In November 2020, Cradle adoptee Jim Astrove shared his adoption story every Thursday for National Adoption Month on his Facebook page. He graciously shared his story and insights with us and we got permission to share them with the Cradle Family. Read Jim’s insights below:
Jim’s Cradle Connection
My birth mother and birth father conceived me sometime in late May/early June, 1959. At my birth she was 32, a nurse. He was 30, in the Army. On my original birth certificate her name is there – a made up one, not uncommon. His name is not listed, also not uncommon. That’s all the information I have about them. I was born at a small hospital where most of the Cradle babies were born, in Evanston, IL. The Cradle is the adoption agency where my birth mother placed me for adoption. In the fall of 1984, I made it back to The Cradle. I arrived unannounced. The woman at the front desk greeted me, “Good morning. How can I help you?” I replied, “I was adopted from here.” Smiling, she said, “Welcome home.”
Jim on His Adoptive Parents
Age requirements for flights existed in 1960:
Flight Attendant: What an adorable baby! How old?
Ed: 7 weeks–
Kathy (elbowing and smiling): Ed, he’s 2 months today.
Ed (recovering): 2 months, right.
Food requirements also:
Man in seat behind my mom: Your baby might be hungry.
Kathy: Ed, would you please get the bag with the bottle?
Ed: Here you go.
Man in seat behind my mom (crying done): You’ll be just fine.
I’ve always known I was adopted.
I also have no memory of being told I was adopted.
The man in the seat behind my mom was right.
Being an Adopted Person
When I sit down with my doctor of over twenty-five years for my yearly physical, we usually get so far and then… “Family medical history?” I remind him, “I was adopted at birth.” Even better, on my birth certificate it clearly states: “Mother’s health at birth: Excellent. Father’s health at birth: Excellent.” I have excellent health. He nods. He smiles. 1960 adoptions didn’t hold much for family medical history. And I’ll continue to embrace my excellent health. It’s the advantage of non-identifiable information, my life line to my birth parents. I have a bare minimum of data: age, rank, no serial number. And I’m fine with this, always have been. I can create, imagine and play with my heritage; my history. The joy of being who I am enhanced with a touch of the unknown.
Jim on His Birth Parents
Two words. As long as I’ve thought about it, that’s it. A simple message, a sincere smile. A knowing passing of information. An emotional release. I’ll never know the heart and mindset of my birth mother as she realized she was pregnant. A single woman, 1959, a working nurse, with or without the support of my birth father, making a decision. I don’t feel I was given up for adoption. I was “placed” for adoption. I hold these words dear to me. It’s an honor. One I try to live up to each day. It’s a privilege to be here. A privilege to be. I never met her, most certainly never will, though I can always imagine the meeting and my two words. “Thank you.”
About National Adoption Month
National Adoption Month dates back to 1995 when President Clinton expanded National Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November. National Adoption Month brings awareness to adoption, the impact of adoption, and those who facilitate the adoption process.
Learn more about National Adoption Month: