I Met The Son I Gave Away 18 Years Ago. Here's How It Happened
June 6, 2016
I had just turned 18 when I found out I was pregnant my senior year of high school. The dude that got me pregnant was a couple years older, but was one of the cool kids in high school (let's face it, I wasn't). I was stoked to date him. We were only together for a month or two when I peed on that stick, but he was cool and I was heathy so there wasn't really any reason to get an abortion. I was a bad kid, I got into lots of trouble. I was at a school for "behavioral" kids that only had 12 students. After I got pregnant, I had a bit of a meltdown and got expelled. Seriously, I got expelled from a school that is supposed to fix bad behavior for having bad behavior. Right around that time my cool boyfriend took up smoking crack. I ended up sitting in my bedroom evaluating my life choices.
During all of this my parents were splitting up. My dad had left my mom for his secretary and my mom starting trying to find the bottom of every Chardonnay bottle ever made. My brother and I lived with my mom, which was kind of an on/ off thing. On when she was sober, off to friends' houses when she wasn't. My brother is two years younger but we were always friends. He was slightly more mature than most, or just more interested in adult things than other 16 year olds. I showed him the pregnancy test I took. He freaked out and asked if I had told my parents. Of course I hadn't, that's why I was telling him; he needed to help me sort it out. I tossed the pee test in the trash in his room and thought nothing of it until two days later when my mom had beeped me and I called her back.
"Get your ass home RIGHT NOW!" When I got there it was a tirade of "whore, slut, stupid" and a bunch of other motherly support. Appointments were made and I got dragged to the OB-GYN for an abortion no less than 4 times. Each time I reminded them that I did not, in fact, want an abortion and to cut it out and just take care of my pregnancy. By this time, my mom needed to start blaming more people. Apparently my cool crack smoking boyfriend sucks at the drug life and wound up in jail. So my mom, being the thoughtful person she was, called up the jail and started yelling at the guard to tell him that I was pregnant. So that's how he found out. My life was officially the definition of train wreck. The statistics show that if I didn't finish high school right then, it probably wouldn't happen. So I decided my first priority was going to be getting back into school. I went the next week and marched into the school office and said I'd like to sign myself out of special education (I was 18! I could do that now!) and go back to regular school. They had a bunch of meetings and sent me a letter that went something like this: "We know you can legally make this decision, but we don't think you can actually do normal high school work, you're too stupid. We encourage you to go back to your life skills classes and keep your disgraceful condition hidden." Well, thank you very much.
I re-started high school very pregnant. I skipped school to go to Dairy Queen and FINALLY got out of gym class. I hated gym. At about 6 months along I began to realize that no matter how much I got my life together there was going to be no situation that I would get to raise him.
Option 1: keep him, work to support us, hire a babysitter to watch him/ raise him.
Option 2: go to college and work and hopefully family would help me watch him/ raise him. Both of these options also yielded the potential of either no dad or a dad with a crack problem.
Then there was option 3: adoption, give him a normal family with a dad and a stay at home mom, and be able to go to college without having to support 2 people.
It became painfully obvious that what was best for my boy... wasn't me.
I started looking into the adoption process. Oddly enough, parents looking to adopt found me. The first pair knew my friend's sister who was a hairdresser. They came to her salon. Apparently the dad wanted to meet me without the mom first. He took me and my friend's sister to a crazy fancy restraunt. I told him that I wanted an open adoption, he said no. They planned to raise the child and tell him nothing until he was 18. I said I was also hoping for my medical bills to be paid and maybe money towards college (I was dumb, I Didn't know about school loans yet and wanted to make sure I went to college if I didn't have him). He said he would pay medical bills no problem and he would give me any amount of money I wanted. He told me that when his wife found out she couldn't have kids she tried to kill herself and now didn't qualify to adopt. That she was very depressed and needed to become a mom. Then he slipped me $50, which I tried to give back but he wouldn't take it. Then he started getting angry. So I just shut my yap and kept the cash and hoped to get home in one piece. Meanwhile, I was living with my mom who was working her way into her own downward spiral. She became more and more abusive. Constantly slapping me or scratching my face. Finally I reached my breaking point one day while standing at the top of the stairs and spit at her. She lost it. She pushed me backwards and I fell to the landing. I was able to break my fall by grabbing the banister on the way down, sprained my wrist but I was okay. I had to get out of there.
I went to live with my dad, who was still not my favorite person at the time but safer than my mom. My brother and I weren't allowed to be home when he wasn't there so we didn't have keys. We were only allowed to bring 3 drawers of clothes and toiletries, nothing else. We couldn't decorate our rooms or anything. He didn't want us there but knew we didn't have anywhere else to go. My dad worked at a big company, he had mentioned my "condition" to a woman he worked with that had a sister in law that was looking to adopt. We arranged a meeting the day of my prom.
I knew when I walked in, as soon as I saw her, that was his mom. I asked for an open adoption and they said yes. I asked for medical bills paid and they said yes. I asked about college tuition and they said no. I went to my prom. I went home. I started to think about how I would have just a few days in the hospital with him and began to look forward to those. That would be my joyful time. I read about what giving birth would be like and swapped those damn gym classes for child development. I applied to colleges. I only got accepted to community school but I started planning for that (only $1200 a semester!). I went to my graduation 9 months pregnant. I stayed at my friend's house because she was close to the hospital. I made s'mores, Christmas cookies, and ate dinner with her family. And at one of those dinners, I went into labor.
I called his new family and told them to meet me there. The hospital was about 30 minutes away, quick and easy entry and an epidural made everything right. About 4 hours later I was pushing, and the next thing you know, he came screaming onto Earth. The nurse wrapped him and asked me if I would like to hold him. I looked at his mom standing quietly in the corner with tears in her eyes clutching her hands together at her chest. His dad was holding her close. I told the nurse that his mum should hold him first. Our time together was ending, hers was beginning.
Those 3 days were wonderful. I marveled at his hands and feet and eyes. I breastfed as best I could and snuggled him. I made sure that he spent time in the nursery too so that his parents could hang with him uninterrupted. I had a hard time waking up on our last day. Waking up meant that the next time I slept I would be so, so alone. I sent a social worker over to the jail and had the crackhead sign his parental rights over. Then I started signing papers. Every time I thought I was done there was another. I kept it together but each signature felt like another stab wound. I didn't know how much more I could take. And once I was finally done, they told me he would be placed in foster care for 30 days. All this trouble finding a family and you want me to let him go to a random? Apparently this was in case I changed my mind. I told her I would never change my mind. My son deserved a healthy mom and dad that could take care of him. I was way less than that. No matter how much I loved him, no matter how hard I tried, I would not be as good of a parent as they were. I signed a new, special form saying I was sure I wanted to place him with his new family. I walked out, and I crumbled into the sidewalk. My dad and brother carried me to the car and all I remember for the next months is sobbing in the shower while I held my empty belly.
I wrote him all the time. And I visited around his birthdays. I wrote him just before his 4th birthday in 2002 but this time I never heard back. I was so afraid of this. His family didn't want me to intrude. I imagined that he was old enough to start asking questions and they didn't want me to confuse him. I stopped writing. I thought about him every day. Once the Internet became a thing, I started searching his name. I found a hidden profile on Facebook where I could see one or two pictures. I cherished those. He looked happy. Then, one day about two years ago, I found his Instagram profile. It was public. And there was hundreds of pictures. It literally took my breath away. I fell to my knees and dropped my phone. I wasn't prepared to look through these. So I stopped working for the day and went home. I poured myself a glass of wine and sat in the backyard sun and looked through every single picture, every comment, all his friends. Legit stalking. His life... was good. Relief, gratitude, and longing filled me.
A year passed and I started getting worried that he might make his profile private. I wanted to start following him and thought maybe I might just blend in with the 2k other followers he had. My friends thought he would notice me so I made them all follow him at the same time. I loved watching what he was doing. It made it bearable. And I started drafting the letter I planned to send him when he turned 18. I was so proud to tell him that I made it through community college, got a bachelors, and then a masters. I now help the kids with bad behavior. His adoption wasn't in vain, I owed him a meaningful life and I followed through. I met an amazing man and got married. I got pregnant last year. I wanted a boy because when I envisioned being a mom again, it was always a little boy I thought about. I hoped for a boy, wished, prayed. And grieved for a while when it was a girl.
When I had her, I realized that babies are babies. Gender doesn't really matter because they're your baby, the snuggles are all the same. About 2 weeks ago, I was at my friend's birthday lunch drinking mimosas and lamenting on children. I showed her my boy's profile and raved about his abilities and handsomeness and... accidentally clicked the like button. He recognized my name and sent me a message that said "I know this sounds crazy but I think you're my birth mother." I responded with "yes, I am :)" and gave him the current draft of the letter I wanted to send him. They had misplaced my last letter and had been looking for me for years. Needless to say, I was planning on being home for a wedding and asked him if he wanted to meet. He said yes. We set our time and place. I went with a beach so I could say I got something in my eye. Over the following two weeks I waited. All of the emotions came back. I kept reliving walking out of that hospital and every stab wound all over again. If there's ever a reason that a biological parent doesn't want to meet their child, I'd imagine that would be the reason. It was so, so painful waiting.
I spoke to his mom that morning and we confirmed the time and place. I was there about 30 minutes before they were. He was coming with his mom, dad, sister, and best friend. I faced the ocean as I waited. My brother was with me and he kept commenting on all the cars coming in. When he finally said that he saw them walking over, I started sweating. I turned around and saw a tall, handsome, 18 year old running towards me. I ran and he caught me in his arms. The irony in him holding me up wasn't lost on me as the last time I saw him I held him. We stood and I cried for a while holding on as tight as I could.
I touched his face and marveled in his big brown eyes. I gave him my tassel from my high school graduation. He gave me a photo album of every year of his school pictures. He held my hand as I walked back towards the hotel restaurant. We sat and talked with our families for about an hour. He is a wonderful person with a great family. I thanked his mom and dad for giving him everything I couldn't. She thanked me for making her a mom. I asked if I could stay in his life and if he would visit and he said he would. I asked him if he knew that I wanted him, he told me that he was brought up believing his adoption was an act of love. I cried again and I watched him walk away. They both texted me within 24 hours, all full of grateful love and pictures.
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