When we last left off I had finally decided on adoption for my daughter when I was 16 years old and 7 months pregnant. Though my heart grieved the choice I knew I needed to make for us, for the first time in months I felt something new and a weight lifted—I felt peace.
In the following days after choosing adoption, I pondered my heart’s true desires for what I wanted in my daughter’s family and life. I decided I wanted her to have a life similar but better than my own. I grew up in a split family so I definitely wanted a strong couple. I also wanted her brought up with Christian values, which had brought stability through the tilt-a-whirl ride of unplanned pregnancy. I also really felt the need for Anna to have a sibling from the get go. I had no siblings until I was a teenager so I wanted to know that she would not grow up as an only child if they chose not to adopt again. I wanted a family not too far away, but not too close either. Most of all, I desired an open adoption and a family who was willing to allow me to be a part of her life as much as was comfortable for everyone. I had a list of the ideal family and ultimately, all the important aspects of what I wanted within our adoption would be checked off.
Within 2 weeks I had chosen a family for my daughter. With my trembling hands and big belly, they were the very first profile I looked at. I do not remember what their letter said, but I remember their pictures and how they reminded me of my own family and what I wanted for her. We even had the same kind of dogs! Our first meeting confirmed my decision for adoption. They were so open and loving. Our vision for our relationship and the adoption were on the exact same page. We both wanted an open adoption that both sides of her family would complete her life’s “puzzle.” Through the next 2 months until our daughter’s birth, additional signs confirming the decision helped me to continue to have peace and know I was doing the best thing for us. Things like us choosing nearly identical first names and picking the same exact middle name without even knowing what the other had in mind. This was comforting and kept me going with a sense of hope, excitement, and peace. We spent the rest of my pregnancy getting to know each other deeper, visiting every few weeks, phone calls or emailing constantly.
Preparing for her arrival was such a bittersweet time. I treasured my last days and moments with her in my womb—a time when she was only mine and I did not have to share her. I watched my belly in awe as she poked me from the inside. I also spent some time grieving our upcoming separation, wondering how I would handle it. My parents bought me puppies to take care of to help with my grieving process, to have something at home to love and nurture when my arms felt empty. I gathered as much information as I could from support groups online where I met some of my best friends still to this day. Above all, I had supernal peace flowing inside telling me it would all be okay. I knew I would make it through the other side of adoption and that I would be stronger for it, as would she in her healthy new home.
By the time our daughter was born, our families already felt bound together over the love for this little girl. The day she was born I was set to be induced to make sure they would be there. I remember going into the hospital early in the morning, having had little sleep. I was full of excitement to finally see this little girl in my arms and yet dreading that this chapter of our time together was closing. 12 hours later, our little girl was born at 9pm on the dot. I remember not being able to speak when she was born, but with tears in my eyes I sent love to her hoping she could feel it penetrating her heart just as she had touched mine. The first words I remember saying out loud was, “She is meant to be theirs.” As much as I loved her, I knew. I knew she was in existence to be their child. One of my fondest memories of our time in the hospital was watching her adoptive dad hold her for the first time with a tear rolling down his cheek—he was already so in love with her.
I do not mean to brush over the pain of adoption for a birthmother. For me, the grief I felt has softened like the memory of the pain of childbirth. Some days it may sweep me off my feet and is felt like a wound reopened. Sometimes I feel what I have lost. Sometimes I feel the emptiness in my home as we are missing one more smiling face around our dinner table. Sometimes I just need to feel it again, to know that she is not forgotten within our family and that it was a sacrifice for both of us. But over all, over the last 10 years, peace with my choice has held me steady on my path. It has healed wounds and helped me overcome the heartache of placing my child into another’s arms. It certainly was not an easy experience, but looking back mostly I just feel and see the good of what adoption has been for us.