(*Names, ages and locations have been changed to protect the identities of the involved parties.)
Take a step back and reflect for a moment.
How many people can you think of who were adopted, have adopted a child or are in the process of adopting? One? Two? Maybe even three or four?
Now, how many birth parents do you know that have made the decision to give their child a better life by being raised by adoptive parents? How does that number change?
While some people might imagine a mother who places her child in adoption to be a poor teenage girl who wound up knocked up or a girl that was clearly irresponsible, that assumption is wrong.
According to Adoption.com, women who decide to place their child in adoption typically have a higher socioeconomic background. In fact, many birth mothers are all ages, races and each has their own situation that has allowed them to make a choice of placing their child into an adoptive family.
In reality, adoptive parents have different capabilities than birth parents, such as planning and gathering resources, with a great deal of time. While on the flip side, birth parents have little time to form a plan and gather resources. How does it come together for all of them? Where do you turn when you have a child on the way, a large decision to make and little resources?
Adrienne faced the same situation not too long ago and ended up making hard choices for herself and her now 18-month-old son, Bryan.
"I saw adoption as a thing for young people who were worst off," she said. "I dismissed (the idea)."
Last year, Adrienne found herself in a difficult position in more than one way. After moving away from Tulsa more than four years earlier for the military, she had become disabled and now was living with her boyfriend who abused alcohol and pills. She already had an 8-month-old son but now was faced with another pregnancy.
"I began to freak out," Adrienne said. "I needed someone to talk to."
Adrienne decided the best course of action would be to move back to Tulsa, where she thought she would have the best resources. Three-months pregnant and with a 10-month old in tow, she headed back home.
Not a great deal of time passed before her parents began to suggest adoption as a viable option for her, but she wasn't really interested in the idea.
As time passed, though, and her pregnancy progressed, Adrienne began to have a change of heart.
Enter the Smithson family.
Joanne and Neil Smithson attended the same church as Adrienne's parents, and Neil extended himself to her as a confidante. Adrienne happily accepted his offer.
As more time passed, Neil began to assist Adrienne in getting resources for herself, such as food stamps and child care. Neil also listed himself as a resource of help.
That option set wheels in motion for Adrienne.
While she didn't want to place her child in any adoption home, she thought about the type of home she would want to place her unborn child. She set criteria for the home that would allow her the most peace with her decision, which included a Christian family with values and stability.
"The only way (it would be comfortable) was if the Smithson family would adopt my child," Adrienne said. "I saw them as a family. It fit too well. I knew that was the best thing."
Within a week of discussion between both families, the decision had been made. The Smithson family would adopt Adrienne's unborn child.
The Smithson family was already familiar with the adoption process as they had already adopted two other children--a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, so Adrienne had all of the resources laid out for her and to walk through the adoption process.
On the other side of things, the Smithsons were preparing for the best and worst case scenario.
"We were prepared for whatever," Joanne Smithson said. "I always knew she could say 'I need time and space.'"
In the meantime, the families began to form a strong bond, uncommon in many open adoption situations.
"I don't think [the bond] is ever so close as ours has become," Joanne said. "We go on play dates together."
Once the baby arrived, all went as planned. Adrienne signed her parental rights to the Smithson family, and they've been in the process of finalizing the adoption. But Adrienne's reaction to everything has surprised a lot of people, even her.
"I thought I'd be falling apart," she said. "I've been okay. I've been great."
Most importantly, she doesn't regret a thing.
"It wouldn't be healthy for him (oldest son) or me to have a newborn baby," Adrienne said. "Both children would suffer.
"People assured me it wasn't a selfish thing. They told me, 'You put yourself aside for the welfare of the child."
While resources might have been easily laid out in the end for Adrienne, not every woman has that option.
If you or someone you know is contemplating putting their child up for adoption, they can contact Madonna House at 585-5186.
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