“I never thought being 15 and pregnant would be my life. Where I grew up there was quite a bit of teenage pregnancy, but I simply thought there was no way that would ever be me. Well, it happened: in April of 2003 I became pregnant. I didn’t tell a single soul. I kept competing in high school athletics and living my life as normal as possible, hoping and wishing this ‘thing’ would simply go away. Then it happened… I felt the child inside of me kick for the very first time. I was completely terrified. So many thoughts were running through my head, and I simply had no idea what to do. I just wanted it to all end. Depression and anxiety completely consumed me. I was paralyzed with fear.
Still to this day, I don’t know how it all happened or who told my parents, but I came home from school one chilly fall day in October and my parents were waiting there with a pregnancy test. My heart was broken. My pregnancy would now be out in the open for the whole world to see. I saw disappointment in my parent’s eyes. I proceeded to take the test and it showed pregnant in a flash. At this point, because I was still in denial and not ready to open up about it, no one knew how far along I was.
I remember sobbing that night harder than I had ever cried in my life. I walked into the kitchen to my mom and dad, and my mama looked at me and said, ‘Marlys, we will make sure this baby is healthy and do everything we can to ensure this pregnancy goes well.’ She proceeded to read me my horoscope, and although I could cut the disappointment in the air with a knife, I could also feel the deep love my parents had for me as their daughter. That night, I lay down next to my mama and she put her hand on my belly. She instantly knew I was VERY pregnant.
My mom made me an appointment at her OB/GYN and, within a few days, I was at the doctor preparing for an ultrasound. I remember walking back to the ultrasound with my mom by my side. The room was dark and scary. The machines were so big and cold. How was this my life? I was supposed to be living it up. It was my junior year, but instead I was pregnant and my whole life was forever changed. I lay down on the ultrasound table and within a few seconds EVERYONE knew how pregnant I was. The baby growing inside me showed I was 7 months pregnant and it was a girl. I don’t remember much of what was said in the remainder of the appointment. All I knew was that I was pregnant and I had no idea if I could survive this.
My mama proceeded to take me to get some maternity clothes because my size 2 pants weren’t going to fit much longer. The craziest thing was that within a few days my belly grew, and it was obvious I was pregnant. Like a basketball belly on a tiny teenage girl who’s frame was not meant to carry a child at my age.
I wish I could tell you the exact details of the days that followed, but part of the way I coped with the depression and anxiety was just to go through the motions. I do remember coming home from school one day and an adoption counselor was there to discuss adoption. My mom had arranged it because everyone believed that was the best option for me and this precious life. I remember the adoption counselor being kind. Now looking back, I see the empathy she had to be able to sit with me, to see me and see my pain. When she left my home that day, I knew open adoption was the best option for my baby girl. I called her dad and let him know this was the path I would be taking, and I invited him to be a part of the journey.
The next appointment was scheduled with my adoption counselor. She brought a huge stack of what reminded me of scrapbooks. My daughter’s father and I began looking through the books. The very first book I picked up had a scratchy cover and was a beautiful light green. The couple on the front had something about them that captured my heart. I flipped through their book and read the letter they had written to the birth mom. I knew they would be one of my top choices. I don’t know how many more we looked through that day, but my mind and heart kept going back to the very first book I looked at. I couldn’t imagine my daughter with anyone else, and I had a feeling this couple would be a perfect fit.
We scheduled a dinner to go meet with them. This was the most important interview of my life, and I was only 16. I remember getting dressed and wanting to look perfect. I wanted them to be perfect. I just wanted perfect in the most imperfect situation. Her birth father and I arrived at Outback Steakhouse and our adoption counselor was there waiting for us. We waited a few minutes at the table, and then they appeared. My heart was pounding through my chest. The baby girl inside my belly was doing cartwheels and seemingly trying to catch the butterflies fluttering in my tummy. I remember asking questions about how they would raise her and what they were all about. We left dinner that night with warm embraces and a quick, ‘We will talk to you soon.’
I walked in brokenness and fear as my due date was approaching. I wanted time with my daughter in the hospital, as much time as I was able to have. Everyone agreed and I began writing my birth plan. I should have been preparing for Winter Ball and picking the perfect dress and shoes, but instead I was writing a birth plan and going through birthing classes with my mom. This was simply not the life any of us had ever dreamed for me.
January 10th, I woke up and I was pretty sure my water had just broken. I calmly walked to my mom’s bedside and told her I thought I was in labor. She popped out of bed and snapped into action. You see, I was 16 and I wanted to look good for pictures with my daughter. These photos of her in my arms at the hospital would be the only thing I had since she wouldn’t be in my arms for too long. I proceeded to shower, do my make-up and hair. It was finally time to leave for the hospital and I loaded into the car with my mom by my side. I called her adoptive mom and let her know it was time. I asked them to stay home until it was time for me to place her in their arms. I needed time with her and everybody was onboard.
Within about 2 hours of arriving at the hospital, it was time to push. Oh my goodness I was so not ready for this, emotionally or physically. This was it. I knew within a day or two my baby girl would no longer be mine. She arrived, and she was perfect. She had 10 little fingers and 10 perfect little toes. Her lungs were so strong. That girl could cry, and still to this day she uses those lungs!
Family gathered in the hospital room and everyone had time with my precious Kya Monet. We named her knowing they would change her name, but for me it was important I gave her something that was mine.
I held Kya tight and loved her with my whole being. I knew my time was short and my heart was breaking. The nurses all loved me so well and met me where I was in those hard moments. January 11th was my last full day with her. I remember sitting on the hospital bathroom floor holding her and sobbing. Guttural sobs from the depths of my soul. She was my baby, how could I give her up? I simply couldn’t believe this was it. This would be the only time she was just mine.
I wavered. I fought. I cried. I broke. But in the end, I knew what I needed to do. I knew what was best for her and her future, and it simply wasn’t me being her mom.
January 12th came quickly and I knew it was time to get her dressed in her going-home outfit to a home that was handpicked by me. I held onto her tight and my tears fell on her as I spoke to her about her future and how deeply loved she is. The adoption would be open, but she would never be mine again. I set her in the plastic bassinet, and the nurse came in to tell us her new parents were ready for her. I pushed the bassinet down the long cold hospital hallway to a room where her new parents were standing. I picked her up out of the bassinet one last time, kissed her soft baby cheek, and placed her into the arms of her mama.
Through the years we have maintained contact. When she was younger, it was in the form of visits and updates from her adoptive parents. Some years there were lots of visits, and others our visits seemed few and far between. But we never lost contact; I always knew how my daughter was doing and what she was up to in life. Her adoptive parents always send Mother’s Day gifts and I always send her mama a text to thank her for giving our daughter a future. Sometimes it was hard, really stinking hard. There were moments that broke my heart as her birth mama… hearing her call her adoptive mom ‘mom’ for the very first time. When she fell, her adoptive mom was her comfort, even though I deeply wanted to be a source of comfort for her.
Recently though, it has been beautifully hard. My birth daughter is now 16 and in her junior year of high school. My baby girl and I are blessed to see one another weekly. She calls me mama and reaches out when she needs advice or just a listening ear. My 3 children absolutely love their big sister and run and jump into her arms when she walks through the door. My home has become a safe place for her. My heart is so full knowing God used all of the hard and is continually using it for His glory. We send snapchats daily and we are most definitely on one another’s best friend’s lists. I even have made a few appearances on her TikTok account.
I know not every adoption story is like ours, but what I do know is looking back, I can see Jesus through each step of our story. I see His grace and goodness in her adoptive parent’s life, in my life, and in our incredible daughter’s life. She just verbally agreed to attend a D1 college for soccer and she excels in AP classes at school. She truly is an amazing human.
I am asked often if I regret placing my child for adoption, and I have to tell you I don’t. It broke me. There are times it still breaks me, but in the end her life simply would not be what it is if it weren’t for the beauty of adoption in our lives. I could not have picked better adoptive parents to raise her into the young woman she is today. So no, I would not change it.
One of my favorite things to say is: ‘I gave her life, she gave her a future, and we both gave her hope.’ God’s love is so evident in my story, and although at 15-years-old, I never would have thought this would be my life at 33. I am honored to be a birth mama. I am honored to walk alongside other birth mamas and help them choose life in the midst of it all. I am so thankful open adoption is what we chose and every day we are learning to embrace all the beauty and redemption in our story. God is not done, and I am so excited our story is not over!”
**This story was written by Marlys Monet of Colorado Springs, CO and originally appeared on Love What Matters. Follow her journey on Instagram.