True Story: I Gave My Baby Up For Adoption

What would it be like to give your baby up for adoption? An important read about unplanned pregnancies and for adoptive parents. Click through to read one woman's story

This is the story of Christine and the baby that she put up for adoption. Please note, this is not a commentary on women who chose to terminate a pregnancy or keep a child and raise it on their own. It is simply the path that Christine chose based on her beliefs. Please keep all comments respectful.

Could you tell us what your life was like at the time you got pregnant?
I was 18 when I got pregnant. I was barely into college, I was holding down an internship, and had a million hopes and dreams for myself.

What was your relationship with the baby’s father?
I was dating the baby’s father.

Why did you choose to give the baby up for adoption rather than terminate the pregnancy or keep it?
I knew for sure that I did not want to terminate the pregnancy out of respect for this little person inside me. I needed to consider that life as I was making decisions for my own life.

I did consider keeping the baby, but the more and more I thought about what I wanted to provide the baby with, the more I realized I just didn’t have access to the right resources. I was a college student scraping by and still had a lot of growing up to do emotionally.

How did the people in your life respond to your decision?
I’m not sure. Now, nearly 10 years later, I realize my choice really affected them. My mom suggested adoption. My parents are divorced and my dad offered to raise the baby for me and you can imagine how hurt he was when I decided on adoption. I’m still not sure how it affected my brother, step-mom, or step-dad.

Looking back, I don’t think it’s what the baby’s father wanted, but neither of us were in a position to be responsible for a baby. The baby’s father and I have been able to stay in contact all these years and thankfully he was supportive during that time.

Can you tell us about the process of finding an adoption agency?
My mom is the one that actually put the number of the agency in my hand. I was terrified, but called and learned about the agency, the process, and about a family that might be a good match for me.

The more I heard about the family and how close we were in terms of hobbies, skills, and background the more comfortable I got. I also felt a good connection with the agency staff. They were caring, genuine — I felt like they were people I would like to have a long term relationship with.

Did you hold the baby or interact with it all after you gave birth?
Yes. Although, not at first. The whole experience of giving birth took a lot of energy and I just remember sleeping a LOT after I heard the baby was safe and healthy.

The next day I spent some time with him. I remember him being wheeled into my room in a baby cart. He was all swaddled up with a cap on. I could only see his little face and the poor thing was crying.

I put one finger gently near his cheek and said it was okay, we would always be close. And he stopped crying. I will never forget that. That will be our moment forever.

I also held him when I was saying good bye. Holding him felt awkward, but I wanted to be able to tell him that I loved him and hug and kiss him so that he would know how much I loved him.

How did you feel when you said goodbye to the baby?
Heartbroken. It’s overwhelming to spend so much time with someone, even if you can’t see him, and then walk away from a place knowing you are leaving him behind.

But, in my heart I knew he was in amazing care and going to a place where he could be so happy. A place where he would have everything he could possibly want. A place where he would have two loving dedicated parents.

I asked for a sign that morning that I was doing the right thing. It was late November, and the sign came in the form of gigantic lazy snowflakes. That brought me a lot of peace in my decision.

Do you have any contact with the child or the adoptive parents?
Yes, we all decided on an open adoption which means I get scheduled updates in the form of letters and pictures of how this amazing little boy is. Having contact has helped me worry less about how he is. I also can send letters and pictures of me to the agency and they send them on to the family.

Do you even second guess your decision? How often do you think about your son?
I don’t think I ever second guessed my decision. I do wonder how things would be different, but know my decision was right. When I was deciding, my first concern was how could I provide basic needs (food, shelter, safety), guidance, affection, and still find energy and resources to make growing up fun. I knew I couldn’t do it to the quality I wanted to.

I grew up with one parent and didn’t want that life for my son. Even more than that I wanted him to have the chance for a brother or sister and knew in my heart that I couldn’t give him that either. How often do I think of him? All. the. time. Somehow, he is still a part of me, and I don’t think you can turn those kinds of thoughts off.

Do you have children of your own now? Are you interested in having more children?
I don’t have any other children, just a dog for now. For the longest time I didn’t think I would want a family of my own. However, when I met my husband that changed.

I can see us being good and fair parents and I look forward to the opportunity to start our family.

How would you feel if your son found you? How would you explain your choice to him?
It would be beyond joy for me to see my son again. It would probably be nerve-wrecking too. I really do look forward to the day that I can give him a big squeeze and tell him I love him.

And yes, I would be open to trying to explain my choice to him. In fact, I will really try to answer any questions he may have.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering giving a baby up for adoption?
If you are considering adoption, then try to think of what to do in terms of what you want for your baby. Also, when you are meeting the agency and potential parents listen to your gut.

You should feel pretty comfortable with the people you are interacting with since they become a part of your extended family in a way. Take the agency up on their offer for counseling. It was so valuable to talk through my thoughts, concerns and decision with someone who wasn’t emotionally invested into what was going on.

Lastly, it is natural to think and re-think your decision; what helped me was to try and focus on what was best for my son. I knew my heartache and sadness would be a temporary thing, but his happiness is everything to me!

Thanks so much for sharing Christine! Do you guys have any questions for her?

P.S. More true stories: I have 9 children & My mom had a baby with a serial rapist.

photo by danielle mcinnes // cc

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  1. Han

    I know that giving up your baby was a really hard decision to make but it makes me proud of you that you made that decision rather than aborting – I know some people see aborting as the easy way out (which to a certain degree it isn't). Personally I think I am pro-life having not been in that situation I don't know which way I would go.

  2. Angela

    I think it was a wonderful and well-though decision. I haven't been in that situation, but I have said if I was, I would have the baby and then put him/her up for adoption. There are so many families who want kids and can't have them.

    I'm pro-choice, though, in that I want women to have the choice. I don't feel it's my right to make that choice for someone else

  3. Reflections...

    heyyyy this is a beautiful interview… as I come from India, such a voluntary adoption thing is very new…i wish more people did give up their children up for adoption voluntarily, here most of the children, especially the poor ones are either abandoned (from where the charities like Missionary of Charity adopts them and raise them up) or they are simply killed in the womb itself….thank u for updating this interview…

  4. Kalei's Best Friend

    I must commend the gal who had the courage to give her baby to parents who were in need of a child.. What a mature attitude to have!. U did the right thing for YOU.. I bet your parents were proud of the courage you had then…

  5. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Christine. I, too, am so impressed that, at only eighteen, you were able to make such a difficult decision. I hope and your child both continue to thrive.

  6. Kristie Lynne

    So very brave and admirable. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. LynaLysa

    Thank you for sharing your story with us Christine..but I am slightly confused, at one point Sarah asked you about how you would feel if your son found you..but you said previously that this is an open adoption & you kept in touch with the adoptive family.But the term "found" implies to me that you lost contact somehow?I'm confused..

  8. LynnieBee

    You are very open and very brave,thank you 🙂

  9. JoAnna

    LynaLysa, I think they just mean that if the son seeks her out for a more in-depth relationship than a couple of letters a year. Knowing where your birth mother lives & the basics of her life is totally different than seeing her regularly, celebrating holidays together, and actually knowing her as a person… it's a different kind of "finding" but not a contradiction.

  10. nova

    One of my younger brothers and one of my younger sisters are adopted, and speaking from the other side, we sure do appreciate their mothers choosing our family. My brother's birth mom chose an open adoption with us, so he gets letters and photos from her a few times a year. They're so special for him.

    You made a difficult choice. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for the opportunity that you gave those parents. A woman like you made it possible for my parents to have another child and for me to have a brother, and I can't tell you how thankful we all are – and how thankful I'm sure your son's adoptive parents are, too.

  12. Anonymous

    I'm 5 months pregnant and this is the same situation I'm debating in my head about doing. But my family would hate me if I gave my newborn baby up. I don't know what to do. I'm 23 and I'm not ready to be a mother.

    • Anonymous

      Im 24 and in the same situation. I dont believe I am ready to raise a child, nor am I capable of giving it the life it deserves.

    • Jackie

      I just gave my own son up for adoption two months ago. I had decided that it was what I wanted to do, and it gave me a lot of hope and direction after I had made up my mind. I love him and I knew I couldn't provide him with the things he should have, most of all a father. After my 21 week ultrasound, I fell in love with my baby, and my heart broke because I knew I wanted to give him everything he deserves, even if it meant letting someone else do it for me.
      I got to know the adoption family very well, and honestly that helped a lot and made me feel better, knowing who my son was going to. It's an open adoption and I can call when I just need to know he's there and doing okay. No matter what, I gave birth to him and I will always be his mother and he will always be my beautiful baby boy who I love so much, but I know he belongs with his family and I know that some time in the future, I'll be ready to have my own family.
      Some days are harder than others, but I feel like I did the right thing and I know he has a good family, and that is what he needs the most, he needs a family with a mommy AND a daddy.

    • Anonymous

      Your family isn’t the one who would be raising the baby Do what’s best for the baby and you everything will be ok Just an FYI I was a terrified single 17 year old when I had my first I am 40 and prego now not sure my marriage will last I kept my first and I have 5 others children but feel to old to be apart of a dying marriage or raising one alone at my age . I am tired and have health issues I am considering adoption. Goodluck I empathize

    • Lauren

      I’m 26, and I just had my baby 10 days ago. What help me make the decision, was following my gut. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. I thought about keeping my baby once too, but for some reason thinking about adoption gave me a sense of peace. It’s hard to describe. I found the most amazing adoptive family and I really got to know the adoptive mother on a personal levelevel, to where she was with me the whole time I was in labor and even after in the Postpartum Ward of the hospital. So I felt very much at peace with my decision, especially seeing her burst with joy and love after seeing him born. Now my situation is very unique and doesnt normally work like that, but I guess what I’m saying is you have that control. You are already making a courageous decision by not aborting the baby. I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make. Not all woman are ready to be mothers, there should be no shame in that. It doesnt mean we love our child any less, it means we love our child so much that we are willing to do what it takes to make our child’s life the best we can. I hope this helps! I’m sure your parents will love you no matter what decision you make. It took my mom a little bit to come around, but the open adoption option made it so much easier for her to accept.

  13. Anonymous

    i was also a young mother who chose adoption. i know i made the best decision i could with the options i had at the time. i regret it everyday for the past 10 years. i wish i had
    kept him. he doesnt like me but will use me for gifts. i hate adoption.

  14. Anonymous

    I am also in a similar situation. I'm not sure what i want to do but i have adoption forms handy. I do not feel an emotional bond to him but feel bad for wanting to give him away. I was adopted and im fine. I cant afford a baby. I'm 20 years old. I wish this was an easy decision to make but it may be the hardest one ill ever have to make. I'm 25 weeks so i have a couple of months to think on it.

  15. Anonymous

    I got pregnant at 17. I chose adoption because I wanted the best for my baby and I knew that meant giving her up. Tomorrow will be our 10-year anniversary of meeting. She found me by doing research at the public library in the town where she grew up which is about 100 miles away from where I am. Meeting her was the answer to a prayer I never prayed! I was there to see her graduate from college, get married and now she has 2 beautiful boys. She is my daughter, I am her dear friend. We are truly blessed. I would encourage any young woman that is pregnant and unsure of what to do to consider adoption. Then pray about it. God will guide you to do what is best and when you do, you will be blessed. I have no regrets and for 23 years before meeting my daughter I had peace in my heart. I knew she was happy, healthy and loved.

  16. ANON

    I’m in the process of a marital separation with my husband. We have 4 kids together. I became pregnant from an affair I had while still married. Although the baby isn’t my husband’s, my affair isn’t the ONLY reason for our separation but rather we’ve had problems for many months (of and on for several years). I’ve only considered adoption in my 24th week of pregnancy. I know of a married couple who are seeking to adopt a second child. The love they have for their first adopted child is amazing! My husband and I have a bond with this couple as they are very prayerful and faithful to God. We go to the same church, although they are from another country, there is a good chance of them moving away. I want to keep an open adoption relationship with them if I decide to choose that route. I know he’ll be loved and cared for by a mother AND a father. I still have a few months to discern on this decision.

  17. Ali

    Beautiful article. I would love to post it on the facebook page for the adoption agency I work for, but the title of the article is very insensitive to birth moms. The paradigm that women “give up” their child is rather cruel and inaccurate, especially in an open adoption. Please be mindful of using appropriate language when posting on such a sensitive topic!

  18. Anonymous

    I respect you for choosing to go through pregnancy and giving birth to the baby. Adoption is hard but its a better choice than abortion when both the baby n the mother are healthy. I was once in a doctors room considering abortion. I had the dates planned out, read the details and was mentally prepared for it. I had given myself enough reasons, my career, my future financial plans, and family who was totally unwilling to let me have that baby. But the moment I walked into the hospital and saw myself lying on the bed while the doctor terminated a “life” I couldn’t handle it. I don’t know what’s right or wrong, coz a lot of people would vote for abortion in my situation, even the father of the baby wanted me to abort. But it wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t take those final few steps and lie down on that hospital bed. Now I deal with the situation of being a birth mother. I’m considering closed adoption instead of open. I know I won’t be able to handle that well, and I don’t want the baby to be traumatized by my own depression of letting go of him (its a boy) but then, I don’t think I’ll be strong enough to see him partially and coming home without him. I’m a mom already, I will never be able to justify why I couldn’t keep one child and not the other. But I am still so thankful to God I did not go for abortion. I couldn’t have handled that well. But adoption is a hope for me. That my baby will be happy. There are nice people in this world. I believe he will be happier and safe and will be able to understand my situation years later when he is a big man. Life is not perfect but I would still go with it instead of any other option. I read what other people feel about the similar situation, I find what challenges being a birth mother has, I weigh pros n cons, but I’m still glad I’m having this baby with me today, healthy n with a possibility of a happy beautiful life. Even if its not with me, coz I know he’ll have a better life with a complete family who would be able to give him better life than I can give.

  19. Anonymous

    Birth mother about to sign adoption papers and I’m breaking down. I’m due in Oct and my baby is not going to be mine. It feels as if these are the only months I have with him. I try to stay strong but I’m breaking down.

  20. Anonymous

    I just gave birth 2days ago. A beautiful and healthy baby girl. I am really fortunate i was able to spend those 2days with her. Kissing her, hugging her, feeding her, attending to everything she needs. Good thing the adoptive mother allowed me to do all these things while still in the hospital. The day of our discharge from the hospital would be the most unforgettable day of my life. When i gave my princess to her new mom, got in the car and sped away. I kept my tears at bay. I whispered to her that i will always love her and she will always be my princess no matter what. I have her tie shirt when she was given to me as a reminder and photos of the precious moments i was able to spend with her. Praying to God that her new mom will love her as much as i would. From here on i know life will be difficult. Bouts of depression, sleepless nights and crying sessions out of the blue. I know it was the best decision i could have done for my princess. God will find a way for us to be together someday.

  21. Jessica

    Our Story Is Similar. It is such a very hard thing a mother could do, knowing your leaving the hospital and leaving baby behind.. it broke me into pieces and the baby’s father doesn’t want to ever talk about the adoption.. he hates me for it but he will get through it one day. It’s tough but it’s going great. I love my baby girl so much.

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