Hi. I’m Hillary. I’m a photographer and a birth mom. I intend to travel the country and meet with other women who have placed their children for adoption. Some of the stories will be beautiful and inspiring, while other testimonies will be completely heartbreaking. Click here to see more stories.

Ashley was the first birth mother I interviewed for this project. As if anyone needed more proof that the world is indeed a small place, Ashley and I were paired with the same social workers (both now retired), though our babies were born a few years apart. We were both nervous when the interview began–Ashley for obvious reasons, and I because I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. However, once we opened up about our stories and the emotional roller coasters that came with them, all anxiety disappeared; we were simply two women who could relate to each other as only two mothers could.

After I photographed Ashley, I asked her for a personal statement–something she could share with the world about her experience as a birth mother. She said she needed some time, which I was happy to oblige, and sent me the following statement about 10 hours later.


“On March 9th, 2012 after 23 hours of labor, my 8lb 6oz, 20 1/2 inches long baby boy was born. But I wouldn’t be the one taking him home to a newly painted nursery filled with new clothes and toys. Months prior, I made the most difficult decision I will probably ever have to make. I decided that at 20 year old, I was not in the position to raise another child on my own. I wasn’t able to provide both a good life and stable environment to another child. I knew it would be tough. I knew that I would be judged for my decision, but I also knew that my son wasn’t meant for me. I wasn’t meant to be his mommy. I was not meant to hold him in my arms every day.

“He was meant to teach me how strong I am. He was meant to teach me that everything happens for a reason. He was not meant for me to hold in my arms, but for me to hold forever in my heart. He was meant to bring joy and to complete a family that was missing its final piece. He will always be my baby boy, and if the day comes, I will welcome him back into my life with open arms.”