Each person has had a different experience with adoption. For some, it is positive. For others, it is negative. Some birth mothers regret their decision to place, while others are happy they found the right families for their children. We, at Adoption.com, have gathered real life stories from birth mothers, detailing their situations, experiences, setbacks, successes, and overall outcome. Some stories are heartbreaking and some are joyous, but they are all real life stories.
1. Tonya: “When I became the ‘birth mother’ I was dating a really cool guy. I had just graduated from high school and started college, and he was finishing high school. I found out I was pregnant pretty soon after we began having sex. We waited to tell our parents because I did not want to be forced to have an abortion. When we did tell our parents, they were furious. They would not allow us to talk to or see each other. I talked with the Children’s Home Society for different options. They suggested adoption and made arrangements for me to make decisions while I stayed the rest of the pregnancy in a maternity home. I was told that I picked the family, chose a birth name, and could find the baby when he turned 18. I have no idea if any of what they said was true.
“My birth son recently had his 21st birthday. I have no idea if I did get to give him his first name. I have been thinking about him since the day he was born … I would love to make a plea for the adoptive mothers to consider the feelings of us birth mothers who gave up a large part of their hearts the day their baby came into their lives! What I have missed is immeasurable, and the love that still flows and grows cannot be imagined for the son I have yet to meet! Signed, A Very Brave Mom.”
2. Bre: “I found out that I was seven months pregnant after I was raped by a friend of mine. At the time I felt so lost and confused. I didn’t know what to do with my life, including the fact that a new life was coming. I grew up in foster care and knew that was not an option I was willing to consider for my child. At the time, I was planning on keeping my baby, but one day I adoption came up. I sought out what it meant and what the expectations were. I was so scared and didn’t want to do it.
“The day I found out I was pregnant was the same day the adoptive mom was told to quit trying to have children. For nine years they had tried numerous techniques, medications, and surgeries to get pregnant, but were unsuccessful. I was having a conversation with one of my managers one day about health care coverage. I had not told anyone that I was pregnant up to that point, and no one could tell because I wasn’t showing at the time. During our discussion I told my manager I was pregnant and considering adoption, and she mentioned there was an employee who worked with us that was seeking adoption. Immediately I thought of the now-to-be-adoptive mom. It was a hard, joyful process. I finalized my papers and didn’t think anything else of it. I knew it was the best choice for my baby.
“I am only 20-years-old and going to college. I became my birth daughter’s godmother. We have an open adoption, so I am able to see her and connect with her as she is getting older. She is now 7-months-old, and I miss her a lot. I feel depressed a lot and sometimes have a lot of regret, even to the point where I can’t eat or sleep or even get up for the day. It is very difficult to live with the decision I made, and I still wonder if I did the right thing. But when I look at her picture, I think to myself what a great gift and loving thing I did for a family, and it makes things easier for the rest of the day. I think that now she can live with a family– a mom and a dad– and have many things that I probably couldn’t offer her. I know in some ways I did the right thing. God sent me a gift to give to a family I was guided to by Him. I love the family and I love my daughter very much, and nothing can change that. I only hope that other young girls will see the miracle at hand and won’t think of themselves, but think of what is the best for their child.”
3. Stephanie: “Twenty years and four months ago as a young 15-year-old, I gave birth to a baby boy. Due to the shame and pressure my parents placed upon me, I gave this baby up for adoption. There was not a day that went by that I did not think, pray, and dream of someday reuniting with my son. I knew that because of the laws in place at the time of the adoption, I would never be able to access the records that held the deep secrets of my heart. His birthday fell on an April 1st. As each year passed and countless people joked and pranked the typical “April Fools,” I always held this day with great sentiment. Each year on that day I would close my eyes and dream of what he might look like, what he was doing right then, and then say a prayer that God would bring him back to me. I always asked God to put the desire in my son’s heart to want to find me.
“Often during these past years, there have been many songs that would touch my soul. But there is one particular song by Linda Ronstadt that became my favorite called ‘Somewhere Out There.’ The last verse says ‘Somewhere out there if love can see us through, then we’ll be together somewhere out there out where dreams come true.’ My deepest hope was that my son would find me someday. As his 18th birthday came and went, I felt sure that I’d hear something. However, another two years passed and I heard nothing– nothing until Sunday, August 13th at 7:51 that is.
“Out of the clear blue I received an email from a young man who found the information I had posted two years earlier on the Adoption.com registry. My heart leapt from my chest as I contacted him and began to put pieces of our past together. As we sorted through the details and papers he had from the lawyer at the time he was adopted, we found that the piece of the puzzle matched. My son and I were reunited. He flew to my home two days later, and we were able to spend three amazing days together unfolding the previous 20 years. This was a dream come true, and I am so blessed to have found the son that has made my life feel completely whole. Dreams do come true, and I must say that our ‘Somewhere out there’ is NOW!”
4. Anonymous: “I got pregnant when I was 14-years-old. I was close to my 15th birthday when I found out, and I was terrified. I considered abortion, but I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it. It was not my unborn child’s fault that I let myself get pregnant, so I decided to raise my son. Soon after he was born, CPS came knocking on my door. Shortly after that, they said I was unfit to parent him because I was only 15-years-old, and he was taken away. However, less than a year later, I got my son back. He stayed with an aunt and uncle for the time … I went through all of the hoops that CPS laid out for me to get my son back– drug testing, parenting classes, and programs. I did all of that for two years. My visitations with my son were at the CPS office. My caseworker would constantly threaten me about my parental rights being terminated. She thought it was a joke. My attorney told me we could fight them, and I would regain custody of my son. He was 4.5-years-old at this time. I didn’t want him to have the psychological problems of me coming in and taking him out of the home he had known for so long, so I signed over my parental rights. My aunt and uncle adopted him. I thought it was the best choice I could make for him. I did it because I loved him, and I wanted him to have a stable home. I have always wanted him, and I kick myself to this day for doing it. I have deep regret.
“My son is now 14-years-old. He is in a psychological hospital for children. He is severely depressed and has abandonment issues. I have been up to see him every day since he was admitted. He is like a zombie, they have him so drugged up. No one ever told me the psychological effects adoption would have on him. If someone had told me, I would have never done it. I have kept my distance from him thinking he would be better off. He does know I am his real mother, but I only see him at family functions. Now I know that me giving him up for adoption and keeping my distance from him was a big mistake for both of us. I have never gotten over him.
“I have been married for 11 years, and we have no children. I can’t bear the thought of having any more. I don’t want my son thinking he was replaced. After all these years I still feel guilt, anger, and sadness. I suffer from severe depression. The pain is still very real, like it happened yesterday. This may be a little different because he is with my family. I talked to my aunt, and we agreed that me seeing him regularly and telling him the circumstances around his adoption might help him– knowing that I do love him, that I did want him, and that I didn’t abandon him. Adoption was not the right choice for my son … ”
5. A.M.: “Growing up, my own mom always told me, “You’d better never have any kids.” She sensed what I knew in my heart: parenthood would never be for me. The notion scared me to death and still does. I finally had the surgery to prevent a pregnancy after using various methods of birth control, but fifteen years ago, I found myself in a scary place.
“After taking several early-detection pregnancy tests, I could stay in denial no longer. I tried to bribe my boyfriend into good spirits with Cadbury eggs since it was near Easter time. I tried to soften my own fears of the confrontation by putting yet another pregnancy test in the same bag with the eggs. He looked incredulous, but was in a hurry to get home and see the negative result; I knew better. As is often the reaction of men, abortion was his only option. I told him abortion was out of the question, and we would have to find a way to deal with the situation. We spent the evening crying to our respective friends over the phone and separated for the night with our own fears weighing heavily on our hearts. I do not know how much time passed between this day and the decision we agreed on, but it was within a week.
“We had a good relationship and we understood that we were in this together. One night, I asked him what he thought about adoption. He said, “Really, I was thinking of that but I did not think you would go for it.” Instantly, we knew that is exactly what we would pursue. Both of us felt relieved and that there could be no other option we would both be content with. In celebration, we went to a comedy club that evening deciding that after the stress of the prior week, a good laugh was deserved. The uncertainty remained since I did not know how to begin an adoption preceding.
“Scared, I answered an advertisement in the newspaper. It was an 800 number directly to a couple who had tried for years to adopt a child through county channels. The waiting list was long, and they wanted to start their family. I began what became a terrific relationship with the woman who would have the determination, means, and love to become my child’s mother. Her husband was right there with her, but all of my correspondence was with her. I quickly grew very comfortable with them after almost daily phone conversations. They protected my position as a birth parent by introducing me to my own lawyer, whom they supported. He was a very nice man, and both attorneys helped arrange for my son to be secured in their family and made it so we could remain in touch with each other over the years. For example, not only do I learn what my son’s life is like and what he enjoys, I also share medical information they need in order to know about both of his birth parents and our families.
“My former boyfriend and I have remained closed friends, and I share any news I get of our son with him. This experience has been so positive and good for my spirit that I hope that scared women who read this story will choose to do what I did. There are many reasons why parenting is not for everyone. Nine months carrying a child is nothing compared to the lifetime of fulfillment placing a child for adoption brings. Fifteen years have passed since my son’s adoptive parents took him home from the hospital, and I have never regretted my choice for one minute.”
6. Michelle: “I was a teen mother of a two-year-old, planning my wedding day, and was pregnant again. The possibility that the baby I was carrying was my future husband’s or the man that raped me was far too scary to deal with. I had spoken to my aunt about the concerns I had about keeping my baby, not being able to take care of her the way I knew she deserved, and the undying thoughts that I might see my rapist every time I looked at the precious baby growing in my womb. Like an answered prayer, my aunt had a friend looking for a sibling for her other adopted daughter. The potential birth mother contacted me by phone; we spoke for an hour about everything that I wanted for the baby. The adoptive mother even asked me what I would name the baby if I could keep her. ‘Cierra Brianne Whaley,’ I said, reluctant to give advice on the baby’s name. ‘Cierra, thats a pretty name,’ she said. I continued, ‘If the baby is a boy I would have named him Dustin Alexander Whaley.’ I think somehow we both knew that this precious gift would be a baby girl though.
“I got married to my teenage love. Two weeks after the wedding, the sight of me growing bigger possibly holding my rapist’s baby inside of me disgusted my new husband. It made me realize that I had to save her from this ugliness. The decision was made, and I would have to learn to deal with that decision. Three months went by after my beating, and soon I was giving birth. My husband would have nothing to do with her, and I could only hold her hand in my arms for a minute before they rushed her off to the Holy Cross PICU. She was born too soon due to a uterine infection I had while pregnant. Machines, IV’s, and an incubator sadly became the arms that would hold her in her first moments of life. I had the announcement call handled by my aunt so that my baby’s mother knew she was a new mommy again. I spent the night in the hospital, and soon my mom was taking me home to an empty sad existence– but not before I could say goodbye to the precious, tiny baby girl I gave birth to the night before. I sang her a lullaby to let her know that I would always be her birth mom, the mommy that carried her long enough to meet her mother. ‘You give me hope when I have none. You are the gift she waited to come … Know the love I have is real. Though I cannot be there, my love you’ll one day feel. So smile with love when you look into her eyes. For this angel is now blessed as her new mommy will be there if she cries.’
“She was born on May 15, 1991 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The last time I held her in my arms was May 16, 1991 at the Holy Cross Hospital PICU. She had blonde hair, her eyes looked into mine, and she was so small, but still I knew she would be the answer to someone else’s prayers. I never stopped loving her, and I never forgot about her. I waited out of respect for her parents, and to her, to write my experiences as a birth mother until she turned 18-years-old.
“I hope and pray that one day she will want to know her siblings and me. I learned that love didn’t have to hurt. I divorced my first husband three years after I got married, and ten years later I met and married my soul mate. Whether her conception was that of love or that of control, she was never a mistake in my eyes. I didn’t choose life because other options were not available. I chose life because, for me, she was meant to be here for her mommy that raised her. Life is a choice that many birth mothers feel is right. Adoption, however, can be forced, can be an answer to a difficult or scary situation, or can be the only way that another woman will ever have the opportunity to love a child of their own. We birth mothers didn’t have it easy. We live with the regret, the guilt, and the fear of not being good enough for the child we gave up. We live with having to explain to other children that they have a sibling out there somewhere. If a disease is found after the adoption, we have no way of letting the adoptive parents know that genetics may cause manic depression, schizophrenia, heart conditions, or even cancer. The child has no right to know anything until they are older, and as time goes on, of course changes do as well.
“My birth daughter has a niece and a nephew from her older sister, and she has a little sister and a little brother who all know about her. She was never a secret I kept from them. They all see her pictures in the photo albums, and they know I miss her every day. Adoption doesn’t always come easy– the after-pain sometimes is far too unbearable to deal with on our own. Life may go on, but it may never go as easy as we thought it might. Still, many of us realize that even if we never get the opportunity to see each other at birth, we might have seen a glimpse of the child or parent to whom we belong to genetically.”
7. Marcie: “Dedicated to Jessica Dayle Roth, birth daughter. Written by Marcie Keithley-Roth, birth mother.
“Our nine month journey started, The first day that I found,
I carried you within me, My love for you abound.
I knew I couldn’t keep you, For you weren’t
mine to keep, For you deserved a chance at life, My love for you
ran deep. Each day you grew inside me, My heart would swell with
pride, To know that you would one day be, The light in someone’s
eyes. So I will carry all the pain, The loss is mine to bear, My
sweet, sweet child enjoy your life, And know that I did care. One
day you’ll learn the story, One day you’ll hear the whys. The
sacrifice I made for you, Will open up your eyes. I never will
forget you. In my heart you will remain, The tears I cry for you
this day, Fall like November Rain.”
8. Emily: “In June of 2004, I got pregnant. My Catholic family had a hard time accepting the fact that I had made such a mistake. I knew I couldn’t keep the baby, so to me, adoption was the only other choice. I was 21-years-old when I got pregnant, and 22-years-old when he was born. I had help finding a family through my parents’ church, and by October of ’04 we had a couple. I went back and forth trying to decide whether or not I wanted to meet them. I still didn’t know if I wanted to see the baby when he was born. I knew I probably could have kept the baby, but I knew it was unfair to the baby. I had split with the father immediately after finding out I was pregnant– didn’t even tell him. I was not in a good place emotionally, spiritually, or financially to raise a child on my own, and my pride would not let me move back in with my parents to do it. I knew the baby deserved every chance in the world to succeed and that meant a two-parent, stable home.
“In the middle of February, I decided to meet the couple I would give my child to. I was due at the end of March. I think because I had found a couple so soon after becoming pregnant and immediately choosing adoption, I separated myself from the baby, even while pregnant. I never felt like his mother, and I still don’t, but I do have the buried maternal bond with him that I can’t forget or ignore, let alone understand. Two weeks after meeting the couple, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on a Monday. For four days he was Luke Joshua. Friday afternoon, which is remembered by me now as D-Day, I went to court, signed my life away, and handed him over to strangers … For the longest time, I was angry and bitter for that, even though, deep down, I knew I was doing the right thing. My mom had stood by my decision, even almost forced my choices at times. But while we were in court in front of the judge, she crashed, trying vehemently to change my mind, but I had come to terms with it by then. I think she still blames herself for it at times, even now. When I handed him over to the adoptive parents, I thought my heart would collapse. That was the day he became Matthew Michael. He even got a new SSN.
“I am lucky enough to be able to maintain an open adoption, and I see him at least two times a year. They live nearby and they tell him who I am. He gets excited when I show up now. I have absolutely no regrets in my decision, but there are two days in the year that I cannot face other people: The day I gave him over to the parents– March 4, and Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is worse. I think it’s because I get flowers from the adoptive parents on the day before Mother’s Day because that day is Birth Mother’s day. I don’t do well that entire weekend. I crash and crash hard, and no amount of comfort can seem to make me “come around.” That weekend, I wish to become numb. Every other day of the year, I’m okay– I even get excited when I get to see him. He’s happy and healthy, and I’m a part of his life.
“My faith has gotten stronger, and my current boyfriend is crazy about him. I have recently wondered if perhaps my story could somehow help someone else. I have stopped trying to understand why I feel what I feel and have just allowed the emotions to come up. If this story helps even one person feel a little better about their story or their questions, I have done enough.”
9. Jessica: “I was 15-years-old when I had my first child. Adoption and abortion were out of the question. I was young, but I had a lot of adult decisions coming my way. Well, nine months later I finally had my beautiful little boy. I named him Christyan. He was my entire world. I took to motherhood very easily, even though I was a child caring for a child. Well, I had my own apartment and job. I met a nice guy when I was 17, and I got pregnant. Again. I was scared. Well, again adoption and an abortion were out of the question. I had my little girl. Paris Anyet.
“Well, here’s where everything turns kind of grey. At 18-years-old, I was diagnosed with cancer. When I was diagnosed I knew I had to find a family for my children. What if I couldn’t take care of them? What if something bad happened to me? I really didn’t have a reliable family member, nor were either of their fathers in the picture. So, after searching, I found a family to take care of my children– not to adopt, but pretty much just foster. I moved to Tennessee for about six months. After I got better I moved back to get my babies. Well, getting them back wasn’t as easy as I figured. I was told the children were making excellent progress, and they were in a good home. Knowing my right as a mother, I fought to get my babies back. Five months later I was the legal parent of my children.
“The kids took the move with me just fine. I even allowed visitations with the foster family. After about three or four visits, the children became kind of angry towards me. They were defiant. They weren’t going to bed, and my son was angry and hurting himself. My daughter was just silent. I knew what I needed to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. ADOPTION … really? I couldn’t bear the thought of it. I would say yes, then I wouldn’t go through with it. I was driving one day when a song came on the radio. It was ‘What do you say’ by Reba. I had a change of heart. I asked the foster parents to meet me at a local ice cream store. I brought the kids, and told the foster parents they could take them. I took a weekend to think about adoption.
“First thing Monday I took the kids to social services and told them the situation. Within an hour papers were signed, and the children were gone. I came home to an empty house, but went in there will a full heart and eyes full of tears. I had no regret.
“Now I’m 20. Almost a year ago I gave my children away. I live 6 hours away from them, and now I am feeling the regret, the sadness. I remember holding my children. Sleeping beside them at naptime. His first birthday. Her first time smiling at me. What have I done? I ask myself this question a lot. I know that what I have done is the right thing, but why now? Why am I so sad now? Well, I will have to live with my decision, and I can live with it. I just have to take it day by day. I just live by my one quote: ‘Why should I be sad? I didn’t take the life of my child away. Instead I gave them a chance at a new one.’”
10. Debra: “When I discovered that I was pregnant, I was confused, frightened, and lost. I had just left home to join a band of traveling gypsies, or so I called it. These folks traveled around the country knocking on doors selling magazine subscriptions. You kept half the money to live on and the rest, I assumed, went to the actual company. I don’t really know because I only stayed with them four days. I started getting very sick the second day, and one of the other girls took me to a clinic to take a pregnancy test; it was positive.
“I called my ex-boyfriend and told him, and I asked him to come and get me. In the meantime, the same girl told the director I was pregnant. He approached me and said that they would pay for an abortion and set it up for the next day and that I would work off that debt to the company. This scared me even more, and I called my ex back again and told him to get there that night. I snuck out, leaving everything. There was one thing I was certain of– I could not choose to abort this baby. And so the slow pregnancy journey began.
“Fights ensued when we told our parents. My ex-boyfriend’s parents were adamant; they wanted me to place her for adoption. We were too young. We weren’t together. The whole time no one ever asked me what or how I felt. I was told how to feel, by both sides. Eventually I found a home for pregnant girls where I was given prenatal care and was educated about my options.
“The day came that would change my life and soul forever. At 1:30 in the afternoon, Tara Ann was born. The hospital staff told me that normally they don’t allow babies and birth mothers to see each other, but the agency made an exception for me. You see, the caseworker was, I believe, trying to get me to think for myself. When I got to meet this tiny little girl, she was so small. She had brown hair– mine is strawberry blonde. I did not want to let her go. I even told her father to come to the hospital to visit. They brought her in to me, and my ex started to leave. I told him he needed to hold her. If anything, it was for closure. But he needed to know, in my selfish mind, what he was going to miss as well.
“For three days, I got to hold, sing, bathe, change diapers, and sleep with my tiny daughter. Then the agency came to get her, and I left the hospital alone. One week later, sitting in the bathroom waiting for the caseworker to come to the apartment for me to sign the final papers, I decided that I would say no. I would find some way. I would not sign.
“When the knock came at the door and the case worker was inside, I walked into the room, sat down, and in a split second signed the papers, then left. I have never been able to understand or explain to myself how I did that. But I do know this: this decision was not about me; it was about a child who I could not give what was needed at that time, what was necessary for life. This was not a selfless or selfish act. This was her survival, not mine.
“It’s been thirty-five years, and my heart has hurt every single day. However, I believe it’s beginning to heal. In 2010, I found myself on Adoption.com. I typed in my daughter’s name and through the grace of God found that she had registered herself. I still haven’t met her, but I like to imagine the wonderful parents and siblings that she has grown up with, and I realize that with me, she probably would have survived. But she has done far more than survive– she has thrived. That is the ‘how’ behind my decision to rise up and sign the papers, giving her the chance for a far better life.”
11. Anonymous: “Fourteen going on 21. I thought it would never happen to me. Even when I had an idea I was pregnant, I still thought it would never happen to me. I was from a small town where my whole family of about 35 grew up. My teachers taught my mother in high school, and they taught all my brothers and sisters. I could not let them all down. So, no, it could never happen to me. Not until four months into the pregnancy did one of the counselors at my high school pull me into his office regarding a rumor. Not only was he our counselor, but he was one of my mom’s best friends. He told me he would go home with me to tell my mom, but I made him drop me off in the driveway. My mom knew right away something was wrong when she saw him dropping me off. Those were her only words, ‘You’re pregnant, aren’t you?’ I didn’t say anything except for, ‘I’m sorry.’ Both of us crying, she said she would take care of me. Not even I knew how far along I was until we took a trip to that doctor, who was still willing to do the awful procedure. There was no way, being that far along, I was going to have an abortion. But I knew I was not going to keep the baby. Those were my mom’s words, crying once again. I picked the perfect family out of about 50 choices. We met, we talked, and we talked some more. They flew in the night I went into labor, and they waited while I was in labor for 18 hours.
It’s been 16 years now since that night. That perfect family split up, but they guaranteed me that all is well and my son is doing great. But the last Christmas card I sent was returned with no forwarding address and that hurts, but I did find another address and will continue to keep in touch. I am now a mother of three, including him. I have been happily married for 10 years and look forward to many, many more. I know I did the right thing, and my son has always known I am his birth mother. But now it’s my turn to tell my two other beautiful kids they have a brother. His pictures are on the walls of my house, and when the kids ask who he is, I simply say ‘A very good friend of Mama’s.’ The time is coming fast and I know it will be confusing, but they are smart and understanding. It will work out; it did once before. I can’t put into words the gratitude I feel toward my family, especially my mother and brother who were there every day for me and are still here. I am also very thankful to the family who did adopt my son. Thank you all … Love, Mom.”
12. Loel: “In 1975 I was a high school senior. My boyfriend of three years and I became pregnant. It was not a planned pregnancy, and we both decided to give this beautiful baby boy up for adoption. We had several “profiles” of parents we could choose from. We picked a couple who had been waiting nine years for a child. It was a “closed” adoption, and I was not able to know the names or find out any information about the parents except that the father worked for the water company in L.A. and the mother was a stay-at-home mom. Recently my high school boyfriend contacted me and asked if I had heard anything. I let him know that if he put in his “release” to the file at the adoption agency, it may be the last piece of paperwork needed to allow this child (now a man of 35 years) to contact us. I had put in my “release” several years ago. The adoptive parents and the adoptee all need to put in their releases to the file and then he can contact us, but the adoption agency cannot “solicit” the releases. Now I have nothing left to do but wait, hope, and pray. I never had anymore children, so meeting this son would be a dream come true for me. I know my high school boyfriend would be elated also. I would like to tell all adoptive birth parents to have courage and keep the dream in your heart. You may meet your beautiful baby someday.”