By Lindsey Campbell*
Being pregnant was not how I’d planned to spend my senior year in college. But that fall I found out I was expecting. Shocked, I took the news to my boyfriend. “When I got my old girlfriend pregnant,” he said calmly, “she had an abortion.” He wanted no responsibility. That hurt a lot, and we broke up.
I went home for Thanksgiving. “We love you, Lindsey,” my parents said. “And we will stand by you, no matter what decision you make. But we can’t raise this child.”
They were true to their word. The decision about the pregnancy was mine alone, but my parents supported me unconditionally. It was my mom who found out about Birthmothers through a counselor at church, and got me connected with them. By the time I returned to campus for December finals, I’d been matched with Nancy,* my Birthmothers Friend.
How I made my decision
The next two months were agonizing. I desperately wanted to finish my degree. But I had severe morning sickness and missed a lot of classes. Yet soul searching was even more gut-wrenching than nausea and fatigue. I’m pro-choice. Abortion would have been a quick fix. But when an ultrasound confirmed my pregnancy, I saw a tiny person on the screen, not a blob of tissue. That’s my child – my little girl, I thought. My predicament required me to shift my self-centered thinking … to what was best for my baby.
I began to research becoming a single mom in the D.C. area. My Birthmothers Friend became a long-distance lifeline: Nancy sent me information on apartment rental prices, government services for single parents and job opportunities. I discovered that I had too much education to qualify for many programs, yet I’d likely earn too little to build much of a life. There were weightier issues to consider. My daughter would not have a blissful childhood as I had. Nor would she have a dad in her life that cared for her deeply.
Over Christmas, Nancy introduced me to a birth mom – a woman who had a warm relationship with her birth son’s adoptive parents. That gave me courage. Adoption is considered taboo by many, but here was a birth mom who had put her child’s interests first, making sure that he would have a solid upbringing and two loving parents to nurture and encourage him through life. Now, five years later, her choice had been confirmed over and over. By the time I was four months’ pregnant, I’d weighed every aspect of being a single mom. As much as I longed to raise my daughter, the life she would lead with me was not what I wanted to offer her.
How I found my daughter’s adoptive parents
I e-mailed Nancy with a list of qualities I wanted in adoptive parents: athletic, outdoorsy, young, Christian. She connected me with an adoption attorney, who found five potential couples that fit my profile.
Mike and Julie Stevenson* stood out. I arranged a meeting, and I felt comfortable with them immediately. If circumstances had been different, I thought, I could have been close friends with these two. I knew that they were the
ones to raise my child.
How I saw God’s hand
As hard as it was to place my daughter, I was willing to carry that pain because I loved her so much. To help explain myself to her, I made a memory book. It included letters I wrote each month during my pregnancy, photos of myself as a child and now as a young adult, pictures from the hospital … even some photos of the birth dad.
I spent two days with my baby in the hospital. Then, the Stevensons took Sarah* home. I left with my parents. Yes, it was excruciatingly painful. Yet God was there, along with my parents and Nancy, to help me and encourage me.
It was the right choice. Today, Sarah has a little brother, also adopted. Mike and Julie send me her photos regularly, and I’ve even seen her a few times. She is thriving.
So am I. While I was pregnant, I hadn’t been able to see God’s larger plan in allowing me to carry Sarah. Now I can. I completed my degree, and then landed a job at a non-profit, residential shelter for young mothers. My pregnancy, the decision-making process, a supportive relationship with my Birthmothers Friend – all these helped prepare me for my job in counseling and mentoring young women.
The biggest lesson I learned from having Sarah? God allows each of us to go through particular life experiences for different reasons. I can trust Him. He is in any situation I face.
*name changed for confidentiality