She Was Adopted, From Russia, But She Was Not ‘Unplanned’

Annie Fitzgerald’s message of hope to those who are adopted is that you are not unplanned. The story of the sophomore who has already founded a nonprofit organization was featured at Benedictine College’s Scholarship Ball Feb. 26. Watch her story above, or read it transcribed below:

Growing up, I always knew I was adopted, but as a kid I really struggled with it. There is a feeling of not belonging and rejection. I thought that there was no plan for me since I was an unplanned pregnancy.

My name is Annie Fitzgerald and I’m a sophomore studying theology. I was adopted from Russia when I was seven months old by my parents, and they came over to Russia to adopt me and bring me home to the States. My biological parents were 17 years old, and so they were obviously afraid, not financially stable, and from what I know, they didn’t have family supporting them.

And so I was placed up for adoption in hopes that I would have a good family. But growing up, I really struggled with that. Looking back now, I realize that a birth mom has three options First, she could have chosen an abortion and I wouldn’t be here right now. Second, she could have said, “I don’t care what kind of life this kid has. She’s mine and I’m going to keep her.”

But she did the third thing and the hardest thing, and she carried me for nine months, then gave birth to me through all that pain and suffering and then looked me in the eyes in the hospital room, held me and gave me a kiss on the head and said, “I love you so much that I can’t keep you.”

And she plays me for adoption and hopes that I would have a good and loving home That changed my entire perspective on adoption, and it gave me so much hope. I don’t know. My birth mom and I probably never will, but I will forever be so thankful that she chose life.

When I came to Benedictine College, I really wanted to study theology because in high school I started to learn more about my own adoption story, and I was learning how human life was so incredibly precious, and theology backed that up.

And it teaches us that God forms every single human being for a purpose in a plan. The students and faculty here at Benedictine College are such a family. I find that I can go to them at any time, especially the professors here. We find that they really care for us, not just in the classroom, but outside of the classroom.

One thing that I love about Benedictine College is the pro-life community, the pro-life campus. It’s one of the reasons why I chose Benedictine I was already open about my adoption story, and so there are several people who came to me who are adoptees or had siblings who are adopted wanting to talk. And I realized a lot of adoptees had the same struggles that I did.

I called up a friend that I knew who was also adopted, and we started No Such Thing as Unplanned. What we have is a blog where adoptees can first share their stories. We have a therapist directory so people can find actual help. And we recently just launched our adoptee support group where adoptees can jump online to talk about how they’re feeling with adoption.

And we can create that sense of support and community I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of Benedictine College. I’ve been able to take things that I’ve learned from my theology class and use it directly with no such thing. To this day, I still pray every single day for my birth mom to feel peace and consolation over her decision 19 years ago.

I know now that God chose me. He chose me to be here in this time, be here at Benedictine College, and be here to help other adoptees and I hope to make a really positive change in a difference.

Read more about Annie Fizgerald at Ex Corde.

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Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.