I remember being pregnant for the first time… scared, ashamed, alone. I was in my second year of college and in an unhealthy relationship. The pregnancy was unplanned and devastating to us both.
After a few days of shock, I had a decision to make. A mentor of mine talked about my three choices. Will I parent this baby? Will I choose to make an adoption plan for this baby? Or, will I abort this baby?
Although I knew at the time that I wasn’t ready to be a mother I also had deep aching fear of someone else raising my baby.
Adoption, although infrequently talked about, is growing more popular around the world. Legal adoption dates to 1851 in the United States. According to the National Center on Adoption and Permanency (2014):
“There are no comprehensive numbers on total adoptions in the U.S. each year or the number of specific types of adoptions other than child welfare and intercountry adoptions. Of the approximately 135,000 adoptions in the U.S. each year, close to 40% are adopted by stepparents and another 40% or so from the U.S. foster care system. Private infant and intercountry adoptions together make up the remainder and are much smaller numbers. According to the U.S. Census, 1 in 25 families with children have an adopted child – about half of these have both biological and adopted children.”
The Guttmacher Institute states, “Nearly half of all pregnancies among U.S. women in 2011 were unintended, and about four in ten of those were terminated in abortion”. Only 1% of all women facing unplanned pregnancy choose adoption, down from 9% (National Center on Adoption and Permanency).
This begs the question, “why is there such a stigma around adoption?” As a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy I can only speak from my own experience.
I believe there is deep rooted fear in the decision, no matter what the outcome is. There is fear of becoming a mother when we believe we are not ready, there is fear we cannot provide for a child a safe, healthy and “perfect” life, and there is fear that is deep rooted in our selfishness. We do not want our lives to be interrupted.
There is another type of fear that many women face. If I choose adoption, I will never see my baby again. I cannot think about someone else raising my baby. I thought it, I faced it, and ultimately, I chose abortion. I was ashamed to be pregnant and then not take responsibility to raise the baby. I was threatened and told lies by those I loved the most.
I wish I could go back to that young 22-year-old pregnant girl and tell her “You are more than the choices you make, your life matters and this baby’s life matters.” I wish I could go back and give that baby the gift of life with a family that so eagerly yearns to adopt. The truth is, there are many women out there that cannot physically have their own baby. There are good people who want to be part of this critical decision, a decision that affects so many people.
One of my dear friends, Kimberly, and her husband Kenny have been on the receiving side of adoption, they have had the privilege of adopting both of their children. Here is a part of her story:
“In March, we were matched with a birthmom who was having a little boy. On April 4th, we received a phone call saying that the adoption had fallen through. And just like that, we were back at square one. The next morning, on April 5th, our adoption agency met with a birthmom named Emilie. At this meeting, she was shown our profile book. And the very next day, she chose to meet us. Had our adoption fallen through even one day later, Emilie would not have been shown our book.Seventeen days later, we walked into our adoption agency to meet Emilie. My heart was pounding as we walked into the little conference room. I remember seeing Emilie, and her mom and her sister for the first time. Emilie was standing, and we hugged right away. Within minutes, I loved her and her family. Throughout the meeting we cried, Emilie cried, and her family cried. Tears of heartache, mixed with tears of joy and relief. We talked about Emilie’s story, her dreams, her love for this baby. We talked about our life; our dreams, and our love for adoption. The hour and a half flew by. As we sat across from Emilie, Kenny and I would look over at each other; and I could tell we were both thinking the same thing. This is the reason. This is the reason for all the confusing paths and closed doors and hard choices that we had to make: Emilie and her baby were going to be a part of our lives forever. On Saturday morning, we got the official phone call. Emilie had chosen us to be her baby’s adoptive family. We were so grateful, and really happy. We spent the next three months getting to know Emilie. We hung out several times and we texted quite a bit. We met her whole family. They all met Parker. We shared meals together; and it seemed like we had known each other so much longer. Over the months, Emilie has become more than our child’s birth mom. She is our friend and an extension of our family. And because this is her story too; we wanted you to hear her own words. Before you hear those words, please know this: Adoption is laden with layers of joy, and grief and beauty. And sometimes all at once.
When Emilie hand wrote us a card, to share that her baby was a girl, we were so excited. But there was also an ache in my heart. Emilie was going to sacrifice this sweet bond that a mom and her baby girl share; and she was gifting that to me.
As I held onto Emilie in the hospital while she labored and as we all saw Ellery for the first time, there was joy and awe for this beautiful little life, but there was also heaviness because we knew what was coming. As Emilie held Ellery in the hospital, kissed her head, and handed her to me one last time, I could hardly breathe. This moment was sacred and we all knew it. As I looked around the room, tears flowed down the cheeks of Kenny, Emilie, her parents, her sister, and her brother.
Ellery is deeply loved. And that is what I will always know, Emilie loves Ellery, so much. Her chosen loss, her entrusting Ellery to Kenny and me, is drenched in brave, genuine love.
Every day when I look at Ellery, this sweet, amazing gift, I am reminded of Emilie. Ellery’s life is beautiful. She is a picture of God’s faithfulness and perfect work. I still can’t believe that we were chosen to be her parents.”
To read more about Kimberly & Kenny’s journey visit her blog: http://www.kstonephoto.com/blog
For more information on adoption you can call 530-876-1113 or visit these websites:
March 29th, 2017
Posted In: Blog