Fresh out of a long, committed relationship with my childhood sweetheart to whom I was engaged long before I was ever ready to fully commit myself to someone in that regard, I rebounded. His name was Stan* and he was quiet, shy, compassionate and funny at times. I knew he wasn’t “the one,” but I had fun with him. After five months of dating, I decided that I needed someone who was more ambitious and outspoken, and called things off with Stan … only to find out that I got knocked up the last time we were ever intimate.
I was a 22-year-old single mom to a beautiful and equally hilarious 2-year-old girl at the time I found out I was pregnant with a second baby and knew, for certain, that I was not ready to take on the responsibility of another child. The inevitable question: “Why weren’t you using birth control?” I was, but a week shy of getting my next Depo Provera shot. It was dumb of me not to take extra precautionary measures, but we all make mistakes. Mine are just bigger than others.
I was put up for adoption when I was a week old. Coincidentally, Stan was also adopted and I decided, upon seeing the blue line appear on the life-altering pregnancy test, that I was going to do the best thing possible for my child and place him or her up for adoption.
I met Stan to tell him the news and quite honestly was scared to death that he wouldn’t agree with my decision. Fortunately, after the initial shock wore off, he agreed that this decision was best for all of us and I set out to find an adoption agency.
Attempt #1 was a complete and total nightmare. I’m educated, I hold a decent job and I’m mentally stable (for the most part), but I was being treated like an inept idiot by the first agency I went to. Weeks would go by, questions went unanswered, and I was getting uncomfortably close to my due date, so I enlisted help from my mom. Our relationship has always been rocky at best, but I’m so grateful that she pulled through with the name of a lawyer from their church who happened to have two adopted children of his own. John* was my lifesaver. He put me in touch with an adoption facilitator who had helped with the adoption of his two kids; she changed my life.
Attempt #2, with the help of John* and Molly*, the adoption facilitator, brought me to Erin* and Ryan*, who would eventually be the adoptive parents to my son. I loved Erin from the moment I met her. The next best thing to raising my son myself would be to find someone who had the morals and ideals (not to mention inane sense of humor) as I did. I found that in Erin and not a moment too soon. Two weeks later, my son was born and I met Ryan for the first time, who was away on business when I had first met with Erin. He ended up being what sealed the adoption plan; he continues to be an amazing father and an outstanding role model for my son. I could not be happier with my choice of adoptive parents.
As a mother, I knew that this was going to be hard. I had purposely not connected with the baby growing inside of me and referred to “it” (as I refused to know the sex) as Ninja. Ninja was all the rage at work, gossip was spread, people asked frighteningly inappropriate questions and a lot of people gave their unsolicited opinions. It was the pregnancy from hell, to be frank. I knew that what I was doing was in the best interest of my daughter and Ninja and had to remind myself of this daily as more people attacked me with their “words of wisdom.”
I went to my primary care physician and faced a lecture from her as well. She had the nerve to tell me that my baby would be better off with me, even if that meant struggling. I was livid and I had every right to be. Needless to say, I never went back to see that doctor again.
I should also mention that everybody and their mother’s cousin had someone — a friend, relative, coworker — who was looking to adopt. My obstetrician even handed me the folder of one of the nursing assistants in her office who was looking as well. It was unbearable. I sincerely wanted to find someone outside of my day-to-day world so I could avoid running into them while shopping for produce at the grocery store.
Over the nine months it took to grow my very healthy son, and in the two years since his birth, I have completely changed as a person. I was told I needed to move out of my parents’ house after I revealed my pregnancy and adoption plan to them and found an apartment nearby. I became incredibly self-aware and noticed myself maturing way beyond the level of my peers. I grew up. I grew to be more responsible. I grew to be selfless. Most importantly, I found my calling in life. I want to be a social worker that places children with people as amazing as Erin and Ryan, as every step of my process captivated me in an indescribable way. I found a passion and a fire was ignited in me.
I’m still healing. Each day is a little better than the previous one and as time goes on, I become more assured that I made the right decision. My son’s parents and I chose to keep his adoption open and I consider myself lucky to be able to see him grow up and, more importantly, see how incredibly loved he is by his adoptive parents. It was the hardest obstacle I’ve ever had to overcome, but I did it and I have no regrets.