This guest post was submitted by Melissa, a birth mom’s mother. Two years ago, she helped her daughter Carrie as she made the choice of open adoption for her baby.
The first thing I noticed was the sheer panic on her face. My daughter was standing in her bedroom with a pregnancy test in her hand. She was shaking her head as if she could make it change from positive to negative by sheer will. I am sure I looked just as panicked, but this was my daughter, and right now, she needed me to be strong. I sat her down and let her know we would figure this out together.
My first call was to the doctor, who agreed to see us that afternoon. He confirmed what we knew. The nurse brought in several brochures about prenatal care, abortion, and adoption. I tossed them in my bag, and we left the doctor’s office feeling like we had landed on Mars.
How could this happen? She was graduating high school in two months. What would this do to her future? What would this do to my future?
Carrie was my youngest, and to be honest, I was looking forward to an empty nest. I knew Carrie could not raise a baby right now. I also knew I did not want to start over with an infant, feedings all night, and the commitment of raising another child. Carrie had cried herself to sleep, so I sat down at the table and pulled out the brochures.
Feeling that neither Carrie nor I was in a position to parent this baby, I looked at the brochures for abortion and adoption. I understood abortion to a degree. I knew there were risks involved both physically and emotionally. I knew less about adoption, so I started to read.
Carrie came in a while later, all puffy-eyed, and I asked her to sit down. I think she expected me to start yelling or lecturing, but the time for that seemed past. Instead, I laid out the brochures in front of her. She looked at the titles, then looked at me and said, “How could I kill my baby or adopt out my baby?”
We talked about what this baby would mean to our lives. It would either mean she would be home caring for a baby with no job and no means of providing for her baby, or it would mean I had to start raising a child again, and I let her know that was not an option for me. After some tears and a lot of talking, Carrie realized that raising this baby was not a good choice.
Next, we looked at the abortion brochures. Carrie was 10 weeks along. When we looked at the pictures and read that the baby already had a beating heart and fingers and toes, we knew that this was not the right option either.
The last brochure was about open adoption. Carrie did not think she could adopt out her baby to strangers, but we started reading, and we were amazed at the information.
We learned that in open adoption, Carrie could choose the parents to raise her baby. She could get updates and even visit with her child and the adoptive parents. It was even possible that I could attend the visits. We knew experiencing the pregnancy and placing the baby for adoption would not be easy. However, none of the options were going to be easy. We had to choose the option that was best for Carrie and the baby.
Carrie and I looked at a lot of family profiles. She finally chose a family that lived by the beach, a few hours from us. They had not been able to have a baby themselves and had so much love to give a child. They were active and fun, and we all hit it off right away. They were there when Carrie’s baby was born, and while it hurt to place her baby in the adoptive mom’s arms, we all felt it was right.
We get updates all the time and have a great relationship with the adoptive family. We visit twice a year and really enjoy going to the beach and seeing the joy on everyone’s faces.
Finding out you are pregnant unexpectedly can be scary, confusing, and overwhelming. Getting the right support so that you can make the best choice for you and your baby is important.
Learn more about adoption by calling or texting Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.