My birth daughter little R is my heart and soul. I think about her every single day. I’d take a bullet for her. I love her fiercely, more than I have ever loved anyone. I carried her for nine months, and she will always carry a piece of my heart. The day I placed her, that piece of my heart was ripped out, and she carries it to this day. I miss her. So why, if I love her so much, would I have chosen to place her for adoption?

1. I wasn’t ready.

My love for little R doesn’t make up for the fact that I wasn’t ready to care for her. It wasn’t simply because I was young. I hadn’t yet learned how to take care of myself. At the time, I couldn’t maintain healthy relationships. I pushed away friends and family who wanted to help, surrounding myself instead with toxic people. I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to raise little R the way she deserved to be raised.

Because of adoption, both R and I thrive. She is well adjusted, and has a very healthy attachment to her wonderful parents. They were ready to be parents. They had a strong marriage and great relationships with their extended families. They were who I wanted to be.

I have been able to focus on myself and grow up. If I had parented little R, I don’t know where I would be today. I needed to learn how to respect myself and have healthy relationships. I likely wouldn’t have gained the education I have now. Since I could focus solely on bettering myself, I know that someday I will be a wonderful mother. However, at that time I was in no way ready, and couldn’t have taken the time to grow on my own so that one day I WILL be ready to take on the responsibility of child rearing.

2. I had to be realistic.

For a while, I was going to parent. I envisioned a world where I would be with my baby all day, where we would both be safe and secure. But that wasn’t reality. I had to face facts. My baby would spend most of her waking hours under someone else’s care while I worked long hours just to put food on the table. There likely would have been a very ugly custody battle. She would have been torn between myself and her biological father, and it’s not likely that we would have been able to come to a good compromise. These were not temporary problems.

I wanted her to have the childhood I had. I come from a family with parents who love each other. I have siblings who tease and protect each other. My mother stayed at home and my father provided for us. I never wanted for anything. At the time, I couldn’t provide that kind of life for little R. So I found someone who could.

3. It wasn’t about me.

Most of the reasons I wanted to parent were about me. I wanted to be mama, to feed her, dress her, and rock her to sleep. I wanted to be there for her first day of kindergarten. I didn’t want to have to miss her. But she deserved better than to be raised under such difficult circumstances.

I did it for her. I took into consideration how she might feel. Would she feel abandoned or unloved? Would she have trust issues? Possibly. But I felt that those problems would be easier to deal with than the trials she would have faced had I parented. She would be able to deal with her feelings about adoption better, because she would come from a stable place. We have an open adoption, so many of the issues she might face can be addressed. I will have answers to her questions, and I will reassure her that she was wanted and loved, not abandoned. If I had parented, I know she wouldn’t have had either her physical or emotional needs met as well as she has with her adoptive family.

4. I knew she would be loved.

Adoption means that little R has more than just my love. She gets to have the love of her birth father without the complications of custody. She gets the love of her mommy, daddy, and big brother. She gets the love of her brother’s birth parents. She gets not two, but four extended families that love her. Because of open adoption, little R will grow up knowing exactly how loved she is, by both her birth and adoptive families.

I chose adoption because I felt that it was the best thing for little R. I did not abandon her. I didn’t place to avoid the difficulties of motherhood. I loved her so much that, in this case, I had to let her go. It was the only way I could give her the life I wanted her to have. And wherever she is, my love goes with her.

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