Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Adoption Week - A birthmom's story

Please welcome Shayla to our blog,  She a birthmom who is sharing her story with us today.  We are so honored to have her.  She does not have a blog, but she has an amazing story to tell!


I am a birthmom.  I am a mom.  I am a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend.  I am a child of God.   It’s taken many (many) years but I’ve developed a pretty strong sense of self.  When I was a child, I was thrown into the world of sexual abuse and fatherlessness.  As a teenager I had no idea who I was.  I learned all the wrong things from all the wrong people and tried to define myself by those misgivings.  Is it any surprise that I ended up pregnant my senior year in high school? 
That is definitely not the way I imagined spending my senior year.  I was supposed to work on homecoming floats, and shop for prom dresses.  I was supposed to get caught sneaking out of the house to meet up w/friends at midnight.  Instead I was living with my boyfriend (which meant taking care of a house) working full time, going to school full time and trying to schedule doctor appointments in between it all.   The few times I was able to do “normal” senior-year stuff, I was treated as a bit of an oddity.  Everyone was nice, but all my conversations revolved around the pregnancy.  Everyone was (naturally) curious, asking a lot of questions I didn’t have answers to.  This became my new identity.  I’m a teenage a mom – I am a statistic.

It was my mother that first brought up the idea of adoption.  Since my only knowledge on the subject was firmly rooted in Hallmark specials about worst-case scenarios, I wasn’t thrilled.  And by “not thrilled” I mean I did a lot of yelling and stormed out (give me a break, I was a very hormonal 17 year old).  But the idea was enticing.  I could actually go to college and become something, and my child could have a stable, loving, 2-parent home.   My mother brought up the subject a few more times and I finally agreed to a meeting so she’d stop bothering me.  The counselor at Bethany Christian services explained our options – closed adoption, semi-open, and open adoption.  She explained that we could pick the parents of our child, and that we could have a say in how much information we did or didn’t receive after this child was born.  I knew as she was talking that this was the best thing for everyone involved, that my boyfriend and I had no business trying to raise a child.  It would take several months though before we could truly make the decision.  I can’t begin to explain all the emotions we went through to finally get there.  I could write a book on those few months alone.  Once the decision was made we felt confident about it.  Over the course of the next month we had several more meetings at Bethany and picked out a family.  Ever want to feel like you’re playing God?   Try looking through a pile of families and picking one to be your unborn child’s parents.   Goodness.

We chose open adoption and the next few months were spent developing a strong bond w/our daughter’s parents that continues today.  Her mom was in the delivery room w/us, and we had a baby dedication ceremony at the hospital before my boyfriend and I left.  

 Empty handed.

I’m not going to lie, my arms literally cramped for the next few nights because I didn’t have a baby to hold.  At the time, the law stated we had 10 days to change our minds – no questions asked.  I changed my mind 1000 times a day.   Those were the longest 10 days of my life.

Eventually life got back to normal.  I had graduated, given birth, and was living back home with my mom like every other 18 year old.  I applied to exactly 1 college, got in and started that following January.  It wasn’t easy, but I got on with my life and (many, many stories later) graduated college.   My daughter and her parents came to my graduation.   That was awesome. 

While in college I was able to get several years of free counseling.  As a Counseling major a few sessions were required, I just needed more than most J  This was the first time I started to figured out exactly who I was.  That this person wasn’t defined by abuse, fatherlessness, or even the birth of a child.  I was, first and foremost, a child of God.  I didn’t really know what that meant.   All I knew was that I was more than a product of my environment, and that was as good of a start as I could hope for.   After college though I fell away from God and fell into the I-don’t-want-to-think-about-my-pain- trap.  Years later I finally surfaced, and was desperate to put this pain in my rear-view mirror.  I did some serious soul searching, got back in church and finally decided once and for all that I wouldn’t let my childhood define me.  I’ve had to grapple with some pretty hard truths in my life.  Though none of them trump the fact that I’m a child of God, and that “all things work together for good to those that love the Lord, and who are called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:27-29)  I have seen this promise play out time and time again.

Over the past few years I’ve gotten married, had a son, and began developing a relationship with my (now teenage) daughter.  Through it all God has taught me so much about sacrifice, love and humility.  I don’t have it all figured out, but I do know that over the next 20 years or so that I’ll be raising children, God will never leave my side.  He’ll continue to show me exactly who he designed me to be.  I’m a mom.  I’m a birthmom.  I’m a friend.  I’m a child of God.

1 comment :

Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

What an amazing story! I have such a deep respect for Birthmoms! Thank you for sharing with us today!

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