When I was 15 years old, I made some bad decisions and found myself pregnant. Before I became pregnant, I had already thought about what I would do if it happened. I didn’t want to have an abortion because I believe that life begins at conception, and I didn’t want to hurt my baby. Initially I didn’t even consider adoption because I felt that there was no way I was going to be able to live my life knowing my child was somewhere in the world without me. So the only choice, I assumed, was that I had to keep my child and do the best I could to raise him.
I was extremely fortunate because I had a family that would support me in whatever decision I made, but they also wanted me to explore every option before I made the final choice. I thought they were crazy for insisting that I “explore all the options,” because I felt that I already had, and that I was making the right choice by deciding to keep my child. However, my grandmother convinced me to look into open adoption by lovingly telling me that I was being selfish in wanting to keep “my” child. I didn’t understand what she meant until I realized that every time I talked about the baby I called him “mine”, and I never thought of how my child’s life was going to be; I only thought of how my life was going to be.
The more I thought about it, I realized I didn’t want my child to grow up like me, in a single parent home, with a struggling mother, without the proper resources or support to have an abundant life full of opportunities. So, I relented and decided to at least look into what an open adoption would be like (and partially just because I wanted to shut my grandma up and say that I looked into it!). Once I made the request for more information about open adoption, I received a packet listing hundreds of people who wanted and were ready to have a baby in their life. I narrowed the list down to people who lived close by, who were open to having the birthmother involved in the child’s life after adoption, and to families that were Christian. I showed the profiles of the families that I liked to my family members and friends, and they all suggested the same family that I was considering. ??
When I finally met the family that I had picked, I knew it was right.
Eleven years later I am still involved in my son’s life. He knows I am his birthmother and he understands why I chose to give him up for an open adoption. It is still the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but it is also, undoubtedly the best decision I have ever made. My son has had more opportunities than I could ever have provided for him. He has a loving family with a stay-at-home mom, an adoring father, brothers and sisters with whom he can play and learn. On top of all of that, he has the pleasure of knowing my big family, and they love him and are always there for him. Not only has my son had the chance to lead an abundant life full of opportunities, but I too have been able to accomplish so many things: I was able to finish high school and graduate with all of my friends. I attended college and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree, and was able to continue my education and get my Masters of Social Work degree. And now I have to privilege of working with families and young women and sharing my story about how open adoption was the best choice for my son and for me.
I know all stories don’t end this way, but I thank God every day for the life my son and I have now. It all started with understanding my options and taking the time to really consider the life I wanted my baby to have.