It’s a common misconception that those who choose adoption don’t “want” their babies. Just as misconstrued is the idea that adoption is the “easy” alternative to abortion. For most birth mothers— and I know several —this is far from true. First, there is the decision of life or abortion; then there is the decision of what life-giving decision she will make— parenting or adoption.
16 and Pregnant
I will always remember standing in the bathroom at midnight with my best friend by my side, staring at those two pink lines. They appeared right away. There was no question— I was pregnant at barely 16 years old, just starting my junior year of high school.
In a mix of emotions, I was both panicked, but idealistically excited. I always knew I wanted to be a mother.
How did I get here? I was a “good” girl, raised in Christian beliefs, who earned honor roll most semesters. The answer was, it came from a trickle effect within childhood, one that became my steppingstones to know Christ truly.
It all began in early childhood when I was sexually abused. For me, this experience ignited a damaging view of sex. Plus, I grew up in a single-mom home where I shared only weekends and holidays with my dad. He was a loving father, but couldn’t be there every day for me, due to distance.
All this was compounded into teenagerhood, when unconsciously, in an attempt to reclaim the power taken from me as a little girl, I used sex to find affection from teenage boys. It didn’t help that I was young and naïve.
Adoption vs Abortion
I was offered the option of abortion, but I knew I couldn’t go through with it. I wanted my baby girl. I wanted to be her mother, even if her birth father wasn’t around to be a father. I was willing to sacrifice everything to be that role in her life.
I had an incredible amount of support from my family to make whatever decision I felt was right for us. My parents encouraged me to make an educated decision and explore both parenting and adoption to be entirely sure of my choice. I was taken to counseling right away, where a counselor helped walk me through all the intense feelings of grief, shame, and anger along with the logistics of, “Where do we go from here?”
Because of the support I had, my healing journey began in those early weeks, well before the adoption decision took place. For that, I am indescribably grateful.
For many months I was set on parenting. I talked to her; I bonded with her. I named her and bought her a tiny summery pink going home outfit— yet she would go to another home in that outfit. I wanted to parent and do things my way, so my soul was unsettled. I felt anguished and wrestled with what to do.
I felt led to go online and talk with adoptive moms and birth moms to hear their experiences and ask questions. That’s where I first saw the benefits of open adoption, where I first thought that maybe I could provide her with both a stable family and a relationship with me, her birth mom.
Accepting God's provision isn't always easy.
At seven months pregnant, I reached the end of myself. My plans, my desires, my way of doing things— they weren’t working. I couldn’t find peace, and I so desperately wanted peace.
While I was willing to sacrifice the teenage lifestyle to grow up quickly and become her mom, God was calling me to surrender in another way— to trade my desires for the betterment of both her future and mine.
At first, I didn’t like God’s plan. I knew it would be a painful choice. I couldn’t imagine “giving my baby away” and allowing another mother to parent my child— this little girl I whole-heartedly loved. I sobbed for hours until God showed me, through fresh spiritual eyes, the life of struggles we would have endured had I done otherwise.
Her future would have looked much like the one I had growing up. It wasn’t a bad life, but like any good mother, I wanted to provide her with more. Deep down, I knew God was calling her and me to a different life, a life that would break chains!
My Adoption Choice
So, I did. I surrendered, not only to His will of adoption, but to my faith in His goodness. Finally, peace washed over my soul. I felt lighter as if I had received a renewed strength.
The following weeks and remaining months of pregnancy were filled with God’s fingerprints guiding our path. Quickly I found the family who would parent my baby girl, the very first profile at which I looked. They had the same desire for open adoption as I did!
“You are an important piece to her life puzzle,” they told me. They have held true to that for 16 years.
She is now 16 years old. It is mind-boggling, really, to see her now at the age I was when I carried her within me. To my delight, she’s an entirely different person than I was at her age. I attribute that to God and His path of adoption for us. Where her attention is, where her desires lie, where she finds her peace and security, and in who she is in Christ is because of adoption.
The Truth About Adoption
Is it easy? No. Adoption is not the “easy way out.” It was and still is painful, not just for me but for her. We miss each other, we grieve what could have been— yet we both cling to God’s goodness and trust in this path for us. We are exceedingly grateful that we still can cherish our time together whenever possible, and for her parents, who willingly honor that time.
There are many more pieces to our story, but for now, know this:
His peace that surpasses all understanding carried me through my adoption decision. He held me when I placed her into another woman’s arms, just as tightly as He holds me today.