I married my high school sweetheart the summer after our senior year. Seven years later, I found myself separated with two kids at home: a three-year-old and a six-year-old. I was distraught over my husband leaving; I was lonely most nights and began seeking companionship.
In an attempt to ease the pain, I had a one-night stand with a random guy I met in a bar.
A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.
What was I going to do? This child I was carrying wouldn’t have the foundation of a loving mom and dad; and me, no help from a partner. I had three options: abortion, be a single mom to three children, or consider adoption.
Because of my beliefs, getting an abortion was off the table.
The thought of parenting a third child was overwhelming. I was already struggling with two kids. Could I raise my kids and this new baby with my resources? I was heartbroken my kids no longer had a stable environment to grow up in. I felt so inadequate.
I began wondering what adoption would look like.
Could I actually carry this baby to full term and then hand over my child to someone I didn’t know?
Was I strong enough?
What would I tell people?
Who would raise this child?
Would I ever see it after it was born?
How do I tell my kids?
What do I say to my family?
What would people think of me?
Am I a cold person to even consider adoption as an option?
Can I really do something like this?
The questions seemed to stack up but after six weeks of waffling back and forth, I decided adoption was the best decision. Maybe it would be hard for me, but for this baby, it would be the best thing. I knew being raised in a loving home with two parents present was more important to me than raising another child in a broken home. I wanted to be strong enough to endure the pain and joy of carrying a pregnancy to term so I could help a family who desperately wanted a child.
Even though I knew placing this baby up for adoption was the right path for us, I was not willing to share my situation with anyone. I was scared people would judge me, talk about me, ridicule me, chastise me. I worried people would constantly try to talk me out of my choice. I didn’t want to defend myself or explain away my feelings.
Obviously, I couldn’t hide the pregnancy.
I already felt ostracized being a single mom in my church community; what would they think if I was also a woman who gave away her child?
Because of my fears, I came up with a plan - a lie - to tell people I was a surrogate for another couple who couldn’t have a child on their own. After I delivered the baby, I could pretend it didn’t happen. New people I met would never know I had a baby and placed it up for adoption.
I hesitate telling Christians what I have done. Adoptions are celebrated, even encouraged. The adoptive parents are “angels” who saved a baby no one wanted or rescued the baby from a bad situation. These selfless parents provide the love and support the baby was not getting from their mom and/or dad. As the woman on the other side of adoption, it’s hard to hear how people talk about the birth family. There are all kinds of assumptions about the birth mother particularly. The truth is, I loved my child so much I chose a better life path for it. I could have kept this child and raised it; I had already been raising children and I knew I could do it. But I believed there was something better for it, and I believe I chose well in deciding adoption.
Not many people understand how it feels to walk this path. And personally, it’s tough knowing my path is easier to walk with those who do not openly follow Jesus. I wish my Christian community wasn’t so closed-minded.
The family that adopted the child I gave birth to sends me pictures, letters and allows me to visit. This family now has three adopted children and I helped create that. In giving up my baby, I helped create a family.
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