Jessica graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and had big plans for her future. She looked forward to moving to Washington, D.C. to pursue an interest in public policy and continue to row competitively. Her parents raised her to be responsible, strong, and resilient. These characteristics proved to be an enormous asset to her in the year following her graduation.
The summer after she graduated she went to Atlanta to work at the Summer Olympic Games. That August Jessica became pregnant. She was not in a serious relationship with the birth father, nor did she anticipate one developing. She realized she was now faced with two choices: become a single parent or place her baby for adoption.
Upon returning home, Jessica sought out a faith-based adoption agency in an effort to become informed about adoption prior to telling her parents about her pregnancy. She knew they would be disappointed, and informing them would not be easy. Jessica said, “They were indeed upset, but they also made clear their unconditional love and support for me and for my choice, whether I decided to parent or to place my child for adoption.”
Jessica found a job, moved to Washington D.C. and realized that another hurdle would be informing her employer. She wrote them a letter telling of her pregnancy, and plans to place her child for adoption. Her employer was supportive, which was a great relief to Jessica. She even learned that she was entitled to maternity leave.
A great group of midwives helped Jessica plan and prepare for the birth of her child and were a crucial part of her support network. She also met regularly with an adoption counselor who encouraged her to explore each of her options in an effort to make a plan that she was certain of. Jessica was encouraged to develop a plan for single-parenting. She was reluctant, but it turned out to be a fantastic exercise. After considering all the costs that would come with parenthood, she realized that she could indeed afford to single parent.
Her decision wasn’t based solely on finances. Jessica did realize, however, that there would not be extra money left for sports or music lessons or vacations. These were things Jessica had grown up with and wanted for her child. “Most importantly”, Jessica said, “there would not have been a father truly present in the day-to-day life of my child, and my child would not have the chance to witness a loving adult relationship.”
Jessica’s son was born in May of 1997, and her mother was there for the birth. Then they took the baby back to her home town where they spent a couple weeks sharing him with family and friends.
When he was four weeks old, Jessica placed her son with his new parents. This was a time full of pain and anguish, but in addition to the pain, Jessica fondly remembers the smiles on everyone’s faces as her son slept peacefully in his mother’s arms.
The days and weeks following placement were difficult for Jessica. She missed her son and felt sometimes that her activities and pursuits paled in comparison to the joy of parenthood.
Over time, the relationship with her birth son and his family has grown and blossomed. Jessica’s belief that she made the right decision has never wavered. When she speaks with him and hears of his excitement for his activities and accomplishments. She knows he has a wonderful life. Jessica writes, “When I see him and his little sister, also adopted, bounding around together in their living room while their parents watch amused, I am reminded of the joy that is adoption.”
Jessica is now married and expecting a baby. She will always feel that her own life has been made “richer through choosing adoption.”
Read more about Jessica’s experience with adoption at iChooseAdoption.org.