Birth Parents, new mothers, Open Adoption, Uncategorized

My First Decision of Motherhood: Reflections of making an adoption plan

It will be a day she will never forget but one that over the years has sometimes caused pain when remembered. Amy looks back on her first decision of motherhood and the hardest decision of her life.

On August 11, 2004, Amy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was a day filled with tears of both joy and sorrow. Amy and her boyfriend Mark had decided to make an adoption plan only hours before their daughter’s birth. After arriving at the hospital, they contacted Adoptions From The Heart to speak with a social worker about adoption. Amy was 24 and she and Mark had a 14-month old son they were parenting while living in her mother’s house. They did not have the financial means or stability needed to care for another child. They wanted the very best life could offer for their daughter and although it was a heart wrenching decision, they knew they could not be the ones to provide it for her.

Michaelina, an AFTH counselor, arrived at the hospital to talk with Amy and Mark about adoption and to present profiles of prospective adoptive parents. Coincidentally, despite being on opposite sides of the room reviewing profiles, they both selected the same family. When asked why they chose the family, Amy responds by saying “there was just something in their eyes and I knew they were it.” She and Mark loved that they had a big yard and enjoyed outdoor activities like hiking. Things they would have done themselves with their daughter.

Because it was too hard for them at that time, they chose to wait 4 months after their daughter’s birth to meet the adoptive couple. Their daughter is now 6 and they visit twice a year, once around Christmas and the other at the AFTH summer picnic. Amy says she and Mark couldn’t have picked better parents for their daughter, “she has a great life and great parents.” Although she still gets    nervous and excited for their visits, she is reassuring that through open adoption, her daughter will know her and that her decision was made out of love. Amy’s older brother was adopted through a closed adoption. She saw how all the unknowns negatively affected his life as it took him 34 years to gain any information about his birth family. Amy is reassured knowing that through open adoption she has chosen a better path for her daughter.

Adoption doesn’t take motherhood away, it  is a decision made from the love of being a mother. “At first, I felt horrible,” Amy says. “How could I do this – how could any mother ‘give up’ her baby?  But then I realized I’m doing it because of how much I love her. I’m deciding as her mother to give her a better life. Now, I thank God I did it for her!”

“Motherhood means being and doing the best you can for your child – I did that. I probably could have done it, but at what cost? At what cost to my daughter? At what cost to my son? At what cost to me? Because of my decision, I’m a better person. I’m a better mother, and I’m a better person for, if and when my daughter needs me.” Amy has since graduated from college and is engaged to Mark with plans to marry and move into their own place this fall.

Amy is thrilled to see shows like MTV’s 16 & Pregnant. ”I wish they would have been around for me. I’m glad information is getting out there about adoption, especially open adoption. It would have helped me to see similar stories and know other people were going through what I was.” It is good to talk to friends and family, but it isn’t the same as talking with someone who has gone through it. Amy is committed to reaching out to others and now serves as a mentor for other birthmothers working with AFTH. She knows honesty and empathy go a long way as she often tells birthmothers who recently placed “your pain isn’t going to be gone tomorrow, and probably not next week, and likely not even next year but it does get better and feeling like this is normal.”

For Amy, Mother’s Days begin with feeling somber but through reflection about the decision she made for her daughter years ago and on the blessings she has with her fiancé and son, by afternoon she is having a wonderful day celebrating motherhood. “Even after 6 years there are tough days, same as any mother, but because of open adoption I know that my daughter is doing well and has wonderful parents and that I made the right decision.”

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