Project: Letter of Recommendation (LOR)
Person: On behalf of Autumn F.
Desc: College scholarship application
January 31, 2011
RE: Letter of Recommendation for Miss Autumn F.
To Whom It May Concern:
Autumn F. changed our life. Now, let’s back up and qualify that simple statement.
When Autumn asked if I would write a letter of recommendation on her behalf as part of the college application process, I couldn’t help but feel both honored and excited. To have any part, no matter how small, in seeing her continue her education and reach her potential is beyond gratifying. She is a remarkable young women and I continue to be in awe of her grace and maturity at every new stage of our relationship. To say she has “overcome adversity” is to say the “grand canyon is a neat little crack in the ground”. Autumn has done far more than simply overcome a challenge; in my humble opinion, she has changed the world for the better.
After 5 excruciating pregnancy losses, including a daughter who died in my very arms, my husband and I turned to adoption. Like any other adoptive parent newbies – we had no idea what to expect outside of exaggerated theatrics as often described in made-for-TV movies. But God had different plans for us.
As we were grieving the loss of our latest baby, there was another couple who were also facing an extremely difficult situation. Autumn, just a sophomore in high school, became pregnant. While the rest of America was gobbling up the “coolness” of being a teen mom, as glamorized by MTV, Bristol Palin and the latest crop of misguided girls who are purposely getting pregnant, Autumn did the unimaginable: SHE PUT HER CHILD FIRST. There are not too many adults, let alone teens, who are unselfish enough to make such a mature and excruciating decision. She could have easily hopped aboard the teen mom bandwagon and paraded her daughter around like the latest handbag, but instead, she looked deep inside to make the best decision for the baby. That is when God put us together.
I could spend just about an eternity describing what my life has been like since meeting Autumn, but it’s not about me, so I will do my best to remain on point. With no other barometer of how to engage in an open adoption relationship, our birth mom/adoptive mom communication rested solely on mutual instinct. We both had to tune out everyone’s well-meaning advice and go with our guts. It turned out to the best decision that either of us could make.
I got to know Autumn on many different levels. One thing I really enjoyed about her was her zest for school. During Autumn’s pregnancy, she was steadfast in her dedication to her education. In our correspondence, she would beam with excitement for doing well on a test or plowing through a report. She often discussed how much she loved being involved in extracurricular activities, like chorus, and that getting good grades is a central focus of her life. She knew the ticket to success was college and made every concerted effort to not let her pregnancy push her into the expected life of mediocrity. I’ll never forget when Autumn called me several months after the adoption to tell me she just landed her first job. She was so happy about earning her own money and taking on this new responsibly. While most girls in her situation would be understandably stagnant, here she was mustering the strength to keep paving her path to excellence. Make no mistake, she did this with a broken heart. She did this with the anguish of a mother’s baron nest. But, she did this in the best interest of both her child and herself.
This is by far one of the things that made me so impressed with her (and continues to do so today). I was drawn to her insatiable hunger for overcoming adversity. There were so many nights that I stayed up with her on the phone as she sobbed at the gut wrenching task ahead – that of placing her child with another family to raise. Can you imagine the dynamics of trying to console a girl who is “your ticket to a family”? But this was no ordinary girl, and again, we just had to rely on our hearts to guide us in the evolution of our relationship.
Fast forward 10 months post adoption. I am now the proud mommy of the most adorable girl on the planet, Madeline Brooke. She has Autumn’s gorgeous eyes and I love telling people where those magnetic blue peepers came from. I think the most convincing thing I could say about writing a letter of recommendation for Autumn is that I would be darn proud of Madeline if she grew up to posses the same fortitude for life, the same maturity, the same grace, the same dedication to education and the same compassion as that of her biological mom. I greatly look forward to watching Autumn’s life unfold and for being a part of it. Outside of her own parents, my husband and I are her biggest fans.
I am happy to answer any follow up questions you may have about this extraordinary girl.
Mrs. Jourdan M. Hathaway