When I became pregnant, I did not expect the experience to reshape my future passions and ambitions. Though I had always had a passion for people, it was my experience with placing my son through Caring for Kids that set me on my path today. I got pregnant at age 19 in a season when I was not able to give my child the life I wanted him to have. When I chose adoption and had identified a family for my child, they connected me with Caring for Kids. The people I met there and the experience I had with them opened my eyes to the kind of work I wanted to dedicate my life to. I saw an agency whose highest priority was their clients and dealing with them with the utmost empathy and respect. Their care for me, my child and my adoptive parents made all the difference between a tragic situation and a beautiful new family.
Choosing adoption is an impossible decision. There are so many things that can make the difference between stress and support and having people around who care for you is one of them. I had a birth parent counselor who knew the process I was going through and advocated for me entirely. No matter what I wanted to do, she supported me. It empowered me to make the very best choices for my child and feel confident in my decisions. When you are young and you find yourself pregnant, people often judge you for being irresponsible without knowing you or your life. There can be many sources of bullying that stem from that, from hospital staff to adoptive parents and even your own family. When you are young, pregnant, and scared, a birth mother counselor is an indescribable comfort. It is a professional on your side, telling you how brave and strong you are, and not letting anyone bully you or manipulate you. I cannot imagine an adoption without someone on the side of the birth mother.
I remember that the adoptive couple I chose, though I was very pleased with them, were very forthright with how they thought the adoption should go. Sometimes I wondered if they thought they were doing me a favor. The mother was very much a planner sort of person and she used to give me stacks of documents to read over, entailing how she expected me to conduct myself after the baby was “hers”. These are the kinds of moments when a birth mother can feel very plowed over. If she does not know the power she holds, and by “power” I mean the strength and the right to choose her own path, then she may simply yield to whomever is pushing her the hardest. That is where a birth mother counselor makes a world of difference.
By the time push really came to shove, I had been working with Caring for Kids for a few months. I distinctly remember taking a very firm stand on what I would and would not agree to, even telling my chosen couple that I would end our adoptive arrangement if they continued to push me. Ultimately, they conceded that I knew what I was doing and capitulated on many of their more unreasonable demands. My birth parent counselor had given me the courage. She had made it clear that I cannot be badgered or bullied, and that I know what is best for the baby. Through her support and encouragement as my advocate, she gave me the strength and confidence to be an advocate for my child.
Eight years later, my son is the happiest boy on earth surrounded by countless people who love him. I see him as often as long distance allows, and he knows his whole story about me and where he comes from. I have no regrets. However, there are times when my adoption still causes me to have feelings of pain and shadows of uncertainty. It is only expected, when you make a decision of such a life-altering degree, to have all sorts of feelings even after everything is long over. Caring for Kids never “drops” a birth mom. There are so many supports available long after an adoption is final, and no one is turned away no matter what your story is.
Through Caring for Kids, I discovered that there are events and even overnight retreats where birth moms can gather together and understand one another in a very unique way. They can heal, gain closure, share and receive, and just feel what they are feeling with no judgement to be found anywhere. I have benefited from meeting other moms, hearing their stories, and sharing mine. After all this time, I can still talk to my birth parent counselor whenever I need to. This kind of support is what sets Caring for Kids apart. They do not just walk you through legal proceedings and get it done. There is no termination point where you are no longer their problem. My time with Caring for Kids reshaped how I viewed myself and what I am capable of. I carry that strength and affirmation with me to this day.