My Adoption Story

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the abortion issue and how we, as conservatives, we seem to be beating our heads against a wall. I’ve watched the debates, read the articles from both sides. I’ve heard the personal accounts. We’ve used logic, science, reason, and even emotion to convey the nature of abortion to no avail. Many know I’m a birth mom, but I haven’t had the courage to open up and tell my story until now.

We’ve all seen the shock method used of pictures of mutilated aborted babies. This does little more than cause people to shut down. Very rarely does this method have any positive effect.

We’ve heard the argument from the religious standpoint, but not everyone is a believer.  This method only seems to gain validation from like-minded, rather than changing someone’s mind.

When discussing abortion on scientific merit, abortion supporters have finally come around to accepting that life begins at conception, the zero point, as is taught in biology. But often site that if said life is not viable, it is not important. And some will go to the extreme and say no matter the stage of pregnancy, the mothers wishes trump that of the life inside her.

Often frustrated with the circular arguments from the pro-abortion side, I’ve even witnessed our side resort to hateful rhetoric and name calling in an attempt to shame the other side. And while that may make us feel better for a moment, these tactics have obviously been counterproductive. After all, when has anger and hate ever persuaded anyone to view things from your perspective?

We could learn a lot from the pro-abortionists. Pro-abortionists have mastered their message. They embrace these women, (at least on the surface). They console them and offer them their “non-judgmental” solution. They make these women feel secure, they offer support. They don’t ask how it happened. They don’t scold or ridicule.  Their message is clear, “We are here for you“.

Our side doesn’t seem to grasp how important that message is.

Personal opinions aside, it is none of our business “how” it happened. And I’ve heard many on our side voice the assumptions “she’s a tramp” or “she’s irresponsible and deserves ridicule.” But those assumptions don’t actually define her, they do however define where our hearts are.

Truth is, while yes, we all know what causes pregnancy, and yes, we anti-abortionists know abortion is the termination of life, none of us knows someone else’s circumstances.

So how can we expect a woman, faced with such a tremendous decision, to embrace our way of thinking when she is perceived as a less than deserving, irresponsible, un-Christian, and a potential murderer?

You see, I know a bit about being on the receiving end of that assumption. I am a birth mom. And while my story is a little unconventional, it may help some of you understand what it’s like to be faced with this life altering decision.

When I was thirteen, I ended up pregnant and faced the shame, guilt, and pressure to just abort the little life inside me and it will all just go away.

The father refused to acknowledge me or the fact the baby was his, except later, to offer money for an abortion. He was the first in a long line of people who turned their backs on me. But he was far from the most painful. When I absolutely refused to have an abortion, I was turned over as a ward of the state and placed in foster care. My family, unsure how to handle my “situation” and to be honest, too embarrassed to deal with it, decided this would be best for all involved.

During my pregnancy I was on my own. I rode the bus several hours to my prenatal checkups where I was segregated along with the other teen moms. The visits were quick and clinical. No information was given to me. No printed out sonogram pictures. I don’t even recall receiving a smile from the doctors or staff. It was uncomfortable and humiliating.

When I began to show, my friends stopped calling me to hang out. My foster sisters were taken out in public, on outings, and to church while I was asked to remain at home.

So here I was, 13, alone, pregnant, and afraid, and I had no one I could turn to. I believed with my whole being I was doing the right thing, but everywhere I turned I was treated as an embarrassment, a pariah.

Women who have abortions don’t have to face that. Besides the quick fix angle, they can quietly take care of the problem, go on with life, pretend like it never happened. And unless they tell someone what they did, no one is any the wiser. I can see how that option is so appealing.

And while my pregnancy was difficult, I still believed it was the right choice to make, the only choice. But after the birth and adoption of my son, I saw another not so pleasant side of the adoption world. As a birth mom, I wasn’t then, nor am I now looking for accolades or pity. But how we are viewed, I believe, plays another huge part in why so many women choose abortion.

We are often asked how we can just give our kids away to strangers. We are seen as uncaring, as though choosing to give them up so they can have the life we could never provide, is something to be ashamed of. We are the “taboo” part of the warm fuzzy adoption stories. We are often seen as broken, unfit, or unworthy.

Often, you will hear adoptive parents speak of the birthmom as an addict, or “just didn’t have her life together”. You’ll hear them say how appreciative they are, but view themselves as almost better, because they are able to offer the child something the birthmom couldn’t. I know in my heart they don’t truly mean it like that, at least I hope not. But when I hear the stories from adoptive parents, I can’t help but feel a little sting in empathy for their birthmom when they speak about how she was unable, unfit.

Giving a child up for adoption is the most difficult choice I have ever had to make. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, wonder where he is, who he is, how he turned out. I did what I did out of absolute love, from the moment I found out I was pregnant. That baby was far greater than missing out on my teen years, and far greater than anyone’s opinions of me, then or now. But it would have been a lot easier if I didn’t feel like I was alone in the whole thing.

What I hope people take away from my story is when any woman is face with this decision, she receives the support she is desperately going to need.

That someone will help her search for a reputable adoption agency and adoptive parents, rather than searching for the nearest clinic and abortion doctor. That they will hold her hand and share in the wonder hearing the baby’s heartbeat, rather than holding her hand as she enters a room to end the life inside her. That people are by her side as she gives birth and cry with her as she says goodbye while handing her baby to the new parents, rather than having to console her after the abortion. And that ultimately she is surrounded by people who celebrate with her the life she has given rather than taking her out for drinks to forget a life taken.

Maybe, just maybe, if we change our way of thinking and our message, maybe the choice these women make will change, too.  From one that is seen as a quick and easy fix to what’s right. If I can do it on my own at thirteen, anyone can. They just need to know that choosing adoption is more than okay, it’s the right choice.


47 thoughts on “My Adoption Story

    1. A child at 14th became pregnant, they married. Had a beautiful daughter. The first few years of life, the baby had health problems. The family helped and kept everything going with so much unconditional love. GOD BLESSED! THE Babies parents divorced. All the family continued to support this baby with unique unconditional love. This baby is grown and has as beautiful family. Another side of teen pregnancy.

  1. Melissa, you managed to choke me up a little on this one. That an adolescent would have to experience this treatment and that you managed to handle it so maturely is amazing to me.

    As a father, I wouldn’t be able to let my daughter face that alone. As a husband, I have been married for many years to an offspring of similar circumstances and her adoption has had a huge impact on our lives. When my daughter was born, the young mother in the next bed was giving her child up for adoption and my wife was able to provide a little comfort to her as she went through the same pain and doubts.

    Life is all about the tough decisions and how you handle them. I don’t know how anybody could have handled this better than you have. Damn, why do you have to be so perfect?

  2. God Bless. Modern ideas about adoption are much different than our recent ancestors. Look up, showing my age as I didn’t say Google, The Orphan Train. Keep in mind it’s about what’s best for your child.

  3. I was sent to this post by Matt Dawson via Twitter. THANK YOU for sharing your story. I am an adoptive mother. My two sons were adopted back in 1989 and 1990, and I swear to you that we mentioned their birthmothers often over the years. We celebrated the gift of life given to each of them, and talked about their birthmothers (by first name) on every birthday and holiday, especially Mother’s Day, WITHOUT FAIL. I hope other adoptive parents like me have done the same with their children.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciated reading your perspective. Thank you, from the bottom of this adoptive mother’s heart.

  4. Thank you for sharing this part of your story. God bless you for being brave enough to love and sacrifice so deeply when you were so young. Obviously many of us aren’t able or willing to go through what you did even as adults. Your story is moving and your message is powerful.

  5. Adoption is all well and good but there are not enough potential adopters for all the 250,000 kids currently in foster care right now waiting to be adopted let alone the 1.2 million aborted children each year.

  6. The pregnancy centers that I know of do this type of counseling and are very supportive and yet there seems to be centers that are lacking. Planned Parenthood passes out condomes and birth control pills, but have,as far as I know, don’t teach or in courage abstaining from premarital sex. This would be counter productive to pushing their products or services. Abstance is the one sure way of preventing unwanted pregnancies. And yes I know what I’m talking about in regards to my courting my future wife we waited until we were married. Humans are not animals that can’t control their sexual desires. Today, it’s ” if it feels good do it”.
    That being said, Thank you for not aborting your baby.
    Abortion is a mulitmillion dollar business. That money should have a pregnancy tax added to the charge and that tax would support adoption agencies. This money would also help support pregnant women until the baby is born and then put up for adoption.

  7. It has often been asked that since Christians shoot our wounded, what could be appealing about us in the eyes of the unsaved? This story is illustrative of that query. What we need as Christian INDIVIDUALS is to see people as God sees them. The world sees a person only in terms of the worst thing that person has ever done; God sees that same person as someone worth dying for.

  8. What a beautiful and moving story. No one could fully understand what you were going through unless they experienced it as well.

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. We, as pro-lifers, really need to heed this advice. We have to stop judging. I’m certain anyone in this situation is hard enough on themselves.
    At 13, you were stronger and wiser in your decisions than most adults would be.

  10. God bless you! He gave you the desire and perseverance to do something so very difficult all on your own at 13 and your story is so inspiring! I want to thank you for sacrificing, suffering through the emotional hurts, the lonliness, the embarassment, and goodbye…all so you could save a precious little life. You definitely made the right decision! Thank you very much for sharing – I hope people on both sides of the fences hear your story and it changes their perspective from shaming and quick procedures to that of love and support for women/girls in these circumstances.

  11. My heart aches as I think of you traveling the adoption journey alone. As an adoptive parent, I have the greatest love and respect for the women who chose life for their babies and then entrusted those lives to my husband and I. There is no greater or more loving gift. We teach our children to love their birthmothers for who they are — brave and loving women who made the most difficult decision to give life to their children. You may not have an open relationship with your child’s family, but know this, not a day goes by where you child’s adoptive parents are not grateful to and thankful for you.

  12. I’m on the other side as an adopted child. My sister and I didn’t know until maybe 10 years old and both out of respect and because to some degree our parents didn’t feel like ‘real parents’, I didn’t think much about my finding my birth parents until after my known mother died last year.

    Being adopted made the abortion question tangibly clear to me, though I think it would still have been intellectually clear under other circumstances. I’ve volunteered as a board member of a local Pregnancy Help Center over the years where the entire approach was what you describe: non-judgmental material and emotional/spiritual support with a Christian love for the mother and her new life. It is the only way to successfully help young women and it pains my heart that you were treated so differently.

    I have just initiated a birth mother search, which will take at least a year to begin given the long queue and limited staff at the Catholic Charities that handled my adoption. But the thought of it is exciting.

    Thank you very much for sharing your story. God bless you for your choice.

  13. Great post – I always shake my head at the ass-hats that feel a-OK to impregnate a girl / woman, but are shocked SHOCKED when there is a baby as a result, and they run away. They are cowards. On another note I remember meeting a guy that was the result of a rape… he wore it as a kind of badge of honor, he was smart, healthy, creative, funny….his mom said it wasn’t his fault… I am in awe of you all. You are heroes. Thank you.

    1. Yes…men..I being one …should accept responsibility as well…but the life saved makes it all worthwhile.

      Also…your use of the terms “ass-hats” and
      “cowards” probably needs to be directed to potential father’s in an educational setting! ….might at least wake up a few and call out the losers who are serial impregnators.

  14. Great life story..

    ..some good news however…I really believe that we as conservatives and believers as a whole are far more loving and accepting than we used to be …and hopefully far more genuine in our love and compassion for the birth mother and the unborn baby than liberals and “the world” could ever be…..just sayin…..

    ….that is what we are required to be.

    BTW…thank you HENRY HYDE.

  15. You are as compassionate and loving as you are beautiful. An inspiring story and a unique perspective. I hope more people grow to have your strength.

  16. Mel, this piece is OUTSTANDING. I’m admittedly on the other side of this discussion, but I have always agreed that many women do not feel as if they have a choice or even support in that choice(one of my biggest issues with Planned Parenthood). I hope this new generation eventually realizes the value in life and doesn’t view abortion as some trend or rite-of-passage. Much love. Catch you on Twitter.

  17. Thank you for sharing this Mel, I didn’t know you were a birthmom. I am in absolute awe of your bravery, compassion and love. I’m so sorry for the pain other’s caused you, when you were the one doing the right thing. You have just changed my way of thinking. Everyone knows of “Planned Parenthood” but is there a national organization of any kind that you know of which advocates and advertises FOR adoption, and for birthmotherism as an alternative to abortion which we can support? I’ve never heard of one. I love you, my friend! God bless you!

    1. Hi Honey! So good to hear from you! Thank you so much for the love and support.
      I’m not sure of one offhand. I should, but I’ve only worked with local organizations and crisis pregnancy centers. I’ll check around and let you know. That is a great idea idea to have some reputable places linked on here for people to check out. Thank you for thinking of that!
      Sending you all my love.

  18. I clicked on this on a bored twitter whim and am only just swallowing the lump in my throat. As I start to comment, I find myself referencing so many of your words that I might as well copy and paste them…. I’m equally humbled by the comments above as well, to the point that I’ll just say; Thank you for sharing your story. I think your writing style would encourage me to read you on any topic and that my thoughts linger on your comments as to how we conservatives present our views to women who might be struggling with their options…. A positive influence in these situations could dramatically save/change more than one life.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write. I’m glad I stumbled in…

  19. Very emotional. I believe that obortion is horrible method of “family planning “. As conservatives we must recognize that our country is deeply divided on this issue. The only winning approach is to compromise on the development period . Setting 20 weeks seemed like a reasonable starting point. If we stick to date of conception it is certain loser

    1. Thank you for reading and for your comment.
      The 20 week ban, which is 5 months and I believe should be called that since that’s what we would call it if we were talking about a woman carrying the baby to term, just got shot down. There is no starting point for the pro abortion side. They have made it very clear that they believe there should be no restrictions for any reason.
      And if one believes that abortion is wrong, then how is it less wrong at 4 months rather than 5?
      I do understand where you are coming from., though, and can appreciate it. The hope that both sides could at least agree to something, anything.

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