Read first-hand accounts from Adoption Connection's birthparents, who share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Cindy's Story

When I discovered that I was three months pregnant, my first thought was, "Can I really handle the responsibility of raising a child without the father?" Having been raised in a single-parent home myself, I appreciated how difficult it could be. Both the birthfather and my mother encouraged me to have an abortion. They said things like, "How can you raise a child by yourself?" and "How can you afford it?" Ultimately, I had to come to the difficult conclusion that I wasn't in a position to become a parent. I wasn't married, I didn't have a steady job, the father had no interest in parenting and, at the time, I was living at home with my mother.

Within a month, I started to investigate adoption agencies in california. The agency that impressed me the most was Adoption Connection. I knew they did open adoptions, and I felt that it was important for me to meet and get to know the people who would raise my child. A professional counselor showed me letters written by prospective adoptive parents. She was always available to answer questions and counseled me on what to expect once the adoption was final. She made me feel at ease about my decision.

Looking over some of the letters, I selected the ones I thought were the most interesting and began my search for parents for my child. I called a couple, Susan and Dave*, and they wanted to meet me. They were just as nervous as I was. We met at a jazzy restaurant close to my house. They wanted to know about me, and I showed them pictures of my family. After dinner, Susan offered to drive me home. I guess she wanted to chat with me and get know me better.

Once I stepped into my house, my heart raced. I knew this would be a very difficult decision. How I yearned to have children of my own. I held my tummy to feel my child moving around. My cat came into my room to grieve with me. He knew what I was going through. Funny how cats sense human emotions!

On the evening of April 20th, my new fiancée, Roger, and I quickly drove to the hospital. As my labor progressed he called Susan and Dave, whom I wanted to attend the delivery. My labor coach was there, too. She gave me comfort and helped me to relax as much as possible. At 9:23 am the next morning, my son was born and literally landed in Dave's arms!

About a week later, I made the decision to sign the final legal adoption papers. Once the papers were signed, I felt a bit of relief and, of course, some sadness and guilt. Susan and Dave agreed to send photos and letters at least every six months. We talked about visitation, but have not made any arrangements at this time. I do think about my son often. And, as any birthmother would feel, it's been hard to let go of something that is a part of me. My grieving was more difficult than I expected, but it allowed me some time to recuperate and begin to get on with my life.

Roger has been very supportive of my decision. We would like to have a family someday and have even planned to build a family room in the studio where we live and work..

Crystal's Story

When I found out I was pregnant, my world began to spin out of control. I had no idea who to turn to or what I was going to do. I was only 20 years old, a full-time student with no time for a job. I concealed my pregnancy from my family and my boyfriend. Only my closest friends knew what I was going through. My friends would ask me when I was going to tell everyone, and I would joke and say, "When I'm in labor." But funny enough, that's how it happened. My family found out when I was in labor, and my boyfriend found out after my daughter was born.

I had considered adoption while I was pregnant, but not seriously. It wasn't until my daughter was born and I started to weigh all my options that my boyfriend, my family, and I made the decision to give an adoptive family a gift they had been hoping for—and the life that my daughter deserved.

I found out about Adoption Connection while I was in the hospital after I had given birth. A social worker there put me in contact with the agency, and I was sent several Dear Birthmother letters. Adoption Connection was supportive in my decision and helped me through all of it. The staff answered my questions and eased some of my fears. They helped me through a time where I needed the greatest amount of support

When I first started to really think about an adoption taking place, I was nervous and a little scared. I wasn't sure whether I was making the right decision. But after I began the process, working with the agency, and starting to think about a family for my baby, I knew in my heart I was making the best decision I could for that little girl.

Choosing a family was a tough decision, but after looking over all of the letters, I finally came to one. The adoptive family joined me in the hospital, and we spoke for what seemed like hours. Lisa, the adoptive mom, held my daughter for some time. I knew then that I was making the right choice to place my baby with her. I felt a definite sense of relief knowing I was giving this couple such a beautiful gift, something they were unable to obtain on their own. I knew my daughter would have everything she would ever need or want. She would have all the things I couldn't give her. Even though I have all the love in the world for that little girl, and so does her father, we knew we made the right choice.

The advice I would give women who are considering putting up a baby for adoption would be to be open with the prospective adoptive parents. Don't be scared to want to know how your child is doing. For me, knowing how my daughter is makes me happy and helps me continue to feel that I made the right decision. This advice goes to prospective adoptive families, too. Don't be afraid to send pictures and letters. I truly believe a birthmother wants some form of contact and to know how her child is doing. To me, it is a source of comfort and happiness.

Now that my daughter has been placed, I can see in the photographs how happy she is. I know I could not have given my daughter a better gift than bringing her into this world. The smile on her face is enough. I wish for her and her family all the love, joy, and happiness in the world. I know they have all of those things and more.

Laurie’s Story

About this time 19 years ago, I had just found out I was pregnant. I was terrified. Even though I was 24, I knew that a baby in my life was not an option. I was broke and mentally unprepared to raise a child. I had a friend who had a friend (always the story, right?) who worked at an adoption agency—in Atlanta, I believe. I called, but I was living in Los Angeles at the time, and they gave me your information. What luck!

You sent me the profile of Lori and Bobbie. Divine intervention! They are two of the greatest people I have ever met.

Max was born on November 24, 1990. We chose an open adoption, and have been in touch ever since. My son (our son) just graduated from high school in June and is headed to college on a scholarship. I could not have asked for a better outcome.

Lynne (Adoption Connection’s Director), I have thought about you over the years and wondered if you were still "creating families," so I looked you up. I am glad to know that you are still out there helping people and finding homes for kids. It is a great job!

Thank you so very much for helping me find Max a home that is filled with love, support, and creativity. It means the world to me to know that he has grown up with much more than I could have ever dreamed of giving him. He deserved to have the advantages that I could not give him. I always tell him that I made the choice I made because I love him and for no other reason. It was the saddest, most wonderful, hardest, easiest decision I have ever made. I know that I missed out on being with him for the last 19 years, but I would rather have had it that way than to have had him miss out on the wonderful life he has had.

Thank you, Lynne, from the bottom of my bruised little heart. This "thank you" comes 19 years late and for that, I am sorry!

Best of luck to you in the future, and I hope that you continue to fill people's lives with joy for another 24 years!

James's Story

After Nina told me she was pregnant and wanted an adoption, she no longer kept in touch. I knew I couldn't raise a kid myself, so I went along with it. When she finally had the baby, my friends were the ones who told me.

I was upset about a lot of things — like being left out of the decision. Adoption Connection helped calm me down. They gave me a lot of time to decide whether or not I wanted to relinquish my rights.

When I met the adoptive parents I could tell how much they wanted the baby. That's when I signed the papers. A part of me wanted to keep the baby, but I'm starting to get good grades in school and don't have a steady job. I'm too young and not responsible enough to have a kid right now. I know my daughter is in a good home with people who love her.

Michael's Story

I really like kids and someday want a family, but right now I couldn't support a child on my own. The baby's mother and I haven't had much contact recently, and I feel like I'm somewhat on the back burner. So I was glad to hear from Adoption Connection that an adoption plan is happening because someone will take good care of the child. Also, Adoption Connection will be my contact for finalizing everything and keeping me informed about what's happening once the baby is born.

I'm not sure how much I'll want to stay involved after I relinquish my rights. I'll get involved as much as the parents want me to. I'd like to help out with biological information and my background, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I just want whatever's best for the child.

Nichole's Story

My adoption experience was both one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have done in my life. When I was around seven months pregnant, I decided that I wanted my baby to have a stable and loving home to grow up in. I was able to look over many couples’ "Parent Profiles" and even meet with a few of them. I found a couple rather quickly, and I felt comforted during such a hard time in my life.

They met with me a few times where I lived, and I even went to see their home when I was around eight months pregnant. They were with me during my labor and delivery and gave me much needed support. While this was a very hard time for me, nothing can beat seeing the look of joy and happiness on their faces!

My daughter is almost nine months old now, and we all stay in contact. We talk on the weekends, and I get pictures from time to time. I have gone to their home and visited and they have seen me where I live also. I will be seeing her again soon and can't wait!

I love the birth family and Rosie very much. Whenever I see a picture of Rosie's smiling face, I am glad that I went with "open" adoption. The adoptive parents, Toni and David, are awesome parents, and I know Rosie is going to grow up to be a good person. The entire "adoption triangle" is a very unique and special relationship for everyone involved. I know that for me, it has been very gratifying, growing stronger every day.

Valerie's Story

Making the Decision
When I found out I was pregnant—late last year—I didn't know what to do. I already had a two-year-old daughter and was going to college full time. I knew that I couldn't provide the home for this baby that it deserved. I decided on hiding my pregnancy from my family and the baby's father because I had first planned on having an abortion. But every time that I picked up the phone, or I drove by the clinic, I never had the courage to make an appointment. Time went by, I still hadn't told anyone, and I was seven and one-half months along.

The birthfather had moved back to San Diego after we broke up, and we had kept in touch over the months via email. Although I always wanted to tell my daughter's father that I was pregnant, I was afraid of facing his rejection a second time. Finally, one night (after my first doctor's appointment and ultrasound), I decided that I had to tell him the truth. After I told him the news of my pregnancy, he was shocked that I had waited so long. I explained to him how I had been contemplating abortion and how I was afraid of the rejection and pain I had already been through.

That night, we discussed adoption, and we both felt that it was the best thing that we could do for our child. When I told my parents I was pregnant, they were disappointed that I had waited so long to tell them about it, but they both were supportive of my decision to place the baby for adoption.

Creating an Adoption Plan
I had done a search on the Internet about adoption agencies in California and came across Adoption Connection's Web site. I loved that they had information on the process of adoption and had profiles of couples. I started to look through the Parent Profiles and found a couple I was interested in contacting. I told the birthfather about the Web site, and he looked at it and found a couple he was interested in contacting. So I called up Adoption Connection and told them about my situation and how I was interested in contacting two couples. It turned out that the couple I liked was expecting a baby of their own, but that the couple the birthfather liked was very interested in getting in contact with me when I was ready.

That night, I emailed the couple (Tony and Audrey*) and told them about myself: what I liked to do, my family life, basic information so they could get an idea about who I am. They emailed me back soon after, telling a little bit more about themselves and telling me that when I wanted to, I could call them. The first time I talked to Audrey, we talked for four hours. It felt like I had known her forever. They already had a son who was going to be four years old whom they had adopted. It made me comfortable knowing that they had been through the experience before and knew what to expect. They told me that they were comfortable with any level of an open adoption that I wanted and would respect my decision. After our phone conversation, we decided that my daughter and I would come and visit them the next weekend, since they lived about two hours away.

Meeting the Adoptive Family
My first visit with Tony and Audrey went great. Their son and my daughter got along well and played together as the three of us got to know each other a little bit better. They told me how they met and showed me their wedding album, family pictures, and even a book they had made for their son about how he came into their lives. We all went out to dinner, and then they took me to their favorite place to get dessert. When we returned from dinner, we talked more about their experience with their son's adoption and how they had been trying to adopt a second child.

Tony and Audrey were very open with me about how they felt it was important for adopted children to know where they came from and who their birth family is. It was also reassuring to see how open they were with their son about his adoption, and how excited he was to be a big brother. I knew that I had found the parents that I wanted my child to have

The Birth
The day I went into labor, I called the family and they drove down to be present for the birth. I wanted them to be there in the birthing room to experience the birth with me. They arrived at the hospital just as I was going through serious contractions and was ready to start pushing. At 4:58 pm, on May 15, 2003, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl whom we all agreed to name Alyssa Marie. I was the first to hold her, and I knew that I was doing the best thing for her by allowing Tony and Audrey to adopt her. I had time to be with her by myself, and we all left the hospital at the same time. I felt so at peace with my decision and knew that I was helping complete a family.

A week after I gave birth, I decided on signing the relinquishment papers. The birthfather had already signed his papers, and we had both decided on having a post-adoption contact agreement (kinship agreement) made up for each of us. I decided that I wanted to have pictures sent to me, the ability to email and call, and some visits. We all knew that we were probably going to have more contact with each other than was stated in the agreement, but we indicated minimal amounts in the agreement. We did so for legal reasons. In addition, I wasn’t sure how much contact I wanted as the years passed.

Although the birthfather decided that he was not ready at that time for any pictures or visits, we added in the agreement that if/when he requested them, Tony and Audrey would adhere to the agreement that we worked out together.

Moving On, Yet Staying in Touch
It had been almost two months since I had giving birth, and I was going to be visiting a city near where Tony and Audrey live. I called and asked if it was okay for me to visit. They were so happy that I wanted to come. I was very nervous about visiting and kept on wondering if we were going to feel different around each other now. They were so excited I was there and asked me if I wanted to hold Alyssa. I held her and gave her her bottle. They told me how grateful they were to me and the birthfather and what a great baby she is. Seeing how happy they were made me feel so great. They even invited me to come back and stay the weekend as soon as I got the chance.

The birthfather and I still keep in contact with each other and have seen each other when I was in San Diego on vacation. We both feel that our decision was right and that Tony and Audrey appreciate and respect us.

It's a hard time after the baby's birth for birthmothers. My advice for birthparents going through this experience is to seek support from friends or family, as well as counseling. I started counseling before the birth, and it helped me prepare for the feelings I would experience at the hospital and, later, at home. Counseling has also helped me realize that it is normal for me to feel sad or to feel overwhelmed.

I recommend that birthparents and adoptive parents read the The Open Adoption Experience by Lois Ruskai Melina and Sharon Kaplan Roszia. This book helped me understand what feelings I might be experiencing and what the adoptive parents might be going through. It also discussed what the child might be going through as he or she grows up. It is a good book to read to get the perspectives of all the parties involved in an adoption.

My advice to adoptive parents is to make sure that you let the birthmother/birthfather know how thankful you are. Reassure them and let them know how they can be a part of the child's life if they choose to do so

Daniela's Story

Although I find this very difficult to write, I understand just how many people making a decision about sharing their child in an open adoption may be helped. Let me please begin by saying that placing a baby for adoption is by no means an easy decision, or something you will come to terms with overnight, but I promise you, if you do it for the right reasons, it will be so rewarding to know your child has everything he or she could possibly want or need ... and you will still get to watch it all happen.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was just starting a new life in a work-to-housing program for homeless individuals and families. It was only my daughter and me, and I was scared and felt so alone. It was a very difficult program, but I managed to create good relationships with the staff and case managers. I was just a few weeks into my new life when I found out I was pregnant. I was so scared; I had NO idea what to do! I felt the easiest way to "fix" it was to get an abortion, but I knew in my heart it was not right for me. At first, I felt I only had two options: keep the baby (and have no way to support myself and my two children) or have an abortion and live with the guilt.

I considered all of my choices. I prayed and prayed about what I should do, and eventually I found the agency, Adoption Connection. I met with a wonderful woman who gave me options and profiles of families to look at. She let me think about my decisions and in no way pressured me to do anything. I'm not going to lie and say I was ABSOLUTELY set in the beginning, but day by day, I started accepting what I was planning to do. I called a couple of adoptive families, but did not feel the right connection. I was so upset and stressed, I started losing hope, but then I got a call from one of the families who just wanted to check up on me and see how I was doing. We decided to meet for lunch so we could see if we were a good match.

Lunch with the adoptive mother was amazing. We laughed, cried, and answered questions we had. I already knew she was the one, and we decided to meet again with her husband. A few weeks later, after meeting with both of them, I told them I wanted them to raise my son. It felt like a weight was lifted. The stress had fallen off of me, and I was happy knowing that no matter what, my baby boy was going to be safe.

Through the months of my pregnancy, I enjoyed seeing my son's parents. We were like family. We cried together at ultrasounds, and I was excited to call them whenever something new happened. They also attended all of the doctorsí appointments. I wanted them to have the experience of being able to bond with our baby through the whole process, as I knew this is what I would have wanted had I been in their position.

Now, my pregnancy wasnít all cupcakes and rainbows! It was so difficult when people asked what I was going to name my baby, or if I was excited. But I was honest with every person who asked. I told them my baby was being adopted, and his parents were going to decide on his name. I feel this kind of prepared me for what was going to happen after birth. I also told myself over and over what I was doing so I did not back down at the last moment, which I knew I had the legal right to do. I got the looks, the judgments, the "DON'T DO IT!!" speech, but in my heart, I knew what I was doing was right by my son so the negative comments did not bother me. It also was helpful, because after I gave birth to my son, people were not constantly asking where my son was, which would have made it harder for me to heal.

Months passed, and I finally went into labor! I called the adoptive parents, and they were on their way immediately. I couldnít wait till they arrived to share this experience with me. We all wanted to meet our baby boy! It was the most amazing labor experience I have had. They talked me through every contraction, and you could just feel the love in the room.

After my son was born, I got to hold him first. He was so handsome that I immediately fell in love. It was hard to let him go out of my arms, because all I wanted to do was hold him and never let go. But when the doctor handed him to his parents, they were crying tears of joy. They hovered together, crying and smiling, finally joined as a FAMILY. I knew then that this was the most precious gift I had given to anyone. I was proud.

We all spent two days in the hospital. I got to spend time with his parents and with my son alone. I was dreading going home without him, but I knew it was not the end of our relationship. I will not lie to you this will be the hardest part: being in the hospital counting down the minutes until you will go your separate ways. But please remember, through open adoption, your paths will always meet again.

My sonís adoptive parents drove me home so my son could meet all of my friends and family. Then they went home. The reality of it all really did not set in for a few weeks, but when it did, it hit me hard. My friends' children would ask me where my baby was, and I would burst into tears. Seeing pregnant women was very difficult for me. Even looking at some pictures of my son was difficult. Even so, I did not constantly have to ask myself if what I did was right. I knew it was right. So even through the pain I was feeling, I thought of it as something I went through for the love of my son.

My son's parents created a Facebook account for my son. They write stories and post pictures of what they do, and it somehow feels like I'm there sometimes. I love to watch him grow and see how happy and healthy he is. They post about his doctorsí visits, how much weight he has gained, new things he is doing, and even videos of him playing. I catch myself smiling every time.

I have grown so much through the experience of placing my son. It has made me a better person and a better mother. I am proud of what I did for my only son, and I am proud to have brought a family what they desired more than anything in the world. I mean it when I say that my experience has given me so much faith that there are good people in the world. I look at my son's parents and I think about how strong and selfless THEY are to share my son with me.

The couple I chose to raise my son are only concerned about the well-being of our child. They donít want to TAKE him child away, but want to be a part of the child's life. As a birth parent, please understand that you mean everything to these people because you are giving them the gift of being a parent. They respect your decision more than anything, and it truly is a beautiful thing. I don't look at my decision as giving my child up; I look at it as gaining a family.

* Some names in these stories have been changed in order to protect confidentiality.