It was on November 12, 1992 that I signed the papers. I asked myself for almost a year, would giving him up be the right thing to do? I had been hearing so many reasons as to why choosing adoption is right and best. I remember the smell of John’s skin. His cheeks were so soft and round. His hands so small and trusting; I picked him up and placed him on my lap one more time just to inhale the scent of my son. At seventeen I did not know who I was, let alone being faced with the choice of keeping John or giving him to another family. As hard as my situation was I had to get to a point where I could hear me tell myself why I should make the choice of Adoption.
It’s not to say that raising a child so young could not be done, but how would I do it? I wanted the best for my child. There were those that thought that being pregnant at sixteen eliminated most if not all of my ability to think responsibly. I understood that being pregnant so young added tenfold to the issues that I faced as a teen. I understood that by choosing to carry my baby full term it meant that I had become a part of the statistic in my community. I understood that by choosing adoption for my child I would, in my very own community, be seen as stupid, brainwashed, or even a traitor. I understood that if I wanted to change the outcome of not only my life, but the life of my baby, I had to free him.
There are a number of unplanned pregnancies that happen every year, a lot of which happen to teenage girls. Parenting starts at the time the pregnancy is learned about. One of the greatest gifts that we can give our children sometimes leaves us momentarily breathless. It was at seventeen that I felt breathless. I had to choose between what my family thought was right and what I knew was right for my child and I. Right up until the moment I signed those documents it was as if a ping pong match was going on between the imprints of my family’s opinions and the choice of what type of future that I wanted for my child.
I was wearing a plaid pleated skirt with a holiday green sweater. I remember being super nervous that day. “Am I doing the right thing?” I asked myself once again as I looked into John’s eyes. Then I had a thought, John trusts me to be the best mother that I can be right now in this moment. Following that thought, I did what I had done in choosing to carry him in my belly for nine months, I supported John. I let him go, so that he may choose a life that superseded any life that I could help him have at seventeen. Adoption wasn’t the only option; adoption was the best option.
Mothers, this is the month that has been designated for us to celebrate our sacrifices that we have made for our children and our family. The Florence Crittenton Program has been helping young mothers for many years, and helped me when I was 16 . Many of the young mothers that enter the Florence Crittenton Program need assistance with medical care, counseling, and training to improve their life skills. This year you can honor the women in your life by Adopting a Mom at Florence Crittenton. Visit our website, www.florencecrittentonsc.org. Contribute your time. If you own a business you are in the perfect position to help these ladies build life skills by creating internships. Become a mentor, share your life experiences; you never know when your words will inspire.
Tanya Robinson, a former Florence Crittenton client, is a native of Charleston, SC. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. Tanya is currently working on her first novel. For additional information please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.