Adoption is a big decision, it’s a choice that can feel overwhelming and mind boggling. An unplanned pregnancy can be life-changing and full of mixed emotions. Excitement, fear, relief, panic, curiosity, anxiety, depression and every other possible emotion flood through one’s mind. From that first moment you see two blue lines appear on a pregnancy test, life can become immediately overwhelming. Adoption is a choice, it is an option that is not easy for any pregnant woman to make, but it is an amazing one. In working with hundreds of women over 15 years, I can say adoption may not be an ideal choice, but it is a viable one. Placing a baby for adoption is a choice that life has come to, when reality prevails over dreams and finality over promise.

Women choose adoption for a variety of reasons including: financial instability, homelessness, drug use, incarceration, and dozens of other reasons. A woman’s adoption choice for her baby is never due to selfishness, inconvenience or lack of love. Adoption is the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a mother’s gift of life and promise to her child, a life she cannot provide. She fights every maternal instinct to place her baby with a family who can provide that coveted life. When I explain to people who cannot fathom the act of adoption; I give this example- If you are on a canoe and the canoe is sinking and you are holding your baby and a lifeboat comes by- what is the first thing a mother will do? She will hand her baby to the individual on the lifeboat who can save her child from drowning. She doesn’t hang onto her baby and allow them to drown together, nor does she put her baby down on the floor of the canoe and climb alone into the lifeboat. A mother puts the needs of her baby before her own needs and that is the sacrifice every birth mother makes in choosing adoption.

Adoption is not without heartache for a birth mother. Dealing with regret, fear, guilt are just the beginning emotions a birth mother feels. The fear of judgment or condemnation from family, friends and even strangers can become paralyzing. As an agency, we work with our birth mothers to combat the negative feelings and emotions and focus on the positive ones. The fact that the birth mother will become a hero in so many people’s eyes- from the adoptive family, to the extended adoption family’s relatives and friends, to the baby and then of course the ripple effect. A change in perspective is paramount in the ability to look past one’s fears and celebrate one’s decision. Adoption is a celebration of hope, promise and life. A birth mother is still a mother when she places her baby for adoption, but she enables another woman to become a mother a well.

Adoption is always the beginning, never the end. Adoption may not have been the dream of a birth mother, but it is the dream of a woman who may not be able to birth a baby. Dreams can change and evolve, a birth mother can still have her dreams fulfilled of her baby being raised in a two parent family, a beautiful home, family vacations, a college education and so much more, even if she, herself cannot provide those dreams of her own volition. She can remain in her child’s life and she take on a different role than she may have originally dreamed of. Adoption opens the door of promised life can provide and love, regardless of a blood line. Sometimes the best choices are the hardest choices but a strong women chooses life, but an even stronger woman chooses adoption.

~ Kelly Rourke-Scarry

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