"When I became pregnant at 19, I was terrified. Single, working full time, and taking night classes at the community college, I was in no position to provide the life I wanted for my baby. I was sure that adoption was the right choice, but I didn't know much about the process. I initially thought that my baby would be taken from me as soon as I gave birth. She would disappear with her new adoptive parents, and I would never see or hear from her again. Maybe she'd somehow track me down when she became an adult, as I'd seen in the movies.
While this was not the path I wanted, I thought this was my only choice. Little did I know that adoption has changed dramatically. I am so grateful for the warm, judgment-free help I received from Lifetime Adoption. Their help inspired me to choose an open adoption plan, which has given me a future with my child I never dreamed could happen...
In an open adoption, the adoptive family and the birth parents get to know each other and stay in contact after placement. One of the things that makes open adoption so special is that the adoptive family and the birth parents get to decide exactly what the adoption will look like. Some birth mothers are fine with email updates and photos every six months. Other birth mothers build a relationship with their child through phone calls, texts, and visits. The method and amount of contact in an open adoption is a personal decision to be made by the adoptive family and the birth parents together. Lifetime is there to support and facilitate the open adoption plan along the way.
I got started with adoption by looking at adoptive family profiles. At a time when so much of my life felt out of control, it was empowering to take charge of this important decision. I didn't want my baby to disappear from my life. I needed to know that she would be safe and cared for by a wonderful family.
When I met Ashley and Michael, I just knew they were the perfect match. They were so loving with each other, and they had an extended family who was very supportive and involved. It was reassuring to know that my baby was so loved by everyone in their family.
Since I matched with Ashley and Michael three months before my due date, we had time to get to know each other. I would never have imagined that we would grow so close...they're like my extended family. Whenever we discussed my daughter's future, they asked about what I wanted. I really appreciated that my wishes were being respected and valued. My relationship with Ashley and Michael made any fears I had about choosing adoption disappear.
When I went into labor, Ashley and Michael raced to the hospital. They were so excited and greeted me with a present: a beautiful adoption prayer bracelet that I wear to this day. They gave me my space while I settled into my room, but then I wanted Ashley to be with me. She held my hand through my labor, and she was there when our daughter came into the world.
The time I spent in the hospital with Ashley and Michael was such a blessing. When the time came to place my daughter in Michael's arms, I was filled with mixed emotions. My daughter was no longer mine, but I took comfort in knowing that Ashley and Michael would give her a beautiful life. Seeing Ashley and Michael's joy reassured me that I made the right choice.
From day one, Ashley and Michael have kept in contact with me. We share a private Facebook page to exchange pictures, we video chat, and we visit in person about once a year. I get to be a part of their family from the sidelines, and it's more than I ever could have hoped for. My daughter gets a loving family who will support and provide for her while knowing that I did not just give her away. Adoption was a decision that I came to after lots of soul-searching.
Choosing an open adoption plan was not only great for me, but I knew it would ultimately benefit my daughter. I wanted her roots to be transparent while she was growing up. I wanted her to know she is loved. Children placed through open adoption benefit from a stronger sense of identity, surrounded by love from their adoptive parents and birth parents. My daughter won't have to wonder where she came from.
And because of open adoption, Ashley and Michael know my daughter's family medical history. Some of the info I shared when I made an adoption plan was important genetic information. Knowing my daughter's family health history could mean the difference between life and death. My daughter will need to know that her mother's side of the family has a history of high blood pressure. This info could be life-saving!
As a pregnant woman who was scared and alone, it was a relief to find out I had so many choices. Choosing adoption is a personal decision for everyone. For me, the benefits of open adoption were obvious. It means I'm not spending my life wondering if my child is safe, and if I had made the right choice. Open adoption was the right choice for my daughter and me. Now we both have a chance to explore our dreams and take control of our futures."
If you're considering adoption, call or text 1-800-923-6784 to find out about all of the options available to you.
Let Lifetime Adoption's supportive, knowledgeable, and caring Adoption Coordinators assist you in creating a bright future for your baby and yourself.