I didn’t truly know selfless love until I placed my daughter for adoption. I didn’t truly know unconditional love until I grieved the loss of motherhood.
I was 17 years old when I found out I was pregnant. I was half way through my senior year of high school. I was serving as student body president, a peer mentor and any other form of school involvement I could be a part of. I was planning to attend Texas A&M and begin my future. That all changed in one moment. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I was supposed to be successful and change the world. I wasn’t supposed to be having a baby. These thoughts haunted me.
I immediately went to tell my boyfriend, Nathan. He embraced me as I wept into his arms. As I bombarded him with a burden most men his age flee from, he held me close and tried to calm down every fear. Beyond the stress of keeping this secret and pausing life, I had an even bigger problem to solve. What do I do now?
I knew immediately that adoption was the right path for my child. I’ve had a beautiful experience of adoption within my own family. Although I grew an unexplainable love over those 9 months, I never doubted my decision. I knew I could have raised her and I could have made it work. However, I wanted my child to have a life of opportunity, not survival.
It took Nathan longer to accept this option; he was pretty set on wanting to keep our baby. After we discussed both options of parenting or adoption, he agreed to meet with an Options Counselor from Gladney. In time, we both were on the same page and agreed we could not offer our daughter the future we both desired her to have.
As a driven and impatient individual, I wanted to choose a family for my baby right away. My caseworker graciously led us through the process. She came to my home to meet with me and Nathan to talk about our plan. When we had to decide what we were looking for in parents, reality started to sink in. How do you articulate what you want in the people who will raise your child? It was hard enough to comprehend how to choose your child’s parents, but I had to base it off of these books the couples made. We had so many questions about the families. Thankfully, my caseworker was able to find out the answers to all of our questions. As we narrowed it down to two books, my mom and sister pointed something out about one of them. The first word in the book was ‘you’. That first sentence said, ‘You will always be honored in our home’. I wasn’t looking for a family that would cherish me, but I realized I wanted parents who put God and others first. This family conveyed this concept in their book stating, ‘God is first. Others are second. We are third’. If I wasn’t going to be there to raise my daughter with those values, I wanted someone else to do so. After Nathan and I chose Randy & Rachel, I could have never anticipated what God had in store.
Nathan and I met the beloved family we chose soon after we made our decision. We immediately fell in love with our daughter’s parents. The comfort we felt when we left dinner, was a sense of peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. Our open adoption started with completely open arms and hearts, with no reservations.
When the day of her birth came, I had my family and my boyfriend by my side. My daughter’s birth will forever be a bittersweet memory. I will never forget the feeling of the first time I held her. Or when I saw her birth father hold her. There were plenty of smiles and tears as we cherished every second as her parents. There were even moments of unbearable pain that initiated conversation of doubt, yet we kept finding ourselves differentiating between two important things: what we wanted and what she deserved. We desperately wanted to keep her, but we knew deep down that she deserved more. After spending some time with our daughter, we signed a piece of paper that meant we were no longer her parents. For someone who has always wanted to be a mother, the sting of that signature is unexplainable. When we were ready, Randy and Rachel came to the hospital. With swollen eyes and stuffy noses, we embraced them. We exchanged gifts and words for a long time until it was time to hand her over. No one can prepare you for that moment. After we all prayed together, we said goodbye and watched them leave. That goodbye meant a lot of things. We didn’t know when we were going to see her again. We no longer had control of her future.
When you are grieving the loss of motherhood and longing for your child, it’s hard to move forward in life. There was a void that could not be filled. As opportunity and time allowed us, we have continued visits. Our adoption story didn’t end when they took her home. I will never be able to express my gratitude. Even though I’m not playing the role of her mom, I get to play the role of birth mother. I’m still figuring out what that exactly looks like, but I’m honored to be a part of her life. We all come from different walks of life with our own pain and baggage. Open adoption may not be the most orthodox way of creating a family, but we are all able to come together and celebrate this life. It’s through the sacrifice and compassion of this adoption, that I have gotten a glimpse into heaven.
I wanted my child to have a life of opportunity, not survival.