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Dear Mama: Mom finds joy in adoption amid fertility issues

ABC 24 presents "Dear Mama," a 5-part series highlighting moms in the Mid-South as they pin a letter to motherhood! Welcome to Part 3.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — There is a symbol in adoption. It’s a heart around a triangle. It represents the symbiotic relationship and love among a child, birth mother, and adoptive parents.  

It’s a deep love that Leia Rosenthal knows very well from the moment she met her daughter, Jorja.  

 “The next thing I know she's putting her in my arms, and that is a very surreal moment that a mom is sacrificing herself to make me a mom, very, very special,” Rosenthal said.  

Rosenthal said that moment is burned in her memory. It’s the day her family of two became three.  

“Jorja is very unique child, and she brings me joy every day,” she said.  

Motherhood was something Rosenthal always wanted, but her journey wasn’t easy.  

“When you're sitting in the doctor's office, and they tell you that it's not going to happen the way you expect it to happen, you kind of get kind of broken down by that,” Rosenthal said.  

She and her husband, Michael, went through their options.

“I suffer from female infertility, and when I was not going to be able to carry to term, and my husband, however, has male infertility, he was not going to be able to provide children that way, either, so we knew adoption was going to be the way to go,” Rosenthal said. 

However, it’s a process with a lot of parts. For one, it’s costly. The Rosenthals shared their adoption cost $18,000. It is also time intensive.  

“The adoption took three years from start to finish for us,” Rosenthal said.  

But she said every minute of those 1095 days became worth it on a Wednesday in 2016.  

“February 10, is when we got the phone call, and actually, you really never know, when you're going to get the phone call... So, we got off the phone and we just burst out in tears, just jumping up and down,” Rosenthal said. “We were so excited.” 

It was a joyous moment for a sacrifice never forgotten.  

“What an immense, emotional thing for you to have to put yourself aside and decide what is best for your child,” Rosenthal said regarding Georgia’s birth mother. “And that's the thing I will be grateful for. I'm so grateful for her to do that. And what an immense love that is too. And that just goes to show you how much she loves Georgia, how much she cared for her prior to her being born, how much she was already planning for her.” 

It’s that triangle of love. The gift the birth mother gave to Rosenthal and the love she continues to give to Jorja.  

“She's kind to me and I love her so much,  and she gives me like a lot of kisses, and I want to give her like a lot,” Jorja said.  

The Rosenthals used Bethany Christian Services for their adoption. They say if potential parents are considering adoption, it takes a lot of preparation, they need to stay ready, and they advise parents-to-be to increase their village, so the child gets everything he or she might need.   

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