June 7, 2011

With Love, Moms

Laura McEntee became a stepmom last week to Leah St. John, 6.Given her expanded understanding of what it means to be a mom, McEntee is more than ready for whatever comes next.
Bride Laura McEntee, right, relaxes before her wedding day, while her birth mom, center, in robe, and adoptive mom, left, in green, get hair and makeup done. 
Carylyn McEntee, left, with her adopted daughter, Laura.
Laura McEntee, center, with her two moms — Carylyn McEntee, left, her adoptive mother, and Michele Dupras, right, who gave Laura up at birth. Since reuniting with her birth mom, she has found
more unconditional love than she could have ever imagined, Laura McEntee said.
Michele Dupras gets her hair done while biological daughter,
Laura McEntee, assists. 
In a unique love story, birth mom performed marriage ceremony for the daughter she reunited with after 19 years 

ours before her wedding, Laura McEntee looked like any other bride-to-be — hair swept up to one side, makeup applied, snuggled under a comforter on her mother’s bed, updating her Facebook status to something like, “Today I’m marrying my best friend.”
But the circumstances that brought the Lyndeborough woman to this moment were anything but typical.
Seated near a window Carylyn McEntee, Laura’s adoptive mother, was getting her makeup done. Across the
 room Michele Dupras, Laura’s birth mother, was drying her hair. 

Together, Laura’s two moms had made this day possible. 
In 1987 Dupras, just 16, knew the best thing for the baby she hadn’t planned on was to give her up to parents who were ready for parenthood. McEntee, who had three sons in various stages of adolescence, was unable to conceive with her second husband. 
She was more than ready to pick up where Dupras had to let go. 
“I made a promise to Laura on the day she was born, that I’d do everything in my power to reunite her with her mother one day, the only way I could ever thank her for giving me the most precious gift of my life,” said McEntee. 
After Laura’s birth, Dupras went back to being a teenager. She finished her senior year of high school, and graduated from college. 
She married in 2000 started a family and settled in Hudson, raising two young sons. But over all the years, not a day went by that she didn’t wonder about the daughter she’d never known. 
“As soon as Laura turned 15, I posted all my information on the adoption boards. 
I wanted her to be able to find me if she wanted to. 
But then they changed the age you could get your birth records in New Hampshire, to 18. All my information was removed. I had to do it all again when Laura turned 18,” Dupras said. 
In the meantime, Carylyn and her husband had divorced, when Laura was 10. 
“Laura and I have always had this incredible relationship — we’ve never gone through the difficulties some mothers and daughters go through. We are so much alike, it’s really amazing,” McEntee said. 
Since her 18th birthday fell on a Saturday, Laura had to wait until that Monday to go to Concord for her birth certificate. She went with McEntee, who had planned the trip as one of Laura’s birthday gifts. 
That same day, Dupras went to Nashua District Court, where she was told she had to send the paperwork to Concord. 
“So all she could get was my name. By the time all my information made it to Concord, it was too late,” Dupras said. 
For the next year and a half, Laura carried her birth mother’s name with her everywhere she went.
“I didn’t have the nerve to look her up. I guess I was afraid of rejection or something. I had no idea she wanted me to find her,” said Laura. “But all my life I always felt like there was something I didn’t understand about myself. Once I finally found Michele, it all made sense. It was like we knew each other our whole lives.” 
That day came randomly — Laura had abruptly quit a job she didn’t really like. She was home during the day. Something came over her, so she Googled the name that was seared into her memory. 
“It came right up, once I spelled it right,” said Laura. 
“I found out that I grew up about an hour from where she was living.” 
Since then, Laura has also reunited with her birth father, Sean Morrison of Massachusetts. He and Dupras had only dated for a short time, so he never knew that he’d fathered a child. 
“After Laura contacted me I wrote him a letter, and as soon as he read it, he wanted to meet her, too. He’s very much a part of her life now. I have sons and he has a son. 
Laura is our only daughter,” said Dupras. 
In fact, in the four years since finding her birth parents, Laura’s extended family has grown exponentially — including half-siblings, step-parents, aunts, uncles and the rest of the story behind her big brown eyes and dimples. 
For Dupras, there was one puzzle yet to be solved as Laura’s wedding day grew closer. 
“I felt so lucky that Carylyn accepted me the way she did. 
I am so grateful for all she’s done for Laura and I didn’t want to take anything away from her. She is rightfully the mother of the bride,” Dupras said. 
Her solution was to become a justice of the peace, so that she could perform the ceremony. Nobody could have scripted a happier, more perfect ending, said Laura. 
“My whole life I knew I’d find my birth mother. I always knew somehow that we’d all be together, and it would be wonderful. I just can’t believe it’s really happened,” said Laura, who had wisely tucked a box of tissues next to her on the bed. 
Tear prevention was futile. 
“It’s just too perfect. Michele gave me away once; now she’s giving me away again,” said Laura, dabbing at the corners of her eyes. 
“These are happy tears.” 
Dupras said she always knew that adoption was the right choice. 
“I assure you that Laura would have had a wonderful life if I’d kept her, but only because my parents would have made it that way. No 16-yearold is ready to raise a child, period,” Dupras said. 
It’s unfortunate that so many girls believe abortion is the “easy” way out, she said. 
“With all these shows on television about teen moms, you see these girls with a warped sense of reality. They think if they keep their baby they will be able to hang onto the baby’s father forever, or that giving up their child for adoption means they’re giving a child away. What they don’t realize is there are so many wonderful couples out there who can’t have children of their own,” Dupras said. 
McEntee said she, too, always knew that this was meant to be. 
“We told Laura the truth from the time she was little, and she’d often say, ‘Tell me the story, Mommy.’ And so I would tell her that, once upon a time, she had another mommy who cared for her very much, but who let us take her for a time, and love her, and raise her, and that someday we’d all get back together. And maybe that’s part of it,” McEntee said. “Maybe that’s why Laura always knew, in her heart, that her life would have this fairytale ending.” 

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