It was a huge weight off my shoulders once my parents knew about my pregnancy.
When I brought up the topic of adoption, my family was a divided house. My parents and sister were in favor, but my brother, grandmother, and boyfriend were not so sure.
Part of me wanted to give in and just do what would make everybody happy – because when it comes to life-altering decisions, it’s normal to want everyone to be on board.
But, as I’ve learned, you can’t make everyone happy.
Besides, the responsibility for the baby would ultimately be mine so the choice for our futures needed to be mine as well.
Once I had talked it over with my parents, it was time to figure out the next step. However, we had no idea where to find out information about adoption. My mom phoned a big church in our city to see if they could provide some information for us. They recommended a women’s pregnancy centre.
(If you are looking for information about adoption I recommend the website Lifecall, they have compiled a list of all the pregnancy centers in the US. In the UK, I am not sure, as the adoption process differs greatly. But a good place to start might be Home for Good.)
When I visited the centre they walked through all the basics with me. I learned about different kinds of adoptions: open adoption vs. closed adoption. Open adoption allows for contact between the natural mother and the adoptive family. This set up can be semi-open, meaning the natural mother receives photos and updates. Or it can be fully open, which allows for visits and consistent contact as the child grows older. Closed adoption is having no contact. The baby goes with the adoptive family and the natural mother chooses not to be involved after the birth.
(I opted for semi-open. I discuss the reasons in detail in Placing Bets – it’s coming soon!)
The centre also provided me with free counseling. In these sessions I was asked to consider both scenarios: keeping the baby or putting the baby up for adoption. By doing this, it enabled me to make a decision based on full knowledge of the outcomes of each choice.
There is a lot to consider about both options and this deserves its own book (maybe I’ll write that next!)
Throughout the process I nearly always leaned toward adoption but at times I did consider keeping her. For obvious reasons, like wanting to be a mother to my child.
However, I had this self-awareness which would always override those feelings. In reality, I wasn’t capable of being the best mom to her at that stage in life. I was too young, kinda selfish, and pretty irresponsible (duh!) . . . in my mind, it was better to be real to myself, and about myself, than pretend I could do it.
Or pretend keeping her would be best for her.
Now I just needed to find a family for my baby! More about that next time in Part IV.