When I was seventeen, I graduated high school and moved away from home. I was alone, lost, and scared. I looked for comfort in the wrong places, and a few months later, I found out I was pregnant. I desperately wanted to parent, but it soon became clear that I would not be able to provide the life I wanted her to have. So I found someone who could. Now I have a beautiful open adoption, and my birth daughter is my little sunshine. This short story makes it sound simple- but it isn’t. It was and is a long, hard road. Every birth mother has a different story.
1. Lana’s* Story
I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant; my boyfriend and I knew we weren’t ready to raise a child, so we chose adoption. I gave birth to my son on Christmas Day 1991. Leaving that hospital without him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. His parents and I have kept in contact once a year with letters and pictures. Three years ago my son contacted me himself and now him and I communicate via email. We plan on meeting in person this year. I will forever be grateful to my son’s parents for giving him everything I couldn’t.
2. Sarah’s Story
I was married and a parenting mother of two. My husband and I found out at 24 weeks that our unborn third daughter had Down Syndrome. I wanted to raise her. He adamantly didn’t. He pushed for abortion (legal until 34 weeks in our state), but I refused. He started threatening to kill her if I kept her and had me convinced I couldn’t care for her or the other two alone. So I found adoptive parents who took her from the hospital. We have a very open adoption, they are wonderful. Long story short…I placed her to keep a family together that fell apart anyway. But I am trying to live with it best I can, and the adoptive parents are amazing people who allow me to be a “third parent” as much as I am able from across the country.
3. Carli’s Story
I relinquished my daughter at 17 in 1977. I left home to go live in a unwed mothers home to finish grade 12. Over the years I searched for my daughter in numerous ways, and reunited 19 years ago from an online registry. The only way we have communicated since then has been email; we do send cards and I send gifts. She has just had her first baby last year, and they are happy and healthy living three hours away from me. I am hoping in the future we can meet.
4. Emma’s Story
I placed my son in 2013, having been an adoptee myself I have a fairly positive view of adoption. I wanted my son to have the world, something I couldn’t come close to providing. We have a beautiful open adoption, that took work, devotion, and a lot of communicating to build. I have moments of sadness, but I refuse to let the experience define me in a negative way. I see so many positives that have come from my choosing adoption, in his life, their life, and my own.
5. Tori’s Story
The decision was not my first choice, but one that I came to once my pregnancy was far along that the reality of an entire universe inside me hit. I delivered in the middle of Hurricane Dolly July 23, 2008 and the parents that I had chosen came the next day to meet her. My adoption is semi-open, and I’m okay with it. My process is the reason I advocate strongly for mental health awareness and support. I was in so much pain, anger, and let my grief hinder my ability to become who I wanted to be. It’s taken time, but I’m turning it around.
Each of these stories are so different–different ages, different circumstances, and different results. There is no ‘one size fits all’ birth mother. But each of these birth mothers have one thing in common: unconditional love for their baby and the deep strength to do what was best for the child.
*Names have been changed