I was eighteen, a newly single mom. I had no job, no home of my own, and I was pregnant for the second time. A second child was nowhere in my plans. I was struggling to take care of my first – how could I also care for another child? We moved into an apartment with a roommate early on in my pregnancy. I had no idea what I was going to do.
I told my mom I was pregnant, and we talked about my choices.
I didn’t know much about adoption at that point. A girl in my high school who was pregnant at the same time I was pregnant with my first child had shared with me that she and her boyfriend were going to release their baby through an adoption. I opened a phone book and made some calls. I ended up choosing an agency that promoted open adoptions. Through the summer, I met several times with a gal from the agency. She explained the process so I would know just how everything would happen.
Toward the end of summer, it was time to start the selection process. I received three large binders filled with pictures of each prospective adopted family along with one-page autobiographies they had written about themselves. From these hundreds of short autobiographies, I was to choose three families. A first, second and third choice. I would meet one family at a time, then choose my child”s family. The task was overwhelming. I had just a couple weeks to pour over them, and really I kept thinking of our family friends…
I did finally make a choice, but the night before I was to meet with the gal from the adoption agency I flipped through the pages of those notebooks one last time. I still wasn”t sure about the families: they looked nice, they all had the values I was looking for, and, yeah, out of all the families I had to choose from, they were it. I closed the books. It was getting late.
I was surprised when my mom called just a short time after I had made peace with my choices. She told me she had just come home from dinner with the family that had been on my heart for so many months. She told me that she and my dad had shared with the family that I was planning to release my child for adoption. Our friends went home to talk about it, then called my parents to tell them that, if I would let them, they would like to adopt my baby. Tears streamed down my face as my mom spoke. For me that moment was a miracle. They didn’t know tomorrow was the big meeting day, the day I was to choose my baby”s family. They didn’t know that God had just answered my prayer.
So, my baby had a family. We spent the next few months working out the details and getting to know each other in these new roles we would play in each others’ lives. There would be an agreement about what kind of contact we would expect from one another. I had to decide how open I wanted to be. They had to decide how open they wanted to be.
I knew the family really wanted a daughter. One day before we knew if I was having a boy or a girl, I asked Della (the mother) if she would still want to adopt my baby if I was having a boy. I was worried. Della answered that she wanted to adopt my child nomatter what. I was relieved, but I so wanted my baby to be a daughter for them.
On Christmas Eve, I was in Florence celebrating with family. We were up late that night preparing the house for Christmas morning. Just at midnight, I had a contraction. Ten minutes later, I had another contraction. Ten minutes later, another. We quickly got on the road to make the 60 mile trip back to Eugene. The trip was slow going, but we made it in time to get to the hospital. My baby’s family was at the hospital, and Della was in the room with my mom and me when our daughter was born at 7:30 Christmas morning.
After meeting their new daughter, the family left me alone with the baby. We were together until the next day. Then it was time to sign papers. I was surprised to read that there was a six month trial period before the adoption was final. I didn’t remember talking about that. That was a scary moment, but the adoption agent reassured me that it was very unlikely that there would be any problems. I signed the papers believing that all would work out and my daughter would grow up in a loving home.
After signing the papers, we all went out to the parking lot together. My mom and I got into the car together. My baby’s family stood together with their new daughter as we drove away. That was a hard moment – I still cry when I think about it. I knew it was the right choice, but it hurt deeply. Joy and pain twisted together in my gut until I could hardly breathe.
I was able to visit my daughter for the first time in her new home a few days later. That visit was a blessing, as all our visits have been. My heart is filled with joy each time I think of my daughter and her life.