Placing my son for adoption went against everything I had planned for my life.
I was 24 years old, working full-time as an RN, and I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and mom. So when I found myself with an unplanned pregnancy as a single woman, adoption and being a birth mother never entered my mind. I was going to be the best parent I could be, no matter what.
Still, I was nervous and uncertain at my first doctor’s appointment. It wasn’t acceptable in my circles for girls to be pregnant without a husband.
The doctor came into the exam room and said words I’ll never forget:
“I see from your chart that this pregnancy wasn’t planned, but you know what? I’m still going to say congratulations, because life is beautiful. Any time a baby is conceived, that life is beautiful. So congratulations.“
He was the first person to say congratulations, and it meant the world to have somebody else celebrate this child. But then he said words that would change the course of my life—
“Have you ever thought about adoption?“
At first, my answer was no.
As a nurse, I had the money, the education, and the love to offer a child. So why would I think about adoption?
But after he asked the question, this unexpected peace came over me. I realized, “I’m having this baby for someone else, and they don’t even know yet.”
I’d heard of women placing their babies for adoption because of circumstances, but I’d never heard of a birth mother choosing to place her baby for adoption because of love.
I knew my parents were ashamed of me.
So I briefly considered keeping the baby and raising him just to prove I could do it.
But then my options counselor said one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life—
“You have a choice and your parents have a choice. They have the choice to be proud of you, to love you, and to support you. You have the choice to do what’s best for you and your child.“
So I went to regular counseling, attended group meetings, and read every book available on single parenting and adoption.
Though scared, I knew my decision was right.
The first family file I looked at was the family I chose.
I placed my son for adoption.
After I signed the papers, I felt guilty because I wasn’t feeling terribly upset. I was actually happy that I’d done what was best for him. And I imagined his parents’ excitement getting “the call.”
Originally, I thought I was supposed to be miserable—and, of course, I cried every day for months missing him—but I knew I had made the right choice.
I had been a good mom.
I had chosen adoption for love.
My dream when I placed him was to be able to attend his wedding. I quietly hoped to see my son dance with his mom at his wedding someday. And I knew if that day came, it would mean he had a good relationship with his parents, and that’s what I wanted most for him.
I saw my son again when he was 24 years old.
Which felt very poignant since I was 24 years old when I had placed him for adoption.
I knew immediately from the way he hugged me that he had been loved. He knew how to hug that way because he had been shown affection at home.
I would later learn that both of his parents actively raised and influenced him. I learned that my son had graduated Valedictorian of his high school class. He had already graduated from college and was working on his master’s degree.
And then a few years later, it happened.
My son sent me an invitation to his wedding.
I cried through the whole service. But it was a good cry. It was beautiful to see how everything I had wanted for my baby had come true:
He had grown up in a two-parent home.
One of his parents worked from home.
He was obviously deeply loved.
And then came the reception.
My table was right by the dance floor. And my dream came true. I got to watch my son dance with his mother—and I knew from the way they smiled and swayed that they had a wonderful relationship.
But then came something I never anticipated—
Partway through the song, they came and got me and the three of us danced together.
Here’s what I know about being a birth mother.
Many loving birth moms place their baby for adoption because of circumstances.
It’s possible to have sufficient circumstances but still place the baby because of love.
Though incredibly difficult at the time, I’m very happy with the decision I made and the life I helped create for my son.
Today I’m thankful and honored to volunteer at the local pregnancy center. I encourage the support staff to ask the clients if they’ve ever thought about adoption.
Adoption isn’t just the right option for a birth mom who can’t raise her baby. It can also be the right option for a birth mother who can.
This guest post was written and submitted by a birth mother in honor of Birth Mother’s Day this weekend. Our thanks to her for sharing her deeply personal story.
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