I handed my baby over, and the tears began to flow incessantly. I tried to keep them in until he drove away with his adoptive parents. I did not want to make this moment any harder for them. But as my mother helped me into the car, I just let it flow– and so did she. In the hospital the night before, I held Braden in my arms and spoke to him for hours. I told him what was going to happen and why this would be the best thing for us. I also told him to never forget. Never forget that for his first three days of life I was his mother, and I loved him more than anything.
I am a birth mother. This isn’t something I keep secret. Everyone who meets me at one point or another discovers I gave a child up for adoption. When I was a senior in high school I got pregnant. From the moment I found out, I knew I had three options: keep the baby, have an abortion, or place him for adoption. I knew I would not have an abortion. So I was left with two options, and I spent some time deciding between the two. I knew I wanted the best for my child. I wanted him to have everything I had … and more. I had two loving parents, I had wonderful siblings, and I was raised in a Christian home. I knew that if I kept the baby, my parents would help me, but this wasn’t their responsibility.
I discovered early on that my boyfriend wanted nothing to do with the baby, and subsequently nothing to do with me were I to proceed with the pregnancy. So right away, my child would be without a father. I also knew that the first few years of life are the most important for a child. And I knew that without an education, I would not be able to provide the best for my child. Placing my child for adoption would be the hardest decision I would ever make.
Even to this day, 11 years later, nothing can compare to that time in my life. Today, I see Braden quite often. His family has become an extension to my family. Everything is working out beautifully. Braden is happy, handsome, and loved, and I went on to graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. I now have a career and a beautiful family of my own. There is nothing I would change about my open adoption.
So often in the media we hear stories about the horrors of adoption. I share a positive one. While teen pregnancy continues to drop, the United States still has by far the highest rate of teen pregnancy throughout the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy is viewed to be the cause of many problems within society. Teen mothers are less likely to finish high school or continue on to college. It is estimated that as much as 80% of teen mothers end up on welfare. Males who are the children of teen mothers are most likely to end up in jail, while the daughters are likely to become teen mothers themselves. Then there is the issue of abortion. The majority of women getting abortions are young. 52% are younger than 25 years old, and 19% are teenagers. Between the years 1973-2000, over 40 million abortions were performed.
Most teens, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, believe they have two choices: to keep the child or have an abortion. In reality there are three options– adoption is the third option. By fully understanding ALL of their options, teens will be better-equipped to make the best decision for them and their child. Knowing that they understood their options, these teens can look back years down the road with less regret and sorrow.