Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

Birth Mothers’ Thoughts on Mother’s Day

birth mothers day

Mother’s Day is a day of honor and celebration, recognizing the endless love that mothers have and the countless sacrifices that they make for their children. For families in the adoption community, Mother’s Day could not be celebrated without also acknowledging one of the greatest maternal sacrifices of all.

Adoption is a selfless, courageous choice made by birth mothers – women who not only gave their children life, but also gave their children a life to look forward to through adoption.  Through their choice, many adoptive families have had the opportunity to grow.

That is why every Saturday before Mother’s Day, the second Saturday in May, is celebrated as Birth Mother’s Day. This is the day that many adoptive families will honor the women who helped make their families possible. While some in open adoptions may honor this special day, many birth mothers do not know about Birth Mother’s Day. Others will recognize the holiday silently. Some may even cope with feelings of sadness or loss around this time of year, and choose not to recognize the day at all.

As a non-profit adoption agency, Adoptions With Love facilitates a regular support group for birth mothers who have made the loving choice of adoption. In light of Mother’s Day and Birth Mother’s Day this month, we asked the group about their own adoption stories and feelings around this time of year. Here is what some of birth mothers had to say:

Have you experienced Mother’s Day previously? If so, how did you feel around the holiday?

Chloe: Yes, my daughter is three now. It’s a strange feeling. I remember thinking about her a lot every time I saw Mother’s Day ads for things. Knowing that you’re a mother, and that no one knows, is a weird thing. It’s like you’re waiting for someone to say, “Happy Mother’s Day” but you know it’s impossible for them to do so. I have conflicting emotions about someone saying it to me anyway. My daughter, and my experience with placing her, feels very private and personal. It’s almost strange to me when other people bring her up.

Brittney: Last year was technically my first Mother’s Day, but it was only about a month after my son was born, so my emotions were still all over the place. I think I was so in shock over what had happened that I didn’t really relate the holiday to myself. On that day, I did receive a nice text message from the adoptive parents thanking me again for what I had done for them, wishing me a happy Mother’s Day, and reminding me how I will always have a special place in my son’s life. That text made me feel good, knowing that they were thinking of me on that particular day.

I almost feel like this year is my first Mother’s Day, seeing that last year fell so close after the birth/adoption. I am in a completely different place than I was this time last year, and feel more comfortable with the day approaching. It’s still hard for me to relate to Mother’s Day since I don’t do all the normal motherly duties. With that being said, I feel like I almost take it as any other day but, celebrating my mom of course and thinking of my son a little extra. The day itself does not make me sad; it reminds of the place I hold in my son’s life and how we will always be a part of each other.

Kaelyn: This is will be my second Mother’s Day. Last year I was expecting it to be extremely difficult, and basically prepared myself for the worst. When the day came, it was just like any ordinary day and I was okay. Social media posts definitely made it the hardest and I did get down. Then I started getting texts and phone calls (including one from the adoptive family wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day). It definitely made me sad, but also very happy. No matter what holiday it is, there is always mixed emotions but at the end of the day I was happy and filled with joy especially because so many people went out of their way to acknowledge me.

What is your relationship with your child’s adoptive family?

Chloe: They send pictures and letters. Great letters – full of details I didn’t know they’d think to include. I love hearing about all the daily minutia of her life — what she’s eating, what her favorite toy or show or book is. Anything about things she says or does or little anecdotes that show her personality. I love everything they tell me about her. I asked for a shared Shutterfly account, and they’ve posted pictures there as well. They make my whole week!! I smile for days every time they post one. I also met them when my daughter was about six months old. I recently reached out again to ask for another get-together, and they graciously agreed.

Julia: The relationship is great and has really evolved. There are, of course, some formalities when we talk with each other, but they are very relaxed now. We communicate so often I feel strongly that when my daughter is able to understand who I am as a birth mother, it won’t be as difficult for her to process.

We went to the zoo recently and since we Skype frequently, she knew who I was and was able to run up and hug me when she saw me. I communicate mostly with her mother and she’s able to ask me specific questions that she may not know about raising an African American child. Her mother and I both have the same tattoo in the same place. We both have the same picture framed in our houses.

When it’s time for the pictures and updates that are mailed directly to Adoptions With Love, the adoptive parents go above and beyond what is it expected. They’ve also started to FaceTime me when my daughter is doing funny things. I truly feel that I will be able to see her grow up and have a real relationship with her.

Brittney: I have an amazing relationship with the adoptive parents. Throughout this past year, we have become closer than I ever imagined. We have created a special friendship and bond that I don’t think happens very often in this type of situation. I never thought my relationship was going to turn out like this, but now that is has, I don’t think any of us would want it any other way.

We talk more frequently than birth/adoptive families usually do, but at this point it’s so natural and we can make a great conversation out of anything and understand each other on multiple levels. They really want me to be a big part in my son’s life and enjoy sharing every milestone with me. I am honored to have such an open relationship with them, and to be able to know not only the big things about my son, but also the small things. Having this strong relationship with them has helped me deal with the situation in a better way than I expected. I am grateful for them, just as I know they are grateful for me and I hope more birth/adoptive families can create a relationship like ours in the future.

Adoption is an emotional journey, and can be especially at this time of year. When needed, who or where do you turn to for support?

Chloe: Honestly, it’s really, really hard for me to ask for help on anything. It’s especially hard on this subject because I lived through the hardest parts on my own, so anyone else having opinions on what I did, or what I should do now, sometimes feels like an invasion. There’s also the very real issue that people just don’t get it. It’s not their fault. I have people on my side who genuinely care and want to help and would bend over backwards to listen if I wanted to talk. But when I talk about it, while they are understanding, they don’t actually understand.

That’s why this birth moms group has been so amazing. It’s this whole group of women who literally know what you went through, and how weird the adoption process sometimes is, and how complicated your emotions get, and are on that same rollercoaster ride of emotions you are. And they truly understand, and don’t try to insert their opinions into your story. They don’t tell you what you should do or judge what you’ve done. They just let you share your life, and they share theirs, and there’s a mutual understanding. So they’re who I talk to mostly. About relationships, about our kids, about our kids’ families, and most of all our emotions on all those subjects.

Julia: I call the people that were with me when my daughter was born. Counseling helped a lot as well, just to have someone to talk to solely and specifically about adoption. I still e-mail my counselor occasionally just to say hi and tell her thanks for listening. My dogs were also there for support!

Brittney: When support is needed, I go to my mom. Also, attending the meetings at Adoptions With Love has been the best support— being able to be around girls that have dealt with the same situation puts your head in the right perspective, and the staff is also very supportive and understanding.

Do you have any advice for other birth mothers on coping with feelings this time of year?

Chloe: I think the most helpful thing I ever heard or said on the subject was that no matter what choice you make — whether you raise your child yourself or choose adoption — you still gave birth to them, and that makes you a mother. Being a birth mother doesn’t make you less of a mother than a woman who raises her own child, or less of a mother than a woman who adopts. You are all mothers, and being different kinds of mothers is okay.

Julia: Recognize the adoptive mother, text her, send her a card, do something. Also find something that will help keep your mind off Mother’s Day if you think it’s going to be a sad day. Plan a day with friends, or do an activity that will help ease your anxiety. If you can talk with the adoptive family, do that.

Also, recognize that adoption is not just about having a relationship with your child, it’s also about the parents as well. In the early years where the child is not able to understand exactly who you are as a birth parent, they are still able to recognize your relationship with the adoptive parent. The more positive that relationship is, the stronger your relationship will be when it’s time.

Brittney: The best advice I think I could give to other birth mothers is try to think of the positives on this day. I know for some it can be very emotional, but just think to yourself how you and the child will always share a special bond and be a part of each other. The day shouldn’t be about grieving your decision, but knowing you did what was right for the child and that even though you aren’t their mother figure, you are a special person to them in more ways than one.

Kaelyn: My advice is just to remember that, most importantly, it’s okay to have these feelings. For me, this year is my second Mother’s Day and I don’t have all the sad “what if” feelings anymore. It takes time and every person deals with things in their own way. When I was feeling down around this time last year, I asked for pictures of my daughter or just had a conversation with my adoptive mom asking if anything new has happened, how their weekend was… little things to put a smile on my face!

Birth Mother’s Day is the Saturday before Mother’s Day, created to recognize those who made the brave decision of adoption. Some birth parents, however, feel that they do not want to celebrate a separate holiday from other mothers. What are your thoughts/feelings on Birth Mother’s Day?

Chloe: I’m in both camps. I do think that birth mothers are mothers, and that we need to educate people and help them understand that we’re mothers even though we aren’t raising our children. But at the same time, having a Birth Mother’s Day is a great way to start the conversation and bring the subject to light.

I think that as mothers, we all think about our babies all the time. My daughter crosses my mind every single day. Sometimes as a quick passing reference, sometimes in deep thought. But she’s there somewhere every day. So I really wish that adoption and being a birth mother weren’t such taboo subjects, because it’s so much healthier and easier when we can talk about all the conflicting emotions that come with being birth moms.

Julia: I’ve heard about the holiday, though I’ve never celebrated it as it’s not recognized enough. I think that although my child isn’t living with me and I’m not actually raising her, it doesn’t make me less of a mother to be recognized on a separate day than others.

Brittney: I never knew there was a Birth Mother’s Day, and now knowing that there is, I prefer that day over Mother’s Day. I think it is a great way to recognize us and the decision we made. I like that it is separate from Mother’s Day because the way I look at it is, we are separate from the role our mother’s play and from the role the adoptive mother of our child plays.

Kaelyn: I had no idea Birth Mother’s Day was a day until this year. I believe it’s very important for all moms to celebrate regardless of being a birth mom, adoptive mom, etc. We are all mothers. Many people don’t recognize the sacrifice we make as birth mothers, so I definitely believe we deserve a day for us.

Adoption is not an easy decision, but rather, a sacrifice that requires a mother’s strength, bravery, and most of all, love. If this is your first Mother’s Day since placing your baby for adoption, you may be experiencing an array of different emotions. If you need someone to talk to, you can always call an Adoptions With Love counselor toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

*For the purpose of anonymity, all names have been changed


State-by-State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Wyoming

Are you pregnant and considering adoption?  Discovering an unplanned pregnancy is an emotional, overwhelming time for many young women.  Right now, you may not know where you can go for help, who to call for support, or how to start the adoption process.  Know that you are not alone.  If you are an expectant mother in Wyoming, Adoptions With Love is here for you.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.  For over 30 years, we have been building relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Wyoming, know that you can always contact us.  We partner with experienced counselors and trusted Wyoming adoption attorneys who can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design a plan that is tailored to your needs.

Before starting your adoption plan, it is important to do your research.  There are specific steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption in Wyoming.  As a reputable adoption agency serving Wyoming for over 30 years, Adoptions With Love can guide you through this journey.  We are here to listen and answer questions, educate you on the adoption process, and ensure you are comfortable with each decision made along the way.  To help get you started, we have created this short guide to show you some of the steps to making an adoption plan in the state of Wyoming.

1. Choose an adoption agency that serves Wyoming.

Your first step in making an adoption plan will be to choose the right adoption support to guide you through this unexpected journey.  There are many adoption professionals that work in the state of Wyoming, but it is important to find someone that you truly trust, someone that will listen to your wishes and help you design an adoption plan that meets your expectations.  You should also choose an adoption agency that is willing to discuss all of your options with you and that will respect any choice you make for your child.  Most of all, select an agency that is available 24/7, that will stand by your side not only as you prepare for the adoption, but also after the placement and throughout your life.

2. Meet with a qualified adoption counselor at your agency of choice.

Once you choose an adoption agency, you will work directly with one of its trained staff members on creating an adoption plan.  Meeting with this licensed, compassionate adoption social worker is beneficial for several reasons.  On one hand, these meetings will give you the opportunity to think about all of your options, learn about all of your birth mother rights, and understand exactly what to expect before, during, and after an adoption takes place.  Your adoption counselor will also give you the choice to design a custom adoption plan: in an open adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you can choose between an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption plan.  You can also select the family of your child if you wish.

3. Choose an adoptive family.

As an expectant/birth parent in Wyoming, you will be given the opportunity to choose an adoptive family for your baby.  Adoptions With Love will listen to your wishes and help you think about the perfect family for your child.  Then, we will present you detailed photo albums, personal profiles, and letters from the waiting families that best meet your desires.  Once you choose an adoptive family, you can speak to them through email, phone, or meet them in-person.  This is completely up to you.

No matter which family you choose, rest assured you will be placing your baby in a loving, safe and stable home.  In Wyoming, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened by a licensed adoption agency.  All families at Adoptions With Love have gone through an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure they are ready to raise a child.

4. Understand the adoption laws in Wyoming.

Adoption laws and regulations vary state to state.  It is essential to select an adoption agency who works with knowledgeable attorneys trained in the adoption laws of Wyoming.

In Wyoming, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until after the baby is born.  This law is designed to give expectant/birth parents time to think about their decision, and ensure that they are one-hundred percent confident in their choice.  Once the adoption documents are signed, birth parents cannot change their minds.

There are many other laws about the financial aid you may receive, your rights and responsibilities as an expectant/birth mother, as well as the rights of your baby’s biological father.  For this reason, it is crucial to work with an adoption agency that has attorneys specifically trained in your state.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, our adoption attorneys in Wyoming can help guide you through the legal process.  There is never any charge for our attorneys, counselors, or expectant/birth mother services at our agency.  In fact, we can help you with pregnancy-related expenses such as rent payments, transportation, utility bills, and maternity clothing.

5. Make a Post-Placement Plan

Adoption is a lifelong journey; it does not end with the placement of your child and it does not need to end your relationship with your child.  If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to create a plan for ongoing, open contact with your child’s adoptive family.  You can do this through an open adoption or semi-open adoption plan.  If you are not ready to keep in touch with your child and his or her adoptive family, you may also choose to make a closed adoption plan.  Our trained social workers will help you as you consider all of your options for post-adoption contact with your child, his or her adoptive family, as well as our agency professionals.

Adoption is an emotional journey.  If you choose adoption, we encourage you to pursue ongoing counseling and support services.  At Adoptions With Love, you can receive confidential, post-placement counseling services at no cost.  We can help you navigate emotions, open communication, and a relationship with your child after the adoption takes place.  We will always be here for you.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have just given birth to your baby, you can always contact us.  Call toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 for more information on adoption in Wyoming.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


State by State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Texas

If you are pregnant and considering adoption, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available to you.  You know that you want to provide the best possible home for your child, but simply do not know where to begin.  Perhaps the most important thing to know as an expectant mother in Texas is that you do not have to walk this journey alone.  There are supportive, knowledgeable adoption professionals in Texas who can help you research all your unplanned pregnancy options and guide you in making an adoption plan for your baby.

The decision to place your baby for adoption is ultimately your choice to make.  It is one of the most loving and long-term decisions you can make for your child, and should always be well-informed.  Before choosing to make an adoption plan, it is important to do your research.  Ask questions.  Prepare.  Learn about the steps you need to take to place your baby for adoption in Texas.  As a licensed adoption agency serving Texas, Adoptions With Love can help.  We are here to listen and answer questions, educate you on adoption in Texas, and help you make the most positive, informed decision for you and your baby.  Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, we extend our support to you.

For over 30 years, Adoptions With Love has been building relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Texas, know that you can always contact us.  We partner with experienced counselors, trusted Texas adoption agencies and attorneys that can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design a plan that is tailored to your needs.

To help guide your adoption journey, here are the steps you must take to place your baby for adoption in Texas:

1. Choose and Meet with an Adoption Agency You Trust

Every adoption journey starts by choosing the right professional support to guide you through the process.  There are hundreds of adoption professionals in Texas who can help you, but it is important to find an agency that you trust, one that is reputable and will listen to your needs.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss your options with you, adoption and beyond, and that will respect any choice you make.  The right adoption agency will stand by your side throughout the entire adoption experience – as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and throughout your life in the years ahead.  Select an adoption agency that will be accessible to you any time of day, any day of the week, to answer your questions and help you design the perfect adoption plan.

2. Decide on the Adoption Plan that is Right for You

If you choose to work with an open adoption agency serving Texas, you will have complete say in your adoption plan, from choosing an adoptive family to deciding the amount of contact you want with your child’s family over the years.  At Adoptions With love, we can help you personally design the type of adoption plan that fits your wants and needs: you can choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan.  An adoption counselor will explain each option to you and, if you would like, will help you create an adoption plan that will last for years to come.  You can also select and meet an adoptive family for your baby, if you wish.

3. Select a Loving Adoptive Family

After creating your adoption plan, you will have the option to choose an adoptive family to raise your child.  If you would like to make this loving choice, your open adoption agency can share with you a selection of prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles.  These family profiles, consisting of letters and photos, will help you get to know each waiting family and choose the best match for your baby.  At Adoptions With Love, we will listen carefully to your wishes and show you the families that can meet all you envision for your child.

No matter which adoptive family you choose, know that your child will be safe and secure.  All potential adoptive families must be thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  This includes a home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure each family is fit to raise a child.  Adoption agencies such as Adoptions With Love are here to make sure your baby is placed in a loving, safe, and stable home.

4. Understand the Adoption Laws in Texas

Adoption laws and statutes vary state to state.  In Texas, no mother can sign legal adoption documents until at least 48 hours after the baby is born.  This gives birth mothers a chance to spend time with their baby and to think about their choice.  Once an adoption is finalized in Texas, you cannot change your mind.  For this reason, we encourage you to take time before making this decision.  Adoption is a lifelong choice, and we want you to be comfortable and confident that it is the best one for you and your child.

In making an adoption plan, it is important to find an adoption agency that is knowledgeable, experienced, and specifically trained in the laws of your area.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with our attorney partners who are experts in Texas adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal adoption process.

Adoptions With Love’s legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, there is never a cost for expectant or birth parent services at our agency.  We can provide financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and up to six weeks after your baby’s adoption, such as:

  • Complete counseling
  • Help designing your adoption plan
  • Assistance finding quality medical care
  • Housing assistance 
  • Financial assistance
  • Legal assistance

5. Pursue Ongoing Adoption Support

Adoption is a lifelong journey full of new, sensitive emotions and relationships.  Adoptions With Love can help you navigate these feelings and manage any adoption relationships or communication for years to come.  As part of your post-adoption plan, we offer free ongoing, confidential counseling services.  We can also help you create a post-adoption contract with the adoptive family, and mediate any contact you wish to have with his or her family down the road.

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know how brave you are for making this selfless choice.  Know that we are always here for you.  Whether you are pregnant or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start your adoption in Texas.  Call us at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption: Which is Right for You?

Unplanned pregnancy often brings about a whirlwind of emotions and many big decisions that follow.  If you are here, you may have already made the courageous choice to place your baby for adoption.  Or perhaps you are still considering adoption as an option for you and your baby.  Before you make a decision, however, you first want to understand the difference between an open adoption and closed adoption plan.  You want to know which type of adoption plan is right for you and your child.

The open vs. closed adoption conversation is an important one to have with your adoption counselor.  On one hand, you can talk about your situation, your hopes, and your needs in a safe and confidential environment.  Then together, you can talk about the best possible options for ongoing communication.  Your adoption counselor should listen to you closely and guide you in choosing the type of relationship you wish to have with your child and his or her adoptive family long-term.  If you know you want to be a part of your child’s life, but are not emotionally prepared at the moment, your adoption counselor can help you design an adoption plan that you are comfortable with at every step of the way.

Closed Adoption:

A closed adoption plan means that there is no contact between the birth and adoptive families after an adoption takes place.  In many cases, no contact takes place prior to the adoption, either.  In a closed adoption, no identifying information about either family is revealed.  Only non-identifying information, such as the birth parents’ ages, medical histories, and reasons for adoption, is shared before the placement is finalized.  Depending on local law, these non-identifying records may become available to the adopted child when he or she reaches 21 years old.  However, the process and extent of this access can be limited and will vary state to state.

Adoption is undoubtedly an emotional, sensitive experience.  At Adoptions With Love, we understand that many expectant/birth parents are not ready to choose an adoptive family for their baby or meet prospective parents in person.  We understand that these connections may be too overwhelming at the time.  For this reason, we extend the option of ‘closed adoption’ plans.  Here, your closed adoption plan will be placed in the hands of an experienced, trustworthy, and licensed adoption professional.

If you choose to make a closed adoption plan at Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to adjust your plan later down the road.  Right now, you may feel you do not want to receive letters or pictures from your child’s adoptive family.  In a year or two, however, you may want to check in to see how your child has grown.  Through our letter and picture program, we will keep these updates of your child on file, so that you can access them if and when you are ready.

Closed adoption was once the norm.  In the past, the majority of adopted children did not know who their birth parents were or what they looked like.  Adoptees did not have many clues into their backgrounds, culture, or medical histories, and could not contact their birth parents for answers.  There were a lot of unknowns in adoption and in the identities of many adoptees.

Today, only about 5 percent of adoptions are completely closed.  This is because many birth parents want their children to have access to important, self-identifying information.  In many cases, birth parents also want to remain a part of their child’s life in some way.  About 90 percent of expectant/birth mothers considering adoption desire some level of contact with their child’s adoptive family.

Open Adoption:

There is no single, universal definition of open adoption.  This is because “open adoption” means something different to everyone touched by it.  For some expectant/birth parents, open adoption may mean selecting an adoptive family for their child and speaking with them before the adoption takes place.  Many women who have established an open relationship with the adoptive family will also invite them to be at the hospital or in the birthing room.  On the other hand, some birth parents will desire an open adoption plan that involves more ongoing communication over the years.  Sometimes this contact between families will involve phone calls or emails, texting or Skype.  Sometimes it will involve letters through an adoption agency.  Now and then, it can mean in-person visits.

Generally speaking, there are a few main components that describe an open adoption plan:

  • An exchange of identifying information (such as last names, phone numbers, and email addresses) between families
  • Pre-placement contact with an adoptive family. If you would like to meet the adoptive family in person, they will travel to you, wherever you are, before your baby is born.
  • Post-placement contact arrangements for ongoing communication. Open adoption agreements outline the type of communication you are comfortable with (phone calls, letters, emails, visits), as well as how much communication you desire (regularly, every month, once a year).

There is no right or wrong way to make an adoption plan.  At Adoptions With Love, YOU can decide how open or closed your adoption plan will be.  You may choose to get together with the adoptive family every year.  Or, you may decide to exchange letters and pictures with the adoptive family, but never meet in person.  Perhaps you would only like the adoptive family to reach you through a private, anonymous email account.  Maybe you desire open, ongoing communication, but wish to keep the adoption relationship off social media.  All this can be arranged in an open or semi-open plan.

Today, about 55 percent of adoptions are completely open and about 40 percent are semi-open.  Ultimately, the plan you choose will come down to two considerations: your own individual wants and needs as a birth parent, and the very best interests of your child.  Which adoption plan will you be most comfortable with down the road?  Which plan will be most beneficial for your child as he or she grows?

Many expectant/birth parents find great peace of mind in open adoption arrangements.  If you choose to have some level of ongoing contact with the adoptive family, you will have the comfort of knowing your child is loved and safe.  Through letters and pictures, you will constantly be reminded of the wonderful life you chose for your baby.  Your child will also benefit.  By having contact with you, your child will have a better sense of who he or she is.  Your child will not have to carry burning questions about where he or she came from, or fantasize about who you are.

Open vs. closed adoption, there is no one-size-fits-all plan.  At Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to define your adoption plan, whether open or closed, and adjust it as the years go on.  If you desire to make an open adoption plan with us, rest assured that all the waiting families at Adoptions With Love are open to some “openness” with the birth family.

To learn more about making an adoption plan, you may call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.  We are available 24/7 to answer your call.  If you would like more information about open vs. closed adoption, please download our free Guide to Open Adoption.


My Adoption Journey Does Not Define Me; It Inspires Me [Erica’s Story]

post-adoption birthmother storyUnplanned pregnancy can be one of the most momentous experiences of a young woman’s life.  It is an emotional, often overwhelming event for all those who are touched by it.  In the same token, the choice to place your baby for adoption is a life-altering one.  Adoption is the beginning of a lifelong journey, full of both love and loss, and can change a young woman’s life forever.  But this does not mean she has to be defined by it.  Adoption and unplanned pregnancy do not have to define a person, but they can inspire a person.  Here is one birth mother’s story about finding herself – and positively defining herself – after her son’s adoption.

A few months prior to getting pregnant, I was in a toxic relationship with a different man… someone I should have never even gotten involved with in the first place.  He was older, more experienced, had a past with addiction, did not value life the same way I did, lacked motivation and self-confidence, and held onto previous relationships (literally bringing them into the next one with him).  He addressed to me from the start that he was not looking for anything serious and felt he was not a good guy for me.  I swept all the red flags under the rug, and was blinded by his sense of humor and our effortless friendship that I let myself fall… and I let myself fall hard.  All the red flags aside, we had a special connection and chemistry that I never had with someone before which is why I continued to spend every waking minute with him.

Long story short, I found out that he was still seeing the woman from his past relationship.  I could not believe it.  I ended all things right there on the spot and we never spoke again.  My heart ached and I could not understand how someone I had fallen in love with did not reciprocate the same feelings for me; not only that, how could someone I loved have no problem disrespecting and hurting me so much.

A few months went by and I was still heart broken.  A night out lead to me running into an ex-boyfriend from college and I am sure you know the rest.  Fast forward to 6 months after my run-in, and I was in the hospital with a nurse telling me the pain in my back was due to the fact that I was 6 months pregnant.

Talk about shock. I was devastated and confused.  Here I was pregnant with my college ex boyfriend’s child, while still in love with a man who never even gave me his heart.

I shared the news of my pregnancy immediately after I found out with my college ex-boyfriend. Our relationship back in the day ended on a rough patch, too (shocking, I know… *eye roll*).  He was NOT the guy I pictured in my dreams of raising a family and not the guy in my dreams being a role model for my children as a father, but also a loving husband.  All that aside, I still felt he had every right to know about and be involved in my pregnancy as I did.  This was his child, too.

He told me he wanted no role in this pregnancy or raising a baby, and took it even further to say that this baby was not his.  If he wanted to play that game I had no problem looking him in the eye and saying “BYE” forever.

I was not going to let his words beat me down further or be any sort of distraction, because I had a baby I needed to look out for.  He proved to me, again, that he is not the man I thought he was.  His foolish comments and cowardice actually made it easier for me to drop him behind and continue on this journey alone– figuring out how I would give my son the best life possible.

I think one of the hardest parts of my pregnancy was feeling so alone.  Knowing I was pregnant by a man I had no feelings for, while the guy I actually loved and cared about had no idea what I was going through and was about to go through.  It drove me insane.  THEN on top of that WHY was I still having feelings for such a low life loser when my life was in complete shambles?!

It took me to such a low place of insecurity and self-hate.  I hated the way I looked, hated the way I felt, and felt like such a terrible person that I was pregnant even in the first place.  I spent the remainder of my pregnancy beating myself up and believing that I was not worthy of any type of love.  I even avoided seeing my friends and family because I was so disgusted with myself and did not want any kind of attention.

I would wake up (if I even slept through the night) throw on a frumpy dress, go to work and sit at my desk while my mind wandered all day into outer space.  I pretended to work while texting with my mom all day to keep my sanity.  I could not even fathom the possibility I could potentially have an even bigger broken heart after my son would be born.  Through my self-hate and insecurities, the only thing I felt so strongly about was the love I already had for my son and the life I wanted to give him.  I fell in love with the couple who were going to be his parents, and I trusted the relationship and the open adoption plan we agreed on.  I felt so content with my son’s plan and that God was leading this relationship in the right direction.

I’m embarrassed to admit the majority of my fears were internal… fears for myself and not my son; that I would never be loved, and that I would never find someone who would respect and love me back.

After my son was born I felt the most love I had ever felt in my life. The second I held him up to my chest I could feel this was the biggest gift of love God has ever given me.  I was still going to go through with my adoption plan, because although I could not explain it, it felt right. I felt like all those who had come into my life through my pregnancy (new friends, old friends, close family, distant family, my son’s adoptive parents, doctors, nurses, and social workers) God was telling me Erica, this is the kind of love you deserve, and this is the kind of love I want to be in your life.

By no means was I down a dark path before getting pregnant, but I accepted being treated a certain way, and I accepted just existing rather than fully living to my greatest potential.

I did not demand the best things possible in my life.  I was okay with going to work every day doing something I did not love and keeping a job that did not bring out the best qualities in me.  I was okay with living in a part of the city that did not fit my needs.  I accepted relationships that did not demand communication, loyalty, respect, and love.

When my son was born my life completely changed (as you can imagine).  I got a taste of the sweet life and the life I wanted for my future.  I was able to take a step back and look at my life in a way I would never have been able to if I had not gone through this experience.  It took me living through a full year of my son’s life, where I still only existed and did not fully live up to my potential, to make a change.  I knew deep down what I deserved but was fighting with myself on when it would be appropriate to start demanding it.

The month my son turned one I finally felt ready.  I woke up one morning and decided I had made it through the first year of his life which meant I could do anything!  It was MY time to make changes.  I realized I was never truly living; I was not even living before my pregnancy, and it took this experience to wake me up and show me the kind of life I need and want to live.

I could not keep going to my God-awful desk job to sit and be miserable, when I could go into a career where I would instead make a difference in the world.  I had just gone through the most challenging experience of my life and believed I went through all of it to come to a realization as to what my purpose in life is.

I believe I am meant to be a part of adoption in some capacity.  I cannot say enough about the nurses I dealt with through my pregnancy and the imprint they left on my heart.  My adoption journey opened my eyes in more ways than one.  It made me want to be to someone else who the nurses and hospital staff were to me during the most vulnerable time of my life.

I built up the courage to quit my full time job and take every prerequisite needed to apply to nursing school.  I had only three months to take 6 classes, two labs, and apply to the program, in order to start the following spring.  I started nannying, bar tending, blogging, dog walking, dog sitting; doing ANY job I could get my hands on to still pay my bills while I worked towards this new life; a life after adoption.

A few weeks ago all my hard work paid off when I got an email from admissions.  I was only able to read the first word in the first sentence, “Congratulations”, before I fell to my knees in thanks.

During these past two years I have learned so much about myself.  I know the kind of life I want to live and the legacy I want to leave behind as an example for my son and future children.  It is an amazing feeling to see things fall in place all because I decided to follow my heart, stop just existing and start demanding greatness in all aspects of my life.

Through the amazing open relationship I have with my son and his parents, my post-adoption support network, all the positive, likeminded people I have surrounded myself with, and the goals I have for my future, I am able to overcome my self-doubt and finally start living.

I am not defined by getting pregnant, I am not defined by my adoption story, I am not defined by my past relationships, and I am not defined by my post-baby body.  I am defined by my heart and the ability I have to love, and let me tell you, that is my greatest and strongest quality.

 

This is a True Birthmother Account Written by Erica.


Navigating Social Media Post-Adoption: Tips for Birth Parents

Social has had a profound and powerful impact on adoption relationships over the years.  Today, social media offers birth parents and adoptive families an easily accessible avenue for sharing information. Today, you can receive real-time updates from your child’s adoptive family, view pictures of your child as he or she grows, and chat with your child at the click of a button. You can stay connected even when far away.

This type of accessibility and contact was not available to birth parents years ago. In the past, adoptions were primarily closed. Birth parents could not keep in touch with their child’s adoptive family over the years. They did not receive letters or photos to give them some peace of mind. They did not even have the option to choose an adoptive family or meet them in person.

Today, over 95 percent of adoptions are open plans, meaning that contact between the adoption triad exists in some shape or form. Birth parents can now keep contact with their child’s adoptive family through letters and pictures, phone conversations and texting, email and Skype, Facebook and other social media platforms.

As an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love has helped birth parents all over the country maintain connections with their child and their child’s adoptive family over the years. We can also help you to create and navigate an open adoption plan.

Whether you are in the midst of making an adoption plan or have already placed your baby with an adoptive family, it is never too early or too late to start thinking about social media: What role will it play in your adoption plan? Will you be in contact with your child’s family online? If not, how will you react if your biological child contacts you on Facebook?

If you are still considering open adoption or are ready to make an adoption plan, it is first important to contact your adoption counselor. Together, create a pre- and post-adoption plan for social media use and decide how you would like to be contacted by your child’s adoptive family, and how you would like to be able to contact your child. Do you see Facebook in that plan, or would you prefer that it be left out? Having a plan and specific boundaries regarding social media will be an important part of your open adoption agreement. You may consider making this adoption plan with your child’s adoptive parents, too.

Be sure to share this plan with your child’s birth father, as well as other friends and family members who have been touched by your adoption in some way. Make them aware of the boundaries you have established as well as how you prefer them to act on social media when it comes to adoption. For example, do you want your parents adding your child’s adoptive family on Facebook? Do you want friends commenting about your adoption journey? Think about what you are comfortable with being shared on social media by others.

If you have already placed your child for adoption, here are eight tips on how to use social media appropriately in an open or semi-open adoption.

Friending the Adoptive Family:

  • As part of your post-adoption arrangement, set clear boundaries about who you will and will not accept requests from on Facebook and other social media platforms. If an extended adoptive family member tries to contact you (such as your child’s grandmother), have a plan for how you will react.
  • If you receive a friend request from your child, contact your adoption counselor before responding. If you desire contact with your child, you will want to first ensure that the adoptive parents are comfortable with this change. An adoption counselor can help you get in touch with your child’s adoptive family, as well as help you explore more traditional formats of open communication, such as private emails.

Open Adoption Communication on Social Media:

  • No matter your privacy settings, just about everything on the web is public. If you have an open adoption plan and are consistently sharing information and photos of your child, you may consider bringing it to a different platform. Create a separate, private email account designed just for adoption communication. Consider setting up a private Facebook group or password-protected website to share pictures, updates, and milestones between yours and the adoptive family. By doing so, you will be able to share sensitive, special adoption information with a specific group of trusted people.

Posting on Social Media:

  • Remember that anything you share on social media will live on in the Internet. Assume that everything you post is public. If your child has not already, there is always the possibility that he or she will stumble upon your social profile and photos. He or she may read statuses you posted while pregnant or sensitive information you once shared about your adoption plans. Scan your profile to ensure that everything you want to be seen is seen, and everything you want private is hidden or removed.
  • Consider your current privacy settings on each social media platform. Who can view your photos? Who can read what you post? Who has access to your profile, and can they access to information about your adoption, too? Adjust your privacy settings to ensure that everything meant to be private is kept as so.
  • As you receive pictures or get to know your child as he or she grows, you may feel tempted to share these updates on your Facebook wall or tag family and friends. Before doing so, remember that anything you post on Facebook is not only viewable, but also shareable by friends. If you share an update of your child, others could end up sharing it too. Keep your child’s best interests at heart and post only what you think your child and his or her adoptive family would be comfortable sharing. Do not share any identifying information (such as photos) about your child or the adoptive family.
  • Your friends are constantly posting, posting, posting on social media. If you have shared any information about your child or adoption plan with friends, even in person, there is always the chance it will come back to your social page. They may contact you via Facebook with questions and publicly reveal any identifying information you have shared. Monitor what your friends post if it pertains to your adoption.
  • Adoption relationships are sensitive, so it is important not criticize your child’s adoptive family on social media. Be respectful of their profiles, their posts, and their parenting decisions. Do not channel your frustrations through Facebook posts if it at all relates to your child and his or her adoption.

If you are unsure how to move forward with online communication or have questions about social media and open adoption, please call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. For more advice about using social media pre and post adoption, please download our free eBook below.

adoption and social media


State-by-State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Georgia

Are you considering adoption for your baby?  Adoption is one of the most loving decisions you can make for your child.  It is also one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make.  At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know that you do not have to make this decision alone.  You do not have to walk this journey alone.  We are here to answer your questions, to educate you on adoption in Georgia, and to help you make the most positive, informed choice for you and your baby.  Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, we extend our support to you.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.  For over 30 years, we have been building life-long relationships with young women like you.  For the last three decades, Adoptions With Love has also been building relationships with expert adoption counselors licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Georgia, know that you can always contact us.  Our trusted Georgia adoption agency partner and attorney can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs.

To get you started, here are four steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption in Georgia.

1. Choose and meet with an adoption agency that you trust.

Choosing the right agency support is crucial to your adoption journey.  There are so many adoption professionals out there today that it can be hard to know if you are making the right choice.  We recommend, above all, that you find an adoption agency you can trust.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss all your options with you, listen to your needs, and respect any decision you make.

Your adoption agency should be available every hour of the day and every step of the way, offering the support you deserve.  Choose an adoption agency with expert, compassionate counselors who can meet with you regularly (at your convenience) to guide you through this unexpected journey.

2. Understand the adoption laws in Georgia.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Georgia, no mother can sign legal adoption documents until at least 24 hours after the baby is born.  This gives birth mothers a chance to meet their baby and additional time to think about their choice.  A birth father is allowed to sign legal papers prior to the baby’s birth.  At Adoptions With Love, we encourage you to take time to consider all of your options.  Adoption is a lifelong decision, and we want you to be comfortable and confident that the decision you make is the best one for your child.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, it is important that you also take time to understand the adoption process in your area.  An experienced agency can help with this.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with knowledgeable adoption attorneys who are specifically trained in Georgia adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal process.

Rest assured that our legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, there is never any cost for expectant or birth parent services at our agency.  Georgia law allows licensed adoption agencies to provide financial assistance for any pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and after your baby’s adoption, such as:

  • Complete counseling
  • Help designing your adoption plan
  • Assistance finding quality medical care
  • Housing assistance 
  • Financial assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Ongoing Contact

3. Select a loving adoptive family.

As an expectant/birth parent in Georgia, you will be given the option to choose a family for your baby.  This choice is yours to make.  Adoptions With Love will listen to your wants and needs to understand what qualities you are looking for in an adoptive family.  We will then show you several waiting families who may be a match for your child.

All of the families at Adoptions With Love have written letters and put together photo albums so that you can get to know them.  You can take as much time as you need in looking through these albums to find the perfect adoptive family.  If you would like, you can also meet them in person.

In Georgia, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  At Adoptions With Love, we especially want to ensure your baby is placed in a loving family and stable home.  All our families, therefore, have gone through an extensive home study process and completed a series of background checks to ensure they are ready to raise a child.

4. Create a post-adoption plan.

Adoption is a lifelong experience.  It does not end after your child has been placed, and it surely does not have to end your relationship with your child.  If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to design an open adoption plan.  This means that you can keep in touch with your child’s adoptive family and your child as the years go on.  We will establish this plan for contact in a post-adoption agreement and can facilitate any communication with your child and his or her family down the road.  If you are not comfortable with openness, you can always choose a semi-open or closed adoption plan.  Our trained counselors will help you as you explore all the potential options for post-adoption contact.

Because adoption is lifelong decision, we want you to know that we will also always be here for you – to help you navigate emotions or if you simply want to talk.  We encourage you to pursue our ongoing counseling and support services after your baby is placed.  These services are 100% confidential and available at no cost to you.

Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, know that it is never too late to make an adoption plan.  Contact us today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Georgia.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


Talking the Truth: Erica on Talking to Her Child About His Adoption Story

adoption story

 

In light of National Adoption Month, one birth mother contemplates the day her son will come to her and ask about his adoption story.  She wonders how she will stir up the strength to explain to him her choice.  What will she say?  She trusts that the truth will guide her.  She trusts that honesty will be the key to giving her son what he needs.  This is what Erica believes.

I often think of the day Aiden* comes to me and wants to hear his story…  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to choose adoption for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  Why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.

I have had thousands of conversations with my mom asking for advice to prepare for this day, and she always says the same thing.

“You will tell him the truth. Trust yourself that will know the right thing to say.”

The difference from me and probably a lot of other people is that I want/need to know

E V E R Y T H I N G.  I always need all the details to feel like I have a solid understanding of my surroundings in life.  Part of my adjustment after this adoption is that for one of the first times in my life I actually do not know everything.  It has been a process for me; the biggest lesson I have been learning throughout this journey is how to accept the unknown and trust more in God’s plan than in my own.

A perfect example of my ‘sometimes’ unnecessary need to know everything is when my little brother comes back up north for the holidays, or visits for a long weekend and I bombard him with questions.

“How’s work?”

“Have you made any good friends at work?”

“Cool… What are their names?”

“You guys ever hang on the weekends?”

“Are you eating enough?”

“Okay good, but what do you make for dinner?”

“I don’t know- Erica!  Things are good. I’m good, and I’m eating. Why do you ask so many questions?”

That is a conversation I have had a million times with both my brothers.  Well, the truth is, I ask so many questions because I care.  I care so much and need to know that all the people I love are okay and doing well; I need to know that everyone is happy and if they are not then I am going to do whatever little, or big thing I can to change that.

With even an open adoption it is tough… there is SO much unknown.  Aside from the little things like,

“What are Aiden’s favorite foods?”

“What was his face like when he tried a lemon?”

“Does he like to sleep more on his back, or his belly?”

“Who are Aiden’s friends at daycare?”

“Is he towering over all the other little kids his age?”

…(clearly I can go on and on)

However, the biggest unknowns are in my future.  When my day ends and I am alone in my own thoughts and when all starts to settle down around me– this is when the unknowns of the future start to flood my head.

The biggest strength in myself I have come to find on my journey of this adoption has been my ability to take a step back and trust; to be honest and trust myself that maybe I do not always know all the little details, but I do know the bigger picture.  To trust that just like with my little brother, God is working his plan on all our lives and keeping Aiden happy, healthy, and in a good place– exactly where I always have known he is and exactly where I always know he will be.

I have nothing but the purest form of love for Aiden.  I know in our future there will be some difficult conversations and there will be some difficult questions he will ask me.

I want Aiden to always be happy.  I never want him to hurt and I, ESPECIALLY, do not want to be the reason he ever hurts.

When the day comes and Aiden wants to hear his story.  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to make an adoption plan for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  When he wants to know why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.  If he wants/needs to know E V E R Y T H I N G.  If he needs all the details in order to feel like he has a solid understanding of all his surroundings in life…  I trust myself that I will know exactly what to say, and that I will tell him the truth.


This National Adoption Month, We’re Celebrating You

November is often thought of as a time of thanks. It is a time in which many of us take a step back and consider all that we are grateful for in life – friendships, family, the warmth of a loving home. In all our gratitude, in all our indulgences, we become aware of the things in life that matter most to us.

Just this year, Adoptions With Love celebrated our 30th anniversary as a licensed, Massachusetts adoption agency. This November, we are celebrating another big thirty: 30 days of love, gratitude, and adoption awareness. For those who do not know, November is also National Adoption Awareness Month.

The history of National Adoption Month started over two decades ago and continues to evolve each year. This year, National Adoption Month is all about family, permanency, and lifelong relationships. In fact, the Children’s Bureau named this year’s theme, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.” Throughout the month of November, communities, organizations, and individuals around the country will be celebrating adoption as a positive way to build permanent families for children. They will be focusing on the value of lifelong homes for children and youth nationwide – especially those in foster care who are still waiting for a forever family. Making a private adoption plan is one way to prevent children from entering foster care.

On the first day of November, we at Adoptions With Love have some particular thoughts resonating in our minds and hearts. We are thinking of all the courageous young women and men who have come to us over the last three decades to make an adoption plan for their child. We are thinking of all the incredible families built through adoption. We are also thinking of all the fervent adopted children who were placed through our agency, from thirty years ago to yesterday. Because November is a time of gratitude, we want to take a moment to thank all of you – all who have come to Adoptions With Love – for choosing adoption as a positive option for your family.

If you are a birth parent, we thank you for being brave. We thank you for being selfless and for finding the power to make such a loving and thoughtful choice. We acknowledge that your decision was made with overwhelming love, that you gave your child a life beyond what you felt you could provide. Making an adoption plan for your child is not easy. It is a deep sacrifice that very few can understand. There are so many fears and emotions that can arise during the adoption process. We know that it takes great strength for a loving parent like you to overcome them. This strength is truly incomparable, and it amazes us every single day. We thank you for putting your trust in us. We are honored to be a part of your adoption journey. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptive parent, we thank you for being open-minded and open-hearted. There is no doubt that adoption is a challenging process, and we thank you for being such a devoted and compassionate support. We thank you for providing such a loving, stable and secure life for your child. We celebrate you for taking pride in your child’s adoption story and for empathizing with the selfless decision your child’s birth parents made. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptee, we especially celebrate you. We thank you for filling our hearts and the hearts of your family members. We thank you for sharing your stories with us over the years and for spreading awareness on adoption. We know that adoption has impacted your life and identity in many ways. We want you to know that you can always reach out to us, whether to chat or to learn about our search and reunion program.

If you are considering adoption for your baby, we thank you for exploring your options and for thinking of your child’s best interest. Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you. It is never too late to make an adoption plan.

If you are a waiting family hoping to grow your family through adoption, we thank you for your perseverance. Your determination and devotion are truly admirable as you wait for your time to enjoy all that goes with being a parent. We are excited to see what is in store for your family and are always here to help you through the adoption process.

Let us celebrate these 30 days of love together.

This November, we invite you to celebrate adoption and all those who have been touched by adoption in some way. We ask you to celebrate the families who were created through this choice as well as honor the women who found the courage to make this inspirational choice. We ask you to embrace the love inherent in each aspect of adoption. We invite you to celebrate all the lifelong connections that have been made through open adoption.

National Adoption Awareness Month is a time to celebrate adoption as well as educate others on the adoption journey. It is about increasing awareness on the positive aspects of adoption. This month, we ask you to join us by sharing your own experience. We invite you to share your thoughts and stories in efforts to help others see the benefits of the adoption.

If you would like more information on National Adoption Awareness Month or how you can get involved, contact us directly at 1-800-722-7731, text us at 617-777-0072, or email our team at info@awlonline.org.

adoption awareness month 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

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