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What I Did For Love

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Since it seems so many prospective birthparents who visit this site are more comfortable reading than posting, let's offer them a new source of information: testimonials from those who have made loving adoption decisions on behalf of children and who live with the consequences of these decisions, secure in the certainty that as hard as it was, they did the right thing.

Which is not to say that adoption is the right choice for everyone, nor does it guarantee that by giving one's child a brighter future that things turn out better for the birthparent involved. (Let's be honest... that can go either way. And in the final analysis, life is what you make it.)

But for those in crisis who are new to all this and may need a reassuring word from others in-the-know, how about some short testimonials, including answers to these basic questions:

1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did...

2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency...

3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child...

4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...

Thank you, to both those who read and those who write. You have much to offer the world. We wish you clarity and certainty and comfort... and peace. For you and your children, whatever your choices!

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ok elizabeth.. here goes...

why i chose to place is simple really... i was pregnant due to a rape situation and i was already a single mom to a lil girl. i could not financially or emotionally handle it on my own.

how i found abrazo is easy... i opened the yellow pages and started with k and went back and fourth until i found an agency that was totally open idea as well as the GREASTEST staff ever!

the benefits have been wonderful! my son gets to expirience life as a child in a family that goes to the beach several times a year. and has numerous other expiriences that as a single mom of 2 i could not have given him, not to metion the education that he has acess to as an only child(since recently they have decided they are "done")

as fro encouragement... for those of you placing... keep your mind set on your choices... remember thatno one else has the emotional connection to your baby that you do and no one will have to deal with the extremems as much as you, so remember most of all you need to make this decision for you and your child not for your parents or your friends or anyone else for that matter. Also keep in mind that this is an open relationship you are forging with the ap's and that they want the best for you and your child. keep in mind that what is meant to be will happen no matter how may road blocks you construct and that it will all work out in the end.

for those of you that are adopting remember that it is a rough road and that you will have some let downs and some bad times but all in all you will forget the rough spots when you bring home the new bundle of joy...

He never gives us more than we can handle... keep that in mind too!

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I'm new to this whole adoption thing. I was browzing the Internet and found this website. I think it is really neat that the agency has a forum for birthparents and adoptive parents & their families to share their thoughts. I live in Texas and I am considering placing my baby for adoption, but am making sure I use the right agency. Could ya'll please give me some feedback on your experiences with this Agency.

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Abrazo is THE BEST agency if you want an open adoption. I placed a son 4 months ago through Abrazo...and the staff is just so supportive. No mother wants to place their child but it is a decision I don't for one second regret. They have helped me so much. They are always there to listen, they go out of their way to help you. They are just completely awesome!! I placed a son 2 years ago through a different agency and that experience is just so so different. It is a semi open adoption which basically means I get pictures and a letter once a year. But with Abrazo, I get to hear my little boy over the phone!! I talk to my AP's, Cliff and Alison, on the phone and we email back and forth! I have a great relationship with my son's parents. I think open adoption is absolutely amazing!! And everyone here on the forum is great. It is an awesome support system!! If you ever want to talk send me a personal message. Good luck!

amanda :)

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"The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic.
It requires the most intense love on the mother's side,
yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother,
and to become fully independent."

--Erich Fromm, 1955

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Here's another Texas' mother's real-life tale of placing her daughter for adoption then reuniting with that child: Shar's Story.

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Here's another Texas' mother's real-life tale of placing her daughter for adoption then reuniting with that child: Shar's Story.

Great link, thanks!

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1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did... Because I was young, and parenting at the current time was NOT an option for me. Im adopted so I couldn't think of doing anything else but adoption

2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency... I was referred to Abrazo by an agency in California. From day one, they were there!! Bringing me Taco Bell while I was in the hospital weekly visits while I was in the hospital and lending an ear to many hours on the telephone.

3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child... I look back to 5-6 years ago, and I see that NOW I made a great choice. My Birthkids are happy, healthy and they know who I am. They know where they came from and they know I love them!! Thats whats important to me!!

4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...

It may seem like a very hard journey, I for one am not goign to sugar coat it, IT IS!! However, you grow more beatuiful, stronger and become a much better person during the process. It's like a catapiller that goes from just an ugly thing to a beautiful butterfly!!! :-)

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1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did... Because I was young, and parenting at the current time was NOT an option for me. Im adopted so I couldn't think of doing anything else but adoption2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency... I was referred to Abrazo by an agency in California. From day one, they were there!! Bringing me Taco Bell while I was in the hospital weekly visits while I was in the hospital and lending an ear to many hours on the telephone.3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child... I look back to 5-6 years ago, and I see that NOW I made a great choice. My Birthkids are happy, healthy and they know who I am. They know where they came from and they know I love them!! Thats whats important to me!!4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...It may seem like a very hard journey, I for one am not goign to sugar coat it, IT IS!! However, you grow more beatuiful, stronger and become a much better person during the process. It's like a catapiller that goes from just an ugly thing to a beautiful butterfly!!! :-)1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did... Because I was young, and parenting at the current time was NOT an option for me. Im adopted so I couldn't think of doing anything else but adoption2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency... I was referred to Abrazo by an agency in California. From day one, they were there!! Bringing me Taco Bell while I was in the hospital weekly visits while I was in the hospital and lending an ear to many hours on the telephone.3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child... I look back to 5-6 years ago, and I see that NOW I made a great choice. My Birthkids are happy, healthy and they know who I am. They know where they came from and they know I love them!! Thats whats important to me!!4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...It may seem like a very hard journey, I for one am not goign to sugar coat it, IT IS!! However, you grow more beatuiful, stronger and become a much better person during the process. It's like a catapiller that goes from just an ugly thing to a beautiful butterfly!!! :-)If you want to talk more to me about my decision feel free to PM me!!

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From Slate comes this compelling essay that puts a new spin on an old perspective:

Forget Juno: Out-of-Wedlock Births Are a National Catastrophe.

Read this argument from start to finish, then share your thoughts?

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From Slate comes this compelling essay that puts a new spin on an old perspective:

Forget Juno: Out-of-Wedlock Births Are a National Catastrophe.

Read this argument from start to finish, then share your thoughts?

This IS an interesting essay. I do have mixed feelings. I went to church with a lady and every year we would go to the Women of Faith conferences. She would without fail start a discussion on our way there how children in single parent homes are doomed for failure. She would then add with great enthusiasm ...especially boys. Now, IDEALLY I think children should be in a two parent home. But, then my ideal situation is not one I know much about. I was raised by a single mother....no father EVER in the picture. It is funny how I just told someone the other day that I wouldn't know my dad if he walked into the room. I have known many people in what appears to be picture perfect marriages who fight like cats and dogs behind closed doors. I am not so sure that is healthy. I am also not of the train of thought to "stay in it for the children". I think a home that is healthy is not necessarily one that is wealthy. It is common sense that a two parent home would financially be more sound if both parents are working decent paying jobs. Out-of-wedlock births are not what religiously I was taught was acceptable. However, that is what my family is made up of. I am not saying it is right...but, I am also not saying that the way my mother did was wrong either. I am just saying that not every situation is going to fit every person. Believe as you wish. Single parenting is in NO WAY easy but, just because there is a husband in the home doesn't make it any easier. Children will become who they are regardless of a single parent or two parent family. I choose to believe my boys are going to be successful either way. They may also fail....but, it will not be because I am a single parent. Just ask any parent who children where not born out-of -wedlock or who is being raised in a two parent home....whose child is struggling.

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I tend to agree with Sabrina. I honestly do not believe just because you have two parents you will have more money and be better off. Of course in today's society the ideal situation is to have 2 married parents,who got married then had children and stay together happily ever after. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. I think children who do not have a mother and a father do poorly because society expects them to do poorly. That is all people hear...how bad it is to come from a single parent,how disadvantaged that child is,poor boy has no father etc... How can anyone do good hearing this all the time?? Maybe if we as a society actually had better attitudes on the situation instead of looking down on it and pushing marraige etc.. these children would have a better chance. Just because you believe it to be right doesn't make it so!!! It is an opinion not a must!!!

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I agree with Sabrina and Jada. A lot of the end result is due to the expectations in the home. If the parent expects the child to succeed and gives them the experiences and opportunities to set them up for success then hopefully it will come to pass. If parents are apathetic and do not set high expectations, then the child will be more likely to fail. There are success stories from single parent homes and failings in two parent homes. It is dangerous to generalize about anything across the board.

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I think maybe the problems with out-of-wedlock pregnancies has less to do with single parenting than it does morals, however archaic that concept may be, nowadays.

To me, the moral issue is less about religion than it is a lack of commitment on the part of two adults who may potentially become parents by default, and have not reached a stage in life where either is truly ready or able to make a child the center of their universe (whether together OR apart!)

Adoption professionals see this often when single parents who acquired that title "involuntarily" (becoming parents because they 'had' to, not because they sought to) explore placement planning later on down the road, whether for the child they've been parenting or one yet to be born.

When we ask them about their child's likes or dislikes, needs or habits, they can rarely distinguish between their own and those of their child, because the child functions primarily as an extension of themselves, not as a precious entity to be studied and nurtured and developed. (Their child's favorite food is whatever the parents like to eat... the kid's favorite TV show is whatever the parents like to watch... their little ones go to bed whenever the parent does, etc.)

There's a whole generation of children, sadly enough, who are growing up with little or no sense of what it means to be special to someone; who have no way of knowing the security of growing up with more than one parent to turn to in times of trouble; and whose parent's needs are so prevalent, the children's needs are all too-often forgotten. This has nothing to do, necessarily, with money but it does come down to commitment, again.

I think deciding to become a parent and desiring to be a good parent (whether singly or with a spouse) are two separate choices, each requiring enormous and lasting levels of commitment. Perhaps the ever-rising numbers of out-of-wedlock pregnancies are an indication that too many of us continue to commit to sexual intimacy and physical gratification without ever realizing how this can shortchange both ourselves and our future children?

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I think you are right. Sexual Intimacy can get in the way of what is really happening. The thought of committing to some is scary. If there is commitment then all to often it is not for long. The needs of the adult do come before the children. A friend of mine who I teach with were talking today about what we were going to do for spring break next week. I told her I was taking the boys on a two day trip to the aquarium and some museums. She said NOT ME...I am staying home. She is a single mother to a 13 year old boy...wonder what HE would like to do?

I think that morals most definitely have gone by the wayside. It is evident everyday in my classroom. As I hear these sixth graders talk.

So, I think it has less to do with how many parents are in the home and more to do with how much the parents that are there are COMMITTED to parenting their children in a positive way.

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Interesting conversation----you made some great points Elizabeth and Sabrina - I wonder if the American ideas about marriage and its role/function in our society are changing too?

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Heidi I think you are right in wondering if Americas idea of marriage and role in our society had changed. I don't think marriage is valued at all anymore. I wonder when I read the newspaper and see people celebrating 50...60..and even 70 years of marriage. Then you flip the page and the list of those who marriage has ended in divorce is longer. Value of commitment to ANYTHING seems to have gone by the wayside. Things don't alway turn out the way that we planned our life to be. When I got married I NEVER imagined that I would be a single mom at 35 raising two boys...not my husbands.

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Further proof that "out-of-wedlock births" (while it may be an antiquated term) are a current and growing social problem: Dubuque, Iowa: Huge Jump in Unwed Pregnancies.

Here's another perspective: Blame It on the Runaway Daddy

And another: The Economic Toll of Unwed Parenthood

Consider one politician's proposed solution: Bloomberg: "Buy Back Fathers' Involvement" to Reduce Poverty for All

See also Putting Human Faces on the Dangers of Out-of-Wedlock Parenting

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Abrazo got the nicest note today, via our Facebook page, from a firstmom we worked with years ago... we're so glad her children's adoption story has been such a positive one, for them and for her, and undoubtedly, for the adoptive couple, as well!

I wanted to send a little thank you to you and everyone that helped me through my adoption with Abrazo. I called not knowing what I wanted to do and felt comfortable and relaxed with you. I spoke with you back in 1995 and decided to put my twins up for adoption. The family that I chose to raise the kids was the best family I could have ever found.

They were in the initial packet you sent and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. It must have been fate, because you requested that I choose 2 other couples just in case something happened and they weren’t able to adopt. So I picked out 2 other couples. Just so happened that one couple had just had a private adoption go through and the second couple didn’t want twins. I called the couple I wanted to adopt and they couldn’t be happier that I was having twins.

We hit it off from the get go and I fell in love with them. When the time came for the twins to be born they were there as quick as possible. I think letting the babies go was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but you all being there with us helped so much.

Well here it is almost 15 years later and I have been in contact with the family since day one. I have watched the twins grow and become young adults. Well a week ago I spent 5 days with my family and the twins and their family! We had such a wonderful time and I know I choose the right option by seeing how wonderfully they turned out and how much they are loved by their adoptive parents.

I still continue to receive photos twice a year and we are also all friends on Facebook. They will always know how much I love them and have always wanted the best for them. I am very grateful to you especially Elizabeth for your one on one attention and the care you showed myself and the adoptive family during our adoption.

Thank you! Vicki C.

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What a wonderful letter to receive! Makes me smile reading it! What a testimonial of love and open adoption!biggrin.gif

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Wow!! Great open adoption success story!! This is the way it is suppose to be!! Way to go Abrazo!! What a blessing!!

Melanie

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Wow! I can't believe I've never seen or responded to this topic! For prospective birthparents out there, I'm a birthmother but did not place through Abrazo so question # 2 doesn't apply to me. I placed my daughter for adoption 21 years ago in a closed adoption (closed adoption wasn't my choice/preference but it was all that was offered at that time) through Gladney (wouldn't recommend them, I have a friend who adopted through Gladney and her viewpoint on adoption and how she handles her childrens' adoptions make me feel as though Gladney still hasn't caught up to what adoption needs to be like for adoptees, birthparents, & adoptive parents). I reunited with my daughter (I found her after spending 3 years on and off searching) a little over 2 years ago and it's been an amazing reunion - we're very close and it went much better than I could have ever anticipated).

Here are my answers to Elizabeth's questions:

1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did...

I spent forever answering this question for my daughter because it was one of her first questions she asked me. I won't go into all the details but I do want to point out that at least for me, it wasn't just one reason and also, what I discovered when trying to answer that question honestly is that my reasons for placing her were totally shaped by my life experiences up to the point I became pregnant.

I was 17 when I got pregnant and it was the summer before my senior year of high school. I was using drugs when I got pregnant and my circle of friends were people like me who were not in a good place in their lives. I now know why I was involved in all that stuff but mostly, it had to do with masking the pain I felt emotionally at that time (it didn't work). I stopped using drugs once my pregnancy was confirmed at around 4 - 6 weeks. However, I had been using drugs off and on since I was 12 so I still felt very vulnerable and unsure about the permanency of my new relationship (or lack of) with drugs and friends who used drugs. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom who worked 2 jobs. We were not on welfare but did not have any extra money at all so I knew that it would be a major struggle for all of us and I wanted my baby to never know what it was like to struggle financially. To me, that equated to a life like I was experiencing and it wasn't a good one so I wanted her to have a better one (for example, my mom started working 2 jobs when I was 10 years old, I had very little parental supervision and ended up hanging around with people who were like me and that's when I became involved with all the bad stuff I look back on now and cringe). I wanted her to have a mom and dad and did not want her to be raised by a single parent. I'm not knocking those people who are single parents, as I've become older, I know that being raised in a single parent home does not mean someone will experience the life I did being raised in a single parent home...but to me, all I knew then was what life was like for me being raised by only my mom and I didn't want her to experience that. I imagined this ideal home environment with parents who had waited and waited for this dream baby and were able to take care of her emotionally, financially, etc etc etc and I felt I couldn't do that as well as they could. I wanted to go to college and make a better life for myself and my future children and I felt that I couldn't do that if I parented her because I would be working so much and it would be this endless cycle. Also, I felt that a stepfather would likely be in her future since I knew her birthfather and I were no more. I worried that once her stepfather and I had children together that she would feel left out and have a hard time "sharing" me with him and our children since she and I would have a special bond since it was just the two of us on our own for a period of time. There are all sorts of other smaller reasons as well as lengthier and more detailed reasons but this is it in a nutshell.

2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency...

Doesn't apply to me but I can say that if I were faced with an unplanned pregnancy now, Abrazo is the only agency I would consider and trust. I love them!!!

3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child...

My daughter has had so many experiences in her life that she would have never had if I would have parented her. She is attending college and her parents pay for every penny of it including her car, living expenses, and private college tuition. She has no idea what a benefit that is (I put myself through college and struggled every step of the way - it took me 7 years to finish...she'll probably finish in about 3 1/2 years). She's only had 1 job and it was just for a summer and she didn't like it so she hasn't had a job since. She is able to 100% focus on school and just being a kid with no responsibilities. One day, she'll have responsibilities but I don't think it's ever a good thing to have too many too soon. She makes awesome grades, she's very smart and loves school and challenges. She spent a year living in Italy between high school and starting college - completely paid for and supported by her parents. She has a little brother who she absolutely loves so much and has told me numerous times she can't imagine life without him. They are really close and have such a great relationship! She grew up in a very safe neighborhood with a really good circle of friends who are still a very big part of her life. She is extremely close with her dad and he is the kind of dad I dreamed of having. They have traditions together (at Christmas, they always make shortbread together) and he is who she goes to for any sort of advice and he is always so neutral when he gives her advice. He is very patient with her (she questions everything) and is a wealth of knowledge. She would not have had this type of father if I would have parented her. She has had so many vacations to so many interesting places and so many memories from them and holidays and birthday parties, etc. She has so much good in her life and likes where she is at. I have no regrets. I will say though there are a few things that I perceive are related to my decision to place her. She has never said they are but I still feel as though being adopted has something to do with them. She has some trust issues and is really sensitive about relationships breaking up/falling apart (loss issues). I have these issues too and I wasn't adopted so just because you're not adopted doesn't mean you won't have issues but I do feel responsible for some of the issues she deals with.

4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...

With time comes healing. If you do decide to place your baby for adoption, it will be the most painful experience you will have in your life. The pain will be unbearable and for me, it felt like I absolutely could not handle it once it started and I didn't know what to do, I was scared to wake up every day because of how I felt. I ached tremendously for my daughter. There's nothing I can say to prepare you for what it actually feels like when you no longer have your baby with you. What I can say though is that with time, the rawness of that pain will ease gradually and you will find a way to live with your decision and find a place to put that pain where you are able to function once again. Then, over time you'll find that you're actually okay and years later, you'll look back and it will be impossible to remember exactly how it felt but you'll know it was overwhelming but you won't be able to completely capture that feeling again (thank goodness!) Only you know if placing your baby for adoption is the best option for you and your baby so feel free to listen to what everyone has to say but remember that it is your decision and whatever decision you make you will find a way to live with it and make it work (whether it be struggling to raise your child or struggling to cope with your grief and loss). Just know that you will be okay but it will take time.

Also, feel free to message me if you ever need someone to talk to...I'm always available to talk about adoption.

Lisa

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Some great testimonials on this thread! Bumping it up for others to read. :)

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I've been wanting to jump in and post on this for a while but I wanted to have an actual computer to do it on, not a smartphone! Voila! I acquired my desired medium so I'll put my two cents in.

1) This is why I needed to make adoption plans when I did...

When I found out I was pregnant, I was 17 and a few months shy of graduating high school. My father had already told me (after I got caught sneaking out a few times) that if I got pregnant he would kick me out of the house. Well, sure enough I was late. I couldn't go to the doctor since I was only 17 and still under the Medicaid my grandma had for us. I decided to ignore it, assuming it would go away. The baby started kicking, I ignored it. I had taken 5 or 6 home pregnancy tests and I knew I was pregnant. I hid it from my family. I had already been accepted to the university I wanted to go to, and we had already paid the commitment fee. I was terrified. I knew that I wasn't ready to be a parent, emotionally or physically. I had no transportation, no money, no job, I shared my room at home with my sister, no maturity and no boyfriend. I didn't have anyone I could turn to. My best friend tried convincing me to keep the baby but I didn't listen to her because I knew what I was doing was best. Sure, I could have lived at home and had my grandma help me raise the baby while I went off to college but I didn't want that. I didn't want my baby to grow up on food stamps. moving all the time and having to have a step daddy like I did growing up. I could barely cook or get up early in the morning; how was I supposed to wake up 5 or 6 times a night to take care of a baby? I was too self-centered to be a parent and I was mature enough (ironically) to admit that. I prayed fervently about it and God let me know that what I was doing was right for the baby's sake. I wanted to graduate college. I wanted to experience life as a young adult. His father was abusive. Not to the point where I was scared for my life or bruised, but he was very controlling and put his hands on me. My daddy always taught me that if a man hit me once, that was two times too many. I wasn't going to bring a child up around that. I wanted the baby to be able to have all the things children need (and then some) that I didn't get growing up. I wanted my baby to have a better childhood than I ever did.

2) This is how I found Abrazo & why I chose this agency...

I was initially matched with a couple in a semi-open adoption through a completely different agency. The semi-openness was their idea, because it was all they were comfortable with. I was "okay" with that because at the agency I was with, I was only able to see three profiles because nobody else was interested in a half Caucasian- half Hispanic baby. I started with that agency in late August and wasn't even able to see profiles for about three weeks. I was desperate, I guess you could say. I was talking to my campus minister about my situation, which she thought was absurd! She knows Elizabeth and gave me her number or email (I can't remember which). I contacted her initially to reach out to some birth mothers. The one I spoke to the most was Elicia, and she told me all about how wonderful Abrazo is and what true open adoption is! She let me know that I didn't have to settle for a semi-open adoption, that I could get the contact with my child I deserved. I talked to her for a long while and we looked at some profiles online. I found the family I loved and we spoke on the phone! The other agency wouldn't let me have phone access until we were matched and I had already met them in person. I was sold after speaking to the people who would ultimately raise my son on the phone. I was in awe of the connection we formed! I switched agencies. Although I knew what I was doing was right it was very hard for me to tell my caseworker that I was going with Abrazo. The wonderful Abrazochicks offered to do it for me, but I had grown close to this woman and wanted to tell her myself. It was very emotionally draining for me but I have not regretted it for a second. I am going to be a returning birth mother, after all. I adore Abrazo.

3) This is how my decisions have benefitted my child...

There isn't one way it hasn't benefitted my son! He's so smart and thriving. He has everything I could never give him and he is the perfect little boy. His parents are wonderful.

4) This is the encouragement I'd offer others in my shoes...

Wow, this is kind of a tough one. I would tell a woman in my shoes to go with her gut. If she knows it is the best choice for her child then nobody can shame her! I would tell her that it is the hardest emotional pain you will ever go through, but little by little your life starts being colorful again and you remember how to laugh. There are still going to be tender and raw moments even years later but the satisfaction of seeing what you did for your child will far outweigh any hurt or heartbreak you will endure. It is a tough time but stick with the openness or you will regret it. There is nothing better than seeing your worst fears vanish and your dreams come alive! Adoption allows you and your child the opportunity to have better lives and it will be, in a bittersweet way, one of the best decisions you will ever make for your child. It's hard to write down exactly what I would say, but I feel it would be easier to talk to one of these precious women on the phone. I'll always take a phone call, email, text or pm! :D

Edited by elly_mae
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