My Adoption Story: Part One
 
I laid back and let my entire body sink into the bubble filled bathtub. I have always said, I do my best thinking soaking in a hot bath, but tonight I wasn’t thinking. I was praying.
 
The double red lines on my pregnancy test kept presenting itself, in my mind, like flashing neon lights. Positive.Positive. Positive.
That $6.99 plastic stick read everything about me, my past, my future, and who I would be labeled as for the rest of my life. I didn’t need a mirror to look into, that stick showed my reflection perfectly, a teenage pregnancy, a statistic. 

I would dunk my head completely under the water and tell myself, “I’m fine. I can do this. It’s ok. I’ll be ok.” By the time my head would reach the surface I’d be sobbing again. I’d try and stop myself, slide my body deep into the water and again say, “I can do this. I’m ok. I’ll be ok.” Every time I resurfaced my emotions would break through.
 
I stepped out of the tub and grabbed a damp towel. I didn’t bother to dry off. I wrapped every inch of my body underneath the towel and curled up in my twin bed that was resting on cinder blocks. I laid there battling my own mind of positive thoughts and encouragement to depths of fear. These emotions bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball on a tennis table. Never before had I found myself with such contrasting thoughts of courage and angst.
 
My college life was not filled with goals of who and what I wanted to become. It was how fast and whom I would marry. The culture, in which I was raised, was very much this way. Growing up, I knew very few women who had a career and worked outside of the home. It was unusual to see women who had other aspirations other than raising a family. 

I was living in the thickness of a community, that I believed, would shun me for having premarital sex. I stayed in an unhealthy relationship for over two years, because of that fear. I rationalized my actions by telling myself we were getting married and somehow that felt less “sinful.” If the end result was marriage I would still be accepted as a faithful member of my community and religion. 

The next few weeks were unraveled thoughts and emotions for everyone involved, my friends and family were both supportive and devastated. It wasn’t but a few weeks into my pregnancy that I realized they would be the only ones by my side during this trying time. The biggest decision of my life was now entirely up to me. 

Part Two:
 
“This plastic tube is then inserted and the vacuum begins,” she instructed as she held up a 1” diameter tube. “The pregnancy tissue will flow through the tube and out of your body.” she explained.
 
It was just another ordinary day in high school for me. I had no idea this presentation would be something I’d look back on as one of the most pivotal moments in my life. I found myself drifting off into my own thoughts for the first half hour, until the presenter lifted up that tube and described the vacuum like effect. It felt gruesome to me. My seventeen year old self heard the entire presentation like this, “you insert this fairly large plastic tube into your vagina (ouch) and then you suck out the baby parts using this vacuum (gross).”  
 
“Your other option is adoption,” the lady announced. She was 5 minutes into completing her hour long presentation. It was the first time I remember thinking about the word adoption and the first time she had said it that day. It was exceptionally quiet for a room full of high school juniors. There was no bias in the room. No one was saying abortion is right or wrong, which was highly unusual considering the religious majority in that room was against abortions. 
 
I tucked my legs underneath my chair and rested my arms across the wood desk top as I watched the presenter pack up her supplies. The impatience of the students grew around me as they awaited the school bell. I felt no urgency, I was hypothetically contemplating my options. There was no religious peer pressure, though I knew where the majority stood, I felt free to consider what I believed. 
 
The bell alerted the mass of students to exit their classrooms. I grabbed my backpack, threw it on my back and said to myself, I’d choose adoption.
 
***
The Arizona night sky was clear as ice. Each star rang out it’s brilliance as I drove around in circles. I passed neighborhood after neighborhood all with tile roofs and dry rock landscape. I had a decision to make and I wasn’t going to stop driving my cherry red truck until a decision was made. 
 
I moved to Arizona just three weeks prior, everything I owned was packed in an attached toolbox in the bed of my truck. My mom had accompanied me as we drove the eleven and half hours to my brothers home in Gilbert, AZ. This move was a choice of mine, it was not a decision by my parents to save themselves from social embarrassment of my unplanned pregnancy. 
 
The heat rose off the black pavement, even with the sun resting below my view. I rolled down the driver’s side window and let the heat blow through my hair. It helped clear my mind to feel the intense opposites of the night sky and the 90 degree weather. I mentally started a list of pros and cons for keeping my baby and placing for adoption. 


Pros for placing my baby for adoption.
 
Pro: You will have a mom and a dad.
 
Pro: You will have opportunities that I can’t provide for you at this time.
 
Pro: You won’t have to bounce back and forth from house to house, if your birth father came back into the picture. 
 
Pro: You will be a beautiful gift for a couple who has waited so long for you. 
 

Pros to keeping my baby.
 
Pros: I get to dress you in cute clothes and show you off to my friends. (yes, sadly this was a pro for me at age 19). 
 
Pro: I won’t have the pressure of picking the perfect family for you.
 
Pro: I won’t have to worry about you, where you are, if you’re being taken care of, if you remember me. 
 
Pro: I won’t have to live my whole life without you.
 
Pro: I will never have to say goodbye. I will never have to let you go. 
 
I pulled my truck to the side of the road, sat back and contemplated my list. I had yet to even begin the opposing side when I realized everything I listed for keeping my baby started with an “I” what I wanted or didn’t want. The pros for placing for adoption all started with a “you”. As the list grew, in my mind, I realized a stark difference between one that was all benefiting me and one that was benefiting my baby. 
 
I closed my eyes and listened to the cars around me, they passed by with such speed. Each person hustling to their next destination, each one passing me with no recollection of me even being there. And there I was frozen in time. After months of deliberating, I knew my destination and all I could do was grasp the seat belt across my chest and cry. 

Part Three:

“This is not your baby.”  I heard so clearly.
“This is not your baby.” 

“I know,” I replied silently, as I wrapped myself around her innocent little body. She was angelic lying in my arms. Her innocence and complete oblivion to the reality, in which she came into, was ironically devastating to me. Here she was, perfect in every way, and here I was feeling greatly inadequate. Her life was just beginning and my life, as I knew it, was ending. This was a new and beautiful beginning for her and for me it was a terrifying goodbye to everything that made me innocent. 

“This is not your baby.”  I heard again.

What mother, before she can even take a breath, hears those five words as she holds her newborn flesh and blood? No adoption agency, no social worker, no other birth mom had prepared me enough for that moment. Not one of them said this is what it will feel like, this is what you will hear, or this is how you should feel. I was entirely unprepared and unaware. The natural, motherly, instinct to tighten my grip and never let her go battled in my mind as I silently and arguably replied back to the voice in my head, “I know, I know, I know she’s not my baby.” I answered, defeated. 

I dragged my fingertips across the white walls of the hospital. There was a 1” trim that lined the entire hallway. I fixated on that trim, running one finger tip across the top and the other across the bottom. I was analyzing it enough to take a quiz on it’s details. If I dropped too far into my own thoughts, I’d lose my cool. I wasn’t sure there was a road leading back to my sanity, once I lost sight of that trim.

My mother pushed me in a wheelchair as we circled the hallway, once, twice, and one more time before she wheeled me back to my bed side. I had just met the very baby I had given birth to hours prior. It was, what I call, our official introduction.

I pulled myself into the hospital bed, asked for a pen and paper and wrote her a poem titled, "My Little Butterfly." Each word flew out of the tip of my pen and onto that sheet of linen with ease. I signed it, pulled the covers over my head and cried thick tears into that scratchy hospital pillow case. 

My Little Butterfly

You were finally here,
My Little Butterfly.
You were placed in my arms, 
and I couldn't help but cry. 
You were so precious so beautiful,
I stared at you with pride.
Your hands so tiny, 
Your eyes so bright.
You were finally here,
My Little Butterfly.
And I knew it would be hard
to say goodbye.
I cried for you at night.
How could I let my
Little Butterfly go? 
Then I thought of the new world you will see,
Of the loving parents that will
Take care of thee,
and I felt peace.
You were finally here,
My Little Butterfly.
And no matter how hard it is,
I must say goodbye.
So open your wings,
and don't be afraid to fly.
Fly away to a new life.
Where opportunities are at every door.
And my love around every corner.
You were finally here,
My Little Butterfly.
But quickly you left, to live your new life.
You'll always be in my heart.
Your memory in my every thought. 
Those tiny hands and bright eyes.
I will forever love you,
My Little Butterfly. 


 
{disclaimer: I tell MY story here. I tell my story from the eyes of when I was 17-19 years old. I believe the events that took place were pre designed in order for me to make such a decision. I am not here to make judgement on others choices and  I believe everyone should have the right to choose their own path.}