There aren't a lot of things in my life that I can say I've done right. One thing I can attest to, is that the things I have done right, have been because I followed my instincts. Especially the more important things in life, spanning from deciding what college to attend to when to marry my husband. The decision I would like to concentrate on right now is the decision to become a birth mom. It wasn't a singular moment that sparked my decision to place. It was a series of moments-- moments of clarity at times when I felt like I was swimming in muck. Finding out I was pregnant, being left to do it alone, choosing an agency, choosing the parents-- during all of these events I followed my instincts and have never regretted anything. While I do think it is important and crucial to be open to hearing advice, I think the ultimate decision should revolve around what the birth mother feels will produce the best outcome for her child—and herself.
Finding out I was pregnant was a moment frozen in time. I knew the results before seeing the test, yet none of it seemed real. Even when I look back on it, it doesn't seem like it really happened to me. My instincts were telling me exactly what I needed to do from the beginning, but I didn't listen to them until I saw those two pink lines. My gut told me not to sleep with the birth father even though I had slept with other, less trustworthy guys. My gut told me to take the morning after pill even though we had used protection. My gut told me the moment I realized I was one day late that I was pregnant, even though my period was as irregular as they come. From the moment sex was even an option my instincts were on my side, doing what they could to warn me that this moment would stay with me always, if I participated. I chose to participate and was forever changed. This was when I started to listen to my instincts, and this was when my decisions started to help my life fall into place.
Knowing I couldn't do this alone, but afraid to tell my parents, I confided in my older brother. We had never been particularly close, but he had his own challenges in life and I knew I could trust him. If I had not told him, I would never had told my parents. This secret would have gone to the grave with me and open adoption would never have been an option. I'm so grateful I listened to myself and told him, thus starting a chain reaction to telling my family and allowing for an open relationship with my son.
My parents grew up in a generation where adoption happened to women who moved away for 9 months, placed the baby, then moved back, and started her life over again. They didn't want me to experience this pain. We talked many times about what adoption would mean for my future. They would always argue about the emotional turmoil it would have on me, I would talk about the benefits it would have for my baby. They begged me to let them be the ones to raise him until I was in a better position to do it myself. Again, I'm so grateful that I followed my instincts and followed through with adoption. Had I allowed their plan to take effect, I would have no desire to change the habits that got me pregnant in the first place. He would have grown up in a broken home, my parents would have had a parental attachment to him and when I was “ready” to raise him who knows what effect that would have had on them and on him.
He now lives in a stable home with two wonderful parents-- parents whom I found because of what I felt. When I was searching for them, the agency's website was going through an update. I found them first, fell in love with them, and thinking that it couldn't be that easy, continued looking. There are so many wonderful couples out there, but for some reason the other couples didn't feel right for my son. As the website was being updated I searched for the couple I first fell in love with—and could not find them. A surge of panic literally shot through my body. I searched, cried, and searched again. Thinking that they had been chosen by another birth mother, I continued looking. They would not get out of my mind! So I went back to searching and, after trying almost every combination of searches I could think of, found them again. I reread their profile and never felt more confident about a decision in my life. They were the couple. The baby even jumped for joy when I read their profile to him. My son is almost 5 years old now; their family has grown by one more since the adoption and he fits so perfectly in their arms. My instincts did not fail me.
The last point I would like to make is about my relationship with the birth father. Every birth mother I know dislikes the birth father. I can't blame them; all of the logic in the world says I should hate my son's birth father. He told me to get an abortion, he even joked about pushing me down the stairs to force an abortion, he left me to do the pregnancy alone, he could not wait to sign the papers to give up his rights as a father, he didn't do anything for me until the hospital when he showed up for the delivery and left before I signed away my rights as a mother. He broke my heart; I was nothing to him except a fun night and a long year. Everything tells me I should hate him except for one thing—that one thing is, you guessed it, my gut.
I have made every effort to be kind, even when I was hormonal and pregnant. I invited him into the room when I delivered, I emailed him all of the updates on his son, I have written books to my son about what I love about his birth father. The results of these efforts have yet to show themselves in our child, but I can't imagine that they will be detrimental in any way. That baby is part of me, and he is also part of the birth father. If I ever say an ill word against the father, I am speaking ill against my child. One noticeable result is the effect on the birth father. He has since matured into a very kind young man who loves both of us. Not in a romantic sense, but we have a respect for what we have done and what we have added to this world. The two of us are friends, and I know that my life is easier not having to swallow the poison of hate every time I think of him. I'm grateful I listened to my instinct and didn't allow his immaturity, at the time, to negatively damage my life or the life of my child.
There really aren't a lot of things in my life I can say I've done right. The adoption, however, I will never regret. In the last 4 years I have not once looked back at the experience and wished I had done something different. While I did have much guidance through my parents, my caseworker, and many birth mother support groups (of which I am a huge supporter), ultimately, everything came down to my choice. It forced me to grow up and think about the benefits of the child, and not myself. He is happy, he loves me, he is growing up in a stable home with his parents who love him as well as two birth parents who love him. Those series of moments, those moments of clarity within the madness of muck, not only improved the lives of everyone around me and my child, but taught me to trust myself and to love myself. Those two things I have never done before. Those decisions definitely produced the best outcome for my child—and myself.