In today’s blog, we share the story of Danielle, who shared her story with the desire of bringing hope and insight to other women facing an unexpected pregnancy.
“Someday your heart will heal. Someday you’ll feel good about this decision.”
These words struck Danielle’s heart. Whatever she decided about her pregnancy, this was the assurance she needed: that someday she’d feel good about it.
Since that positive pregnancy test, Danielle had been faced with an impossible decision:
What do I do about this unplanned pregnancy?
Danielle shared what the moments following that positive pregnancy test were like:
“I flipped out. I got in my car, backed out of the driveway, ran over a garden tool, popped my tire, ran back into the house and took my mom’s keys and drove 90 mph to my dance practice…when I arrived I couldn’t figure out how to get the keys out of the ignition so I just left them in the car. I wiped my tears away, went in and tried to pretend I was just fine.”
Many people in Danielle’s life, people she trusted, had ideas of what was best for her, but ultimately, she knew it was her decision. Abortion and parenting were both on the table, but now a third option had presented itself. Through a conversation with a pregnancy resource center, Danielle connected with an adoption counselor at Bethany Christian Services.
Now, 17, unexpectedly pregnant, and sitting in an adoption support group, Danielle was trying to wrestle through the hardest question she’d ever had to face. And the words of this woman in the support group—the woman who had chosen adoption—felt so significant: “Someday your heart will heal.”
“That was really important for me, because I was thinking, in 10 years how will I feel about this decision to have an abortion? Ten years from now how will I feel about adoption or parenting? Which one of these would be the best?”
While seeking the answers to these questions, Danielle says she turned to her faith. This, she says, gave her the peace and confidence to pursue adoption. But she still had a lot of fears and concerns.
The adoption expert from Bethany was crucial in discovering the answers. The counselor didn’t pressure her, but provided her with the tools she needed to help make a decision she could be confident about. One such tool asked about long term goals for herself and for the child. This resource helped Danielle address one common sentiment about adoption:
“I could never give my baby up for adoption.”
“There is a sometimes a concern of ‘I couldn’t do that to my child,’ but I really felt that I was still a child myself and it was better for my child to be with two parents who could provide financial security, emotional stability and a faith-filled home. I didn’t see the relationship with my boyfriend [with the child’s father] going anywhere long term, and I wanted my child to have two parents that loved each other. I had a dream of going to college and felt I could do it but I knew it wasn’t best for my child. She deserved more attention from two parents.”
As Danielle worked through these questions, she became more confident in her decision. But this was just the beginning of the journey. She also had heard that many people initially chose adoption and then ended up parenting. This brought up two other common concerns:
“What if I become too attached?”
“My counselor shared that it was okay to become attached, it was okay to love her. She said ‘you have to love something to let it go’. She also shared that some women don’t experience the love for their child they expected to feel. Whatever you experience is normal.”
Danielle says that personally, she could not imagine never seeing her child again, so she chose an open adoption. When she was interviewing families, the adoptive father she ended up choosing said something that stuck with her and set her mind at ease:
“You can never have too many people to love one child.”
“What if I change my mind?”
Danielle’s counselor recommended that she not take any financial assistance from the adoptive family. If she did change her mind, there would be less pressure to go through with the adoption. Now, as a practicing Family Medicine and OB physician, Danielle says she has had patients who have changed their mind in the course of their pregnancy and decided to parent. Ultimately, she says, it’s okay to change your mind.
Another question on Danielle’s mind had to do with her boyfriend at the time, the father of the baby.
“What if the father doesn’t want me to choose adoption?”
At the time, Danielle’s boyfriend did not want her to release for adoption. He wanted them to parent, but Danielle did not think this was best for their child. Could he take the baby from her? Though we can’t address all the legalities in this post, at the end of the day, the decision, legally, was Danielle’s. Having an adoption expert who knew the ins-and-outs of these laws was crucial in navigating this process.
Which pregnancy option is best for you?
Everyone’s decision-making journey looks different. Every woman has different concerns, questions, and circumstances that make her story unique. Is adoption right for everyone? Of course not. But we believe it’s important for all of us to ask the very questions Danielle asked: “What decision is best now? And how will I feel about this decision in ten years?” Just as Danielle found, talking to someone like a counselor can help you process and come to your own decision that you can feel peace about.
If you are pregnant and would like to speak with someone about your options, ArborWoman is here for you. Our licensed counselors and nurses are here to listen to you right where you are at, and help you move forward with hope.
Wait! This isn’t the end of Danielle’s story. Danielle had chosen adoption, but this was only the beginning of a new journey. What did it look like to actually place her child in an adoptive family? And what does her relationship with her daughter look like now? Check back in two weeks to hear more of Danielle’s story.