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"Adoption is a Really Beautiful Thing" - How Markley Gave Her Son Exactly What He Needed

Markley's Adoption Story

How to Contact Markley

If you would like to talk to me please call 1-800-Adoption and ask for Markley or e-mail me at

Markley's Adoption Story

I was 17 when I found out that I was pregnant. I was a senior in high school, and I had big dreams for my future. My goal was to become a CEO by the time I was in my 30s and then start a family after. At 17, a baby was not in my plan.

But, life often has its own plans. This is my story of adoption and how I responded to an unplanned pregnancy.

How It Started

My boyfriend and I at the time had been dating on and off for about a year. I met him at work and I also knew him from school. From the moment I met him, I thought I was in love.

He was really goofy and his heart seemed so big. In the beginning it was great, but it quickly became rocky. We would argue back and forth about things all the time. We would go weeks where I would try to talk to him just to be ignored, or I would hear about him cheating and he would assure me that it was untrue. I began to question what love really was. I talked myself out of leaving so many times because when it was good, I thought it was amazing.

It was November of 2011, and my best friend was turning 18. We were throwing a big house party to celebrate her birthday. At this point, my boyfriend and I just got back together after another cheating accusation. The events of what really happened that night are still pretty blurry because we were drinking, but looking at the timeline this was the night my son was conceived.

 I remember waking up the next morning thinking I needed to go get the Plan B pill. At that time, my parents would have had to consent and I didn’t want to tell them I was sexually active. I figured I would be fine since I was taking my birth control, and that this one time wasn’t going to hurt anything.

The thing is, I never took my birth control regularly, and before that night it had been days since I took my last pill. A few weeks later I started to get a little worried because my period was late. I asked my friend if she would take a pregnancy test with me just to ease my mind.

I ended up taking four different tests and they all said the same thing — positive.

Responding to My Unplanned Pregnancy

I panicked and completely shut down. I went weeks without really thinking. I was on autopilot and still to this day cannot tell you what happened.

When I did come back to reality, my first initial thought was abortion. I wanted the pregnancy to go away because I was scared of what my parents would think. I remember having a discussion with my best friend at the time and she told me there was absolutely no way I could do that.

I kept running all of my options through my head and didn’t tell anyone what was going on. Abortion wasn’t going to be the best option for me, and then it slowly clicked: I was going to choose adoption. At this point, I didn’t voice that I wanted adoption, I just knew that was going to be what happened.

Choosing Adoption

For me, adoption was never a new concept. I was adopted as an infant and I grew up with an open adoption. Although I never really spoke to my biological mother, I did have contact with my maternal grandmother and my two biological sisters. I think having that background with adoption made my choice seem less scary.

I knew that by choosing adoption, I would be able to watch my child grow up without having to worry. I was lucky enough to grow up in a really privileged home and I knew that I wanted the same for my child. I understood the reality that I was not ready to parent, and that if I did choose to parent there were things I wouldn’t be able to accomplish.

I wanted to be able to give my child everything he deserved.

Sharing the News with the Father

Two months later, I finally told my boyfriend that I was pregnant. For months we continued to live our lives like nothing was going on. It felt like we were in a bubble with this secret. We never thought about the reality of what was going to happen to us or this baby I was carrying. Eventually, he told his mom that I was pregnant and it led to his siblings finding out. Then, everyone at work knew what was happening.

People at work were really supportive — or at least it seemed that way. They gave me this false hope of support and I really started to question adoption. They told us that they would be there and that we would live this fantasy life. I started to build a dream of what life would look like with my boyfriend and my baby. We made plans to get married, and he was going to join the Army to take care of us. His family would be really supportive and help us raise this baby. My boyfriend painted a picture of how we were going to be a big, happy family. However, the more help they offered, the clearer my reality goggles became.

My boyfriend didn’t grow up in the same way as I did. It was a stark contrast to my own parents and the life I grew up in. His house was falling down and the smell of cigarette smoked filled the air every time I was over there. There would be nights where I would sit and listen to gun shots just a few streets away.  Was this a place that I really wanted to raise my baby in?

He showed me over and over again that he didn’t have the drive to do better and his promises started to become really empty. In my mind, adoption became a clearer option, but I was afraid to talk about it. I still loved him and a piece of me believed it when he would say it too.

The Talk with My Parents

I was five months pregnant and I still hadn’t told my parents. As an adult, I don’t know what I was thinking!

I had graduated from high school early and I was working at the medical practice for my mom. During this time in my pregnancy, I was experiencing morning sickness routinely, and depending on what I wore, you could tell I was pregnant.

The week my mom found out, I had been sick every day at the same time on our way to work. She kept asking me if I was pregnant but I told her it was my new vitamins I was taking. People around the office kept asking my mom if I was pregnant. I would hear whispers as I walked by, but we still never spoke to each other about it.

One day my mom pulled me out of work early and dragged me home. She asked me if I was pregnant. I knew it was time to tell her, but as much as I wanted the words to come out they didn’t. I kept telling her “Mom, I don’t know. I’m scared. Something is happening.”

I will never forget the look on her face. It wasn’t anger, but sadness and fear. She was afraid for me, not mad like I thought she was going to be. We talked really long about why it happened and what the next steps were going to be. Her first suggestion was adoption. When my dad came home, he didn’t say much. He just told me that whatever I decided, they were going to support me.

My mind was made up before that night ended, and I finally voiced that I was placing my child for adoption — no matter what happened.

Challenges with the Birth Father

The next day I talked to my boyfriend about everything that happened the night before.  I told him that I was going to choose adoption and listed the reasons why I thought it was best. He agreed and told me that he supported whatever my plan was. I was finally feeling free. Maybe it was because everyone knew, maybe it was because I finally voiced what I wanted. Either way, for the first time in five months I could breathe.

Naturally, his family was not supportive. They wanted my baby, and tried really hard to change my mind. My boyfriend would tell me that this was his opportunity to be a dad and make up for the fact that his dad wasn’t there. He again made so many promises, but I knew they were all empty promises. I was very firm in my decision to place and I made it very clear to my boyfriend and his family that this was going to happen.

We started to see each other less and less. I wanted him to be involved in the adoption process. I would call to try to get him to look at families with me or to do interviews with an agency, but he never answered. Eventually, two months had gone by and he stopped talking to me. I knew that our relationship was over even though nothing was said. I cried and begged him to return my call but he never did.

Finally the day before I walked across the stage for my high school graduation, I went on Facebook and left a message on his wall saying, “I know that our relationship is over, but you need to return my call. You will be terminating your rights to this baby one way or another, and if I need to get a lawyer to hunt you down I will.” 

He replied “I want nothing to do with you; I will only speak to you about my son. Leave me alone.” 

Even though I knew it was over my heart broke in to a million pieces. All I wanted was the best for my son, and his father completely broke me because of it. He didn’t speak to me until the day before my son was born two months later.

Moving Forward with Adoption — Finding My Baby’s Family

I went through what felt like a million profiles before I found my son’s adoptive parents. The second I saw them I knew that they were meant to be his parents.

They lived in rural Indiana and would be able to give my son the space to be a kid. They were both so in love and it showed in every word that they said about each other.  I did everything I could to get in touch with them, and within a week we made our match call.

My mom, dad, brother, and I all sat around our living room table when we made that call. The adoptive family and I were both really nervous. I remember saying to them, “Look, I know that it’s early and I know that I was told not to, but you are my son’s parents.” They came out to meet me a few weeks later and we spent the day at the lake. I tried really hard during that time to get my ex-boyfriend involved, but he didn’t want anything to do with the process. I continued working on my adoption plan with my social worker alone.

Facing Last-Minute Resistance

The day before I gave birth, my son’s father had texted me. He wanted to meet and talk about everything. When I showed up at his house he started talking about why he was upset. I never really got an apology from him for leaving me to handle the adoption alone. I think it may have been the pregnancy hormones, but I forgave him. We never were “back together.” but he promised that he would help me through everything.

That day I had to turn in my 24-hour urine test to the hospital and do some blood work. We both went together and the entire time we were in the car he kept asking me if I was sure about adoption. He wanted to know more about the family I picked and what they were like. The next day we were planning on having a picnic, but I got a call that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP for an emergency induction. I had preeclampsia, and my son was in danger.  

I was scared and alone. I called my mom and they got home as fast as they could. I made the call to my social worker and she called the adoptive family. For hours after I got to the hospital, I was texting the birth father. He would tell me how much he loved me and his son, and then would say I was a horrible person and taking his son away from him. I can’t remember everything that happened, but I only remember the following events because of what everyone has told me.

He tried starting a fight with my brother because I didn’t want him in the room. Both he and his mom were telling everyone that they weren’t going to allow me to take his son away. I was called a lot of really bad names by them and eventually they were escorted out of the hospital.

Giving Birth, Placing my Son, and Life After Placement

On July 8th at 10:45am, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Alex, with his mom right by my side. I wanted her to be the first one to hold him and to cut the cord, and so she did. Alex and his mom share the same birthday, which I think is even more perfect. The second I saw her with him, I knew that I made the right decision.  

With everything going on with the birth father, the adoptive family was really worried that we were not going to sign termination paperwork. I had planned on signing paperwork on my last day, but knowing how final I was in my decision I decided to sign as soon as I could.

The adoptive family and I spent the next few days together at the hospital. Those moments will forever be cherished because I was able to see the love that they had for not only my son, but for me as well.

One of the nights, the adoptive mom and I were together with Alex. We spoke a lot about what led me to choose adoption and the relationship I had with the birthfather. The hardest part of the entire adoption was saying goodbye to my son on that final day. I held him as we both were wheeled to the parking garage. He was absolutely perfect in every way, but I knew that very shortly, he would no longer be mine. Handing him over was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done, even more than signing my parental rights away.

It’s been nine years now, and I have been so honored to watch my son grow up. I met my now husband and we have two beautiful twin girls. We visit my son yearly and I talk to the adoptive parents often.

My son has known about his journey from the moment he was born, and I feel so lucky to be able to have that kind of relationship with him. He calls me his “second mom” and is close to his sisters and my husband. Adoption is a part of my life and my identity; I wouldn’t trade for the world. It allowed me to have control over my life and it gave my son exactly what I wanted for his.

I believe that my purpose is to help other women who are walking through their own adoption journey, and I am so thankful for my son because he gave that to me. In the end, adoption is a really beautiful thing. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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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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Adoption Glossary

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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