I can’t think of any greater route to self-improvement than by going through a challenge like adoption. When I think of anyone participating in an adoption process in any form, I can’t imagine that the experiences would not somehow bring about growth and improvement. My story is no exception. Following are some specific ways adoption has changed my life for the better:

1 – I changed my lifestyle. When I found out that I was pregnant, I decided to adopt a different way of living. I stopped being promiscuous and started to think of others besides myself, especially the little person growing inside me.

2 – I gained confidence and courage. During my pregnancy, I had to trust in my own intuition and move forward confidently with my decision. When people told me that my decision was wrong or stupid, I learned how to not listen to those people and trust in my choices and trust that what I was doing was the right thing for my daughter. After placement, I continued to need that confidence and courage to move forward with my life

3 – I learned how to trust strangers and have faith in people. This happened when I met my child’s adoptive family and decided to entrust them with her. I also had to learn to have faith in our relationship when they canceled visits.

4 – I became an adult. During pregnancy and post-placement, I learned how to make tough adult decisions. I also learned how to take care of myself and my baby. I realized that I had to grow up and stop expecting people to support me when I was fully capable of getting a job and learning how to support myself.

5 – I learned to truly love. When I first heard my daughter’s heartbeat on the sonogram, I loved her immediately. I wanted nothing but the very best for her. I experienced true, unselfish love.

6 – I learned to own my emotions. I cried many times during my pregnancy and post-placement. I was often sad about my decision and later missed my daughter fiercely. But I learned not to be embarrassed to cry. I learned that it was OK to shed some tears, and that mourning my loss was an important part of the healing process.