“Oh, you must have been so young!”
“Were you on drugs?”
“You family must not have been supportive.”
“I’m sorry that nobody wanted to help you.”
“There are government programs you could have used.”
“You know it’s OK to be a single parent now, right?”
These are real things that have been said to me when I tell someone that I placed my baby for adoption. Each of them are either untrue or assumed that I placed out of necessity.
When I got pregnant, I had just turned 20. I had been on my own for two years, and had recently decided to spend the summer between college semesters living with my parents to try to save money for the next school year. I had been dating a guy I met at school who was a few years older than me, but not so much older that anyone would have blinked. I was on the Dean’s list, I was a Resident Assistant, and I had a wonderful, loving family. I got pregnant because I made the choice, knowingly, to have unprotected sex. I was not on drugs. I was not uneducated. I simply made a choice and an unplanned pregnancy was the consequence of that choice.
My boyfriend-turned-ex-boyfriend hid from it. In the fall, he went back to school and I stayed with my parents. Fortunately, I had a very loving mom and stepdad who only wanted the best for me. They wanted to get ME to a healthy place, then worry about the baby. I began to go to counseling sessions and an expectant mother’s support group through the local LDS Family Services office.
Through my counseling sessions and talking with other women who were in my same situation (the majority of us between 18 and 24, intelligent, and just trying our best to sort out our messy lives), I really began to make two parallel plans—the first, how I would make my life work as a single parent. The second, an adoption placement plan.
I knew three things for sure, and when I wrote them down and hung them on my wall, I realized that I would be placing my sweet baby for adoption.
1) I did NOT want my child to be born into a broken home, and from the beginning of his life to be passed back and forth between two parents in two different towns.
2) I wanted my son to be born into the best of circumstances and not suffer for my faulty decisions.
3) I wanted a better life for myself than I had then, and I couldn’t do that while being a single mother . . . no matter how much family support I had.
I was the product of a failed marriage, and I had unresolved issues in my own life that had led me down a path of dysfunctional intimate relationships, and I wanted more than anything for my son to have two parents who loved each other and had the means necessary to provide everything he would need AND want. Who could say for certain that I would get married in the next 5, 10, or 15 years to show him what a healthy, loving relationship even looked like?
My baby deserved absolutes, not maybes. I also knew, despite my ex-boyfriend being a lousy partner, that he would not just walk away from this baby. He may not have wanted me, but he would not just let me have sole custody if I parented.
I already had friends who had become mothers at 17, 18, and 19. They are good mothers! I saw how hard they tried and how hard they worked to provide what their children needed, but I also saw how much they had to rely on their own parents to raise their child. My mom had already raised 5 children, and I was the youngest. It was unfair of me to ask my mother to start all over and take care of MY child, even though she would not have resented it or said no had I asked.
In my mind, I knew what my choice had to be. I had to find a family who was ready to have a baby, who was able to financially support a child without outside help, and who would provide the emotional and spiritual stability that I couldn’t.
I didn’t place my baby because I was too young.
I didn’t place my baby because I was on drugs.
I didn’t place my baby due to lack of family support.
I didn’t place my baby because I wouldn’t have had help.
I didn’t place my baby because I was unaware of government assistance.
I didn’t place my baby because of the stigma of single parenting.
I placed my baby because I was old enough to understand what it was like to be on my own.
I placed my baby because I had a clear grasp on what my reality would be.
I placed my baby because my family was there to support me in whichever decision I made.
I placed my baby because I knew I would have help moving forward with my life and healing.
I placed my baby because I didn’t want to rely on government assistance for who-knew-how-long.
I placed my baby because, although I would have made a great single mother, there were an even greater mother AND father who were meant to be his parents.
I love my journey. I love my son. I love his parents more than I can even express. My worst-case-scenario turned into the best decision I have ever made. That is why I chose adoption.
Are you pregnant and considering adoption? There are hundreds of hopeful adoptive families listed on Adoption.com Parent Profiles. Spend some time reviewing their profiles and see if you can find the right family for your baby.