Not every child who is adopted was unwanted. I believe there is only love in adoption. Even if the birth mother can’t say it or see it, there is only love. Even if she can’t understand it, giving the child a life is only love.
When I was eighteen years old, I got pregnant. The first time I had sex. I wasn’t planning on having sex. I was planning on having dinner with a guy who said he wanted to have dinner. I found myself in a situation I didn’t really know how to get myself out of. I was naive. I guess I thought that if I just gave in, got it over with, I could go home and forget the whole thing.
I was a girl who didn’t keep track of when her periods came. I had no idea when I was supposed to get it, but after a couple weeks I was paranoid that I wasn’t going to get it. And I called him to tell him so. He took the Lord’s name in vain and said to me, “That’s really what I need in my life right now, Kaedra. F#$%. Thanks.” And that’s the last time I ever spoke to him.
In the days and weeks after, I was a wreck. Nobody knew I'd done it. Not even my best friend. Just me, and God, and the devil. The latter of whom tortured me with it.
I found out for sure in a McDonald’s bathroom stall. I sat right there on the dirty, disgusting McDonald's bathroom floor and cried.
In the weeks before I told my parents, a girl I worked with somehow figured it out. She pulled me into a corner and put a scrap of paper in my hand. She closed my fingers over it with her own, and said, “I’ll give you a ride. It’s the number for an abortion clinic.” I jerked my hand from hers and dropped the paper to the floor. She said, “Kaedra, your dad is a preacher! You need to take care of this before you start to show. They will burn you at the stake.” And I said with tears in my eyes, “then I’ll go down in flames.”
Of course I didn’t want to be pregnant. But I was. There was a life inside me. A real, heart-beating, life. And my only job from then on out was to keep it going.
I did tell my parents. They were amazing. They never made me feel like they loved me any less. My mom cried, silently. My dad just looked out the window, then he mentioned reading a prayer request for a couple who wanted to adopt a baby.
I can’t remember when I decided that I wanted to place my child for adoption. I cried and prayed so many nights about it. But then I made up my mind and I knew, that this child growing inside me was supposed to be someone else’s child. When I made up my mind, I never changed it.
We reached out to the couple my dad had received the prayer request for. We went through the legal process of an open adoption. We met the adopting parents and spent time with them. When my mom and I went to the ultrasound to find out the sex; we went shopping and mailed them a reveal package full of blue.
They were beautiful, and wonderful, and exactly perfect for my child. I never doubted it. It is an amazing experience—to walk through something so incredible, and know you are seeing, and feeling, and being, exactly what God had planned for you before time began—to see how He makes beauty from ashes.
I went into labor on a hot summer day. I remember such a strange mix of emotions. There was a small fear gripping me, or maybe a bittersweet sorrow—that my time with my son was coming to a close. The nights that I couldn’t sleep from the heartburn, the little flutters, and hiccups, and kicks. It was time to pass on the duty of caring for his precious life. At the same time, I was full of joy. A family of two was becoming a family of three. That’s always exciting.
The delivery was a little wild, but he came out healthy, and alive, and well. My parents were both there with me, and my dad got to cut the umbilical cord. We spent a few minutes with him, holding him and seeing him before my dad carried him to meet his parents for the first time.
He was the most perfect thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I loved him with a bursting love. It took less than a moment to know that I wanted every best thing in the world for him. It took less than a moment to know in the depths of my heart that I would give up my life for his to keep going. And I knew I was giving him the best thing I could—a mom and a dad, who were ready for him.
He was mine. And he was theirs. And there’s no other way to say that or to elaborate on that.
I have never regretted my decision. I didn’t “wish I'd kept him,” but he had been with me for so long, he grew beside my heart. At the time, his heart knew my heart in a way that no other heart knew. Of course I loved him. Of course I missed him. The heart misses what makes it whole. He is the first piece of my heart that walks, and breathes, and lives outside of me. There will always be a separation, a missing piece, a place only he fills.
There has not been one day, not one single day in the 4,178 days that have passed since he was born, that he has not quietly passed through my mind for a moment or more. His life changed mine in all the best ways.
It took me years to find peace and healing; to find mercy and truth, and incredibly beautiful, redeeming grace.
There’s too many things wrong with how people approach adoption stories, and the real-life people who are a part of them. Maybe it’s just because people who have never been a part of it just don't know enough about it. I don’t know.
But I do know the best thing you can say to a birth mom is this: “You are so brave. You must really love your child.” and leave it at that. And on the flip side, the best thing you can say to an adopted mom (or dad) is “You are so brave. You must really love your child.” and leave it at that.
There is only love in adoption. Only love.