The Adoption Journey is Never Over: Shelby's Story

I got pregnant almost halfway through my junior year of high school to a guy that I thought I had been dating for a few weeks; it turns out that he was cheating on his girlfriend with me and had “knocked me up.”  I woke up one morning feeling just a little off and ended up taking a pregnancy test alone in my bathroom at home. I, like most girls in my same position, was terrified to tell my parents.

It took me a month to finally get the courage to tell my mom, because no way was I going to start out with my dad. I thought I was being so nonchalant in my car before school one day by asking my mom to go to lunch with me. Of course, she immediately knew something was off and started asking me what was wrong. I tried to play it off by saying nothing and could we just do lunch. She ended up calling me and threatening to come up to school if I didn’t tell her what was wrong, so I just said, “I’m pregnant,” to which her response was oh crap. She then broke the news to my dad.

I knew from the beginning that abortion was never an option for me, I also knew there was no way I could raise a baby when I myself had a lot of growing up to do. So, from very early on, I knew adoption was the route that I wanted to take. I was blessed enough to be introduced to an amazing family that had five children of their own and were looking to adopt after fostering. We immediately “clicked” and I’ve thought of them as extended family ever since. The adoptive mom joined us to every doctor’s appointment, sonogram, and numerous lunches in between.

Since knowing early on that I was choosing the adoption route, I think I internally kept telling myself that “this baby is not my own” but not even that made the dreaded day any easier.

Delivery went smoothly and the adoptive dad was even in the delivery room and was able to cut the umbilical cord. After much discussion, the adoptive parents and I decided on an open adoption and would figure things out as we went along in our own way and on our own terms. They would send pictures often and we would get together periodically for lunches so the family (grandparents, aunts, brothers) could see Benjamin (Ben).

But leaving that hospital was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I respect that version of me a lot more the older I get and the new stages of life I enter into.

I strongly believe that the whole process has truly shaped me into the person I am today. I used to be an extremely shy and timid girl who always stayed at home and never spoke what was on her mind. By going through this process, I am truly a different person. I have said it so many times and I’ll keep saying it, being a pregnant teenager not only makes you grow up extremely fast, it forces you to grow a backbone and thick skin. While I couldn’t see it at the time, I am very thankful for it now. 

My adoption story and journey is not nor will ever be over.

It is constantly changing and evolving and we are constantly finding new ways take on new challenges and all still while on our own terms. Ben just turned 14 this past August and he is still very much involved in my own family to this day. 

I now have a 16month old son that I gave birth to in May 2022 and it does not come without the “mind games” I inherited from not only being a pregnant teenager but from going through adoption as well. It was a struggle to wrap my head around that it was now looked on by society as ok for me to be pregnant (as I was married and thirty). It was also a grave struggle while in the hospital to accept that the beautiful baby boy I had just given birth to would be leaving the hospital with me.

While the adoption process is seen as selflessly giving to better the life of a child, I can attest that it is also a lifetime of questioning the what ifs and what could have beens. 

I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful adoptive family that I think of my own but even in the positive process, I too still struggle and I want others to know they are not alone. I always looked to BraveLove as a source of support and comfort while going through some of my darkest days and I still look to them for such things now as I enter a new era of life and take on new challenges. I now hope to be a beckon of light to others going through what they think their darkest time in life is. I hope that my story (while I realize I was incredibly blessed and “lucky” to have a “positive” experience) will show others that it doesn’t always have to end badly or that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also hope to show others that I still struggle (sometimes daily) with the mental load that adoption can put on you, especially when going through it or starting it at such a young age. I want to be there for those that are hurting or are unsure and are just struggling.



Have you been impacted by adoption like Shelby? 
If so, we want to hear from you.