A birth mother named Erika recently reached out to our agency to tell her adoption story. Although she did not place through American Adoptions, we always are happy to share birth parent stories. We are honored to share hers around Mother’s Day to highlight a type of motherhood not typically celebrated.

*Please note: This story contains information regarding a sexual assault.*

Without further ado, check out her story below:

“My name is Erika. I placed my son up for adoption in 2009.

“I come from a family who was not very supportive and who were extremely toxic. After I graduated high school in the year of 2008, at the age of 17, I was raped by a 34-year-old man. I then went home and went into a dark, depressive state during which I hid from the world.

“Three months later my mother came down and asked what was wrong with me. I had told her what happened, and she immediately called the OBGYN to get me checked out. I went into the office for an exam, and they told me I was pregnant. I proceeded to go in for an ultrasound only to see a baby with hands, feet and a heartbeat, and I knew right away that adoption was the option I couldn’t pass up. Knowing I couldn’t raise this child as a 17-year-old living in a toxic environment, and have him be attached to something as traumatic as the rape I endured — it was the best decision.

“I fell in love with this baby growing in my belly. I cared for him as if it were my last time ever being able to, which it was. I wanted to grow that nugget the best way I could — eating healthy, taking vitamins, not going through the stressful process of prosecuting this rapist. To re-live that experience with this delicate situation seemed out of the question at 17. I even went to church to surround myself with support and love when I needed it most. I had really shut out my feelings and focused on just growing this baby and picking a family.

“When I found my child’s family, I had this overwhelming calming feeling that I would be making the right decision here. It’s not an easy task to talk about yourself to convince a prospective birth mom to pick you, but they did it! Their profile out of the 15 I received was fun, bright, full of a big loving family — something I never had myself. I knew they were the ones.

“This family was an open-adoption family of higher standards than I. Despite the intimidation I felt, I met them at a mall in Ohio for the first time. I had brought my parents with me, due to me still being a child. My mother instantly injected herself, speaking for me, telling these people who I am. My adoptive father proceeded to stand there, saying nothing.

“I just was overwhelmed. The moment was here, and I shut down. For 10 years that was the case — my mother intruding on the process and mixing the truth up with her selfish intentions. I was really robbed again!

“Recently I have stood up and created healthy boundaries with my family (that no one wanted to follow), but the adoptive family really put all of that aside and still demanded to learn about me from me. They were patient and kind and, although they have moved all over the world and landed in Texas while I’m in Ohio, we still make an effort to further our relationship.

“I was adopted by my father, and so is my child’s new mother. My child’s father was adopted and is able to really help my son and his feelings through this process. That made me even more proud to have chosen a family and a wonderful life for my child.

“Having gone through many traumatic circumstances, I am able to say I am proud of the decision I made to put my child up for adoption. Out of a very dark time came a very wonderful life for more than just me. That is the ultimate sacrifice. That is something I am proud of.

“I have been quite inconsistent with my child and his family due to dealing with all of my traumas, and I regret not having been more consistent. I am lucky to have a family who accepts me on any occasion and still urges to know me and be sensitive toward me throughout this process.

“I currently have a husband and a son who is my life, and they are so supportive and stable and amazing — to the point where, after 10 years, I am finally able to focus on the open adoption. My son loves to talk about his half-brother and wants to see him all the time. My child I put up for adoption is just thrilled about having a little half-brother.

“This process has been amazing, and I do not regret the decision I have made, even given the circumstances.”

This story has been edited for clarity and length. If you wish to share your own adoption story, please email editors@americanadoptions.com.