Today’s post is from a guest blogger from PregnancyAdoptionOptions.com. When facing an unplanned pregnancy, she chose an adoption plan for her baby. She offers advice for other women facing unplanned pregnancies and shares some of the common questions she receives about adoption.
Every adoption story is unique. There is not one right choice when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption was the right path for me. Here are some of the most common questions I hear about adoption. I hope that my answers can help provide some comfort or relief as you make this difficult decision. Remember to be honest with yourself and don’t let anyone pressure you to parent or to place if that’s not really what you think it best. This is my story. It was my choice to make and I choose adoption.
How could you do that? I could never do that!
It’s often something that I hear when I tell people I was pregnant and choose adoption. Hearing those words brings back pain. Then I remind myself of the real question…How could I not? The truth is, making the decision to place my little girl for adoption was easy. It wasn’t painless and it wasn’t simple in any way but the decision itself to place her was easy. I looked at where I was in life and what I thought my daughter deserved and I knew I wasn’t in a place financially or emotionally to give her those things.
Why Open Adoption? Doesn’t That Hurt More?
Many people outside of open adoptions are quick to question the benefits that are proven by research. Our minds battle the facts. Many people worry that a child would be confused or that it would be more painful for a birthparent to get photos and letters. Yes, open adoption is hard and can be challenging to make the relationships work. However, not knowing how my daughter was or seeing her growing up would have been so much worse. I didn’t want to have any doubts that she was safe and loved and growing into the beautiful little girl I knew she would. When I get the package of photos I don’t hesitate to open it. I know I’ll be seeing her beautiful smile and bright eyes. The updates do also bring sadness. I miss her. I love her so much. But it doesn’t make me regret my decision. I’m so glad open adoption exists and that I found a family for my daughter who is committed to making it work. I get the chance to see her several times a year. They send me her artwork and videos of her running at the playground and dancing to her favorite tv show. I haven’t been cut out of her life. She knows who I am. And I don’t have to rely on her parents telling her how much I love her, though I know they do. I get to wrap my arms around her during our visits and tell her myself. Yes, in the future there will be those tough questions I’m sure she will ask. I will be just like any other tough questions a child will have. I’ll be my best to be open and honest with her. It gets easier over time. The pain doesn’t completely go away and some days are worse than others but in my heart I know I made the right decision and if I had to go back and do it all again I hope that I would have the strength to make the same choice.
What Does the Adoptive Family Call You?
During our very first visit just a few months after placement, they actually asked me what I wanted to be called. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to say. I hadn’t really thought of it much. They asked if I would be comfortable with something like Mommy or Momma Jess. I almost jumped out of my seat, yes, yes, yes! I was honored that they wanted to acknowledge me as her mom not just in conversations but in my title and I loved it. When we are together, they use my first name. And when they talk about me to my daughter they call me Momma Jess. When I’m talking about them and my daughter to other people I refer to myself as her birthmother. The term is not something to be ashamed of. I’m her birthmother. She has two mothers who play different roles but are both very much a part of her life and who she is and who she is becoming. They say it takes two, well in this case it took four. Four different parents who each have given her something different. I love to see glimpses of me in her. The way she sings, that stubborn look she give her mother when she doesn’t want to do something, the way she laughed from the deepest parts of her belly, the fact that she’s very much a daddy’s girl…all parts of me I see in her.
Shouldn’t the Agency Just Have Helped You Parent Instead?
People often talk about how agencies and the community should be more supporting to pregnant women by offering them financial assistance and services to help them parent. The truth is being ready to be a parent isn’t always a financial decision. For those who are parents out there, you know parenting is so much more than just financial. The agency I worked with was happy to help me find services such as WIC, Medicaid and Daycare Subsidies however that wouldn’t have solved the whole problem. The place I was at in my life wouldn’t have allowed me to give my daughter the life I wanted her to have. I would have been working two jobs to make ends meet and my daughter would have spent so much time in daycare. It wasn’t what I wanted for her. I wanted to find her a family that was the type of parents I would have hoped to be. Now my daughter has even more people who love her and will give up everything for her.
Why Advice Would You Give Other Women Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy
Often times, when people discover that I made an adoption plan for a child, they rush to me looking for advice about what they should do. The truth is…I don’t know. When you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s scary and a lot of the time you feel alone. Each woman needs to look at her own situation (housing, financials, support, job, etc.) and dive into the really tough questions to decide what is best for her baby. It may be to parent or it may be to place. Not I nor anyone else can tell you what the best decision for you is, only you can make that choice.
Do You Ever Regret Your Decision?
No, I don’t. I do however look back and wish that I had been in a different situation at the time. I wish I had been more careful the night I got pregnant. Not that I regret getting pregnant because then I would have my sweet little angel in this world. But I do look back and think, what if it had happened just a few years later. I think it may have been a different story.
I also think about what it would be like now having her with me. I wonder what it would be like being the one to send her off on her first day of school or running to her to kiss her boo boo when she takes a spill on her bike. I’m the kind of person that can drive myself nuts with “what if” questions and scenarios. The truth is, when faced with the biggest decision of my life, I explored all of my options and took every piece of information into account and made the best decision I could have at that time.
Don’t You Miss Her?
Of course. I think about her every day. My love for her hasn’t changed a bit since the moment I heard her cry and held her in my arms.
What Do You Want For Your Future?
I want my daughter to look back and understand why I made the heart wrenching decision I did. My love for her did not allow me to make any other decision. I know I would have done my best to be a great mom and that would have been fine. I didn’t want fine or good enough for my daughter. I wanted the best for her. It was hard to admit that I might not have been the best thing but when I looked into her eyes that first moment, I knew that I was making the right decision.
I hope that we can continue to have an open adoption and the visits. I want her to always know I’m there, even when I’m not. When she is older, maybe the age I was when I found out I was pregnant, or when she has her own children, I hope she is able to understand my decision on an even deeper level.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering adoption, make sure not to leave any stone unturned. Consider all of your options. Think about the life you want your baby to have and then think about if that is something you can provide now, in a few months, in several years. If you are certain about adoption, really explore open adoption. Even if you aren’t sure you want an open adoption, leave the door open because you may change your mind later and really want updates and visits. Most importantly, don’t let anyone pressure you. Not your family, not your friends and not your counselor. I’ve heard many women who said they were talked out of adoption from their parents or grandparents who promised to help but later the responsibility fell back on them. Parenting is so much more than diapers and daycare. Only you can make the right decision for you and your baby. Talk with other women who have chosen adoption, talk with other young women who have chosen to parent. Get all your information and dive into those really tough questions. You may come to the realization, like I did, that you would be a fine mother but that you want the best for your child. Adoption is painful but my decision to give my baby everything I could was easy!