Today I share with you a story from another good friend. It’s interesting to me how there are some similarities in the stories shared. But either decision a mother makes, it’s what’s best for them and their situation. So, I share with you a birth mother’s story with a closed adoption.
I was 15 when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I had been going out for about 8 months. It wasn’t the healthiest relationship, but I thought I was in love with him. My sister took me to Planned Parenthood to get a pregnancy test. I sat in the small examination room alone and waited for the results.
When the nurse came in to tell me I was only slightly surprised. I think I knew the results, I just needed someone to confirm them for me. Even still, I was not prepared to hear the words out loud. Instead of actually listening to the information that the woman was giving me, my mind was reeling. How was I going to tell my parents? Was I ready to be a mom? How would my boyfriend react? How were we going to raise this baby when neither of us had even finish high school yet?
By the time I made it home I knew I needed to tell my mom as soon as possible, but I dragged my feet any way. My sister had to pressure me to do it. I decided to tell her as she was taking me to school for drivers ed. She was quiet and didn’t say much. I learned later that it was because my sister had already told her. To this day I am thankful for that. My mom knew I needed support, not lectures. She asked me if I had a plan and without thinking I said “adoption”. I hadn’t thought about it before then but as soon as I said it, it felt right.
Within a few weeks I had my first appointment at LDS Social Services. My counselor was very encouraging but didn’t want me to rush into a decision. She encouraged me to pray about what I should do, discuss it with my parents and the father, and later in my pregnancy we would talk it over. I was irritated because I already knew what I wanted to do. I started to attend a therapy group for girls that were pregnant. Most were planning on placing their babies for adoption, some were undecided. I firmly held to my decision to place, when people asked me why that was my decision, I would simply shrug my shoulders and say, it just feels right.
I tried to keep my pregnancy a secret at school for as long as possible. The year was almost over so I thought I could. However, every day during 2nd period, like clockwork, I would rush to the bathroom to throw up. People quickly began to talk, but I would always deny it when asked.
My mom was fiercely loyal during this time. I thought for sure this pregnancy would drive a wedge between us but instead we grew closer together. She went to every doctor appointment, listened without judging when I cried, bought me all the foods I was craving, dealt with every mood swing, and shielded me from the judgements of my grandparents and extended family. She was my rock through the whole thing. The father and I however began to grow further apart and we ended our relationship about 4 months into the pregnancy. His parents actually asked if they could adopt the baby, but I didn’t like that idea so I said no.
Shortly after I found out I was having a boy; I gave him a name. James. It was the name of my great-grandpa and I loved it, just like I was starting to love this little baby growing inside me. And as time went on that love deepened, as did my resolve to give this child a wonderful home with parents who were ready for him, to love him and raise him.
At the beginning of 11th grade, I started going to a school for teen mothers. I did not tell anyone there of my plans. I overheard many conversations about girls who choose adoption. No one was understanding. One girl who was choosing to place and was vocal about, and therefore was treated very badly. I knew I did not want anyone to know, I was planning to resume normal highs school after I gave birth, so I didn’t see a reason to tell anyone.
It was that fall that I started to look through files to choose a family. I filled out a short questionnaire about what I was looking for in prospective parents. In my head, I had a vision of a young couple who had no children. I was given 5 files, 4 of the couples did not have any kids.
One of the files was a couple with a son that was 8 who had they had also adopted. I kept going back to it. This confused me because it was not what I had originally wanted. However, I felt so strongly about this little family. Suddenly I loved the idea of James having an older brother.
After a lot of prayer, something that I relied heavily on throughout my pregnancy, I finally settled on the family with the 8-year-old son. What a beautiful feeling it was to finally find the family I was wanting for James. As soon as this decision was made I felt a huge relief.
I knew so strongly that this would be a loving family, who would not just love James, but love me as well. Wanting him to know how much I loved him, that even though this decision felt right, it was not easy. I knew it would be so difficult let him go. And I wanted a family that would help him understand that fact. I knew that this family would.
Once I made the decision on the family, I was allowed one face to face meeting. In this meeting, I was told we would not be able to share personal information like our names. But that we would have an hour to get to know each other. I invited my mom and sister to come with me. It was one of the most special moments of my life. I felt like this family was MY family.
Having such a deep love for them, I knew they felt the same way. I told them how important it was for James to know how much I loved him, how this decision was not an easy one. I wanted him to know that I would think of him always and never forget him. They were so loving with me and promised me that he would know all of that. I wished that I could have met their son but they decided it was best that he not know until things were more solidified.
Once the face to face meeting was over I felt peace. I knew that I was ready to have James and hand him over to this family. I never felt more sure of anything. At the same time, I was very nervous. Labor was not something I was ready to undertake as a 16-year-old girl.
Early morning of December 8th I woke up with strong pains in my stomach that kept coming and going. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. Finally, around 7 am my mom decided to take me to the hospital. Things did not go smoothly. I ended up needing to deliver him by cesarean.
I was a scared 16-year-old girl, but my mother stood by my side the entire time. That night is still very foggy because of the medications, but I clearly remember the doctor holding him up so I could get a glance before they took him away to be cleaned.
Later that night my family was in the hospital room visiting, passing him around and my dad asked if I had held him yet. I hadn’t because I was too afraid. I remember my dad telling me that it was important to hold him. He put his arms around me and held me as I held James for the first time. I will never forget the feeling of holding James for the first time, feeling so much love for him and at the same time feeling so very loved by my dad.
Because of the cesarean, I stayed in the hospital for 3 days. I counted this as a blessing, more time to spend with him before I had to say goodbye. My mother and my sister stayed with me in the hospital, I had very little alone time. Visitors came and went, friends from work and church as well as a few family members. Adam also came to hold his son. He didn’t stay long; I knew this had to be hard for him as well. I felt bad for him.
It was this time in the hospital where I started to waiver. I started to think about what it would be like if I took James home. Knowing my parents would help me. I was ready. I could do this. Wanting so badly to take back everything I had said and keep him. I even said something to my mom. She was quiet, and just held my hand as I cried. I knew my decision had already been made.
In my heart, I knew what I needed to do, but I was feeling weak. I didn’t know if I had it in me to do this. When the social worker from the adoption agency came, he sat down and asked me a series of questions. I don’t remember them all but the one that stands out was “Has anyone coerced or forced you into doing this?” I knew in my heart that this was my decision and mine alone. My parents had never given me an opinion or even guided me. They gave me the gift of letting me make this decision myself. I was able to answer that question truthfully without hesitation.
When it came time to sign the papers, I took one last look at this sweet sleeping child, and then signed my name. I still to this day don’t know how I did it.
I don’t regret my decision for one minute. So grateful to my parents for never telling me what was in their hearts that day. I found out 21 years later that both my mom and my dad wanted me to keep James. My entire pregnancy they fought the desire to step in and tell me what to do. If they had said something I know I would have not made the right choice. Because they knew they had to let me do this on my own, I was able to remain strong and give my son the family he needed and deserved.
I think about him often. I am thankful that his parents wrote many letters to me that first year, sending plenty of pictures. It helped the process of letting go when the letters had to stop after one year. I hope one day I get to meet him. Give him a hug, and tell him that I still love him and will always have a place in my heart for him. And if I never get that chance I truly hope and pray he will somehow know.
To all you amazing mothers out there trying to decide what to do, I hope these stories helped. There are a lot of amazing women out there willing to share their experience. All you have to do is ask.