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.
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?