Is there such a thing as too much love? The answer is no, especially if you ask Amanda Hansen.
As a teenager in high school, she found herself in an unplanned pregnancy. Her loving and supportive parents encouraged her to think about adoption and even gave her a video on the subject. She refused to watch it.
“In my mind, I made this ‘mistake’ and I had to face the consequences and to me that meant raising a child myself was the only way to make it right,” Amanda said. “I didn’t see any reason to pray about it, because I felt there was only one option – to keep the baby.”
Amanda was close to eight months pregnant when she started struggling with self-worth. One night, she watched the video and woke up the next morning with a sense of peace. She agreed to meet with Inheritance Adoptions.
“I will always remember my dad’s reaction learning about open adoption when we met with Inheritance and the comfort of knowing the baby was OK and seeing her grow up,” Amanda said. “He had only ever known of closed adoptions at that time.”
Little did anyone know how “open” Amanda’s adoption would be. After choosing Linda and Olaf Sakolevidis as the adoptive couple, the most amazing relationship began.
“On Jan. 31, 2000, we received the call that Amanda was in labor and were told to go to Wichita Falls,” Linda said. “We were there when our beautiful Destiny was born. We were able to be there with our birth family and their friends and family throughout the hospitalization. We had an amazing experience and were shown so much love and we were more than delighted to love them back and we wanted to be there for her. Upon discharge from the hospital, when Amanda lovingly placed Destiny in our arms, we had a hard time saying ‘thank you’ as it seemed completely inadequate. So, we told her the way we raised Destiny would be our ‘thank you’ to her.”
When the Sakolevidises returned home with Destiny, they thought of Amanda every day. They remained in touch through letters, phone calls and pictures, but it was more than the usual contact of an open adoption. It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
“Amanda would come to our home and visit and at times would stay the weekend and we would just hangout and talk, have fun and make memories,” Linda said. “There were times when we would go to Wichita Falls to visit with her and her family. Later, with text and other social media, we were able to communicate even more. We would always try to get together for special occasions like Destiny’s birthday, Christmas, etc. We attended some of Amanda’s high school activities and later, when she married her precious husband, we were there for the wedding and have had the pleasure of watching their family grow by two sweet little girls. What a blessing.”
Amanda trusted that God always had a plan and was in control.
“I know, without a doubt, that God had me give birth to Destiny for Linda and Olaf,” Amanda said. “The worldly view of adoption can sometimes be negative, but adoption isn’t a negative. It is about love and one big, extended family. The love and respect didn’t just come from Linda and Olaf, but all their family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their friends. The admiration I have for them for loving Destiny and being her parents is unreal. There had never been a time that it felt awkward or not normal for us all to be together.”
Amanda remembers from the beginning, the Sakolevidises saying they would adopt her, too, because she was like a daughter to them.
“I was always part of their family,” Amanda said.
Throughout the years, Linda always called and shared with Amanda any milestones, special occasions and events like when Destiny started walking, made straight A’s, received an award or won a dance competition. A few months ago, Amanda and her husband drove to Dallas to attend an awards presentation at Destiny’s high school.
“It is strange and hard to explain, but I don’t think of Destiny as ‘mine’ so to speak,” Amanda said. “I absolutely love her, but there has never been one time that I have ever doubted this decision or wonder if I made the right choice. I know that Linda and Olaf are her mom and dad and I just helped make that happen.”