I never thought that it would happen to me. I thought that I was too responsible and took every precaution. I guess nothing is fool proof. Nonetheless I became pregnant at the age of 16, the fall of my junior year in high school. My boyfriend, and I knew right away, but we were so unsure about what to do that we chose to remain in denial. I continued to play an entire season of volleyball for my high school and we went on with our lives as if nothing was happening. This denial went on for seven months! We hid it from everyone, our families and our friends, but it was becoming too apparent for me to hide it anymore.
My eldest sister heard it through the grapevine of the small town we lived in and confronted me about it. I couldn’t lie to her, so I let it all out. It was such a relief to tell someone, not to hide it anymore. I told my parents and was very surprised by their reactions. I just knew that my mother was going to be the understanding one and because my father was extremely old fashioned, I thought that he would be the one to hit the roof. I couldn’t have been any more wrong. My mother was the one who took it the worse. She was so angry and hurt. My father on the other hand, was very calm and gentle. His only response was, “What are we going to do about it?” My boyfriend and his parents came over the next day and the six of us discussed our options. His parents offered for us to get married and we could move in with them, if we chose to parent this child. Although my boyfriend and I loved each other, I think deep down we knew that we were not meant to be. We turned down his parents’ offer, because we did not want our child to grow up only having a part time mom or a weekend dad. We were not raised that way and our child would not be either. I was too far along for an abortion, which we had discussed when we first discovered the pregnancy, and quickly threw that option out. If we weren’t going to parent and we weren’t going to abort, there was only one other option, to place our child for adoption.
We contacted an Miriam’s Promise and arranged a time to meet with a counselor. There was no pressure from her on what we should do. She let us ask the questions and she only gave us honest answers. She did not try and sugarcoat the situation or the decision that we were trying to make, which I was thankful for. Had she done that, I may have not been so prepared, which there is no way to be completely prepared, but I knew that what I was about to do would be the hardest thing I would ever have to face.
Since I was so far along, right away we started looking for a family. My boyfriend and I found two families that we liked, but it did not take long for us to decide between the two. We chose a couple, David and Lisa, because their letter was honest and sincere and their interests were very similar to ours. The main reason for choosing them was because of their biological son, Andrew. I have two older sisters and my boyfriend has two older brothers, so our child having a sibling was very important to us. After making our decision, that this was going to be our child’s new family, we were ready to meet.
We met at the agency one afternoon, just the three of them, my mother,my boyfriend, and myself. It was as if we had known each other all of our lives. We all brought pictures of our families and told stories as if we were at a family reunion. I left that day feeling very good about everything and at ease about our decision. A few weeks later, My boyfriend and I met David and Lisa for dinner. We had a great time. We really didn’t even discuss “baby”. This made me feel very good because I knew that our relationship wasn’t just about the fact I was carrying their child, but much deeper. I knew then that I would always have a place in my child’s life.
In June I gave birth to a 7lb. 8oz. little girl. My boyfriend and my mother were with me through the whole labor experience and I had to have an emergency cesarean section. David and Lisa did not come during the delivery because they wanted us to have our time with her and our chance to be her parents. We called and invited them to come to the hospital that evening. Upon their arrival they showered us with gifts, hugs and kisses. They seemed very timid at first, when asked if they wanted to hold her, but when they did, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I can see it like it was yesterday. When I saw David, Lisa and Andrew holding her, I knew then that they were meant to be a family. It was so beautiful. I can’t even possibly explain the relief I felt. I was so at peace with our decision. I knew I would have no regrets.
On the day that we were all to leave the hospital and go our separate ways, our families said their good-byes first. After they were all done, my boyfriend and I spent what seemed like hours alone with her, telling her everything that we wanted her to know. We dressed her in a little outfit that we had chosen for her. We mainly just wanted her to know before she left why we had to do what we were doing. It wasn’t because we didn’t love her, but because we did. David and Lisa were waiting downstairs, so we handed her over to our counselor and she took her to David and Lisa. We felt that we could not physically hand her over to them, but we did watch them leave from the window of our room.
About three weeks later, Lisa invited my mother and I over to visit the baby. It was a beautiful visit and it was very nice to see where she was living and what her room looked like, etc. We found out soon after placement, that David was being transferred to Texas, which we knew was a possibility before the baby’s birth. In August they had a christening for her and my family and I were the guests of honor. It was such a privilege and honor to stand before their entire congregation and have everyone know who I was and what I meant to them. It was definitely a very special day. Later that month, they all moved to Texas and have been there ever since. They enjoy it greatly but long for Tennessee to be home again. Ever since they moved, they have made a point to come and visit my family and I at least once a year. That means a great deal to all of us, that they care that much to keep a relationship with us. We exchange letters and pictures often, and call whenever we can find the time with our hectic schedules. Every time I receive a letter and pictures I get a sense of relief again and reassurance that she is growing up strong and healthy and living life to the fullest. By having such an open relationship with them, she will never have to question how I feel about her or the reasons behind our decision to place. Even if she had any questions, she would know how to find me and could hear it straight from me.
David, Lisa and Andrew are truly wonderful people and I am thankful everyday that I found such angels as them to raise my daughter. I have been extremely blessed by having such wonderful people come into my life, like my counselor and the staff at Miriam’s Promise, David, Lisa, Andrew and especially Jenny. Everyone should be so lucky.