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I found out I was pregnant in December 2006. I did not know what I had gotten myself into at that point. All I remember is I was scared and didn’t know where to turn.

I knew I had options and that I had to consider the circumstances surrounding my pregnancy. I was a junior in high school and living under my parents’ roof. I heard about St. Mary’s at a prenatal class. Once I got St. Mary’s information it only took a phone call to make my decision of adoption.

My counselor and I worked together to help me understand the full weight of my decision and to know I was making the right choice for me. My counselor and I went through mini scrapbooks of adoptive families that the agency calls “profiles.” I went through each profile and I knew which families I liked and which I didn’t. Before I truly chose the family, we met in a big conference room a couple of times to get to know each other. During one of our gatherings, I asked the soon-to-be mom if she wanted to come to one of my ultrasound appointments. We met at the appointment, and that day turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. If you would have told me I would go into labor that night, I wouldn’t have believed you, but I did, and at 4:22 a.m. the sweetest, little baby girl, Ella, was born.

St. Mary’s was a big part of helping my family and me during that time. They counseled my mother and I during my pregnancy and helped with the hospital bills.

After giving birth, I went back to high school to graduate with my class and was able to be on my high school’s swim team for the last time. If I hadn’t placed Ella for adoption I believe that I wouldn’t have graduated on time with my class and wouldn’t have had the chance to participate in an extra school activity like swimming. My relationship with the adoptive family has been a wonderful experience. We talk a lot about Ella and see each other often.

Since giving birth, I married Ella’s birth father and moved out of state. After being gone for 2 months, I found out I was pregnant with a second child. I was so shocked all over again and we weren’t ready to be parents yet. I decided to make another adoption plan and move back home and work with St. Mary’s again. My counselors there helped another adoption take place between me and the family that adopted Ella.

What I would love to share with you now is the amazing, heartfelt experience I shared before, during and after I delivered my son. My mom and the adoptive mom came with me to my last doctor’s appointment. The doctor was concerned about the size of the baby’s stomach, so he did another ultrasound. After the ultrasound, he decided that I should be induced. I only remember saying to myself “he’s better out than in.” After my appointment the three of us went to my house and packed my stuff and along the way we made phone calls to friends and family. At the hospital, the adoptive mom and I became one team — and that team was two individuals ready to handle anything that came at us. After the baby was born, we had some very proud and wonderful people come to see him. Those people were a big brother and now a big sister squished in between two wonderful brothers like the cream filling in an Oreo sandwich. The new baby didn’t know he was coming into an already made family, but I know all three children will be loved — not only by the family they live with, but also by me and my family.

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