Adoption Support Center Remembers Lauren Ann Hamilton Deeds
Lauren was adopted at 3 days old. She came to us through a private lead that was a friend-of-a-friend. The Adoption Support Center was started when Lauren was two years old – solely because of the joy she brought to all our lives. She was a bubbly, funny, busy little toddler. The agency began in our home and she used to run into the office, naked, most mornings.
One of our Lauren adventures centered around her name. When I was born, I had no middle name. So, in fourth grade I chose one that was very unusual and special to me, Dare, after my aunt who lived with us. I wanted to give my girls that same freedom, so when Lauren and her sister were born, I didn’t give them a middle name either. Lauren gave herself so many fun names over the years. Her first one was just a sound, “Huh!” (Like Elvis Presley). The second one was “Do-Do” from the movie The Land Before Time. Lauren had discovered the bird in a McDonald’s Happy Meal. She insisted it be put on her Kindergarten graduation diploma. When they announced her name “Lauren DoDo Hamilton” the crowd gasped and looked at me with disbelief. Next came more logical choices like Elizabeth and Lilly.
As Lauren grew up, adoption was always important to her. She was very curious about her beginnings and asked lots of questions. I always knew she would be the type of adoptee who would want to find her birth family, and sure enough, she did. Lauren’s birth mom was 40 years old when she placed her for adoption. Lauren always said she was afraid they might never meet if she waited until she was 21 and her birth mom was 61. She would tactlessly say this was because she was “old” when she placed her. But, when Lauren was 15, we needed medical information and I searched for them. They are wonderful people who had married a year after Lauren was adopted. They enjoyed a nice relationship for nearly four years when her birth mom died at age 60. Lauren’s instincts were right; they would have never met if she had waited. Meeting her birth family was very fulfilling for her. One of her first questions for her mother was “What is your middle name?”
It was Ann.
Lauren had finally found her middle name. Lauren Ann Hamilton.
Lauren struggled through her teen years, and even co-authored a book about those struggles with Sherry Eldgridge called Twenty Steps for Adopted Teens. Lauren had her own way of doing things…sometimes a bit unorthodox. As a young adult she fell in love with Chris, had a baby, came to work with me at the agency, bought a house, then she married. Again, her name was very important to her. She immediately did a name-change everywhere, even at Jiffy Lube and Blockbuster. At work, as she wrote us phone messages, she’d sign them “Lauren Ann Deeds”, as if, in our small office, we didn’t know who she was!
Her son, Cayman, came to work everyday with her…we were his day care, Lauren and nine loving “aunts.” I had always told our staff that they could bring their babies or toddlers to work with them. I had never benefited from this rule until my grandson was the baby! It was wonderful. Lauren was invaluable on the phone with our clients. As a young lady who had turned her life around, she empathized with the birth moms who called in crisis. As a loving mom, she understood their desire to parent and gave them hope. As an adoptee, she was an advocate for birth mother correspondence, visits and sharing. She had become involved in a twelve-step program as a teen and never hesitated to offer a birth mom the group’s meeting schedule; she even bought a program book for several birth mothers struggling with addiction and offered to go with them to their first meeting. She was hoping to stay on forever and take over the agency when the time came. How appropriate…the agency existed because of her.
Lauren was a proud wife and loving young mom. Her instincts as a mother with Cayman were amazing, her goals clear and her life happy. She died suddenly when she fell asleep at the wheel driving home from Indianapolis after a special dinner in the “big city” with Chris. Diet Coke and steaks. After commuting to work that morning, they had to drive both cars back to Muncie that night. We struggle along without her, both at work and in our lives. Now I buy the 12-Step book for birth moms and offer to download meetings.
At this writing, Cayman is the same age Lauren was when I started Adoption Support Center.
The third generation is here.
– Julie Craft