Meet Michelle Oglesby
Michelle Oglesby is the founder of An Angel’s Choice Adoption Agency, along with her husband, Mason. Michelle brings a refreshing perspective to adoption through her life experience as an adoptee and an adoptive parent, as well as her professional experience as a birth mother coordinator. Michelle has worked with many expectant parents who have chosen adoption for their babies. She understands how you are feeling — because she knows the process from both sides. Here is her story.
Michelle’s Story of Adoption
This was my home for 13 months, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Infant Asylum, popularly known to Chicagoans as St. Vincent’s Orphanage.
The pregnant women who came to St. Vincent’s needed privacy, confidentiality, medical care and compassionate understanding as they awaited the birth of their babies. Some, only in their teens or twenties, bore the stigma of the unwed mother. Others were married women who could not afford medical care or hospitalization – the stigma of poverty. I was told that my mother could not handle twins and chose to place us up for adoption. In the 1950’s, the only placement available was foster homes or closed adoption.
From different stories I was told it appeared that my biological mother came to the orphanage to give birth to my twin brother and me. She decided to place us into this foster home because she could not financially or emotionally care for us. Parts of her adoption plans were: 1) my brother and I would not be separated from one another; 2) she could choose our names; 3) she wanted us to be placed in a good home; and 4) she did not want us to know that we were adopted. She also wanted a closed adoption. This probably was the best way she could deal with her decision and hide this from her husband, her other children and the rest of her family. I understood she was alone in this decision and adoption plan.
When my adoptive father came to this orphanage, the plan was to be foster parents. As he laid eyes on us, he fell in love immediately. However, my adoptive mom only wanted one child. I am so glad he made the final decision.
My dad came out with both of us in his arms and said to her “I want them.” He was so happy!
My parents were in their 50’s when they brought us in to their home. They loved us as their own. I suffered from detachment disorder. This is one of the reasons it is so important that parents bond with their babies, either a biological or an adoptive mother, within the first 6 months of life. I could not accept it when my parents left me, for I cried endlessly whenever they left for a long period of time. At the age of 12, we found out we were adopted from a kid, being mean, in our neighborhood. We didn’t understand what this all meant for many things were not discussed with children in those days. After our parents explained our situation to us, it really did not affect us. We knew how much we were loved. The full story did not come out until we were older.
We were in their home all of our lives; we lived a good life in a safe environment. We traveled, went to private schools and enjoyed our childhood and early adulthood. We lived in a strict home with strong moral values. While we were not given everything we wanted, we certainly got everything we needed. At the age of 18, we were given the choice to be legally adopted and obtain their last name or keep our birth names.
My brother played the clarinet, served in the military, got married and had 2 sons, who blessed him with 2 grandchildren. I went to modeling school, business school, worked as a cosmetologist, got married and had one son. In marrying Mason, I adopted his daughter and love her as my very own.
Thank You to My Birth Mother
I understand why my mother chose adoption for my brother and me. I know she did this out of unconditional love for us. I love her so much for giving my brother and me a chance at a good life.
This is what I would tell her if I only could:
“Mom, thank you for making sure we grew up together. My brother and I are are still very close.”
“Mom, thank you for naming us – what a precious gift.”
“Mom, thank you for making sure we were placed in a loving home.”
“Thank you Mom for giving us life.”
My husband and I started this agency with a strong desire to help others that are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I never thought being adopted would have prepared me for starting my own agency. You see, God had a plan for me to help others when I was being formed in my mother’s womb. He took me through some rough lessons of life to bring me to where I am now. When I was 17, I chose to abort my child. This was so my parents wouldn’t find out and pressure the boy I was with. I recall that lonely bus ride to the abortion clinic and the sucking noises of my baby going through tubes. I remember the coldness of the nurses without faces. I remember the uncontrollable bleeding afterwards. I remember being ashamed and carrying that with me for the rest of my days, even now. God put me here to help You. I believe in adoption for so many reasons. It gives hope and solutions. However, it must be a choice and never forced.
My twin brother and I were blessed to celebrate our “55th” birthday together, October 2014.
I have worked with many parents who have faced an unexpected pregnancy and have to make a plan. I understand what you are feeling and want to help whether you plan to parent or make a plan of adoption.
You do not have to go through this alone.
“I would love to talk with you and answer any questions about my story. Just call or text me at 501-615-3094/toll free 800-879-7233 or send me an email at email@example.com.”
Tell us your story and let us help.