Today’s Testimonial Tuesday comes from American Adoptions staff member and birth mother Michelle. Michelle has worked with us since 2003, counseling birth parents, coordinating pictures and letters packages and providing awesome insight to our staff.
Michelle was completely shocked to learn she was pregnant: “I was in shock. I have never cried so hard and felt so ashamed, embarrassed and destroyed inside as I did [that] morning. I was quickly in denial telling the doctor that they had made a mistake; it couldn’t be. But in reality, it was true.”
Michelle dated the father of the baby for almost a year in high school, but they had been broken up for several months when she learned she was pregnant. “The thought that I could be pregnant never crossed my mind,” she says. “Here it was almost two months since I had dated Shawn, and I was finally moving on, and now I had to bring him back into my life again.”
Michelle was very torn about how and when to tell Shawn: “I felt like I couldn’t tell him because it would ruin his life… I guess I never thought that the decision to have sex could have such an impact on so many people around me,” Michelle says.
Over the next several months, Michelle continued to go to school and play on the volleyball team, as she made plans for herself and her baby. She also attended counseling with her family.
“Because of the difficulties I was having with the choices I was faced with, my family had already pursued a counseling service,” Michelle says. “After attending two sessions, my self-esteem increased greatly, and I could think clearly again and not be so frightened of my mistake. I knew I had to tell Shawn, and now I had enough courage and confidence to do so.”
Michelle decided that adoption was the best option and found a family through a friend of her mother. “That was the best feeling,” Michelle says. “I couldn’t believe I was making a couple so happy, while at the same time my pregnancy seemed like such a wrong situation.”
With things falling into place, Michelle was finally ready to tell Shawn about her pregnancy. He agreed that it was the best thing to do. Michelle also found great support among her friends and family.
In February 1998, Michelle’s son Bradley was born. “When they first handed Bradley to me, all I could do was cry knowing that the next 48 hours would be the last that I would get to spend with him before he would leave with his new family.”
Then the time came for Michelle and Shawn to sign the adoption paperwork and send their son, who was renamed Ryan by his adoptive family, home with his new family. Michelle describes the sadness and joy of saying goodbye:
“I was very confident with the adoptive parents that I had chosen for my son, and therefore it was comforting to have the adoptive parents by my side. It was also difficult at the same time because I knew that my life would never be the same again. I couldn’t believe it was over. I handed my 5-pound, 15-ounce little boy to the adoptive mom, and we all cried and hugged… It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but at the same time, I knew it was the right thing for me to do. In my heart, he will always be my little boy and my son, even if someone else is raising him. I never knew it was possible to love someone so much.”
Since the adoption, Michelle has been able to stay in touch with Ryan and his adoptive family through pictures and letters, which has been very reassuring. She looks forward to meeting him again someday in the future.
“Choosing adoption for Ryan was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life, but now that I have a daughter [born in 2010], I am even more positive than ever before that I made the best decision for him,” Michelle says. “I know that he has the family he was meant to be with and that everything truly did happen for a reason.”
Michelle began a journal during her pregnancy, and continues to write it in to this day. She highly recommends that other birth mothers do this as well. “It is something that I like to reflect on and add new entries and new things that are happening in my life,” Michelle says. “I continue to write in my journal so that when that day comes for us to meet again, he will know that every moment we were apart I loved him and was waiting for the moment when we would be together again!”