I Could Not Believe I Was Pregnant: Raven’s Adoption Story
I could not believe I was pregnant. I thought the pregnancy test was broken; there was no way I could be pregnant. When I went to the pregnancy center the next day and got confirmation, it clicked.
Once I admitted that I was pregnant I started thinking about what I was going to do. What did my future hold? I didn’t know what to do, to be honest. I was afraid. The nurse talked to me about options and another lady talked to me about the Gladney Center for Adoption. Then it started clicking that adoption is what I needed to do.
Choosing an Agency
I had not heard of Gladney until the lady told me about them. The Pregnancy Resource Center mentioned different things about other adoption agencies, but they didn’t sound welcoming to me. They were just centers. They didn’t have a dorm that you could stay in. I looked at Gladney. There was a dorm. Other women live there that are in the same position as you are. I felt that would be great for me because I could get to know people – and everyone there was on a different level of pregnancy, so I could learn from them. It’s a place where everyone copes together. I felt that would be the best.
I knew adoption would be the best thing because I was only 17 when I found out I was pregnant. I was a junior in high school and the school year wasn’t even over yet. I did not want to parent with the birth father because I knew we wouldn’t give him or her the best they deserved, and I didn’t want to raise the baby in a broken home.
Life in the Dorms
I decided to live in the Gladney dorm because I thought it would be best since I was still in school. I wasn’t afraid to show people that I was pregnant and what I was doing, I just didn’t want to deal with the non-stop gossip, fall behind in school, or anything like that. Gladney sounded awesome because they had counseling and classes I needed to take to know about my body. I didn’t know anything about pregnancy before it happened. I wanted to learn about what I supposed to be doing.
I had my own room in the dorm. I liked my privacy because it was a new thing. I was a lot more hormonal during my pregnancy. I liked the private bath and TV. It was nice and homey. I still keep in touch with almost every woman that was in the dorm with me at the same time. I wasn’t the youngest, which surprised me. I didn’t really know how old or young the others would be.
I loved working with my caseworker. It was a scary and anxious time for me. It was exciting to meet someone who was going to help me through my adoption plan. It was comforting to know that she cared about what was going on. She took care of things that came up. It was nice to have a one-on-one talk with her and hear some of her experiences. We talked about different scenarios. She helped me make a good list for the qualifications I wanted in adoptive parents. She helped me identify step-by-step what to do after I had my son. She’s helped me grieve through it and helped me figure out getting into college and following through with different plans that I want to do. Even after I moved out, she helped me make a plan.
Finding the Right Family for My Baby
I was looking for a family that didn’t have any kids. What was funny, when my caseworker put adoptive parent profiles together for me to look at, she put a profile in there of a couple who already had a son. I kind of laughed at that, wondering why she put that it in there. It turned out to be the family I picked. It’s cool how it turned out. I wanted my son to have a lot of attention. And he will, obviously, even with another one around. I was looking for a Christian-based family. It didn’t matter where they lived. I wanted good, wholesome people who would take care of my son.
When I looked at the couple’s profile, their birth mother letter basically said, “If you pick us, this is what is going to happen for your child. I loved that because I wanted to know what was going to happen. Would he be going to college? Would they help him? It was great to see what his future looked like. Whether it be sports or music, it was comforting to know that they had thought it through.
I had a phone call with them and it was nerve-racking because I didn’t know what to say. I answered the phone and it still went smoothly. My caseworker gave me advice to write down questions so I had those to fall back on. They asked me questions and the conversation was good. I felt a connection with them on the phone. When you can match the voice with the face, it was nice to hear something soothing and comforting from both of the adoptive parents.
I was in the dorm when my water broke. I waddled out into the living room and told everyone. They called the child birth coordinator and she took me to the hospital. The nurse got everything ready. The child birth coordinator kept telling me everything was fine and was there for me.
The day of placement was actually the first time I met the adoptive parents. We went to a breakfast place in the morning and the adoptive mom walked in and was excited and hugged me. We all started crying and it was a nice relief. I met the adoptive dad and their other child. They were so excited to be there. It was emotional and kind of like a relief off my shoulders that I knew it was actually going to happen.
Life After Adoption
Now, the adoptive parents send letters and pictures for me. I have been going to the birth mother support group. Every time I get an email from my post-adoption caseworker to come up to Gladney, I go. Every time they have a support group or if there’s a domestic orientation, I come and speak on the birth mother panel. It helps to share my story and grieve through the process. I’ve very open with my process.=
My advice to someone who finds themselves pregnant: I would tell them what I’ve been through. I wouldn’t push adoption on them because it’s their decision. I would tell them, though, about the ups and downs and let them know the problems and things they are going to go through, but I would never say they should do this.
It will be hard, but it’s a good thing for the baby. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is I never really knew what true love was until I had my son. I’m surprised by all of the support Gladney provided as well as the support from other women in the dorm. You get to learn new things about yourself.
A lot of people ask: If you had the chance to go back to that day and not have unprotected sex, would you do it? I would say I wouldn’t change anything about my past because it wouldn’t lead me to the future that I have now. It’s been rough, but it did me well.