No One Knows I Gave My First Born Up For Adoption
There are many view points on adoption, both positive and negative, but I feel like the ones that matter come from the adoptive parents, the adopted child and the biological parents. I fall into the last category, although you would never know it. I feel like the biological parent’s point of view is not always heard….so I wanted to share mine.
Okay granted this post is anonymous, but NOT because I am embarrassed about my decision; nor do I feel like it was the wrong one…. it’s just that only about 5 people know about this chapter in my life and not one of them are members of my family.
Although I may not be proud of how the process played out, and some of the reasons why I chose adoption are not altruistic; I am super happy with the parents I chose and how the young man’s life turned out with his family.
My story is still a little unreal to me…even 18 years later. I was a 23-year-old waitress enrolled in college, I had a cute apartment, great friends and had been dating the same man for 3 years. He had 2 children from previous relationships and I really enjoyed hanging out with them; being a pseudo mom like taking snacks for the little league team and co-hosting birthday parties. I was a nurturer by nature and I always encouraged my boyfriend to have a good relationship with his children, he wasn’t a very active parent (in my opinion) until I arrived on the scene.
I definitely thought more kids were in our future…. until I became pregnant.
I didn’t have the stereotypical traits (in my small-minded thinking) of someone who would give a child up for adoption; I wasn’t super young, drug addicted, uneducated, dead or dying, in a toxic relationship or just in a bad way of life. Ugh, even writing that for the whole world to see, makes me feel dirty! I admit I was judging a whole group of people based on ONE decision they had to make, involving circumstances I did not know, during an emotional period of time that I had never been in before…and I didn’t want that done to me.
I know what you are thinking, if you really thought those stereotypes were true and worried about public opinion, how did you come to the decision to give up a child for adoption, it wasn’t easy…but at the same time it was.
I grew up in a middle to lower class neighborhood with a big family and the pressure to be perfect and succeed (oh yeah, it’s real) was strong. I was the first one in my family to leave the comforts of our small town and go to college. Luckily for me, we were (and still are) a close knit bunch and they all really wanted to help me in any way they could. Some of my family would buy me groceries, or take me and my roommates for dinner and some would slip me some cash. An example of that support, that represents my family perfectly, was that of my elderly aunt. She would send me $5 every month with a short, misspelled note saying ‘Do Good, Love Tia’ (aww). She was only allowed to go to school until the 4th grade and she was proud of the fact that I, as a young Hispanic woman, had more options than she did at my age… no pressure (sarcastic eye roll).
Okay back to the story you clicked to read, when I found out I was pregnant (about 14 weeks) I was shocked, scared, excited and I felt extremely guilty. I immediately went into planning mode and went over what choices I thought I had, and to my surprise I decided pretty quickly that adoption was going to be my plan of action.
This is where it gets murky and I’ll admit I didn’t handle this part well and mainly why this post is ANONYMOUS…I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell my best friends, roommates, family or partner (at the beginning)!
Yep I kept it HIDDEN, and it was not easy or my proudest moment; but it was what I felt I needed to do, in order to keep my plan in place. Talking about it made it too real (umm I had a baby growing in my belly, COULDN’T get anymore real than that), but I also didn’t want anyone to make me second guess my decision (guilt was really killing me and I felt I could have been easily swayed in another direction because of it). My friends and family would have promised undying support (which I knew I had) or give reassurance that I would be a great mom and I could raise this child by myself, if it came to that. But I wanted what my parents had, that unique experience with another person while raising kids together…the secret jokes and knowing looks of two people who have been up all night and are now trying to keep it together. I needed a partner who would help me celebrate holidays and special occasions in cheesy fun ways, sing loud with no embarrassment and put family first…I sadly realized that this man could do it, but wouldn’t want to.
Through some miracle and strategic clothing with props (think cheesy sitcom, trying to disguise an actress’ pregnancy), I managed to keep it between me and the doctor for the next few months, but I had no idea where to go from there. Looking up adoption agencies in the phone book seem so inefficient and intimidating, what was I supposed to do?
Call them up and say “Heey, I’m pregnant and I need to find appropriate parents for this little person inside of me, do I bring the baby in for a showing or do we pick parents by Eeny, Meany, Miney, Moe?” I know it sounds silly, but I had no idea how to start, so I put it off and put it off….until I couldn’t put it off any longer.
On Saturday July 30th, as my shift was just wrapping up, I started having contractions, in the back of my mind I knew what was happening; but in my public, no one knows what’s going on face, I chalked up the stomach pain to food poisoning and went home. I was super uncomfortable, and in some pain, but my boyfriend was staying with me that night, so I hid my pain by moving to the living room for brief periods of time and showering. Let me stress once again that he was not a bad guy…but because I HAD MADE THE CHOICE for adoption, I felt I shouldn’t bother him with the situation at hand.
So after getting about an hour of sleep, I woke up cold and wet…my water broke. Thankfully my boyfriend slept through it all, I called a cab around 6 am and headed to the hospital. I remember walking up slowly to the ER windows and having to say “I think I’m having a baby” I was whisked away with a sense of urgency, I explained what was happening and they did a sonogram, but there was no baby! I quickly thought this was a dream, my decision making and worry was for nothing because I wasn’t really pregnant, IT WAS ALL IN MY HEAD! I stupidly believed that for about 25 seconds. I was calm, relieved and even laughed at my own stupidity.
Then I heard the words, oh there he is and he’s ready to come, we need to get her in the room NOW. Aye yaye yaye, WHAAT? Not a dream, real life, you are having a baby. #[email protected]*&!
The hospital staff was really supportive, and I kept getting the same question from the nurses, “Can we call someone?” I kept telling them I was a super hero and was okay by myself. BUT I WASN’T! And I made jokes, because that’s how I cope. One of my nurses kept laughing and kept telling me how brave I was (uhhhh, nope! Coward is a better word) and she stayed after her shift to help me through the labor. The actual birth only lasted 4 hours, but the whole process took about 16, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was alone, I was hungry, I was scared, I was in pain, I was thinking about what lie I was going to tell to explain my absence, and I was trying to convince myself that this was the only way to handle this situation. It was a blur, but I remember signing papers for an epidural, making more crappy jokes and then out came this little guy. I held him. I cried. and I kept reciting the mantra “He’s beautiful, but he’s not yours…He’s beautiful but he’s not yours…” He was born July 31st at 8:06 am and he had no name.
At around 11, I had to make the call to work that I wouldn’t be coming in, it was NOT like me, and I got no questions about why I was hospitalized. I made this call about 2 hours after giving birth; and for some crazy reason, I thought I’d be able to work that day… Oh what the mind will let you believe, in order to cope with stressful situations. Through the process of checking in at the ER and having the baby, I had mentioned repeatedly to the nurses and doctors that I wanted to place this little one up for adoption; so they sent a case worker pretty quickly after the birth.
Thankfully she was helpful and did not judge me on how this whole process was unfolding; she introduced me to an adoption agency, that just happened to be in the hospital working on another adoption. The rest of my day was spent looking through binders of potential parents (it’s like their life story, in scrap book form), but nothing seemed to fit.
I spent the night with this adorable baby boy and I started getting some intense feelings, maybe I should keep him…a lot of people have absent fathers and mom’s who work 2 jobs and they are fine…I could move back home and get help from my family… you don’t need to finish college…I can prepare for this baby in a couple of days…and then the baby started crying and didn’t stop until the next day.
It sounds dumb and maybe it was the fatigue or baby reality sinking in; but by morning, I realized that I was not ready or equipped to raise a child and I should stay with my original plan.
The agency came to me with a request to look at a new binder, and I instantly fell in love with couple. They were from the same type of family I was, they were active, they had fun and silly pictures, they traveled and had support letters describing them as solid, loving people…And they were in the hospital right now. Apparently, they were there for the birth of a little girl they were attempting to adopt. They had invested time, money and their hearts into this adoption that they slowly realized was probably not going to happen. The agency gave me their binder on a whim, but had not informed the couple that I even existed. They were about to leave town with their parents and daughter, when the agency called them; but because they had just been dealt a severe emotional blow, the husband was not eager to go through it again. The wife convinced him to go to the hospital and meet me, what could it hurt. If she hadn’t, this story would have had a very different ending. I was nervous, excited, hungry and worried they wouldn’t be the same people in person, as they were in their ‘ad’. The wife walked in first and then her husband, they both smiled at me, but they were so scared and timid…they introduced themselves and asked how I was feeling and if the labor was hard. I answered the questions and immediately asked them if they would like to meet their new son. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and rushed right over, I then handed her, her son. When the husband first walked into the room, he actively avoided looking at the baby, but after hearing those words, his face became softer, and he finally looked at the blue, blanketed bundle and mouthed “thank you”.
We talked for a couple hours about my family and the journey I was on; during this time, they were loving on and feeding their son. They asked all the questions I would have and wanted me to be as involved as I felt comfortable with.
They were wonderful, and I knew I had made the right decision for this boy; even through these last 18 years, I have NEVER doubted that!
They have constantly kept me in the loop with their family, always sending pictures and letters: he knows exactly who I am and has, on occasion, asked questions about me and his father. The common ones always seemed to center on personality traits and the physical…”My second toe is longer than my big toe, who has that?’ or “I get nervous during a test, to the point of crying, do either one of you do that?” and I am always happy to oblige because its nice to see how I contributed to this wonderful human being.
I have met this young man 3 times in his life, if you count when he was born, which I do; and I know I made the best decision I could have ever made. He was raised in a kind and loving home, by phenomenal people; they prove it with every call I get, letter I open, and picture that is sent.
Loose end tie up…
There were a few more mini stories that go along with my whole experience, but I tried to keep it within the boundaries of how I came to my decision of adoption and the actual adoption story. A caseworker we worked with explained that couples rarely stay together after giving a child up for adoption, and she was right….we made it 8 more years, but no more children. We still talk often, even though we no longer live in the same area, but have NEVER spoken about the adoption since signing the papers.
Are you connected to adoption somehow? We’d love to hear your story in our comments.