Today I have a special guest writer. Her name is Erin Allen and she is a Birth Mother. She is also my niece. Brad and I had the tremendous privileged of being able to support Erin as she went through her pregnancy, to group at LDS Family Services and I was even invited to be her "coach" in the delivery room . It was an incredible experiences to see things from the other side and become part of a Birth Family.
Today Erin is sharing her story in her own words.
This is one of the only times she has shared her story publicly and it was a hard task.
Please send Erin some online love by leaving her some positive comments.
~Having children is something I always wanted to do. It is a very important part of growing up for me. Although I never thought that I would become a mother before I was ready for it. Ready or not though, I became a mother at the young age of 18. Being so young and in the bad situation I found myself in, I had to make some very grown up choices. After much thought and prayer I made the decision to place my child with an adoptive family. Placing my son, while difficult, became one of the most positive experiences I have ever had.
During my entire pregnancy, I grieved for my son. I knew that I would not watch him take his first steps, or say his first word. Teach him to ride a bike, or take him to school on his first day. There were times when I felt as if I already lost him, and then I reminded myself, I was doing this for him. So his life could be full of opportunities I could not have provided myself. I started going to a support group for birth mothers, there were about 10 to 15 girls, all of whom were trying to decide what to do about being young and pregnant. Being around other girls in my situation helped me to understand that I was not alone.
The support from my family was amazing, I had tons of love coming from so many directions. There were those people that did not agree with my choice, but I knew that this was the right thing for my son and I. So I had to learn to try and shut out their words so that I could stay strong in my choice.
I picked a wonderful family, my social worker set up a meeting with them. I was so nervous I was shaking. I kept thinking to myself “What if they do not like me?” I fell in love with them. They were so sweet; they kept asking me questions about me and what I wanted my son to know about me. I never in a million years expected to feel so peaceful with this family. When it was over, we all gave each other big hugs and I left the meeting with such a sense of peace. I knew at that moment that is was really what was best for my son.
|Erin and Gabe.|
Then the time came for him to join the world, I remember being at my support group when the contractions started. I did not think it was really happening just yet so I waited about two and a half hours. By the end of the group I knew that I was in full blown labor and he was coming out whether or not I was ready for it. Then on the morning of September 18th 2002, he arrived, perfect in every way. With peach fuzz hair and big blue eyes and a sweet pouty mouth. Then I found out he was sick. I was at the hospital for two days with him and was only able to hold him for two hours the whole time. Seeing him sick and knowing that I was going to be leaving him broke my heart into a million little pieces. How could I say goodbye to this perfect face, knowing that I may never see him again?
He ended up being transferred to a hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. I saw him settled in there, said a very long heartfelt goodbye. I tried to say all of the things that every mother wants to tell her son during a lifetime. I ended up just staring at him for the longest time, memorizing his face, the arch of his eyebrows, and the slope of his nose. Trying to picture what his smile would look like throughout the years. Then I told myself that this was the right choice, not just for him but for me as well. This was giving both of us opportunities to do a lot of great things with our lives that we might not be able to do together.
|In the NICU.|
With that courage in my heart, I called my social worker and told her that I was ready to sign the adoption papers. I met the adoptive family at the agency; I brought them up to date on what was going on with him. They promised me that they would do everything they could to take care of him and give him the love that I would give him. So I signed the adoption papers, proving to myself that I was much stronger than I ever thought I could be. At that moment I felt such joy at being able to bring this little family together, my life now changed forever. ~
As you can see from the pictures Erin's son was attached to many medical devices to help him. Erin didn't get to hold Gabe without cords and other things getting in the way. After placement and after Gabe was strong and got to go home with his new family Erin received a special gift. The couple Erin chose for Gabe set up another meeting so that Erin and her parents could hold Gabe without being hooked up to anything. When I learned of this my heart was touched. I am so thankful this adoptive couple though of Erin in her time of grief and allowed her this opportunity.
Today Erin is happily Married and Mom to three beautiful children. She continues to have some contact with her Adoptive Couple.