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I placed my son for adoption 7 years ago. I was 19 years old at the time and the pregnancy was a result of an assault. While pregnant, I really considered all my options, towards the end of my pregnancy I knew in my heart that adoption was the right choice for me and my child, but it wasn’t until after the baby was born that I first made contact with an adoption agency.

In the hospital after giving birth I confided in a nurse that I wanted to place my son for adoption but that I had no idea what my next step was. She gave me some information on local adoption agencies and made the call for me once I selected one to work with. I met with a counselor that same day. I spent the next six days really thinking about what this adoption would mean for me and my son. What I really appreciated about talking to the adoption counselor was that she acknowledged how hard this was going to be. She gave me truthful, honest answers to my questions. That was really important to me; when you’re making a decision that affects the lives of so many people you need real answers, not fluff.

Selecting the family was also a big decision. I always relied upon my siblings growing up and I wanted my son to have that, too. What was the clincher for me, though, was finding the family that spoke to me. When I came upon one album that hit me on a really personal level I knew that they were my son’s parents (and brothers!).

I had heard about open adoption before, but it was only when I was in the middle of this adoption decision myself that I really understood what it meant- that it’s open to make it what I wanted it to be. That was also really important. I hated the idea that I wouldn’t know anything about my son but the open adoption means that can be in contact with the adoptive family, so I don’t need to worry about how my son it doing.

Because of the circumstances of my pregnancy, it’s still a hard topic for me, even though many years have passed- but the adoption decision is the bright spot to a very dark time.

That’s what I think everyone should know about open adoptions — it means you don’t need to live with a doubt in the back of your mind wondering how your child is doing. I know he’s okay. I can see it for myself. We stay in touch with phone calls, letters and videos. There’s no harder decision you will ever make and it is a very scary time. But I would advise anyone who is currently facing this decision to look for support from people you can count on. I knew it was going to be a decision that my son and I would need to live with for the rest of our lives, so I really needed to listen to my heart.

For me it was important to approach the decision with the idea that it was no longer just about me anymore. I knew I needed to think about putting my son first and doing what I could to make his life the best it can be.

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