Archive for October, 2016

Carlie’s Teen Pregnancy Story

It was fall of 2015 when Carlie, a sophomore in high school at the time, realized something was off. She had been feeling sick, gaining weight, and was unsure of the cause. She thought, maybe it is her birth control. Maybe it will go away. Months later, at fifteen-years-old, Carlie learned that she was pregnant.

Now seventeen and a senior in high school, Carlie is blessed with a beautiful daughter named Kayla, who has a loving and devoted adoptive family in Massachusetts. All the while, baby Kayla is growing and blessed by both the love from her forever family as well as the endless love from Carlie, her forever birth mom.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Carlie about her experience: from pregnancy to adoption to where she is today. This is Carlie’s story.

teen mom adoption

It has been a couple of years now since you discovered you were pregnant with Kayla. Thinking back, do you remember what your reaction was when you first found out? What did you do in that very moment?

I think I was just really shocked. See, I was on birth control at the time and I even had used a condom. Never did I expect to get pregnant. Over the months, there were times I thought, “Could I be?” but that thought was always immediately shut down with a “No way.” It didn’t feel possible.

It happened in September 2015 and as the months passed, I started getting really sick. That’s when my mom said, “Let’s go to the doctor; it could be your birth control.” I didn’t really say anything to her about the possibility of pregnancy at the time, because I really and truly did not think it could be that.

We went to the doctors. They told us it couldn’t be the birth control, did a blood test, and said they would call me with my results.

What did you do next? Did you confide in anyone about it?

I went over to talk to my aunt about it. She immediately said, “I think you are pregnant.” I was like, “No I am not.” She said again, “I think you are. Carlie, you even look like you got a little bit of weight, too.” And still I said, “I know I’m not pregnant.”

She called my mom; she picked up pregnancy tests; I tried them. The first test wasn’t showing any results. So I used the second one –

Pregnant. I thought, This can’t be true. I’m just a fifteen-year-old in high school. This can’t be true.

That was in March of 2015.

So that really confirmed it for you.

Well my mom went out that night to pick up some more tests. She said she wanted to confirm the results. She got a package with two tests in it, but I was sleeping by the time she came home.

I woke up in the middle of the night and decided, I might as well just use them now. I went to bathroom and they both came out the same – positive. I thought,

“This can’t be happening. This CAN’T be happening.”

I tried to go back to sleep and when the next morning came, my mom said, “Carlie, you have to go to school.” I was like, “I don’t want to go.” I just gazed at her and she knew. She said I could stay home.

How did you tell Kayla’s biological father?

I told him instantly. I said right out, “I’m pregnant.” He automatically knew it was his baby. His dad tried to have him to deny it completely, but he knew.

Was he supportive? Was he involved at all in your pregnancy or your decision?

No, he wasn’t supportive. As soon as I told him, he was like, “I’m out. No. No way.”

He was 19 at the time, and it was kind of my fault too, but it was more under peer pressure that this all came about. I really just wanted to hang out with him as friends. He would come pick me up from my house to go to his and hang out, and was my only ride to and from. One night he asked, and, under pressure, I just said, “Okay, I guess.”

I say I was under peer pressure because I thought it would be awkward if he just took me home after him asking and me refusing. I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

Did the pregnancy impact your social life at all?

No – I mean, everyone was shocked. They were surprised that it was me of all people that this would happen to. Because, I’m usually the quiet type at school. I always kept to myself, which is why everyone was just so shocked by it. No one treated me wrong, everyone was just genuinely worried about me.

How did your pregnancy affect being in high school at the time?

Well, it wasn’t noticeable at first that I was pregnant, because it was right before spring break that I found out. I told my counselors, superintendent, and principal first. Then I let the staff members know.

It wasn’t like I could hide it from anybody, though I only told my friends at first.

The way that everyone found out was in school, I was talking to my health teacher about it one day before class and she just kept talking about it as everyone started to come into the classroom. That’s when everyone was like, “What? What’s going on?” And then as soon as the class found out, it traveled through the whole school. But again, it wasn’t like anyone talked bad about me. They were just genuinely shocked.

When did you start thinking about adoption?

Instantly. My mom said from the beginning, you have three options. She said, you can keep the baby – I said, “There’s no way I can do that while I’m still in high school. I don’t have a job; there is barely any room in this house. We can hardly even feed ourselves. There’s just no possible way.”

She then gave me my other two options. She said, “Okay, well you can either get an abortion or you can go through adoption.” And in my mind I was just like, I can’t see myself giving this child away, but I can’t see myself keeping a baby, either. So I thought abortion could bring the best outcome, I guess.

I was going to get an abortion, but as soon as we pulled up to the building, I broke down crying. I thought, I can’t do this, there is no way I can do this. I couldn’t go through with it so I thought I might as well go with adoption. My mom started looking through adoption agencies and that’s how she found Adoptions With Love – because they work nationwide.

Did you feel like you were making the right choice, making an adoption plan?

Yes, I mean, if I was to keep the baby, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I wouldn’t be miserable, but I knew that we wouldn’t have had enough money. We would have been so behind. I was not ready for that.

My mom kept saying, “Carlie, we can keep the baby. I can take days off and watch her and if you want to do stuff on the weekends, I’ll take weekends off too so that you can still be a teenager.” That’s when I had to say,

“Mom, if I keep her and bring her home, there is no being a teenager anymore.”

Do you feel like you had a lot of say in making your adoption plan? Do you feel like your wishes were heard and met, and that you could provide the life you wanted to for Kayla?

Yeah. Adoptions With Love asked me what kind of family I wanted for my daughter and I wasn’t sure at first. They said it wasn’t a problem and sent me books of families to look at. They sent me people who were adopting, couples who weren’t able to have kids, families who already had kids. I really felt most comfortable choosing a family who couldn’t have children. It made me feel good to be able to give someone something that they weren’t able to do or couldn’t have on their own.

Do you feel like adoption has also allowed you to pursue the life you want for yourself?

That’s my thing, I didn’t want to be a single mom struggling for money. I didn’t want to be trying to pursue my own goals while caring for a child at the same time. It would have been hard and I didn’t want her to go through that with me – to have a struggling mom who didn’t have money.

Because I know what that’s like. I know exactly what that is like. I’ve experienced that my whole life and that’s why I said I didn’t want her to go through what I had to go through.

I wanted her to have parents who she could be proud of and I wanted to grow up so that she could also be proud of me.

Did you end up choosing an adoptive family for Kayla?

Yes – I picked Paul and Gretchen after coming across their book. Just reading it felt right. It felt like we had a lot in common and like they were already a part of the family. I can’t really put it into words but when I read their profile it just felt right.

Did you meet them in person, before the adoption?

Yeah, Adoptions With Love told them I was considering them as a potential family and asked me if I would be comfortable having a phone conversation. So we talked on the phone at first. And then when I met them, it just automatically felt right.

Where did you end up meeting them?

They came here. I showed them around my town and my home. My mom and I met with them in the morning at a local café, and we had breakfast there. After that, I just spent some time alone with them. We went to the Abe Lincoln Museum because they told me how much they like history. We walked around and saw our old Capitol Building had some sort of Civil War reenactment going on. Then we went out for lunch. When they left I remember saying, “This is them. This is them.”

Were they in the hospital with you the day your daughter was born?

Yes, they were in the hospital and the birthing room that day. I would spend time with Kayla and them in the mornings. There were also times where I would spend time by myself or I would let them spend time with Kayla alone. At night, I wanted her to go to their room to sleep.

You are in an open adoption plan right now, yes? What’s that look like for you?

Yes. I actually just went and visited Kayla and her adoptive family last March for my spring break. I was sixteen and a junior at the time.

And you all still keep in touch?

Yes, they send me pictures; I FaceTime them; I text them. It’s a very open plan.

Are you happy with how things are going?

Oh yes. I feel like the best thing I could’ve done was to have an open adoption. If I had kept my adoption closed, I would have been miserable not knowing what was going on with Kayla.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

I feel like this was the best route I could go. I’m still happy with it and I’m not ashamed of it. Everyone I talk to about it, they always say, “This was the right decision and I’m proud of you.” But I know that.

I know this was the right decision for me and for my daughter.

Is there any advice you’d give to other young women facing an unplanned pregnancy?

I would just say that adoption is often the best way to go. If you’re not comfortable keeping it open or uncomfortable seeing your baby, even if you’re scared to be a part of her life, that’s ok. You can have a closed adoption plan. But I feel like having an open adoption was the best decision.

What if you could go back to the fall of 2015 and give your younger self some advice?

I would say that it gets better and you’ll be happy with what you did.

It was definitely hard at first. My mom said it was going to be hard at first no matter what. You’re not going to go through this and be like, “Everything is fine.” No, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to have a hard time and you’re going to be upset about it some days.

My mom thought I was going to need counseling. The adoption worker had given me information on counseling and I kept it, but I don’t think I’ll need it – I know what’s going to happen and I’m not going to get super depressed about it.

The reason my mom was worried about it was because, when I was junior high, I was severely bullied. I went through a lot and it gave me depression. So she thought it might happen again.

But I knew this wasn’t the last time I was going to see my daughter. I would tell myself, I know it’s going to be hard, I know I’m going to be sad, but it’s going to be fine. I know I’m going to get to see her, I know I’m going to talk to her adoptive family, I know I’m going to get pictures – So there’s no reason to beat myself up about it.

Do you keep in touch with Adoptions With Love still?

Sometimes – But they did tell me, if you need anything, contact us. If you need counseling, contact us. Or even if you just need to talk. But like I said, I was prepared for what could happen after the adoption and I wasn’t going to be too worried about it. I knew I could always keep in touch.

If you or someone you love is facing a teen pregnancy, know that adoption can be a very positive option for those not ready to raise a child. If you would like to hear more teen pregnancy stories or get unplanned pregnancy support, you may call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or contact us here. If you would like to learn more about your teen pregnancy options, please download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy

teen pregnancy help

Superman Was Adopted, Too: What These 6 Favorite Halloween Costumes All Have in Common

Halloween is just around the corner – meaning that the time to prepare for goblins and ghosts, superheroes and superstars, tricking and treating is now upon us.  If you are a parent of a child over the age of two, this time of Halloween preparation especially pertains to you.

Like many, your child may already have a grand plan for the perfect costume in his or her head.  Perhaps your son or daughter has already dragged you to the Halloween store to pick it out.  Or, maybe you have been busy crafting that one-of-a-kind disguise for your little one.

Adoptions With Love recently had a little visitor stop into our office – a young girl who had been placed for adoption through our agency just a few years back.  Next to her adoptive parents, at just over two-feet tall, the little girl stood proud as she showed off her tee shirt.  It read, “Superman Was Adopted.”

If you know the famed story of Superman, you likely know that he was adopted as a baby.  Like many of us, you may not have previously made the connection.  Superman was born on Krypton, a planet that was headed for destruction.  In efforts to save their son, Superman’s birth parents sent him on a spacecraft to planet Earth, where he landed in the farm lands of Jonathan and Martha Kent.  When the Kent family found the child, they decided to raise him as their adopted son and named him Clark.

Growing up, Clark Kent had superhuman powers that he struggled to understand and made him feel different from the other kids at school.  Even when Clark extraordinarily saved his classmates from a drowning school bus, his peers perceived him as weird and different.

That is when Clark’s father, Jonathan Kent, decided to reveal the truth about Clark’s history.  He took him down to the barn and unveiled the very spacecraft that brought Clark to Earth.  It is in this moment that Clark realizes the Kents are not his birth parents. He had no knowledge of his history beyond the spaceship.

If you have seen the 2013 movie Man of Steel, you may remember the one scene where Clark Kent comes face-to-face with the spirit of his birth father, Jor-El.  In this scene, Jor-El tells Clark everything about where he came from and who he was.  Clark learns about his heritage and lineage, who his birth parents were, and why they had chosen this path for him – to give him a better life.  His birth father explains that he sent Clark off to Earth out of deep love, for his protection and his best interest.

Superman’s story has long-been acclaimed the “greatest adoption story of all time.”  So when this little one came into Adoptions With Love, proudly wearing her “Superman Was Adopted” shirt, it really got us thinking about his story once again.

Superman’s adoption story, in many ways, is about adoption awareness.  It is about a child who works through understanding his identities, his past and his present, as well as his purpose in life.  His story, in a way, also recognizes the significance of open adoption.  For Superman, coming to learn about his adoption, who he was, and having an appreciation for that history was perhaps one of the greatest gifts.   Learning about his birth parents and understanding the selfless love they had for him gave him strength.  It allowed him to grow up to be an extraordinary (super)human being.

In the end, Superman’s story is also one of hope.  Adoptees all over the world can find hope and comfort knowing that Superman was adopted, too.  Like Superman, they can do anything they put their minds to and for which they work hard.  They too can become extraordinary.

If you are as inspired as us by Superman’s adoption story, here are five other fictional heroes and heroines who were adopted.  If you are in need of a last-minute costume idea for your child, consider a Halloween costume that will make your child also feel proud of his or her own adoption story:

1. Ironman Another famous superhero, Ironman is a favorite Halloween costume for youngsters. As Marvel Comics recently revealed, Ironman was actually adopted as a baby by the Stark family. Ironman (Tony Stark) grew up to be a boy genius, entering MIT at 15-years-old, and later went on to save the world.


2. Mowgli With the latest Jungle Book movie out this year, Mowgli may be a popular costume pick this Halloween. He too was adopted.  After losing his father, this Jungle Book hero was adopted by a family of wolves. He is accepted by his jungle family as one of their own, as well as appreciated for his human identity throughout the movie. For this costume, all your kiddo needs is a beige long-sleeve and some red shorts!


3. Princess Leia – A favored Star Wars character, Princess Leia is the adopted daughter of Queen Breha Organa, the ruler of planet Alderaan, and Bail Organa, a senator. Her birth parents were Queen Padme Amidala of Naboo, who passed in childbirth, and Anakin Skywalker, who turned to the dark side as Darth Vader. Raised by her adoptive parents, Leia became a princess, a politician, a resistance leader, and a strong, admired soldier.


4. Dorothy – The leading character in Wizard of OZ, Dorothy is a favored Halloween costume among little girls. But did you know that she, too, was adopted? Dorothy was an orphan, who was then raised by her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry on a Kansas farm. It is unclear whether Dorothy’s aunt and uncle are her biological relatives.

Image result for dorothy costume kids

5. AnnieAnnie the Musical is about a passionate little red-head who grows up in an orphanage. Despite the challenges she faces, Annie remains optimistic that she will find her birth parents and will be adopted at last. Eleven-year-old Annie is adopted by “Daddy Warbucks,” a millionaire who opens his home and his heart to the young girl.

Image result for annie costume kids

Halloween is a time for self-expression and self-exploration.  This may include some theme of adoption. Aside from the spookiness and trickery, it can also be a wonderful time for children to spend with their parents.  Together, you can bond over costumes and caramel apples.  You can spend hours walking the neighborhood with your child, imagining together.  Most of all, you can use this time learn a lot about your child and how he or she thinks and dreams.

To learn about Adoptions With Love or how to start the adoption process, call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or contact us here.

Pregnant in High School or College? Getting Your Education While Pregnant

Pregnancy and parenthood are the leading reasons why young women drop out of school each year.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, one-third of young women who leave school do so in order to become a parent and take on their role as a full-time mother.

These young women come from all different backgrounds.  Some were straight-A students before they became parents.  Some had applied to college; some were enrolled in college.  Some had other plans after high school.  Most students who dropped out after becoming pregnant have something in common: They strongly believe that they could have graduated, had they only stayed in school.

Of the 1,700 teenagers who give birth each week, 60 percent do not finish high school.  Of the thousands of young women who have children in college, 61 percent do not complete their degree.

You may be reading this because you too are facing an unplanned pregnancy. You may be wondering if you will be able to finish high school or college, if you will be able to graduate with your friends, or if you will ever have the chance to land your dream job.

It is important to know that being pregnant in college or high school does not mean you have to drop out of school.  Pregnancy does not have to have a negative impact on your education.  While being pregnant may pose some challenges as you work towards your degree, know that having an education under your belt will be worth it – for both you and your child – in the long run.

If you are looking to continue your education during your pregnancy and beyond, we truly commend you for this choice.  To help guide you, the staff at Adoptions With Love has answered some common questions about pregnancy and education below.

Can I go to school while pregnant?

Yes – If you want to stay in school during your pregnancy, know that you have every right to do so.  No school is allowed to exclude a student because of a pregnancy.  You still have every right to remain in honors classes, internships, or participate in extracurricular activities as you wish.

Can I miss classes due to my pregnancy?

Yes – Under the law, your school must excuse any absences that are medically necessary, including any related to pregnancy or childbirth.  Until your doctor tells you to get back to class, your school must permit your medical leave.  This does not mean that you can continuously miss classes due to morning sickness or because you are getting bigger.  However, most teachers will respect and help meet your needs when they can.  This may mean giving you more restroom privileges, or even offering at-home tutoring.  Talk to your teachers, school nurse, and other administrators about your options and needs as an expectant teen.  Most likely, they will want to be supportive and help.

Can my school take away my scholarship or financial aid because I am pregnant?

No – No school has the right to take away or even reduce scholarships or grants based on pregnancy.  If you have an athletic, academic, or need-based scholarship, you can keep it so long as you stay in school.

What are the challenges of being pregnant in school?

Whether you are in high school or college, being pregnant while pursuing an education is no easy task.  As a pregnant student, you will have to learn to balance your workload with your hormones, your class attendance with your morning sickness, your grades with your relationships.  This can all leave you feeling exhausted by the day’s end.  By talking to your teachers and school staff about your pregnancy, you can work together on a schedule that will ease the day-to-day challenges for you.

How will my education impact my child? What impact will parenthood have on my education?

Education is so critical to a healthful and successful future in our society.  If you choose to finish high school and obtain a college education, your economic and career prospects will be much greater.  Female students who complete high school, on average, make $8,000 more a year than those who do not earn their GED.  High school graduates are also less likely to need food stamps later in life.

Still, many young women who choose to parent their babies struggle to continue their education and pay the bills.  This is because both school and parenting demand a lot of time.  They both call for a lot of commitment and hard work.  It can be tough to balance them both at once.  As a young parent, you will have to make sacrifices for your child, which may mean putting your education or career goals on hold for some time.

What if I am not ready to become a parent? Will adoption allow me to finish my education?

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and still in school, know that you are not alone.  The majority of young women who come to Adoptions With Love are in their early to mid-twenties.  Every day, we see or hear from young women who were once in your situation, who have now gone on to get their high school or college degrees.  We want you to know that you too can pursue your dreams.

Adoption is a positive, thoughtful option for expectant/birth mothers who want to finish school, for those that are not ready to parent a child and for those who want to send their children to a good school down the road.  If you believe that you are not ready to parent your baby, know that adoption is always an option for you.  Through adoption, you can achieve your dreams of going to college and establishing a career.  You can also provide the life you dream of for your child.  You can give your child a loving family, a quality education, and the future that he or she deserves.

To learn about making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.  We are always here to answer your call.  For more information on the impact of pregnancy on your education, please download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy below.

How to Tell Your Parents You Are Pregnant

Discovering you are pregnant at a young age can be overwhelming.  You want all of the help and support you can get, but may not know where to start or who to talk to first.  You may feel like you want to tell your mom or dad about this pregnancy, but are afraid of their reaction.  On the other hand, you may not want to tell your parents you are pregnant, but know that you will probably have to at one point or another.

No matter how close you are with your parents, the pregnancy conversation can be intimidating.  You do not know how they will react, if they will be supportive of your pregnancy, or what they will advise you to do next.  Even though it feels scary right now, talking to your parents can actually be very helpful.  Chances are, they love you and want to help.  By knowing about your pregnancy, your parents can:

  • Talk to you more about your options and offer guidance
  • Ensure you get the health and prenatal care you need
  • Help you sort through any feelings, decisions, or challenges that arise during your pregnancy
  • Help you talk to others (teachers, friends, family members) about your pregnancy
  • Give you the unconditional love and support you deserve

If you feel safe telling your parents you are pregnant, we encourage you to do so.  At Adoptions With Love, we understand that this conversation is not always easy.  It can be hard to find the words to say and the best time to say them.  While there is no right or wrong way of telling your parents you are pregnant, there are steps you can take to make a productive, open, and honest conversation.  We are here to help you through it.

  1. Prepare for any reaction

Every situation is different, and there are many factors that can play into your parents’ reaction.  If your parents did not know you were having sex, for example, they may be particularly shocked by the news.  If your parents do not allow you to date or hold certain beliefs about sex, they may be disappointed.  Their feelings about your partner (the father of your baby) and your age may also have an impact on their reaction to your pregnancy.

The best thing you can do now is to prepare for any and every possible reaction.  While many parents are understanding, there is always the possibility yours will react poorly, yell, or cry.  Try not to take any hurtful words personally.  Your parents have not had time to process the news, and may not know how to feel in the moment.

  1. Do your research and think about your options beforehand

Before approaching the conversation, try to gather as much information about unplanned pregnancy as you can: learn about your many unplanned pregnancy options, the effects of each, and what next steps you should take. Doing so will show your parents that you are handling this like an adult, and they will feel more inclined to treat you as such.  This can help encourage a productive conversation and help you avoid a negative response.

You may also want to have a purpose or goal in mind for this conversation.  Do you think you want to continue your pregnancy?  Are you going to your parents for help with how to do so?  Or, do you need their help making a decision?  Knowing what you need from your parents can help you steer the conversation.

  1. Talk with an experienced professional

After discovering you are pregnant, you will need to visit your doctor or a health clinic as soon as possible.  In doing this, you should also consider talking to someone who is an expert in an unplanned pregnancy (a counselor, doctor, nurse, or adoption agency).  Any of these professionals can help you understand your options and offer more information regarding an unplanned pregnancy.  They can also help you think through how to reveal the news.  An Adoptions With Love social worker can even be in the room with you while you tell your parents, if you wish.

  1. Choose the right time and place

It is important to find a good day, time, and place to deliver this news.  Pick somewhere that is free of distractions, at a time when your parents are not stressed or rushing out the door.  Your parents will need plenty of time to process their feelings and the news, and you should devote enough time to this conversation.

It may help to ask your parents, “When is a good time to talk?”  But make sure you consider your own feelings, too.  Choose a time that you are not overly exhausted from school, stressed about an upcoming exam, or rushing off to be somewhere yourself.

  1. Find the words and keep calm

Throughout the conversation, try to be as open and honest as possible with your parents.  Calmly remind them that you trust them and that you truly need their help.  If you can, tell them how far along you think you are, who you think the father may be, and who you have told so far.  In doing this, you will establish trust and a calm, open environment.  Your parents may respond without getting mad.  If your parents do get upset, they may just need a bit of time to calm down.

Frame your words so that your parents have some time to absorb the news.  Try to be direct and stay strong in how you tell them.  You may start by saying, “I have something difficult to tell you. I just found out I am pregnant,” then wait calmly for their reaction and be prepared for it.  Sometimes, it helps to think ahead about what they might do or say so that you can act appropriately.

  1. Tell them how you are feeling

Telling your parents your feelings can help them better understand the situation.  If you know they are disappointed, tell them: “I am really sorry, I know I disappointed you.” If you are scared and unsure what to do next, do not hesitate to say that out loud, too.  Putting your feelings into words is not an easy thing to do.  They may not come out perfectly or as you had planned, but they will be honest and true.  Your parents will see that, and will likely empathize with you.

  1. Listen to their opinions and advice, but remember, this is your choice

Your parents will likely have many complicated feelings and opinions about your pregnancy.  At first, they may only focus on the negative ones.  This does not mean they do not love you, it just means that they need to let this information settle in.  Try to put yourself in their shoes and listen closely to what they have to say.  Answer their questions the best that you can.  If they are quiet, ask them how they feel.

There is a chance your parents may try to pressure you into something you do not want to do; they may want to discuss abortion with you.  They might feel that raising your baby is the only choice. They may not know very much about adoption. In the end, remember that it is your body and your choice.  As an expectant mother, only you know what is right for you and your baby.

Though you may not believe it right now, difficult situations often bring people closer together. At Adoptions With Love, we have seen unexpected pregnancies strengthen bonds and love between families. We know you can do this.  If you need any more help or advice on how to tell your parents you are pregnant, please call us today at 1-800-722-7731 or download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy below.