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At sixteen, a junior in high school, I found myself pregnant. Knowing other teenage girls in school who were pregnant before I was, I would have never dreamed that something like that would happen to me. Scared, terrified, and nervous are just some of the feelings I was going through at first. My head was spinning and I did not know where to begin or what to do. I knew right there my life would forever be changed, but I didn’t know how just yet.

My boyfriend and I talked about every option from raising the child ourselves to adoption. Ultimately I knew it was our decision, but it was my parents who first brought up adoption. However, it wasn’t them who convinced me. I was talking to my high school counselor about the pregnancy options I had and told her that we were leaning towards adoption. I knew from the beginning that would be the best option for my child, but I held on to this dream that we could do it all ourselves. My high school counselor then told me that 19 years ago, desperate to have another child, her and her husband adopted a baby boy from St. Mary’s. She just lit up talking about him…how he made their family complete and the stories about how they turned to adoption and what that day was like when they were told they were receiving a son. I knew right then and there that I was going to make the best of our situation.

We contacted St. Mary’s the next day and got set up with a wonderful counselor. She went through every step of the pregnancy and adoption process in great detail. If there were questions, doubts, concerns she was right there for us. We felt more and more confident in our decision as the time went on. We told her exactly how we wanted our son to be raised, what type of family we were looking for, and so on. Our adoption counselor provided us with books of families who met our description. The ones we selected were the second book we saw and we knew they were the “ones.” Everything just seemed to click from their note they wrote, their pictures that included their honeymoon and their home, and how creative the book itself was. We had no doubt that we were making the best decision and they were what we wanted.

The day of our son’s birth was bittersweet. How was I going to let this adorable baby boy out of my arms? It was a time we could have been easily selfish, but I knew as teenagers that we couldn’t give him the absolute best he deserved.

After he was placed the adoptive parents did everything to assure us that we had made the best decision. They were supportive and appreciative, answered any questions or concerns, and provided me with all the little details (some I never even thought of) and pictures, so many pictures, that made me comfortable throughout the years.

To this day we talk frequently through mail and email, send pictures, and I have even met my son a few times (something I thought would never happen). Things have gone better than I could have imagined. Just seeing them together makes me so happy, which is something I didn’t know I would be able to say when I first found out I was pregnant as a teenager. I don’t feel I would have accomplished all that I have if I did not choose adoption. More importantly I don’t think my son would have been able to accomplish and done everything he has in his short life so far had we not made that decision.

You always hear that making the decision of adoption is the toughest and most selfless thing you can do, and they’re right. My advice would just simply be to think of the future of your baby. It is the hardest decision I’m sure I’ll ever have to make in my life and to this day I have ‘sad’ days and think about what it would have been like if we were to raise him. But then I think about how he’s thriving, and if I were to be able to provide him with all that he has and needs and I can’t honestly answer yes.

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