Friday, April 15, 2011

The beginning of the rest of my life

I knew before I ever took the test that it would come back positive. If truth be told, I knew "the morning after" that something was definitely different. I knew that I was pregnant. After the second blue line appeared, I looked at the world through a different perspective. For about a nanosecond, I thought, "Wow, I'm going to have a baby. I'm going to be a mother." Then reality kicked in and I thought "No way can I raise a baby now. I don't have the best job, I don't have my own place, what kind of environment will I provide?"

I was raised by a single mom.  I know it's tough work.  I was 21 years old, barely legal, and really wanted to enjoy being young and free of responsibility.  I was living with my grandma!  My totally ultra-religious, oh man am I ever gonna be judged, grandma! 

So I decided on adoption.

I know there's "the other choice." And I considered it. I have been pro-choice my whole life, fighting for women who needed the right to make decisions that are best for them.  It just so happens that at that point in my life, it wasn't the best choice for me.

What made me so sure that adoption was the right choice for me was that I had been so careless for so long, I considered myself so lucky to be in the position I was in, I couldn't terminate that pregnancy. I was out of school, a college graduate, making decent money, not your regular unwed mother statistic. I owed it to God and that baby to give it life.

I soon told my mother, who was very supportive of my decision to carry the baby and find it a good home.  I did have one chilling conversation with her, where she encouraged me to explore all my options.  At that point, there were no other options and it just pissed me off that she was asking me to consider anything other than adoption.  Sure, my body would not be mine for the next several months.  So, what?  Sure, I wouldn't be able to raise that baby as my own.  And?  I had considered all the options, and really, adoption was the best fit for me.

I started looking for agencies shortly thereafter. The first agency I called was a well-known national adoption agency, who asked me some simple questions. How old was I? I had just turned 21. Was I married? Well, no, and I didn't think many women in my situation were married. She said that she would send some information to me in the mail. I waited anxiously. When I got the package, it contained information about single people wanting to adopt children. Was I not clear that I WAS PREGNANT? Talk about asking the wrong questions!  My search continued.

In this high tech day and age, I found Creative Adoptions on the internet. I called and was given an appointment within the week, in person, at my house! I was not very familiar with the concept of "open adoption." It turned out to fit my needs like a glove.

I wanted more than pictures and letters. I wanted to be an active participant in my child's life. I wanted him to be able to know me, to ask me questions about where he came from, why I decided to place him for adoption. I didn't want his parents to speak for me, when I can speak for myself!

I didn't want to look into every stroller that passed by, into the face of every baby, asking myself "Is that my baby? Does my baby look like that now?" I didn't like the ambiguity that closed adoption presents. I needed to know my son, and needed him to know me.

Open adoption has been around for over 30 years.  There are several "degrees" of openness in an open adoption.  I wanted an adoption where I was able to see this beautiful child I helped create, and to make sure that he knew how very much I loved him.

I became a part of the family at Creative and settled in to a routine of talking with other birthmoms about our decisions and the paths that led us to them.  It was wonderful.

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