My friends know that I have a son, who was surrendered to adoption almost 45 years ago. Our story is a great one, and you will just get a bit of it here.

 

In a nutshell (and I am a nut!), I became a teen parent in 1970 and the child was put up for adoption. Teen parenting used to be a shameful event and the birthmother’s family made the common choice at a teen mother facility in San Diego. If you want the whole story, you can call me and buy the coffee.

 

Anyway, my birth son, Clint was born over 4 decades ago and I grieved the loss for many years. I believed I had no right to information or a relationship with him.

 

In graduate school and in the counseling I sought out, I began to come to terms with the loss when I was married and expecting my second son.

 

After graduating with my master’s degree in social work, I saw some birthparents on Oprah, and it was the first time I heard of other parents sharing my pain. I wrote a letter to social services who handled the adoption, and left letters for the son who I never knew.

 

I worked counseling pregnant families in the ‘80’s and became aware of CUB (Concerned United Birthparents). It’s an organization that provides support for birthparents and advocates for more openness in adoption and adoption records.

 

I attended my first CUB meeting in San Diego. It was a positive, powerful experience to tell my story and see the tears of other birthparents, mourning their loss—and acknowledging mine.

 

Four years later, with the help of CUB friends, I began a search for Clint and found him living with his adoptive parents in South Carolina. We had a great reunion (his mother Ginny was also an adoptee). Clint and I have been connected ever since.

 

Last month we attended our son’s 3rd wedding in Virginia. He is a great guy, but sometimes he chooses the wrong woman. This time, I think he finally found his soul mate.

 

For many years, I have presented what it’s like to be a birthfather at regional and national adoption conferences. This October, Clint and I will present together at the national CUB conference in Carlsbad.

 

I am looking forward to it. We will be on a panel of reunited birthparents and their children.

 

My adoption story turned out good. It has appeared in the Good Housekeeping magazine years ago, and in a book, written by Eric Blau, M.D. entitled Stories of Adoption.

 

Some adoption stories have very sad endings. If you have been touched by adoption, there are support groups in San Diego, Palm Springs and elsewhere.

 

You can contact CUB at www.cubirthparents.org. They have many adoptee members and information about adoption related organizations.

 

If you want to get involved in adoption, and touch the life of one of the many of the orphans of Imperial Valley, you can contact Amaris Ministries who are at 760-337-9444.

 

If you have an adoption story, and you want to tell it, I will listen, and I will buy the coffee!

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Jim Shinn has lived in the valley for 57 years and was home-schooled in the 1950’s. He was been a counselor at schools, health clinics, drug treatment center and is the director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center. He has written for the Alpine Sun and the Desert Voice and has published 2 books Bedtime Storeezzz and Faith and Loving on the Way to Heaven. He has taught at IVC, SDSU and the University of Redlands and writes to keep sane in a very strange world. He loves Jesus and serves Christ at Valley Baptist Church in Brawley.

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