I am connected to adoption because I placed my baby into the arms of an amazing family a little over a year ago. Today, I am proud to call myself a birth mom.
I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I was only 18 and so scared. I thought about my options and I knew adoption was one of them. A few months before I found out I was pregnant, a lady from my church shared how she adopted a baby boy and her story touched my heart.
I knew that I wasn't ready to raise a child at this point in my life, but I also knew that somebody else out there was.
This was going to be the hardest thing I would ever have to do, and I really didn’t know where to start. I told myself if it was meant to be, then everything would work out.
Well, a few months went by and I began researching adoption. I looked at a few websites and browsed through couples looking for a baby, but I really never made the next big step. I told my cousin what my plan was, and we prayed together. A few weeks later she had seen a Facebook status of a friend of hers shared that her sister and husband had been looking to adopt. I reached out to them and we decided to meet up in downtown Chicago, which is about two hours from me. From the moment we first made eye contact I felt this wave of positivity. We totally hit it off. They shared with me they wanted an open adoption, and I knew right then that is exactly what I wanted too.
Open adoption has so many benefits to everyone involved. I was going to be able to be in my child’s life and watch him grow up! Pauline, TJ and I began forming a relationship and established trust. We communicated almost daily for the last few months of my pregnancy. They answered all of my questions, and we began working with their adoption agency to sort everything out legally. Time was drawing near and I began to feel this special bond with my baby that was growing inside of me.
All I wanted was the best for him, and I knew I wasn’t able to provide that.
I almost thought about changing my mind. I knew that I could make being a single mom work, but I wanted more for him because that is what he deserved.
I had a rough childhood; I wanted the opposite for him. I wanted him to have a mother and father that could give him their time. If I had chosen to parent him then he would be in daycare 24/7 while I would be working and going to school in hopes to make enough to support us. I support myself financially because I really don’t have any family that could help with that, and I didn’t even have a real home to bring him to. I just couldn’t imagine raising him in the midst of chaos. Pauline and Tj were everything I had hoped for and I knew they were meant to be his parents.
Giving him a father was the main reason for me; I realized how important that was since I grew up without one.
I gave birth to the most precious baby on a beautiful summer day in June. The two days I spent in the hospital were so special to me. Meeting Kendrick (my birth son) was the moment everything changed. I left the hospital with the adoptive parents (Pauline and Tj) and placed Kendrick in their arms knowing it was the right thing to do. Nothing could have prepared me for how that would feel. I was making a huge sacrifice, but I knew it would be worth it. He was going to be taken care of for the rest of his life and I knew I would see him again soon and get many updates. I was heartbroken from feeling separated from my baby, the journey was over I thought — but little did I know it had just begun.
I now visit Kendrick about once a month and get updates, pictures, and phone calls frequently. Also, I am attending college and doing well in my job. The support I had from my close family and friends along with organizations like BraveLove making me feel as if I’m not alone helped tremendously. Open adoption is whatever you make of it! Every adoption story is unique.
My life is 10x better now that I brought a child into this world. Seeing him happy makes me happy. He is the biggest blessing to me and his family. Kendrick is beyond loved and that is really all that matters, not what other people think, but about the love your child receives.
Maryellen is 20 years old and a birth mom from the Chicago area. She is involved in an open adoption and is so thankful for the relationship she has with her birth son and his family. "Adoption is full of struggles but also full of blessings, and I now have a passion to share my story with others," Maryellen said.