Sometimes life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan, and this month’s adoption story especially conveys that reality. BraveLove is dedicated to communicating honest stories, which is why we want to introduce you to Maureen. She shares the heartbreak and challenges involved for birth parents and adoptive parents as they walk through the adoption process. Choosing a family to parent a child is a huge decision that a birth mother has the opportunity to make. And that decision lasts a lifetime and impacts children and families forever. Meet Maureen.
I never had an easy life. Growing up in an unstable home, I was exposed to drugs, abuse, and multiple foster care homes. Having made it through that by the age of 21 I thought I could handle anything life threw at me. Not pregnancy though, that was the one thing I least expected.
April of 2014 I sat there and just stared at those two pink lines. Pregnant. Never in my life did I think I would find myself pregnant and even worse, not knowing who the dad was. When I told my mom, she wasn’t surprised at all. I guess with the life choices I had been making, she knew there would be a possibility I would end up pregnant. I never considered abortion though. It never crossed my mind. How could I do that when my biological mom herself got pregnant at 19? No, if she could do it, so could I. I went to a clinic in Denton to confirm the pregnancy; they even gave me my first ultrasound. So at 6 weeks I got to see my baby for the first time, but all I saw was a weird blob on the screen moving quickly. I soon realized that movement was a heartbeat, my baby’s heartbeat. I cried. It was the most beautiful sight and I couldn’t wait to show off pictures of my little baby growing inside.
A couple of weeks went by and I was still trying to decide what to do. Parent? Or adoption? I picked parenting, and I was so excited with the thought of having someone to love me unconditionally. I didn’t have any family support, or support from any of the guys who could have been the father. One guy even told me I was making a mistake keeping the baby. He offered to pay for the abortion and then take me out for a drink after, as though that would make it all ok to me. I had a few friends offer to help me get a place and supplies for the baby until I could get my own, but nothing ever came of that. I soon started to realize that I couldn’t be a mom. I could barely keep a roof over my own head, how was I supposed to take care of someone else too? I had to take a step back, put aside my wants and needs, and think about the life growing inside of me. I couldn’t make another human being struggle just so I could be happy. It was then that I realized that at that point in my life, adoption was the best choice for my baby.
In a panic, I contacted the first couple I knew personally who were looking to adopt. We agreed to have a private open adoption. When I told my mom my plan, she became more supportive and understanding. She knew I was making the best choice for the baby, and she was proud of me. Everything was going great for a while. Both the couple and myself were so excited. I wanted them to experience everything, all the ultrasounds, they were even there when we found out I was having a boy. A beautiful little boy! We made plans to have a baby shower for them so they could get everything they needed. Something was off though; as I watched my belly grow I had a feeling that I had made the wrong choice in parents. These feelings first started when it came to choosing a name for our little boy. I was willing to let them choose the first name, but I had already picked out a middle name for him, Colton. It was a name I had thought about naming my first boy long before I became pregnant. It was special to me, a name I could give my son that would mean something. I was hurt when they disagreed with the name and things continued to go downhill from there. Every day I had new doubts about my choice. Open adoption was important to me, and it was something we had agreed on, but they didn’t want to include me in anything but carrying the baby. How was I supposed to trust them to keep their promise, if they didn’t want me to be a part of any of the decisions for my son? My breaking point came when I was hospitalized at 35 weeks with gallbladder attacks that caused pre-term labor. The doctors got my contractions to stop, but I was still in a lot of pain. The couple was naturally worried about the baby, however when they found out he was perfectly fine, they stopped contacting me to see if I was ok.
It was extremely difficult telling them I had changed my mind, but I had to listen to my heart and I knew they weren’t meant to be.
I called the adoption agency right away, and they sent a caseworker over the very next day even though I was still in the hospital. Courtney was amazing; she got all of my paperwork in order and talked me through the process, as I only had a month left to find the right family. Soon after I left the hospital, Courtney came to my house to show me a few profiles. One book stood out to me immediately, even before I got to read it. I didn’t read theirs right away; I wanted to give the other couples a chance too. Courtney told me I didn’t have to decide right then, but after reading this couple’s profile I had already made my decision. They were exactly the family I was looking for, and we set up our first phone call the Monday before Thanksgiving. That first contact was so easy, even though I was so nervous, I felt like I was talking with old friends. We talked for an hour straight, just getting to know each other and talking about everything under the sun. We decided to meet in person that Friday, but unfortunately the wife ended up being sick that day. I met with the husband only, but the wife sent me a beautiful little gift bag and a note. It was so sweet and thoughtful of her, and the more I talked with the husband, the more I knew that they were the ones. I was sure they would do an amazing job raising our son.
To think that I was able to produce something so beautiful and pure.
I went into labor on November 29th. I remember calling my mom that night, telling her I either lost complete control over my bladder finally or my water broke. First thing she said was, “Yep! You’re in labor!” I remember I was so nervous, but excited at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect. Both my mom and sister were where there with me during labor. I wanted it to be a special time between just the three of us that we could cherish. I got the epidural right after 3cm, and by the time I was ready to push my legs were where so numb I couldn’t feel them to move them. I had to have both my mom and sister help me out. I cried as I pushed, not out of pain, but because I realized my time with him now had a deadline. November 30th at 10:07 am, my beautiful baby boy was born. He was huge, 10.7 lbs. 21 inches. I like to joke that he came out with a football in his arms. Those first few moments holding him to me were incredible, though I was in shock. To think, that I was able to produce something so beautiful and pure. In that moment, I truly felt God’s glory. I was blessed with the opportunity to bring this amazing life into this world.
At first I just called him by the name I chose for him, which was listed on the birth certificate with my name on it. I chose his middle name after my grandfather who meant so much to me in my childhood growing up. The adoptive parents chose his first name, and the day after he was born they called me to tell me the name they chose, which means God’s gift. They also told me they decided to keep the name I chose as his middle name, and it would be the name that connects us all. I was so thrilled when they told me this! That last night with him was the hardest night ever, I cried as I watched him peacefully sleeping in my arms. Signing the papers that morning was the hardest thing I have done in my life. I did it out of love, love for my son, and the hopes of giving him a better chance at the shot at life he deserves. My mom and I prayed before I signed the papers. We prayed that he would have a wonderful life, we prayed for his adoptive parents as new parents, and we prayed for healing in my heart. Leaving the hospital without him in my arms was hard, it felt so empty, like a huge part of my soul was missing.
I asked that he be put into transitional care for a week before placement. I didn’t want to place in a hospital setting, and it gave me a chance to gather my emotions so that I could enjoy the placement day more. When I met Austin and handed our son over to her for the first time, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. This baby was never meant to be mine, he was meant to be theirs from the beginning, and I knew that in my heart. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss this baby boy, but I’m not sad. I’m at peace; I know he’s in a good home surrounded by a family that loves him as much as I do. His adoptive parents have been amazing with keeping me updated from week one, keeping me included in their little world, and I couldn’t have prayed for more. God has truly blessed me and given me a purpose. I have been inspired to do more with my life now, I don’t want my baby boy to think his birth was a setback in my life, but I want him to know that his life motivated mine.
Upper Left: Maureen’s Sister Amber and baby | Bottom Left: Maureen and baby | Middle: Maureen’s Mom, Renae | Upper Right: Maureen and baby on placement day | Bottom Right: Maureen and baby
My advice to birth moms considering adoption is to think with your heart, not your mind. Think about the life growing inside of you, and what is best for that baby. Your child will love you no matter what your decision is, and don’t settle for second best. I know my story has just started, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for me. I hope that my story will help you decide how to write yours, and that God will bless you.
“Very truly I will tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn into joy. A woman giving birth has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16: 20-23