When I found myself pregnant at 18, unmarried, no longer with my boyfriend, and fresh out of high school, I panicked. Strangely enough though, I wasn’t surprised. It was almost as if I knew it was going to happen. I mean the outcome of having sex is pregnancy, right? I knew I only had two choices, and I was not sure how I could possibly make either one.

I wanted to be a mother ever since I could remember. I knew that there was no way my ex-boyfriend and I would ever get married, and I also knew that there was no way he was ready to be a father. We parted on good terms, but I knew there was really no “good” way to go about telling him that I was pregnant with his child. We were both young, and in two very different places in our lives.

I grew up in a home where my parents were divorced when I was just eight years old. Not having my dad around was normal for me. My ex-boyfriend (we’ll call him Jake) couldn’t remember the time his mom and dad were in the same place together. We were both aware of the effects it has on a child when the mom or dad are not present. We knew the difference it could make when a child is raised in a household with love from both parents– and not just love for the child, but love for one another. It was in that realization that we both knew that placing our child for adoption was probably the way we needed to go.

In the beginning I decided to be a single parent. I was 18 after all. I had just graduated from high school and thankfully, my parents were supportive of whatever decision I made. I knew I could do it; it would be hard, but it was possible.

One night I sat down with some research I had done on adoption and the statistics of the lives of children who grew up in a split parent home. While reading through everything, I was hit with a very vivid memory: I was 8 years old, my parents had just gotten divorced, and I wanted my dad. I had always been a daddy’s girl. I didn’t understand where he was and why I couldn’t have him when I needed him. The pain was all too real and I felt it throughout my entire soul. It was in that moment that I knew I did not want to create memories like that for the child I was carrying. I wanted the best for her.

Jake was a fairly supportive birth father when it came to the decisions we made and had a very active part in choosing the parents for our child. We both knew we wanted people who were active, and enjoyed the outdoors, and, most importantly, two people who loved one another unconditionally.

Choosing a couple was hard. Honestly, it was the most daunting task I had ever taken on. It was odd for me that choosing to place my child for adoption was the “easier” choice. I knew that I needed to place my baby for adoption, but I didn’t know where to place her. I did know that no matter what couple I chose, placing my child in their home would make them a family.

Instantly she changed the way I viewed love…

My birth daughter was born in February. It was in November that Jake and I finally agreed on a couple and met them for the first time. In our first visit it was overwhelmingly made known to me that these were the parents our daughter was meant to be with. I had never met two people who loved one another so much. Their love made an imprint on my heart in a way I will never be able to explain. It was because of that love that I knew they were going to be the best parents they could possibly be to my daughter.

When my birth daughter was born my life changed instantly. Of course, carrying her for nine months and going through the process of deciding whether to place her or raise her, created a bond between her and I that will never be broken. It was in the moments that I first held her that my understanding of love changed forever. It is quite a powerful feeling to have someone so small and so helpless consume all of you, she took over me. Instantly she changed the way I viewed love, the way I viewed the world, the way I viewed myself.

I knew that in one way or another it would work…

When you’re faced with making a decision that not only affects you but affects someone who you love endlessly, the realization of selflessness comes into play more than you can ever imagine. The entire time I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to be a mother and that one way or another I could try and make it work. I knew that in one way or another it would work, but I also knew that no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn’t be what was best for her. More than anything, I knew that I would do and had to do anything I could to guarantee her happiness. The decision to place my child for adoption was not about me, it was about her.

People often ask me if I had known all that I do today (the pain, the struggle) if I would still make the decision I did. The answer is undeniably yes. While there have been ups and downs, and moments where I’ve thought to myself “I didn’t know my heart could hurt this much,” I know that I would still make the decision I made.

My daughter’s life has been shared with me through pictures and letters. Each time I see a new picture or hear a new story, I am reminded of how happy she is and how incredibly blessed she truly is to have her parents. There are times where I wonder what her life would be like if she were with me, but then I remember that love that her parents share, and I know that she is in the best place she could possibly be.

I was my daughter’s mother for 9 months. I carried her in my womb, and took care of her for 3 incredible days in the hospital before I placed her into her parents’ arms. I cherish that time we had together. It’s so easy to consider yourself “unlucky” when you become pregnant at a time in your life when it wasn’t planned, but truthfully, for me, it became the most amazing blessing. It was because of my birth daughter that I got my life back on track. It was because of her that I gained a knowledge of true love; and it was because of her that I was able to let go of myself and give entirely to someone else.

If there is one thing I will always remember it is that my sweet baby had no voice. I had to speak for her, and if I spoke wrongly, I would regret it for all of my life. Thankfully, I was blessed to know that adoption was right for me, and that it was right for her. I do not think I’ll ever have to make a more painful decision in my entire life, but if I had to make it again, I know that I would. All the pain and all the heartache is worth it, because I know that she is happy. Because she is happy, I am happy too. My life has been nothing but blessed by adoption. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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