Making the Right Decision - One Birth Mother Looks Back on Her Open Adoption Process
Like many prospective birth mothers, Angelica was nervous to make the first call to American Adoptions.
At 20 years old and already the mother to two young boys, she said that adoption had been in the back of her mind since she first found out she was pregnant. An on-off relationship with her baby’s father and living with her aunt wasn’t the ideal situation to raise another child, but she struggled to take the first step toward adoption.
“I had long nights that I would cry and pray that God would guide me,” she says, “and then I finally called American Adoptions.”
Finding the Perfect Family
Angelica had always wanted a little girl. Discovering that she was pregnant with one after she had started making her adoption plan made her question her decision. It was a battle between her head and her heart; parenting was what her motherly instinct wanted her to do, but she knew what the more responsible choice was.
On top of that, despite the gentle advice from her adoption specialist Rachel, she was having trouble finding the perfect family.
“I wanted to keep my options open, so I asked her to email me some more (family profiles),” Angelica says. “Eventually, she had sent me every single one of the waiting couples on the whole list.”
Unsure of whom to choose, she turned to Rachel for help.
“She told me that whenever I find the right couple, I’ll just know they’re the right ones.”
While she still had reservations about adoption, Angelica says she appreciated the honesty she was given by her adoption specialist and social workers. At no point did she feel rushed into her decision.
“You could tell they weren’t just putting on a front to make you want to do it or push you into it,” she says. “They want whatever you want, and that’s what they told me during the whole process. It wasn’t up to them; they were just going to be there for me no matter what decision I made.”
Eventually, Angelica found herself on a conference call with Keith and Jenn, a prospective adoptive family that had encountered some troubles of their own — but had always remained positive.
Because of an accident, Keith used a wheelchair, and he and Jenn already had an 8-year-old son with severe disabilities. They were pursuing adoption because of the health risks of having another biological child. When they spoke with Angelica, their honesty and enthusiasm for adoption touched her.
“What I liked about Keith was that he had a lot of courage, and he told me about his life. He’s brave because he’s overcome a lot of obstacles in his life,” she says. “What I liked about Jenn was she had the gentle and motherly personality that I knew my daughter would need.”
Their concern for her wishes was what ultimately made her decision final.
“You could tell Keith was so excited; he kept rambling on and on and on the whole time and asking me all these questions about what I wanted for her (my daughter) — making me feel comfortable that they would give her things I want, too, rather than just what they wanted for her,” Angelica says.
Bonding at the Hospital
After connecting on the phone and solidifying the match, Angelica’s pregnancy proceeded as normal. She emailed with Keith and Jenn throughout the process and started creating her hospital plan, deciding that she wanted to be the one to experience the “firsts” after she gave birth.
Medical necessity made her doctor schedule an induction to deliver at 37 weeks. Angelica says this was the best situation possible; because Keith and Jenn lived in Rhode Island and she in Texas, a set date would make sure that they were there for her daughter’s birth. Keith and Jenn arrived a day before her induction and gave Angelica space to become comfortable in her hospital room before they had their first in-person meeting. When she finally saw them, it only reinforced her choice.
“They just had the biggest smiles on their faces,” Angelica remembers. “They greeted me with a present; they gave me a little gold bracelet with a little girl on it. I still haven’t taken it off since that day.”
Jenn and Keith stayed with Angelica throughout her labor, with Jenn holding her hand through the pain. All three parents were a nervous wreck, but everything changed as soon as Angelica’s daughter was born.
“I remembered filling out my hospital plan when everything was about me, me, me — but then all that happened, and I felt like it wasn’t about me anymore,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to see them hold her for the first time. It just overall confirmed that my daughter was in the arms of the parents that God had led me to like I had asked.”
All three parents decided on the name Kaylin for the little girl, and they all shared the care of her over the next hours. Angelica continued to bond with Keith and Jenn during this process, which made the eventual goodbyes even harder. All three cried as they prepared to leave the hospital.
“My eyes just watered as they placed her into Jenn’s arms,” Angelica says. “She was no longer mine, but I knew in my heart that everything would be okay. Seeing how happy she made them and their family and seeing how happy their family was just reassured me that I had made the right decision.”
Three months later and back taking care of her two sons, Angelica says she looks forward to her yearly visits with her daughter but is even more reassured by Keith and Jenn’s promise to talk whenever she’d like to.
“They would never want to keep her from me because they just said I gave them the most precious gift they could ever have,” Angelica says. “I know that she’s going to have the best life she could ever have. I don’t ever want anything to stand in her way, and I know she has two people that she can look up to.”
Looking back on her adoption experience, Angelica says one Bible verse sums it up perfectly: John 13:7.
“You do not realize what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
To read Keith and Jenn’s story, click here.
If you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption, please contact us today, for free and with no obligation, by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
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