When I got pregnant, I already had two children back-to-back and was feeling extremely overwhelmed, both mentally and physically. I knew I truly was not in the position to financially support another baby and I also did not have any extra room at my house.
I had watched my half-sister experience infertility for years, so I knew there were others out there like her with dreams of parenthood who could give my child everything that I couldn’t. I decided to search online for adoption options near me. LifeLong Adoptions was the first to pop up, and it was highly rated. I explored the website a bit before finally filling out a form for more information.
Working with LifeLong
Within an hour, an adoption coordinator at LifeLong reached out to me. She was extremely patient as it took some time at the beginning for me to process it mentally. She was incredibly kind, moved at my pace, and ensured I was comfortable with everything.
Throughout my whole pregnancy, my coordinator reassured me that if I ever had any concerns or needed someone to talk to, she would be there, and I felt comfortable going to her whenever I was feeling down. She often checked in on me to make sure I was okay and had all the information I needed. I never felt alone in my pregnancy.
I feel that LifeLong caters to the birthmother, and I can see why, as it is a very sensitive time in their lives, but I can also understand how frustrating that approach may be on the adoptive families’ side.
An Open Adoption Plan
As I went through the process, one of my concerns was that I wanted to still be a part of my child’s life. Since I already had two children, I wanted to be able to explain to him why I chose to place him for adoption and for him to know about his siblings. I also wanted to be sure that the family I chose would love him as much as I did.
I chose an open adoption because I wanted my child to know where he came from and why I made the decisions I made for him. I was afraid he might feel like he wasn’t loved or good enough because I kept his brothers and not him, when in fact, it was the opposite: I placed him for adoption because I love him too much to see him struggle. I wanted him to have the best chance in life. If I couldn’t give that to him, I would do everything in my power to make sure he had that, even though it meant placing him with someone else.
Choosing an Adoptive Family
When it came to choosing a family, I honestly did not go into it looking for anything super specific. I knew I was looking for a couple that had similar views as I did. I knew when I met the right couple, it would feel right, despite how nervous I felt. These were the people that would be raising the child I was carrying, so I did not want to force a relationship or connection.
My coordinator provided me with a list of around 15 couples that fit what I was looking for. She said that if I didn’t find one I was drawn to, we could look into more families. I ultimately knew that my decision would change everyone’s life, so I really wanted to take my time and make sure I was choosing the right family for my child.
Through talking with them for the next seven months until I gave birth, our connection grew into seeing each other as family. I knew they would love my child as much as I did. It helped a lot to be able to have them go through my pregnancy with me. If they couldn’t physically be at my appointments, we would video chat and they had the chance to speak with the doctor. It helped that I was able to know them before my son was born and it put a lot of my worries at ease.
I was early in my pregnancy when I began getting to know the family, and they came down to attend all of my ultrasound appointments in person. They were there when we found out the gender and it was amazing for them to be able to experience everything with me. We would video chat at least once every few days, and I was even video chatting with them when I went into labor. The adoptive mother was connected emotionally with me and the baby; it was around midnight when I told her it was time, and she was still up because she had a feeling he was coming soon!
Placing My Son
When I went to the hospital, I was already 10 centimeters dilated and went straight to delivery. The family decided to drive to the hospital to make it easier on their baby when it was time to take him home. I'II never forget the look on their faces when I asked them if they wanted to meet their son over video call. They couldn't believe he had arrived. They cried and were so excited to meet him. When they got to the hospital, they still included me in everything, checked on me often, and stayed in the room for hours with me and my son.
The first week was hard, but I threw myself into my older kids' lives and focused on them. I worked on bettering myself so my son could look at me and be proud that I was his mother and of my decision to place him for adoption.
I wanted my son’s birth to be something celebrated, and it was. I wanted this to be the adoptive family’s moment since I had already had mine. I also knew that at the end of the day, I could have more kids if I really wanted to, whereas they couldn't, and they truly didn't know if they'd ever be chosen to adopt again. The adoptive mother told me that I was able to give her back everything she felt was taken away from her when she was told she couldn't have kids. As hard as it was, it wasn't just my feelings involved, but also the adoptive family’s. They were so excited when they had the opportunity to announce his birth.
Reflecting on My Journey
Leading up to my son’s birth, I felt mentally prepared. I had been telling myself my entire pregnancy that he wasn’t mine and that I was giving him a better life by choosing adoption. I thought detaching myself would make it easier on me, and it did to an extent. I was sad when he was born and it was hard seeing him with another family, but I also knew how long they had waited for him. Most people wait nine months for a baby, but they waited for years. I’m not going to say the day he was born was the worst day of my life because it really wasn’t, and I do not want him to read this one day and think that. I will say, however, that it was the hardest day of my life. I have never had to face anything like this and probably will never have to face something as tough as adoption again.
As a mother, I have to put my kids' feelings and health before my own and everyone else's. I knew in my heart that what I was doing was right. Having the adoptive family there for me through my entire pregnancy helped as I truly grew to see them as family. What was ultimately the hardest day of my life was the best day of theirs.
I realized that my life experience with adoption could help others, so I'm really looking forward to finishing nursing school and working in postpartum with other birthmothers. I am excited about being able to spread a more positive word around adoption.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is extremely selfless of the birthmother to put her child's happiness before her own. Adoption gives someone else their dream of being a parent... there are so many families that are hoping for a baby one day.
I am extremely grateful for my experience and would 100% recommend LifeLong to anyone I know who is pregnant and considering adoption.