Join adoptive mother and resilient author Mikki Shepard as she dispels adoption myths, overcomes obstacles, and celebrates the power of love in creating a family on this empowering episode of Live Love Engage.
“When we adopted, nobody talked about it back then. It was just something and boy, did we find out fast that how many people were adopted that we knew or had adopted, and they just never talked about it.” – Mikki Shepard
Mikki Shepard is a loving mother who has dedicated her life to the adoption journey. As a US Air Force veteran, she has had a diverse and successful career in various fields, including real estate, marketing, and speaking. Mikki and her husband had always known that adoption would be a part of their family’s story, but they never could have predicted the twists and turns that would lead them to their greatest joy. From struggling to have a child of their own, to a chance conversation with a friend, to the call that would change their lives forever, Mikki’s journey to motherhood is a testament to the power of love and the beauty of unconventional families. Since then, she has used her voice as an author with her book, In a Heartbeat: The Miracle of a Family That Was Meant To Be, and as a radio show and podcast host of Adoption as a Choice to inspire and support others on their adoption journey.
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Witness how adoption and love create profound connections and change lives.
- Find novel strategies to make the adoption process financially feasible.
- Debunk unfounded myths and misconceptions about adopting children.
- Understand how transparency and openness contribute to a healthy adoptive family dynamic.
- Get inspired by Mikki Shepard’s unique podcast that encourages adoption as a fulfilling choice.
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00:00:00 – Gloria Grace Rand
You’re listening to the Live Love Engage podcast on today’s show, exploring some myths about adoption. Stay tuned. I am Gloria Grace Rand, founder of The Love Method and author of the number one Amazon bestseller, Live Love Engage How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Start Being Yourself. In this podcast, we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective on how to live fully, love deeply, and engage authentically so you can create a life and business with more impact, influence and income. Welcome to Live. Love. Engage.
00:00:45 Namaste. I am so glad to be joining you on this lovely day that I’m recording it, and I’ve got a lovely guest on the show today who I am looking forward to having a discussion with, and I’m going to tell you all about her and so that you can get to know why I’m excited to have her on. Her name is Mikki Shepard and she is a US Air Force veteran and her career has also included things like speaking, real estate and marketing. But why she’s really here today is to talk about her book. She is the author of In a Heartbeat – the Miracle of a Family That Was Meant To Be and is a true story spanning several generations of families born out of love. And she also now hosts Adoption as a Choice radio show and podcast. So I want to now officially welcome you, Mikki, to live, love, engage.
00:01:43 – Mikki Shepard
Thank you. I’m glad to be here, excited to be able to share the story.
00:01:47 – Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, well, the podcast is about living fully, loving deeply and engaging authentically. And when we connected it was like, oh yeah, that fits right in. I mean, even though I gear this towards women entrepreneurs, but women entrepreneurs also tend to be part of families or raising families. I said, yeah, let’s have you on to talk about this. So I thought we’d start off by having you share a little bit about what your journey, but in particular what prompted you to write your book.
00:02:19 – Mikki Shepard
Thank you. It was a couple of things. For many years I wanted to write a book about how it didn’t take biology to create a family. And that was because of my dad. My dad was wonderful, but he didn’t come into our lives until I was twelve. And being a twelve-year-old, I wasn’t thrilled to have him there. But he worked at it and he was determined to win me over. And I always tell people that life used to be simpler than we all know now. I mean, back then, after he did win me over, I actually wrote to the Board of Education in New York to tell them I wanted to change my name to Shepard and they did it. It wouldn’t happen today, but it was my Father’s day gift to him. And then fast forward along the way. My grandmother had lost her husband, my grandfather that became a grandfather. He had lost his wife, but they were brothers, so the two of them decided they would get married. That way all the cousins became brothers and sisters. So this whole thing’s been going on in my life, whether I thought about it or not. My mother was always taking in foster children. She actually brought in one person who was Ched Holmes. He was my brother, but he came into our lives at a very young age. He was twelve when he came into our lives, and he just never left. And before you knew it, I came home on a visit, and I’m asking my mother, who is this boy running around the house? And she said, oh, I forgot to tell you, that’s your new brother. How’d you do that? I was gone for a few months, and you hatched a 13-year-old, because now he was 13. So it was always there. But the story hadn’t happened yet, I hadn’t written it. And so let’s fast forward. I left the Air Force, lived in Colorado Springs, married my current husband, we’ve been married almost 40 years in 2023, and we wanted to have a baby, and it just wasn’t happening. But I was very involved in real estate, and so what I always tell people, because I think they well, they get a kick out of it, but it’s a true story. My son was literally a real estate referral. We had done everything to try to have a baby, including a very nice trip to Hawaii that didn’t produce a baby, but we had a good time. But I’ll go back a little bit for you.
So because I was so involved in real estate, I was president of the Board of Realtors and Governor Women’s Council of Realtors, blah, blah, blah, blah, a lot of stuff, but it meant I went to a lot of meetings. So one year I was in San Antonio, and a friend of mine who had lived in Utah, but she was now living in San Antonio, where the meetings were. And she said, you know, San Antonio has changed a lot since you were in the Air Force. We don’t have any meetings for the next couple of hours. Why don’t we take the trolley car ride so you could see how the town has changed? I said okay. So we got on the trolley car and we’re going around the town, they’re pointing out sights. And we got off the trolley car, and she came over to me and she said, have you and Tom ever thought about adopting? I said, what brought that on? And she said, Mikki, every baby we’ve passed for the last hour and a half, your head is like olive oil just looking at the baby. And so I said, We’ve talked about it. And she said, well, let me ask you another question, would you, if you could? And I said in a heartbeat and that conversation took place in February 1988, and that was the end of it for me. I mean, we just continued on with our lives. And then two years later, April 4, 1990, I was at another meeting in Denver, and my husband called me in my room, and he said, Why are you in your room? You’re never in your room at meetings. And my feet hurt, and I just thought I’d come in here for a little bit and sit down. Why are you calling me if you know I’m not here? No cell phone. So I’m going to let audience realize whether you call somebody then. And he said, we just got the strangest call. He said, Who’s Carol Thompson? And I said, she’s my women’s council friend, the one that lived in Utah. She now lives in Texas. And he said, well, she has a friend who has a friend who decided this morning she wants to place her baby for adoption and wants to know if we want him.
00:06:41 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:06:42 – Mikki Shepard
What? And I said what did you say? He said, I’m sure we do. I’ll have my wife call you. And I did. And I called, talked to the friend of the friend who explained to me that Carol had told her about us for years, and that if there ever was a situation to keep us in mind and My God. And she says, So I’ll let you talk to her. I didn’t know what to do. And I did. And she was not a baby herself. She was 31, and she had a daughter who had MS. She was in a very bad relationship. It was not his baby, and she just knew. She said, I planned an abortion, and then I started bleeding, and I thought I lost the baby. And it’s very typical, in people in unplanned pregnancies, not a big support system around them. Sometimes they don’t go to doctors. And she said and then she realized she was definitely pregnant and decided that this was it. She said, But I went to this service this morning, and they told me they want to put the baby in a foster home for six months, and I don’t want to do that. I want him to start out his life with you from day one. So I said, okay, stay calm. I don’t know how, but we will make it all work.
And since I was there on real estate business, our board attorney was there. And he had told me years before that, if you guys ever do think about doing that, call me. I don’t do adoptions, but I have a very good friend who does. So I went and found him. Turns out his friend is the person who later on introduced the Baby Jessica Law. That became law because there was so many bad news stories. And that kind of brings me back to why did I write the book. But I wrote the book because when we adopted, nobody talked about it back then. It was just something and boy, did we find out fast that how many people were adopted that we knew or had adopted, and they just never talked about it. And then we come along, we think it’s the greatest thing in the world, and we’re telling the world. So we also had to do something silly. It may seem silly, but the real estate market then was very much like it was in 2008. It wasn’t there. So we were struggling. And adoptions are very expensive. And so when we met with the attorney and he told us what it was going to cost and he’d work it out with us, we decided to come up with something. My husband had just read Robert Schuller’s book, the Glass Cathedral. And in it he had talked about how he raised the money for that cathedral. And he said it cost $5 million. He knew he could ask one person for 5 million or five people for a million. And so we came up with the idea well, my husband came up with it, the idea of a baby promissory note. And we had 1000 of them printed. We were going to send them out to everybody we could think of, and just because of networking, kind of knew a lot of people. We didn’t get to ever send them all out, but we sent enough out. And that people what we asked was for $5, that if everybody sent us $5, when we returned their money, we would send them a picture of the baby. Everybody who sent us money sent it marked paid. It was pretty exciting. And then, like I said, I was very involved with women’s council, and I had another meeting coming up in April of that year, and the baby wasn’t due until May 10. The plan was to bring her to Colorado. Colorado had the best adoption laws in the country at the time. She lived in Minnesota, which has the worst adoption laws, and they didn’t recognize independent adoptions, which now is just commonplace. But back then, it wasn’t.
Gloria Grace Rand
So I flew to DC. Everybody in my world kind of knew what was happening. And they said, why don’t you announce it at the meeting tonight, and maybe we can raise the retainer? And we did. So I did. I got up and talked about the greatest referral in the world, and as it turns out, also the most expensive. But that’s when you get a baby instead of a referral for a buyer. And much welcomed. So I made that announcement that night, and people just. they were wonderful. And we did raise the money. And just for the retainer. I mean, we paid for the whole thing eventually, but just to get it started. And then the very next morning, my husband called and he said that Sharon was the birth mother, had just called, and her water broke. She’s not supposed to be having a baby today. It’s April 24, not May 10. And he said, she wants to get on a plane. I said, no. Tell her no. I said, no. Get me on a plane, and I’ll get to Minnesota. And my husband’s sister knew a travel agent at the time, and we knew we could get things going quickly, so he did. So she went to the hospital, and when I finally got there, because I had the pony express of planes, plane kept stopping. We had to go someplace else. I had a porter rushing through the airport with me to try to get my luggage there fast enough. And he said, you have to tell me how you’re doing this, because all I said was, I’m having a baby. And he said, my wife had three children. She didn’t look like this. Why not? No, the baby’s not here. The baby’s in Minnesota. But there were so many funny things, and I always say that he was working his way toward us. And I found out later that night I was very right. When I finally got to the hospital, the lady at the reception desk said, have you been calling me from airports all day? And I said yes. And she said, Calm down. There’s no baby yet. And she said, Go see her. Leave your luggage here, and do not go out that door again by yourself. Apparently, we were in Minneapolis, and it wasn’t a very safe area. In this particular hospital, the only people that went there were either criminals or they run welfare.
00:12:57 – Gloria Grace Rand
Oh, man. Okay.
00:12:59 – Mikki Shepard
So I did go to see her, and then she said it stopped. Labor stopped. And they wanted me to go home, but I told them the mother wouldn’t know where the baby was. And, you know, we’re confusing everybody in the world the way we talk. And she said, I know. And she said, but why don’t you just go home and change? Let Tom know you got here safely and then come back? So I did. I met the lady downstairs, and she told me how the hotel you stay in at will shuttle you anywhere you want to go. Do not walk on the streets out there by yourself. It’s really dangerous, okay? So I did did all that, came back to the hospital, and all of a sudden labor started. And she said, I know I promised, but I really want some I want something for the pain, because we had talked about all this. I said, okay. So the doctor comes in, and he says to Sharon, no. Women do this all the time. Gloria! And I looked at him, I said, you outside. And we went outside, and I said, you do not go in that room again, ever. And he said, who the hell are you? And I said, I’m the mother, and this is a miracle happening, and you’re not going to mess it up. And I went over to the nurse’s station. I said, the woman doctor on the rotation that she’s been seeing, I know she’s supportive. Can you please call her? And they did. She was there in minutes. She lived very close, and she was so grateful to have been called because she did support this whole situation, and she did help. So all of a sudden, we’re having a baby, and we’re in the delivery room, and we’re referring to him as CJ. And the doctor says, what does that stand for? Cameron Joel. And she says, how do you know it’s a boy? And I looked at Sharon, I said, how do we know it’s a boy? And she said, I had an ultrasound. And the doctors looking at me going, they’re almost always and back then they were, yeah. Fortunately, this one wasn’t. And all of a sudden, we had a nice pink baby. And they were so wonderful. They did two sets of footprints, two birth certificates, all these things. So I don’t know, it was just something that just kept going. Anyway, what I was going to tell you. See what happens when you ask me about this? I just keep going. Stop me if I’m going too long. But while I was in the labor room with her, we were talking about the fact that I took the Lamasz classes. Even if she didn’t, I wasn’t helping us right then. She started to tell me how this all came about. And this is when the law of attraction, you start knowing it’s working. Whether you believe in it or not, it’s out there. She said that she left the guy she’s living with, and she went to visit an old friend in Texas. After she was there for a while, she decided that she was going to go back and try to make things work. And she said, and I’ll never forget the day I left Texas. I said why? She said, I had to go through Dallas, and I got stuck in front of this pink hotel. And she said, and I saw in the paper that Mick Jagger and President Bush, the first President Bush, were both in town at the same time, and that’s what was causing the traffic jams and everything. I said, oh, my gosh. And she said, why? I said, that was my hotel. I was there for the national real estate meetings, and President Bush was there to speak to us. Mick Jagger was in the hotel I was staying in, and the Secret Service were on top of the hotel, and that’s why you got stopped. But they had to clear the way and get Mick and his people out of there and then get Secret Service handling everything else. And she said, wow, he was always working his way toward you. And I said, apparently and it’s amazing that we don’t know sometimes the things that are working out there, but leading will go a couple more years.
When he was five, we lived in Colorado Springs at the time, and I got called to write an article. They were doing a Women in the Rockies special Sunday edition. And I had written a lot of real estate things for them over the years. And they called and I said no. I said I promised myself I wasn’t going to be one of those real estate people that when they left real estate, they came back and told everybody else how they should do it. I just had a thing about that. And she said, Honestly, it’s another story, but I didn’t know how to approach you. I said, what’s the other story? She said, there’s a story about a baby. And I said, yeah. And she said, that’s the story. Did you want me to write about how my son came to our lives? And she said yes. So I wrote it. The day came to have photos taken, and my five-year-old blocked the door, and I said, what are you doing? He said, Isn’t the story about me? Well, yes, it is. And he said, Shouldn’t I be in the picture? And I’m going, very logical person. I said, well, yes. I said, but you understand this is going to be all over the state on Sunday. People’s parents in your class, he was in preschool or pre-kindergarten, might read it. Not everybody understands things. And he said, It doesn’t matter. I know what adoption means. I said, okay, what does it mean? It means I’m special. Okay, you’re in the picture. He was. But we just had so many things happen that just made it clear this was all meant to be.
Just for people who don’t know this, though, back to when he was born, when I told you about the services in Minnesota. The day after our son was born, they came to see her, and she called me at the hotel and said, they came here this morning. They want to take the baby and put him in foster care. And I said, what did you tell her? She said, I told him no, or I’m just going to keep the baby. I’m thinking, okay. She said, can you please fix this? Okay. So I called the attorney. The attorney called another attorney, and then I went to see her. The attorney called and he said Minnesota was one of four states that would not recognize an independent adoption. They would not let the birth mother choose. And I think that’s kind of important, if it’s possible. It’s not always possible, but if it is not to mention she felt like that God had sent her a message after having abortions before and then starting planning on having one this time. She said she took it as a sign that this was a chance for her to do something good with her life. And she was determined. She never wavered at all, which I love her for, but so my attorney calls me back. And he said, okay, don’t talk. Just listen, and I’ll tell you a story. I said, okay, fine. He said, do you understand client relationship? You’re my client. I said yes. He said, okay, if you called me to tell me you were going to rob a liquor store, I’d have to turn you into the court as an officer of the court. But if you called me and told me you robbed a liquor store, that’s privileged information between me and my client, and I can help. He said, do you get the picture? Got it.
00:20:19 – Gloria Grace Rand
I think I do.
00:20:22 – Mikki Shepard
And then he found a loophole because he had contacted an attorney to represent her there. And he said, there’s a little-known law. Any city I don’t care where you live, any city, if you look hard enough, there’s always these old laws from when it was the Wild West something. And there’s an old law in Minnesota that says a mother or a father can choose anyone they want to babysit their child for up to 30 days. It didn’t say where.
00:20:53 – Gloria Grace Rand
There we go.
00:20:55 – Mikki Shepard
So we planned to “rob a liquor store.” I got ready, I called the hotel in the morning. I said, okay, I need the shuttle to take me to the hospital to pick up the baby and the birth mother, because they knew what was going on. By now, everybody knew what was going on. They were all kind of I guess they all felt like they were part of it. And I said, but then when I get back, I need a cab. And he said, no, there’s no cabs available here. There’s no cabs? He said, not today. We’ve already arranged for your transportation to the airport. We got you a limo. I said no. I was at a Realtor meeting for seven days before I got here. I have no more money for a limo. When he said, we’re doing this. We want the baby to go to the airport in style with you. These people are wonderful. They took me shopping for clothes and a blanket. And so we did. We did that. And I had her write a letter saying that Mikki Shepard and Tom can babysit my child for up to 30 days in Colorado Springs. And we were driving in the limo. I’m crying the whole time. I think I spent two days crying while I was with her. And we’re driving along, and she said, you need to stop crying before you get to the airport or somebody’s going to think you’re doing something wrong. And I said, I just don’t know how to say thank you. How do I say thank you? And we hugged. We dropped her off. She had never been in a limo in her life, so it was a nice experience for her, too. But when she saw him, the one he was born, deep breath. What she did was they wrapped the baby and brought him over and they’re going, who do we give him to? And all I could think of is, if she’s going to change her mind, let her do it now. Don’t break my heart. So I said, Give him to Sharon. So she held him and she said, hi, CJ, welcome to the world. I want you to meet your mom. And she handed him to me. So all these years later, finally, for years, I tell people this story, parts of it, like I’ve told you, and they kept saying, you need to write a book. And I agreed. And I wanted it to be a good news story. I wanted people to know that there are real people out there and that really good things can happen and not to give up. Because we had never applied for adoption prior to having the baby in our hearts, in our home. And even the woman who wound up doing the home study, which is something like we’ve talked about for years, if everybody who’s about to have a baby or about to be a parent did a home study, it would help people so much. You’re asked questions you never even think of considering, and you’re asked them separately. You can’t confer. And when the adoption was final, we get to the courthouse, they actually lock the door when you adopt. They want to make sure nothing bad happens while you’re there. This woman got up on the witness stand and told the judge that in all of her years doing this for a living, she had never said these words. And what she said was, this was a family that was meant to be. So we got outside the courtroom, and I went over to her and I said, thank you. And I said, did you mean what you said in there? And she said, I was under oath. Of course. I meant she said why? Because the next time a 37-year-old woman calls you and asks about adopting, might want to remember today. Did you call me? I said, yeah, I called you a year ago, and you told me the chances were slim to none and not to even try. I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to you. But I thought she should know. And she was so respectful about it, she just said, I can’t believe I said that. And you’re right. I’ll never say it again. So there’s so many myths around it all. People I’ve talked to, people, obviously, since the book came out, who their perception of things is probably what ours was.
00:25:11 – Gloria Grace Rand
Well, that’s what I was going to ask you. What’s the maybe most common myth?
00:25:19 – Mikki Shepard
I think the most scary myth is the perception that people think the waiting period, which is usually six months, is different in every state. And we thought so, too, but that waiting period is for the birth mother or birth parents to change their mind. It’s not. It’s for the adoptive parents to change their mind. The birth parents’ rights, depending on the state again, in our case, her rights were terminated at 14 days. And it’s at that point she can’t change her mind. And believe me, everything is done to make sure she knows what she’s doing and is very sure about it. But that was a big one for us. The other one is the cost. The cost back then to us, we thought it was incredibly expensive, and all we kept saying was, we’re going to make it work. We’ll make it work. But what’s changed, back when we adopted, there weren’t grants to be had. There weren’t tax credits, which there are now. And there’s so many organizations. On my show, On Adoption as a Choice, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing so many people this past year, Save the Storks, out of Colorado, Life First in Texas and the Dave Thompson Foundation, which is one I love to promote because that’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. They promote foster adopt, because 50 kids a day age out of the foster system.
00:26:50 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:26:51 – Mikki Shepard
Yeah. And it’s so sad. You turn 18, all of a sudden you don’t have a family.
00:26:54 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:26:55 – Mikki Shepard
Where do you go for the holidays? But now a lot of organizations have grants that you can apply for or they have loans, they have a combination. Also, the other thing is that I have a list, and anybody can find it on the Internet is the top 100 companies who support adoption for their employees.
00:27:17 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:27:18 – Mikki Shepard
And so a lot of them have a certain amount of money that if you adopt while you’re working for this particular company, they will pay for it to a certain extent. They have a lot of things, and they’re all pretty generous from what I’ve gone through, and I’ve gone through a lot of them, and they give paternity leave to both parents. So there’s just so much more there. There is one misconception that I hate to leave without ever addressing, because it’s important to me. We had friends that lived in Colorado who I hadn’t seen in years. We got back together, blah, blah, blah. They had adopted a couple of years before us, and we all wound up in a business that got us moving to Arizona for a couple of years. So we were together a lot, and their son was older, and he started getting into a lot of trouble. He was experimenting with drugs and different things, and his mom and dad were at our house one night, and I said, Why aren’t you talking to him about this instead of just telling us about it? And she says, there’s nothing we can do. What do you mean there’s nothing you can do? He’s your son. I said, Lindy, you adopted him at birth, just like we adopted JT. This is a family. And she said no. And she was a nurse by profession, and she shocked me, and she said, no, it’s in his DNA. Whatever’s going to happen, he came to us that way. No, he came in a very innocent body. He was raised by you.
Gloria Grace Rand
Children learn what they live, so take some responsibility. You need to talk to him about it. But that shocked the heck out of me that anybody could believe that. And I’ve heard it now more since the book came out, since the show came out, how many people believe that they come with this inherent badness or goodness, and it’s just not true. I don’t care whether you’re adopted or not. If you were a child or you have a child, your atmosphere is having an impact on your life. And so parenting is very important to talk to children about. The other thing, I think everybody believes that every child who’s adopted wants to find their birth parents. And that’s not true. It’s only like less than 5%. It’s not that… they can a lot easier now than ever before, of course, but I know in our case, we made a promise that I would send a letter and pictures once a year until he was 18. But we were going to be able to get through our family, have our family. But when he turned 18, we would make the offer and arrange for the meeting if he chose it. And he always knew. We told him from the time he was born, but he always knew. I didn’t want one of those weird moments when you’re a mom looking over the playground fence wondering if somebody’s looking back at you. I just wanted it up front. I think it is special. And it wasn’t something to hide, but that’s something that we found out. I mean, we made the offer to our son. He had no interest, and you’re my parents. But Eddie always knew, so it wasn’t like it was a big surprise. But I’ve interviewed people on my own show who didn’t find out they were adopted till they were in their fifties.
00:30:46 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:30:48 – Mikki Shepard
60s.That’s traumatic. Yeah, because that’s a very different situation. And then they start worrying about things, but it just trying to think. There was one other one that’s the biggie but I think that’s a lot of it, people are afraid. And from people I’ve met, I did a book signing in our local town library when the book first came out, and it was all retired teachers. And there was one woman who come up to me and she said, I’m buying two of your books. Okay. Thank you. She said, well, one is for my daughter and her husband. She said, they’re unable to have a child of their own. She’s approached adoption with her husband, and he fights it every time because he believes the child comes the way they’re going to be and there’s no impact. So that little story kind of helped her and she said made sense to her if you’re a biological parent, this baby comes into your life. He didn’t come ready to rob someplace or he came with all kinds of possibilities. And you can help him.
00:32:00 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:32:01 – Mikki Shepard
So does do that and you indulge me. That’s why I’m doing the show. I actually didn’t set out to do that. I set out to write a book and hopefully get in the hands of every OBGYN clinic in the country and anybody who wanted to have a family or had a family. But Voice America approached me about it, and they thought it was important. And the timing of starting it sure was this year. And it’s been amazing how we’ve obviously hit a niche. More and more people want to learn about it and not to turn political on you, but I keep hearing about a woman’s right to choose, and I think that’s great. But how can you choose if you don’t know what all the alternatives are? And adoption is a choice, and it can be a beautiful one for both birth parents, adoptive parents. It’s a much more rewarding situation for everybody concerned because you’re creating life, and it seems that’s a good thing to me.
00:33:03 – Gloria Grace Rand
Awesome. Well, I’m glad that you’re able to share your story with our audience today. It’s a good reminder to people, and especially, I think that the point that you honed in on about, that it’s not necessarily that the DNA that you have inside of you that determines what type of life you have. And I’ll share an example from my own family is that my brother, he was in the Navy in the 70s, and he got a girl pregnant and then they put the baby up for adoption. And he wound up, he struggled with alcohol and drugs and then was turning his life around and then suddenly died at the age of 33. And it wasn’t actually still even about another 20 years, after my mom died that I even found out that he had a son, that he had given this baby boy up for adoption. And as the universe happens and grants us the things that we’re looking for, my sister passed in 2016, and so she was the last person who knew me as a child, my parents had both passed on. And then right before the pandemic hit, I was checking our family tree, ancestry.com, and there was a message from a young man who wanted to know if, I was actually using my sister’s account at the time, if we were related. And so he described my brother and all of the situation, and I was like, oh, my gosh, I found my nephew. But that wasn’t even the best part. The best part was that he lived an hour away from me, and he was born in California but now lived in Florida.
00:34:54 – Mikki Shepard
Oh, wow, Gloria.
00:34:55 – Gloria Grace Rand
We got to see each other. He had just recently had been looking for birth parents. He’s connected with his birth mother as well, but he had a really great, well, he had wound up with an alcoholic dad, stepdad too, or foster or adoptive parent, but still grew up. He’s a wonderful man, is working, has beautiful family of his own now and so clearly did not get some of the demons that my brother had and is just fine and it’s wonderful. So yeah, if you are considering adoption, do not worry about where the baby comes from. Just think about how much love you’re going to give that baby instead and that’s what’s going to determine how well they turn out.
00:35:43 – Mikki Shepard
You have to come on my show now so that we can have that conversation because I’ve had similar things and it’s so exciting when it happens. There is one last thing that it’s, I don’t think it’s an adoption myth. I think it’s a mom myth.
00:36:02 – Gloria Grace Rand
00:36:03 – Mikki Shepard
Or maybe it’s first-time mom. I only have that experience. But one of the things we learned early on and I think when CJ was old enough to talk, basically Free Willie was a big deal in his life. He just really loved it. We were watching it for probably the hundredth time and then all of a sudden he turns to me and he says, do you remember, Mama? Remember what, honey? He said when I was in your belly? No. And my husband, the minute he asked this question, my husband starts backing out of the room. I’ve always thought, what were you thinking I was going to be able to do here? But I think there was divine intervention because the words just came out of my mouth and I said, don’t remember. You weren’t in my belly, you were always in my heart. And he said, oh, that’s right. And we went back to watching the movie. What I came to learn as questions came up periodically and it’ll be a year here, another year there, a question just pops out of him. And a friend told me, you’re expecting that he wants big answers. And she said her son was two years older, he wasn’t adopted. But the questions just feel the same. They still come up with questions and as parent you just think they want this giant explanation, and they don’t. They just relax and tell them the truth and you’ll be fine. But I thought that was a big deal because when I’ve told it to other people they’ve related that, yeah, I wanted to give this big explanation, which I was prepared to do at that moment with Free Willy and a few times later in his life, is that what he wanted? It’s a quick question, but it’s fun. I think the whole idea of any parenting, any family is enjoy it and have fun. And so if your listeners are so inclined, I would love them to help us. We’re looking to get sponsors and advertisers for Adoption as a choice. And if I can plug it, it’s real easy to find you can go to Adoption as a Choice, all one word, dot live and all the 20 shows that we’ve done are recorded. They’re on demand at any time. And adoption as a choice, all one word again, dot com is my website. We’d love to hear from you. If you have a story that relates to this at all, any part of it would love to hear from you. We’re always looking for guests to share real people stories. We’ve had great experts, but we want it all. Yeah, a little bit of everybody.
00:38:44 – Gloria Grace Rand
Well, I will be sure and have that information in the show notes. If you are listening or watching right now, just make sure that you go to Liveloveengagepodcast.com and then you’ll be able to find this episode and then you’ll be able to get that information. So thank you so much for sharing your story with our listeners and viewers today. I really appreciate it, Mikki.
00:39:08 – Mikki Shepard
Thank you. Thanks for having me. I hope they enjoyed it. I believe people do.
00:39:13 – Gloria Grace Rand
I’m sure they did. And I want to thank all of you as well for listening and for watching as you do. And I so appreciate it. Am just really thrilled, frankly, to be doing this and grateful for each and every one of you. So until next time, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.
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