomas at her college graduation

The amount of love and happiness that was in the room was overwhelming.

Since they lived far away we decided to schedule the delivery so they could be there. I also wanted my brothers to be able to come home from college for support.  The hospital didn’t know what to do with all of us, the guys were having wheelchair races in the hallways and the women were all talking about how I was going to get through this. We had snacks and lunch and Greg asking me what I wanted and all I said was a milk shake. After many hours, I gave birth to Thomas Anthony and Greg was able to cut the umbilical cord while Laura held my hand with tears and a huge smile. When the nurse asked who was to get the other bracelet for the NICU without any hesitation I said Laura.   The amount of love and happiness that was in the room was overwhelming. Seeing Greg & Laura fully embrace Tommy was beyond anything I could ever imagine.

I don’t feel like I have lost anything but rather gained an extended family.

Over the last 10, almost 11 years, I don’t feel like I have lost anything but rather gained an extended family. I have been in close contact with them from the beginning, I went to court for Tommy’s official adoption date and even made it down for his first birthday.  Greg and Laura now have 4 children, Tommy is the 2nd oldest. Over the years we see each other less, mainly because of the distance as I no longer live in California. However, in 2015, all 6 of them flew across the country to Philadelphia to watch me graduate college; which was one of the things I had asked them to do when they adopted Tommy. It was the most amazing day hearing all of the kids cheer for me as I received that college diploma.

Thomas’ family goes to Pennsylvania!

I am so thankful to have found such an amazing family to raise Tommy.

Tommy is now a thriving young man. Seeing all of his pictures brings a smile to my face. He plays hockey and soccer, is a junior lifeguard, avid snow skier and doing well in school. He wakes up early with his mom every morning to walk her to the car and give her a hug and a kiss goodbye. Hearing all of this fills my heart, I am so thankful to have found such an amazing family to raise Tommy.