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"Can't Imagine It Any Other Way" - How Sara Overcame Her Adoption Challenges

Sara's Story

This testimonial was written as part of our Adoption Scholarship Story series. Read Sara’s story in her own words here.

For the last 20 years, Sara had been a single mother to two boys, now in their 20s. She was ready to enjoy her time with her adult sons — but life had another plan.

When Sara missed her period for a few months, she first chalked it up to premature menopause. She was shocked to find out that, at age 41, she was actually pregnant. With no father involved, she would be alone in raising this child. Having done that twice before, she knew that parenting wouldn’t be possible.

“I was scared to do it again on my own at that age, having two boys that were already grown,” Sara remembers. “It was comforting to know that there were options out there and that adoption was available to me.”

With the support of her family, Sara started researching adoption a week after finding out she was pregnant. Her research led her to American Adoptions and an adoption specialist named Erin. Soon after, Sara decided to start her adoption process.

“When you have the choice to give life and to make that life the best that it could be, I can’t imagine it any other way,” she says.

Finding Her Son’s Parents

Before Sara chose adoption, she talked her situation over with her adult sons. They were on board, as long as she would assure them that they would be in their brother’s life. Fortunately, she wanted an open adoption just as much as they did. They all made the decision together. 

The next step was finding the perfect people for that open adoption. Sara wanted as much time as possible to get to know her unborn son’s future parents, and she wanted those parents to have the opportunity to experience her pregnancy, too.

“I didn’t want to be at the hospital going, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do, and I don’t have a say. I don’t have a choice,’” Sara says. “I felt starting early prepared me more for my decision, as well.”

Sara knew she wanted her unborn son to have two young parents, around the same age she was when she had her first two sons. Her specialist Erin sent her profiles of potential families and, at three months pregnant, Sara knew exactly who she wanted to raise her son: a young couple named Korby and Sammi. She sent along their profile and video to her family, who all agreed they were the perfect choice for her unborn son.

Soon after, Sara was meeting Korby and Sammi for the first time. Like many prospective birth parents, she was nervous. Would they get along as well in person as on the phone? Would they like her? Would they accept her for who she was?

It turns out her worries were unfounded.

“Each time that we would meet, each time that we would talk, we would realize that we were more like each other than we were different,” she recalls. “It was very confirming for me when I met them to have the (pre-placement) relationship for so long… They were the ones. There wasn’t a doubt about that.”

A Potential Father Steps Forward

Sara’s adoption plan was moving along without a hitch. She and the adoptive parents were continuing to build their relationship and make plans for her delivery.

But, two months before her due date, Sara got a call from a lawyer. She had been served by a potential father, who was planning to contest the adoption. Everything she had planned came crashing down around her.

“I screamed, because I was put right back in the same predicament as when I found out I was pregnant with him,” Sara says. “I felt like I had deceived the adoptive family by leading them on to think they were going to be able to adopt my child. I was mad at the guy for doing this. I can’t even begin to explain every single emotion that I went through.”

Sara leaned on her adoption specialist and tried to stay positive until her son’s birth, hoping that it would all work out in the end. She fully believed the potential father was not her son’s dad, and she knew in her heart that her unborn son was meant to be Korby and Sammi’s. However, all she could do was wait; only after birth could a paternity test be completed.

On July 8, 2018, she gave birth, without the adoptive parents there as planned. She named her son Isaiah Teddy, and she brought him home after discharge from the hospital.

“I had him for the first 13 days. I never was more scared in my whole life — the fear of bonding with him, the fear of changing my mind, the fear that I wouldn’t have our friendship (with Sammi and Korby) anymore,” she says. “It was hard being alone with him and trying to love him so much, but keep my distance because he didn’t belong to me.” 

During that period, Sara kept sending pictures of her son to Sammi and Korby. They never lost touch, even when the adoption seemed hopeless.

“They were never mad at me. They were never upset with me,” Sara says. “I always knew that Teddy belonged to them and that it was all going to work out the way that it was supposed to.” 

Eight days after her son was born, Sara finally got approval for a DNA test. Three days later, she had the results — the man who had come forward to contest the adoption was not the father, and the process could continue.

Finding the Strength to Move Forward

Although Sara knew in her heart that the adoption was still the best option, she couldn’t help but feel sad. She had spent 13 days bonding with and loving her newborn son; when she placed her child with the adoptive parents, it was harder than she originally imagined, especially when they stayed in the other half of her duplex.

“I kept my distance a lot of the time, because it was hard to see another woman taking care of your baby and not having any say,” Sara says. “You know how you want someone there, but you don’t want them there? I didn’t want the baby to leave, and I didn’t want them to leave either. It was tough, but when I look at it now, I love the situation we were put in.”

Now, Sara cherishes the 13 days she had with Teddy. She also cherishes the relationship she has with the adoptive parents, who continue to text, talk and video chat with her. She was even present at Teddy’s first birthday, treated as part of the family. The adoptive parents have even invited her on future trips to Disneyland.

“It’s very rough in the beginning, but it does get better,” Sara says. “It takes you a while to realize that what you did was the best thing and, regardless of the situation that put you there, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your ultimate decision was to place him in a family that would love him unconditionally, love him like he was their biological child.

“I hope Teddy will always know how much I love him, and that this was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. But I made it in his best interest. I made it for him to have better opportunities, to have a future, to grow up and be something big, and I always hope to be a part of his life.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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