Maryellen My Adoption Story

I am connected to adoption because I placed my baby into his family’s arms. I am proud to call myself a birthmom.

How My Adoption Journey Began

I remember when I first found out I was pregnant, I was only 18 and I was so scared. I thought about my options and I knew adoption was one of them. A few months before I found out I was pregnant, a lady from my church shared her story of how she adopted a baby boy and it really touched my heart. I knew I wasn't ready to raise a child at this point in my life, but I also knew somebody else out there was ready and waiting to start a family. I knew this was going to be the hardest thing I would ever have to do, but at the same time, I knew it was what I had to do.

I really didn’t know where to start. I told myself if it was meant to be, then everything would work itself out. A few months went by and I began researching adoption. I looked on a few websites and browsed through couples looking for a baby, but I really never took the next big step.

Finding the Right Family

I told my cousin about my plan and we prayed together. A few weeks later, she saw a Facebook status where a friend of hers shared that her sister and husband were looking to adopt. Their names were Pauline and TJ. I reached out to them and we decided to meet up in downtown Chicago, which is about two hours from me. I was so anxious to meet them, but I will never forget the moment we first made eye contact. I felt this wave of positivity. We totally hit it off.

"Pauline and TJ were everything I had hoped for, and I knew they were meant to be his parents."

Planning for the Future

They shared with me they wanted an open adoption, and I knew right then that was exactly what I wanted too. Open adoption has so many benefits to everyone involved. I was going to be able to be in my child’s life and watch him grow up! Pauline, TJ, and I began forming a relationship and established trust. We communicated almost daily for the last few months of my pregnancy. They answered all of my questions and we began working with their adoption agency to sort everything out.

My due date was drawing near and I began to feel this special bond with the baby growing inside of me. All I wanted was the best for him and I knew I wasn’t able to provide that. I knew I could make being a single mom work somehow, but I didn’t just “want to make it work,” I wanted MORE for him because that is what he deserved. I had a rough childhood and I wanted the opposite for him. I wanted him to have a mother and father that could give him their time. If I had chosen to parent him, then he would have been in daycare 24/7 while I would have been working and going to school. I could barely support myself financially and I didn’t even have a real home to bring him to since I was sharing a room with two of my cousins. I just couldn’t imagine raising him in the midst of chaos and without a father figure. Pauline and TJ were everything I had hoped for, and I knew they were meant to be his parents.

"My life is now ten times better now that I brought a child into this world, and let me tell you… he is beyond loved."

Meeting My Baby Boy

On a beautiful summer day in June, I gave birth to the most precious baby boy, Kendrick Julian. Having my friends, family, and the adoptive parents at the hospital with me made me feel a lot better. Meeting Kendrick was the moment everything changed. I had never felt a love so strong. I held him tight, cried, and promised him everything was going to be okay. I never wanted that moment to end. I even thought about changing my mind because I was so emotional, but knew I wasn’t thinking clearly at that point and had to carry through because, in the end, it would all be worth it. I had seen how happy his parents were and I was happy for them, but nothing could prepare me for how I was going to feel once separated from him for the first time in nine months. It was heartbreaking, but I knew he was going to be taken care of for the rest of his life and I knew I would see him again soon and get many updates.

The journey wasn't over — it had just begun. I now visit Kendrick about once a month and get updates and phone calls frequently. Seeing him in the loving environment he lives in makes my heart so full. Open adoption is whatever you make of it, and every adoption story is unique. My life is now ten times better now that I brought a child into this world, and let me tell you… he is beyond loved.

Moving Forward After Adoption

I am still healing because it takes time, but I am glad to have had all the support and encouragement from family, friends, and the adoption agency I worked with, which really helped me get back on my feet. I am now on the road to graduate from college and in a much better state.

Only you know what is best for you and your child, so don’t be scared and don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Please know that you are brave, and you are not alone. I am always here to listen and guide you on your journey. It truly is an amazing experience.