How I “Moved On” after Placing My Baby for Adoption

Every day, I have a choice to make.

Annaleece Merrill February 14, 2019
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I don’t remember much about the winter of 2015. I just know that everything was grey. I couldn’t tell you what happened on any given day because they all ran together. Mostly I slept. I hardly ever went to class, and even then, I didn’t pay attention. I just didn’t care anymore. I had just placed my baby girl for adoption, and when I wasn’t numb, I was aching.

Today, I’m sitting in the library of my college campus between classes just after a meeting with my advisor about my graduation application. This afternoon I have work, and after I come home, my fiancé and I are going to work on fixing up the little house we’re going to live in. I have never been so busy—or so happy—in my entire life.

Lots of people tell me how happy they are for me, a blushing bride and all that. They’re just thrilled that I finally found a good man who loves and cares for me, that I’ve gotten my life back on track, that I’m happy and successful. Sometimes they tell me that they’re so impressed with how I moved on after such a hard situation with my adoption. But jokes on them—because I didn’t.

I’m not over it, and I never will be. After placing little R wrecked me in ways that you will never understand unless you’ve been through placement yourself.

From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I loved her with every particle of my being. But my love wasn’t enough.

I had to find someone else who could give her the care and stability that I couldn’t provide. It hurts.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great situation. I have one of the best, most open adoptions I’ve ever heard about. Little R and I are such good friends. Last time I saw her, she and I were coloring, and she stopped, looked up at me, and said: “Annaleece, I love you SOOOO much.” We read six books and sang songs, and she told stories. That visit gave me so much peace. Every day that I get to see how well she is doing with her family, and every day that I spend planning for my future family that is becoming a reality, I heal a little bit.

Every day, I have a choice to make. There will always be something to cry about. It would be so easy to drown in a sea of grief over everything bad that has ever happened to me. But I can choose to swim. No, I wouldn’t have initially chosen to wind up in this ocean. Getting thrown in here was a shock. It was cold, and dark, and scary.

At first, I floundered. I felt helpless, a victim to the waves of grief, anger, and depression. I didn’t do much to help myself. I surrounded myself with toxic people and made a lot of stupid choices. I wasted a lot of time focusing on the negatives.

But once I got used to the water, I realized that the ocean isn’t so bad. There are coral reefs and tropical fish, even the occasional mermaid. Little R has brought so much joy to my life. Without her, I would never have discovered so many of my talents and passions. I wouldn’t have found a career path that fills me with excitement. And who would be the flower girl at my wedding if I didn’t have her?

I couldn’t tell you exactly when I started to heal, or even how I did it. Mostly time I suppose. And I’m still healing, little by little. It’s been bitter, and it’s been sweet. Some days are better than others. It will probably always be this way. I have no plans to get over it. I won’t move on from this, but I will always keep moving. My life is forever changed, and I have learned to embrace it. Every day is a new chance to show up for my life and become the best person that I can be. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll get pulled out of the ocean and land on Mars. But I’ll know that I can do it; I can grow stronger; I can find a new normal no matter what life brings me. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again.

Nothing is ever perfect, for me or for you. Things never go quite as we planned. Hard things will happen. Sometimes those hard things might throw our lives off course, and that might make us hurt and afraid. But we will always have willpower. Sink or swim.

The choice is yours.

If you are unexpectedly pregnant, please consider adoption. Visit adoption profiles from hopeful adoptive parents. Visit Adoption.com/unplanned-pregnancy to find guidance with your unplanned pregnancy.

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Annaleece Merrill

Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.


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