I talked about you in class today. We were talking about teenage pregnancy and I was floored when it was revealed to me that only 5% of pregnant teenagers choose adoption. Of course, I of all people know how incredibly difficult it is to go through with it, but the small number was still surprising to me.
I piped in with my experience. How I discovered I was pregnant at 18 years old. How I had you when I was 19. How I chose open adoption and it was one of the best decisions I ever made, for the both of us. It was tough, yes. Beyond words. Even knowing how great The B’s were, it still took enormous effort not to make a mad dash to the adoption agency and demand to have you back during those 10 days that it was possible. But by the strength of what could only have been God, I was able to keep our lives – yours and mine – in perspective. To know that yours would be better off in family that could solidly provide for you in every way possible, and that mine wouldn’t end if I let you go to them. I’m still searching for the words to describe the chaos that overtook my mind and heart during those days.
It is for this reason, that I refuse to judge the other 95% of pregnant teenagers. No one can describe how unbelievably in love a mother is with her child – what it feels like to know that another life will exist because you do, what it is like to feel you kick, what it is like to see your face for the first time, to hold you for the first time, to be blissfully content just to watch you sleep. Mothers have a unique experience with their children, different from any other person who is close to them during their pregnancy. They have unique perspective and therefore a very unique love for their children. We’ve been as close to you as humanly possible – you were a part of us.
So sometimes, it just takes another mother to understand exactly what feelings of love and devotion I’m talking about. They may be teenagers, but despite whether or not they should be, they are moms, and I would like to assume that they are just as madly in love with their babies as I was – and am - with you. I would say that it’s impossible for anyone to love you as much as I do because I just love you so much, but The B’s do. I am sure of it. I can’t deny that, nor would I ever, ever want to. My love for you is simply unique. You were a part of me.
I came to the conclusion that maybe the low percentage is just because open adoption just isn’t that well-known yet. People don’t know how lucky they can get, or how happy they can be, and if they did – if it was possible to find a way to measure or encompass how blissfully happy I am to have you and The B’s in my life – that percentage would skyrocket. Open adoption is a beautiful thing, and J and I are doing what we can to get the word out about it. We have all gotten so lucky in having you and finding each other through you, and happiness like that is a thing you want to share. I want pregnant teenage girls to know that there are options. I want potential adoptive parents to have a child to give all of their love to, because they truly have so much of it to give. I want people to know that they can create extended families like ours; that one tiny, perfect person can create an entire network of love. And you are my inspiration for all of that. You are my inspiration for everything.
Just about the time that we are discussing the low adoption rate in class and all of this is running through my head, I get a notification that J has posted pictures of me. They are pictures of you and I during your last visit. Since they are pictures taken by J, they are beautiful, stunning. And since you are the subject, they seem almost ethereal. I’ve been looking through them ever since, unable to get enough of them because I love seeing myself with you. And as I look at these pictures, I remember running around and playing with you as she took them, and I’m so happy I could burst.
I believe those teenage mothers who raise their children no matter what their situation have a unique and beautiful kind of strength. But your mommy dearest is in the minority – I am one person out of the many that make up 5% of teenage girls who felt as though they could give their children something better, something more than themselves. Five percent of us who were strong enough and trusting enough to follow through. And that is what I did. But in following through, I got something more and something better out of it. I got my B’s, and we all got you. And that right there makes this the best 5% of anything I’ve ever been a part of :)
Photos by J