I chose adoption for my daughter during the first trimester, within about a week of learning that I was pregnant. It was not, however, the first option that crossed my mind.
It was the summer before my last year of college. I was busy working full-time to support myself. I had recently turned 21 and was enjoying my newfound privileges. After feeling nauseous and fatigued for several weeks, I finally visited my doctor.
“The display showed a “+”, and I still wasn’t sure what that meant.”
She had me take a pregnancy test to eliminate that possibility. As she returned with the pregnancy test result, she had a very sad look on her face. She handed me the pregnancy test stick, and since I had never used one before, I didn’t know what to look for. The display showed a “+”, and I still wasn’t sure what that meant. The doctor softly replied, “It’s positive”. My first thought was that “positive” is usually a good thing, so why was she so sad? She then said, “That means you’re pregnant.”
I cursed and flung the pregnancy test across the room. I had wanted a serious relationship with the father, but he wasn’t interested. I had no idea how to explain all of this to my family. The doctor must have sensed the flood of emotions racing through my head and proceeded to ask, “Are you in a serious relationship with anyone?”
It felt like lemon juice on an open wound.
I curtly replied, “Nope.” The doctor concluded the appointment by referring me to an obstetrician. When I left the office, I immediately began calling all the Planned Parenthood locations near me so that I could come in, but it was after-hours.
I went back home where I shared the news with my roommate. As fate would have it, my roommate had been meeting a counselor regarding an abortion she had previously had, and her appointment happened to be that evening. She suggested I come with her, and I agreed. During that conversation, we discussed abortion procedures and, more specifically, what would happen at that stage of my pregnancy. It was at that moment that I realized there was no way I could proceed with an abortion.
Still, I was definitely not ready to be a parent. The counselor asked if I had considered adoption, and it became clear to me that it was the best route for me. When I shared the news of my pregnancy with the birthfather, he supported my decision to go through with adoption.
The ball was now in my court to select parents for my baby. I had thought many times about marriage and the qualities I wanted in a husband, but had not yet considered the qualities required to be a good parent. I was able to compile a short list of things that were important to me in prospective families. From there, I connected with an adoption agency and began receiving “resumes” of families from across the country who were looking to adopt. I wasn’t finding anyone that completely matched. Nervous and discouraged, I wondered if maybe I was being a little too picky. My mom reassured me that I was not and that God would be faithful.
I had thought many times about marriage and the qualities I wanted in a husband, but had not yet considered the qualities required to be a good parent.
One day, while reconnecting with a friend over the phone, I shared about my pregnancy and the search for my child’s adoptive parents. She informed me that some friends of our youth pastor were seeking to adopt. I connected with the couple, and in September of 2001, I met the perfect parents for my baby. They matched everything I had been looking for and more!
On January 13th, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl! The first time I held her in my arms was indescribable. I was so grateful that her adoptive parents had wanted an open adoption.
From very early on, my daughter’s new parents shared with her how she had grown in my tummy and how excited they were to come to the hospital when she was born and to bring her home with them. As she grew up, I visited her and continued to watch her grow into the young woman that she is today. I still see her about once a year and receive pictures and updates from her adoptive parents.
Years before my pregnancy, my dad shared with my four sisters and I that he had a daughter when he was much younger. He would always say, “You know you have another sister somewhere out there.” He had chosen adoption too, but it was a closed adoption situation. In recent years, he came into contact with his daughter, and it has been very rewarding for him. He often asks if I wish I had decided to parent instead. The answer is still “no.” I wasn’t ready to be a parent, and my daughter has had so many experiences and privileges because of her loving family.
I am now in my late 30s, happily married, and my husband and I are expecting a baby girl! I am so ready to be a mommy and cannot wait for what our future has in store. I’ve learned that being a birthmother is a journey with unexpected thoughts, feelings, and emotions along the way. For example, in recent years as I felt more and more ready for motherhood, it was at times difficult to watch my daughter grow up and to not be her mommy. These were new feelings that I hadn’t expected.
My words of wisdom to other birthmothers would be to find someone who you can confide in, cry with, and be sad with when you are having a hard time. Those moments are a testimony to the sacrifice of being a birthmother. Giving birth to my beautiful daughter and having a relationship with her as her birthmother has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
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