At twenty years old, I was a single mom and pregnant. I was living on my own, parenting my then two-year old-daughter, Breonnah, going to college, working part-time, and had just exited an abusive relationship. Paying my bills, finding childcare, and completing my homework was a challenge. My entire life seemed like one insurmountable challenge after another.
My mom works for a local social services agency, and suggested that I call Bethany Christian Services to speak with a professional. I was 14 weeks pregnant when I spoke with Reva, a pregnancy counselor with the local office in my community. I felt an instant connection with her. She had a way of making a scary time in my life seem not nearly as frightening. As the weeks continued, it became increasingly clear to me that it would be incredibly selfish of me to parent my unborn daughter. She deserved much better than what I could provide.
Reva and I discussed adoption. I questioned what it was going to be like at the hospital and looked at the profiles of waiting families. Choosing parents for your baby based on pictures isn't an easy task, but I did it. I ultimately chose Mike and Corinne, a teacher and a material handler in my town. I looked over every aspect of their profile, and in all honesty, it was our mutual love of baseball that led me to choose them.
By the time I went into delivery, we were all very comfortable with each other. Corinne was in the delivery room with me, and she was even able to cut Emma’s umbilical cord.
Leaving the hospital was the most difficult thing that I had ever done. I felt like a failure as a mother, and I felt like I had abandoned my baby at a time when she needed me most. Even though I had made a plan for her, I was worried. I was worried for her. I was worried for her adoptive parents, and I was worried for myself. Reva was a constant source of reassurance and support during this difficult time, and my needs were always in the forefront of her mind.
After leaving the hospital, I began having weekly visits with Emma and her family at their home. It was wonderful seeing them bond with each other. I was reassured that I made the right decision every single time I visited, even though it was sometimes difficult.
I also continued counseling through Bethany. I feel that the counseling I received was instrumental in surrounding myself with a strong support system, while making positive changes in my life. I was able to see how damaging some of my past relationships had been. It became easier for me to seek out positive influences and shut out the bad ones.
Having made the most difficult choice of my entire life in March of 2011, I have never once regretted it. I have been able to watch Emma grow up in an amazing family. Corinne and I have a connection with one another that isn't easy to describe. It is full of love, consideration, and trust, as it has grown into a wonderful friendship.
About a year after Emma was born, a man that I have known for the better part of my life asked me to marry him. When we got married, Corinne stood as my Maid of Honor. Following our wedding, Mike and I embarked on the adventure of home ownership. Shortly after, we learned that we were expecting a baby! Today, I’m fortunate enough to stay home and take care of seven-year-old Breonnah and two-year-old Ashlynn.
There are still times when I hurt, and I occasionally still take advantage of Bethany's pregnancy counseling. I typically meet with Reva around Emma's birthday, as that is a difficult time for me. I also met with her several times during my most recent pregnancy.
Pregnancy after an adoption placement was a unique experience, and I am glad that I had Reva to help me navigate things when I had difficulty processing my emotions. Without the support from Bethany, and the services that Reva provided to me, I am certain that I would not have been able to make the selfless choice of adoption. I'm not sure where I would be today, but I can say without a doubt that it wouldn't be where I am now.