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When I think back to all that went into my decision to place Ryan for an adoption, I remember how intense the process was. My pregnancy truly was an emotional roller coaster when I think back to how I swayed between the decision of parenting and making an adoption plan.

Early on in my pregnancy, I realized that in order to make the best decision for my child, I would have to fully look into and research both options. I approached this almost like an in depth study project as I learned from resources provided by the Cradle as well as from others’ experiences.

I spent time with friends of mine who were single parents and observed what their lives were like and how their difficult situations affected them and their children. I also spent time in support groups at the Cradle learning from other birthmothers’ experiences and what the adoption process was like for them. Learning from others’ experiences was extremely helpful for me. Although I knew each situation was different and mine would also be, I was given an idea of what the different situations may be like.

I continued to take this objective approach throughout my pregnancy but it was very difficult to do so as my emotions were very influential. As I was learning how an adoption plan would give my child everything I wanted for him that I could not give, I was feeling the strong maternal instinct to parent him. These strong emotions would place doubt in my objective feelings on adoption as I tried to find reasons that parenting would be the best decision for my son. This made the decision process very difficult as I often felt conflicted.

To get through this, I remained focused on what would be best for Ryan and continuously separated this from my selfish wants and feelings in order to do so. I also turned to my faith to guide me to the best decision for him and spent my evenings journeling my experiences and feelings. Journeling was one of the best ideas given to me by a close friend, as I was able to release my intense feelings and also reflect on them as I continued my decision process.

The culminating point for me, as I knew it would be, was meeting an adoptive family. With the support of my counselor, I outlined all the values and qualities I was looking for in a family to provide for my son before meeting one. I knew there was only one family out there that could give my son all I wanted for him that I could not give and that the only way I could follow through with the decision of adoption was if I found them. There were several qualities I was looking for as I wanted Ryan to be raised with the same values I would raise them with. With the Cradle’s support, I was blessed to find the family with these qualities.

I began the matching process at 7 months pregnant. This was after spending much time looking into parenting but remaining insecure that this was the best decision for Ryan. At this point I knew I had to proceed with the adoption process and did this by looking at a series of profiles of families. As I read through several wonderful stories, Kevin and Tracy’s profile stood out — right from the beginning. When I decided to meet them I knew they were the family meant to raise my son, and that I found my perfect match.

Although I felt at this point that God had given me the answer I was seeking, my emotions continued to play a large role as my bond with Ryan grew stronger along with my desire to parent him. Therefore, I took one final step to take an objective approach to my decision and separate myself from these emotions. I did this by taking the advice of my counselor to objectively reflect on all I had discovered in my decision process and write down the pros and cons of both options. This was another way the Cradle proved to be completely unbiased in helping me make the best decision for my son.

After doing this, the decision of adoption was clear, and the decision that I felt was best in my heart all along. Remembering this point in my decision process is what got me through the painful experience of letting him go and fighting through my emotions to do so after he was born, and when they were the most intense. Today I am so grateful that I was given the strength to follow through on my adoption plan, as I have witnessed how my decision has truly been best for Ryan and given him all I hoped for and more.

It has also blessed me in my personal life and with the amazing relationships that have resulted. I believe this positive outcome is due to all I put into my decision and that the life-changing decision that it is requires just that. I would love to hear any thoughts or opinions you have on my experience or to answer any questions you have. Good luck to any of you that are working through your decision process and I would love to help you in any way that I can.

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