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Then & Now: Kimber Murray, adopted in 1996

Kimber was placed for adoption in 1996 by a wonderful woman named Leslie.
Read Kimber’s birth mom’s story below.

By Leslie

I was 22 and a divorced parent to a beautiful 4-year-old girl. I was struggling to pay my bills, put food on the table, and provide for Amber and myself just the basic necessities. I was working at a convenience store 3rd shift and sleeping during the day and taking care of Amber during the day.

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Left: Leslie holds Kimber.
Right: Jan holds Kimber.

One night something happened that changed my life forever. It left me pregnant. I didn’t want to face it. How could God allow me to have another child? I was already struggling with the one I had and far from mother of the year. How could He give me a baby from such a horrible experience that I was supposed to love and care for? What was I going to do? Most importantly, how was I going to support the 3 of us?

Placing my baby girl for adoption wasn’t an easy decision; it was in fact the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make. My mind told me to keep her, where there is a will there is a way, I told myself. I could make it work.

Then other thou

ghts would come across like what if He gave me this baby to give to someone. I knew that only He could give me the answer. I was never one to have much faith or even pray for that matter. But I remember the day I did pray for an answer. I was home alone and I felt her kick…I was so confused, what was I supposed to do with this baby? I kneeled down beside my bed and just began asking God what do I do? Begging Him to give me an answer I needed his confirmation of what I was supposed to do. I couldn’t or wouldn’t dare make such a decision on my own. How could I? This decision was not only going to affect my life, it was going to affect the life of a child, my child. What was I going to do?

Kimber and Leslie

Leslie (bottom right) meets her birth daughter, Kimber (top left), for the first time in 17 years.

I was flipping thru the pages of the phone book the next day in the yellow pages, of all places and I saw a small ad for “AGAPE Adoption”. See, abortion was never an option. This bundle of joy didn’t ask to be born, God gave it to me, for what reason, I had NO clue. With everything that I knew, I knew that it was Him who took me to the yellow pages that day.

I called the 1-800 number the day. I got a lady on the phone, and we talked for a little while and I explained to her my situation. She was very kind and sincere in her responses to my questions. I went to some counseling and talked to my social worker, Carol Esco. Mrs. Esco, was so supportive and compassionate to what I was experiencing. I remember the process of going thru the letters that several dozen people had written, all wanting a baby. I was in Mrs. Esco’s office in Montgomery reading thru them. Several I read stand out in my mind to this day. Sadly, I could only pick one. How was I going to do this on my own? Oh goodness, it was such a hard decision. All I knew to do was pray for Him to lead me to the right parents for this little girl, who I had begun calling Raven Skye. Shortly after praying for the right parents to my little girl, I came across Jan and Bill’s letter after reading that letter and holding on to it and laying it on my stomach, I knew, it was them. My baby girl was going to have a loving home, two wonderful parents who had been married for several years and although they had children, all of their children were in heaven with God. It was at that very moment that I was 100% certain that I had and was making the right decision. After reading their letter, I never read another one that day. It was like I had a sense of peace overcome me.

The day was here!! After 2 weeks,

I would see my baby girl one final time, before she went to be with her parents. It was an emotional day for me. I was scared, I had so many unanswered questions. What if she wasn’t told about me? What if I had picked the wrong parents for her? What if they were mean or abusive to her? It was hard, I had never been thru anything as hard as that day. Fortunately, as soon as I met Jan and Bill I had a sense of peace again. Jan and I hugged for a long time that morning. Although I had never lost a child, my heart was breaking as I only thought I was losing her.  To see the beam of love when Jan and Bill looked at her, I knew I made the right decision. That day, I asked Jan to do one thing for me… Please tell her that I love her. Never let her think that I didn’t love her and that was the reason I placed her for adoption. Jan assured me that she would always tell her that I loved her. I gave her a picture that I had of me and Amber when Amber was a baby, for her to show her when she got a little older. Never in a million years did I think she would keep it.

Through the past 17 years, I have often wondered what she looked like, did she still have that red tint to her hair? Did she have these little holes in her ears that my mom had? Did she look anything like me? At birth, she looked nothing like me. Did she know how much I loved her? My biggest fear of the entire process was that she would hate me. Would I ever hear from her? Would her parents help her in finding me when she turned 19? What would our reunion be like, if we had one?

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Bill and Jan Murray with their children, Jacob and Kimber.

It was 2 weeks before my 40th birthday in June, 2014, when I woke up and checked my phone like always. I saw that I have a Facebook message from a Jan Murray. I was like, who is that? I opened it up and saw the beginning statement, “Please forgive me if I am wrong, I don’t mean to bother you. However, I think you are my Kimber’s birth mother.”

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I wasn’t sure if I should cry, scream or be scared. I ran to the bedroom to wake my husband to tell him and read him the message. He was as excited as I was! It was the best day of my life. It was then, I had the same feeling Jan and Bill had the day I handed Kimberlin to them. Our adoption story was coming full circle! I couldn’t believe it! It was a dream I never imagined would come true.

Jan and I talked for about 2 weeks, day and night, about my life, her life, Kimberlin’s life and everything in between.  Jan explained to me that Kimberlin had accomplished a lot in her 17 years and had overcome several obstacles, which made me even prouder! Jan said she would tell Kimberlin she had found me after she took her test for Cosmetology. I longed for that day to come. She told Kimberlin on July 4, 2014. I woke up that morning to a text that says, “Hey, it’s Kimberlin. What’s up?”…One can only imagine the squeals that came from me that morning! I think I woke up everyone in the world. Kimberlin and I texted a lot that day. After a few hours of us texting, I finally asked the two questions that I have always wondered. Are you mad at me for placing you for adoption? Was there ever a day that you thought I didn’t love you? Her reply was NO, you chose life for me when there were other options. And NEVER, mom and dad always told me you loved me. All I could do was cry and thank God for leading me to the right agency, social worker, and parents for Kimberlin. We have since met, spent a couple of weekends together, and are getting ready to celebrate her 18th birthday! I am beside myself with emotion. Some nights, I just thank God for bringing them back into my life. Such a blessing!

My advice to pregnant women today would be to pray, pray, pray!! If you are unsure if you are making the right decision, PRAY. God will lead you to the right decision. Call Agape, talk with a social worker. Yes, it was a hard decision to make. Was it the best decision for me and Kimber? By far! No child asks to be born. Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” This scripture says it all. Sure, there are other choices out there. Some may seem easier, but they are not. I can assure you when it comes full circle, it is a feeling like no one can describe.

To adoptive parents, always tell the child/children how much their birth parents love them. If the birth parent(s) shares something with you, please share that information with them at the appropriate time. Jan and Bill could have told me one thing and done another. However, they chose to be open with Kimberlin and tell her how much I loved her and were honest with her about being adopted.

To the children who are placed for adoption, although your circumstances may be different. I just want to share something with you from a birth parent’s point of view. Never for one second think that you weren’t loved by your birth mom. There are several options that she could have chosen. However, she chose life for you. That makes you special and loved. Special and loved because you have two moms who love you. You may not know her now, but she does exist, and you will know her one day. Never have hard feelings towards her, I can assure you, that she has punished herself enough or thought she wasn’t worthy enough of being your parent.

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The Murray family

To the world, CHOOSE LIFE! Sure, abortion is a choice, but that baby didn’t ask to be born. I understand it’s a woman’s choice and her decision ultimately. For just those 9 months, put that baby’s life first. It’s okay if you chose not to be contacted when they are old enough. Imagine for one second, how you would feel if you couldn’t have any children and longed to be a parent. Fortunately, I never had that feeling.

My heart ached for Kimber’s love most days more than not. Can I tell you that it was easy? NO…Can I tell you that a day won’t go by you won’t think of your child? NO…Can I tell you the holidays won’t be hard? NO…Can I tell you that birthdays and any thoughts that you have after you sign those papers won’t be hard and emotional? NO. What I can tell you is that it WILL come full circle. When it does, those days that have caused you so much pain and doubt will eventually be worth it.