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When I found out I was pregnant, it was not a happy moment for me.  I am already the mom to three young children and I was no longer with the baby’s father.  Added to that, I have a full time job and am studying for my Masters degree in Social work.  I knew that I was not in a position to parent another child.

Once the shock wore off, I started researching options.  I was quite intent on keeping this pregnancy and baby a secret from my friends and family.  I just didn’t want to have to deal with going public with this situation.

A social worker suggest that I consider working with The Cradle and called them for me.  Heide, my Cradle counselor, met with me and quickly dispelled the myths I had surrounding working with an agency.  You see, I was afraid working with an agency would be too public for me.  I was afraid that I would be forced into an open adoption and I didn’t want that.  I learned during that first conversation with Heide that I was wrong.  The adoption could be as private as I wanted it to be.

So I went home and researched The Cradle’s website and paperwork.  While I didn’t think I would want to have anything to do with the adoptive family, the more I looked at the profiles and considered these prospective parents, the more I liked the idea of selecting the family and maybe even staying in touch.  I chose a great couple with whom I have a lot in common.  They are atraditional and artsy, just like me.  When we met, it just felt so natural to talk with them.  They even chose a name for the baby that has special significance to me.  It felt like fate.  I know my daughter will have a good life with them and it will be easy for me to stay connected to that family.

It’s been almost a year now since my baby girl was born.  The fears that I had about being in an open adoption were baseless.  Now that I know how it actually works, I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. I now see her and her adoptive parents four times a year, and we communicate monthly via text or email.Even though this regular contact is grounded in my love for Harper, it’s strengthened by my friendship with her adoptive parents. We all live in Chicago, and we all share a love of art, music, culture and travel.

Looking at the two of them now, I’ve never seen a couple so genuinely pleased to be parents. They used to have a carefree lifestyle, and now their house is stocked to the brim with bins full of toys and books. They’ve raised Harper to be an extremely happy, well-adjusted child. She has friends from all walks of life – all genders, races and sexual orientations. She has family who adore her. She has uncles and two sets of grandparents who fly more than 1,000 miles every six weeks to see her. She has the household stability that I couldn’t give her, and I couldn’t be happier.

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