Since placing my son for adoption in 2015, I have worked to hone the skill of my storytelling and now am pretty open about the circumstances behind placement (although I’ll add that no one owes their story to anyone!). When the subject of children comes up and I tell someone that I placed a child, I am always aware of the shock that people try to hide at his age or that I have placed a child to begin with. My adoption story is different from what you might assume. But I’m here to tell you my story and why you shouldn’t assume one’s story in the first place.
In December of 2014, I was a full-time student, had my first full-time job, and was in my first long-term relationship. My estranged father had passed in September of that year. I struggled with the shock of his passing and the permanency of not being able to establish a future relationship, but I had my mom who had always done what she could, despite hardships in her life, to try to be whatever I needed her to be. Early in the morning on Saturday, December 6th, I was awake preparing the house for Christmas decorating when my stepfather called me. My mom had passed away in her sleep. She was 44 years old. I was shook.
A week and a half after her passing, I got sick too quickly after eating and felt like I should take a pregnancy test. The positive sign couldn’t have appeared faster. When my boyfriend and I discussed it, we really didn’t feel we were ready to be parents. It felt too big, too much, and this baby deserved better than what we had to over at that point. At the first doctor’s appointment, we were shocked to learn that I was already 18 weeks along and we were able to schedule an anatomy ultrasound for 2 weeks later. Everything was happening so fast and was hard to digest.
After finding out that I was pregnant with a perfect little boy, the reality of making this huge decision weighed heavily on me and I set out to find out more about an adoptive family and how one goes about doing that. When I opened my laptop, the page of an adoptive family in my area popped up as I had been following their story for close to a year. I messaged them to ask some questions and cannot explain how much I fell in love with them. When we met in person, it sealed the deal and I knew that if this baby wasn’t going to be parented by my boyfriend and me, he would be by them.
None of this was easy. I cried constantly during my pregnancy. I wanted this baby and I wanted to put all my love and care into him. While he was not planned, that didn’t make his existence any less special or important in the world. Then, because of preeclampsia, our time was cut short and he was born at 34 weeks. Meeting him was surreal, holding the hands and feet of the little ninja that had been excitedly practicing in my belly for weeks. He stayed in the hospital for two weeks and I visited every other day, even after my discharge, even after I had signed over my rights to him. Thankfully, his mom and dad have a huge heart and have blessed our lives with the continuing relationship of an open adoption. He is now a thriving little boy, bigger than his older brother, learning and doing amazing things each day.
Having placed my child for adoption, you might assume that I didn’t want him or that I wouldn’t have done everything I could to take care of him. Not knowing my story, you might assume that I placed because of age or addiction or abuse. My story may not fit the narrative that so many have come to associate with adoption. But the truth of the matter is there is no one cookie-cutter story for why someone would consider making an adoption plan. By thinking there is, it contributes to a very harmful stereotype that casts a dark, unnecessary shadow on birth families. From reading my story, perhaps you can understand the very personal, emotional lengths it takes to consider/go through with making an adoption plan and choose not to assume any sort of story of why someone needed to.