Why I Choose Adoption
I’m not an all-holier-than-thou Christian, nor am I a far right Republican. I’m just your average woman who had the unique experience of having chose parenting, abortion, and adoption. I always wanted to be a mom, so I was ecstatic when my long-term boyfriend impregnated me despite having little financial resources. After two miscarriages, I became pregnant with ‘Baby A’.
However, I gave birth in the midst of a natural disaster. My boyfriend walked out on me, and I was left bouncing from friend’s house to friend’s house with a travel bassinet. Child services got involved and my baby was placed in long term relative care.
A few years later, I became pregnant again. I was ashamed of the fact that I was unsure of paternity, but wanted to give the baby a chance at life. I was homeless at the time and reached out to every resource in my community to no avail. Finally, I turned to child services, but they said they couldn’t help me until the baby was born.
People have questioned me as to why I aborted halfway through the pregnancy. The answer is that it was the only option I had left. The baby was at high risk of Spina bifida due to medication I had been taking. I wasn’t able to care for her and was unsure as to whether she could be adopted.
The abortion was provided free of charge and the staff at the clinic were compassionate and non-judgmental. But it was the post-abortion guilt that I couldn’t shake. Every time I look at the pictures of a developing fetus, my heart aches. I was raised Catholic and heard that abortion results in excommunication from the church. That may have changed in recent years. I don’t know. The problem was that I was unable to forgive myself.
I eventually married and became pregnant with ‘Baby B’. My husband and I initially raised him, but he was born during a recession, and money was tight. After our 18 months of welfare ran out, we relocated in search of work. Before we got back on our feet, child services got involved and placed him in relative care, too.
I’ve never had any substantiated allegations against me for abuse, neglect,or abandonment of a child. All the family courts had on me was that my lack of stable housing and income placed my children at potential risk, as well as some concerns about my substance abuse and mental health history.
I’ve known numerous low income mothers who’ve made miracles happen for their children. I wish I could’ve been one of them, but that isn’t how it worked out for me. If you’re low income and pregnant, I strongly encourage you to seek support and resources and develop a plan for self- sufficiency. And do seek help if you have substance abuse and mental health issues.
After this experience, I learned my lesson and went on birth control. But ten years later, I became pregnant again. Around the same time, Baby A had been removed from the relatives home and placed in foster care. That left me with a reopened child services case and automatic grounds for them to take my unborn baby.
I grew up in relative care myself, and my brother had been adopted out. There had been two potential adoptive families interested in me, but my grandmother fought to keep me in the family. Then, when I was 13, my grandmother was hospitalized, and my aunt decided she couldn’t handle me. I became a ward of the state until I was 18.
I often wonder how my life may have been different had I been adopted. My brother is an Air Force veteran with a masters degree, good paying job, beautiful home, and a wife and kids. On the other hand, I’ve struggled to make it on minimum wage and an SSI check and became homeless for ten years.
Even though I was aware of the benefits of adoption, I never thought I was strong enough to carry a baby for nine months only to give them away until I was left with no other choice. While pregnant, I made a promise to my unborn baby that if he just hung in there, he would have a great life – even if it wasn’t with me.
I first heard of my adoption attorney from a homeless couple I knew who had a positive experience with two adoptions. When labor was scheduled for induction, I contacted one of them to get the attorney’s name. It took a lot of strength to make that phone call. But I did it.
I went into labor that very night and gave birth to ‘Baby C’. I knew that he wasn’t going home with me, but decided to stay strong for his sake to make sure that he’d be well cared for. I left a message for my adoption lawyer as soon as I went into labor, and she responded in the morning.
Since child services planned to place Baby C in foster care, time was of the essence. My adoption lawyer immediately started reaching out to potential families. The following day, she had a prospective family for me to meet. I prayed that the family my lawyer found would be right for my baby and told God that I’d trust Him on it.
The couple who entered my hospital room was warm and friendly and even brought me flowers. They showed me thier album and told me about themselves and their family. I let them hold and feed Baby C and was more than pleased with how they interacted with him. They were down to earth, had tons of family support, and were everything I wanted for my baby.
I was discharged from the hospital, but Baby C stayed while we waited for my husband’s signature on the adoption papers. I talked to the adoptive mom when the papers were signed. I told her that I finally allowed myself to cry for the baby, but never regretted my decision. She thanked me, and I replied that I thanked her for saving my baby from foster care. We both cried and laughed together on the phone.
The adoption was semi-open, so I only know the adoptive parents first names and have no direct contact with them or Baby C. Instead, they occasionally send pictures and updates to the attorneys office and she forwards them to me. Adoptions can be open, semi-open, or closed, but I prefer semi-open to give both me and the adoptive family a level of privacy and allow my babies to look ahead to their future rather than focusing on where they came from. We are all able to move on, but the pictures and updates let me know that my babies are doing well.
I say babies because I became pregnant again three months later due to issues with my insurance coverage. My husband and I decided to do another adoption. At that point, I had dealt with so much child loss that I couldn’t even bond with my unborn baby or emotionally register the fact that I was pregnant. The same adoption attorney found a family for my baby. They lived in Europe and I was never able to meet them due to the pandemic, but I had gotten to know my adoption lawyer enough to trust her judgement.
Baby D was my only child who was born premature and positive for substances, but he was otherwise healthy. The adoptive mother and NICU nurses were all reportedly crying tears of joy the day he went home with his adoptive family. Most babies with drugs in their system leave with child services. Baby D didn’t because I chose adoption. He got a happy ending.
I never felt guilt or regret with adoption as I did when I had the abortion. But I did grieve. I never wanted my babies back. I just missed them and wished that I could’ve held them a little longer. At first, the tears would come often and sporadically, but as time passed, the grieving stopped. I still think of them occasionally and enjoy the pictures, but I’ve been able to let go.
That year, Baby A, who was now a teenager, asked me to give up my parental rights,so she could be adopted. I knew at her age adoption was unlikely, but at least my signature could make it possible. I could’ve chosen adoption for her many years before, but selfishly, I held on hoping to be her mother.
My husband and I haven’t seen Baby B in over ten years due to grudges and bad blood in my family. We still have full parental rights to him, but don’t even receive pictures. All we get is a child support bill. Ironically, we know more about the babies we gave up for adoption than we know about him.
Although I lean towards pro-life, I don’t judge women who have abortions because I’ve been there. Plus, I’m a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. I can understand how it can be hard to carry a rapist’s baby to term and that many domestic abusers may refuse to sign adoption papers because the child gives them additional control. I acknowledge that there needs to be more resources available to pregnant women and a change in laws and social policies.
But abortion still breaks my heart especially since I’ve found an alternative: adoption. If you’re pregnant and considering adoption, I recommend going through a reputable adoption attorney instead of an agency as there are unscrupulous people out there. I personally deal with Charlotte Danciu, an experienced S. Florida adoption attorney. And if you meet someone who wants to adopt your baby, tell them to contact your lawyer so a background check and home study can be done.
Adoption isn’t an easy decision to make, but it’s well worth it. The pain of giving a baby up at birth wasn’t nearly as bad as having a two year old ripped from my arms. My youngest two children are with loving families and have a bright future ahead of them. I never thought I could choose adoption, but I’m glad I did. “Mary S.”