My adoption story begins back in 1999. I was a 19 year old girl, just starting to experience independence, challenges, and life. I had just graduated high school and was living on my own for the first time, reckless and carefree. Then suddenly I was hit with the raw reality of the choices I was making. I found myself staring down at a pregnancy test. A positive pregnancy test! This is when my life changed forever.
At that very moment, my head and heart filled with so many emotions. Excitement. Anger. Fright. Confusion. Love.
What were my parents going to say? How were my friends going to react? How was I going to raise a child when I could barely raise myself? These questions were the first challenges I would face.
I called my Mom the next day. To my surprise, she said, “We will get through this one day at a time.” I remember those words so clearly. My friends were very supportive, but some of those friendships would soon be tested.
A Loving Choice
I spent the next several weeks questioning my ability to parent and raise a child in the best possible environment, with the best possible influences, and the best possible outcome. I could not see how this would be possible with my current lifestyle, which, selfishly, I wasn’t ready to give up. However, I was able to make a very selfless decision to place my child for adoption, to give my child the life she deserved.
By the time I was five months pregnant, I had made the decision to place this sweet baby for adoption. I knew this would be the best choice for us, but ultimately for her!
On May 26th, 2000 a beautiful little girl entered this world. She was the most beautiful human I had ever seen. The emotions of my decision, and what was about to happen, took a tight hold on me.
I had decided to spend 3 days in the hospital with her. This was the time my family and friends needed to say “goodbye.” Most importantly, this was the time I needed to hold my baby girl, to start processing the emotions and reality of my decision, and to begin healing the great loss I would soon feel. On the third day, I hugged my baby girl so tight then walked out of the hospital empty handed. At that moment, Sarah Elizabeth began her life with her family!
Communication with Sarah and her family started through New Life Adoptions. Letters and photos were shared on a monthly basis. Opening the mailbox to an envelope of pictures made Sarah’s childhood fly by and allowed me to watch her grow from afar. I still hold these pictures near to my heart as I often look back and think about the little milestones that I experienced through this communication.
The days, months, and years following Sarah’s birth were filled with challenges. I continued to make poor life decisions. I moved 953 miles away from home and was still trying to find myself. During this time, my relationship with Sarah’s parents, Dave and Susan, was challenged. I pulled away and I sensed they had too.
I continued to make poor life decisions and my relationship with the adoptive parents was challenged. I pulled away and I sensed they had too.”
I spent days and nights trying to sort through my feels and my decisions. Should I back away? Would my involvement in her life complicate things for her? Was I a good enough role model or influence? Over several years, I worked hard to gain Dave and Susan’s trust and respect. I struggled internally with how to better myself, which would then better the relationship I had with Dave and Susan and others in my life. I knew that in order to maintain this gift we had, I would need to make some serious changes in my life. I re-evaluated friendships, started a new job, and set goals for myself. The changes I made in my life would begin to change our relationship forever.
Growth & Openness
Our time spent together went from between one and three visits per year to five or more visits. These visits included Sarah and I spending time alone together. We planned to take a road trip together, which opened the front door to Sarah’s home. I was finally able to see, in person, where she lived and where she grew up. The decision to grow our openness just happened naturally over time. It happened because of the growth in my life and the love we have for each other.
The time I spent alone with Sarah made every tear and every sleepless night worth it. I spent time with her at soccer games, the zoo, and school talent shows. Her friends would say hi to me and acknowledge our relationship. I was also invited to meet her extended family at her Confirmation. Sarah and her parents even sat next to me at my Mom’s funeral. Before I know it, Sarah will be graduating from high school.
Six years ago, I was faced with another unexpected pregnancy. I knew that I would not be able to emotionally handle another adoption plan, so I made the decision to parent. Telling Dave and Susan proved to be a bit harder than I thought. They were family and the decision to parent would need to be explained to the little girl that I had not been able to parent. Dave, Susan, and I talked about my decision to parent and how they would talk to Sarah about this. Once again, the mutual love and respect shined through! Dave and Susan were very supportive. I had explained to them that this decision was made based on 11 years of progression and growth in my life.
Sarah has become a wonderful big sister to my son, Henry. The two have a special bond which I hope grows over the years. But most importantly, Sarah has a place in our family. My fiancé, Eric, and I have shared many special moments with Sarah and her parents. Eric has always been supportive of my relationship with Sarah and the growth I have experienced as a birth mother. He met Sarah when she was 14 years old and accepted her, and our story, as though he had always been a part of it. It would only be fitting that Sarah stand with us at our upcoming wedding! I am so blessed to have her by my side on our special day.
The decision to place Sarah for adoption was the hardest decision I have ever made. It was not made in haste, nor out of selfishness.”
Making the decision to place Sarah for adoption was the hardest decision I have ever made. It was not made in haste, nor out of selfishness. The decision to place a child for adoption is the most selfless decision anyone can make. I made that decision for Sarah… and Sarah alone. And every time I see her and spend time with her, that decision is solidified in the love and respect we have for each other.