It was June 17, 2006, I was 17 years old and (unbeknownst to me) 18 weeks pregnant. I just finished spending the day at a water park with a very dear friend of mine. It was there when I noticed the slight bulge in my stomach, and my thoughts began to race. I couldn’t remember when I’d had my last monthly visit. My thoughts were in a daze the rest of the day.
The only way I could know for sure was to take a test. I picked up a test at the local Walmart. Standing in that aisle with no idea which one to use and watching the many eyes of women judging me just standing there, I closed my eyes, grabbed a test, paid, and got out of there as fast as I could. I went to my best friend’s house to take it. Those two pink lines appeared faster than I could blink. I lost my breath. What was I going to do?
As if intuition had kicked in, just like that, I got a call from my parents. My dad had felt the need to call and make sure everything was okay. I lied and said everything was fine, but I needed to talk to mom. I broke down on the phone to her.
It wasn’t my parents I was afraid of telling, it was the father of the child I was now carrying. At this point we had been broken up for 17 weeks, and we hadn’t spoken in at least three weeks. I had no idea how I was going to tell him. Ironically, the next day was Father’s Day. I couldn’t tell him yet.
The following Monday, I texted him all day. It wasn’t until late that night that I finally got a text back. Lucky for me, a mutual friend had already spilled the beans and all the text read was, “I already know.”
It was in that moment that I knew I was alone. I didn’t know what I was doing or how I was going to do it. All I knew was that I couldn’t figure it out here. So I bought a ticket out to North Carolina to live with my sister for the remainder of the summer. It was there, late one night at the end of July, when I finally knew there was only one choice for me: adoption. I was 17 years old, barely speaking with the father, and about to start my senior year of high school. I was living in a broken home, one I didn’t want to live in, let alone bring a helpless child into. My part-time, minimum wage job would not be enough to take care of a child and myself. It was what was best. I called up the birth father in the middle of the night and somberly told him with quiet tears streaming down my face that I was choosing adoption. He agreed it was probably best, and that was that.
Mid-August I returned home and had my first doctor’s appointment. To my surprise, I found out that I was 28 weeks along and was having a little boy. Reality sunk in finding out I only had about 12 weeks to find a family for this sweet boy. That’s about when I finally let his dad be a part of the decision and he finally came around to be a part of it.
A few weeks later, we had found them – the perfect family. The couple had three children already – two by birth and one adopted. They were the sweetest couple and were willing to have an open adoption, something that was important to me. They were so happy we had chosen them. Unfortunately, something changed.
Just four weeks before he was due, the family came to me one day, and the mother, with tears streaming down her cheeks told me he wasn’t supposed to come home with them. She and her husband had spent the last week praying hard, and they just did not feel he was meant for them. As much as she would love to lie and take him home with them, she knew he was not supposed to be a part of their family.
I was heartbroken. I had a failed placement on the other side. You always hear about the adoptive parent and their failed placements, but you rarely hear about the birth parents having it fall through. My perfect family told me they didn’t want my child, or that’s how I heard it that day. It still breaks my heart sometimes that they weren’t the ones to become his parents. Now I understand a little better.
Here I was, four weeks to go and no family. I was terrified I might have to bring him home with me, and I knew if I did that I would never be able to let him go. I went back to searching– searching through the files I’d already seen, searching through new files, but thankfully not for long. A family, one we both least expected to approach us, said they felt they were meant to adopt our angel. This family was my ex’s cousins and both of us couldn’t be more surprised or more happy. I couldn’t ask for a better open adoption. I thought, “A family adoption, of course it will be open.”
The morning of November 14, 2006, I got ready for school, but first I had a doctor’s appointment. It began just like any other, until the nurse came in to tell me my blood pressure was high and they wanted to send me to labor and delivery to be induced. I was not prepared for this. My son was going to be here soon and then he’d be gone. 23 ½ hours later, he was here – my beautiful, pink, 6 pound little boy.
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The next two days were a blur. We spent we were in the hospital together. We were released from the hospital on a Friday night; the adoption placement was to take place the next morning, so my son and I stayed with my ex at his parent’s house. The next morning we met with his parents, and honestly all I remember is what the pictures show me.
The next Monday we had our court hearing to finalize it. My ex picked me up and we drove to the courthouse in silence. I was the first to go to the stand to officially let him go. I don’t exactly remember what was asked, but I remember my lips saying yes and my heart screaming no. It was the hardest day of my life.
I still cry sometimes and I miss him all the time, but as hard as my decision was I am so happy with the life he has now. I know he has an amazing family that loves him, amazing parents giving him the best life, a life I know I could never give him. I’m so thankful to them for welcoming him into their lives and loving him like he is one of their very own. It’s just like the saying, “I didn’t give him up, I gave him more.” I know it sounds lame and generic, but it’s the truth. My decision has affected my life in so many ways; everything I do, I do hoping I can become someone he and my daughters can be proud of.
Being a birth mom is difficult on a lot of levels. Whenever anyone asks me how many kids I have, I struggle to answer. When someone finds out that I’m a birth mom, it’s either a horribly sympathetic look, like “you poor thing,” or a look of disgust like I’m a horrible person who had my child taken from me or how selfish I must have been. Occasionally there is the thankful or curious individual. Even though the relationship has been more on the closed side than open like I had wanted, I know it’s not about me. I am strong and it would have been more selfish of me to keep him, keep him from the better life he has now. I know he is where he is meant to be.
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