As a birth parent that placed a child for adoption, it has been my goal to try and reduce the societal stigma of making such a decision. In fact the decision I made, and the decision that people make everyday to place their child, is a very loving decision. Albeit difficult, it is the best decision I made for my child and for myself. Here is my story.
In high school, I was a pretty good student and involved in lots of extracurricular activities like choir, volunteering, other clubs and sports. Life was great on the education and social front, but my home life was another story. Without getting into too much detail, I’ll just say that I started looking for love in all the wrong places and found myself pregnant in the winter of my senior year.
I was terrified. I thought about the girls that were made fun of for having babies in school, or had already dropped out after getting pregnant. I thought about the “behind-the-back” whispers about girls who were thought to have had abortions. I was paralyzed with fear over what I would do, so
I called the father of the baby and whispered to him that I was pregnant in hopes that he would stand by me and we would make it together as a couple. However, he ran away from the situation. At that moment I knew that I wasn’t capable of being a good parent alone. I also knew that I didn’t want to have an abortion.
During this time, before the benefits of Google, Siri and search engines, I opened the yellow pages to find an adoption agency nearby. Over the school holiday break I took public transportation to the agency and was met by a caseworker. We talked about the entire adoption process - the fact that I could choose my child’s parents, the adoption laws in Georgia, that I could change my mind, and a whole host of other topics. She answered so many questions that day.
I can’t say that all my fears were gone after the meeting, but I did feel more in control of the situation.
As my pregnancy progressed, I continued to meet with my caseworker. She encouraged me to keep a journal of my journey, my fears and thoughts. During one meeting, I talked to the caseworker about the type of parents I hoped my child would have. At another meeting, I was able to peruse notebooks of potential adoptive parents, and I selected a couple that was absolutely perfect. They were adventurous, kind, funny, and smart…all the things I wished for my unborn child to experience.
When I realized I was in labor, it was my caseworker that I called instead of an ambulance. She held my hand throughout the whole delivery and was the first person to see my newborn son, even before I laid eyes on him. Two days after giving birth to my beautiful boy, I left the hospital.
I went home to prepare for my first day of my freshman year of college and my son was placed in a transitional foster home during the 10 day waiting period required in Georgia, when birth moms are still allowed to change their minds.
A couple of months later, I settled into college life and I received a phone call from my caseworker. Was I ready to meet my son’s parents in person? I responded with a resounding, “yes!” The four of us (my caseworker, his parents, and myself) had a fantastic dinner full of laughter and tears. To this day, many years later, I have a souvenir from that dinner that means the entire world to me. Over the years, his parents have sent me photos and updates about our son and they are a constant reminder to me that I’ve made not only the best decision for him, but also for myself. He is thriving and happy. He has had so many opportunities and blessings that I would never have been able to offer him.
Overwhelmingly, I’ve been supported in my decision, but there have been a few negative Nancy’s in my path. “You must not love your child if you can just give it away.” That is not true, I didn’t give my child away—I placed my child into a loving and thriving home in order to give him a better chance at life. It takes much more than just love to parent and raise a healthy and happy child. Adoption was not easy (trust me!), but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
As a society we need to stop using terminology that is hurtful regarding placing a child for adoption. We also need to remove judgment from the equation. This is personal choice that is made with much consideration. We don’t always know what is happening in a person’s life to make our own judgments about their decisions. However incredibly difficult this decision is, it is so rewarding to know that you have given your child a chance to grow, flourish, and become what God intended them to be.
This year our son turns 18 and gets to decide if he’s ready to meet me. My prayer is that he chooses YES.
Courtney's positive spirit and infectious attitude are such a blessing to PAC. She is such a wonderful advocate for adoption and we are so proud of her for sharing her story publicly. We join her in her prayers to meet her son again and hope to be able to witness this powerful event in the future.