Adoption is such an amazing blessing, especially in my life. I chose adoption at three months pregnant. I was 19 and had just left the birth father, who lived in Kansas, and moved home to be with my mom and brother in Arizona.

From the first email I sent to Justin and Vanessa, I knew I wanted them to be Tanner’s parents. Over the months of my pregnancy, we became very close. Vanessa is more than my best friend. She is like a sister to me. They cared about me: for who I was, not just because I was pregnant.

Finally the day came when Tanner was born. I was so in love. He was my everything. I spent three days in the hospital with him. I dreaded the moment we would be discharged. I tucked him safely into his car seat and bit my lip to keep from crying. But alas, in the car driving to where his parents where staying, I held his little hand and silently sobbed. My mom and I stayed for a few hours spending time with them, soaking it all in. When I got home I took a shower and just cried my eyes out. All I could tell myself was I needed to make it through the night. I laid down and all I dreamed about was my sweet baby. I woke up through the night crying out for Tanner.

The next day was the placement ceremony where I signed my rights away. I told Tanner I loved him and handed him to Justin and Vanessa. A sense of peace swept over me, and I knew I had made the best decision for him.

If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be that placing was my saving grace. My birth son changed my life for the better. From the first moment I held him in my arms, I knew that even though my heart was aching, he needed me to be strong for him. I know that the only reason that my grieving process has been so healthy is because of Justin and Vanessa. Even though my heart aches from day to day, I get up so I can be someone Tanner can always be proud of.