"An Unconventional Family" - How One Birth Mother Made Peace with Her Adoption
This testimonial is written as a part of our Adoption Scholarship Series. Read Carmen’s story in her own words here.
Since she was young, Carmen had a plan for what life would be like when she was a mother. She dreamed of the “white picket fence” lifestyle: a solid marriage, beautiful children and a comfortable life.
But, when she had her first daughter, her life wasn’t quite like she had planned. She found herself a single mother, struggling to support herself and her daughter on her sole income. Still, she persevered enough to work full time and go back to school for her associate’s degree.
A few years later, Carmen found herself pregnant again. And, when the child’s father removed himself from their lives, she knew parenting another child was going to be a lot more difficult. She thought hard about what she was going to do — what would be best for herself and all of her child, including the one inside her womb.
“Through much thought, prayer, and the support of family and friends, I came to the immensely difficult decision to give my son up for adoption,” Carmen remembers.
So, she started researching adoption agencies. When it came to American Adoptions, Carmen says she knew right away that it was the agency she wanted. Her adoption specialist, Brighid, put her immediately at ease and guided her through every step of the process.
While her adoption decision was difficult, finding the right family was much easier.
“I spent the next several weeks combing through what must have been dozens of wonderful families. Then, I found them — the couple that I immediately felt connected to,” Carmen says.
That couple was Rob and Allie, who were just as excited as Carmen to enter the next phase of their adoption journey together. Pre-placement contact allowed Carmen to get to know the parents who would raise her son; she got to know them through emails, and the couple would even come out to visit Carmen and her mother two weeks before the due date.
“Once we found each other, it was as if we were attending a normal family get-together. We laughed and talked and enjoyed each other’s company,” Carmen remembers. “I grew to know and care for them — not only as the couple that would become the parents of my unborn son, but as friends and family.”
Carmen knew she wanted to do something special for Rob and Allie, so she sought to involve them in her pregnancy as much as possible. On Mother’s Day, she had a 3D ultrasound taken so the couple could have the intimate videos and pictures.
Carmen also wanted to involve the couple as much as possible in her hospital plan. So, when her son RJ was born, Rob cut the umbilical cord, and Allie was the first to hold the baby for some crucial skin-to-skin contact. They had pictures taken in the recovery room and made memories Carmen will remember forever.
“We truly are an unconventional family,” she says.
While Rob, Allie and RJ left for Virginia two weeks later, Carmen knew the time they gave her to see and hold her son wasn’t goodbye. She continues to receive pictures and letters of RJ as he grows.
“Every time I hear from Rob and Allie, I am shown how happy they are together, which warms my heart,” she says.
Today, with the help of American Adoptions’ scholarship program, Carmen is enrolled in college studying social work. She says that, one day, she hopes to be an adoption specialist guiding birth mothers through their own adoption journeys — just like the social workers at American Adoptions guided her.
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