Mike and Linda talked to Rebekah’s birthmother by phone during her pregnancy, but they met her only once, when she had her ultrasound. Linda remembers that they talked for five to ten minutes and said very little. After Rebekah was born, her birthmother chose not to see her in the hospital. “She needed the distance,” Linda says. “She was afraid if she saw Rebekah she wouldn’t be able to go through with the adoption.” Instead, Mike and Linda sent letters and pictures at Christmas and on Rebekah’s birthday.

For the first few months, Mike and Linda worried that Rebekah’s birthmother would change her mind about the adoption. Rebekah’s birthmother avoided contact for a long time, afraid of how her daughter would treat her. Rebekah herself always knew that she was adopted. She says she appreciates her parents’ openness. “If they had kept it from me, I would have felt deceived—it would have been a lot more emotional for me. As it was, I was curious about it, just because I was curious.”

As Rebekah grew older, she called her birthmother from time to time, and last year she was able to visit her. Rebekah remembers that she didn’t find the meeting awkward. “My birthmom was more nervous than I was,” she says. “I really enjoyed seeing where she grew up, seeing the common ground between us.” Rebekah discovered that they both struggle in math, they enjoy a similar sense of humor, and they both approach their lives with a persistent determination. She says it was refreshing to see the quirks they share.

Rebekah also met her older biological sisters and realized the challenges her birthmother faced when she placed her for adoption. Her visit helped her understand and appreciate her birthmother’s decision. “Some people called her selfish and said my birthmom did it because she didn’t love me, but she knew she couldn’t handle having another baby,” Rebekah says. “She wonders if she could have raised me, but she did what she thought best at the time. She doesn’t regret that.”

Mike and Linda had to deal with each adoption differently.  One mother wanted a closed adoption with no contact. The second birthmother was very comfortable with talking to the family. Their two boys came to them a few years later, through an international adoption. As Linda learned, the adoption process allows each mother to be “so different, so specific about what she wants.”

Rebekah’s sisters respond in their own way, Linda says. One sister wonders why her birthmother doesn’t want to talk to her or know anything about her. “She’s had feelings about it, wondering ‘what about me?’ ” Linda notes. “I asked her if she would look her birthmother up when she gets older, and she said she would.” Rebekah’s other sister sees her birthmother and biological siblings occasionally, but finds she doesn’t fit into their way of life.

A few years after they adopted their daughters, Linda and Mike moved to a new property, but they still remember the barn that helped Rebekah’s mother choose their family for her daughter. Linda feels that God guided them through all their adoptions. Looking back, she says she would encourage her own daughters to consider adoption if they found themselves pregnant, unmarried, and lacking strong support. “A mother might think if she keeps her baby that at least she’ll have someone to love and someone to love her. My challenge would be to think toward eternity, toward the long-term.” Rebekah agrees with her mom.