“I loved him enough to give him life. But I had to love him, even more, to give him a life.” That is the response I give when I am asked how I could give up my child.
As a 17-year-old who thought I knew what it meant to be in love, I was oblivious to what it could mean to be careless. I remember where and when I got pregnant. While the doctor told me I wasn’t, I still couldn’t shake the morning sickness. Then my life turned upside-down.
My story is hard to tell and even harder to condense. Looking back at that year of my life I am able to see how God was at work in my heart. My parents had always told me that if I got pregnant I would be kicked out of the house. It was that fear of being alone and without anyone that led me to keep my pregnancy a secret until a week before my due date. I wore baggy clothes and walked hunched forward much of the time. I never sought medical assistance until I was 9 months pregnant because then my mom would find out. I graduated from high school 6 months pregnant and began working two jobs and buying baby items to prepare for my little man to come into the world. My boyfriend and I ignored my growing belly for much of my pregnancy. Whenever I tried to talk with him about it my boyfriend would refuse to acknowledge the baby. That is, until I went to a doctor and found out that I was due in one week!
That news sent my life into a very traumatic spiral of anger, sadness, blame, and pain. Ultimately, my plan to keep my son and raise him was replaced with a closed adoption. After over 16 hours of labor, my son was born weighing 8lbs 1 ½ oz. Due to the nature of my delivery; having minor complications during delivery and my choice to place my son for adoption, no one was allowed to be with me during my labor. I was alone. The following morning my boyfriend and I went down to the nursery and held our son for about 4 hours. We invited our mothers who came to meet and hold him as well.
The nurses kept referring to my son as “baby boy” so I felt it fitting to name him. Tyler Matthew was a beautiful baby with ash blonde hair and big blue eyes, just like his father. After we met him, we then had to say goodbye. I will always remember walking out of the hospital without my Tyler. Tyler was adopted at 26 days old by a lovely older couple through a closed adoption and his name was changed to Kevin.
For 19 years I prayed that God would just let me meet my son again one more time. That prayer was answered in October of 2007.
The shootings at Virginia Tech sent shockwaves through my community. Little did I know, my son was a freshman at Virginia Tech when those shootings happened. It was that event that made Kevin’s adoptive parents encourage him to find me. Right after my birthday in late September I received the phone call I had prayed for. My son wanted to meet me. The reunion with my son happened 9 years ago this October. He has been in my life since that time, as have his parents and his family. We have bonded both of our families into one large extended family. I have witnessed him graduating from college, helped move him across the country for his first job, and was at his wedding 2 years ago. One month ago I was in the hospital as his wife labored for 20 hours to give birth to my first grandchild. Sadly, this was not a happy time as Emmy was born at only 25 weeks and was stillborn. However, I would not trade that time for anything in this world. I was there to welcome my sweet Emmy into this world, and I was there as the Lord took her home.
These experiences never seemed possible all those years ago. Adoption was such a blessing to both me and my son. God knows what He is doing. While the emotional pain from my experience surfaces at times, and while there are hurdles we must cross in our relationship, I would not change a thing about my experience. I loved him enough to give him life…and I loved him, even more, to give him a life – one that I was not able to give him.