Discovering my Inner Strength
Every adoption story is different. For some birth mothers, adoption is the most obvious option, while others spend a lot of time searching and pondering. For me, adoption was more obvious, but it was still the most difficult decision I will ever make. However, my life has been greatly blessed because of this decision.
When I found that I was pregnant, I was in shock and denial. I kept thinking, “This could not happen to me! What am I going to do?” I was faced with what seemed like an impossible decision. I knew that marriage was not an option for me and that having a child was not going to fix my relationship with the baby’s father. I also knew that I would not consider getting an abortion. So there I was, having to choose whether I would raise this child I loved so much on my own, or whether I would place him for adoption in a loving home. This was such a huge decision that would change not only my life but the life of my baby.
I was so afraid of what my family would think that I didn’t tell them I was pregnant till I was three months along. During that time, I had never felt so alone and confused. All I had to base my decision on were my own emotions and thoughts. Many times I thought I wanted to keep my baby, to be able to see him grow up and show him how much I truly loved him. Then, more and more frequently, I started having reality checks. I started to realize that I would not be able to provide all the things I wanted my baby to have. I didn’t want him to struggle through life because of a decision I made. The thought I had most often was that I wanted my baby to have a complete family, with a mom and a dad.
I thought I could make my decision all on my own. But when my dad recommended that I go to an adoption agency, I never imagined how much I would benefit from this simple act.
As soon as I walked into the caseworker’s office, I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I now had someone to talk to about my thought process, someone who understood. Most important, I knew my caseworker did not have a personal agenda for me and my baby. For the first time I did not feel judged, and I felt “normal.” I could have a normal conversation about how I was feeling, and I could express that I felt indecisive at times. I was always reassured that it was OK to feel that way. I formed a strong bond with my caseworker, and her honest, sincere approach with me made my decision easier.
As time went on, it became more apparent that adoption was the right decision for me and my baby. I knew I would hurt from this choice, but I also knew my baby would benefit in more ways than I could imagine. I thought about every pro and con and based my decision on my own common sense, then asked a higher power to tell me whether this was right. When I received the spiritual confirmation I was looking for, I was so comforted; yet at the same time I knew I needed to start accepting what all of this meant. I needed to find just the right family for my baby and start preparing myself for the day when I would have to place him in the arms of that family.
One of the many lessons I learned through this process was to trust my instincts. I felt that if I did this, I would find the right family. At times I felt that maybe my expectations were too high and that the family I was looking for didn’t really exist. I cannot count how many families I looked at before I found “the one.”
When I felt lost and confused during this process, I would go to the adoption agency, and they would continually tell me that there was no wrong way of doing this; it was an individual experience and no two adoption stories were the same. I continued to use my independent thinking and believed that whatever I felt comfortable and peaceful about was right.
Finally I met face to face with the family I had chosen. This was a pivotal moment. After meeting them I was 100 percent sure that they were the right family for my baby. Less than a week later, I called them and asked if they would like to be the parents of my baby. They excitedly told me, “Of course!”
A short three weeks later, I finally got to meet my baby. I had envisioned this moment over and over in my mind, trying to imagine the emotions I would feel. Finally it happened, and the feelings were indescribable!
I was able to bring my baby home with me for three days after he was born. I savored every moment and etched into my brain this time I had with him. I talked to him as though he could understand me, telling him all the things I wanted for him, why I made my decision, and that because of this decision he was going to have a forever family.
This process would not have been the same without the support I received from my family. It eased my heartache at times. Also, there is no doubt in my mind that if I hadn’t utilized the adoption agency, my experience would have been completely different. They offered support not only for me but also for my family, and not only while I was pregnant but since that time as well. They helped me deal with difficulties I had regarding my pregnancy, and they also helped me understand why I allowed myself to get into such a situation. They helped with my decision-making process and with my coping afterward. Besides emotional and spiritual support, they were able to provide financial support when my insurance fell through.
I will never be the same after going through this amazing process. Choosing to place my child for adoption was the most influential decision I have ever made; my life and the life of my child will never be the same.
My baby has helped me in so many ways. I have realized what I am capable of and that I can do hard things. Yes, choosing adoption was the most difficult, humbling, heartbreaking decision I have ever made, but I have gained such strength from it. It has helped me refocus my life, reset my priorities, and have a broader perspective. I have seen how one decision can affect the lives of so many others.
To other birth mothers I would say, you are stronger than you know, and you are never alone!