Five years ago my life changed drastically. When I was a freshman in college, I fell for a boy (I can't consider any male lacking maturity a man, no matter his age). I believed his lines of make-believe love and made a bad choice. I got pregnant. I was determined that was the only bad choice I was to make.
I was faced with a big decision. Abortion was out of the question, this was a life I was carrying, not a pack of cells. I have always had a strong maternal instinct and hoped for lots of kids, so I wanted to keep the baby. For myself, not for the baby's sake. But after much soul searching, I decided on adoption. What was the determining factor? I've seen too many girls, who lacked a father figure or his attention while growing up, seek love in other men and end up in bad situations. I didn't want that for my daughter. And, I didn't want my son growing up without a father. So, knowing that the "sperm-donor" would never be a father to this child, I decided to look into adoption.
Through Catholic Charities, I received a pack of biographies that fit the requirements I was looking for: a Catholic family, living in a rural area. As I read through the many "bios" of hopeful parents, one kept coming to my attention. It was of a young couple in western Kansas who had been trying to conceive for many years. Their values and beliefs mirrored mine, and their life goals were similar. They even physically looked like the birth father and myself. After talking it over with the birth father and doing some more soul searching, I informed Catholic Charities of my choice.
It was their policy not to introduce the birth parents and adoptive parents until closer to the due date, to protect the adoptive parents from disappointment in case the birth mother changes her mind. However, by a stroke of luck, I had talked to a girl on my dorm floor about my choice for adoptive parents and asked her about the couple, since she was from their hometown. She happened to know them, and mentioned something to them about my choice. Well, after some phone calls and begging, both on my part and on the adoptive parents', Catholic Charities agreed to set up a meeting, even though I was only five months along.
What a wonderful thing that was! Meeting them didn't weaken my resolve to give my child up for adoption, it only strengthened it. Now I had another reason to give up the baby: this wonderful, loving couple deserved a child to share their love. They welcomed me with open arms into their family and supported me through the remaining months. They met my family and even heard the heartbeat at one of the doctor visits. I can't put into words how much their support meant to me.
That doesn't mean it was easy. When our baby girl was born, I cried for joy. My first phone call was to the adoptive parents to share the great news with them and we all cried some more. They immediately made the long trip to the hospital and stayed with my parents until the baby and I were released. The hardest part for me was signing the papers relinquishing my parental rights. The hardest part for them was taking the baby home with them and leaving me to recover emotionally. But time does heal wounds.
That was four and a half years ago. These parents have become my dearest friends and a true part of my family. We see each other at least every three months, and call more often than that. Our baby girl is now a beautiful, stubborn but sweet four-year-old, with an adoring little sister. She knows that she was adopted, knows I'm her birth mother, and knows that she is a very special girl because she has so many people loving her.
I have since met and married the man of my dreams, and we are expecting our first child together this summer. People have asked me, if I could go back and do it all over, would I have avoided the entire "situation" and not gotten pregnant in the first place. I can honestly say: no. If I hadn't made that bad choice back then, my daughter would never have been born and the world would be one beautiful person less. And I wouldn't have met this wonderful couple I jokingly call my adopted brother and sister. I have no regrets.
I hope our story helps a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy make the decision that is best for her baby. And I hope it helps couples debating open adoption to be willing to open their doors and their hearts not only to a child, but also a birth mother. The relationship I have with the parents and with the girls is something I will always cherish.