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I had just graduated from high school, picked up my first real job and got a car of my own. Life was good; I was your everyday teenager about to have the best summer of my life.
I remember on this hot day that green apple slush had never tasted so good. I was getting ready to leave the petrol station when my phone rang. It was my doctor confirming that I was pregnant. The sour never came through so strong then at that moment. I only had sex one time. How could this have happened?
Going into the early months of my pregnancy I knew adoption was the right choice. I just graduated, wasn’t making enough money to support a child of my own, and the idea of single parenting was not something I wanted to subject this child to right away. Growing up, I was raised by a single dad and it wasn’t always easy. My dad did a wonderful job with me and my sister, but there were times of struggle.
My mind understood the logical parts of the decision, but I don’t think my heart fully understood until my first ultrasound. Seeing this baby inside of me made everything real, but hearing the beautiful melody of the baby’s heartbeat moved something inside of me. I knew right then and there that this child deserved everything and more — a lot more than what I could provide at 17.
From that moment, I made appointments regularly over the next nine months at an adoption and family service agency called Bethany Christian Services, where I learned about adoption and what to expect to feel like after the birth of the baby. I met with my pregnancy counselor weekly up until my due date; I watched videos of birth mothers talking about the grief they felt afterwards and how to cope with certain emotions following the birth. Bethany Christian Services has done a lot for me during my pregnancy including the opportunity to meet and talk to Catelynn Lowell, a teen advocate for adoption. Meeting Catelynn helped a lot and she let me pick her brain on adoption; how I should prepare myself; and how it would feel afterward. Catelynn is very passionate about telling her story and continues to be a big inspiration to me.
While going through the adoption process, I knew I wanted to also share my experience and hopefully try to educate people on how adoption has changed throughout the years. When I looked around at my peers who were in similar positions, many were choosing to parent and I wanted to show another perspective. I was excited to learn that I would be able to share my story on the Oxygen documentary series "I'm Having Their Baby."
Never in a million years did I think I would have such a large audience to connect with and I am so blessed that my story has touched so many lives. I have heard from kids that have been adopted who said that my story gave them a glimpse at what their birth mother went through and that they have a new found respect for what she did. I put myself out there so that girls who find themselves in my position can hopefully relate and not feel so lonely amongst all the ups and downs in making an adoption plan.
When choosing the adoptive parents, I went through lists of prospective couples, but was instantly drawn to Brian and Courtney. I remember being so nervous, but also excited to finally meet them. We sat down and talked for almost two hours with never a moment of awkward silence. I felt so comfortable with them that I knew this was the couple I wanted to raise my baby. After they met with the baby's father I snuck back to where the meeting was held, much to their surprise. I could tell by their facial reactions they had no idea what I was about to say. I explained that everything they shared was everything I wanted for this baby and more. I let Brian and Courtney know right there that I wanted them to raise this baby.
Everything came full circle for me that day, I had less worries because I was actually able to picture the parents raising this baby. As the months went on, Brian and Courtney became a part of my daily life. They went to every appointment with me, followed by grilled cheese sandwiches at our favorite restaurant. We went through a birthing class and after I threw a surprise birthday party for Brian. I am extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to build a good relationship with them before the baby was born.
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After a grueling 15 hours of labor, Ensile Marie was finally here. I never experienced so many emotions all at once. I turned to Courtney and said, "Look at your daughter! She's so beautiful." When I handed Ensile over to Courtney, I watched her become a mother and I saw Brian and Courtney fall instantly in love with this little baby. They were finally a family and Ensile had two loving parents. Watching them with her was the best moment of my life. I credit our bond for why I didn't feel much regret or sadness after the birth. I was at peace because I knew how wonderful Brian and Courtney truly are and I that I knew our relationship would only grow from that point.
A year ago, I was a different person than the person I am today. I learned what it feels like to be lonely, how much one night can change your life and a great sense of responsibility. I'm happy with my choice to place Ensile for adoption. I have been very fortunate to have such an amazing open adoption and I am thankful Brian and Courtney continue to seek such an open relationship with me throughout this journey.
Do you have an adoption story to share?
Mamamia's Infertility Week shines a light on the joy, the pain and everything in between when it comes to creating families. To read more from Infertility Week, click here.
Teen mum Alexa Lindsey is featured in "I'm Having Their Baby", an hour-long reality show in its second season that features stories of adoption from the perspective of birth mothers. The first season of the show screened on ABC2 in June.