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An adoption story, seen from both sides

Jill Murphy was unprepared to be a mother when she got pregnant as a teenager, but after giving her son up for adoption she has built a family with her husband and two daughters adopted from South Korea

Jill Murphy has been on both ends of the adoption spectrum. She’s been the scared, pregnant teenager relinquishing her rights to a baby because she didn’t feel she could adequately love and care for him. And she’s been the recipient of beautiful girls through adoption.

While she’s experienced a lot of ups and downs, Murphy will tell you, life has taken her exactly where she’s supposed to be.

Young and scared

The summer before going off to college, Murphy dated a friend. They both decided they were better off friends, but Murphy later found out she was pregnant. While her friends were living the typical college life, Murphy’s first year of college was figuring out what to do with a baby.

Feeling unfit to be a good mom at the time, Murphy decided she wanted to give the baby up for adoption. She gave birth to a healthy 7 pound, 7 ounce boy but she never saw him.

There was a 10-day grace period before the baby would go to his adoptive family. During that time, the baby’s father decided he wanted custody. Lawyers got involved and the courts decided the father had the right to take the child.

Murphy will admit she was angry. She had a picture in her head of the baby being part of the perfect family with a mom and dad who loved him. At the time, she had a hard time imagining the baby’s father could provide that for him.

“I was too young to care for this baby and be a great mom to him and thought his dad was too,” said Murphy. 

More than 20 years have passed and Murphy said she knows now that wasn’t true. The baby’s father married a year after the baby was born and together with his wife they raised the boy. Murphy had the opportunity to meet her son a few years back and said she realized then that her birth son had the ideal life she had wanted for him. Murphy said she’s grateful his dad and his adoptive mom provided him the life she couldn’t.

The other side

Murphy met her husband, Mike, at 24. She knew right away he was the one. The couple married and then bought their first home. They then decided it was time to start a family. They tried for six months to conceive and then sought medical help.

The first doctor provided less than helpful advice and so they sought a fertility specialist. The couple tried to conceive a baby for the next few years to no avail. After getting pregnant so easily years before, Murphy said it was excruciating to now be dealing with infertility.

“I spent a lot of time being angry, hurt and longing so badly for a baby,” said Murphy.

Eventually tests would determine Murphy had scarring on her tubes and the only way to conceive would be to have her tubes removed and then try IVF. After six years, they decided it was time to seek out other options.

A family of four

Jill and Mike decided adoption was their best bet. After doing some research and soul searching, the couple decided adopt a baby girl from South Korea. The Murphys went through Children’s Home Society, which helped through the arduous process.

On May 18, 2001 they celebrated their first Gotcha Day when Maddie joined their family. Three years later, the Murphys adopted another South Korean baby, Olivia, who arrived on Feb. 26. The family celebrates the girls’ Gotcha Days annually.

While it was difficult to go through the process of infertility and then adoption, Murphy said when she looks at her girls, she knows everything turned out the way it was supposed to.

“I feel lucky to have been through both sides,” said Murphy.

A reunion Murphy thought about the son she had given up throughout the years. Then fate stepped in.

At one point, around the time of his 16th birthday, she thought about sending a letter to his parents and then thought better of it.

A few years later, on a whim, Murphy typed her son’s name into Facebook and his page popped up. It turned out the two of them shared a friend — her neighbor’s daughter, who babysat for her girls and was a close friend.

After finding his profile, Murphy decided to write a letter to his parents.

 “I thought it was the respectful thing to do,” said Jill.

In the letter, Murphy explained her life and how she didn’t want to disrupt their family but she was interested in contacting him. A few weeks later, he contacted her through Facebook.

After sharing messages for a few weeks, the two met for the first time at the Caribou on County Road 42. That was four years ago and that he continues to spend time with their family.

While she’s glad to have him in her life, Murphy continues to be respectful of the family that raised him.

A full circle

While there have been trials and tribulations over the years, Murphy couldn’t be more grateful for where she is now. God had a plan for her, and Murphy said going through it all has taught her a lot about faith and herself.

“My journey to becoming a mother has come full circle. It wasn’t as easy as I once thought as a 10 year old playing in the back yard. It was much harder, but I would not the change the journey of it all,” Murphy said.

Sharing it all

Someday Murphy would like to put her story in a book. For now though, she has shared her story on her blog, Jillsy’s Blog, at

One highlight of sharing her story has been that others have shared their own adoption stories with her. She loves hearing other people’s stories and encouraged people to share their stories on her blog.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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