From a Birth Parent, With Love

I found out I was pregnant a whole three weeks in, unfortunately with a man whom I was just barely getting to know. We had a rocky start given the situation, but we were able to work things out to co-parent, and both be there equally for the baby. At 22 weeks pregnant, I was told my baby had an A/V canal defect. At 26 weeks, it was confirmed. She also more than likely had Down syndrome. To top it all off, at 27 weeks I was told termination was still one of my options, if that was what I felt was the right thing to do. I will never say a woman doesn’t have the right to decide what is best for her situation, but hearing them offer that to me made me feel like my baby didn’t matter.

All of a sudden, we weren’t just bringing home a cute bundle of joy, we were going to be bringing home a cute bundle of joy who we knew would need so much more than we could ever provide. So at 30 weeks, we made an adoption plan to ensure that our baby would have the best chance at being as high functioning as possible. Some may think placing a baby with special needs is easier than placing a typical child. I beg to differ.

Placing your baby in the arms of someone else to love and cherish is the hardest thing anyone will ever do, but when you make the decision to place your baby with special needs, you are putting even more faith into their family that they will advocate and fight for that child in every way you would want. You are trusting they will make sure to be a part of early intervention and do everything they can to make sure the child gets all the therapies they may need, many not covered by insurance.

At 39 weeks and six days, I finally got to hold my baby. Even with all the extra challenges I knew we would face, giving into our love for her and having what they call a “change of heart” and deciding to parent her would have been the easy thing to do. The day after I came home from the hospital, I already missed her more than anything in this world. In moments where I try to tell myself I should have raised my baby, I stop myself and remember how good it was to see her family holding her themselves for the first time. They already loved her just as much as I did. I may be sad, I may wish she could have come at a different time in my life where embracing her special needs would have been something I could do. But at the end of it all, I am proud I made the decision to give her the best life possible, even if it means watching her grow in the arms of someone else.