On June 6, 2001, I delivered me and my husband’s first child, Will. As I experienced the pregnancy and labor, I was constantly thinking of my experiences with AWL almost nine years earlier when I surrendered my baby girl, J., for adoption.
I truly believe that had it not been for the people I met and the way you run your business, I would not have been able to move on with my life as I did.
I came home nine years ago to just my dog, and now I come home to my family. Ironically, when we started trying to get pregnant, we were faced with infertility, and by some miracle we conceived. This made me realize that the birth of a child (whether given in love or remaining with the birthparents) is a blessing and to be shared and cherished by all.
I wanted to share a picture of my son with you and tell you all “thank you” for giving me a second chance at life and helping me to give J. to her parents – a decision which I have never regretted.
It is with great enthusiasm that I wish to share the history of my experience as a Birthmother and express what a wonderful partner AWL has been during this time. I could easily write a novella to describe the experiences and emotions that have been my joy to live through over the past 16+ years, but I will do my best to be succinct.
When I first discovered that I was pregnant in March 1991 I was completely terrified. I was in an on-again-off-again relationship with a man who I had already realized would not be suitable as a life partner. I came from a very blue-collar family where teenage pregnancy was more the norm than the exception. However, I had decided from an early age that I wanted to create more opportunity for myself and not fall into a cycle of struggle where it would always be difficult to provide for myself and my child.
I searched the phone book (this was years before the Internet) and selected four companies to contact. The first three calls were very average and somewhat cold or insincere; my fourth call was to Adoptions With Love and I never had to look back. Not only was the woman I spoke to warm, but responsive and tender with her questions and compassion. She spent an hour on the phone with me listening and never trying to make me feel as though I needed to make this heart-rendering decision immediately. She asked me to call back in two or three days to speak with her again.
During my pregnancy, I received information packets to complete and send back to the staff at AWL could help guide me toward the family that would receive my baby girl. I also received a generous amount of follow-up phone calls just to see how I was doing and to offer continued support during those short but precious nine months.
I waited until I was six months along to share the news with my family. Thankfully, I didn’t show until then, although I totally ballooned after that. Most of my family, and especially my younger sister, were supportive although my grandmother’s disappointment was most obvious and this was hard to accept. My mother, bless her heart, was very supportive although she certainly wished I would change my mind. It’s a struggle going against the flow of those who love you most but every part of me knew I was making the right decision for the little angel growing inside me.
I had an opportunity to meet the Adoptive Parents at the hospital when they came; I chose not to and now regret it because they have become such an important part of my life. At the time I did not feel strong enough and honestly did not want my last view of my daughter to be of her being carried away from me. That seems very selfish now because I have the hindsight to know she was being carried to a wonderful life that I would not have been able to provide.
Since that day Adoptions With Love has been a wonderful conduit between myself and my daughter’s amazing parents. From my personal experience, I know that they do a fantastic and detailed job of coordinating communication between birthmothers and adoptive parents. They encourage pictures and letters between the two and have been readily available over the years when I have needed them.
So now…all these years later I can look back and find myself so very grateful for AWL, the adoptive parents who have taken extraordinary care of my daughter and also for the life I have been able to map out for myself. The decision to place my baby for adoption still stands as the most difficult decision of my life but it was also the best, for her and for me. I have so much appreciation for the life my daughter has and all of the opportunity that her parents were able to provide that I know I would not have been able to.
Adoption is about being selfless and understanding how precious it is to give life but also wanting the very best life for the innocent child growing within you. I have never once regretted placing her for adoption. There have certainly been many tears shed over letters and pictures I receive but these are tears of joy that encourage me to realize that I made the right decision for both her and me.
If you are reading this you are probably considering adoption as an alternative for your baby and I want you to be encouraged by the bravery you are showing as you decide what is best for you and your child. It truly doesn’t matter what type of support group you do or do not have because I promise you that in time you will be able to look back, assisted by Adoptions With Love, surrounded by photos and letters and feel so much joy for your selfless act of love. You will be stronger and wiser for your decision. Most importantly do what you think is right; this is only about you and the baby you love with every fiber of your being. Believe me, I know.
On February 28th at 2:45 in the morning, I gave birth to a beautiful, precious baby boy. I never thought I would have to give up the one thing I cherished most – him. It was the hardest thing I have had to do yet, but I remind myself every day that I have given him a life of love, fun, and everything he will ever need. It has been so hard dealing with the pain of knowing that I may never hold him again. It’s been hard dealing with the feeling of being empty inside and like half a person. I know the pain will eventually fade, and the more I think about how happy he will be, it makes me a little happier. It’s hard handing your child off to practically a stranger, but I feel confident in my decision and know that they will raise him right. It summed it all up when I met the adoptive parents and they told me not to worry – I will never forget the way the mother and father looked at me when they said those words. It is also hard when you think about how you would’ve raised him/her compared to how the adoptive parents will do things. I know that in the end, everything will work out for the best. I also thank God every day that there are people out there who care so much. Without these wonderful people, whom I consider my family now, my child would have been in a single-parent household and we would be struggling to get by. I am very proud of the adoptive parents because raising a child is no easy feat.
The people at Adoptions With Love have been very understanding and never made me feel as though I was an inadequate person. They treated me with respect and told me about the feelings to come. To tell you the truth, I didn’t think it would be this hard or that my feelings would’ve been this strong. They did their best in preparing me for this. Also, the lawyer and the social worker were a big help. The lawyer did not pressure me to do anything I didn’t want to and the social worker was great. I felt like some of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I left her office.
It hurts to let something you love so much to go but reunions are always possible. I am starting not to worry because I know he will have an excellent life and will grow up to be very smart. My love for my child will never die or even fade. I have faith in the parents for telling him this over and over. I know now what true love is and I know the time will fly by so I can hold him in my arms again. I am impatiently waiting for that beautiful day.
The choice that I made to give my son up for adoption was not an easy one. I can honestly say that it will probably be the hardest decision you will ever have to make – for me it was.
Many nights I cried to God asking him “What should I do?” So many emotions ran through me; the strongest emotion at the time was anger. Anger at the father for leaving me alone to make this decision. Anger at myself for ever having to make this decision. Anger at God forever allowing me to make this decision. Slowly, those feelings have begun to fade away, and a much stronger emotion takes the place of the anger, and that is love.
Love is such a powerful emotion. I wanted to be selfish and keep my son because I love him more than anything imaginable, but in my heart, I knew that I could not provide him with the life that he deserved. Two wonderful people through AWL came into my life and my son’s. They will provide him with so much love. He’ll be able to attend college, get a great job, and someday marry the girl of his dreams. I know that I will have a major part in his life, although I was only with him for a few precious hours. You see, just as you, I chose to give him LIFE, and along with that same unconditional love. I loved him so much that is why I made the decision to allow someone so precious, someone so beautiful, and someone so innocent to have a chance at a wonderful life.
Many people will try to judge you, but no one knows the burdens your heart bears. No one has that right, except God. And although you may not have a lot of faith in Him now, you will come to see that our God is a very understanding of God. “God loved us so much that he gave his only Son.”
You may feel as if you’re alone, but please keep in mind that you are wonderful and loved and special. Just know that several months ago, someone was in the very same place that you may be in right now. Eventually, the hurt does ease, and the anger does fade; but love – true love – the love of a child, will remain in your heart forever. No matter the distance, the days, the weeks, the years that separate the two of you. Love is an emotion that will never fade. It only becomes deeper and stronger. It is forever for it is everlasting.”
During my summer break from college, I found myself pregnant and alone. I say that because there were people all around me – on the college campus in which I was enrolled, in family members and friends whom I had chosen to tell and with the man whom I had a three-year relationship – the father of this baby. But my family wanted to hide it, my friends couldn’t grasp the concept, and my boyfriend took a hike.
I went home for a weekend to tell my parents and to figure out what I was going to do. That was the scariest time of my life. I knew that this pregnancy was a beautiful thing and that I had been blessed, but I also knew that I needed options. I was not ready. I don’t think any parent is truly ready, but I recognized my own limitations with where I was emotionally and my lack of support. It was my body, my life, and my decision.
I had been busy fulfilling my own dreams and motherhood was not a part of the immediate plan. I ultimately decided that the end result of my pregnancy – raising a child – could not be part of my destiny then. However, because I am adopted, I was not afraid of this arrangement since I am a product of it. I know that it doesn’t take blood ties, nor does it take a fertile couple to make a family. That old saying that “blood is thicker than water” is not really the case.
Ultimately, I decided to become part of the Adoptions With Love family despite researching many similar organizations. I chose them because they treated me with respect, they were responsive, they did not push me, they were calling me to see how I was doing, and most importantly, they developed a plan that fit around my unique needs and dreams. I was not a “cog” in their “machine.” AWL staff recognized me as a person, challenged me, comforted me, and ultimately supported me through the toughest decision I have ever had to make. Now that decision has become the best decision I have ever made. I haven’t regretted that decision since.
This is not to say that the experience was all rosy. I have had to navigate some bumps in the road and grieve over the immediate and physical “loss” of my daughter, but since then, and with 11 years of retrospect, I am sure I made the best decision for my daughter and myself. Part of that good decision was in making those plans through AWL, an organization that is dedicated to the women, men, and children – the families they serve.
I am lucky and truly blessed to have had this experience. The immediate sorrow has been replaced by the joy in fulfilling my own dreams and watching my daughter fulfill hers. I know that her loving and dedicated parents and brother are the answer we both needed. Love is a never-ending circle whether near or far.
This may not be your story exactly and I can attest that you must decide for yourself the best course for your life journey. The best advice I received (from a member of the AWL family) before making the final decision was to look into my heart and use my head to decide what was best for myself, and the rest would follow. By taking care of myself, I was also taking care of my daughter.
The staff at AWL helped me along the adoption path that replaced my aloneness with comfort, resources, and support. They knew what to anticipate and helped me down that path as smoothly as possible. They have also been there throughout the years to lend a sympathetic ear and provide support.
Good luck with all your dreams and don’t forget – you are not alone! Katy