The decision of expecting and birth moms to place a child for adoption is not easy. It can be scary and every single person has their own journey leading them to that decision. At Courageous Hearts Adoptions, we understand that not every expecting and birth parent has a network of support surrounding them during this process. While we work to support our expecting and birth moms throughout the entire process, and even after with lifetime counseling services, we also hope that the stories and resources we share online can comfort these individuals and help them feel more confident in making this difficult and important decision.
One such story is that of Andrea, a birth mother and forever “angel mama.” Andrea is an advocate for adoption and seeks opportunities to share her story in hopes that other expecting and birth moms can find solidarity in her experience and seek advice and support from her. She prefaces her story by saying that it absolutely wasn’t easy but it turned out very beautiful and unique and she recognizes that not all stories end on a happy note.
When Andrea was 25 she found out she was pregnant for the second time – she had her first son Joseph at the young age of 15. At this time Andrea was not with the birth father. They had been on and off in a very toxic and abusive relationship. To her surprise, she wasn’t just carrying one child but in fact triplets!
Her first thought was to parent the children but Andrea had no idea how she would parent three more children. Not only did she need to consider her relationship and economic status, but the protection of these three boys from a potentially abusive father: “I asked myself, how can I protect these three boys? I don’t want them to have an unsafe life, live in poverty, and in a toxic family. I was already a single mom of a 10-year-old and couldn’t put three infants through the craziness of what my relationship was.”
Andrea’s mind made up to proceed with placing the children for adoption and with a family that would take all three infants, she, unfortunately, did not have the support of her family – some family members still won’t speak to her over this decision to place the children for adoption. “My cousin and my case worker were the only two people in my life that supported me and were there for me and I felt like the only person who really had my back was my 10-year-old boy.” She was only 25 years old, scared, and all alone.
Andrea’s local Missouri adoption agency was able to identify two hopeful families willing to adopt all three boys. In deciding which family the boys would match with, Andrea says their income, stability, and relationship length were really important. She laughed when recalling that she was able to narrow down to one family because they were St. Louis Cardinals fans and she is a HUGE Cardinals fan. In addition, this family wanted to raise the boys in Christianity, which was important to her, and they already have one adopted child so they would be familiar with the open adoption concept and process.
Once the family had been matched, she says it was great to meet with them, have them join for doctor appointments, and be involved in the rest of the process. When it was time to deliver, Andrea had an emergency c-section. After the early delivery of 3 strong and healthy boys, the babies were held in the Springfield hospital until their due date. For Andrea, this meant that she got to spend three “blessed” weeks with them. Since each child had his own hospital room, she split the duties of feeding them and spending time with them with the adoptive parents for as long as they could stay in town. “That was special and sacred to me because I got that time with each of them and I know not all women get that. It made my healing process start then and made it a little easier for me. Also, my mom and sister were able to see how much I cared about the boys and how much I treated them like my boys. By placing them for adoption I wasn’t just giving up my responsibility. They got to say their goodbyes, hold them, and realize how difficult of a decision it was for me.”
Post-adoption, Andrea was faced with the guilt and shame she still carried about placing the children for adoption. She talked alot to her son Joseph about why this was the best option for them and that she didn’t want him or his three brothers in that unsafe situation with her ex. Keeping the boys would mean a lifetime attachment to her ex.
The first few months were particularly difficult for Andrea because the birth father created trouble saying that he wasn’t actually the boys’ biological father, causing DNA tests to be performed before finalization could occur. This was his manipulation to get her back in a relationship with him. When she finally relented and got back with him, he changed his mind and stated that they were his children. During this time and because of all the issues, the adoptive parents cut off communication with Andrea. She had been promised an open adoption but now it felt like she was being punished. She says it took alot to rebuild that relationship and trust with the adoptive parents.
Unfortunately, she had no other support network to pull her through the post-adoption period. She was all alone and needed to connect with others who would understand what she was going through. So she created her own birth mom support group a year later and invited other birth moms to join her. “No one should go through this healing process and grief all alone. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through.”
Today the boys are 7 years old and Andrea has been building a beautiful relationship with the entire family. “I tell birth and adoptive parents that it’s a relationship that takes time to build. You’ll go through ups and downs. But it’s a lifetime relationship, not just right here and right now.”
Andrea is now happily married and her life has been turned around. Her relationship with the adoptive family improved as they saw how she had grown and healed. She sees the family about twice a year and they send monthly updates. She now has their address and sends cards and gifts to the boys. Her husband’s son Jeremiah is the same age as the triplets and they all play together when they visit. The triplets also ADORE their older brother Joseph who is 17. Andrea believes that God truly is lining everything up.
Andrea says she has a beautiful connection with all three boys that feels very organic. The boys understand that she is their birth mother, and even the family’s other son, whose birth mother is not in the picture, refers to Andrea as his birth mother. They all consider Joseph and Jeremiah their brothers. She feels so blessed to have the relationship she does now with the triplets and the relationships that have created their extended family.
Andrea spends time now sharing her experience and advocating on behalf of adoption so others can learn the love it shares. “For me, I got a second chance in life and I wasn’t going to waste it. The adoption helped me understand being a woman and helped me grow up and to live the best life and be the best birth mom. God pulled me out of that dark place and gave me a second chance.”
For expecting moms considering placing a child for adoption, Andrea says to spend time self-reflecting and truly thinking about the future of your child. “Think about the life they would have growing up. Don’t just focus on the right here and now but rather on the future. What do you want to do with your life and can you do that with a child?” She also says to not listen to the world and its opinions: “you know what’s best for your baby.”
For birth moms currently healing Andrea uses the saying “HOPE – hold on pain ends.” The beginning is really hard, but you need to feel all of your feelings, “and go through the grieving process because you can’t hide from your feelings. You don’t want resentment to build up or you to wall up if you do have an open adoption and then these feelings get projected onto your relationship with the child. Get out there and talk about it. You are not alone and people are there to lean on and trust and confide in [even if it doesn’t feel that way].”
Courageous Hearts Adoptions is so thankful to Andrea for sharing her story and perspective with us. We know that this decision is not easy for expecting and birth moms to make but we want to help you walk through your options. We provide 24/7 supportive services and resources for our expecting and birth moms, we encourage open adoptions and have many vetted waiting families to choose from, and we provide lifetime counseling for mothers in all stages of the healing process. We hope to walk with you and support you so that you are never alone. You can also use BraveLove’s directory to find a support group near you!