"CHRISTIAN" ADOPTION AGENCY
After finding out
that I was pregnant, and realizing that I could not go through with
an abortion, I called the first number listed under the "abortion
alternatives/crisis pregnancy" section of The Yellow Pages. The
ad promised counseling and help.
I dialed the number
and a volunteer answered. She listened quietly to my story and asked
me to come in and talk to a counselor as soon as possible.
25, 1999, I met with a counselor who immediately asked if I had considered
adoption. Stunned, I said, "No." She proceeded to recite
rates of poverty among single moms, child neglect cases, resentment
toward the child for "messing up" the mothers life, etc.
She then told
me about the "beautiful, win-win" option of adoption. A
well-off couple of my choosing would adopt my baby in a nice, sweet
open adoption facilitated by the agency.
I would have
the chance to live my life free of the burdens of single motherhood
and my child would love me more because he/she would have every thing
and every opportunity to succeed in life. Plus, he or she would have
the added benefit of being raised by a "loving, married, Christian
It sounded great.
I fell hook, line and sinker.
On our next meeting,
she took me to the local State Department of Social Services to get
me on Medicaid. (And I always thought the agencies and adoptive parents
footed the bill for medical expenses. Who knew that it was really the
I didn't want my
family to know, as they'd kill Wil, my boyfriend, and go broke trying
to help me raise my child, and the agency encouraged me to "make
my decisions" away from Wil or anyone else who could "influence"
So, on April 12,
1999, I moved in with an agency "Shepherding Family" five-hours
away from my home.
Families"or Breeding Mills?
moved in with the *Fords. On the surface, they were the perfect, made-for-TV
family. A devoted mother and father with five respectful children.
inside the family circle, it became evident that it was a very controlling
household and the home-schooled kids were simply naive.
were extremely protestant in their views and the mother said more than
once that when it came to religion, she was always right
and anyone who disagreed with her was simply wrong.
whose authority?", I often wondered.
a convert to Roman Catholicism, we disagreed on just about everything
having to do with the Christian faith. On more than one occasion, I
overheard the mother of the family, *Catherine, say to someone that
so-and-so "was Catholic and then became Christian."
I had left my car back home, I had to rely on the Fords or my new local
counselor for rides. Meaning, going to a Catholic Church was out of
the question. I had to attend church with the family -- a
grossly anti-Catholic service -- every Sunday. I also had to deal with
two women who were perpetually late for everything, addicted to the
telephone -- home, car and cell -- and convinced that they held
some enlightened truth that told them what was best for me and my child.
after I moved in with the Fords, someone close to them was killed, leaving
his wife with four young children and one on the way. This woman delivered
her child two days after I delivered mine and I now wonder why no one
urged her to place her newborn into an adoptive home. Afterall, she
was single mom now, too. I guess for these people, in order to deserve
the gift of motherhood, you must either be a married holier-than-thou
Christian when you have sex and conceive or one who is infertile.)
a just a few days, I began to feel utterly alone. Everyone that I knew
in the town was agency-related. I was never an "expectant mother", "mom-to-be" or
even "Pam", I was simply referred to as one of the agency's "birthmothers"
-- although I hadn't signed a thing. I felt like a breeding dog
in one of those notorious puppy mills. I was a walking uterus for the
how many times can one hear that "this is God's child and not yours,"
that "you owe it to Him and the child to give it up for adoption," and
that "you have nothing to offer this child" before you start to believe
that you are too pathetic to deserve the baby that God put in your womb?
sorry, but my God does not make mistakes. He puts a child in the womb
of the woman who is supposed to raise it. We might not understand His
reasoning sometimes. But He does things for a reason.
is thicker than water!
counselor, *Jennifer, told me one day in the car that she had barely
passed her Social Worker recertification and was just reentering the
work force after being a stay-at-home mom for 13+ years. When we had
our weekly meetings, which were always at an Appleby's, TGI Fridays,
or a similar eatery, we talked mainly about her other cases and how
my baby was "highly adoptable" because I knew who and where the father
was and he had agreed to sign the adoption papers.
often wondered if I had spent time at the beach which was five blocks
from where I was living... that is when she wasn't on her phone or ranting
about her kids' problems at school.
two separate occasions, she talked about her other cases with great
description. Once about a young teenager who was brought in by her parents
and was against adoption. She told Jennifer that she'd have an abortion
before she'd give her child up for adoption. Another time was about
a girl who was "raped" by a black guy one night and a white
guy a couple of nights later. She had no idea what race her child was
going to be or who the father was.
makes me wonder, if she was talking to me about her other cases, who was
she talking about me to?
May, I chose several couples from a huge three-inch thick binder filled
with bios of hopeful adopters. Each had a page, front and back,
with information on the couple and a photograph.
narrowed it down to three couples and received their complete bio --
a smaller binder that the couples make. These scrapbook-styles
sales pitches each have a "dear birthmother" letter, photos and other
information to make the couple appear to be the most marketable
of all the couples waiting to adopt and infant. Some go to great
lengths to impress you... talking about all the trips they make each
year, how much money they make, how big their home is and how "family
oriented" they are. They also tug at your heartstrings with their
story if infertility... their longing to be parents and how God led
them to you.
I picked one lovely couple and met them face-to-face on Mother's
fell in love with them within five minutes. They seemed so humble and
more worthy of a child than I was. We talked about what we all did for
a living, where they went to school, our favorite college sports and
teams, how they met, how long they'd been married and our expectations
for this baby. They were dressed to the nines and the woman even
petted my belly!
that month, they attended my last exam with me. My doctor set up an
appointment later that afternoon for me to get an ultrasound to
be sure that the baby was heads-down and ready for delivery. We then
went to lunch and the couple drove me to the ultrasound appointment.
They went back with me to hear the baby's heartbeat and see the ultrasound
images. We also decided that they would be in the delivery room to witness
was so exciting and we had such a great day. I just knew that they were
"the ones" and that I could trust them.
4:55 a.m. on Friday, June 11, I woke with a stong need to pee. (Any
woman who's been pregnant can understand that feeling!)
the bathroom, I noticed that the tissue had pink stains on it and I
wondered if something was wrong... I wasn't due for another week and
an hour I was bleeding heavily and having contractions every five minutes.
I couldn't even stand up to take a shower. I called my counselor so
that she could call the couple. Catherine then drove me to the hospital...
after she got off of the telephone.
the hospital, I got 25mg of Phenergan for nausea and 25mg of Demerol
at 7:30 a.m. That was the extent of my medication. The middle-aged nurse,
who had been a midwife in England, was sweet and stayed right by my
have no memories from 9:30-10:30 a.m., but my medical records state
that I was pleading for pain medication and that the doctor hadn't arrived
and they needed him to OK an epidural.
do remember looking at the clock at 10:30 a.m. and having the adoptive
couple to my left side and Catherine on my right. The nurse was concerned
because the doctor still wasn't there yet and I was crowning.
doctor finally got there at 10:57 a.m. ... two minutes after
I'd delivered a 6 pound-12.5 ounce, 19.5 long baby girl.
laid her on my tummy as the adoptive father cut the cord. I held her
and gazed at her. She was BEAUTIFUL. I have never felt so much
love in my life.
night was blur. The couple brought me a dozen red roses and stayed in
my room with as we ooed-and-aahhed over *Beth. Visitors came and went
and nurses checked on me hourly.
visiting hours were over, I kept Beth in the room with me. I fed her
and held her and counted her toes and breathed in her sweet smell so
deep and just fell in love with her.
was an emotional roller coaster. I didn't think that I could sign those
papers the next day. I kept Beth in the room with me all day and just
curled up in bed with her beside me.
counselor came in that evening and told me that since fully open adoptions
were not legal in the state I would not be getting any identifying information
on the couple. Any and all correspondences would go through the agency.
After a year, the couple would not be required to keep in touch.
she left, I called the Fords and told them that I was thinking about
keeping the baby to see if theyd let me return to their home with Beth
until I could save up enough money to go home.
I was living with them and I had to get their OK before I brought a
baby into their home. And since I was stuck in the hospital, I couldn't
go out and get a car seat, clothes, diapers or baby food.
I didn't have much money anyway, so I wouldn't have been able to
get a hotel room if I needed to. (It was summer and we were in
a tourist-trap city. Hotel rates were through the roof... and most were
needed help and they were my only chance.
was short with me and put Mr. Ford on the phone. He asked me very
abruptly what I had to offer this child -- Poverty? Being raised financially
by my father, her grandfather? Having a broke, unemployed mother?
Wearing hand-me-downs and not having enough to eat or even a decent
felt like such trash for even thinking about taking my baby home by
the time he was through.
hung up the phone and bawled.
my counselor returned later that night to go over the paper work,
I was a mess. I had been crying off and on most of the day.
left my room and immediately called the couple. She told them that
I was having second thoughts and asked them to come to the hospital!
sat beside my bed gazing at my daughter who was in the bed with me.
They were both sobbing and I felt like shit for putting them through
this. I felt like I was the cause of their agony, that they deserved
Beth more than me and that I was a pitiful human being for second
guessing the adoption plan of the almighty "Christian" agency.
counselor, who stood in the far corner and watched this unfold, started
telling me how hard it was to raise a child alone and that it was
in my best interest -- and Beth's -- to go through with the "adoption
I simply couldn't do it alone and that they were a married couple --
a team if you will -- that had enough money and love to raise
also tried to use my weak stomach and my fear of being puked on to
her advantage. She told me about how her kids always puke on the floor
and on her and in the car and how hard it is to take care of them...
yadda, yadda, yadda.
that emotionally distraught couple to my room while I was having
second thoughts was the agency's way of making sure that the adoption
went as planned. They used me and they used that
lovely couple. I feel that we were simply game pieces in their bizarre
game of adoptionopoly.)
8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, with The Fords sitting to the right of
my bed and my "counselor," another counselor from the agency
and a notary on my left, I signed the relinquishment papers. I was
holding my daughter who was nuzzled against me sleeping. My eye lids
were swollen from having cried for over 24-hours straight. The notary,
who was a RN in the hospital, kept being paged, so I was rushed through
had five sets of eyes glaring down at me and a sleepless couple, who
no doubt had a traumatic night as well, waiting outside my hospital
it was done, the adoptive parents walked in sobbing and I handed my
sleeping angel to them. She awoke during the transfer and let out
a blood-curdling cry that still haunts me to this day.
last sight I had of her was her crying and the couple rushing her away
Fords then rushed me out of the hospital without even getting me discharged
or getting any of my instructions from my doctor.
at the Fords home, everyone around me was so happy. The Fords oldest
daughter was visiting and had gotten engaged while I was in the hospital.
Plus, they had "saved" God's child from a heathen, single-parent home.
less than a week of their "it was God's plan that this baby be raised
by someone else" babble and that I should be happy, not sad, I
spent my last $50 on a one-way Greyhound bus ticket and went home.
home without my child.
I returned home
on Friday, June 18, 1999. I was absolutely depressed. I couldn't eat
or sleep and when I did manage to drift off, I would wake to Beth's
phantom cries. My milk had come in and the mere thought of a baby would
saturate my shirt.
I weighed 172 pounds
the day that I delivered and by my 23rd birthday in November, I was
down to 120 pounds. All I could do was cry and regret. I wanted to die.
I couldn't get
the agency to return my calls and when I went to the local office, there
was never anyone available to see me. They were always "short staffed."
It took a call
of complaint to their national headquarters to get my local office to
I guess I should
have figured it out. They had already obtained my signature, sold my
baby and made their profit, so I no longer had anything to offer them.
So why should they waste any time on me, right?
I called the agency
line one particularly tough night and Mrs. Ford happened to be the volunteer
answering the line after-hours. I sobbed and ranted for a good 15 minutes.
I finished, she told me -- and I'll remember this conversation until
the day I die -- "you were the one who spread your legs and got
pregnant out of wedlock. You have no right to grieve for this baby."