A friend of mine recently emailed me asking how she could support a friend who is placing her baby for adoption in the very near future. She wanted to know what to say to assure her that she is making the right decision. (We will get to my thoughts on this question in another post.) She ended the email by asking me if I could ask Katie what she should say to support this friend of hers (since Katie would obviously know a lot better than either of us). I forwarded the email to Katie, and the next day, I got the most beautiful letter in response. It was not addressed to me or to my friend--it was addressed to the brave young woman who is about to place her baby with an adoptive family. I love Katie's amazing insight, and man, can she write. Most seventeen year olds do not express themselves this articulately (believe me, as a former high school English teacher, I know). I asked Katie if I could post the letter on this blog, so any birth mother who needs strength can read it. Katie agreed. She is a really open person and has written a series of posts about her experience which I will be posting next week. So this is just your first taste of the amazing woman that Katie is. I love and admire her.
My name is Katie. I am 17 years old and I placed my baby boy for adoption on August 2nd, almost four months ago. I don’t know your story, or how you’re doing, I don’t even know your name but I wanted to write you this letter so you could know a little about me and my experience.
Letting my son be adopted was the best decision I have ever made, but it was also the hardest. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately knew the right thing for me to do would be to give that baby the best life possible. I was only 16, I wasn’t ready to be a parent, and neither was my boyfriend. How could I be a mom when I was still living with my mom? There were so many questions about what I should do, but in reality the only thing I felt was right was adoption.
I started going to group sessions at my local LDS Family Services, and they helped a lot! I was super nervous before I went to my first one, but after the second or third time I was hooked. The girls there all knew what I was going through and it helped me understand that life goes on after adoption, and it isn’t sad forever.
The decision you’re making is the most selfless decision you could ever make. I have the greatest respect for you and what you’re doing. But, just because your decision is selfless doesn’t mean that part of it isn’t selfish. I wanted my son to have the best life, but I also didn’t want to be a mother. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not want to be a mother yet.
I’m going to tell you what I hated hearing in the weeks leading up to when my son was born, and you’ll probably hate it as much as I did: It does get better. For me, the turning point was the night of his first month birthday, September 1st. I was sitting at my house, looking at pictures of my beautiful baby boy and hoping that the bad feelings inside of me would stop and that I would stop crying long enough to be happy for my little guy making it to one month. One month had gone by since he had been mine. Mine for a day. That was the happiest day of my life, and not only because he was mine, but because I knew that the next day he would be someone else’s. Someone I knew would love him as much as I did. I was happy that first week. I had done the right thing, and I knew it. So I was happy.
But then week two rolled around, and I suddenly felt devastated. It had been a while since I had seen him last. What had I done? That baby was mine, I knew he had to be mine, why else would I be feeling this kind of loss and pain? I was angry and hurt. Nobody understood, except the girls at Group. They knew exactly how I was feeling those few weeks. They told me it would pass, but I didn’t believe them. I didn’t think it would ever be the same with me, I missed him so much. I would lay awake at night looking at his pictures and videos I had taken, and I would cry. I would cry and then fall asleep and wish that tomorrow would be a better day.
On top of that, my best friend and boyfriend left for college a week later. My two favorite people in the world were gone, at least for a while. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Things in my life just kept not working out and I swore I had made the wrong decision. I was supposed to keep my son, that’s why nothing was going right.
But I was wrong.
September 1, 2011. That was the night I finally realized that it would be okay. It felt like someone had wrapped a warm blanket around me and was telling me that everything was exactly the way it was supposed to be. I was reading something my adoptive mom had written about my son and I couldn’t help but feel comforted knowing how much love that baby was getting. So much love.
So I’m sitting here writing to you that yes, it sucks. It sucks big time at first. But I promise you that one day, I don’t know when that will be for you, it will be okay. You will know in your heart that you did the best for your little tiny miracle. You are giving the most precious gift to someone that nobody else could ever give them. Your adoptive couple will be so thankful for this, and I am too. I wish more of my friends were brave enough to do the best for their children.
It takes a lot of strength to go through something like this. Not only did we have to suffer through nine months of morning sickness, leg cramps, and a twenty-six hour labor with no pain medication (been there, trust me), then we are expected to give up that thing that we have been fighting for the past year of our lives. Giving up our time to just give it to someone else. That’s brave. Not very many people are as brave as the girls like us.
Life is hard and the road is rocky and treacherous, but you are one step closer to giving your beautiful baby a jump start on life; a little leap of a better shot. You are not being cruel. You are being a mother. A mother only wants what’s best for her children. I wasn’t what was best for my son. I knew that, but it didn’t make it any easier. Time is all you have.
In the hospital don’t have any regrets. If you want to have alone time with your baby, take it. If you want to sing and read that child stories then do it. Do everything you want to do, because that time is your time. Not anyone else’s. No one should be able to take that away from you.
The hardest part for me wasn’t signing the papers relinquishing my rights; it was when I actually walked my sweet little boy to my adoptive parents. I had spent the last hour in pure agony. I sobbed and held that baby tight, and gave him the last kiss as his mommy. I cradled him in my arms and handed him to his new mother who held us both and we all cried together, hugging each other a little while longer. Remember, when you’re saying good bye, that it’s not good bye, more like good luck and see you soon.
I will never forget the look on my adoptive parents’ face when they were looking at their new baby. He was never mine. I know that now. He was always meant to be theirs. It used to be hard to say that out loud, but now that I know it’s so true, it’s easy.
I hope this has helped you, even just a little bit. I hope everything with you goes well and that you don’t ever regret your decision (even though all us birth moms do). I hope you understand that it will be okay and it will get better, I promise.
God loves you and your baby; He knows what’s best for both of you. Remember, God only gives us the challenges He knows we can manage. We are the strongest people that can be, and He knows that too. He knows that we can do this for those who couldn’t enjoy being parents without us. I love you, and I love what you are doing.
From one birth mom to another,