Mary's Story: I Want to Announce Her Birth to the World
"I am pregnant! This can't be true!" But I knew it was even before I took several pregnancy tests, all positive! I didn't tell a soul yet, let alone my dad who would probably freak out, and, worst of all, would feel he let me down at parenting. My father raised all five of us kids after mom died. I prayed for peace of mind and for answers.
Adoption. That was the answer and I was at peace. I was not ready for parenthood. I haven't yet had all of my needs met at twenty-six years of age, so how was I going to see to the needs of someone else—the birthfather wanted no part of it. After a lot of negotiation, he started to yield and became somewhat helpful. After I kept changing my mind at first—keeping the baby, etc.—he bailed out. He was afraid he would have to financially support the baby—man's worst fear. We only knew each other about two months, and had no real interest in each other. I just thought he could at least be there for moral support. Hah! What a joke. That was a nightmare for nine months. To me, it was like having cancer—turned into a real blessing.
Kristin was born on Easter Sunday. Because of her, I feel accomplished. She is beautiful. I want to announce her birth to the world! I am so proud! But, of course, not many understand adoption. People would understand if I kept the baby or, as I've come to find out also, if I had gotten an abortion.
I went to the yellow pages searching for an adoption agency. I found many abortion clinics and some pregnancy hotlines but nothing more. One pregnancy hotline did help me get free medical help, but I was still clueless otherwise.
A friend found an ad in a magazine, "Open Adoption." The only thing that appealed to me was the adoption. I knew nothing of this wonderful "open" part of the deal. I wanted my baby to live far away to protect us both from too much contact and confusion. Those were my only standards thus far. Being able to choose the type of couple to adopt and where the baby would grow up, all started to sound more and more appealing than regular, blind adoption. My counselor was very, very helpful in guiding me through the steps of the adoption process and was always there to lend an ear.
I chose a couple who was, yes, as far away as possible. They were so far away, I could only take a plane, which I would never do—or so I thought. (Little did I know, I would actually be making that trip twice.) The couple had already adopted a child at six-weeks-old, who at 14 years of age seemed very well adjusted to their credit. They lived on a farm with sheep, goats, and dogs, and bred birds for a living. I happen to love animals, so that was a plus in my book. They were a mature couple and had been married a long time. We corresponded through letters, talking on the phone every now and then. It was like Christmas whenever the letters came. These were my perks during pregnancy and still are.
I couldn't wait to finally meet Kathy, the mother-to-be of my baby. She was supposed to fly in for the birth and was going to be my coach. It didn't work out that way but none-the-less she flew in hours later. She by-passed security at the hospital to see the baby. This gave me a good, much needed laugh after a very stressful birth. This was first thing in the morning soon after getting off the plane. This anxiousness of hers proved to me she really wanted this baby.
I wanted to show Kathy my "hometown" but that didn't work out for many reasons, among them, my lack of mobility due to "natural birth"—I thought I was going to be crippled for life!
I had the good fortune to see my little angel, Kristin—a name Kathy picked, yet I knew sounded just perfect for her. At 16 months old, she is so beautiful and so happy. When she was in my womb I prayed each day for God to bless this child. He did. God gave her to a couple who wanted a baby so much and never gave up even after adopting a six-week-old baby, and then having a miscarriage, and then holding other birthmother's babies only to either have them change their minds or simply have some other authority take their rights away.
Later on I was at the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill, CA (Editor: We are now in Concord, CA), where I saw some letters up on the wall. I recognized some of the couples I was considering if my first choice had already adopted another child. I was happy to see that they had made connections and had their babies too.
I still have to remind myself I wasn't a total "screw-up" for getting pregnant at my age. It happens; it happened. It made me take stock in myself. Now I can make a fresh start of things.
People do ask me how I stand on the situation of adoption. I tell them, "The rich people have nannies raising their kids. I chose something similar but better for the child. A couple who really wants to raise the child—and most of all—love her dearly. I consider myself pretty fortunate."
Adoption is not always easy. Heck, pregnancy is tough alone. But open adoption makes you feel glad you were born in this era where we have such an option.