by Katherine W.
(as posted on https://www.modernbirthmom.org/)
I had just graduated from high school and felt the whole world was at my fingertips. I knew where I was going to college and who was going to be my roommate, and then all of a sudden, I felt like my body was not normal. I ultimately found out I was pregnant.
I felt like my whole world had come crushing down on me. I was eighteen at the time and the father of the child and I had broken up, so there I was, alone and unsure about what to do next.
I did what a lot of the people I knew did when they found out they were pregnant, went to the Planned Parenthood. When I was there, I got an ultrasound that told me I was 12 weeks along and had to make some serious choices about next steps. Shocked with fear, I decided to tell some of my close friends who told me to go to a pregnancy clinic to get some free counseling about this. It was there that I decided that this precious life deserves a chance to live.
I learned about Adoption at the clinic and how I could have an open adoption with my child’s adoptive family, meaning we would stay in contact and I'd get pictures and letters so I could see my son grow up.
I remember going through profiles of couples to find the perfect parents for my child. I wanted parents who had both graduated from college and were financially ready to have a child of their own. When I went through the books, I finally found the perfect parents and ended up meeting up with them before I left for school to make sure they were really the ones.
Fast forward to college, I had a very difficult time figuring out the balance between being pregnant and school.
The due date for my son was late in December, so I ended up taking my finals early and went to live with my grandparents until he was born. I got everything ready for the arrival of my son and had the adoptive parents come with me to every doctor’s appointment up until the birth.
On December 31st, I officially went into labor and spent the next 16 hours at the hospital until my son finally was born. Once he was born, the nurses laid him directly on my chest. I could not believe it, the baby that had called my belly his home for the last nine months was actually here and was the most beautiful baby I had ever laid my eyes on. I felt like everything changed when my son was born. What I mean by that is once he was born, I thought about him as not just the picture on the ultra sound machine, but a baby that had his whole life ahead of him. I knew that this life ahead of him was meant to be with his adoptive parents.
Even though it was the hardest decision of my life, I still decided to go through my adoption. I spent the first five hours of my son’s life with my family and close friends. After those hours which went by extremely quickly, I decided it was time for my son to meet his parents. The hospital I delivered in was gracious enough to have our rooms right next to each other so I could go back and forth as often as I wanted. I knew for me, I wanted my son to stay with his parents as soon as he was born so the family could have their bonding time.
When the parents walked in the room, we all started crying. It was because neither of us knew what to expect, it was brand new for all of us. We just knew everything we were doing was for this child. This innocent, beautiful, little boy.
I will not tell you that this next part of my hospital stay was easy. No, it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. Signing the papers which said I had no more rights to my child was something I never thought I would have to do in my lifetime. But I had to think to myself, why was I doing this? What was the whole point? Was it so I could go back to school and pretend like nothing happened? No, of course not. Was it so I could make these two strangers so incredibly happy with a child? A little bit. The whole reason though of WHY was because I wanted to do the very best thing I could for my child at that time.
Maybe I would’ve made a different choice if this happened later in my life, but the choice I made was because it would be the very best for HIM. Yes, I knew I would struggle, yes, I knew the parents would have some difficulties just learning to be new parents, and yes, I knew that people might think of me differently because of the choice I made. But none of that matters. None of that would’ve affected my decision because the only person I was thinking about in this entire process was my son.
After leaving the hospital, I went to go stay with my grandparents until it was time for me to head back for school the next semester. During that time, I had a lot of physical healing to do, but I was really not prepared with all the emotional healing I would have to go through.
When I went back to school without being pregnant, life seemed so different. I had a wanting to connect with other birth moms in person, or just meet with someone who has been through it. I was connected to an online community of birth moms, but I still didn’t feel like I had the resources and I still felt shame in my decision.
The next few months were pretty difficult. I remember just going back in my dorm while everyone else was out partying and would just cry. I knew I was grieving, I just didn’t know how I was going to deal with the grief I was feeling. Through so many trials, I finally knew my next step in my adoption was to let go. Let go of all the pain I was feeling, let go of feeling unworthy of love, let go to worrying about what my son was doing and how his life was going. I had to trust. Even though I did not know what the future would hold for my adoption, I knew I had to trust in the journey. In doing this, I decided to start help mentoring other women who were choosing adoption.
Currently, I have changed my major in school to social work so one day I will be able to work as a birth parent counselor/adoption parent counselor and really be able to make a difference in the adoption world. There are so many positives in adoption, and every birth mom who goes through an adoption has an incredible amount of strength. I also am now getting into the adoption community more as a junior in college, and I still have lots to learn from fellow birth mom stories, going on retreats, and embracing what it means to be a birth mom.
My whole adoption has been a secret kept from the majority of the world, but I am so thrilled to announce it is not a secret anymore. I have shared my story on social media and to friends who I had not shared with before. It is amazing the amount of love I am receiving through this. I also still have an open adoption with my son, which of course like a normal relationship is difficult at sometimes, but it is a main component of why I have fallen in love with adoption and why I have a passion to make sure other birth moms can have a voice to make sure they are doing exactly what they want with their adoption. The world of adoption is significantly changing, and I am thrilled to be a part of this new journey.