On paper, I’m just another statistic, a number placed in records of teen pregnancy in small town Mississippi. My personal experience with unplanned pregnancy changed my life. It not only created a beautiful baby girl but it ignited a passion inside me to serve others. I realized at a young age that all of us find ourselves in situations we never imagined we would be in. It is in those difficult times when we need a helping hand. Navigating the adoption process was difficult for me but I had a counselor who stood by me every step of the way. After nine months of thoughtful consideration, I conceded that adoption was the best path for my child. I was overwhelmed by the support and love I received during my pregnancy. In the last nine years, I have attempted to give back the same love and support to not only those who gave it to me, but to every human being that crosses my path.
Years ago, I spoke in front of a group of potential adoptive parents. They were more nervous than I was! Through conversation with them, I admit that I was surprised to hear that their greatest fear was not that their child could face some challenging handicap. Their greatest fear was that the birth parents of their adoptee might bring stress and pain into their lives post adoption. Many of them said that the horror stories they heard about birth mothers made them question whether adoption was the right path to take. Initially I wanted to share my story because I thought it would be therapeutic for me. Then I realized that my story could give hope to parents who are considering adoption. They conveyed to me how great the desire was to create a family together but for reasons beyond their control, they were unable to have children of their own. Adoption is beautiful but it does not come without heartache from one side or another. These parents had real fears that the family they might create through adoption could be taken away from them. I told them that because of that fear they were already great parents.
My own fear has been that my child would look at her adoption as proof that I do not love her. When in truth, her adoption is evidence that I do love her. Nine years later, my daughter is happy, healthy, and has been given opportunities that I could have never provided for her. I am thankful for her parents who welcomed her into their home and have given her opportunities so that she might grow as all children are meant to grow. My love and respect for them goes beyond words. I trust that they ask themselves the same question every day that I asked myself when I considered what was best for her nine years ago. I trust that they put themselves aside for her best interest.
Adoption is meant to bring people together, not to create opposing sides. My fears are erased by the hope that when my daughter and her family are ready, we can establish meaningful relationships. Hope is what keeps me moving forward every day without her. Thankfully, I’ve found hope is far more powerful than fear.
- Rachel Roberts