Over my fairly brief lifetime, I’ve accumulated a vast number of regrets. Some more minor than others, but regrets nonetheless. Some of my most monumental regrets were the decisions I made in my early twenties. I went against many of my morals and have had to deal with the consequences as time has gone on. Many of these consequences have gone away fast enough that I don’t often think about them. However, there were some more impactful choices I made that have scarred me with consequence I will need to deal with for the rest of my life.

One of those specific regrets was being casually irresponsible and becoming sexually active before I was ready for the potential consequences. Having worked with children as a babysitter, daycare staff, and teacher, I set some very high standards for myself in regards to how I would parent my children. I set my bar based on my studies, interactions, and observations of how children reacted and evolved in response to how the parents chose to raise—or not raise—their children. When I got pregnant, I was still in school without a clear direction, I was working for just above minimum wage, and the biological father wanted nothing to do with me or this child. All of these things were unacceptable to me. I would not bring a child into this world and inflict upon him my struggles of financial instability, inadequate education to progress, and no stable father figure. I also refused to terminate a pregnancy, no matter how bleak the circumstances. Period. No questions. The writing has been put in stone.

The only option I would award myself was to place my child for adoption. This was the only way I could bear this child and still meet my parenting standards, even if that meant I couldn’t be the parent. While choosing adoption was the easiest thing to do, going through with it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and hopefully, without jinxing myself, it is the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do). This is one of those consequences I will be burdened with for the rest of my life. Even though I will always be my son’s birth mother, I won’t ever get to be my son’s parent. To him, I will never be Mom. And when the day comes that I do become a parent and my children ask me why their brother doesn’t live with us, I will need to explain to them the choices I made and why they also have to live with the consequences of my action.

So Lindsey, you may be asking, is this you saying you regret your decision to place your son for adoption?

Not even for a second. I may feel jealousy, sadness, anxiety, pain, loneliness, loss, emptiness, depression, and despair, but I. Do not. Feel. Regret. Not for this. Choosing adoption for my son gave him everything I couldn’t. It gave him a family with an education (a better education than I will probably ever get, if I’m honest), financial security and flexibility, a stable mother and father who love each other and set an example of what a lasting marriage looks like, and a plethora of other things I couldn’t provide. Could I have given him unconditional love? Of course. Could I have scraped by? You bet’cha. Could I have eventually made it to the point where I was living up to most of my own standards of parenthood? With how stubborn I am, probably. But could I justify choosing to parent and then falling short of those personal expectations? No. I couldn’t. That would only have lengthened my already long list of regrets. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do that to this child. My poor life choices were not his burden to bear. He deserved more. So I did what I could in the circumstances I was in to give him everything I possibly could, while I could. And let me tell you, he is one of the happiest, most loved children I know.

One day, he may come to me and ask me why, and oh can kids ask “why” to all the big questions. He may feel a smorgasbord of emotions for being the result of my actions and decisions, and not getting any say in the matter. He might even be one of those who asks me if I regret placing him with his family. And in the most loving way I can, I will let him know that I don’t regret it. I don’t feel even an ounce or a tinge of regret. How could I feel such an emotion for the happy life he gets to live, for the family he’s be placed in, for the blessing he’s received for being a part of such a family, for the values he’s being taught, for the experiences he’s had, for the love that he’s receiving? I may regret a lot of things, but my decision to place my son for adoption will never be one of them.

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