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Behind this photo, is a story of ultimate sacrifice.

Patricia Cooper was just 17 years old when she found out she was pregnant.

A junior in high school, Patricia made the gut-wrenching and difficult decision to give her baby up for adoption.

Fast forward 18 years, and that baby and his adoptive mum have just attended Patricia’s college graduation, witnessing the moment she received her Master’s degree.

Patricia shared her heartwarming, and ultimately, bittersweet story on the Love What Matters Facebook page.

“I was raised in a low-class section of town, living on my mom’s disability and government assistance and often moving around to stay with different relatives because we couldn’t afford a place of our own,” she begins.

“When I told my mom that I was pregnant, she congratulated me, but I felt the world fall beneath my feet. I was devastated at the thought of bringing up a child in the same conditions in which I was raised. I shuddered at the thought of being a statistic and of having my child become a statistic as well. I knew that I had to ensure that my baby would have the best life that I could give him, which is why I chose to place my son up for adoption.”

Patricia explained that in making that decision, she felt a sense of relief. Not because she would be without the burden of a baby, but because she knew someone else would be able to give her son the kind of upbringing she would never be able to provide herself.

Towards the end of her pregnancy, Patricia met a couple – Kara and Dave – who wanted to adopt her unborn baby.

“From the moment I met them, I had the utmost faith and confidence in them. More importantly, I felt security for my son to become their son.”

Luckily, like Patricia, Kara and Dave wanted an open adoption, so together they worked out the final arrangements.

And then Patricia gave birth to a baby boy.

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“Following the birth, I spent two days in the hospital with this little boy. I nursed him and I sang to him. I kissed his chubby cheeks and I breathed in his sweet baby scent for as long as I could,” Patricia wrote.

“On the day that we were to be released, Kara and Dave came into the hospital room as I was collecting my things. I snuggled my swaddled baby one last time and I kissed him goodbye before placing him in the longing arms of his mother, Kara.”

Patricia described how she “cried and cried and cried” on the way home and in the days following the adoption, but that didn’t mean she regretted her decision.

“It means that I chose to give up my opportunity to be a mother to this child because my love for him far exceeded any pain that I may feel along the way,” she said. “My decision wasn’t easy, but it was the right one for him.”

Shannon Garner. The woman who will let you borrow her uterus. Post continues…

Since that day, Patricia has been actively involved in her biological son’s life. She speaks to him on the phone and visits him regularly – and Kara sends her photos, marking the special moments in his life.

“Through the years, we’ve laughed and we’ve cried,” she says. “Our doors have always been open to one another. She calls when she has questions about family history and I call when I have questions about his future.”

Patricia says in the end, they “both want what’s best for him” and so they make it work.

“This picture is from my recent graduation from Liberty University, where I received my Master’s degree,” Patricia finishes off her post.

“I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by two of the most important people in my life.”

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