At the age of twenty-one I found myself in a situation I never thought I would be in. I was away from home, going to college, penniless and pregnant. This time in my life was surely not easy for me.
I had met the birth father at school that year. He was charming and enjoyable to be around. We did not have much in common, but we got along wonderfully. After dating him for a couple of months, I found that I was pregnant. I remember sitting on the bathroom floor thinking, “What in the world am I going to do?” I felt very alone at this time and did not know how I was going to break the news.
I knew I had a few important choices to make. First I told the birth father. He was shocked at first, to say the least. But with time, he was my support. Second, I told my mother. I had not been getting along with her so well, and was afraid that she would shut me out. I decided to write a letter. I simply explained the best that I could how I had gotten myself into this and I knew I had some choices that needed to be made. All I asked is that she would be there for me. To my surprise, she was very loving and concerned.
Third, the birth father and I told his parents. They were not happy with us, but supported us in any way that they could. They had offered to raise the baby as theirs, but we felt that would have been too awkward for us.
Fourth and most important, I had to make a decision about parenting. I knew I could not raise this child alone. The birth father and I had planned to get married, but I wasn’t too sure that it would work out. We had so many differences. Financially I was not prepared. I did not have a job and was living away from home. I was not emotionally prepared to raise a child. I could barely take care of myself. Abortion was not an option for me, and we did not feel comfortable with his parents raising the child.
I had a lot of time to think. After going to my 7:30 a.m. classes, I would come home and think about what I was going to do. While my friends were going to dances and parties, I was at home with morning sickness. I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into this. I thought it would never happen to me.
After talking to the birth father’s mother, we decided to talk to a counselor at an adoption agency. He had reviewed all of the things I had spent months thinking about. When he explained the adoption process, I knew that this is what I was going to do. I spoke with the birth father about my decision and he was very supportive. Our next step was to choose a family. We went through many files with our counselor. It was difficult to know that our child would be going to the right family. When the right family did come up, I knew it. We had so much in common with this family, and they seemed so loving and caring. We felt good about our decision.
The next four months were fairly easy. I had felt comfortable in my decision to place my child for adoption. I knew this child would be well-taken care of and loved by two sets of parents and grandparents. Our families and friends were supportive to us. There was the question of why we were doing this, but I did not let that break my determination.
I had an ultrasound and found out it was going to be a girl. I hoped the family would be very excited. I tried to keep myself somewhat detached from the situation because I did not want to feel the hurt. It was my way of dealing with this. Her birth father was very caring during this difficult time. I needed the support because I was terrified. This was all new to me and I was experiencing so many mixed feelings.
On August 21, 1992, I delivered our little angel. It was a long labor, but thanks to advanced technology and the power of medicine I had a fairly easy delivery. I was exhausted by the time she was born. I was the first to see her. She was beautiful. I could not believe that this was something that I had created. She was so precious and small. My best friend, my mother, her birth father’s mother and her birth father were all in the room to be with me during the delivery. We were all in tears and relieved that she was healthy.
I was moved to a more private room, and had some time to be with her alone. This was difficult for me. I did not know how to feel. Her birth father was very affectionate toward her and loved her very much. I still felt I needed to detach myself from her, so that it would not seem so difficult to let her go. I loved her with all my heart, but that heart was hurting.
Soon my feelings changed. I had talked to her birth father about keeping her. I thought we could do it. We would struggle, but we could make it work. How could I let this innocent baby go? This did not last long. I quickly remembered all of the reasons I had chosen to place her for adoption. We were not ready to be parents. Not yet.
The next day my counselor came in and I signed the relinquishment papers. This was not as difficult as I thought it would have been. I attribute this to the time I had thought about my decision, and being very secure in my choices. I think her birth father had a harder time than I did.
I do not know the family’s name who adopted our angel nor have I met them, but that is all right with me. I know she will be taken care of. I felt more comfortable with a closed adoption. I will periodically receive letters and pictures and look forward to every one of them.
I was released from the hospital and now I had to face reality. I needed to make choices for the future and they needed to be smart ones. The birth father told me he had joined the Marines, but he still wanted to marry me. I thought long and hard about this. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for marriage. I needed to work on myself for awhile.
The birth father left for the Marines, and I again had a lot of time to think. It was not easy to adjust back to normal life again. I wasn’t sure who I was. Now was the time for me to take advantage of a new start. I set goals for myself, and worked on my self esteem, which had literally been erased. I started to take better care of myself and think about what I was doing and how it would affect me in the future.
It was a long, hard road for me to accomplish some of my goals, but not a road without reward. I am so much happier and satisfied with my life now that I have taken responsibility for it. I have made choices that will and have bettered my future. I am now married to a wonderful and understanding man. He realizes that we all make mistakes. It’s what you do with those mistakes that matters. Since I placed my little girl for adoption, I have had a strong desire to work in adoption. I went back to school and am working toward my goals. I have also been blessed with a job working with birth parents and adoptive families. I have truly been blessed. I am now happy!
One of the things that got me through this difficult time was the thought of a little girl all grown up. What would she think if was still carrying all of my old habits? Would she believe I loved her? Or, what would she think if she saw me now – secure, happy and taking responsibility for my life. Would she believe me when I say, “I did this because with all my heart, I love you?”
Adoption has been one of the most difficult but positive things I have done in my life. I honestly wish I had not been in that situation, but am thankful I had made the choices that were right for me to get through it. I am at peace with my decision to place my child in a secure home with a loving and caring family.