Choosing Life

Part 1 - Adopted

I always knew I was adopted.

My brother Matthew and sister Laurie, who were also adopted, were 6 and 8 years-old when they went along to pick me up at the adoption agency in Winnipeg. My parents (Henry and Joyce Doerksen) were told they probably wouldn’t get a third baby, as the waiting lists were starting to grow longer at that time (1977), but they left their names on the list anyway. Less than two weeks later they got the call and picked me up!

My parents raised us telling us that we were extra special, as they had chosen us, and I always believed this! I had a great childhood, raised in a Christian home, and I am so grateful for this. I have raised my kids to love Jesus too.

When I was almost 18, I had the amazing opportunity to meet my birth-mother, Ria. My brave parents went with me to the adoption agency when she was coming to Winnipeg for a nursing conference. At that meeting, we were able to exchange names and addresses and then stay in touch. I had always wondered who I looked like, acted like, etc, and so it was special to be able to find those answers.

I was also able to hear the story of my own birth for the very first time. I learned that Ria was able to see the information of the next 3 couples on the adoption wait-list (minus names) and choose who to place her baby with. She chose my family based on the fact that they were Christians and had other adopted kids, so I wouldn’t be the only one.

Ria lives with her husband in Toronto and we have been able to maintain a relationship over the years, visiting each other for special occasions such as weddings and family reunions. She is from Nova Scotia and we have visited there together to meet all of her very large family.

I was able to meet my birth-father as well. He lives with his wife in the house he grew up in, so he was easy to find, and he has 3 grown sons who are my half brothers. I was the only daughter he ever had. When I met his mother, my grandmother, she told me I was just as much a grandchild as her other grandchildren. When I met my auntie, who was at my birth, she said “it’s nice to see you again.” Those were really special moments for me that I cherish.

I also found out I could have ended up in a different place, as at the time, babies were placed for adoption in the province they were born in. I could have been born and placed in Nova Scotia but Ria and her sister had traveled West to give me up for adoption. If I had been born in Ontario, as Ria had intended, I would have been adopted in that province. As it was, they continued on to Manitoba, where I was born in Winnipeg, so that is how I ended up in Steinbach.

I believe that God has a plan for everyone and so by his divine planning, I ended up with the family who raised me.

I am so grateful to Ria that she chose to give me life. If she hadn’t, I never would have had the life I am blessed to have now. Her choice ended up becoming a big part of a choice I had to make in my own pregnancy story.

Part 2 - Pregnant

I was 19 and going off to Bible College. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend and intended to find a Christian husband (because that’s what you do at Bible College, right?).

But things didn’t go as I planned.

I found out I was pregnant during my first semester at Bible College, from choices I had made earlier that summer.

This was a devastating time for me, as I always saw myself as a “good girl” and this didn’t happen to people like me.

I looked at all the possibilities: I could end the pregnancy and my parents would never know; I could have and give the baby up for adoption; I could keep the baby.

I ended up deciding I was going to have the baby. My birth-mother had bravely chosen to give me life and I was going to give this baby life too.

I didn’t want to be unmarried with a baby and so, instead of returning to school for a second semester, I quietly quit school after one semester and got married to my baby’s father in January of 1997. Shotgun wedding. I was now going to fast forward to having a family and trying to make the best of my situation. I felt like this was the right choice for me at the time.

On June 3rd, the day before my 20th birthday, I gave birth to a beautiful 9-pound baby boy and named him Braxton! We were all in love, including my parents! My dad held my baby boy and had an instant connection with him. (They have always had a special relationship and still do.)

Things in the marriage were okay for the first 2 years, I felt like I was playing house and our baby was a good distraction. During the 3rd year, things fell apart. We were really young, we both made mistakes, and in the end we separated and then divorced.

This was another devastating time for me, as Christians were not supposed to get divorced. I had already gotten married because I didn’t want to be unmarried with a baby, and now I was a single mother anyway.

I went through a couple of very tough years, but I got through it by relying on God and accepting his forgiveness. I went to a Christian counselor and attended a Divorce Care group, to assist in my healing. Fortunately, Braxton’s father and I were able to remain friends and co-parents.

In God’s perfect timing and kindness, I met my second husband Aaron through mutual friends in 2002 and we ended up getting married. He has been an amazing stable force in my life, and a father figure for Braxton. We have a daughter Sarah who is 12 and we have been happily married for 17 years!

I can’t imagine life without Braxton. It has been a joy to watch him grow up and I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I know God can and will do great things through him. He is now grown up and has a college degree. He got married to Julie, whom he met at Providence, and they are now expecting a baby! We will have our first grandchild before Christmas.

Part 3 – Choosing Life

My wish is for all babies to have a chance at life as I did.

Adoption has been a major blessing for me and my family. I am so thankful for the parents and siblings that I have and have always considered them my family. I am thankful for the opportunity to reunite with my birth family. There are many couples out there who are just like my adoptive parents and would love to open up their home to raise “unwanted” babies.

Choosing life affects all generations to come. I think of it in terms of a family tree. Each new child is a branch on the family tree. When life is not chosen, it is like cutting off a branch on that tree. You never get to see what that life could turn into – how it can grow into more branches or lives, reaching out into future generations.

My birth-mother chose to give me life. If she hadn’t, a branch would have been cut off. I wouldn’t have had any of the experiences that I have had or affected any of the people I have come in contact with, and also my own children wouldn’t be alive.

If I hadn’t given my own baby life, I would have cut off a branch. I wouldn’t have the family that I have now, the most important people to me in the world, along with this new grandbaby the way, who will be loved by so many!

When we choose to continue an unwanted pregnancy, we are not choosing a challenge-free future. However, we also don’t know of the incredible potential events, experiences and people that can also come into our lives as a result.

In hindsight I can say I would not trade the pain and struggles I went through because of what I can now see as growth and blessing. Blessings that I would never have realized had I ended my pregnancy or had my birth-mother ended hers.

About the Author:

Robin Maier is married to Aaron and has 2 kids: a son Braxton (and wife Julie) and a daughter Sarah. Robin & Aaron experienced life away from Steinbach when they lived in Regina for 10 years, where Aaron worked as a firefighter and Robin started & operated CrossFit Regina. They loved it there but moved back 5 years ago to be closer to family again. Since then they have owned and operated "Stone Brook Strength," a local personal training studio, where they love to help people reach their goals in fitness and nutrition. They have one dog Khaleesi and one cat Roxy. Their one desire is to travel more and do push-ups in different countries!

If you would like to send Robin a message, email and put "Robin" in the subject line.