I can easily justify my decision to place my son by looking at the benefits adoption has on his life. Looking at the benefits that placement has had on my life are much harder, but it’s just as necessary. I ache for my son daily and wish circumstances could have been different so that I could have been the one to raise him. Yes, I willingly and carefully chose adoption. No, that doesn’t mean it was easy. It can ease the pain by recognizing the benefits for all involved. These benefits are easy to spot for the child, but as a birth mother, they vary by situation and should be discovered by each birth mother. For me, adoption helped me appreciate the consequences for my actions, try harder through college and work, and learn how to choose my friends wisely.
I was raised in a Christian household. My parents taught me from a young age that each of our actions had a reaction, both in this life and in the next. As I grew older, my teenage brain told me that I was invincible. I’m not saying that I wasn’t smart about my activities. The birth father and I used protection, but both forms of birth control we exercised (condom and morning after pill) failed. Still, I couldn’t be upset at anybody besides myself. I chose every action that lead up to my pregnancy, and I chose every action afterwards.
Since the adoption, I’m much more aware of my choices. This has been applied to every aspect in my life, from when my husband and I decided to start a family to whether or not I should buy those super cute shoes that are on sale. Before the adoption, I would have bought the shoes, even if I didn’t have the money, because I thought I was invincible.
But because of the adoption, my thoughts are more organized, and I find myself looking into the future to try to predict what consequences might come from my choices. I’m not perfect, and mistakes still happen, but my life is a lot more satisfying since I am in more control of it.
This next portion is surprisingly harder to share than anything adoption-related, but I find it necessary to help prove my point. In the years leading up to my pregnancy, I had started to experiment with drugs. Nothing hard, but still illegal. Alongside those, I was underage and drinking alcohol on a consistent basis. However, once I realized I was pregnant, I immediately quit any substances that could potentially harm the baby. I had every intention of continuing those habits after he was born, and nobody could talk me out of it.
But holding my son in my arms made me want him to be proud of me. I was young, foolish, and selfish, but the moment I heard him cry for the first time was the moment my life changed forever. He needed a stable family, and I needed him to be proud of me. I wanted him to brag about me to his friends as he got older. How could he be proud of somebody who was willingly ruining her body with drugs? I know that I would be into a much worse situation had the pregnancy not blocked that path. I was determined to become somebody that my son could rely on–with pride. I continued my higher education, finished with a 3.75 GPA, found a miraculous job, and worked my way up the corporate ladder. Somehow, amidst all of that, I found a fantastic husband, and we now have a son together. I feel like I have become somebody my birth son could be proud of. His adoption helped me try harder through college and in my career.
On top of all of that, the adoption has helped me be more specific on who I let in my inner circle. Learning how to choose my friends was something I should have figured out in elementary school. Somehow, that didn’t happen. And when I was out on my own, I chose to associate with people who left me the minute I needed them.
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When I became pregnant and could no longer participate in my usual weekend activities, these “friends” suddenly stopped answering phone calls, texts, or even responding to me in person. I was left utterly alone and forced to bear this burden with just a handful of supporters. I’m grateful for that terribly lonely time in my life. Since then, I have surrounded myself with loving people who encourage me and help me to fulfill my goals. We enjoy girls nights and play dates, and our choices of entertainment span from bachelorette parties to calming pedicures. My husband was somebody who never left my side while I was pregnant. In fact, it was during my pregnancy that I realized my true feelings for him. He’s been my fairy tale prince, but he keeps me grounded through it all. Without the adoption, I never would know what it’s like to have true friends.
So, while I can look at my son’s life and justify adoption 100 times over, it can be hard to look at my life and try to understand how I’ve benefited from adoption at all. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and it still breaks my heart to not raise the child I carried. His life and my life lessons help put the adoption in a positive light. I can appreciate the consequences for my actions, try harder so my son can be proud of me, and know how to choose my friends wisely because of the trials that the adoption presented to me at a young age. I encourage all birth mothers to look at the adoption from the outside in. Look at your situation and who you were before and during your pregnancy and who you are now. Understanding this will help you to feel encouraged by your decision instead of bogged down by the overwhelming feeling of loss.