I placed my son for adoption in 2005. I was 16 years old and still at school. I chose an amazing couple who had a two year old adopted daughter. I chose them because they were very similar to my family. They had the same morals, beliefs and interests. I wanted my son to have a two parent family and to enjoy a childhood similar to mine.
The biggest hurdles were telling my parents, making the decision and the awkward questions from strangers. I would be asked things like “Have you got your baby room ready yet?” to which I replied “All sorted,” and change the subject. I would get awful stares at my favourite coffee shop so I’d hold a magazine in front of my bump. Then when people found out I had chosen to adopt my baby out I would be asked if it was money I needed. To top it off I had the father of the baby and his family's ‘ideas’ to deal with along with morning sickness and trying to look after myself.
After weighing up my options and deciding adoption was for me (this wasn’t an easy decision) I tried to make my pregnancy as memorable as possible. I didn’t want my pregnancy brushed under the carpet just because I had chosen adoption. I kept a scrapbook, made sure I looked my best and went out for hot chocolates with mum morning and night. I also moved schools so I could finish part of 7th form and worked as many hours as I could. My mum helped me organise a pamper party and overall I loved being pregnant.
My social worker let the couple know I had chosen them and we had a meeting where we discussed contact and the baby’s name. It went really well and the couple invited me over to see their home and meet their daughter. Two weeks later I was induced and had a lovely healthy 11lbs 12oz boy. Yup he’s a very tall boy! I named him Joel which was a name the adoptive couple and I both liked.
I enjoyed the time I had in hospital with Joel and I had lots of the visitors. Joel then went to a ten-day foster placement where a lady I knew looked after him. I visited in the morning and the adoptive couple visited in the afternoon. The foster mum played lovely soft music and had a bottle or the bath ready so I could have some time with Joel. However, I was still recovering from the birth and wasn’t very strong at that point.
Signing day was not pleasant. I went into a lawyer’s office to sign away my rights as a parent. Questions were fired at me and I was asked to swear on the Bible while feeling numb, empty and speechless at the same time. I signed then went home and felt as if the last nine months wasn’t real. I didn’t feel baby kicking in me anymore. It was difficult, excruciating at times to say the least.
The adoptive couple, however, made it easier for me. I was invited to their house to see Joel go to bed that first night. I chose not too but I was soon invited around again. From then on they made it clear to me I could come around whenever I needed to as long as I phoned first. We have since developed a wonderful relationship. It feels like we are all one big extended family. I have been able to see his birthdays, have kindy visits, have taken Joel and his sister to the park and to Chipmunks Playland and we all get together for bigger family occasions.
I’m so lucky I can see my son Joel grow up in such a great family and at the same time follow my dreams. I have recently been on holiday to the UK and am involved in groups like Pregnancy Counselling and Birth Mum Support Group. I recommend Open Adoption for someone going through a tough unplanned pregnancy. There are lots of fantastic couples out there that have so much love to give a child but can’t have their own biological children. I have no regrets.