Finding out I was pregnant my senior year of high school was devastating. I did not want to believe it – it took three positive pregnancy tests to convince me that I was really pregnant. I had planned to go away to college in the fall, and I knew that having a baby would change everything.
First I told my boyfriend. He became very distant and cold. He asked whose child it was, and who else I had been with. It was obvious to me that he was not going to allow himself to believe that I was pregnant with his child. It was then that I realized we were no longer a couple, and he was not going to be a part of our child’s life.
Without the support of my baby’s father, and knowing that my divorced parents were not in a position to help me, I considered my options. I thought parenting my child would mean I had to throw away my dreams of going to college, and felt I was in no position to provide the kind of family and stability my child would need.
I considered abortion, because I thought it would allow me to continue on with my life as I had planned. I also considered adoption. Then I had a scary fall down a flight of stairs when I was just six weeks along, and my doctor conducted an ultrasound to find out if the baby had been affected by the fall. The monitor showed a blinking light, the baby’s heartbeat. It was then that my thoughts were transformed from “I’m pregnant” to “I’m carrying a child.” The heartbeat made it clear to me, this was life. At that moment, I made my decision to choose life – for myself and for my child. At that moment, I chose adoption.
Being seventeen and pregnant was hard. Four months into my pregnancy my mother remarried, unbeknownst to me and my siblings, and shortly after, she moved across the country to be with her new husband. I still felt that I needed her help, and she was gone. I had no idea what to expect in a pregnancy, how to care for myself and my child, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I moved in with my father, who became my rock, supporting me emotionally, helping me reason through difficult decisions, showing me unconditional love.
Going out in public was difficult. The common opinion of pregnant teenagers is not always forgiving. I began attending counseling sessions, both one-on-one and in a support group. Additionally, I had my dad and my younger siblings around, who allowed me to cry and laugh, pulling me through the hard times and praising me for the choice I had made. Without them, I may not have been able to plan for the adoption, and for my life afterwards without my son.
I began my search for the perfect couple to raise my son. Certain criteria were very important to me, certain things I felt were necessary of the adoptive parents. These criteria focused my intentions and helped me to identify an amazing couple. Shortly after reading their “Dear birthmother” letter, I contacted the adoption lawyers to let them know I had found the right couple. It was important for me to build a relationship with the adoptive parents, so that I could gain trust and appreciation for them. I was able to meet them for dinner, where I learned more about them and determined that yes, this was the couple I wanted to raise my son. We continued to talk on the phone throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, and I updated them on the health of the baby and learned more about how they planned to raise him.
At last the day came when I gave birth to my son, and his adoptive parents met me at the hospital. It was a very emotional time for all of us. They were beginning their life as a family, and I began my life as a birthmother.
I said good-bye to them, and to my son, but not for long – my first visit to their home was when my son was six months old, and I returned for another visit a year later. Since then there have been many visits. We keep in touch by letter, email, and phone. I am so grateful to know that he is in good hands and has a life that is so near what I wanted to give him, but couldn’t at the time.
Since the adoption, life has been true to course – with ups and downs. My son and his parents welcomed another son into their family, also through adoption. I was able to obtain my college degree, a career I love, and a life path of which I am proud.
Nothing is easy when you are facing an unplanned pregnancy. A lot of difficult decisions have to be made, no matter which option you choose. But adoption gave me a voice, and showed me that while I may have been too young and inexperienced to parent my child, I was mature enough to make some tough but rewarding decisions regarding his life and his future. I am so grateful for my son, for his parents, and for the lives we all have today.